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LBmuskoka

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The Death of Facts

After years of abuse

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Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012

In memoriam: After years of health problems, Facts has finally died.

[...]

Facts is survived by two brothers, Rumor and Innuendo, and a sister, Emphatic Assertion.

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Click on Title above for full article - worth the read.  :-)

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redbaron338's picture

redbaron338

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I`m sort of astonished that Facts was able to hang on to life as long as it did.  I do remember growing up in a certain country south of here, in the late 60`s and early 70`s, during the Viet Nam and Watergate era, when Facts seemed to have gone underground, a fugitive from reality.

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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Agreed, such tenacity in the face of so much opposition.  Must have been what made Facts live so long but even the strong can take so much.

 

 

 

    "Just the facts, ma'am."
 This, the best known quote from the Jack Webb series Dragnet, was never said by Sgt. Friday in any of the Dragnet radio or television series.
        Correct versions:

        "All we want are the facts, ma'am."
        "All we know are the facts, ma'am."

Just the Facts. Urban Legends. snopes.com

MikePaterson's picture

MikePaterson

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Musky: don't weep too deeply for what never has been what you have hoped for.

 

"Fact" is a word that's rooted in a Latin word that had the sense of something that is "done". Popularly, it's become associated with "truth".

 

When I think about my experience of the word "fact" — largely as a journalist and non-fiction writer — the concept has almost always involved the answer to some sort of question. The question, you have to remember, arises in the mind of the person who asks it, not the one who answers. The question need not be explicit. It may be embedded in the way we have come to "see", and to understand.

 

A "fact" is is the outcome of the question… it is discrete, cut off for its source — it is extracted from some greater whole reality. It is usually static, whereas reality is dynamic. It is usually disconnected, wheras reality is infinitely interconnected. So it is a fragment of information chosen from the flows of change and interaction in which we’re immersed.

 

A “fact” — pretty much by definition — is “true”. But there’s a lot wrong with that notion.

 

The way any "fact" is observed or discerned has a lot to do with our culture. It has a lot to do with the way we exercise our attention. It has almost everything to do with our values, interests and attitudes. Certainly a “fact” is a “western” concept. It fragments reality in ways that expose events to particular sorts of intervention and manipulation. All cultures have their own “knowledge” systems as ways of extracting meaning from experience and the flows of being. Different tools produce different outcomes.

 

Science tries very hard to exclude all sorts of irrelevant variable (that are nevertheless a part of “reality”) but can forget that silly, limited or incompetent questions will generate as much data as wise and accomplished questions and that statistical predictions may or may not have a lot to do with particular events. Science does what it attempts fairly well but it remains a limited activity facing infinite challenges. One of its limitations is the capacity of the human mind.

 

As a journalist, I became very aware that a news story was a selectively chosen and carefully circumscribed representation of something that seemed to have taken place, looked at in a particular way. Whatever happened took place for reasons that were far to complicated to explain in the few words journalistic conventions allowed, and everyone — from the players themselves (and their agents) to the clock watching news editor steaming full speed ahead to a deadline — would see your story according to their own lights and priorities and, by the time anyone read or heard or saw your “story”, reality would have already moved on and the “players” would be doing other things. Nevertheless, people will tend to believe what they want to believe and, by and large, have enormous appetites for self-affirmation.

 

Understanding this makes journalists cynical and public relations companies profitable. It makes advertising and marketing the most lucrative business activities of all (their raw materials are vanity and credulity… and they come cheaply).

 

Facts NEVER coincide, except in the bluntest of ways, from one culture to another, and not necessarily between one person and the next. Misunderstandings are rife. A person’s “facts” can place and identify that person in his/her culture, society, class, occupation, interests… the more stratified or specialised a society becomes, the less well to people understand each other, their society, or themselves.

 

When we try to share "facts" by way of language, we are ensnared. A language is like a pipe, a conduit. It channels “facts” (which are better understood as “perceptions”) into the constraints of the particular language. Different languages achieve this in different ways.

 

Some languages emphasise substantiality, others emphasise dynamics and activitity. Some emphasis relationality and contextuality. Some emphasise people, some emphasise roles or wider "forces". And, always, it’s a matter of degree. But every language rounds off a statement into the regularities of “meaning” that are inherent in it. Language organizes experience into sets of familiarities. So what is said (written or represented) is not the whole of what is “meant” — and what is “meant” has an approximate bearing on raw experience. And that is the extent of our communication: whatever can be said within the conventions of overlapping premises and references.

