How to navigate the abundance of different, conflicting data?
Some advice is offered by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gregor Torkar from the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana.
Doubters about the existence of the new coronavirus and the effectiveness of the vaccines say they are thinking critically. Can we also think critically about when the sun sets and what the boiling point of water is?
This is a problem of trusting each other. When I take a car to the service station, I believe the service technician did what he promised.
That is why we have divided social roles. And scientists have a role to play, too.
It is not necessary that everyone works for the good of society. However, I am convinced, as with all professions, that most work for the good of society and progress.
If we no longer believe in this, we as a society will have a hard time surviving. A pandemic is not our biggest challenge. The most difficult one will come in the form of climate change, where decisions will have to be made in the same way. Without trust in data, we will find it difficult to make decisions.
How are anti-vaxxers related to this?
I would not like to condemn them. In this pile of data, and when you’re not an expert in a field, everyone, like scientists, has to doubt.
The only question is how much you will invest in this decision. Before you accept it, you need to check the facts and understand them. If not, you need to inquire from those you trust and are trained to say so.
We need to trust each other more. This uncertainty is the result of general social distrust and selfishness.
What do you advise young people?
When forming your opinion, inquire from various sources. Don’t always trust the first and not just one source. Listen to different opinions and then create an image for yourself.
When we start to respect these two, we will find it easier to empathize with someone else’s situation, accept concerns, and not be so aggressive toward each other.
Unfortunately, many people are left alone in front of their computer. Such collaborative group communication should therefore be encouraged schools.
The original version of this article was published on September 17th.