Repost — Facts Versus Truth

My blogging friend, James, started a comment he posted on one of my rants yesterday about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “he said/she said” hearing yesterday, with this quote:

Archaeology is the search for fact … not truth. If it’s truth you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.” -Dr. Henry (Indiana) Jones Jr.

Of course, my post and James’ comment were in the context of the testimonies yesterday of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. What James said was, “What we’re looking for is (or should be) facts. What we might have to settle for is truth, but I don’t see how we’re going to get it.”

The Indiana Jones quote and what Jim wrote reminded me of my fourth or fifth post when I started this blog. And so, since it basically went unread when I posted it, I thought it might be a good time to shed some light on it.


Facts and TruthWhen I first read Faulkner’s quote (above), I was perplexed. I had always considered “facts” and “truth” to be synonyms. Even the definitions of the two words cross-reference one another:

Fact: something that actually exists; reality; truth.
Truth: conformity with fact or reality; a verified or indisputable fact.

Facts are used as proof of what is undeniably “the truth,” but are these words truly interchangeable or do they actually have different meanings and usage?

I was curious enough about the similarities and differences between these two words to do some Google research. And I learned that not everyone believes that they are synonymous. Some folks actually differentiate between the them using diametrically opposed logic.

One site argued that facts can be fleeting, enduring for but a moment. For example, the “fact” of someone’s location on a fast-moving train changes every instant. Truth, on the other hand is a more enduring type of fact, this source claimed.

Another site argued that if it’s a fact now, it will be a fact in the future, whereas truth is more temporal. Facts indicate a universal truth, while truth depends upon temporal circumstances. For example, that the sun appears to always rise in the east and set in the west is a fact. It will never change.

I found an interesting site, differencebetween.net, which provided four facts (or truths?) about facts and truths:

  • Facts are more objective when compared to the more subjective truths.
  • Facts are more permanent when compared to the more temporary truths.
  • Facts exist in reality, whereas truths are usually the things that one believes to be true, or the things that are true in the current situation.
  • Facts can also answer the ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ questions, whereas truths answer the ‘why’ question.

Truthiness

And then there is “truthiness,” a word first coined by Stephen Colbert a dozen years ago. Like when Bill Maher says, “I don’t know it for a fact…I just know it’s true,” truthiness is the quality of seeming to be true based upon one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic or factual evidence. It’s when someone feels, believes, or wishes that something is true even when it is not supported by the facts.

So with both facts and truth under siege by Donald Trump and his surrogates, and with “alternative facts” and “false truths” being promulgated, I  have to wonder if Faulkner’s statement was extremely prescient and sadly reflective of where we are in the second decade of the 21st century.

So what do you think? Are the words “fact” and “truth” synonyms? Do you use them interchangeably in your oral and written communications? Or do these two words, as Faulkner believes, have little to do with each another?

And in today’s world, where truthiness means more to a lot of people than either facts or truth, does it even matter anymore?

One-Liner Wednesday — The Flavor of Success

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“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Author Truman Capote

Is failing at something a motivating factor that drives you to try even harder to achieve success? Or does failure after failure become so discouraging that it causes you to give up?


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.

The Game of Life

Blogger Melanie, over at Sparks from a Combustible Mind, posted a series of questions (along with her answers) on the philosophy of living life that she got from A Guy Called Bloke. As one of the great life philosophers in the blogosphere, I felt compelled to respond. So here goes.


Q1] What is your take on ‘free will?’

If it’s free, I will take it.

Q2] We all ask ourselves at one time or another what is the point? So what is the point to our existence?

The point is to stay sharp.

Q3] What is your belief on fate and Karma?

It’s explained here.

Q4] As a species, how do you think humans will become extinct or do you believe that we will not?

Yes.

PQ5] What is your belief with regards the meaning of life?

