What is Reality?

I used to be able to engage some in debate of contemporary issues. My dad and I, on the conservative side of issues, regularly debated my two brothers on the liberal side. We generally disagreed about priorities and solutions, but often agreed about the nature of the problems. Today, it is much harder to engage in a civil debate; if I can even find anyone willing debate me, the argument often becomes about facts and reality. I present facts and then draw conclusions based on those facts, but so many are unwilling to accept basic facts. We can’t get to a substantive argument because we each have our own set of facts which are always in dispute. This would be acceptable if each of us had facts comporting with reality, but that’s often not the case.

Our culture cannot further loosen its shaky grasp of reality or we have absolutely nothing in common as a people, nothing which can possibly bind us together. If we can’t all agree that the sun rises in the East (an exaggeration), what can we agree on? The great author and Stanford professor Thomas Sowell said it this way:

  • It is bad enough that so many people believe things without any evidence. What is worse is that some people have no conception of evidence and regard facts as just someone else’s opinion.

I often hear this retort from those I attempt to debate: “let’s just agree to disagree”. It’s a way to end a debate. What I hear in my mind is that my opponent can’t accept the facts I am presenting. Someone else is willing to provide them with a different set of facts, facts which better comport with their view of reality and so mine must be rejected out-of-hand. We can legitimately have different perspectives on an event or an issue, but we shouldn’t have different views of reality. We shouldn’t be allowed our own personal set of facts. We shouldn’t ignore facts which conflict with our current view and accept only facts which support that view. Worse yet, we shouldn’t twist or invent facts simply to support our current view. But that is exactly what is happening on a wide variety of issues. Too many are comfortable with their current reality and don’t want facts to upset carefully crafted narratives, narratives which paint them as the good guys and the other side as evil.

When I went to college, I learned deductive and inductive logic, I learned the scientific method, I learned about the development and testing of theories. I was taught that the purpose of education was not to learn everything I would ever need to know, but to teach me how to learn on my own. This has been recognized by many before my time:

  • The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts… it is to teach them to think. – Robert M. Hutchins

The problem with education today is that colleges are teaching kids what to think not how to think. I got my degree in mathematics which many think is akin to accounting or arithmetic, but it is actually something totally different. In math one learns how to solve problems, and not just how to get the right answer, but how to solve those problems in the most efficient manner. Math also teaches one how to think critically and logically, how to organize your thoughts, how to present an argument cogently and logically, and if really good at your craft, how to present it in a simple and easy-to-understand way. It’s one of the reasons why math was emphasized in schooling for so many years. It’s not a wasted skill that you’ll never use again; solving problems in a logical and efficient manner is a skill needed in so many jobs, especially today. However, the kind of critical thinking one learns from math has been abandoned by colleges and college educated people. Math, logic, and critical thinking are being de-emphasized and we’re reverting back to telling kids exactly what to think. This is to our peril.

I have so much difficultly in finding a real debate these days because so many have lost the ability to challenge facts and pick apart faulty reasoning; instead our thoughts are driven by our feelings. Our education system, especially our higher education, is to blame. We latch on to the narrative that academia approves of and fits our own personal version of reality, a comfortable notion of reality, one that would be nice if it were true. We can not be swayed from that notion without an emotional appeal. Logical appeals are lost on people who let emotions drive their thinking. Facts no longer matter. Thomas Sowell said this about our current state of education:

  • In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees.

To confirm this, one should look no further than the Progressives’ newest icon and their hope of the future, Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez who said: “Facts don’t matter when you’re morally right.” She certainly learned the lesson taught in today’s colleges. If you are on the right side of the argument, or at least if you believe you are on the right side of the argument, do not let facts dissuade you from that morally righteous position. From her perspective, the Green New Deal is the right thing now, has always been the right thing, and it will always be the right thing. It’s her stake in the ground and she is not moving it–ever. Her acolytes love her for her steadfastness. Challenge a fact or two of hers and you are ignored or ridiculed. She cannot concede on a single point; because she is so sure her side is are morally right and you are morally wrong, facts which run counter to the correct, the “woke”, view obscure the higher truth, and the higher truth (better known as the politically correct narrative) must be preserved at all costs. There is no nuance to her argument. She never engages in a discussion of facts. Instead, she attacks opponents as “climate deniers” and makes the hackneyed claim about “following the science” when she know very little of science.

