I guess one of the dangers of teaching a class in critical thinking is that students might lose respect for us old people.
But students have grown annoyed.
“They were uniformly outraged,” Smith says, “because people are investing time and energy into this instead of doing things like stopping the spread of coronavirus or putting in place policies to counter global warming.”
Most are in their late teens and early twenties, having grown up as digital natives.
“They believe they have better skills to fact-check,” he says, citing anecdotes — admittedly not ideal for a science class, but there hasn’t been enough polling, yet, for good data — about middle-aged women falling for QAnon’s co-opted “save the children” slogan. One student’s mother had fallen for it.
While it’s heartening that his students can see what’s going on, Smith is concerned about what it all means for the rest of us.
History is going to remember us boomers as the generation that was so stupid that they fell for that QAnon bullshit. Someday you might be dandling a grandchild on your knee and they’re going to ask what side you were on in the Idiot Wars, and you better have a good and honest answer.