Life is a game.1537EB0E-A316-4AA0-BB71-DAA64732E0BE

Q6] Ok, fess up, do you believe in aliens from outer space – is there really other life out there in the far reaching galaxies beyond our own?

I hope there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe because if we are the only intelligent life in the vastness of space, that doesn’t say much for the universe.

Q7] What is your best quote for ‘living life?’

“Live every day like it’s your last.”

Q8] What doesn’t kill us – makes us stronger – yes or no? Explain.

Yes. Or weaker, depending upon exactly what it was that didn’t kill us.

Q9] What would you say have been your biggest successes in life?

Given some of the asinine things I’ve done, my biggest success is that I’m still alive.

Q10] If you could find out the exact time and cause of your death – would you want to know?

According to deathclock.com, my life will end on January 28, 2020. It didn’t specify what the cause will be, but I hope it will be peacefully in my sleep.

Q11] Is it more important to help yourself, help your family, help your society, or help the world?

As a pseudo-solipsist, it’s more important to help myself.

Q12] If humanity was put on trial by an advanced race of aliens, how would you defend humanity and argue for its continued existence?

I’d plea bargain and offer to cooperate with the prosecution.

Q13] What is the biggest waste of human potential?

Donald Trump.

Q14] We often see those that write ‘what would you say to a younger you?’ However, what would you say today to a future you?

First I’d say, “I’m sorry.” Then I’d say, “You’re still alive? Good for you!”

Q15] Why do you think that as a species, humans need to believe in something? Be this religion, fate, karma, magical, mystique, and so on.

As an atheist, I am not sure I agree with the premise of this question. That said, I do believe, above all else, in family.

Q16] If we could not retain any of our memories – who would we be?

We would be suffering from either amnesia or Alzheimer’s.

Q17] Time is such an important part of our world, but do you think you would notice if time was altered in any way?

The older you get, the faster time goes by, so time already has been altered.

Q18] How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?

Life is a game that we all play.

Q19] With no laws or rules to influence your behavior, how do you think you would behave?

Well, if there were no laws or rules, I’m not sure human beings would still be around. That said, I think I’d behave pretty much the same way I behave now.

Q20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Nope, not one.

Q21] Should euthanasia be legal? Why or why not?

Yes. If someone is suffering, is in pain, and is terminal, they should be free to choose death with dignity…for themselves and for those they leave behind.

Feel free to copy and paste these same questions and answer them on your own.

Share Your World — Passion, Tattoos, and Trump

SYWIt’s time for this week’s Share Your World questions, now from Melanie over at Sparks From a Combustible Mind. Here goes:

Are You A Better Listener or Speaker?

I’m a fairly good listener (if I’m in the moment and paying attention), but not such a great speaker. And that’s one reason I like writing. I’m able to express myself much more coherently in writing than I am verbally.

If You Were Asked To Design A Warning Label That Would Be Tattooed On Your Skin, What Would It Say? 

“No Tattoos Allowed”

What Are You Passionate About?

Blogging.

If You Could Change One Thing About Your World, What Would It Be?

Donald Trump would not have won the electoral college, and thus the presidency, in 2016.

What Gave You A Reason To Smile This Past Week?

Our adult — and very busy, living their own lives — kids spending much of the weekend with us.

One-Liner Wednesday — Critical Thinking

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“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

Einstein’s corollary:21B6A559-A705-4B80-AA1A-473186526120

Both of these quotes from Albert Einstein are very similar to another quote I used for a previous One-Liner Wednesday post. That quote, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten,” is also widely attributed to Einstein, but according to my research, it was originally put forth by Jessie Potter, an educator and counselor on family relationships and human sexuality.

The point is, in all three of these quotes, that if you want to achieve a different result, you need to do things in a different way. Thinking like you’ve always thought, doing what you’ve always done, and acting like you’ve always acted will not get you anything different from what you’ve been getting. And if that’s your objective — to get a different outcome — then same ol’ same ol’ just doesn’t cut it.


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.