Fake facts and feeble flaws….REALLY???

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By Kenneth Justice

~ All this week I’ve been discussing opinions and suggesting that more often than not what you believe to be a fact, is actually nothing more than an opinion. Is it a fact that I’m more handsome in person? Well, that may be my opinion but for the people who have actually been blessed with my presence, they might beg to differ.

Consider the following ‘facts’ we were taught as children, none of which can be proven beyond-the-shadow of a doubt,

—-) Our bodies need 8 glasses of water every day

—-) Our bodies don’t need 8 glasses of water every day

—-) Life begins at conception

—-) Life doesn’t begin at conception

—-) Pluto is a planet

—-) Pluto is not a planet

—-) The differences between genders can be determined by physical traits

—-) The differences between genders cannot be determined by physical traits

—-) Chemical imbalances in the brain need to be corrected by pharmaceutical medicine

—-) Chemical imbalances in the brain do not need to be corrected by pharmaceutical medicine

Does your body need or not need 8 glasses of water? Well, it depends on who or what you believe. There is data on both sides of the issue and there is no way to “prove” empirically an ultimate ‘truth’ regarding water and our bodies.

Does life begin at conception or not? Well, it’s a very philosophical issue and depending on what core premises you adhere to it will affect your position on the subject; it’s a complex issue because different people have different definitions for the word ‘life’ and many people are emotionally charged toward the subject because of experiences they have had related to the issue.

Is Pluto a planet or not? Well, first of all we have to define what exactly a ‘planet’ is, and that alone might take a while because who actually gets to determine what and how to define the term ‘planet’? Does Webster’s dictionary get to define the word? Why? Do people who call themselves scientists get to define what a planet is? Why?

What makes someone a man? Did you instantly think of that little thing that dangles between a dude’s legs? Well what about people who are born with BOTH sex organs? What about someone who is born without a dangling thing or a vagina?

Did you know that there is no test that can actually measure the chemicals in your brain to prove or not prove that you have an imbalance? And the very term ‘imbalance’ means that there is a ‘standard’ that the medical community is appealing to that is ‘out of a balance’; so what the hell is this ‘standard’ measure of chemicals that is supposed to be ‘normal’ in our brains? Did you know that there is no known ‘standard measure of chemicals’ that are supposed to be floating around in your synapses?

I’ve kept the questions related to my examples at a bare minimum but when I’ve written on these subjects in academic essays the questions can end up filling dozens of pages; the reason that these issues are not clear is that although the subject matter appears to be dealing with ‘empirical facts’, the truth of the matter is that empirical facts have less to do with the subject matter than opinions.

You’ve grown up in Western Culture where you’ve been taught to look at the world through a black and white lens; fact versus fiction. You’ve been sold a false bill of goods. The world is actually a lot more grey than what you were taught to believe.

And perhaps if we started to see the beauty of the grey, then we wouldn’t all be at war with each other so much of the time. Perhaps a grey world is better than a black-and-white world. And if you can’t stand the opinions I’ve shared today, come back tomorrow and I’ll drive you even more crazy; but for now I think I’m gonna finish this cup of coffee,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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42 replies

  1. That is so well said, exactly. People are secured and reassured by absolutes, but nothing is absolute, even planetary orbits are subject to change over time.

  2. The sun always rises in the east is a fact. The sunrise was beautiful this morning is an opinion. There was no sunrise this morning because it was cloudy is a factually inaccurate observation. It’s all a matter of one’s perception.

    Most of the items you wrote about are what I refer to as generalities or maybe observations (or, in some cases, opinions, as in when life begins). For example, when more scientific knowledge was gained about Pluto, it apparently no longer fit the definition of a planet, so it was demoted. When I baby is born, doctors declare its gender by looking at its genitals. That almost always distinguishes between a male and a female. Perhaps “chemical imbalance” is a concept made up by the pharmaceuticals industry to sell more drugs, as opposed to it being a “fact.” I don’t drink 8 glasses of water a day and I’m still alive.

    Coffee is good for you. No, it’s bad for you. A glass of wine a day is bad for you. No, it’s good for you. Eggs are bad for cholesterol. No, they’re fine. Red meat…good or bad? Swimming within an hour of eating? Eight hours of sleep a night? Flu shots and vaccinations? These “recommendations” and “generalities” often change over time. And “facts,” when new evidence is uncovered, can also change.

    Interesting and provocative series of posts.

