Americans are losing their capacity to think critically. Conspiracy theories dangerous to our health and well-being have undermined our ability to analyze data, seek out articles by established and peer-reviewed authorities. To recognize the validity of scientific research and draw our conclusions based on the data of professionals who have dedicated their lives to their disciplines, medical or otherwise.

The legitimacy of our sources is essential if our conclusions are to have any validity. An immunologist or epidemiologist, when it comes to scientific research, is far more credible than the unsubstantiated opinion of someone who exploits people's prejudices and fears to advance their own political and/or financial fortunes.

Much of our social media is poisoned by people who repeat these lies and refuse to think critically about the nature of our current crises.

Are big companies and big pharma interested in advancing their agendas? Of course. Does science sometimes make mistakes or change its conclusions as new evidence appears? Of course. The key to critical thinking is to dig into the information.

Is the information mere opinion or does it involve and acknowledge the legitimacy of those who, by virtue of their education and experience, have been able to evaluate the data under consideration?

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If you’ve written a research paper, you should know the difference between authentic research versus opinions based on the self-interest or prejudices of those who have absolutely no competence in the field you are researching.

Unfortunately, even some college-educated people have minimized, forgotten or just ignored the necessity of checking the legitimacy of their sources in order to validate their arguments.

There are too many people today who "never met a conspiracy theory they didn’t like."

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Before you cuddle up with the likes of a MyPillow type person’s recommendations, consider thoughtfully reviewing the evidence of epidemiologists and infectious disease researchers who have devoted their lives to public health.

Issues of climate and health can only be resolved by heeding the advice of professionals. Religious claims and political motivations are irrelevant to the due diligence and critical thinking necessary if we are to make informed decisions about climate change and vaccines: the two issues that immediately threaten our very lives.

Not only ourselves but the well-being of our children and grandchildren depend upon our honesty and thoughtful consideration. As the number of covid cases rise we should all take a serious look in the mirror. We can do better. Our community and future generations are counting on us.

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