We have heard a lot about the notion of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ in the past year. We have seen how a hoax or a rumour, originating from an individual or a small number of people, can spread like wildfire, especially on social media. We have seen how damaging these claims can be, and how they may continue to be believed even after they have been refuted.
These hoaxes tend to be outrageous or emotive. We have seen that extraordinary claims are more likely to spread and to be shared, contrary to the principle that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence if they are to be believed. Then, the fact that it has spread widely is used as evidence of the claim itself.
We have seen that neither the number of followers of a movement, nor the fervour of said followers, says anything about the legitimacy of the movement. We have seen that people will commit daring and sometimes evil acts based on a lie.
Anyway, a belated happy some-books-said-that-a-man-has-been-raised-from-the-dead-and-his-dad-commands-you-to-do-various-things day.