But she is wrong. Facts do matter. If I punish my kids but don’t explain what they are doing wrong, they learn nothing; they resent me and call me unfair. I need to explain myself and give them a chance to tell their side of the story. If I am certain I am right what do I have lose with hearing their side? I might actually learn something from them if I keep an open mind. But according to Ocasio-Cortez, climate deniers are always wrong and do not deserve to be heard at all.

You also know folks are not serious because their solution never changes; the same solution works for every new problem. Whatever it is, Ocasio-Cortez will tell you the Green New Deal is the answer to your problem. You want to end major hurricanes, you want to save the polar bear, you want to end systemic racism, or fill in the blank, just pass the Green New Deal and your problems will be cured (sounds ridiculous but these arguments have all been made).

College students today are taught what to think about global warming (the “science is settled” and all debate is ended, don’t you know?), what to think about race and so-called “systemic racism”, what to think about gender, what to think about guns and gun control, what to think about capitalists, what to think about religion, what to think about our founding fathers, what to think about abortion, what to think about COVID, and so much more. If you don’t think the right way about all of these issues, if you don’t parrot the talking points, if you aren’t woke and don’t use the right idioms, you are not part of their club, and they have no use for you. You really can’t leave the reservation on any one issue or you risk being canceled; if just one link is broken, the house of cards may tumble. The Progressives have created an echo chamber where their view on any issue is confirmed by those around and by the politicians they vote for and the media they listen to; this only makes them more certain they are correct. They don’t know what to do with someone like me except to label me and then ignore me.

Ironically, Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk are the ones who also continually tell us about tolerance and that tolerance is a core value, while at the same time, they are completely intolerant of any view which challenges the prevailing views in academia (which are the same ones they’ve all faithfully adopted). They tell us of the importance of diversity, but they are afraid of diversity of thought. Their views can’t hold up when challenged by facts and cogent, logical arguments, so they develop defense mechanisms to ward off debate; they say “we should agree to disagree” or they tell us what the so-called experts say (one can always find a few politically correct experts to say whatever is needed) or that the “science is settled” and if politeness doesn’t work and you persist in your argument, well then you’re a Nazi, a facist, or a racist. Thomas Sowell also had something to say about this as well:

  • Not since the days of the Hitler Youth have young people been subjected to more propaganda on more politically correct issues. At one time, educators boasted that their role was not to teach students what to think but how to think. Today, their role is far too often to teach students what to think on everything from immigration to global warming to the new sacred trinity of ‘race, class and gender.’

More than any other reason, this is why I write this blog. Reality and truth have to be preserved. What do we have if we can’t agree on reality and absolute truth? It is so important to highlight the truth, whether the facts support our current views or not. We have to establish the facts first and then draw conclusions based on those facts. We have to be willing to adjust our current viewpoints as new facts come in. Copernicus was the first to propose the earth and the planets move around the sun, but he was wrong about many things and his theory has been adjusted numerous times in the last 500 years, first by Galileo and then by Newton, Einstein, and others.

Today, we have so many facts wrong and these lead us to wrong conclusions. At the same time, so many of these incorrect facts are looked upon by many as established truths. It is shocking today that we have so much information at our fingertips and so much that has been passed down to us from past generations, but yet we have so many of the basic facts wrong.

