May 18, 2024

Hoaxes, “Fake News”, False Sources And How To Be Discerning

Hoaxes, “Fake News”, False Sources And How To Be Discerning
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Internet hoaxes, questionable sources, the overly abused modern phrase “fake news”, click-bait sites and crazy memes bombard our daily life. We are deluged with questionable “new finds” and crazy conspiracy theories. As a society, we have been taken in by the promise of “hidden knowledge” as the gnostics of old. As I sit back and observe the culture, at times I wonder if we love lies and love deceit.

Danger lurks in more then just in “fake news.” We could talk about bad ideas society promotes. We could talk about behaviors that society promotes. We are talking about bad ideas, really bad ideas.

Flat earth is the most ridiculed and infamous, but not really dangerous. Consider worldviews like Darwinism’s dehumanization of man, Marxism’s bloody totalitarianism and postmodernism’s destruction of truth. What about the social acceptance of the family breakdown, divorce, same-sex marriage, gay behavior and transgenderism? Do we not know the harm these do to those involved, the children and to society? And we must not forget the barbaric bloody act of abortion, the countless legalized murder of many innocent babies.

As Christians, we should be the most discerning people on planet Earth. As Christians, we should be shouting truth. As Christians, we should be the one’s ratting out error. We need to be focused on the big lies, but we must not forget the little lies too. Where do we start and how do we began?

Myth-Busting The Little Things

Social media screams for our circumspection and vigilance to truth. The message on the meme gracing the top of this page is no exception. It’s spread on social media and it’s false.

Now I’m no friend to many of Elizabeth Warren’s ideologies. However, does that mean I should spread lies about her? It seems some think that’s a fine thing to do. Propagating false information, known to be false, is wrong. But sharing lies and deception, even unknowingly, also degrades your credibility. Credibility is hard to acquire, and easily lost.

With a quick check on the numerous fact checking and myth-busting sites, one can find the validity of many a claim, or lack there of. Yes, Snopes is probably the most popular of these types of sites. However, some say they don’t trust Snopes because of their left leaning bias – which may be true.

Recently, after I wrote this article, a concerning story broke about the m, their managing editor was fired, Brooke Binkowski, and she does not know why. She also seems to suggest that there is some concerns with transparency at Snopes.

However, in my experience, Snopes is usually accurate. They provide much needed primary research and links to back up their findings. But, are they biased? Probably. (But, I guess who is not?) That bias does seem towards the “left.” Thus, here is a rule-of-thumb, just like Wikipedia, it’s a great place to start your search, but not a good place to end. Fact check the “fact checkers is always a good thing to do.

There are other things you can do too, check out multiple sources besides Snopes. They are not the only outlet. I could give a number of different fact checking sites. If they seem to be coming to similar conclusions, ” where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.”

There is one objection: maybe the other ones are left biased too! Is there at least one that at least has a conservative Christian backdrop? I think so, let me point out one that you may be interested in.

Alternative to Snopes,

With a retro style web page, was founded in 1999 by a Christian KBRT radio broadcaster, Rich Buhler. Buhler, known as the “Father of Modern Christian Talk Radio”, was a journalist, speaker and author.

Science v. God?Now I don’t know for sure what Buhler’s leanings were on issues, but I do have a couple indicators. First, WND’s short eulogy of him is listed along side of conservative leaning political talk show hosts news. Greg Koukl, a conservative talk show host (politically and Christian), said he used to work with him. In fact, Greg even guest hosted Buhler’s radio shows in the past. And yes, Greg recommend the site.

I think I’m on good grounds to assume that he was not just politically conservative but also a Christian conservative (however, I could be corrected on both since I have not read his works nor listened to his show).

So does have a page dedicated to the truth or fiction of this meme? You bet you they do and they come to the same conclusion as Snopes, the quote is false.

However, recently they got a new main contributor, Brooke Binkowski, the ex-editor at Snopes! (The one who was fired) Is that good or bad? I don’t know. She seems to be dedicated to caring on Buhler’s mission of fighting misinformation. But her Snopes background could raises some red flags for some…but it also could show she is more transparent too, (Snopes has been known to be a little closed).

I’m not totally sure of her biases, what is her political and religious background? Recently, she gave a talk at the 2018 American Atheists Conference. This does seem concerning, is she an atheist? I don’t know. Speaking somewhere doesn’t mean you agree with the event planners. That would be an emotional, not logical conclusion, maybe close to the association fallacy. If I had a chance to speak there, I probably would! (Such an opportunity!)  But obviously I don’t support atheism!

I listened her talk on YouTube, she did not really lump herself in the group. Someone asked her something about God, she did not seem to support God’s existence, but she did not seem to deny it either. She acted more neutral, maybe more agnostic, but I’m not sure. You can listen to the talk for yourself “Be Skeptical About Everything, Including Skepticism.” Feel free to share what you think of it below. Watch out for cuss words, which I did not appreciate.

The only other site that may be of help is a site called “NewsBusters.” They are a clear politically right wing site “…to bring balance and responsibility to the news media…[and] neutralize its [bias] impact on the American political scene.” Otherwise, I don’t know much about this site.

I hate to beat the drum here, but this is and will continue to be a repetitive theme of iApologia, deception prevention (at least to the best of our ability). My question is why more Christians aren’t “fact checking” content? Should we not be the most discerning people on planet Earth?

I have a passion to have answers for Christianity as Peter taught us to do. I would love for you to come along with me and not miss a post! In the future, I plan on giving more resources and answers you can share with both believers and unbelievers. Plus, I want to send you a Free Quick Guide why I think science points to God. I would love for you to have this Free Quick Guide and the latest posts straight to your inbox. 

Feel free to share your thoughts below or email me! Do you know of sound fact checking sites?

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