Friday, November 9, 2012

Quick Takes - Not Giving Up on Truth

  1., Snopes,, fact checker - claim to present facts but have been known to demonstrate some left-leaning, liberal bias.  And none have footnotes of the caliber you find on Wikipedia. I am really seeking an edited site that has facts cross-referenced and a credibilty score given to the reference source . . . e.g. if the source is an opinion or a claim vs. a fact. For example and used a candidate's campaign website as a source for proving or disproving a claim by an opponent. Sometimes the answer is for the site to just declare a claim and a counter-claim as noise since neither is based on record and only a detailed, defended plan passes a threshold of legitimacy versus an empty promise to satisfy a voting segment.

    Philippians 4:8 -

    Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  2. Robert Feldman, author of The Liar in your Life, found in his research that two people, meeting for the first time, will lie to each other an average of three times in the first ten minutes of a conversation.

    Proverbs 12:22 -
    Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
  3. Forget the politicians, who distort the truth in small and large ways in order to maximize votes. What about our friends, family, or better yet - me . . . how often do we lie? Why do we lie? Sure there are lots of degrees of "Not True".

     Remember when Happy Days (and other shows) would have a whole show premise being the difference in how the same event was remembered, with each reteller reshaping the telling to vindicate or augment the positive for how they acted?

    My own reflection is that we lie out of fear and distrust. Politicians lie because they fear their opponents will use the truth against them or that the people they want to vote for them are too uninformed, unintelligent, uneducated, selfish to appreciate their position relative to the truth.

    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.
  4. Had to admit to myself that I had been sucked in by the bias of some of the pundits on Fox News channel, particularly Dick Morris and Karl Rove, to believe that the polls were incorrect, and Romney had a chance to pull out victories in the battleground states and the election.  Gallup has earned my respect.  I thought I was too educated to fall for hope over facts and polling science.  Nope.  I believed Dick Morris.  I rationalized that Conservatives had to be underrepresented in the polls because they are not home by a landline to receive a survey call.  Wrong, wrong!  Some of the articles on lying that I was scanning said that we are more likely to accept deceit as truth when it matches what we want to hear.
  5. Remember when you first hit the internet and you found out bulletin boards, discussion groups, chat rooms were a source of unlimited information, but then discovered that much of it was not from primary, or secondary, or any source worth believing?  We were taught in high school and college to develop critical thinking skills and research skills and not to accept claims at face value.

    Whether your source of information is friends, family members, teachers, professors, lawyers, doctors, Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Reports, your husband, your child you will universally find that the truth is misrepresented, contradicted, distorted and transformed into a non-truth . . . ok a lie.

    Even when it is on your side that it occurs, it is still pretty disappointing.  As recently as today one of my pro-life sources of news was reporting that Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the U.S.  It doesn't state in the news report the source of the quote, nor in a footnote after the news report.  After good 20 minutes of googling I found the source was a 1981 Chicago Tribune article.  But this is 2012 and that fact is now 31 years old.  Plus, there is trend toward "chemical" vs. surgical abortions now.  It is so hard to get at the facts.

    Planned Parenthood opted out of doing an annual report for 2011.  Why?  Well why provide facts that are good ammunition in an election year, right?  How about President Obama multiple times claiming Planned Parenthood provides mammograms?  Isn't that a convenient lie to tell in October, breast cancer awareness month, when even my son's tackle football organization has to wear pink socks, pink shoelaces, and pink ribbon sticker on their football helmets?  Yes it is.  Lots of positive heartfelt emotion to trigger in the desired female voting block that has some experience with a family, or friend that has battled breast cancer, and is now painfully aware of the importance of mammograms in catching the disease early.  I am going to look into what fact checking sites there are, and give them some kind of credibility score.  I am hoping we can find a source that's first priority isn't convincing, just accurately reflecting the truth with as little distortion, bias, belief filter as possible.  I would prefer being told this is what I know and why I am sure of it instead of, this is what I know, this is what probably follows from that, and this is why you should agree with me that this is the conclusion.  Wouldn't you?

