Originally published June 28, 2017 on The Huffington Post
The hallmark of rational inquiry is that nothing is accepted as a valid claim without well-founded evidence both to support and validate the claim. In stark contrast, Fake News is nothing but bald assertions based on little if any evidence.
Those who assert that there are “alternate facts” that support what they want to believe don’t understand the nature of valid inquiry. Yes, different theories are not only compatible with different facts, but are needed to unearth them. The point is that in order to assess the validity of one’s facts, one has to be able to assess the theories that are used to collect one’s facts in the first place.
Ever since the great philosopher Immanuel Kant, philosophers have understood that one can’t collect any facts without having presupposed some theory about the phenomenon that underlies the facts. Otherwise, facts by themselves make no sense. Indeed, the question always is, “Why are these particular facts a true representative of the phenomenon of interest?”
In short, Fake News is the result of Fake Inquiry. Those who blather about Fake News understand little of valid inquiry. Indeed, they are generally contemptuous of it.