We’re living in a perfect storm today when it comes to misinformation, disinformation, and downright ignorance, all of which is accelerating societal collapse. Put the internet together with the effects of neoliberalism upon our educational system, and you have today’s civilization, which is rushing to the precipice.
I recently read an article in the New Yorker about nuclear power, energy supply and use. About how nuclear power is being embraced by so-called environmentalists as a non-polluting energy source. One problem I recognized immediately was the article completely omitted any mention of conservation or efficiency, both of which can offset energy supply. Worse yet, the author made only cursory mention of the nuclear waste storage problem, i.e. failing to talk about the persistence of human-caused radiation and its impacts upon the biological world, much less the ethics around dumping toxic contamination on a future world whose inhabitants have no say. The author, armed with information she no doubt gathered on the internet, decided she knew enough to pen an article on nuclear power. This is frighteningly naive. Actually its worse than that, its downright reckless and irresponsible.
The internet is both a wonderful and horrible resource. I can type in a search term and bring up a breathtaking amount of information. In our fast food, instant gratification society, people are under the impression that by using the internet, you can learn all you need to know in order to make informed decisions. This is a dangerous fallacy. People don’t know what they don’t know. This is especially true when it comes to technology, the pace of which requires ever deepening expertise to grasp and keep up with.
Now more than ever people must question sources of information. Does the author or speaker know what they’re talking about? What are their credentials? Do their arguments make sense? Are they on the payroll of industry or government?
Can ignorance be innocent? Yes. But that is no excuse to not challenge it.