Information overload means informed decision-making matters more than ever

Pseudo-facts can be cobbled from elements of the truth and tailored to fit pre-existing assumptions

If there is an emerging theme to the 2010s, it is that many basic assumptions – no matter how cherished or long-held – are no longer enough to support our decision-making.

We are faced with issues of such magnitude, whether globally (climate change, radioactive contamination from Fukushima, for example) or locally (the presumed and actual support of the Northern Gateway pipeline) that we can’t afford to trust the old simplistic, assumption-based arguments anymore.

The downside of the information explosion of the past few decades has been information overload – and this has not been ignored by those, whatever their political stripe, motivated to coax us in one direction or another.

Pseudo-facts can be cobbled from elements of the truth and tailored to fit pre-existing assumptions, and the combined result can be promulgated endlessly across the Internet, not just in a matter of hours, but in seconds.

Instead of some basic, underlying incontrovertible truth (possibly our most dangerous assumption), we are too often left only with an impression of truth, geared to our emotions and fueled by scads of lobbying dollars.

Our responsibility, no matter how we wish to shirk it, is to stay informed and examine, critically, evidence from all sides of the issues.

 

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