Feeling inundated with information about COVID-19? Before that, perhaps it was the impeachment or Brexit or The Bachelor finale. How do you know what bits of information are true? Here are a few ways to get closer to the truth about anything:
Consult multiple reliable sources. See where the consensus lies. Consensus is not always an indicator of truth, but it usually lines up with other evidence.
Follow the evidence. Just like a detective, follow leads. See where the weight of evidence lies.
Use common sense. If it doesn’t sound right, there’s probably a reason for that. Don’t just automatically accept or reject information; think it through for yourself.
Be comfortable with uncertainty. In the absence of proof, file the information under “possible” or “likely” or “unlikely”.
Desire the truth. If you have a bias for what you want to believe rather than for the truth, you’re in trouble. A sincere desire for the truth — whatever it is — is the best way to find the truth.
Especially with information that affects our health and lives, it’s important to sort truth from error. In these days when we’re all being careful with where we go and what we touch, let’s remember also to be careful with information.