Fact-based Knowledge – How to Dispel Myths

by Kevin Haussler, DVM, DC, PhD

Fact-based knowledge is essential for promoting scientific accuracy, informed decision making, critical thinking, and ethical behavior. It serves as the foundation for learning, problem solving, and assessing treatment outcomes, making it a fundamental aspect of providing safe, reliable, and effective healthcare.

How we use facts in our daily lives

  1. Accuracy and truthfulness: Facts are objective pieces of information that have been verified and proven to be true. Relying on fact-based knowledge ensures that the information we have is accurate and truthful, which is crucial for making informed decisions, solving problems, and understanding the world around us.
  2. Informed decision making: Whether in personal matters or professional settings, making decisions based on accurate facts and data leads to better outcomes. It helps us to avoid making costly mistakes or taking actions that could have negative consequences.
  3. Problem solving: Solving complex problems often requires a deep understanding of the facts related to the issue at hand. Fact-based knowledge provides a starting point for problem solving and allows for the development of effective strategies and solutions.
  4. Critical thinking: Fact-based knowledge encourages critical thinking and rational analysis. It allows individuals to question information, evaluate sources, and form well-informed opinions. This is essential for healthcare providers where the decision to use one form of therapy over another matters.
  5. Education and learning: Fact-based knowledge forms the basis of education. It provides students with the foundational information they need to build more complex knowledge structures and engage in higher-level thinking. Without accurate facts, the educational process would be compromised.
  6. Accountability: In many professions, accountability is crucial. Fact-based knowledge ensures that individuals and organizations can be held accountable for their actions. It provides a basis for evaluating performance, measuring outcomes, and making improvements when necessary.
  7. Science and progress: Scientific advancements and technological progress are built upon a foundation of fact-based knowledge. Without reliable facts, scientific research and innovation would be hindered, leading to controversies, conflict, and slower progress.

In an age of information overload and the rapid spread of misinformation, having a strong foundation of fact-based knowledge helps individuals discern between reliable information and falsehoods. It reduces the risk of falling victim to misleading or deceptive content.

National Library of Medicine #ColorOurCollections Phrenology, 1835 NLM Image ID: 101393881
National Library of Medicine #ColorOurCollections Phrenology, 1835 NLM Image ID: 101393881

How to dispel false information

Dispelling false information on social media can be a challenging but important endeavor. Misinformation can spread rapidly, so taking proactive steps to correct it is crucial for maintaining a well-informed online community.

Here are some steps that you can take to dispel false information on social media:

  1. Verify the information: Before you dismiss any posted content, make sure that the information is indeed false. Fact-check the claim using reliable sources such as textbooks or scientific literature. Ensure that you have accurate information to counter the false claim.
  2. Provide evidence: Share credible sources or evidence that debunk the false information. Use clear, concise language to explain why the information is incorrect. Providing scientific articles or links to reputable sources can be helpful.
  3. Engage with empathy: Try to understand why someone might believe the false information. Engage in a conversation with empathy and a willingness to listen. Avoid making the person feel embarrassed or attacked for sharing false information.
  4. Create educational content: Share informative content on critical thinking, media literacy, and fact-checking. Help your followers understand how to discern reliable sources from unreliable ones.
  5. Engage in constructive discussions: Engage in constructive discussions with others who are concerned about the false information. Collaborative efforts can be more effective in addressing misinformation.
  6. Avoid falling for confirmation bias: Be aware of your own biases and try to avoid confirmation bias, which is the tendency to believe information that confirms your preexisting beliefs. Challenge your own assumptions.
  7. Stay informed: Continuously educate yourself about current events and emerging issues. Being well-informed allows you to address misinformation more effectively.
  8. Lead by example: Be a role model for responsible online behavior. Share accurate information, fact-check before sharing, and encourage others to do the same.

There are additional tools that scientists use to help separate fact from fiction or truths from half-truths. The scientific method provides a framework for understanding how new ideas are created and incorporated into the existing knowledge base. Our next blog post will lead you on a discovery of the scientific method and how to use it in your daily practice.

Our next free Blog Series Community Gathering, to discuss the current series of blog posts on scientific accuracy, is scheduled for October 26th. Save the date and watch for the “event” information on our FB page.

Want to learn more?

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Resources

Want to learn more?

Browse our RACE-approved catalog of online learning modules.