Post Truth: Fake news

If only it were fake news that Post Truth was the word of the year 2016. But it isn’t – we live in the post truth age, where “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion or personal belief” And that the word comes to prominence in 2016 – the year of Brexit and Trump is perhaps no surprise.

There are some serious things to discuss as we spend the assemblies this term trying to sort fake news from real news and understand the issues with a post truth world. We will need to work out what truth is; we will need to understand what makes a fact, the idea of falsifiable theories in science. We will also need to understand that issues with accepting a truth are not new. Huxley wrote “irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned error”, whilst Keats wrote of the “Truth of the Imagination” Subjective and personal  ‘truth’ has always been with us.

Then there is the question of who to trust. The change here is the volume of ‘information’ we have to assess and we do that in a world that is not only post truth but has no respect for authoritative voices and experts.  We tend to believe our friends but then we get stuck in echo chambers with them, hearing back what we all think.