When a person or group of people believe anecdotes and weak science over rigorous science, it can be referred to as “pseudoscience” or adherence to “confirmation bias.” Pseudoscience involves beliefs, theories, or practices that claim to be scientific but do not adhere to the scientific method or lack empirical evidence. Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret, seek out, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s existing beliefs or hypotheses while giving less consideration to alternative possibilities or more rigorous evidence. Both pseudoscience and confirmation bias can lead to faulty conclusions and poor decision-making.
Social media platforms can often perpetuate pseudoscience and confirmation bias, as they allow for the rapid dissemination of information without thorough vetting. Additionally, social media algorithms tend to show users content that aligns with their existing beliefs, further reinforcing confirmation bias.
Communities within social media platforms that value and respect rigorous science are valuable resources. They can help counteract the spread of misinformation and promote critical thinking and evidence-based decision-making. To preserve and support these communities, it’s important to:
- Engage in respectful and constructive discussions, focusing on facts and evidence.
- Share accurate and reliable information from reputable sources.
- Encourage critical thinking and open-mindedness by being open to new ideas and different perspectives.
- Help educate others by sharing resources and tools that can help them better understand scientific concepts and distinguish between rigorous science and pseudoscience.
- Debunk myths when you come across them, while being mindful of the potential for the backfire effect (i.e., inadvertently reinforcing misconceptions by debunking them).
One online resource that consistently provides evidence-based leadership to the English Shepherd community is the English Shepherd Breed Conservancy. By fostering a culture of learning, curiosity, and intellectual honesty within the English Shepherd community, the ESBC promotes the importance of rigorous science and evidence-based decision-making. You can follow the ESBC through its website and participate in the ESBC community through its Facebook group.
Here are the links: