Education

Not Up For Debate

There is something mysterious about going to a new place, the language people speak in words and with their bodies. Before we go to a new country we check first to learn the customs and which things are not said or done so that we can hopefully avoid inadvertently offending or upsetting someone. Their truths in that new place, the things individuals believe to be true from their point of view, are different than our own, a sort of personal mystery for us to solve. This is true not just in other countries but even between regions of one country. There is something that doesn’t change, though, and this makes it possible for people all over the world to communicate with each other: facts.

Facts are things that are known and that don’t change unless or until they are found to be untrue (and generally replaced with another fact). For instance, everyone knew it was a fact that the sun revolved around the Earth until it was found to no longer be a fact. The new (replacement) fact was that the Earth revolves around the sun. This is a fact no matter how people argue otherwise. It is not up for debate.

The sky is blue.

Bali tigers are extinct.

So far, nobody has found evidence that suggests the existence of a god.

Trump obstructed justice.

The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.

Climate change is an urgent threat to humans on this planet.

1+1=2

For a period of time (1763 until 1960) Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil though the current capital of Brazil is Brasília.

At least 6 million Jews and 11 million other human beings were murdered by Nazis (and their collaborators) in the Holocaust during World War II.

Water is wet.

The word “execute” in the American English language means “to carry out a sentence of death on (a legally condemned person)” or “to inflict capital punishment on; put to death according to law.”

Our planet is shaped roughly like a sphere.

These are facts. They are not up for debate. Facts, things we all know to be true, are the basis of our understanding, of our existence. They’re the things that make other things true. They’re the things we can all be comfortable knowing. Facts aren’t going to be a source of embarrassment to us because they’re different from one culture to the next or because they’re subject to a point of view. They simply are. They’re the set of ground rules from which we all begin when we’re trying to solve a problem or understand or debate an idea. For instance, we know that human “basic needs” are food (including water), shelter, and clothing. We all know this to be true. From there, from these facts that everyone knows, we can discuss and debate whether or not sanitation, education, healthcare, and internet could be included in the list of basic needs in the world and time period in which we live. I would argue that all four of those things are not just necessities but rights of all human beings, but that is for another day. The point is, we can’t have an intelligent debate on such things if we can’t even recognize that we all believe the same underlying facts.

Facts do turn out to be incorrect even now, but if you’re going to attempt to debate a fact, lead off with very strong evidence to support what you believe to be true instead and why the fact we all believe turns out to be untrue. It doesn’t hurt to show how you got the evidence and why you’re the one qualified to question a fact that has been a part of our collective reality for a long time. Basically, know you’re going to be expected to put your money where your mouth is. If you don’t bring those receipts, so to speak, you’ll be ridiculed and labeled a “kook” and that label will likely stick. Such a mistake could tarnish your reputation in such a way that if you try to bring an argument later, even if it’s not related to the fact you questioned originally, people are not going to believe you no matter what argument you make or what evidence you produce. They know better than to trust your intellect and your logic. A reputation earned as a kook or a liar is hard to shake and stays with a person for good reason.

So why am I writing out what we all know to be true? What you already know to be true? That facts simply are, and everyone agrees on them? Because, apparently, we don’t all know and agree on the facts. Or some don’t. If we did, I wouldn’t have people gaslighting me in social media and even out in the world, telling me that facts aren’t true or need to be proven/debated. I wouldn’t have random internet fools with no credentials trying to tell me that facts we learned in the Barr Report (aka the heavily-redacted Mueller Report) such as “Trump obstructed justice” are up for debate. Facts are facts. They are not up for debate. What we do about those facts is up for debate, certainly, but the underlying facts, the actions and intentions of bad actors, are clear and leave no need for deliberation.

The issue here is that some fools can’t recognize facts when they’re in front of them which makes them susceptible to malicious individuals who are out there to spread propaganda and use opinions, circular ‘logic,’ and outright lies to convince others that facts are not, in fact, facts. The goal of this deceit? These liars and propagandists mean to distort our reality so as to get us to believe their lies and to live our lives according to those lies. They mean for us to subscribe to their fiction, their fear and hate, and make decisions against our best interests.

Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

– Miyamoto Musashi

This quote means more to me, to all of us, than just a quaint idea. Dig for the facts. Learn to recognize facts versus opinion, and for fuck’s sake, don’t engage with people who are completely aware of what the facts are and find those facts to be inconvenient to their narrative. Don’t lend credence to their “argument” by entertaining their nonsense. They can change your opinion if you’re silly and stupid enough to go along, but they can’t change those inconvenient facts. Don’t let them sow doubt where there should be none. Don’t let them alter your reality to fit their wants.

It is said that the truth will set us free, but the truth – opinion, a point of view- is based on facts. The underlying information, the facts, matter. Insist on facts. They are not up for debate.

Picture of a person sort of hiding behind or wrapped up in a sheet that is clipped onto a clothesline. Text: It's hard to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to hear.


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Link: Truth Ism – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters

Link: Facts Matter – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters

Link: Tuning Up the Ol’ BS Detector – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters

TL;DR: If we can’t all recognize facts as facts, agree on what is known and what is understood, how will we have a basis and a language for debating what is as yet unsettled? Know the difference between facts and opinion, what people know as their own truth, and you won’t be fooled by gaslighting or propaganda.

#GMNotUpForDebate #FactsMatter #TruthMatters

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