Serving Franklin County, WA

Fake news isn't the problem

Our problem is not that there is too much “fake news.” Our problem is that too many people believe it.

Fortunately, there is an “antidope” — epistemology , the theory of knowledge or “how we know what we know.” Epistemology is a good solution because it has validity tests to distinguish between justified belief and opinion. And this distinction is central to most disagreements.

Epistemology has simple and clarifying definitions, e.g., Truth has the property that corresponds with facts and reality. Can you imagine how many arguments would end if we examined the evidence supporting each position?

Put up or shut up may sound undiplomatic, but since when did adults treat justified belief and opinion the same? We have become too politically correct when we give sound reasoning and idiotic blather the same respect, especially when consequences are severe, such as in climate or health science denial.

However, while a broader application of epistemological disinfectant might be beneficial, this does not mean we should apply it everywhere. For instance, everyday conversations won’t flow comfortably under overzealous scrutiny.

And did you hear what happened when the pedant constantly corrected his friends? “Epistemoff.”

Simon Smith



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