Who Do You Trust?

The people who visit and read my posts are, I hope, intelligent and know that not everything you read
on the Internet is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I mean, a
critical thinker will evaluate how trustworthy a site is
before believing what is said there. In other words, consider the
source.

One would think this is especially true of medical advice. But if
this Reuters article is correct
, three in four people “who search the Internet for health advice [do
not] regularly check the source and date of the information they find
to assess its quality.” Now, taking my own advice, you need to consider
the trustworthiness of the source and the methodology used to gather
the information.

That said, I would think it is important to determine how much weight to give to a site
(the date of the information doesn’t seem as important to me although
it could play a factor) based on the type of site. For example, if I’m
looking for information on preventing the spread of communicable
diseases, I may take a look at Google results and see a link to the
Centers for Disease Control Prevention and another to a site that is
trying to sell a product that it alleges will prevent any disease known
to exist. Now, understanding that even the CDC doesn’t know everything,
I would think it more likely that the health advice found there is
probably more reliable, and is based on the best scientific evidence
currently available, than a site that is selling snake oil.

Yes, I know, there are conspiracy theorists who disbelieve everything science has to offer and
would rather follow the rants of a drug addicted sociopath whose main
goal in life is to try to fool as many people as possible. But I’m not
talking about them. I’m talking about what may be the majority of
people who, without thinking about the source of the information,
accept it without question. This is not a GoodThing. YMMV. Insert
disclaimer here.

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