If you’ve been following the current state of affairs south of the border, you know that there are a lot of people living in false reality bubbles built on a mound of conspiracy theories. Social media companies are finally taking at least tacit steps to stop the flood of misinformation, but it’s becoming clear that the real fight against clashing realities is in our hands, and we all need to know how to fight back.
Now being the smug Canadians that we are, we look at these developments in the United States and shake our head sternly, but we know that we have our own truthers here in Canada. Consider the anti-mask group The Line who held a rally last weekend up the road in Woodstock, and another that happened a few weeks ago in Aylmer, it’s likely that every one of us knows someone in our lives, or in our social media circles, who have fallen down misinformation rabbit holes.
So what can we do? Presented here in one place are two experts on the effects of misinformation.
First we will hear from Christopher DiCarlo who is a philosopher, educator, and author who teaches at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University in Toronto, and is an Expert Advisor for the Centre for Inquiry Canada. From DiCarlo, we will hear about why people find themselves so susceptible to misinformation, and why we should thinking about the spread of misinformation like a drug addiction.
After that, we will hear from Maya Goldenberg, who is an associate professor in the College of Arts at the University of Guelph. Among other things, she studies vaccine hesitancy, or what has become more commonly known as anti-vaxxing. Goldenberg will tell us the long, unfortunate history of vaccine hesitancy, and how it has spun off into the new area of medical skepticism we more commonly know as anti-masking.
So let’s attack this land of the truthers in this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
For further reading on this subject there’s an article on Psychology Today from May called “How Should We Respond to People Who Spread Conspiracy Theories?” For methods on how you can identify misinformation, there’s a page on Ryerson University’s library website that gives you tips, and WNYC’s On the Media show has a Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook that can give you further suggestions, including a list of problematic sites, which, thankfully, Guelph Politico is not on.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.