  3. PHEW, KENNETH.
    I’d love to express an ‘opinion’ on your post, but the ‘fact’ is………..I’m not sure whether you allow R rated comments (or not).
    V

  4. As for helping us all to get along… my opinion is that people love to scrap. It just gets out of hand sometimes, Yeats said that, “The opposite of a poet is an opinionated man.” I’ve found that to be very true.

  5. LOL you have just touched the tip of the ice berg:) Yay! We live in a gray world. Hey, are eggs good for you? Will the answer change tomorrow? LOL We make EVERYTHING UP. If you are brain dead and in an irreversible coma, are you dead or alive? It never ends because there is no truth, no facts…made up stuff…all of it. Opinions and believes, world views…all made up. Poor Pluto. It was a planter for all those years and now it’s a snowball. It’s really just what it is and doesn’t care what WE DECIDE to call it. LOL This is a made up story and we are the authors.

    • Well…..i will agree with the idiom “I think therefore I am” so there are some objective truths I definitely cling to; but I think we are on a similar thought process otherwise 🙂

  6. Our country can’t “quantify” grey unfortunately even though that’s where most everything lives. The yin and the yang, the black and white, balance, positive and negative, they all need each other and that’s where the grey lives…in the center and on the fringes of the center. These days it seems it costs $100 in administration to track $5 of expenditures. There is no common sense anymore! We can thank our litigious society for that.

  7. and I my tea … much to think about -thanks

  8. In the modern age (last century) facts were king and values were devalued. In our current post-modern world, even facts are questioned by many. Some of the skepticism is healthy. Scientific conclusions can change. But ask yourself this: is it possible that coffee, eggs, abortion, democracy, capitalism, etc. can be good and bad, right and wrong at the same time? I’m not talking about your opinion of them, but their actual nature. We shouldn’t stop searching for the truth about these topics. The truth is there and it exists no matter what my opinion says.

    • I totally agree; truth should be our aim. Yet at the same time when we discuss these subjects we need to be aware that the reason we rarely find resolution in modern/public conversations is because people are often having two different conversations with entirely different premises and definitions.

      Another commenter on this thread said its a fact that the sun always rises in the east. Yet is it? Does the sun actually rise? Last time I checked the sun doesn’t rise at all; but rather the earth revolves around the sun.

  9. The older I get and the more I step back to observe, the more shades of grey appear. And the more we see these shades of grey in other people, the easier it is to come together in kindness and acceptance. Black and white thinking can be quite isolating and divisive…

  10. I find myself distracted from the very deep thoughts provoked by this post by the use of grey and gray. 🙂

    I notice that Kenneth used GREY even though (I believe) he’s American, in which case he should technically be using GRAY. One commenter used GRAY while the others used GREY and that makes me wonder if they are British (or from a location that uses British English over American) or if they are following Kenneth’s lead.

    I’m not being a nitpicker. I actually don’t care how people spell it and both are right – it just caught my eye. There’s an interesting bit on this website that references a survey whose results showed that people seem to consider grey and gray both colors but with different hues. Specifically, grey is the hue of silver while gray is the sliding scale between white and black. This made me laugh because 1) I’ve never seen such a claim and b) Kenneth surely meant the sliding scale between white and black. Very few people have trouble seeing the beauty in silver. lol

    Anyway, grey and gray aside, I like the points you made here. I wish more people could see it this way.

    • Is there a book that says Americans must use the word ‘gray’ and Brit’s should use the word ‘grey’? And who is in charge of language that gets to decide these things?

      When you use the word ‘technically’ …..why should I ‘technically’ be using one or the other? According to what standard? And why do I or anyone have to agree with this standard?

      Great comments…. it leads to a lot of questions 🙂

    • lol… I see what you did there. 😉

      I was once on a puzzle website where people got in a heated argument over whether the breakfast delicacy was spelled doughnut or donut. The ‘doughnut’ people were very put out with the donut people because they would clue “don’t” with a picture of a donut – U. The donut people would point to Dunkin’ Donuts to make their case. And then there was barbecue vs barbeque.

