The Problem With Facts

Written by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D Posted in L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. on Thursday, 06 January 2022.

From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #82
December 27, 2021
Facts #10


In this series on Critical Thinking about Facts, we have seen that there are lots of problems with facts.  While facts are essential to our well-being and sanity, they are not so easy to access or determine.  What’s clear is that merely calling something a “fact,” does not make it so.  And there’s a great many ways to distort a “fact” so that it is not factual.

The next time someone quotes a “fact” to you to make a point be sure to ask these questions: What is the context and background of the fact?  What are you not saying about the fact?

Recent Biden went on the campaign trail declaring that the new three trillion bill “will cost nothing,zero.”  “It’s all paid for already.”  He repeated that so-called “fact” over and over.  But it seemed fishy to me from the beginning.  If it costs nothing and if it’s already paid for, why all the opposition?  Why did Joe Manchin worry about the cost and did the Congressional Budget Office estimate it would cost three trillion?  How could the government aim to spend 3 to 5 trillion dollars when it has a deficient of 21 trillion and it “cost nothing.”

Every news channel these days lead out on their evening news about Covid.  They state “with the new variant omicron, cases of covid are rising.”  But what are they not saying?  Without more context, a fact like that is not actually a fact, but mere propaganda.  So let’s get some more facts. Here’s one from the CDC:

Facts and Values

Written by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D Posted in L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. on Thursday, 06 January 2022.

From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #81
December 20, 2021
Facts #9


A day came in Maslow’s life when he made a big semantic leap.  It happened the day that he said that facts can be both description and normative.  Now that is a big leap!  In this he suggested that facts do not just point out what is, but also what ought to be.  You may recall (Neurons #78) that Maslow said that facts can tell you what to do.

Now to facilitate this leap, he also said he would call such the words which facilitate this semantic leap—“fusion-words.”  For him, these words describe “a fusion of facts and values.”  If facticity tells us about the data (the empirical information at the sensory level), then fusion-words like...

“... mature, evolved, developed, stunted, crippled, fully functioning, graceful, awkward, clumsy, self-actualization, diminution” and the like are “fusions of the normative and the descriptive” (Farther Reaches of
Human Nature, 1971, p. 28)

Words in that list are fusion-words.  In NLP we recognize them mostly as nominalizations. In Meta-States many of them are evaluations and classifications that exist at a level up from the primary level.  And, for what reason did Maslow bring them up and invent this idea of fusion-words?  Maslow wrote this in the context of critiquing science for falling into the trap of attempting to be value-free.  But the very idea of a value-free science or world, he noted, was non-normative and non-human.

“Fusion concepts and words permit us to participate in the normal advance of science and knowledge from its phenomenological and experiential beginnings on toward greater reliability, great validity, greater confidence, greater exactness, greater sharing with others and agreement with them.” (Ibid., p. 28)

Distinguishing Facts and Opinions

Written by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D Posted in L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. on Thursday, 06 January 2022.

From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #80
December 13, 2021
Facts #8


There are many different kinds of statements.  Some statements are factual, some are not. Given the nature of language, most of the statements that you make and that you hear are not factual.  Amazing, isn’t it?  So what are they?  Most of the statements that we exchange among ourselves as we communicate are opinions, evaluations, judgments, beliefs, decisions, identifications, and on and on.  Further, when it comes to facts as I have noted, there are real facts and there are pseudo-facts.

What then?  How should we operate in a world where facts are actually pretty scarce and where there are many kinds of statements that are derivative (or supposedly) from facts?  The most obvious answer is to aim to make statements that are true-to-the-facts.  That is a phrase from Alfred Korzybski in Science and Sanity.  By way of contrast, he spoke about false-to-fact statements and how they fail to align with reality and therefore represent false mapping.  Such statements do not accord to the facts that we can determine or detect in reality.  And doesn’t all of that make sense?  So here is what we have.

Why METAMIND?  read