Firdaus Ismail

Firdaus Ismail is a TESOL student from the particularly peaceful abode of Perak. He is a self proclaimed savant that enjoys the company of actions figures, video games characters and a whole stacks of philosophical books that most would deemed weird. But he’s a pretty nice guy, and that’s what’s most important.

The internet is a lovely place. Being a millennial, I spend more time on the internet then I would in real life (that made me sounded like a loser, but hey, hear me out first mmkay?). Ever since I was given a mouse, a CPU and a monitor, I had spend countless of hours into what I have a passion for; reading. The internet, being an infinite repository of knowledge, was like a treasure trove for a nerd like me. But like everything else in this world, there’s always a bad side to such thing.

The Dark Side of Information

It was a sunny morning when I booted up my laptop and opened my Facebook profile when I came across an article about the disadvantages of drinking water as soon as we woke up from sleep. Sure, there was facts being thrown here and there and apparently it was backed up by a number of studies being done by an academic movement in that particular field. At least that’s what the article (and directly, the writer) implying; that the research done is by all means, true.

But a quick Google search yields pages upon pages of facts that completely threw off the credibility of the article. What made my not-so-smart-brain wonder, however is that the amount of shares on that article was off the charts! It was at least 1000 shares and above and it was still growing at that point in time!

Then I came across a video on Youtube, titled “A Lesson in Scepticism”. In it, the OP (original poster) highlights a social experiment in which he made up a quote (was well made, and appropriately done tbh) and slaps over a popular astrophysicist’s name under it and proceeds to post it over to a huge amount of sites. The result? It went viral pretty quickly and was also reposted several times by members of the academic community in prestigious establishments. Heck, even a professor quoted it out. Of course, the video itself spurns a question; was the video real? Did it really happen? Was it just a hoax?

However, the true question that we should all asks ourselves are, why aren’t society (in general) never stop for a minute to question things like this? Where did our scepticism go? Was it there to begin with?

A Line of Questioning

FYI, scepticism is generally any questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more items of putative knowledge or belief. It is often directed at domains, such as morality (moral scepticism), religion (scepticism about the existence of God), or the nature of knowledge (scepticism of knowledge). In other word, scepticism is a point of view, an individual’s way to see things, instead of simply accepting an unproven fact.

But alas, I am not here to pass judgement, nor am I here to simply complain. First thing we need to understand, is that we live in a vast world of possibilities. Despite the age of our civilization, we are by all means still in the dark about what’s right, or what’s wrong. Truth, as we see fit can only be considered “truth” when it is proven. Proof, can only be obtain through research. Research has its roots in knowledge. Whereas knowledge is what our civilization, as a whole (not just Malaysians, mind you) still lacking.

How can we change this? As a matter of fact, there are some things that we can do in order to set things on the right path!

Do Some Changes!

  1. Love me some knowledge!

Nowadays, both mainstream media and the internet are being plague by an endless amount of entertainment. I’m not saying there are no medium for learning and knowledge building on the television or the internet, but we have to educate ourselves to seek out these mediums actively instead of waiting for them to be spoon-fed to us!

  1. Tackle things from its roots

Every basis for a society starts from a family unit. This comes to no surprise that whether or not our new generation would grow up to be knowledge seeking protégé’s or just viral-clicking-post-sharing little kids depends on whether or not their parents had taught them the importance of knowledge and education in their daily life. Sure, I’m not implying that parents should be a dictator and brain-wash their kids into becoming this particular type of character, but at the very least, we should try to lay out the foundation for the years to come. Whether or not our future generation would follow, depends solely on their conscience.

  1. Open minded? mmhmm but not too accepting

Keep an open mind for things to come. The world we live in as of now is in a constantly changing landscape! New breakthroughs are being done and theories are being proposed almost every day. So keep our mind sharp by constantly reading and seeking out new piece of information no matter where the source is. Just remember to treat it as it is; a theory, and it is only one possibility out of many.

  1. Question, question, question!

Last but not least, always (and I can’t stress this enough), always question things before deciding to share certain news, articles, breakthroughs, or viral videos. Stay sceptical when finding new information while doing a little bit of research to back up your claim. A 5 minutes Google search could yield you so many things and could change so many lives. The power of the internet is basically in your finger tips.

In conclusion, these are merely my suggestions. In truth, there are many other ways for us to encourage the spirit of scepticism within our lives, but it all depends on whether or not our society is willing to take the first step into implementing and integrating such ways into our life’s path. As quoted by Neil Armstrong; “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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