More 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 #83
December 31, 2021
Facts #11
 

With this article, I am concluding this series on Critical Thinking about Facts.  With the new year, there will be a new series.  In the last post I noted that facts become really problematic when—

  • They are out of context so that there’s no way to evaluate them.
  • They are partial and many things which need to be said about them are not said, but left out.
  • They are anonymous and not owned by whoever identified or created the fact.
  • They are coded in vague, abstract, evaluative terminology rather than descriptive empirical language (sensory-based language)

Another problem concerns the fluidity versus immutability of a given fact.  Generally, the word fact carries an unstated implication, namely, that it is immutable.  “This is the way it is, it is a fact.”  Yet while some facts are immutable (they don’t change), many are fluid.  They change.  And they are facts which are more likely to change over time.

Sometimes a factual statement asserts something that just is, something that is immutable.  It is something that you cannot change or alter, something that is a given.  “Like what?” you may ask. Well, like the old joke, “There are two inevitables in life—death and taxes.”  Factually, you and I are going to die.  Factually, every person who has ever been born before the last generation has died.  That’s an immutable fact that you cannot gainsay.   Argue against it all you will, rage against it, protest by raising your fist to the heavens—and the fact remains.

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)

Why METAMIND?  read