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WHEN TRUTH BECOMES A COMMODITY: CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a series of articles, some viewable without a subscription, about our “post-truth” world as it relates to discourse of any sort, but, in particular, how it affects and should be viewed by educators.  Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, the recommendations at the end of the following article by Daniel T. Rodgers call for a return to full discourse about what constitutes “truth” in science. This needs to occur when it comes to evaluating the science that impacts the practice of veterinary medicine. As a clinical pharmacologist, I am constantly amazed at the beliefs that vets (and MDs) sometimes develop in a new or untested therapy before careful studies have been performed.  So, in effect, making life and death decisions about therapy turns into, to a large extent, an “opinion” about a therapy that “sounds good” (i.e. in one’s gut, not necessarily in one’s cranium).   So, in today’s world of Google searches for “facts” that can back up virtually any opinion, what chance to we have to turn the tide on our students to make them, first and foremost, a “skeptic” (that’s a good thing) about the fundamental “truths” of their practice?

When Truth Becomes a Commodity