 

And even raw experience is very much shaped by the interest and questions we apply to reality. When we approach reality with an agenda, we are almost certain to end up mistaken. But to rid ourselves of agendas is very, very difficult.

 

Art can free us from language, but risks being either so subjective and idiosybcratic that it’s unintelligible, or so bound about by conventions of its own that it means little. Our behavior can communicate a lot, but most of us show the world something other than our “true” self… not that we are very good at seeing or understanding our “true” self anyway.

 

Which is why “wisdom” is such a rarely attained state, why "meanin" is elusive and why we spend so much time feeling confused, and bickering with each other.

 

“Facts” are especially dangerous when we believe them. My mother used to tell me that you didn’t get “it” until you saw the truth in its opposite. Still, facts do have their functional value… as, indeed, do hammers, explosives and heavy earth-moving equipment.

 

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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I think it's preferable to start with a definition of both fact and opinion -

 

A statement of fact expresses only what

actually happened, or what could be

proven by objective data.

 

A statement of opinion expresses an

attitude toward something – it makes a

judgment, view, or conclusion, or gives

an opinion that cannot be proven true or

false.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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LBmuskoka wrote:

 

Poovey said. "Opinion has become the new truth. And many people who already have opinions see in the 'news' an affirmation of the opinion they already had, and that confirms their opinion as fact."

 

 

Well, ain't that the truth!

 

The "new  forms of media - internet social sites, blogs, twitter, etc are more likely to be opinion based, rather than factual......

 

Since joining Wondercafe I have observed that this "opinion culture" seems to lead to a polarisation of opinions - lots of "for" and "against" with little serious consideration of the opposing  viewpoint.

Sure, it's human to have our button pressing issues -but, even so, life is more nuanced than we often acknowledge.........

 

 

Perhaps in the areas of mathematics and science we come closest to the world of facts -and, since I'm sadly lacking in both areas, I tend to look to the "experts". (And, it can add to my confusion when these facts are either disputed, or lead to a different conclusion).

 

This leads me to the question, why?

 

Mike addresses this in his excellent post, so I'm off there now.............

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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MikePaterson wrote:

 

 

A “fact” — pretty much by definition — is “true”. But there’s a lot wrong with that notion.

 

The way any "fact" is observed or discerned has a lot to do with our culture. It has a lot to do with the way we exercise our attention. It has almost everything to do with our values, interests and attitudes.

 

 

 

 

As a journalist, I became very aware that a news story was a selectively chosen and carefully circumscribed representation of something that seemed to have taken place, looked at in a particular way. Whatever happened took place for reasons that were far to complicated to explain in the few words journalistic conventions allowed, and everyone — from the players themselves (and their agents) to the clock watching news editor steaming full speed ahead to a deadline — would see your story according to their own lights and priorities and, by the time anyone read or heard or saw your “story”, reality would have already moved on and the “players” would be doing other things. Nevertheless, people will tend to believe what they want to believe and, by and large, have enormous appetites for self-affirmation.

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Mike, for a detailed explanation of why, in so many areas of our life, the facts chosen are precisely the ones that favour our own opinion - or point of view.

Honesty dictates "mea culpa' - but that's just my opinon.cool

 

 

Thanks for such a thought provoking thread, LB, I can always depend on you to keep my remaining brain cells ticking along.............smiley

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ninjafaery

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I can't help but think of accounting -- especially as done by government departments when considering how creative one can be with facts. Convenient facts are produced seemingly from the aether. Two sets of books, "different accounting practices" etc.

 

Facts are just a nuisance and confuse everything doncha know.

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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It's "beer oclock" here in Oz - time to lighten up.........

Spot the error here - wink

 

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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MikeP, I disagree Facts were once upon a time important. 

 

There was a time when people would weigh the facts before acting.  A time where it was not acceptable to make public accusations without some facts to back up the claim.  Oh sure, people could hold whatever opinion they wished in the privacy of their own home or even amongst their neighbours but one did not blast that opinion around the world on Sirius Radio as if it was a "Fact" and therefore "Truth!"

