Are the mass bird casualties a sign of a problem, or are they a naturally occurring phenomenon?
Charles Choi for National Geographic News
Published January 6, 2011
A mysterious rain of thousands of dead birds darkened New Year’s Eve in Arkansas, and this week similar reports streamed in from Louisiana, Sweden, and elsewhere. (See pictures of the Arkansas bird die-off.)
But the in-air bird deaths aren’t due to some apocalyptic plague or insidious experiment—they happen all the time, scientists say. The recent buzz, it seems, was mainly hatched by media hype.
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As a culture, we have become more prone to “automatic reasoning” due to the Internet. If x amount of sources claim that something may be true, we accept it as fact. It is a dangerous way of interpreting causality. We have achieved a type of “group think” where we do not question sources or facts.
The solution? Read up more on the subject. Look at the facts. And then look at some more facts. Then draw your own conclusion. Because we are so innundated with media, we may not feel we have the time to interpret facts for ourselves. But if we don’t, someone else will do it for us. That doesn’t make things more efficient; it just makes us more prone to receiving misinformation.