      Technically, I shouldn’t have used ‘technically’ – just ‘usually’, I suppose. Or ‘on average’. And technically, they say that while each is more common with speakers of American vs British English, both are acceptable in each. As long as you aren’t hanging out with those people from my puzzle site, that is. 😉

  11. WHOA! I’ve been smacked upside the head. I had no idea about some of this stuff. You’ve got me thinking about this whole chemical imbalance thing now. Hmmmmm… Do I have ADHD or not? Do I have depression or not? Do I have a chemical/hormonal imbalance or not? Hmmmmm. I think I’m just living in a ‘grey’ world and maybe didn’t have the greatest examples in my life growing up. Maybe I just didn’t learn how to control stressful situations. Hmmmmm.
    You know, when I would get all freaked out about my faith and what I really believe and all… and when I would consider all this scientific stuff and the ‘bigger’ issues of life… for me it all seemed just too darn overwhelming. Not that I turn away from it, by no means. Nor do I stop studying and reading and trying to figure things out. Not at all. But you know, when I have my quiet times, and I’m all in a huff, then I pray and it’s like God says, “ok, ok, I know, you’re freaking out again. It’s ok. Just let it be.” And then I’m at complete peace and tears well up in my eyes. What can I say? I’m a strong feeler. I need to be like a child when it comes to faith, although I still wonder and think and seek and…
    Great, but really great series Kenneth.
    🙂
    P.S. Hmmmm, are you more handsome in person? I’ve seen ya on Skype. All I can say is that you look better without those silly white beetle sunglasses.
    🙂

    • Ha ha, well, counting you that makes two people that think I’m more handsome in person (of course I’m the other person 😉 )

      Its not that I’m saying prescription drugs are not good for mood disorders, but I do think we should all acknowledge that many of these issues are not quite as clear cut as the scientific community would like us to think.

    • Haha, you’re the other one eh. That is funny.

      I know. Plus, I wouldn’t want to see me, nor feel like I do w/o my dear old sertraline.
      🙂

  12. But there are objective facts, such as that the sky is blue, water is comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, soil is made up of decayed plant and animal matter and other materials, the sun is an incredibly large ball of super-heated gas, and so on. These are objective facts.

    Likewise, medical knowledge is based on observed facts, which were discovered through ongoing investigation into how the body works and what causes it to malfunction (pathogens, the natural process of aging, and environmental impacts).

    We base our opinions on various criteria including facts, and some people choose to base their opinions solely on those of others or on preconceived prejudices.

    • Michael, how do you know that what looks ‘blue’ to you also looks ‘blue’ to me? And is the sky REALLY blue? After all, I have photos of sunsets that I’ve taken which are a whole variety of colors; reds, oranges, yellow skies, grey skies, etc. Is the sky blue or do you’re eyes create the perception of the sky appearing blue to you? Some people see colors differently, a friend of mine see’s what appears to me grey; he see’s as beige. To what extant is it that our eyes/brains/sensory optics that makes things look like a particular color; but are they TRULY that in color apart from us?

      What color is blood? Some people say red; other people say blue.

      In classical rhetoric the key is context; and when we talk about context we have to acknowledge a myriad of different issues.

  13. Reblogged this on Scott Andrew Hutchins and commented:
    People love to assume that they can’t become homeless because they’re not addicts or mentally ill, but that’s an opinion, too, an opinion that has no basis in the facts of my case.

  14. Lots of people have the opinion that one only becomes homeless from substance abuse or mental illness, but I’m living proof that someone who goes to college, etc. can still become homeless without being mentally ill or an addict.

    • Scott, good example and directly to the point I’m trying to make; a lot of people in western culture are quick to jump the gun and call something a fact that really is nothing more than an opinion.

  15. Did you really call it a “dangling thing?” lol. Oh dear. I want to be clear that my opinions that I’ve been posting on your posts haven’t been about wanting to argue or disagree with you. I wholeheartedly agree that opinions are important for many reasons. I just can’t help but feel like your examples are inherently biased though. If you want to compare that’s fine but then provide something that is a fact versus one that could be debated. It is a fact that Israel and Palestine fight, but why and how long are what are debated. There are certain facts (such as indisputable events that did occur) that can be used to either support or deny claims. It is a fact that President Kennedy was assassinated (I suppose if you really wanted to argue that he killed himself you could, but that would have taken some serious planning and incredible ability to pull off or that it was an accident but that’s really hard to believe) but WHY and by WHO can be debated forever and a day using “facts” to support or deny. I realize the Holocaust is debated by some people, but that’s one of those rare situations where something that has been proven beyond doubt is still being doubted by a few. What do you think of those opinions? What happens when there are ACTUAL facts and some choose to look the other way regardless? Does that not also happen on occasion? Are you going to take the stance that because it is debated that we all should doubt the Holocaust happened? Perspective and opinion alter certain pieces of information (not necessarily facts because I agree there – if they can be disputed they can’t be facts) as a means of supporting an argument. I do think you make a great point with the argument on when life begins. That is a very complex situation and definitely because everyone has a different definition of “life.” Kenneth – in general I agree with what you’re saying. Opinions are much more common than fact and we tend to put too much credence in things that can be debated. I don’t think you can have one without the other though. Please know I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything lol and that overall I agree with the point you’re making. My caution tonight is the same as the last few, which is opinions are important but they can also be just as hazardous as believing false facts.

