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How do you know?


FACT  OR  FICTION? Ho do you know? (Click here to get an A4 printable cover.)

Fact of Fiction? How Do You Know?
 © 2023 Prepared by Dr. Andrew Corbett

These small group studies may be freely reproduced on the condition that the contents are not altered and the author is given full attribution.


Perhaps it has never been more difficult than it currently is to determine what is true and who is telling us the truth. More and more people have become cynical about: how mainstream media outlets report “news”; what political leaders pronounce; whether ‘celebrities’ are sincere or are just being paid actors, and how social media giants use algorithms to determine what we are allowed to see or read.

In addition to this (or maybe because of it) societies around the world seem to have become more polarised (taking sides against one another). These divisions have become increasingly hostile — literally resulting in riots on the streets and, tragically, even deaths.

Disagreements are nothing new. In fact, the strength of any society is measured by the extent to which it can disagree, dialogue, discuss, debate, and show deference (respect) to those whom its citizens do not agree with. This is the ideal of every democracy and is, in fact, the only way a true democracy can function.

There are presently several highly emotive issues such as:

    • Climate change;
    • Covid vaccines, masks, mandates;
    • Transgenderism;
    • Abortion on demand;
    • Same-sex marriage;
    • LGBT rights;

which, in many parts of our western society, have created deep divisions. Sometimes these divisions are made all the wider because those advocating for their position on these issues do not make arguments for their position, rather, they attack and ridicule those who disagree with them.

It is my contention that there is a world of difference between disagreeing by fighting and disagreeing by arguing. Fighting generally attacks a person. Arguing generally offers reasons for holding a viewpoint. And it is similarly my contention that the best reason for having a viewpoint is that it can be demonstrated to be true. This is what we will explore in these 15 topics that I hope will lead you to be able to offer reasons, based on sound evidence, for your viewpoint rather than merely adopting what the mainstream media, social media, politicians or celebrities tell you what to believe.