8.21.2007

Searching for the Truth





With the wonderful abundance of information available at our fingertips today using the Internet, it has become even more critical to think critically than it ever was before. So many things that were taken for granted as "fact" because they were printed in texts of yesteryear, have since been brought to light as wishful thinking by the "powers that be". So how do we know what is really the truth anymore?


Everyday people like me must be more like investigative reporters, checking facts, and seeking multiple sources for reliable information. One of the most interesting new information sources to me is Wikipedia. The ability for anyone to contribute and edit to this resource has led many skeptics to discredit it as unreliable. I think that this demonstrates a reader's resistance to seeking more information. Some people just want to be given "the undeniable truth", without any effort on their part (not unlike being told exactly what will be on an upcoming test at school). It would be nice and easy that way, but quite boring. Life is so much richer than that!


I just read an example of the "richness" of the world we live in this morning, while reading
this article about Wikipedia. It was discussing the doubts raised by the fact that there are "anonymous" editors of the entries at Wikipedia, and how that is used as one of the criticisms of this sites reliability. A graduate student at the California Institute of Technology developed the Wikiscanner to track just where edits to different entries were coming from. Here's some of what was found, "Somebody at Halliburton deleted key information from an entry on war crimes; Diebold, an electronic-voting machine manufacturer, deleted sections of its entry about a lawsuit filed against it. Someone at Pepsi deleted information about health problems caused by the soft drink. Somebody at The New York Times deleted huge chunks of information from the entry on the Wall Street Journal. And of course, the CIA has been editing the entry on the Iraq war." The scanning site doesn't tell exactly who is editing the information, just the location where the edit came from. So, "It turns out that the people who are hiding behind anonymity online for nefarious or selfish reasons are not little guys in pajamas but the very bastions of accountability that haters of the Web have deified. "



I just love finding out things like this, things that remind me it's worthwhile to keep questioning, and "seek and ye shall find"! If you know me in person, you'll often hear me saying, "Wow!", " Did you know?", "Guess what!" and other phrases of wonder and discovery. I am glad we live in such an information rich world! I wish that more people would choose the joy of searching for the "truth". Sadly, so many become overwhelmed by it all and just choose a "camp of knowledge" and sit in it. I'm so grateful to be part of an unschooling family, so there are five of us to share the searching and discovering together!


5 comments:

Stephanie said...

Very thought provoking post, I completely agree with questioning ,we are always looking something up. We love the internet and it is awesome to have this info at our fingertips.

JJ Ross said...

Great post, Miss Deanne. You give me hope for the future of thinking! :)

Pam Genant said...

Not about the post itself but I LOVE the photo you put with the post!!

Pam

Deanne said...

Thanks JJ! I am honored to receive such a compliment from YOU!

Thank you too, Pam! That picture was taken at "The Needle's Eye", this really cool spot we hiked to on Bald Peak up in Maine this summer.

Pam Genant said...

OK where in Maine? I am from Maine, originally, I guess now I have to say I am from North Carolina. We are planning a trip to Maine to go camping next summer with family.

I knew I liked that picture ;-)
Pam