November 18, 2016 (245 Days Old)
The Word "Post-Truth" is Named the Word of the Year
The Oxford English Dictionary is a collection of English language words that has been kept up-to-date for over 125 years.
Each year the famous
dictionary
dik - chun - air - ee
A book or website that lists words and their meanings.
adds and removes many words.
Some old words become outdated and are no longer used.
Other new words are invented or have new meanings.
These new words are used by enough people that they can be included in the dictionary.
Of the many new words that are added, the dictionary usually picks one to give special attention as their word of the year.
What Does "Post-Truth" Mean?
The word "post-truth"
literally
litt - ur - all - ee
The exact and real way of something.
means the thing that comes "after" what is real.
The word is important in 2016 because it is has a meaning that is now linked with politics and
culture
kull - churr
The beliefs and ideas of a group of people.
.
The word is linked to how many people now think about information, science, and facts.
In 2016 many more people can read and hear information that can be compared against evidence, like measurements and recordings.
But more and more people seem to ignore evidence and believe what they feel should be true.
" When objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief, what is measurably real in a post-truth world might be just another opinion "
post-truth
Moving the World With Truthiness
The dictionary chose "post-truth" because they felt it was linked to at least two big votings in 2016.
First the
vote
vot
When a group of people decide on something. The decision is made each person making one choice from many choices. Votes are often used to decide who is in charge, or who gets to make big decisions.
by Britain to leave Europe (known as Brexit) happened after the two sides argued to leave or to stay.
Second the vote by the United States that elected Donald Trump as president happened after many months of arguing.
Many lies were told on both sides of both votes.
But many people say that the sides that won did so by making up,
cherry-picking
chair - ee - pik - ing
cherry-picking This is thought of as lying by hiding information. In an arguement where the person arguing only uses facts and evidence that agree with the point they are making. Ignoring any facts that go against the point being made.
, or saying more untrue things.
Balancing Beliefs Against Reality
It is possible to believe things that are real just as it is possible to believe things that are made up.
How do you decide when you should believe something that you see or hear?
How many facts and how much evidence is enough to make you change your mind?
How do you respect someone's right to believe what they want to believe but at the same time explain how important it is to give value to facts and evidence?
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