I just came across a group on Facebook called Jewish Ritual Murder. It has 1057 likes. Its sole purpose is to perpetuate false stories that promote the myth of the Jewish blood libel. There’s an insane belief out there that Jews ritually murder Christians and use their blood for any number of nefarious purposes. This fiction has been used for centuries to justify violence against Jews. It has even been known to decimate entire communities. I’ve reported this page to Facebook. Many people have. It’s a hate crime. I hope it will be gone by the time you read this.
Update: Facebook felt that this page does not violate its community standards. Please join me in reporting this if you agree with me that by perpetuating these lies it perpetuates hate.
It never ceases to amaze me that humanity seems to be becoming more ignorant with each passing day. That shouldn’t be mathematically possible. If we look at facts as a unit of measure, and assume people learn something new every day (I certainly seem to), then we as a species should be increasing in knowledge by leaps and bounds. And yet here are some more ridiculous and entirely false things a scary number of people believe:
- Telephones cause brain cancer.
- Humans never landed on the moon.
- Evolution is a myth.
- Humans once coexisted with dinosaurs or dinosaurs never existed.
- Global climate change isn’t occurring, or if it is, it’s normal.
- The earth is only 6,000 years old, give or take. Oh, and it’s flat.
- The American Civil War had nothing to do with slavery or racism.
- Benjamin Franklin was once president of the US.
- People are gay by choice.
- Africa is a country.
- Blue moons are actually blue.
- Barack Obama is a Muslim.
- Elvis is alive.
- The sun revolves around the earth.
- Vaccines cause autism.
So why do we seem to buy in to all this stupidity despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Well, I have a few theories. Let’s go back to my “facts as a unit of measure” concept.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s even easier to stuff your head full of false information. That leaves you little room to focus on the facts. The best way to combat against this is to fact check everything, but most people seem to be too busy waiting for the sky to fall or the next vampire movie to come out. Another way to avoid false information is to stop watching FOX news, stop assuming the scientific method yields mere opinions, and stop believing every meme that you read.
We also need to realize that, yes, we forget things we have learned, but that does not mean we should rely on the shorthand of sound bites to fill those voids. Knowledge shouldn’t be a spectator sport. We all need to make an effort to stay informed.
We also need to fight against this idea that “intellectual” is a dirty word. We need to emphasize education, not demonize it. How can knowing more facts ever be a bad thing?
An alarming number of children in the world today have little or no access to education. When you fill the planet with that many empty heads, there’s plenty of space for ignorance to thrive. Crime, terrorism, and violence do not come from a place of intelligence. Truly educating (as opposed to indoctrinating) people can only make the world a better place.
Take in as much information as you can, but learn the difference between fact and fiction. Read, but consider the source. Don’t blindly follow your leaders. Rely on logic. Don’t slide down the slippery slope of stupidity. Use your head for something other than a hat rack.
Claim your copy of A Bridgetender’s View: Notes on Gratitude today and you’ll be supporting StoryCorps too! http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu