If the past week has left you feeling more confused than ever, you're not alone.
After all, it's hard to keep up. Particularly when half the battle these days is deciding who you can trust.
Sometimes the truth reveals itself. For example, when the self-styled prophet Pastor TB Joshua of Nigeria's Synagogue Church of All Nations received a vision from God, he confidently informed his millions of Facebook followers of the impending victory of Hillary Clinton. As her chances of winning the election evaporated, so did Pastor TB Joshua's original post.
Would you have fallen for it?
If that question seems ludicrous, consider this claim:
"Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now, all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs' graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop to think about it." "I think that's a plausible explanation to how they got built...I happen to believe a lot of things that you might not believe because I believe in the Bible."
Skeptical? Take it up with Ben Carson. He's the man behind these quotes, and he's president-elect Trump's top pick for secretary of education.
If you're currently thinking, "Whew, I'd never allow myself to be led on by such nonsense," then ask yourself - did you get caught up in the recent viral hysteria over Mike Pence's desire to subject LGBTQ youth to electroshock torture as a form of conversion therapy? This lie has spread so virulently, it's impossible to accurately identify who started it. Somehow, the absence of any kind of definitive source seems to lend the claim a sort of de facto authority that makes it particularly shareable.
The task of effectively evaluating information seems to get harder every day, and the temptation to rely on our intuition to guide us through unfathomably huge swathes of media grows ever stronger. But Freethinkers is here to help.
- Pastor TB Joshua's inaccurate prediction
- Ben Carson's pyramid theory
- A brief list of logical fallacies
Plato's "Gorgias" dialogue (4th Century BCE analysis of rhetoric)
- Primary Source