 

And if one did actually do that, there were consequences if they could not prove their accusation.  There would be court cases where the opinions expressed as facts would be examined to see which held more weight.

 

And that is what has truly died the examination of opinions declared as facts and therefore truths. 

 

There are some facts that are true and unchangeable - water is wet, the sun rises and sets.

 

There are some facts that are not true - once the world was thought to be flat then it was found to be round.  It is now a fact that the earth is round.  This interchangeable fact was made true by exploration and discovery.  It required people to open their minds.  It did not change without resistance and it is quite possible that if enough people today said the world was flat it would once again become true.

 

To accept that the world is round required evidence to counter the opinion that the world was flat.  The evidence was that when Columbus and others set sail they did not fall off the edge as popular opinion held as true.

 

For some a single piece of evidence is enough to make an opinion true, for others they demand more.  It took the Roman Catholic Church 200 years of evidence to finally agree that Gallieo had it right; the earth revolves around the sun not the converse and another 170 to apologize for the ruination of a man whose quest was to discover.

 

And our present has come full circle to Gallieo's time.  Facts are not presented and weighed on evidence.  They are created by authority.  Our governments and corporations are the new Popes.  Their opinion becomes the truth of the day and they silence any discovery that does not conform to their opinion.

 

This is the new world order.  Governments manufacture facts to embroil others in a war.  Corporations create truths to permit fraud.  Media commit crimes to present unimportant facts on celebrities.  And while this has always been, there was a time more thoughtful examinations were permitted.

 

But now few care because to oppose those actions one would have to accept that some of their own truths are not based on facts or carefully weighed evidence but held with the glue of rumour, innuendo and emphatic assertion.  People no longer want to question "truths" because to do so they have to set sail on the sea of discovery and that could result in falling over the edge of their own reality.

 

Pilgrims' Progress - the quote could be true or not true.  It depends on whether the attribution is President Abraham Lincoln circa 1800's or Abraham Lincoln from Nebraska circa 2012.  And that highlights yet another problem, facts require context to be weighed.

 

 

"It often seems to me that's all detective work is, wiping out your false starts and beginning again."
"Yes, it is very true, that. And it is just what some people will not do. They conceive a certain theory, and everything has to fit into that theory. If one little fact will not fit it, they throw it aside. But it is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant."
      Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile

Alex's picture

Alex

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[quote=InannaWhimsey]

this upcoming movie i'm looking forward to

[/quote]

 

I can't wait for the movie that tells the story of Zombie Jesus. Raised from the dead, he and those he infected destroyed the Roman empire, one bite at a time.

 

 

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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Alex wrote:

I can't wait for the movie that tells the story of Zombie Jesus. Raised from the dead, he and those he infected destroyed the Roman empire, one bite at a time.

 

I'd pay to see that

 

all you need is a camera and you can do it :3

 

there are some pretty good movies on the internets...one I really appreciate is Marble Hornets...it's *very* good horror

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Musky: 

Indeed, as you say, water is still “wet”, unless it’s vapor or ice.

 

But may I suggest that your memories of truer times might be coloured by experiences of consensus.

 

There was a time when monocultures existed more or less seamlessly. They were able to instill and maintain values and ideologies in ways that established powerful cultural solidarities. There have always been dissenters and rebels but they were relatively easily dealt with. Nevertheless, it was rebels and dissenters who ended, for example, the rule of the great European monarchies… less by force than by the propagation of new views of what being human was all about. They cleared the path for good stuff and bad stuff… but mostly for new stuff.

 

The good stuff — to some of us — includes the rule of justice rather than the rule of law. This is what Parliaments and the like were supposed to have been about. But most parliaments have attracted representatives of “the people” who still think in “rule of law” terms — it’s simpler, after all — and are swayed, understandably, by personal ambition. Democracy is an idealist’s dream — it assumes that the surrender of personal interest to the widest possible benefit for all is a sufficiently common enough impulse to ensure what’s best for all.

 

The admissibility of evidence in courts of law has long been — and continues to be — a contentious issue: one that is under constant review in those states that care about justice.  As its resources have allowed, the Innocence Project in the United States has applied DNA testing to cases where convictions may have seemed clear enough at the time but where denial of guilt was obstinately maintained… and won a quite a few exonerations. Sometimes the necessary evidence for comparison has been lost or destroyed, and the Innocence Project has also has won exonerations in several of these cases too, though its focus has been on DNA testing. It has a waiting list of thousands of cases. You can check them out at http://www.innocenceproject.org.

