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Posts Tagged ‘availability

I learn things from the most unexpected places. Take this portion of the parody of The White House Correspondents’ Dinner called Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner.


Video source

When news programmes broadcast opinion pieces, they might try to provide a balanced view as a ritual. The video above argued that this falsely creates moral or intellectual equivalency of two opposing ideas.

An expert and empty but noisy barrels were given equal time to share their thoughts on climate change. The problem with doing this is the availability heuristic.

What is the availability heuristic? It is creating a false balance to observers by creating the impression that half of the larger population think that the subject is true while the other half think that it is false.

So there are ideas informed and tested by science and there are ideas that are not. One might label these respectively as facts and alternative facts. The more we allow alternative facts to persist, the dumber we remain and the more potential harm we do to ourselves.

This is not to say that we should not embrace nuance. Ideas and answers are rarely black or white. However, they are built on different foundations. We should dig deeper to determine whose ideas we should consult and listen to.

This is exactly what Hank Green did in the video below. It is well worth the 15 minutes to watch. You might learn what the availability heuristic is, how harmful this can be, and how to dig for nuance.


Video source

Every now and then I get requests to be interviewed, to write an article, or to have something I wrote be part of someone else’s site.

I say no almost all the time and I explain why based on the context of the request. But there is one reason that is common to all requests: I do not want to be manipulated into pushing someone else’s agenda.

Everyone has an agenda, even if they say they do not. Having an agenda is fine if you are honest about it and if you have your heart in the right place.

Quotes taken from what I say or write might get decontextualised. An opinion piece that I write might get edited until its original message gets diluted or warped.

These are probably why some politicians who are interviewed by the press also post their speeches or thoughts on platforms like Facebook. Better to hear from the horse’s mouth.
 

 
The sad thing is that not all do this. Instead of allowing people to thinking critically and make their own decisions based on source material, the sources and the press conspire to leave it up to the press to publish selectively.

What is our excuse in the realms of schooling and education?

Is the source material unavailable?

Is the source material available, but not accessible?

Is the source material available and accessible, but not understandable?

If we say yes to any of these questions, why is this the case and what are we doing about it?

In the wider world, people can take control of the information they generate. They create, share, and discuss, largely on social media.

If the goal of schooling and education is to prepare kids for the wider world, then why are we not allowing and insisting that students create, share, and discuss more openly?


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