Education must be the guardian of evidenced truth
In the aftermath of the UK referendum it feels highly important to address the following:
The role of education to provide and uphold evidence based facts, knowledge and understanding is becoming utmost crucial.
Now we experience what is called ‘post-truth-politics’ in current US and European populistic campaigns, where truth and facts are less important than creating stories and playing on emotions. Experts are dismissed just because they are experts; many arguments are simply concocted (fabricated) and facts are being distorted; and the purpose is to create ignorance, fear, hate and intolerance. To build a society of conflict, “we and them”.
There is a parallel disconcerting trend that has gained strength: agnotology. It is a term worth knowing too, since it is going global. The word was coined by Stanford University professor Robert N. Proctor, who described it as “culturally constructed ignorance, created by special interest groups to create confusion and suppress the truth in a societally important issue.” It is especially useful to sow seeds of doubt in complex scientific issues by publicizing inaccurate or misleading data.
The true purpose of policy debates in a democracy is to engage in a principled argument in order to reach a discernible truth. It is not, as we have seen more and more often, to win a short-term victory at any and all costs.
Let us all increase our efforts in upholding education as the guardian of evidenced truth.