From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #82
December 27, 2021
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:
“The average person dying of covid in the USA is 79 years of age with four co-morbidities.” Ah, now that’s a very different picture! Especially when you add another fact. “The average age of death for males in the US is 79.”
Oh my God! Those who are dying of covid are mostly the people who would be dying anyway! This is what they are not telling us. So what’s the deal with the Fear Pandemic that the media, and most governments, are perpetuating? Facts need context. So here, from the CDC, are the numbers of deaths per year in the US from 2014 through 2020 to give even more context to the subject.
2015: 2,712,630 : Increase - 86,212 - 3.28%
2016 : 2,744,248 : Increase - 31,618 - 1.16%
2017 : 2,813,503 : Increase - 69,255 - 2.52%
2018 : 2,839,206 : Increase - 25,703 - 1%
2019: 2,855,000 : Increase - 15,794- 0.55%
2020: 2,913,144 : Increase - 58,144 - 2%
From the beginning, it is a fact that people die. And when you have an aging population and the average age of death is 79, there’s going to be a lot of deaths every day. CNN is notorious for putting up the number of deaths by Covid to create panic. But what if they put up the number that normally die every day? Before the pandemic in 2019, that number in the US gives a base number of 7,821.92 daily. Whoooo! Nearly 8,000! Not new cases, but deaths.
So, we have the problem of out-of-context “facts.” That turns them into false facts because we don’t have the proper context for understanding them. Then there is the problem of leaving out critical conditions, factors, and variables that help contextual the fact. This speaks to what is left out and what they are not telling us.
Additionally, we have the problem of language. Here the media really messes up because they have lost the distinction between empirical descriptions and evaluations. Today they throw around evaluative words as modifiers without any concern for accuracy. A big one for many the mainstream channels is still to call the January 6 riot an “insurrection.” Yet on August 20, 2021 the FBI released documents declaring that there was no “insurrection” (see below).
What strikes me is the fact that if it were an insurrection, how come there were no guns among the rioters? How do you overthrow a government and its army without any guns? Further, why is it that all of the people who were hurt that day were Trump supporters? And why was the one person (a woman) who was killed (shot by the Capitol Police) also a Trump supporter? There’s no question that it was a stupid and terrible riot among many who were simply not thinking or using their heads and others who disturbed enough to want a riot and destruction. But an insurrection? Only with some pieces of lumber and a plastic shield?
When you use an emotionally-laden word like “insurrection,” you are implying a lot more than just a riot. Semantically loaded words reveal a person’s biases. We are now no longer dealing with facts, but opinions. And that’s fine, but call an opinion “an opinion” and don’t distort it into a false fact.
WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.
"Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases," said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. "Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages."
FBI investigators did find that cells of protesters, including followers of the far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys groups, had aimed to break into the Capitol. But they found no evidence that the groups had serious plans about what to do if they made it inside, the sources said.
- Tags: Facts