Just the facts, ma’am…

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Wow. Just wow. Sometimes you just have to smile, and slowly back away from crazy. Especially on the internet. More on that in a moment, but to set the stage…

I get that Lyme disease is a controversial issue. I’m living it. I’m living with the fact that doctors ignored my complaints for years. I’m living with the fact that my doctor who *is* finally treating me can only do so much before she starts attracting the attention of insurance companies who don’t want to pay costly treatment. I’m living with the judgment of people around me because I “don’t look sick.”

But conspiracy theories? C’mon. You’re really just going to have to forgive me if I don’t buy into them. And I’ve heard so many. From the explosion at Plum Island to contaminated vaccines. So when a person decides to post link upon link upon link to “articles” (and I use that term loosely) on the web proliferating these ideas, it’s going to get my attention.

And so I start asking for some real sources. Peer reviewed articles. Scholarly journals. I’ll even take a link to a more mainstream media source like The New York Times.

So I get into this discussion with some chick on Facebook who is obviously offended by my inquiries, and after giving me only more links to articles, she goes on to defend herself by saying she’s testified before the US Congress and has been published in blah blah countries on blah blah continents. So she gives me a link to her blog. Well yippee. I have one, too. But I sense her getting hostile, and I decide this is not an argument I’m going to win because fanatics are, well, fanatical. So I back away. I make comments like, “well, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” and “thanks for the link to your blog.” But in all honesty, what I really want to say, “you still haven’t shown me a single reputable source for any thing you’re saying, and that all the ‘publishing’ you claim to have done is on the internet.” I did a preliminary search for every single one of her “publications” in the college’s academic search engines I have available to me, and neither her name nor the publication titles appear anywhere except google. And again, it’s an internet article.

The very first course I took as I restarted my education was on the evaluation of sources for meaningful and verifiable information, and internet sources was included in the discussion. And so again, you’ll forgive me if I look at things like this with a skeptic’s eye.

So why do my panties get in a twist about this stuff? Because when fanatics go around screaming about conspiracies, and get even the least bit defensive about their sources of information, it makes ALL of us suffering look bad. It makes us ALL look crazy.

I get being passionate. I’m passionate. Hell, I’m Italian. We’re known for our passion, our tempers, and our cooking. But passion has to be curbed by a certain level-headedness. Otherwise, you just look like a nut case, and you’re defeating yourself before you ever really get started.

That said, if anybody has some solid articles, please, pass them along. 😉

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