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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Ongoing Battle Between Science Teachers And Fake News

This story is a piece of the larger issue at hand regarding validation and verification of information as it relates to an individual making an informed decision. I read a related story a couple of days ago about "why patients don't trust doctors anymore". I remember thinking that the author was off because I didn't assess it as a trust issue, but rather an issue related to verification and validation if information. During the pre-internet days, the source of technical and specialized information were in the custody of experts--whether teachers, plumbers, auto-mechanics or doctors. Now, information is available to all. The difference is that in the pre-internet days there was significant education, apprenticeship and training of individuals in their respective fields regarding how to validate and verify information in order to better serve your customers. With ready access to information, those very customers are now saying, "I have access to all the information you have. I desire autonomy and self-determination in my personal decision-making. Stay out of my way. I'll call you if I need you, but I probably won't, and if I do, I'll be resentful because I failed to make this decision without you." The limitation is that those individuals have no formal education regarding the scientific ways to verify and validate information--that is, to determine what is fake news or fact or simply inclusive. Indeed as a highly trained specialist in my area, I was not exposed to such methodology until medical school and really only had deeper exposure as relates to real world applications for my patients' benefit until six years after medical school. We are at a tipping point in America. No longer can we, as a society, defer education regarding validation and verification to graduate and post-graduate level education. The world where that was a good strategy simply doesn't exist anymore. We now have to teach everyone how to verify and validate information before K12 graduation.
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD