Thursday, August 7, 2014

We must verify our information sources are correct (#2015)

Like all of us, we usually gravitate toward positions and statements that reflect our own personal beliefs and intuitions. Not that that is a bad thing but beliefs and intuitions are not facts so in order for us to hold to these beliefs and intuitions, they must be correct. How can we tell if they are correct? We search out references to our positions and then validate them with researched facts. Some are easy like statistics showing one thing or another. Numbers are usually easy to verify given that percentages of things can be mathematically quantified. It gets more difficult when subjects within polling questions are ambiguous or not succinctly structured. It is also harder to quantify polling when the sample sizes are so small and less than reflective an overall mood about a subject. But even beyond these peccadillos is the idea that when we see a meme or a judgment about a belief or intuition of ours making claims without supplying a source for the accuracy of the claim we must not accept it as truth until we verify for ourselves the underlying proof. Validity of a claim is crucial to any logical argument. Therefore, we must never allow ourselves to be emotionally charged about a subject that "feels" right unless we can also prove our position. I have been caught several times in the past putting the cart before the horse, metaphorically, by sharing information first without verifying it's accuracy. Even though I knew I was on the right side of the subject, the individual claim was less than totally accurate. So instead of folks accepting the information I passed along, they challenged the degree of the validity of the information and then succeeded in changing the subject from the intent behind the message to the dismissal of the message's purpose because of the minor error within the message's claim. I am now better at verifying the subjects I pass along to make sure that it is the message of the claim that is critically addressed by first verifying that the message is truthfully accurate.

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