    • I agree that there may be some better facts versus opinions to debate. What about global warming? But…if I quote some scientific ‘facts’ here to support global warming exists, will someone ask the validity of the very ‘scientists’ who agree on the ‘fact’?

      I’m getting a bit confused myself now, am I able to consider the assassination of President Kennedy a ‘fact’ when I wasn’t even born? Do I have to trust the recounts and memories of those who were there to treat this as a ‘fact’? Isn’t it a fact that humans do not always make the best witnesses?

      I think I need a coffee now!

    • Well I suppose if you want to go that far then we start to really question reality all together. This becomes do I take the red pill or the blue pill scenario lol. I never even brought up global warming for a reason. Plus, there is a history of climate change throughout the history of the planet but the question is how much of it is related to human “tampering” if you will. There are photos and video of that assassination. You can go ahead and ask those questions but then at that point, to me, again we start to question reality all together, which we could but that begins to really make everyone’s brain hurt…lol. Then it could be questioned am I real just because I’ve typed this? Are you? How do we know that all of this isn’t some fabrication of some computer somewhere? Again it also comes down to the Holocaust as an example. You are really going to question the deaths of millions because a few people don’t believe it to have happened? That’s one helluva a fabrication to create camps that are virtually now in ruins, along with the smell that those who have gone “claimed” they can still smell. All those number stamps, and all the other “evidence” seems like a lot of effort to stump the world and for what purpose? Same with the Kennedy assassination. There’s enough there that if it were all fabricated, that’s a sh*t ton of effort to go into duping the world. You’re right…people aren’t always the best witnesses but there is video of when he died; photos, etc. I suppose if you want to go into conspiracy theories, etc., then yes you can question the validity of that entire situation. You can go ahead and question all of humanity and everything – this whole environment is really just “The Matrix.” I don’t say any of that out of sarcasm. It’s just to me that seems to be where you’re going with your questions. I do, however, feel my comment was responded to with some sarcasm (perhaps I’m mistaken). I believe my opinions on Kenneth’s opinions are just as valid as his. I’ve said it before and I”ll say it again that I agree that opinions are super valuable and that often the “facts” are misinterpreted, etc. I’m just presenting another side; another perspective on the matter. That seems to be what he’s trying to get at right – that we SHOULD have our opinions? If i just go long with what Kenneth is saying, and take what he says as “fact,” that’s against his whole argument. He’s saying opinions are extremely valuable and that we should embrace them, not condemn them (don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying anyone who happens to agree with him is doing so just because, I’m only referencing myself in that comment). Just to be clear – I haven’t attacked him or even disagreed with him. I’m just giving some other things to think about. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

  16. That, is a new line of thought for me! Thank you.

  17. The eight glasses of water myth only came into being when people began drinking more bottled than tap water. It was a ploy to sell even more. We have been duped into buying water because large companies pollute and poison the natural supplies. The next thing on the list is how to sell air (I believe some companies already can it). And then there will be the sunlight tax, where those who don’t pay it will have their windows boarded up and only be allowed out in the dark of night. If they can sell you water, you’ll buy anything.

  18. Still upset about Pluto…at least coffee’s on the “good” list again. 🙂

  19. Kenneth, what exactly do you mean when you talk about gray as opposed to black and white?

  20. Reblogged this on How my heart speaks and commented:
    Woll worth looking at this

  21. If you look up Lawrence LeShan he wrote some good books.. one explains why we love war.To be brief it gives a feeling of unity and belonigng to a larger whole which otherwise takes years of meditation and other life changes..and aparently Israel was getting quite fragmented and is now united.Of course it is not done consciously…
    Alternate realities is a good book and so is
    The mechanic and the gardener.
    i found him via
    How to meditate
    much simpler than all the new books out on that topic..

  22. As always you make some really great points. There sure is a lot of area between the black and white.

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