Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reality Check

A member of the studio audience, Eneasz, made a specific comment on a recent post that I found generally interesting.

Anon - if the truth is partisan, it is only because certain people identifying with a certain political party completely abandoned the truth. The facts are easily available for anyone to verify.

Here is a basic axiom . . . truth is non-partisan.

One way to look at it – natural disasters do not pay any attention to religious or political affiliation. A hurricane does not care about your party membership, nor does cancer care about the religious beliefs of the person it afflicts. We can try to ignore reality if it does not conform to our particular political or religious prejudices. However, reality always has the final say.

I had a niece who thought that it was okay to smoke as long as she did not get caught. Her greatest concern was with avoiding punishment that would come if she was caught smoking. I sought to impress upon her that nobody needs to catch her smoking for her to be punished.

"A parent can ground you and take away your phone privileges. However, you're going to be punished whether your parents find out or not. No parent worthy of the title will tell her child, 'I'll kill you if I catch you smoking,' but being killed is exactly the punishment you risk suffering if you continue."

This fact points to the reason why truth and honesty are important . . . because reality will not yield to our personal delusions.

It is a mark of insanity to hold that whether global warming science is valid or invalid depends on political affiliation. The world is going to suffer huge costs as a result of former President Bush’s disconnect from reality. However, the worst costs are yet to come.

Future generations will not remember Bush as the President who brought about the financial crisis of the early 20th century, or the person who invaded Iraq without cause. They’re going to remember him as the President how ignored reality and, in doing so, set in motion a chain of events that explains why Miami is a set of underwater ruins that divers like to visit 40 miles off of the Florida coast.

Pope Benedict is currently touring Africa, declaring that the way to fight AIDS and other forms of disease that are killing people by the millions in that nation – and wrecking its economies – is to promote abstinence. He is, at the same time, claiming that those who promote the use of condoms are making the problems worse.

However, reality is going to ignore is religious prejudices. As a result of his actions, millions of people will get sick and die, and economies will continue to be wrecked, because reality is not going to yield to his ignorance.

As a matter of fact, evolution has provided us with a strong inclination for sex. I know very little about the hundreds of thousands of generations that are my direct ancestors going back hundreds of millions of generations. But this much I do know. None of them (or, perhaps, by some freak accident maybe one or two of them) died a virgin.

The economic ruin of Africa, and the death of millions of its inhabitants, will be the fruit of following the Pope’s advice on these matters. Reality will not yield to his religious delusions.

It is not at all difficult to trace the bulk of human suffering today – the bulk of human suffering in the future – and even the potential destruction of the human race – to the simple fact that there is not a sufficient amount of appreciation for truth and facts. Too many people think that they can ignore reality without consequences, and too few people are willing to stand up and defend a culture of reason, truth, and honesty.

And that could well be our undoing.

What we do not know (or what we claim to know that simply is not true) cannot only hurt us - it kills and maims people every day.

What we do not know (or what we claim to know that simply is not true) can wipe out the whole human race without the slightest twinge of conscience or concern.

Reality is going to win in the end. You can choose to be on the same side, or you can choose to lose.

6 comments:

Transplanted Lawyer said...

I make the same mistake some times, too -- the new pope is Benedict, not John Paul.

Just a nitpick; this is a very worthwhile post, well-written, and one to which I will link and refer people to when they insist that their delusions are realities.

Luke said...

"Reality is going to win in the end. You can choose to be on the same side, or you can choose to lose."

I'm going to be quoting that alot, methinks.

Eneasz said...

Just to clarify, I realize truth is non-partisan. I was primarily invoking the spirit of Colbert when he rails against reality because "Reality has a well-known liberal bias"

anticant said...

"Reality is going to win in the end. You can choose to be on the same side, or you can choose to lose."

Alas, future reality is all too often shaped by current delusions.

Those of us who aren't deluded will, I'm afraid, suffer as much - maybe even more - from the delusions of the deluded as they will.

Unless reality prevails now, we shall all be losers in the future.

anton said...

Five star post!!!

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
"It is a mark of insanity to hold that whether global warming science is valid or invalid depends on political affiliation. The world is going to suffer huge costs as a result of former President Bush’s disconnect from reality. However, the worst costs are yet to come.

Future generations will not remember Bush as the President who brought about the financial crisis of the early 20th century, or the person who invaded Iraq without cause. They’re going to remember him as the President how ignored reality and, in doing so, set in motion a chain of events that explains why Miami is a set of underwater ruins that divers like to visit 40 miles off of the Florida coast."

Truth, according to reference sources, is the coformity with fact or reality. Also a verifiable and irrefutable fact. Reality is something that exists (factually) independent of opinion about it. While I agree that choosing a position on global warming science based on political ideology is "insane", it is simply an opinion and does not rise to the standard of truth nor reality. The very same thing applies to your judgment of President Bush since future generations do not exist and therefore cannot be remembering anything at this time, the entire narrative is neither truth nor reality. I believe that you mean to intimate that "if all things remain equal", much as economists qualify their prognostications, that yours will become fact or reality. However, at this time they are neither and no better (or worse) than any other opinion on the matter. In fact, my opinion is that your opinion is like the rectum - everybody has one.