This is the most embarrassing live stream that I have done so far. When my son came into the kitchen afterwards, as I was in the midst of my shame spiral, I asked with a crinkled nose: “Was that as bad as I think it was?” “Yeah, Mom. It was.” He said with a laugh that made me laugh with him. I shared how embarrassed I was feeling, and he just nodded with a smile and a look that said: “Well…of course you are!” And we laughed a bit more. Thank goodness for loved ones who can help us find our way through moments of humility with laughter!
What I had epically failed to pull off in a skillful way was to relate the spread of misinformation in our society to the spread of STDs by drawing a parallel to how the two best strategies for preventing the spread of STDs is to either abstain from sex (or have one parter who shares a similar comitment) or to use condoms and how, similarly, we can help prevent the digital spread of misinformation within our society by abstaining from the activity of sharing digital information or making sure that our intellectual condoms, otherwise known as “thinking caps,” are being properly used so that we can catch misinformation and throw it away instead of spreading it within our communities.
How my mind drew a connection between climate science (yeah, baby, the earth is getting HOT…wink, wink) and public health (condoms) and then thought it would be a good idea to share this analogy without working it out first with another person…well…it was a good example of my not having my thinking cap put on properly! For those of you who want to be critical of me in this live stream…well…my inner critic will TOTALLY go there with you! The part of me awkwardly crossing the threshold of taboo is…painful and awkward! Thank goodness for Profs. Daniel Cziczo, Max Cameron and Peter Berman for their worthy contributions and graciousness around my behaving in a really embarrassing way.
Professor Dan Cziczo is an expert in climate science and head of department at Purdue University. Professor Max Cameron is a political scientist and author of “Political Institutions and Practical Wisdom; and Professor Peter Berman is a health economist and Director of the School of Population and Public Health and the University of British Columbia. Together, Profs. Peter Berman and Max Cameron are leading a study on health systems responses to COVID-19. In this conversation, we speak across our four disciplines and varied perspectives to strategies for parsing information and reducing the spread of mis-information.