 

You mention the “flat world” view — one that especially resonates with the experience of sedentary farmers and hunters and gatherers operating in small ecosystems. The roundness of the world has no relevance to many such people, and there’s still a “Flat Earth Society”. It’s people like seafarers and map makers who are helped by realizing that the World is round (well, pear-shaped). Both the early Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud, however, affirm a “round” Earth.

 

The “opening of minds” you refer to is an interesting notion. The reality is that we are all and each ultimately trapped in our own consciousness. There is no way for us to avoid that place. Even nirvana does not reach that far; it is merely the extinction of greed, delusion and hatred… it frees the consciousness to open more fully and wholly to experience, but is does not allow it to explore the consciousness of others.

 

Social and media diversities almost certainly make us more aware of our existential loneliness but they don't help us deal with it. Rather, they "atomise" our world: they open us to extremes of relativism and, simultaneously, to intensified self-centredness. We see it expressed in fits of “joining” activity (chasing around after like-minded or congenial groups of people who make us feed good for a time but often disappoint us in the end), in feelings of insecurity, futility and pointlessness; it engenders ambient fears, suspicion of the “unknown” and deepened needs for reassurance. It can drive people to extremes, to fickleness, to madness and to straw-grasping desperation.It seems to exacerbate depression, suicide and addiction.

 

The “truth” forever lies in pieces in a million hearts.

 

Musky: you are absolutely RIGHT about contexts. Meaning is necessarily contextual. Contexts don’t contain “truth” but some contexts have bigger windows and thinner walls.

 

Finding “truth” has to be about finding contexts in which “truth” can be experienced. This is why I open as keenly as I can to “beauty”, and see beauty and god’s language of love. That’s NOT a “religious teaching” in any religion I’m aware of (and I do look around a bit) and it seems to be very eccentric, but it is a personal source of “truth” to me. It is important to me because it leads me to a kind of nirvana. It is accessible to me because I can find it at my fingertips. But all I can attribute it to is my whole-of-life experience: the workings of my own consciousness.

 

It’s that personal consciousness that we neglect or abuse at our peril. Which is why I pretty much live the way I do and pretty much why a deep, sustaining joy is always immediately available to me. If we are going to survive as a species, I do believe that we each need to nurture and value our personal consciousness more hopefully, more discerningly but also more more freely, more boldly, more deeply…

 

Historically, facts — by virtue of their ephemerality, and the sorts of question that have produced them — have been a distraction from that. “Facts” are most readily found among the chaff of any winnowing.

 

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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I agree Mike; each of us are trapped in our own consciences but when we collectively trap one another in our own viewpoints we can cause damage, limit opportunities and stagnate ....

 

Even Positive Stereotypes Can Hinder Performance, Researchers Report

 

"Not only is the truth of such statements questionable, but they also send the wrong message about what it takes to succeed, thereby undermining achievement -- even when they are actually meant as encouragement."

      Andrei Cimpian

 

Oh, and vapour and ice are both wet ;-)

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MikePaterson

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ahem… vapor is the gaseous phase of wate, wet only when it condensesr; ice is a crystalline polycrystalline solid  (wet only when it melts), like iron or limestone. Some scientists consider ice a "mineral".

"Wet" is a "fact" but that doesn't make it "true"… wink

------------

Stereotyping! Yeah! We do that too when we look at trees and call them "lumber", or look at the interconnected patterns of life in the ocean and just see "fish"…  or look at sheep (or women) and call them "meat",… it's chilling.Collectivising is a form of stereotyping. And  stereotyping is a pernicious form of violence.

We do it because our heads are too small for reality. "Original" sin?

A "fact" that stands for whole category of phenomena can be as dangerous as a stereotype. It certainly works the same way. It's literary form is the metaphor… maybe "good" and "true", maybe "evil" and a "lie".

Or "eveil" and "true"? Or "good" and a "lie"? Somehow, without sound reasons to reel off, I very much doubt that.

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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More thoughts............

Although I believe in the importance of facts - in the world of human affairs they can be legitimately used in a way that seeks to distort.

 

The 9/11 bombing was a fact.

