Have we lost the ability to critically think?
Updated: Apr 13, 2020
I have real concerns about social media. And one of the concerns ties in with the fact we are loosing our ability to critically think. We see endless social media content, and how many people are really genuinely assess it? Where's it from? Who wrote it and checked it was right? Scientists are rigorously tested and peer reviewed before they can publish their scientific findings.
Social media is unregulated entirely. Anybody can publish. And a huge audience can see it, for free.
Recently a photo of David Attenborough went viral on social media, asking people to leave a teaspoon on sugar syrup outside for bees. I did not share this myself. I adore & trust David Attenborough, but the sources of his quote- I do not know and do not trust. Social media. So this went viral and I did have concerns, with plans to ask Bee keepers on their thoughts. Before I could, a comment on a Facebook page I follow, peaked my interest to this train of thought. I since asked another beekeeper their thoughts on this- and they agreed with most of what was said below.
Feeding a poorly bee, a teaspoon of sugar syrup is good. Leaving the solution outside, will likely cause a large quantity of bees- who communicate the location of food, to arrive for the delicious sugar. This does a few things. It potentially causes a bee problem for untrained general public and their neighbours. It also reduces the quality of the honey produced- which is unfair to the bees, the keepers and the honey buyers. Putting honey outside is even worse- with the possibility of bee disease extremely likely to spread this way. I cringe at “influencer” culture- steering towards educator culture. People are literally influenced by heavily marketed, completely unmonitored, unregulated posts. I found for myself- zero waste scene (which has the potential to be scientifically grounded) is instead marketers, selling a wave of uncontrolled lifestyle and environmental advice. I am an advocate for better controls on social media. For certifications, from experts. An NGO perhaps set up to certify environmental accounts as legitamate. But I am also concerned that the general public has lost the ability to critically think. I read, observe everything critically. It’s a science brain I suppose. But also something that we should all do. Here's some things I like to consider when reading anything on social media.
Who is telling me this?
What’s the source?
How do they know?
Where’s the research?
Who else is doing this?
Are they finding the same thing?
Can I read science behind this myself? Social media is an uncapped and frankly terrifying educator. Instead of blindly following what is presented, critique it. You will find, that balance is a natural follower to critiquing what you see. Making Roots is a FIRM believer in doing your own research. Blindly following social media is not healthy. Although you might use it for inspiration, it is dangerous to religiously follow advice on social media, in which sources and information is uncapped, unrectified. Scientists go through a long, rigorous peer review process, in which fellow scientists check over their research before it's published. THIS is the work you should be informing yourself with- not unverified social media posts.
We are running an entire season of social media discussion in a few months. Stay tuned for more information coming soon.