I generally avoid any kind of political writing or opinion making on all my sites and social media. But holy crap I have had enough of this US election already – and there is a long way yet to go until it is finally over. And while I still will try my best to avoid political opinion of the candidates – It may prove difficult with what I am about to say. This whole article, however, is NOT just about the elections – it has plenty to do with every day life too – and social media. So continue reading even if it gets a tad “political”
With social media and the ‘traditional’ media, we have people’s opinions and ‘statistics’ and ‘facts’ thrown in our faces constantly. You can barely scroll down past more than a few posts on Facebook right now and not see at least one political post. Usually they are quite opinionated or deeply vicious in their attacks on one candidate or the other. Typically, they are links to some group who support one party or the other doggedly – and seem to be rather like Fox ‘News’ in their reporting – and fact checking.
‘Facts’ are thrown about like dollar bills at a strip club – littering the air with their foul stench of inaccuracy and bias. And the biggest issue with these so-called ‘facts’ and ‘statistics’ – is that people suck them up and believe them as gospel like they do a free coffee event. No-one checks the facts. No-one does ANY research. No-one THINKS for themselves.
Statistically speaking – just about EVERYTHING can possibly cause CANCER. Did you know that? But here is the caveat:
“How do researchers determine if something is a carcinogen?
Testing to see if something can cause cancer is often difficult. It is not ethical to test a substance by exposing people to it and seeing if they get cancer from it. That’s why scientists must use other types of tests, which may not always give clear answers.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). One of its major goals is to identify causes of cancer. The most widely used system for classifying carcinogens comes from the IARC. In the past 30 years, the IARC has evaluated the cancer-causing potential of more than 900 likely candidates, placing them into one of the following groups:
Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans
Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans
Group 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans
Group 3: Unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans
Group 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans
Perhaps not surprisingly, based on how hard it can be to test these candidate carcinogens, most are listed as being of probable, possible, or unknown risk. Only a little over 100 are classified as “carcinogenic to humans.”
Did you know that BACON is possibly carcinogenic to humans? “OMG! Stop eating BACON right now!” – Well that is just dumb. A series of studies (and you can look this up – it is FACT) shows that a VAST majority of foods and substances may possibly cause cancer.
The issue is NOT so much that Bacon can possibly cause cancer – it is that people will take the fear- mongering and hype to heart instantly, without reading ACTUAL scientific evidence or doing any research. They will simply say “I read that bacon causes cancer – so I am not going to eat bacon anymore.” Yeah, right. You’re probably more addicted to that delicious stuff than I am.
The fact is this – If we BLINDLY accept what we read as fact, we are seeing a very VERY small proportion of the larger picture. Let’s say – the tip of the iceberg, if you will. One statement does not make it true. Not in science. Not in a court of law. It requires EVIDENCE and substantiation.
Now – this is not to say that everything you read is total BS. But – a lot of it is. If you repost a picture of money on facebook – I guarantee you will get money in return. Well quite possibly. The statistics are you will probably get money at some point after reposting the picture. It might be your payday, or interest in the back, or perhaps you will find money lying around. Statistically, you may receive money. But reposting a picture does not AT ALL make it more likely.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that one has to do your OWN research – with an open mind. The Internet can be a wonderful resource – but it has its pitfalls. The Media can insert bias and opinion so cleverly, the hype and fear are taken as ‘Fact’ and that is very dangerous. If someone can instil a fear in you – and let’s face it, there are things we are all scared of – they can more easily manipulate you into certain courses of action.
Let’s look at Fox News for a moment. Did you know that Fox news has not been able to successfully open up a Canadian division? Why? Because in Canada we have legislation which does not allow any News Agent to publish or broadcast unsubstantiated stories – that is – stories without proven fact attached to them. Let that sink in for a moment.
When Rupert Murdoch who created Fox News, purchased the National Geographic Channel did you know that one of his very first actions was to dismiss the entire fact-checking research team? Also, mosquitoes can cause swelling of the nipples in the African Elephant so severe that they lactate uncontrollably.
The point is this. When you are reading the rhetoric and hype and ryders for your political candiates or an article on how bad GMO’s are for you, or if Bacon causes Cancer, or if Obama will take your guns, or Vaccines will kill our children – think about this… Is it substantiated? Is my opinion being swayed to one side or the other by fear or unsubstantiated claims for suit someone else’s agenda?
In short – we are now seeing the “fruits” of our dumbing down of the general populace. We have stopped teaching our children how to think and now we teach them WHAT to think. Parrot fashion. For example - The one (and ONLY) study which found that the MMR vaccine led to autism was not only found to be “flawed” it was retracted and rebuffed by scientific evidence that there is NO such link. (http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20476515_3,00.html)
Fact – since the introduction of the polio vaccine – those who have had the vaccine have not died of polio. The two vaccines for polio have, since introduction, almost completed elimited Polio from the world, and reduced the number of cases each year from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to 359 in 2014 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polio_vaccine and http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/). Getting your child vaccinated protects not just YOUR child, but the other children they will come into contact with (unless you intend to let them live in a bubble forever)
It seriously took me less than 5 minutes to actually research those facts. So please –do yourself and your friends, neighbours and countrymen a HUGE favour. TAKE THE TIME TO THINK – especially for yourself.