But this fact was used to step-up the The Allied intervention in the Middle East, causing significant suffering and loss of life in Moslem countries.

 

Wouldn't "facts" be better served by focussing on the suffering experienced by BOTH sides of the conflict?

Doesn't a  mother living in Iraq grieve equally for her dead son, as does an American mother?

 

Perhaps, more than facts,  a sense of morality and the common good is the greater casuality  we're experiencing?

 

So folks, it's time to get back our humanity and not be taken in by materialism and technology that seeks to isolate us. (opinion).

 

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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Pilgrims Progress the problem is not with Facts.  Yes, some facts are unpleasant and remind us that we are far from perfect.  It is often those facts that upset people the most and cause the problems.

 

The 9/11 fact was, and remains, there are bad people out there.  That fact was denied by the Americans; they only wanted to see bad people in Iraq or Afghanistan.  If the Western World had accepted that there are bad people everywhere, along with the converse that there are good people everywhere,  the response could have been one of reconciliation and peace.  The West could have admitted their policies were in part responsible for the birth of the hijackers.  They could have opened the lines of dialogue.  Instead the West, and America particularly, responded in stereotypical fashion with Rumour, Innuendo and Emphatic Assertion.

 

If people had been paying attention to Facts there would have been no war in Iraq.  The facts were, Al Queda was not in Iraq.  There were no weapons of mass destruction.  Instead anyone who tried to bring Facts into the discourse was shouted down, attacked and silenced by intimidation.

 

One can broaden that scenario to almost every conflict on the globe and throughout history.  War is never started armed with Facts.  The preliminary strikes always consist of rumour,  innuendo, emphatic assertion and the added weapons of rhetoric and hubris.

 

Facts is not the bad guy here.  It is what people do or don't do with facts that is the problem.  To deny or cling to a set of facts is ultimately destructive.

 

It is the most destructive when those in authority are granted permission to manipulate facts, and that is my complaint.  What the man on the streets does with facts is one thing but when governments and corporations deny and cling those actions imprisons all of us.

 

 

And Mike, I cling to the fact that  facts are affected by the environment  ... when vapour and ice are tempered, often by us, they become wet ;-)

 

 

 

We went overseas full of illusions, for which the intoxicating atmosphere of those years was as much to blame as our youth.
      Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War

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MikePaterson

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When vapor and ice are "tempered by us" they become water, we become "wet"… when we are tempered by life, we become old. When we are tempered by love, we become love.  That's actually a nice start to some interesting reflection…

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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I should read my feeds first before posting ... here is another commentary that highlights my concern ... because along with killing Facts, Discourse and Deliberation are gasping as well ....

 

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Bill O'Reilly Called Me a Communist?

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog, 24 April 12

 

[....click title for full article, bold emphasis mine]

 

Across the nation, conservatives right-wingers and liberal or progressive lefties have stopped debating their respective views, or even listening to anyone they disagree with. They just find broadcasters and bloggers who confirm their views.


We're even sorting by belief according to where we live. Today your neighbors are more likely to agree with your politics than disagree. We've settled into like-minded enclaves where we don't need to think because everyone we meet confirms what we assume we already know.


It's not that the nation is more polarized than it's been in the past. America has been through searing conflicts, some within the living memories of most of us. The communist witch-hunts of the 1950s were followed by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, battles over womens' reproductive rights and gay marriage.

 

What makes America's current polarization remarkable isn't the severity of our disagreements but our utter lack of engagement debating them.


So many Americans are so angry and frustrated these days - vulnerable to loss of job and healthcare and home, without a shred of economic security - they're easy prey for demagogues offering simple answers and ready scapegoats. Take, for example, Bill O'Reilly and his colleagues at Fox News.

 

But people can only learn from others who disagree with them - or at least from witnessing debates between people who respectfully and civilly disagree. Without respect and civility, it's not a debate - it's just name-calling.


A democracy depends on public deliberation and debate. Without it, the members of a society have no means of understanding what they believe or why. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were notable not because they solved anything but because they helped Americans clarify where they agreed and disagreed on the wrenching issue of slavery.


Hence the danger today - when deliberation has stopped.

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The highlighted part is what I believe has been lost and to no one's benefit.

