The internet has given us seemingly limitless access to facts, fictions and opinions. But how can we make sense of it all, how can we construct a rational world view from the relentless cacophony of material the internet throws at us daily, weekly and yearly? Many can’t or won’t, the effort seems too great. They become highly selective. Some filter all information through a world view already established by their religious, political or cultural beliefs. Some seek out dramatic narratives that appeal to emotions and deep-seated prejudices rather than facts (think of the power of shock jocks and personality politicians in misshaping community opinions and beliefs). Others, and that means most of us who may believe we have a reasonable grasp of world facts, are just wrong (See the Ignorance project https://www.gapminder.org/ignorance/ ).
So how can we elevate the status and power and accuracy of facts in shaping world views? Facts can be boring, facts can be confronting, facts can be confusing, and facts can be just hard work to digest and understand. Hence the creation of Gapminder, a site where facts about the great world issues of our time are made meaningful, influential and even fun.
Gapminder is a remarkable achievement of the late Hans Rosling and continued now with Ola and Anna Rosling and others. It has grown from presenting important world facts in novel and appealing ways to exploring common misconceptions about our world and focusing on their redress through new presentations. It supports educators and is developing its own educational materials. It has recently, through Anna Rosling, compiled a remarkable visual resource, Dollar Street, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvsAvvKeGhc which looks at life beyond statistics. And it has produced a highly acclaimed book: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think.
For all those concerned with bettering human and world futures, this is a website to follow.