Just The Facts, Ma’am

- jim Young 20200420

"What is truth? Is truth unchanging law?
We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?"
- Tim Rice from the Rock Opera Jesus Christ, Superstar

The pandemic caused by Covid-19 is causing stress among people all over the world. As with most
unpleasant situations in life, one of the worst things about Covid-19 is the uncertainty that follows as events unfold.

It’s the not knowing that is causing us the most grief.

When will it be over?
How many people will be affected?
When will the lockdown end?
When can I go back to work?
When will things go back to normal?
Will things ever go back to normal?

We don’t trust the media to report truthfully any more than we expect our politicians to speak the truth.

Of course it’s just accepted that pharmacies and big business will be more concerned with making money than acting in our best interests.

Even our doctors and scientists are suspect as to having hidden agendas.

In this age of information we expect to have all the answers at our fingertips.

So, if we’ve got the facts, why can’t we just figure it out for ourselves?

We haven’t been taught how to interpret facts however, and this has led us to a state of total confusion.

Contrary to popular belief, facts do not tell the truth. They only tell you YOUR truth and can often be manipulated to support more than one thesis.

For example, which of the following statements is true?
Disclaimer: these statements are based on "reported" cases only as of April 19th.

1) The USA has the most cases of Covid-19 of all the countries in the world.

2) Iceland has more than twice as many cases of Covid-19 than the USA.

3) There are over 15 countries in the world that have more cases of Covid-19 than the USA.

4) Canada has tested more people for Covid-19 than the USA.

Answers:
1) The USA has the most cases of Covid-19 of all the countries in the world.

True: At 764,265 cases, the USA has more cases of Covid-19 than any other country. That's more than Spain, Italy, France and Germany (the next 4 highest countries) put together.

2) Iceland has more cases of Covid-19 than the USA.

True: At 5,190 cases per every 1 million people, Iceland has more than double the cases of Covid-19 than the USA's 2,309 cases per every 1 million people.

3) There are over 40 countries in the world that have more cases of Covid-19 than the USA.

True: Again, using cases per every 1 million people, there are 16 countries that have more than 2,309 cases per every 1 million people that the USA does.

4) Canada has tested more people for Covid-19 than the USA.

True: Canada has tested for 14,555 cases of Covid-19 for every 1 million people while the USA has only tested for 11,666 per 1 million people.

False: This statement is also false as Canada has only tested for a total of 549,359 cases of Covid-19 compared to the USA's total of 3,861,596 cases.


I can correctly claim each of the above statements to be true and use them to draw conflicting and opposing conclusions to the benefit of any hidden agenda I might have.

That’s just using “true” facts (if there is such a thing) derived from the internet. There’s also all the “fake” facts you will find there.

It’s not really fair to suggest that all “fake” facts on the internet are blatant lies. Some are incorrect or misinterpreted statements that may have been posted to the internet with very good intentions. Of course we all know where the road that is paved with good intentions will lead us to.

They do remain however, untruths.

The internet is very undiscriminating and will accept everything anyone wishes to add to it as fact, demanding vigilance on the part of the reader to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Because most people have not been educated on the interpretation of facts, or even perhaps because they have been, we now see a proliferation of people picking numbers and facts to support what they want to be true, be it for their political beliefs, their own personal biases or even just their hopes.

Be certain you choose your facts wisely lest they become the tool of a fool.

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