Speaking the Truth As We Know It – Why Facts Matter

by Kevin Haussler, DVM, DC, PhD

Scientific accuracy is the cornerstone of modern science and the bedrock upon which our understanding of the world is built. It forms the foundation on which we stand to provide fact-based information and it ensures that the knowledge we gain is both reliable and credible. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of scientific accuracy, its impact on healthcare providers, and the challenges in maintaining it.

Scientific accuracy has profound implications for society. Accurate scientific research leads to innovations that improve lives and helps us to provide better healthcare for our patients. Inaccurate information based solely on someone’s opinion or personal experience can delay progress or lead to flawed choices and poorly informed decision-making. Scientific accuracy fosters public trust in science and its findings. When the public perceives science as inaccurate or unreliable, it can rapidly erode trust and increase speculation.

Scientific accuracy is the linchpin of our quest for knowledge and innovation. It ensures that the discoveries and advancements we make are reliable, trustworthy, and ultimately beneficial to society.

Educators and researchers know that knowledge in fields like science and medicine is continuously growing and changing. Therefore, today’s truth can become tomorrow’s fallacy. A common saying is that ‘Half of what we are teaching you is wrong. Unfortunately, we don’t know which half’. While the internet provides a wealth of readily accessible information, we are constantly faced with deciding what to believe.

speak the truth even if your voice shakes
Internet image

Social media

Like most innovations, social media was developed with a positive intent for people to freely share information and voice their opinions. However, it has also been used with negative consequences to help spread falsehoods. At times it is very difficult to know who is telling the truth or telling a lie. We now live in a world of disinformation in which facts are discredited or spun into what someone else wants you to believe is true. 

So how does this impact those of us who are part of the equine healthcare team?

We are not only trying to keep up with incorporating rapidly expanding scientific discoveries to provide the best care possible for our patients, but now we must work just as hard to separate fact from fiction.

Most practitioners and academicians use traditional methods of gathering information – one-on-one consultations with patients, speaking with colleagues about challenging cases, attending scientific conferences or continuing education programs to learn from leading experts, or reading about the latest discovery in the scientific literature.

However, many of those outside of established or licensed professions are left trying to find information where they can, which may or may not be from a reputable source.

How do you know what you read on social media is well supported by scientific evidence or is simply someone’s opinion? What makes a source reputable?

Is the charismatic individual with a large social media presence and many followers credible? They are likely to be perceived as someone to believe within the group of followers (internal validation), but how does what they say fit into the larger context of scientific knowledge and what is currently believed to be the truth as we know it (external validity)?

Just because someone that we like or follow said something does not always make it true. In our rapidly changing world, we need to always be diligent and critically assess what we read, hear, or speak is the truth as we know it.

It is imperative that all healthcare providers uphold the principles of scientific accuracy and objectivity to ensure that we are providing the best possible care for our patients given the information that we have at hand.

Stay tuned! Our next blog post will identify some steps that you can take to dispel false information on social media.

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?

Browse our RACE-approved catalog of online learning modules.

Resources

Want to learn more?

Browse our RACE-approved catalog of online learning modules.