Misinformation and mischief are like pollution dumped into an ecosystem

The Unites States of America has four percent of the world’s population; but has suffered 22% of world deaths. That’s quite a policy failure for a nation that used to boast that it was “the Shining City on the Hill” and was the website host of “The American Dream”. What has gone wrong?

According to political scientists Amir Bhaghurpour and Ali Nouri, writing in Scientific American. the USA has suffered badly from misinformation being dumped into the internet with the same effect on public health as toxins dumped into a river. Just as in the nineteenth century, when governments finally had to stir to counter the worst effects of industrial pollution, now they must act against the most toxic consequences of information pollution. And the authors set out ways that it can be done. We won’t spoil their piece, which we link via Nature Briefings. Essentially the problem is that officials and scientists are bound by the laws of reason and evidence. so it takes tome to put together a rational argument. The other side have long since made their shout, influenced minds and gone on to the next falsehood. It’s a technique perfected by Dr Goebbels of Nazi Germany fame long ago

The rational community has to find ways of engaging in real time. And this is not just about Covid 19. There are arguments to be had on extinction, global warming, social justice and vaccination which are every bit as important, and must be won. Survival depends on it.

Here’s Nature Briefings. You have to subscribe to them-amazing, and run by nice people!

Countering the “misinformation infodemic” surrounding COVID-19 is key to stopping the virus’s rampant progress through the United States, write molecular biologist Ali Nouri and political scientist Amir Bagherpour of the Federation of American Scientists. They offer recommendations including a coordinated campaign of social-media influencers and more spontaneous two-way chat between public-health officials and the people they need to reach.Scientific American | 5 min read

#misinformation #pollution #evidence #covid19 #coronavirus

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