A Desperate Open Letter to Chief Justice Roberts:
Sir, you and other empirically trained minds have generously offered seekers like me the chalice of facts-and-stats whose drink we have been told ever since the Enlightenment is our best nourishment for finding the truth. I have drunk, but frankly, sir, have found my thirst un-quenched. So I send and share this open letter in hopes someone can help me
If facts-and-stats are the twin pylons upon which the modern scientific world rests, I have a twin problem:
* If facts are said to be “what actually occurred and/or is now occurring,” then isn’t every fact so open to definition or interpretation as to be functionally limited? Alexander conquered the world, Lincoln freed the slaves, The Panama Canal was an American achievement, The Russians defeated the Nazis at Stalingrad, I was married April 11, 1953.
Taking just the first one, doesn’t the seeker need to understand WHO was Alexander, HOW do we define conquered, WHAT did the world mean 2500 years ago, etc? In other words, most of our righteously proclaimed facts today are neither definable nor definitive. They’re not the end of the search, only the beginning!
* If statistics are “the collection, organization, analysis and interpretation of data,” then aren’t the raw numbers we generally read in the media fairly useless without the sub-numbers? For instance, WHO approve gun controls, WHAT gun controls, WHY gun controls, WHEN have they themselves experienced guns?
Mr. Chief Justice, may I put it this way? Seekers of the world, unite in doubting that facts-and-stats are the primary heartbeat to truth and democracy. If they were, then the casinos would be running the world. Hmmm, come to think of it, now there’s a chalice that may deserve a second sip…!
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