 

MikeP and I can debate the properties of water but what we don't do, hopefully, is deny that the properties exist.  With open dialogue I can learn that wetness of water is a changeable entity dependant on its environment.  Mike's disagreement with me pushes me to find out more with the result I learn more and for that learning I am grateful.  Somewhere along the span of my lifetime learning and knowledge, along with the flexibility to adapt to new data, have become disreputable and considered dangerous by some. 

 

The oppression of opposing views, particularly views that have supporting evidence, denies that opportunity for growth.  It creates a society in persistant denial resulting in stagnation, rigidity and an inability to adapt to its changing environment.  Saying that water does not freeze or condensates does not change the fact that it does and if we ignore that we can get lost in the fog or frozen in place.

 

In Canada we currently have a government that is actively pursuing an agenda that will only allow one side of the debate to be presented.  It is a government that is dismantling the ability to discover facts (StatsCan)  It is a government that is muzzling its opponents (Environmental Groups) and its own scientists.  All opposing views are blocked with the intimidating authority of a government in power.  But worse, is that by denying the collection and public discourse, those "facts" are closed to scrutiny and examination.  We, the public, become deprived of the opportunity to discover the validity of the facts and make sound policy decisions.

 

It is a vicious circle that escalates ignorance, distrust, anger, and fear.

 

 

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
      Thomas Jefferson

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MikePaterson

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I thoroughly agree: critique is the vital essence of democracy. We have a government that, instead of engaging, is secretive or evasive, assertive, duplicitous and manipulative. It is not functioning in a way that expresses democratic values.

 

But I don't think it's something that began with the current government, or that it is unique to Canada. We lived in Blair's Britain, where no-one could ever be sure what was going on or what to believe. Berlusconi's Italy was crazy… and China keeps sending mixed messages… politics, I fear, is becoming increasingly penetrated by interests that do not work through ballot boxes so much as through economic bullying.

 

We are guilty of believing that "the Economy" is the only path to a better quality of life for all… and that is not the case. It turns us into putty. It fills us with false fears. It centralises power and wealth. 

 

I USED to think this kind of observation reeked of loony conspiracy theory. But I now see it as a sociological shift: a hell that's being shaped by aquiescence, listlessness, ignorance, fear and distractedness. Many of us seem past caring… it's not apathy so much as demoralisation and confusion: the perfect frame of mind for totalitarianism.

 

That's an apt quote from Jefferson.

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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LBmuskoka wrote:

 

The 9/11 fact was, and remains, there are bad people out there. 

 

 

Sorry, LB, I see this sentence as an opinion - not a fact.

To me, the 9/11 fact was that the bombing took place..........

 

But, my opinion of 9/11 mirrors yours.yesyes (appeasement gesture cos I can find you and your intellect a wee bit intimidating.)

My wisdom metre says it's time for me to leave this discussion -Mike has the intellect and education to represent the southern hemisphere more ably........

MikePaterson's picture

MikePaterson

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Nonsense Grim!!!!

chemgal's picture

chemgal

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Pilgrims Progress wrote:

 

To me, the 9/11 fact was that the bombing took place..........

 

 

Then there are those who would dispute that fact.

 

As for water - it isn't wet.  Water makes other things wet.  If you have water molecules the proper distance away, they can make a particular water molecule wet though.  1 water molecule, by itself is not wet.  :)

Witch's picture

Witch

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There's a hole in my bucket....

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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poor Truth

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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chemgal wrote:

Pilgrims Progress wrote:

 

To me, the 9/11 fact was that the bombing took place..........

 

 

Then there are those who would dispute that fact.

 

Including me!

There are times when I think I've got rocks in my head..........frown

The four planes that were highjacked didn't bomb the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, Arlington, or the field in Shanksville - they crashed into them.

Dive bombing into something isn't quite the same as bombing........

 

(Aside to Mike - I think i've just proven my own point very ably!)

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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Pilgrims Progress I think you have proven all our points very ably :-)

 

Facts are important because they can form consensus.  However, when people get caught up in debating irrelevant or erroneous facts the bigger, and perhaps more ambiguous, Facts slips away into the ether..

 

What you also show above is what is lacking in the current North American political discourse;  you recognized your mix up and corrected it ... and that is a fact!

 

 

 

Realizing that love is a fundamental principle of life doesn’t guarantee a happy relationship, but at least you can make captain of the debate team.
       Benson Bruno

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MikePaterson

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Good one, Grim!

