One of the problems today is someone will make an asinine statement such as “the single entity responsible for the most deaths in all recorded history is the catholic church” and we all take it as fact without supporting evidence. We all nod our heads like sheep and think “yep”. And some of is who still have a brain cell firing say, “wait, that’s not right, where’s the evidence?”
And then we’re told “well, prove it wrong”. No. That’s not the way it works. We don’t have to go around trying to disprove every stupid ass idea that we hear. The responsibility for providing sources and supporting evidence lies with the person making the statement. That is, for example, the way your write papers for college. You state a “fact”, then provide citations to back up that fact. Until that evidence is provided, the statement is suspect and should be treated as an opinion or just plain false. It is NOT the listeners responsibility to go off trying to prove the statement wrong, in the same manner as it was not my college professor’s job to prove unsupported statements in my papers were wrong. I hadn’t supported them, so they were de facto wrong. A statement IS wrong, or just an opinion, until it is backed up with supporting evidence. And even then, the evidence would need to be primary sources (not newspaper articles or Wikipedia or whatever) and even THEY might be suspect.
If we all took everything we heard or read in that email we received or that someone said as just an opinion or as a lie until given evidence to prove otherwise, we’d all be better off.
So the next time someone says something idiotic or even something that sounds very smart and especially something that sounds totally right, make them tell you how they came to that conclusion, and ask them for sources. If they can cite sources, check them out. Then, and only then, you have learned something new. Otherwise, you’ve just absorbed yet another lie. And Lord knows we have enough lies to fill our brains a million times over.
At least that is my opinion on the matter. 🙂