PUSHING THE EDGE: What’s the truth about the ‘post truth’ era

Consider this fictional encounter between a mother and her teenage son.

Mom: “Hey Billy. I just received a call from your English teacher. She says you have not been doing your homework in preparation for class.”

Billy: “Don’t listen to her. That’s ‘fake news’. Who are you going to believe that loser teacher or your loving son?”

Who should Mom believe?

Is “fake news” really fake?

Recently we have added new words to our lexicon such as “fake news” and “alternative facts”. The proliferation of social media such as Twitter and Facebook allows erroneous claims to spread really fast. These erroneous claims can easily be interpreted as “truth” when the information confirms one’s preexisting beliefs. This phenomenon is called “confirmation bias”. Given that bias, fake news instigators thrive on stoking their followers’ confirmatory bias.

Confirmation Bias

In today’s highly politically charged environment, there are many “camps of opinion” that hold their beliefs to be right and others, with different beliefs, to be wrong. The “camps” are preoccupied with building arguments using selective “facts” to support their assertion of “truth” and that “prove” the other wrong. When people with opposing views interpret information in a biased way, their views can move even further apart. Many of us are so attached to our beliefs that those beliefs can survive logical challenges.

Read more here: http://norwell.wickedlocal.com/news/20170720/pushing-edge-whats-truth-about-post-truth-era

Featured photo credit: http://ow.ly/j0I430dOEtd

Do you agree: Can beliefs be so strong that they can survive logical challenges?

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