Monday, January 30, 2017

Facts are Facts, There can be No Trump Alternatives

Truth is truth and facts are facts; there are no alternative Realities from which to choose.

“Fact” (according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition): “A thing done; the quality of being actual—actuality; something that has actual existence; an actual occurrence, a piece of information presented as having objective reality [my emphasis].”

There may be a set of facts, and there may be more facts or less facts known with respect to a given objective reality, event, action, deed, object, or subject.  However, there can be no “alternative” facts!  We do not live in a world where we can freely move in and out, between two alternative realities; that is purely imaginative sci-fi.

For example, it cannot be said as a fact that I was in the city of Philadelphia at a certain time of day, on a certain day of the week, at a given month of the year AND “alternatively” that I was also in the city of New York on that same particular day, in that same exact hour, at the same month of the year.  The fact is that one of those so-called “facts” of my whereabouts at that moment of time is false; for I cannot be at two places at one and the same time.  Two contradictory statements of facts cannot both be true; not even “alternatively” true.

Of course, facts must be interpreted.  And thus, interpretations of a given set of facts will vary.  Likewise, interpreted facts must often be responded to; and thus, disagreements are sure to arise as to how one should react or respond to a given set of facts.  Nevertheless, the surety of a factual reality does not change according to perspective or interpretation.  Either a fact is a fact or it is not.  That is, we are not free to create, design, imagine, or construct our own facts to suit our own desired interpretations, reactions, or outcomes.

Truth matters!  We make major and minor decisions every day based on our understanding and knowledge of what is factually true.  For example, it is either true or not true that we have sufficient funds in our bank account to cover a purchase with a debit card.  If the bank properly demonstrates to us that we do NOT have the money to make that purchase, there is no alternative truth to which we may turn to as a way of arguing that we DO have the money in the bank.  The money is there or it is not there; it’s as simple as that.

Granted, there are truths or facts that are questionable and debatable.  For example, either Jesus rose from the dead or he dead not.  There are those who say Jesus did rise from the dead and claim to be eye-witnesses to that “fact.”  Furthermore, they were willing to go to their death for making that claim.  That’s powerful stuff!  Still, there were also those who chose not to accept the testimony of these eye-witnesses.  Hence, to this day we have those who believe that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is true and factual in contrast to those who believe that the resurrection of Jesus is a mere fantasy at best and has no bases in factual reality.

The interesting thing about this is that there are great and possibly severe consequences that are contingent upon which case is actually true.  If it turns out that Jesus really did “in fact” rise from the dead, it behooves humanity to take a serious look at what Jesus did, said, and taught.  On the other hand, if Jesus in fact did not rise from the dead, much of Christianity’s teachings about God and the life hereafter can be and should be greatly ignored.

Point being: even when we disagree as to whether something (a word, deed, object) is actually and factually true or not true—it matters.  That is, it has serious consequences—as to whether or not we are perceiving reality in truth or whether we are perceiving reality incorrectly and therefore falsely.  Think about the simple act of driving your car on the highway and not being able to see reality for what it is on the road—my guess is that, if you are not getting your traffic facts right, you won’t be driving for very long.

Reality bites!

Reality has a way of crashing down on us, especially if we choose to ignore it or try altering it for our own purposes (called “being in denial”).

We need truth, factual truth, in order to rightly thrive and prosper.

This is why it is so dangerous to allow anyone to get away with lying to us (no matter how small the lie may seem)—especially those who are in power and have great influence over others.

So let us not accept this nonsense about “alternative facts”!  Truth is truth, facts are facts.  Let us stick to the truth and nothing but the truth, and demand that our nation’s leaders do the same.  We will all be a lot better off for it.

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