Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just the Facts, Jack

What is it with people wanting to believe the craziest things? Given a bunch of presented facts, they'll pick and choose only those few which bolster their position. These, they will cling to forever, while ignoring all of the rest. We seem to decide first and then look towards reality to backup our position. Having a truly open mind seems to be rare if not impossible.

There are always trade-offs to be made within subjective frameworks depending on one's needs and opinions, but I guess because people like flexibility they want to make trade-offs in accepting concrete and unassailable pieces of information. A fact is by definition an absolutely true piece of information. The sun rises every morning, that's a fact. The clock strikes twelve twice a day, that too is a fact. An alteration of either of these would likely mean you are not on the planet earth anymore, or your somewhere so remote it is just weird. For most of humanity, most of the time, these two things are indisputable facts.

Given a few contradictory observations there can be room for some interpretation, but you can't base your world view around anomalies. If humans mostly tend to behave in a specific manner, than the 'mostly' is significant to the fact. We may not want it to be that way, but in the end we are left with only what is known to be true, and what is thought to be true. If we build our arguments and hopes only on our desires, we will likely be disappointed. You ignore the facts at your own peril.

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