 

Musky, I think the issue is really about critical thinking. I keep being irritated by non squiturs in politics and the media, the use of emotional fallacies and and simple sloppy thinking. I don't for a moment believe that we should be governed im strict, rational terms — we need spitit, imagination and blind adventure… but when you look at an issue like, say, the F-35s, the core issue (about justifying the absolute need for such aircraft in the context of widespread poverty and injustice in Canada) has been sloughed off into an increasingly nit-picking justification of the way costs have been presented, when it was blindingly obvioous that brazen misrepresentation had taken place. 

 

Whether we look at the media, political discourse, or the dialogues going on in the society around us, the game is pitched pretty low,

 

It is rare for principles or values to be identified, let alone debated. Rather it's about what or who we like on the day, and just about anything else that isn't too boring for the wind-up media to worry about… fluffy, flavour of the day stuff. Even our opposition parties don't seem to be the least bit visionary. Principles flow from a vision. "Facts" are marshalled around that vision, opponents need a different, more persuasive, vision… and as many "facts" can usually be gathered around that vision. What 's revealed in such a debate are the values, ethics and intelligence of the proponents. We are now seeing debates where values, ethics and intelligence are hidden behind smokescreens of populist apin and lightweight pitches. There is very little stable ground to contest when a prime minister can simply declare that certain issues are not to be debated because that would harm "the national interest". That's pretty much how the U.K. got mired in Iraq AGAINST the will of most Brits.

 

 

Alex's picture

Alex

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A grim view of what will happen if this trend continues.

Warning this is a full feature length movie. Howevr you will get the idea withing 5 minutes.  IIts about what happens to a guy who goes into an induced coma, frozen, and wakes up in the future and see a world where critical thing is less valued.

 

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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MikePaterson wrote:

Good one, Grim!

 

Musky, I think the issue is really about critical thinking. I keep being irritated by non squiturs in politics and the media, the use of emotional fallacies and and simple sloppy thinking. I don't for a moment believe that we should be governed im strict, rational terms — we need spitit, imagination and blind adventure… but when you look at an issue like, say, the F-35s, the core issue (about justifying the absolute need for such aircraft in the context of widespread poverty and injustice in Canada) has been sloughed off into an increasingly nit-picking justification of the way costs have been presented, when it was blindingly obvioous that brazen misrepresentation had taken place. 

 

Whether we look at the media, political discourse, or the dialogues going on in the society around us, the game is pitched pretty low,

 

It is rare for principles or values to be identified, let alone debated. Rather it's about what or who we like on the day, and just about anything else that isn't too boring for the wind-up media to worry about… fluffy, flavour of the day stuff. Even our opposition parties don't seem to be the least bit visionary. Principles flow from a vision. "Facts" are marshalled around that vision, opponents need a different, more persuasive, vision… and as many "facts" can usually be gathered around that vision. What 's revealed in such a debate are the values, ethics and intelligence of the proponents. We are now seeing debates where values, ethics and intelligence are hidden behind smokescreens of populist apin and lightweight pitches. There is very little stable ground to contest when a prime minister can simply declare that certain issues are not to be debated because that would harm "the national interest". That's pretty much how the U.K. got mired in Iraq AGAINST the will of most Brits.

 

 

Amen Mike!

 

And now a giggle brought to us by the fact challenged running our government ....

 

From today's National Post

Stephen Harper shouted down for saying NDP didn’t support fight against Hitler

 

“In 1939, the NDP leader didn’t even want to support the fight against Hitler,” Harper said

 

 

Instruction in world history in the so-called high schools is even today in a very sorry condition.
       Adolf Hitler

EasternOrthodox's picture

EasternOrthodox

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Nice to see such concern for facts. I seem to recall a different take when I used to post in this site. That was Graeme saying he would not trust any "source", no matter how reputable or how good the reputation. I decided to leave this site at that point, since I could get no one interested in facts unless they supported their pre-conceived ideas. Any inconvenient fact can be brushed aside with Graeme's logic. Sure, right wing folks do it too. I've gone to the dark side now, as a regular as Blazing Cat Fur. I don't agree with everything that is said there but the place is far friendlier to me, plus much funnier. The people aren't nearly as self-righteous. Bye all.

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