Philosophical Mini-Rant (in True Blog Fashion)

Earlier today (here’s where the blogginess sets in–see, I’m recounting something that actually happened to me), I overheard a woman at a health food store that I frequent tell the checker that Obama had declared the US a Muslim nation. I’m not one to be confrontational, so I didn’t say a word to this woman. She was obviously a nut job, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to talk any sense into her anyway. However (and here’s where the rants sets in), I assume she got this juicy little nugget of wisdom from AM talk radio. Where else but on the Mike Savage show or some other equally insane program would someone actually make such a patently absurd claim. Afterwards, I wanted to ask this woman where she got her information. I should have, but I didn’t. All this reminded me of the claim posted just recently on this blog that Obama is not really a citizen–a patently false claim, one that can be proven false very easily.

(Here’s where the philosophy sets in.) People make claims all the time. It’s the nature of communication. Sometimes people make claims knowing full well that the claim is false. This is called fraud. This is not what I’m talking about, however. This woman’s idiotic claim angers me, not because it is so absurd, but because there is no factual basis whatsoever to her claim. Let me take a moment to distinguish between two important concepts: truth and fact. Truth is elusive, it is contingent, and it often relies on context. Truth encompasses a wide range of experiences for which fact cannot account, especially purely subjective experiences. Fact can also be elusive (especially if the fact is obscure enough), but it can never be purely subjective. Fact must always be substantiated by the observation of a credible source. If people want to make claims about the truth of their own personal experiences (say, an out-of-body experience or a near death experience), there is not much someone can argue about the validity of that experience (unless one wants to enter science into this conversation, but I don’t, at least not now). I generally don’t have a problem with people accepting separate “truths” in this sense. However, when people start making fact-based claims without a shred of evidence, this puckers my stinkhole.

For anyone who wanders onto this blog wanting to debate, please be ready to substantiate your claims with verifiable facts. We here at BNG appreciate opposing viewpoints (we don’t mind a good argument), but arguments cannot move forward without credible sources, and most of all facts.


2 Responses to “Philosophical Mini-Rant (in True Blog Fashion)”

  1. Oddly, I have also heard this. I heard it from an individual who frequently criticizes Obama (something that I feel is important to do with EVERY president – blind patriotism scares me). I asked about her source. She claimed that it was mentioned on a news channel (Fox I believe). If this is true/fact, journalism has truly taken a strange turn being that it seems to rely so heavily on sensational and preaching to each choir that is their majority audience. While I advocate taking everything with at least a grain of salt (science, religion, what you believe was said in a conversation), moments like these are convincing me that I have more faith in the reality of sitcoms that are in no way intending to approach reality than the television shows that call themselves the news. (But then how sadly cynical I sound…)

  2. Mort the Sport Says:

    The claim that Obama has declared the US a Muslim country is fairly absurd–whether it came from FOX News or The National Inquirer (which have similar journalistic standards, come to think of it). I don’t believe in blind patriotism either. But I do believe criticism should have some factual basis. Hey, and thanks for commenting.

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