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Misinformation, simplicity, skepticism

Posted on: September 6, 2020


Video source

The TED-Ed video used the tongue taste map as an example of how easily misinformation spreads.

The misinformation that is still propagated today in classrooms is that the tongue has specific zones for tasting sweet, sour, salty, and bitter substances. These zones do not exist.

Why does this and other misinformation spread and persist? The video outlines a few reason why. One is the human tendency to simplify and to desire simplicity.

The first is the need to conceptualise, which is not wrong in itself. That is one way we learn from multiple experiences — we boil things down to a manageable nugget.

The second can be a problem. The simplest answer is not always the right one if it reject nuance or questions.

This is why the video offers one reliable weapon to fight misinformation — skepticism. This is not an outright rejection of an idea. It is the cautious circling and examination of it in order to determine its value.

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