Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. I hold no designations in politics, economics or medicine. I am retired from the mental health field and I am a humanitarian and speak from that viewpoint only. Whether you agree or not, at least I hope it makes you think. There seems to be a lot of people going around putting down education. Like an anathema. You don’t have to have an education to do this or to do that. This is not always true…and yes, some sort of education is needed for some things. Whether you agree or not, I hope it makes you think. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!
One day, I went in and found one of my favourite sites. The thing they said (though I believe it was a joke so I don’t bother to find the tweet to post, but rather the fact check on it). It astounded me…that anyone could believe this who had any education whatsoever boggled my mind. Apparently, it made some gossip rags. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/sep/12/facebook-posts/king-charles-iii-didnt-declare-trump-winner-2020-e/ First, I have to say, I am not a huge fan of the current Monarch, but that aside, fair is fair. He has neither the right nor the ability to declare anything with regard to American politics. He could literally declare Mickey Mouse President of the United States of America and nothing would happen. I must point out that this political fact was forever engraved during the time of the Boston Tea Party (https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-tea-party). It was one of the steps of the War to Independence or the American Revolution https://www.britannica.com/event/American-Revolution/Prelude-to-war. This makes it rather interesting that people in the actual USA would think that the UK Monarch would have any input into their political system. In this case, some simple knowledge of history would suffice. Even a brief look up of American history would dispel this notion. So, I would suppose the anti-education sentiment would hold true in this one. However, having had some education, I knew this to be untrue without having to do the extra work and knew exactly what I needed to look up in order to give you the facts and proofs of said facts. This is where education may be somewhat useful.
You see, I don’t try to build electronics, nor do I try to hack computers, nor do I mess with people’s lives, but I learn to recognize weirdness in statements and in facts. I pick out the discrepancies that I find in statements. I don’t always have it right, but I do recognize when things aren’t the way they should be. I do ask questions and wonder when things don’t seem appropriate. I sometimes see where steps have been missed or things needed more thought. One of the things that people don’t seem to appreciate is that with higher education, at least in my day, you were taught to think critically. It is the critical thinking that makes me understand that Facebook is not necessarily a good place to get your research information. So, this sudden loathing I see for education seems to be disheartening. It seems to say, you have education, you worked hard and got proper training, you did all that work and you are a sucker. Why does it feel that way? Sometimes people with no training or experience decided that they could do something whether or not they should. They decided to suggest herbal supplements to all and sundry because they found it on Facebook…or Twitter or where ever. Some things can be harmful to some people. Some supplements can harm. This is just one example. Then there are people who suddenly decide they are economic geniuses and should sell everyone they can on the newest online currency or company to invest in. They base this on YouTube videos made by people without any training in economics, finances etc. So, this has created a lot of problems. They tend to take things upon themselves and decide to judge someone they don’t know based on information that may or may not be reliable. This too causes problems. We just have to look at the state of the world today with the anti-LGBT sentiment that seems to exist, the racism, etc.
There are fact checking sites…and there are many of them. https://www.factcheck.org/ is just one of them. At one time Snopes was the premier one. I’m not sure this still holds true but they seem to still hit the top of the list. Whatever the fact checking sites, they always have a lot of information about the latest misinformation out there. It appears everyone is an expert and very few actually listen to actual experts. This particular article gives a listing of fact checking sites. https://beebom.com/best-fact-checking-websites/. One of the things one has to understand is that people with an expertise in one area may not have the requisite understanding to make statements on other areas. This is also part of the lack of respect for education that seems to be pervasive in some circles. You see, if you don’t respect authorities, then you can easily be led to believe things that might not be accurate. There was a lot of movement, for example, during COVID’s early days of people listening to all sorts of studies that were disproven. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/health-departments/addressing-vaccine-misinformation.html talks about misinformation and disinformation. Both are easily passed around the net. They seem believable. It is why many comments are made against ‘official organizations’ and leads to people following conspiracy theories. If you can downgrade education and push an agenda and people believe it, then people could be harmed.
