Ethan Lindenberger grew up in an anti-vaccine (anti-vax) family, surrounded by misinformation, but at age 18 he decided to get his vaccinations despite his parents’ protests. He testified before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on March 5, 2019, describing how anti-vax misinformation affected his life.
Ethan explained that as he grew older and learned to evaluate information, he began to understand and look for evidence-based information. He also told the Senators how social media had helped spread anti-vax materials.
I am sure that Ethan’s teachers are proud of how he displayed his 21st Century communication skills and critical thinking. Because of the way Senate hearings are run, Ethan’s prepared statement differs in several ways from his spoken comments.
Interesting Observations from the Spoken Testimony (video below)
- Ethan observed that his mother got most of her anti-vaccine information from Facebook.
- He testified that when he went to high school, he became involved in the school’s debate program and learned about evaluating resources and seeking evidenced-based information.
Interesting Quotes from the Submitted Testimony
- Learning to find credible research and information is fundamental to finding truth in a world of misleading facts and false views.
- I will state that certain individuals and organizations which spread misinformation and instill fear into the public for their own gain selfishly put countless people at risk.
- The sources which spread misinformation should be the primary concern of the American people.
- Information [that] is not properly cited, and data is skewed to create false claims.