Facts in a time of excessive information
February 1, 2022•245 words
Reading time: 2 min
In our current age, information is abundant, being a tap or a click away for many of us. This torrent of media and sources makes it increasingly difficult for us to evaluate what information is factual or at least supported by reasonable evidence.
I viewed a particular post on COVID-19 vaccines on Reddit some months ago. One of the replies gave a huge list of various claims about the available vaccines, with numerous sources listed beneath all of the claims.
I found the claims to be new information to me and as a curious pharmacist(-to-be) looking to, as always, learn more, I delved into the rabbit hole and looked through each of the sources.
I could not find the original supporting evidence for some of the claims, even given the exact list of sources.
Other claims were incorrect interpretations of information from academic journal publications.
Under this exact comment thread are expressions of gratitude for the compilation.
The poor readability of academic sources and the time required to evaluate existing evidence makes this deluge of information and sources dangerous in our current time- many of us simply do not have the luxury to go through the wall of text that is the list of sources and verify each claim.
We have to become alert towards such tactics for spreading false claims- excessive information and irrelevant citations give an air of authority, but these alone do not indicate that something is factual.