I’ll be writing more about each of these topics, each of these sacred cows that academia doesn’t want us to challenge them on. Since I began posting a month ago, I focused a lot on COVID, but have also posted on racism What is racism? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com), Who are we vaccinating? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com) and gender issues Is this Toxic Feminity? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com), What’s a Gender? – Seek the Truth (seek-the-truth.com) but there is much more truth to be revealed about these topics. Joe Biden told the country the other day that “a woman can do anything a man can do as well or better”. It is something that some like hearing; it may make one feel good, but it isn’t true. Men do many things better than women while women do many things better than men. You can live in this false reality if it makes you feel better, but don’t drag the rest of us into your delusions.

I will write more about global warming (now known as climate change). It’s been more than 30 years since Al Gore debated Rush Limbaugh on this topic. Global warming is a scientific theory, just like the theory of relativity, Darwin’s theory of the origin of species, or any other. Theories make predictions and need to be tested. We have a very long history of predictions from this theory. Proponents don’t like to look at these results, but I will. Galileo adjusted Copernicus’ theory after he invented the telescope and more facts were learned. Likewise, the global warming theory needs a thorough house cleaning. We also have people who tell us that carbon dioxide, a colorless, odor-less, non-toxic gas which is essential to all life on this planet is a pollutant. They tell us we need to reduce carbon dioxide, but more of it makes the planter greener and more lush; we may be better not worse with more of it. We need to challenge their basic assumptions and determine who is really following the science and who is just following the money, parroting talking points, and seeking votes.

I will write more about abortion because a baby is not a choice and because the truth about abortions is quite ugly. I will write about both the Republicans and Democrats because both have benefited illegitimately from the issue. Abortion is not an issue for which there should be any compromise. Why make an exception for rape? Why punish a child because his or her father was a scumbag? That child deserves to live as much as any other. Adoption is a choice too. The bottom line is that life begins at conception. No other position is logical or moral. This can be proven.

I will write about guns and gun control because most who advocate for gun control know hardly anything about guns and if they do know something, they are often lying to you. There is no “gun show loophole”. There is no such thing as an “assault rifle”. Despite what you’ve heard, automatic rifles cannot be purchased in a gun store and sale of automatic rifles has been basically banned for 75 years. But these lies are still floated over and over. Semi-automatic weapons have been around since before the Civil War; we’ve been living with rapid shooting, semi-automatic weapons for a long, long time; it’s not a modern innovation. But facts don’t matter to those who want to get rid of your second amendment. Sometimes, I think they just want to win and they don’t care about the consequences.

I will write more about God, religion and faith because God is what matters most in our lives. “Moral relativism”, the notion that we can have our own version of truth and our version of who God is (often it becomes ourselves), is the most pernicious and insidious belief the devil has ever foisted upon us.

I will write about the importance of family and dispel the notion that “alternative” families are just as good as any other. Kids need a mom and dad if at all possible. The government has tried to replace dad and destroyed families in the process.

I will write more about history because it is being changed before our eyes. G.K. Chesterton wrote about the “democracy of the dead”; he said our ancestors should have a vote in how we live today, but the theory of progressivism says to throw out the past because we, the people of today, know more than those in history ever did; we have progressed far beyond them; we are the ultimate of all cultures and all societies. Unfortunately, we’ve actually made a hash of things; we have regressed not progressed. History is replete with facts and lessons for us all. We need to be reminded of them, not ignore them because we think we know it all today.

I will write more about capitalism and socialism; the industrial revolution and capitalism have lifted an incredible mass of humanity out of poverty while socialism has destroyed more lives than any other ideology in history. Capitalism has many warts and a checkered history, but it is far superior to socialism. I will write also about our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and other documents from our founding fathers because they are among the greatest documents ever written in all of human history. Facts and time will reveal them to be correct.

Please stick with me as I have limited time for this pastime, but much to say about today’s reality. More will be forthcoming. The truth is the greatest weapon we have against the insanity of today. We must seek it and share it widely. The truth and large numbers of truth tellers will change things for the better. Praise be to God now and forever.

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