  6. John 18:38a - Pilate said to him (Jesus), "What is truth?"

    Why did Planned Parenthood spend $12 MILLION DOLLARS to re-elect President Obama and defeat pro-life candidates, and why did the PP President focus her daily efforts on campaigning rather than the business of Planned Parenthood?  These following answers that campaigning to protect government funding are mission critical to Planned Parenthood.
    • According to its latest report, in 2010 Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 329,445 abortions. In 2009, the number of abortions was 332,278 and in 2008 the number was 324,008. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded to be the research arm of Planned Parenthood but later becoming an independent body) reports that the total number of abortions in the United States in 2008 was 1,210,000.16 Therefore in 2008, PPFA provided approximately 27 percent of abortions in the United States.
    • Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, over 54,000,000 children have died from abortion in the United States. To put this number in context, this is more than twice the population of Texas in 2011, and is approximately 87 times the population of the District of Columbia in 2011. Almost every year has seen an increase in the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood, even as the nation’s abortion rate is decreasing.
    • According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010.
    • While PPFA holds non-profit status, it continues to pull in a sizeable profit each year. In the annual report for fiscal year 2010, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of 18.5 million dollars.  In fiscal year 2009, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of $63 million; in fiscal year 2008, PPFA’s excess of revenue over expenses was $85 million. 
    • In addition to the financially profitable practice of performing abortions, PPFA’s 2010 annual report indicates that it received approximately 46 percent of its income from federal, state and local government grants and contracts. In other words, taxpayer dollars fund nearly half of PPFA’s budget. In 2010, $487,400,000 was paid to PPFA by the government.
    • While the federal government does not pay directly for elective abortions performed by PPFA, it appears to subsidize PPFA’s least lucrative component, family planning. By funding non-abortion services, the federal government essentially allows Planned Parenthood to cover overhead and other expenses, as it pursues a more lucrative and lethal business—abortions.
    • Planned Parenthood increasingly has benefited from state and government funding. In 1994, the group received approximately $163 million in state and federal tax dollars. By 2010, government funding for PPFA had almost tripled to $487 million. During this same period of time the number of abortions performed annually by the group increased from 133,289 in 1994 to 329,445 in 2010.
    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by far, black Americans are the ethnic group having the greatest number of abortions. They composed only 12.6 percent of the population in the 2010 census, but a staggering 42% of total abortions in the U.S. for 2008, the latest year in which CDC abortion data were available.

      This last fact is the ultimate irony to me.  Our country was dead wrong when it legislated in our Constitution the evil of treating African slaves as 3/5ths of a person.  Our country is dead wrong in treating the infant in the womb as 0/5ths of a person.  The irony is our President is half African and his race is most impacted as a result of legalized abortion.  I used to hold hope that his wanting to be a historical figure like Lincoln would actually motivate him to realize this and correct the injustice.
  7. I am not giving up on the truth.

    Revelation 22:12-15
    "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood."

1 comment:

  1. You're right that the big three in fact checking lean a bit to the left (PolitiFact notably so, but that's another story).

    The type of referencing you're hoping for would be nice, but it's a problem. It's a problem because there is no source that's always right. Journalists will always tend to struggle in figuring out which sources are the best and even how to interpret them. We're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    Traditionally the sources that garner the most trust are government documents and scholarly journals. But think about it. We trust government documents? And professional journals--isn't academia itself biased toward the left?

    It's not easy figuring out what's true and what isn't, especially in light of the fact that we have to look critically at all of our sources of information.

    Like you I saw room for improvement in fact checking. I started a fact-checking site. It's very much in its infancy but was developed conceptually over a considerable period of time. It's basically a one-person show, so I'd definitely be stretching it to claim there's editorial oversight--but on the other hand I'm pretty careful. :-)