IT is fitting that the theme for our Nobel Laureate festival this year is ‘Celebrating Excellence: Fostering National Pride,’ where we pay homage to Sir Arthur Lewis who won the Prize for Economics in 1979, and to Sir Derek Walcott who won the Prize for Literature in 1992. The excellence which we celebrate, and hopefully emulate, depends on a mindset which has at its core, an appreciation for their talent, determination, and the undeniable brilliance of their work.
By dint of their work, our Nobel Laureates lit a path for others to follow, firmly establishing themselves as authorities in their respective fields, worthy of admiration, emulation, and respect. If we are to truly benefit from their great example, we must recognise the quality of their respective contributions and advance along the newly illuminated path. While we celebrate our local luminaries, especially Sir Derek the gifted poet, we ought to reflect on the rise of the throwaway term ‘alternative facts’ to defend the indefensible. That trumped up phrase is clumsy and casts doubt over the speaker’s ability to harness ICT to do some basic fact checking.
Despite the related scourge of ‘fake news’ meant to deliberately disseminate disinformation, an undeniable benefit of online information sources such as the Internet, is the ability to speedily access information. Even without modern computing and communication technology, you may still use published texts to reliably lookup information. The clear challenge which remains, is to discern what is correct and authoritative, from what is incorrect and deceptive, because not all sources can be trusted.
Simple belief is both a powerful notion, and in the wrong hands, it’s a noxious weapon. If we understand that facts are true, and that the truth establishes fact, then we should always welcome facts or truth as they are the same. If at some point we are presented with an alternative, in fact we have a choice to make. Which do we celebrate?
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.