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Which Sources of Knowledge - books, web sites, the media, personal experience, authorities or some other- do you consider most trustworthy, and why?

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Introduction

Pat Gorres Which Sources of Knowledge - books, web sites, the media, personal experience, authorities or some other- do you consider most trustworthy, and why? Who Can You Trust? In a world filled with more accessible information than ever before, it is much more difficult to evaluate what is truth and what is not. Which sources can you trust? From books to personal experience, one must look carefully at each and determine its level of reliability. Some of the most trusted sources of knowledge are books. Almost everything we learn in school is from a book. We spend close to $300 every year to buy these teaching tools. Yet, have we ever stopped to think about the credibility of these sources? Many of us read books and automatically assume that the information is true. Our knowledge obtained from books is purely authoritative knowledge (with some exceptions). Therefore, we cannot fully trust the information in a book unless the authorities are credible. How can we establish this credibility? A book's credibility relies on its author's credentials, sources, publisher, and copyright date. The author should be qualified in his or her field. One flaw in the book "Mere Christianity" is the fact that C.S. Lewis is not a qualified theologian, so a reader cannot accept all of his ideas so readily. A reader should always take into account the bibliography to ensure that the author is using factual sources. ...read more.

Middle

Again, a critical eye must be used, making sure the web site creator bases his or her arguments on logical reasoning and accepted facts, and not careless emotions. Books and web sites are generally trusted sources of knowledge, but the media is a highly criticized medium, for good reason. Every night it is our responsibility to tune into the TV and watch the news to keep us updated on what is happening in the world. We are flooded by a barrage of information that we are supposed to trust, but often the credibility of this information is questionable. It is through this source of knowledge that we often encounter major problems of authoritative knowledge. The credibility of the media always depends on the authors and broadcasters. Most newspapers and news programs are highly concerned about their ratings and a large audience. High ratings and a large audience means more money for the company. Therefore they often exaggerate and appeal to the senses in order to draw in a larger audience. The media may distort the truth in order to make it interesting and appealing. Also, the media usually attempts to deliver the newest, most exciting information as soon as possible. In all of this rushing, they are unable to examine the information carefully for validity. A good example is how the media covered the sniper attacks in this area. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this sense, a person gains true knowledge from personal experience because he finds out for himself. For example, I did not truly know what poverty was like until I experienced a third world country for myself. It was completely different from reading about it or even seeing it on TV. I can now say I have true knowledge of what poverty is like because I came face to face with it myself. This is the essence of what all knowledge comes from. People are able to obtain positions of "authority" after years of practice and personal experience. You trust your doctor because he has studied and encountered medicine himself, and genuinely knows a great deal about the subject. You cannot know how to play the piano just by reading about how it is done, but it takes extensive practice. After you have practiced and can proficiently play the keys properly yourself, you can then truthfully say that you "know" how to play the piano. In this sense, personal experience should be the most trusted source of knowledge. Information is everywhere, and it is easier than ever to access all varieties of information through the web. However, each and every source of information brings with it a problem of knowledge, whether it be authoritative, logical, or perceptive. The only way one can really gain knowledge from these sources is by accepting the information with a critical mind. So of all the countless sources telling you different things, whom can you trust? The answer is logical: trust yourself. ...read more.

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