It's Dangerous to Share Ideas. It's Also Important.


I don’t agree with the part of this article that claims a private company like YouTube is similar to a public square in a company owned town and therefore can’t decide what it’s own platform is used for, but that aside, the number of references here by doctors working in the relevant field seems to be important and worth considering:

I was going to send this to a friend in a Facebook DM and then I realized I was censoring myself by not posting it publicly and dealing with the potential drama it might cause. I haven’t posted much about Covid-19 or the vaccination program over the past year or so because 1) I’m not a medical professional and 2) people I love and respect get upset about these topics.

In the past week I’ve posted a few times on Facebook. This topic seems to be one of the most polarizing topics in my community. Some very smart people I trust think anyone who isn’t already vaccinated at this point is not only an idiot, but an immoral one willing to put others at risk for their own misinformed selfish reasons. At the very same time, other very smart people have connected to actual doctors on the front lines of this pandemic who are deeply frustrated at their inability to effectively treat their own patients or talk openly about strategies that are working if their views don’t fit a specific media narrative.

I had not previously heard of the “Trusted News Initiative (TNI)” before this article (or if I had, I had forgotten). It’s a concerning trend to think a globally organized group can decide what information can be shared and discussed and what information cannot. What happened to representing all sides of a discussion?

I get how the effort required to debunk an inaccurate statement can be orders of magnitude higher than creating the false statement in the first place. I understand if there is a small set of facts which can currently be known against an infinite number of speculations and falsehoods, that promoting the facts as signal while not being drowned out by unsupported noise is a real challenging problem. I don’t have the answer, other than individuals voluntarily including strong warnings when sharing something like so:

“WARNING: the article being shared goes against the approved narrative. If the approved narrative is true, information in this article may encourage people not to get vaccinated. If the narrative is true, and enough people believe this false information, those who might otherwise live due to herd immunity will die. You carelessly reading or sharing an article on social media can be part of a chain of events that leads to a human death. Are you ready to accept that responsibility?”

Why don’t we see more warnings like this? Because those who are against the approved narrative don’t believe they are doing anything wrong. I’m not asking them to believe differently, just to think about the consequences of what if they are wrong. What if the vaccines for Covid-19, if not entirely safe, are the best tool we have to stop the spread and save lives? To the extent someone has closed themselves off to this narrative, they have become an extremist by definition. Let’s be more open minded than that.

The article I’m sharing here can be seen as dangerous. I acknowledge that. I’m trusting people I’m friends with to be adult critical thinkers about the content they consume.

What I’m not okay with (and will continue to point out) is when facts get labeled as misinformation. There was a time when Facebook was censoring the bitcoin hashtag. It was during a phase of market cycles known as accumulation where the big dogs buy in and the retail investors are fed fear, uncertainty, and doubt. That harmed the financial freedom of retail investors, and I think it’s appropriate to point out.

If “fact checking” warnings tell me an unapproved treatment can be dangerous and then links me to a “more information” page that has zero information about the dangers of these treatments or their status as being unapproved, then that’s the epitome of irony. A truth claim made with no facts at all by a system supposedly designed to stop that very thing from happening.

I understand some people will be upset at me for sharing this article. Others will be upset for me pointing out the dangers of doing so if the approved narrative is correct. To me, our knowledge of what is evolves over time. Things we think we know at one point will be shown incorrect later. The way we become less wrong is through open dialogue and open minds, rigorously avoiding confirmation biases and logical fallacies while remaining transparent with our current, biased viewpoints. Mine is this: I haven’t been vaccinated yet as I do believe I have strong natural immunity at this point given that my experience with Covid-19 in November resulted in a rough ten day fever back and I’ve come in contact with people I later find out who have the virus and I’ve been completely unaffected. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. Maybe I’ll get the vaccine eventually as my ability to function as a normal member of society is further removed. Maybe my immune response is not as robust or specific as those of you who are vaccinated. I think we’re all doing the best we can with the information we have. My hope is that we never turn off the information flow but instead rise up to the results of exposure to it. The triggers are the guides and when we get upset about something, we can put that energy into action towards being less wrong (even if it takes a lot more work) and through that process help free people who are stuck.

The key is love.

Love people enough to view the world through their eyes and their experiences. Convincing someone to get the vaccine when someone they loved died or nearly died due to a documented vaccine adverse reaction is not something to be taken lightly. Convincing someone why you don’t feel the need to get vaccinated when their loved one died because they had complications which prevented them from getting the vaccine and your contribution to preventing herd immunity may have contributed to their death is also a very serious matter.

We have to love each other. If something you see shared online makes you mad, go deeper and figure out why. Work to understand the other, and we can learn to understand ourselves as one human organism.

Note: I'm posting this here on Hive because, unlike all my other Facebook posts, after an hour this post has zero interactions, no likes, no comments, not shares. It appears shadow banned with the only comment being one I made myself.


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