Not all “facts” are created equal (and other proverbs for today)

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A few important and relevant things I’ve found to be true through my short tenure on earth:

1. Statistics can be skewed (in all sorts of ways).

2. Money talks, and sometimes money makes people talk about facts that don’t actually exist.

3. “Sound bits” don’t equal sound knowledge.

4. Video doesn’t always equal validation.

5. One side sounds right until you hear the other (and a lot of times people don’t listen to or understand the other side).

6. People have agendas (and agendas come through more or less depending on the topic and the person).

7. Not everyone is a specialist (e.g. movie stars getting interviewed about their political opinion might be entertaining but it’s typically not educational).

8. “I read it on the internet” doesn’t equal truth (even if you see the same thing in a few places).

9. Science sold as fact is actually often still theory (if you want to get technical it’s always theory).

10. Dogmatic assertions should sometimes be doubted (or at least probably checked and not just by Google).

11. There is a difference between knowing something and wisdom (and the difference can be a matter of life of death).

12. Unless there is objective truth, the exhortation for people to be kind (e.g. planet care, respecting others, and not harming others) is subjective and relative to the whim of individuals (and thus doesn’t really need to be heeded).[1]

13. The idea that there is objective truth is often unpopular but that doesn’t make it wrong.

14. People are often not familiar with what various fallacies are but that doesn’t mean that they are inept in their employment.

15. We can’t have a peaceful world where each person does what is right in their own eyes because people have conflicting desires that will lead to unpeaceful ends.[2]

16. No political leader is the Promised One[3] (no matter what they, the media, your friends, or your psyche says).

17. Money can’t buy happiness (but it can buy distraction); however, happiness can be quite cheap.

18. Video games, YouTube, and social media can keep us away from things that are much more rewarding and fun (though that is not to say they are bad).

What ones do you like and not like? Why? And what would you add?

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[1] That is, it ultimately does not matter morally if people “be kind and rewind,” recycle, or are racist if there is actually no objective right and wrong. However, if there is right and wrong, and it is right to recycle, then that means that there is some objective criteria of right and wrong not determined by me or you and that thus means that objective truth will have things about it that are not appealing to us but that does not change the truthfulness of the issues under question (whether murder, recycling, or a thousand other things). If not recycling is objectively wrong then so are many other things, some of which we would not like to be wrong (e.g. overeating moose tracks ice cream). We can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t both have and not have morality. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s an impossibility.

[2] Thus, the answer for world peace is not accepting that everything is relative (“whatever’s right for you”) but by patiently and loving communicating truth so that people can be sympathetically aligned (though not anonymous).

[3] As in the Christ/Messiah of Scripture. 

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :) View all posts by Paul O'Brien

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