Four Reasons Our Populace is Screwed — In One Facebook Thread

Today, like every other day, I came into the office, went through my usual routine of starting up my computer, making a cup of coffee, and checking in — email, blog traffic, comments, and then the rabbit hole of doom… Facebook.  In my news feed I came across this beauty:

NM0

Here’s the link to the article. Take a look.  Not only is it full of misinformation (or at best, misleading info) and based on a strawman fallacy, it’s blatant anti-immigrant propaganda. Reason #1 why our populace is screwed. There’s just something inside of me that can’t let this kind of nonsense go. It’s so damaging on multiple fronts. So I spoke up, as I normally do.

NM2

There. I said my piece. I called out what was wrong with the article, without making this an argument about illegal immigration. My beef is about misinformation. So I made my appeal to vet this kind of information before posting it. Well, it’s never that easy, is it?

NM4

So she pivoted, of course, not addressing the inaccuracies I pointed out, but instead, copy and pasted paragraphs from some website with no context. Compelling. Well, I actually found that website, and of course, she totally left out any reference showing her original post was full of shit.

NM5

Another pivot. Now we’re trying to make this about illegal immigration, not the fact she posted an article full of lies. Again, I try to get her back on topic.

NM6

Now there are “loopholes.” No, that’s not what the article is about. This is pure cognitive dissonance now. Reason #2 why our populace is screwed. And it went on.

NM8

The conversation went on after that but it was more of the same. Her trying to find nuance or some scenario that fit her original post, despite the original assertion that this was somehow a representation of “illegal immigration in layman’s terms.” That’s the exact definition of confirmation bias.  I present to you reason #3 why our populace is screwed.

The only people who won’t see through this article for the propaganda that it is are the people in this person’s echo chamber. Reason #4 why our populace is screwed. They’ll eat it up, as they already are, and it will reinforce their already skewed opinions on a multi-faceted issue that is much deeper and complex than “get rid of all the illegals.”

The only way to fight ignorance and “alternative facts” is with real data.  You won’t always convince the person who spreads misinformation, but occasionally you will (I have many times).  At a minimum, someone who’s reading the conversation will take note and see the post for the intentionally misleading article it is. At best, the person you’re addressing will remove the post and take more care in vetting information before posting.

Or… you just get blocked.

 

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About Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, and the author of Understanding an Atheist: A Practical Guide to Relating to Nonbelievers, a book aimed at improving relationships between the religious and their atheist loved ones. Kevin is also the Executive Director of Young Skeptics, an elementary-level after-school program for kids focused on critical thinking. Guest bloggers are welcome at SecularVoices. Please email submissions to contact@secularvoices.org.