I Guess the Dog Will Go Hungry
This is embarrassing to admit, but as of late, I have spent way too much time thinking about dog food. I recently read a dog training book and one of the first suggestions is to feed your dog better. Being a user of a relatively low end dog food--Purina Dog Chow--I thought maybe I should offer our dogs a higher quality dog food.
So I went to the internet to do a bit of research. I was amazed about how many dog food “experts” were willing to give advice. Each of these experts stated their expertise. I ran across veterinarians. I also read articles by pet nutritionists--who knew such a field existed. Then there were the veterinarians who specialize in pet nutrition. Not to mention the odd dog breeder who has raised many dog show champions.
Unfortunately these experts could find no common agreement. Some insisted that grain-free kibble was best. Others claimed that grain free kibble led to heart disease. Advocates for raw food were met by others claiming raw food leaves the dog open to bacterial infections. Some experts suggested only human grade food. Others insisted you make your own dog food.
Rather than being able to decide on a new and better dog food, I left my research disheartened and no wiser.
Dog food research is analogous to researching so many things these days. Information abounds; much of it presented by people with credentials, claimed or actual. Much of it sounds logical. Much of it contradictory. It is no wonder that the world seems to rely less on experts. For if everyone is an expert, no one is an expert. If no one is an expert, we may as well rely on our intuition--which we prefer anyway.
Such a state of affairs leads to a real challenge for schools. How can schools help students learn to do research where they can distinguish between fact and opinion? How can we help students not to rely on their instinct but on credible information from credible sources? And how can we do this without having to spend untold hours researching the credentials of everyone who says they are an expert?
I have no easy answers. I do know if I cannot pick a new dog food, it worries me about larger issues. Who do I rely on for accurate information about climate change? About COVID vaccines? About gun control?
The citizenry of a democracy needs to be informed and needs to have facts. Ironically the information age has made fact gathering more, not less, difficult. Perhaps that is why our democracy seems so unstable.