Beware of Old Information

My father-in-law was having a hard time seeing from one eye. During the visit to an eye doctor, he was told that his retina was almost completely detached and he needed to see a specialist immediately. After making an appointment for the next morning, he headed home. As soon as he settled back into his den, he did what all of us would do; he searched for more information about his condition.

Being more “old school”, he went to the bookshelf and pulled out a ten year old copy of “Merks Medical Guide”. Finding “detached retina” in the index, he went to the article and was shocked to read he was certainly going to be permanently blind in one eye!  He hardly slept that night.  The next morning, the eye specialist agreed that it was bad.  But he was confident that a fairly new surgical process would have a high chance of a positive outcome.  Surgery was scheduled for that afternoon and my father-in-law was home soon afterward.  He brought home a brochure describing the procedure.  I read through the brochure and was amazed at this Science Fiction type medical procedure.

The eye patch was removed the next day and his vision was as good as it was before all this started!  Not only that, there was no extensive healing time.  A miracle!  Impossible according to the ten year old medical guide.

The point of this post is simple:  We live in a world that is constantly changing; basing a decision on old information could easily cause you to make a very bad decision.    Rick

Update:  In light of recent events and the proliferation of “fake news”, we not only need to make sure our information is current but that it is true!  This can be a difficult task.  We all tend to listen to news outlets, celebrities and politicians that spout “information” with which we agree.  That does not mean it is true.  Fox News admits that it is an entertainment show, not a truthful news outlet.  The same is true of the late night show hosts; they are stand-up comedians making fun of current events.  Before you form an opinion based on any news event, double check the facts. Don’t rely on just one or two sources for facts and recognize that any opinion is just that, an opinion.  Statistics and polls can easily be manipulated or “spun.”  Be wary of anything that sounds outrageous or even slightly “off”.  In other words, think for yourself and don’t fall into any “tribe” mentality.  Here is a simple non-political example:  Remember the old “Pepsi taste test” commercials?  First problem:  only people who preferred CocaCola were chosen to participate in the blind taste test.  They were asked to taste unmarked samples of Pepsi and Coke and state which they preferred.  Since there is not a huge difference in the taste of the two colas, not everyone was going to pick the Coca Cola sample.  So, if three of the ten people who said they preferred Coke actually picked the Pepsi sample, the shouted conclusion was, “Thirty percent of CocaCola drinkers actually prefer Pepsi!”  I hope you see the flaws in this taste test.  The exact opposite conclusion would have been made if they started with people who said they preferred Pepsi.     Note: this may not have been exactly how the “taste test” was run.  It is just my re-creation to make a point.

Some fact checking sites:

The Christian Science Monitor is known for avoiding sensationalism, presenting a more objective and informative coverage of newsworthy events.

Some major newspapers are accused of both, being too liberal and being too conservative.  To me, that means they are at least trying to be unbiased.  Anyone with an opinion is biased.  My only advice is to try to gather and verify as many current facts as possible before cementing your opinion.  If you listen to and read the same “news” sources for years, you are letting someone else form your opinions.  If there are extreme right and left-wing opinions about the same actual facts, you can be sure that the “truth” lies somewhere in between.


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