It seems nowhere has the area of misinformation become more easily studied than with the COVID pandemic. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/articles/coronavirus-myths-rumors-misinformation.html talks of two types. One is the fake mask exemptions and another is the rumours spread citing reputable institutions. These are just two of the things that were going around at the time. It seems people will accept that a place has said something without checking sources. This is most damaging. If one thinks a reputable source (an expert) thinks something that gives it instant credibility. Sadly, sometimes one needs to delve deeper. Many people can get dragged into false information if they trust the source. They do give some ideas on how to not get caught with these cases. The problem is that when a reputable source is misused, one might not always easily pick that up. So, once it is caught, the damage is already done to the reputable source. I cannot remember the exact case, but I did read one article early on during the pandemic that suggested one thing, I questioned it and read the article. It turns out that the article itself did not indicate what was suggested…it actually said almost the opposite, but if you said…oh, it’s the actual hospital documentation and went with it, you’d have been tricked by this terrible source of disinformation. So, anyone could get caught by this type of situation. However, as with spam, if it sounds or seems too good to be true, then it should be checked out.
As Ray Dalio is quoted with saying, “One of the greatest sources of problems in our society arises from people having loads of wrong theories in their heads – often theories that are critical of others – that they won’t test by speaking to the relevant people about them. Instead, they talk behind people’s backs, which leads to pervasive misinformation.” Also, as Beverly Daniel Tatum is credited with saying, “We all get misinformation growing up about people who are different from ourselves.” So, this lack of personal education and lack of curiosity to check out things results in people accepting what they think they know. It creates hate and fear of people who are different. It creates fear and acceptance of conspiracy theories rather than seeking out the truth. People seek out what confirms their prejudices. So, for example, if you distrust all ‘mainstream newspapers’, you will seek out other sources. You will miss out on important information. If you believe the misinformation that you have been exposed to about different races, religions or orientations, you will accept that and look for similar information. You will ignore the truth that is in front of you. People are people. Some people are good and some are bad, but it isn’t up to religion, race, sexual orientation or any group factor. It is individuals who do the harm. Not the group.
Misinformation is as old as time. Since time immemorial, there has been gossip, though likely called by different names. Even as long ago as ancient Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut, in some temple art presented as male and appeared as pharaoh. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatshepsut. She was lauded as a great pharaoh. Though there were scandals, she ruled and there was prosperity during her reign. She did not remain popular after her death and the subsequent ruler tried to erase her memory. So, misinformation is nothing new to the world and even Ancient Egyptians knew of propaganda. People have been fighting with it for centuries. I hope that we might have come forward from those days. But, we still have misinformation, we still have rulers who have various levels of scandal. We still have people who harm others due to religion, race, colour, etc.
Whether you agree with me or not, I hope it will make you think. If you want a modern world, if you want a better world, you have to be better people. If you want to change our current history and the current direction that things are taking, then you need to start with changing how you think and view people who are different from you. You cannot accept everything at face value as that can lead to problems too. You have to understand that there are experts who do know things. You also have to sort out which experts have the information on various topics and not accept just anyone who has a title or seems to have authority. Not every person with a doctorate is a doctor of medicine. Not every engineer works on the same exact things. You would not use a sanitary engineer to build a road. You wouldn’t use a Doctor of Philosophy to operate on your hernia. Respect that different expertise are needed to get different information and different jobs done. You need the right expert. It’s not always easy to tell. We have mainstream media and we have medical sites like the Mayo clinic that can give some information. You wouldn’t ask a Medical Doctor to fix your car any more so than you’d ask a plumber to fix your electricity. It’s just that simple. Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
Keep watching for more e-books and more formats! We’re always working on something. Thank you! The podcast that matches this blog post can be found on Anchor FM: https://anchor.fm/a–j-pei-treasures/episodes/Education-Might-not-be-Everything–but-it-can-be-Something-e1nugfp
Hurricane Fiona From the Rear-view Mirror – E Jean Simpson, BEd, BA, MA Author A & J PEI Treasures
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