HOW CAN WE KNOW IF THAT EMAIL, BLOG POST, OR NEWS STORY IS TRUE?

true or falseIs the truth important?

I think Jesus said that it was. For example, here are some of His words when He spoke to a Samaritan woman who had come to well to obtain water.

John 4:21-24 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

When we love the things of this world (as that Samaritan woman once did) , we love something ephemeral, lies that will pass away. (1 John 2:15-17). To grab hold of that which will last, we must seek God’s viewpoint, to see He created through His eyes. We must seek to know the whole of the truth, not just what we wish to believe.

The attitude problem

Because we prefer positive feedback, feedback that affirms us, we prefer to read and view only that which echoes back our beliefs. We tend to limit our circle of friends and acquaintances to those who share our beliefs. Such limits can become self-imposed blinders. Thus, when we receive an email, see blog post, or hear a news story that says what we wish to believe, we jump to a conclusion. That story is true! We don’t seriously consider the possibility that that email or post is a lie. Instead, we spread the lie.

Why don’t we check the truth of the matter?

Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com (H/T to www.quotegarden.com/honesty.html)

We want to believe the lie.

How do we verify an email, blog post or news story?

So before we forward it or repost it, how do we verify an email, blog post, or news story? We for check for sources.

When we pass on “information” without saying where we got that information, we do no one any favors. Before we can rely upon any “fact” as the truth, we have an obligation to test it. How do we test a fact?

  • We can do our own primary research.
  • We can check for sources (TV shows, newspapers, magazines, blogs, friends, and so forth), people who have already done the research required to validate the factual truth.

When do our own research, we know the quality of our work. That understanding of and trust in our own work becomes our measure of faith in that truth or fact. Usually, we do this sort of testing with respect personal choices. Who do we choose as our friends. Who becomes our spouse. What is our profession. What is our religion? Who is our doctor? And so forth.

When we rely upon sources, we depend upon the reputation of those sources and the research they say they have done. Yet from time to time we must remember the words of President Ronald Reagan.

Trust, but verify.  — Ronald Reagan

It is not a good idea to rely upon just one source nor is it a good idea to rely upon a group of a sources that all share the same ideological view. Nonetheless, we all make excuses and do exact that. Fearful of having our beliefs challenged (and angered when they are), we may avoid making the effort to verify the reputation of our sources. That’s a big mistake!

So when we get that email, see that blog post, or hear that news story that looks too “good” to be true, how do we verify it? How To Spot an Email Hoax provides a good start, but here is a bit more.

  • Does that email, blog post, or news story cite a source?  If it does, we check the source. We read the source. We don’t just assume that the source will confirm that email or blog post. Sometimes the source may say something quite different.
  • If that email or blog post doesn’t cite a source (or a source we trust), what do we do then? We use our favorite search engine. We can search the Internet for important words and phrases from that email or blog post. To focus on decent hits, we can limit our search to news sources or to recent web posts.  If we are lucky we will get hits from a reputable websites that cite sources and confirm or deny the veracity of that email, blog post, or news story.
  • What if we don’t get any decent hits? What if that email, blog post, or news story has just gone viral, and there is still nothing to substantiate it. If that is the case, we don’t have to participate. Because it is probably not true, we don’t have any good reason to forward or repost the silly thing.

Is the truth out there?

The fact is we have a limited capacity for gathering and analyzing information.  Therefore, the Internet poses a big problem, far more data that we can ever hope to assimilate. Thus, we must filter out and ignore what don’t need and we can’t use.

Nevertheless, we must validate the veracity of the data we choose to receive and use.  Is the data real? Is it complete? Does it lead us to the correct conclusions?

Consider How to check if that viral video is true and How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True? The first article indicates the news media will post stuff they have not verified.  Because corporations exist to make money, the corporate news media cares about what increases their ratings (and echoes their own world view). The second article is aimed at children. Can you imagine why The New York Times would teach children to be skeptical of the Internet? Why not skepticism of the news media too?

Well, some are skeptical of the news media and the Internet. Hence we get numerous websites like the following.

Unfortunately, even though such websites can be helpful, we also have to filter out their biases. What do we use as the basis for that filter? I suggest becoming familiar with the wisdom contained in the Bible. The Bible serves as a mirror for our souls. When we begin to understand ourselves, then we can begin appreciate our own limits, just how and how easily we can be fooled.

 

Posted in Culture War, email hoaxes, Information Warfare, Philosophy, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ISIS: Isolating Evil

Citizen Tom:

H/T to That Mr. G Guy’s Blog.

What people believe determines how they behave. Hence it does no good to excuse bad behavior. If we want to people to change their behavior, we have to give them a reason to change.

“The Nazis are back — differently dressed, speaking a different language and murdering ostensibly for different reasons but actually for the same: intolerance, hatred, excitement and just because they can. The Islamic State’s behavior is beyond explication, not reacting as some suggest to the war in Iraq — although in time it will try to settle some scores with the United States — but murdering and torturing and enslaving because this is what it wants to do. It is both futile and tasteless to lay off blame on others — the West, the colonialists of old or the persistent Zionists — or to somehow find guilt in the actions of the rich or powerful because they are rich or powerful. You can blame the victim. You can even kill him.” (from here)

If we want ISIS to change its behavior, we have punish anyone who joins or helps that organization. We need to kill or lock up its members. We have to make believing and putting into practice what ISIS adherents believe a belief that leads to death or imprisonment.

Originally posted on Regular Right Guy:

jihadistIf I read everything the lovely Ellison Barber recommends, I wouldn’t get any blogging done or be able to read the really important stuff, like Nelson De Mille and Michael Connelly.

Still, she nailed it yesterday.

Ellison Barber, Free Beacon:

My must read of the day is “The Islamic State is evil returned,” by Richard Cohen, in the Washington Post:

Amis leads us to Levi’s book “The Truce” and a passage he had not seen before. Levi had made his peace with not understanding. “Perhaps one cannot,” Levi wrote, “what is more one must not, understand what happened, because to understand is almost to justify.”

You see this happening now. The atrocities of the Islamic State are attributed to the Iraq war and what it did to the region. In the current edition of Foreign Affairs, John J. Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago political scientist, attributes Vladimir Putin’s…

View original 660 more words

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PROTECT THE VOTE

voteAs Delegate Rob Bell indicates in this email, this is important. Supposedly, voter fraud does not exist. Wrong! If no effort is made to detect voter fraud, we will not find voter fraud. That makes the fact we have started trying to detect voter fraud important. It also makes the people who said voter fraud does not exist look fraudulent.

You cannot make up your mind which party to vote for in this coming election? You cannot make up your mind which party contains the most frauds? Then do what you can to protect the vote.

Double Voting in Fairfax

Dear Friend:

Bravo to Fairfax election officials!

As reported by Fox News, the Fairfax Electoral Board has identified 17 individuals who voted in both Maryland and Fairfax in 2012.

After years of denials, evidence of actual voter fraud continues to mount.  Note that Fairfax officials only compared voters from one county with those from one other state.  The number of fraudulent votes will grow much larger when additional counties (and states) are compared.

Fairfax officials have transmitted their findings to the Attorney General Mark Herring.  His spokesman predictably parroted the Democratic Party line, stating that the office would investigate but maintaining that voter fraud was “statistically quite rare.”  With this beginning, it is hard to imagine his investigation will be very vigorous.

(In 2013 I patroned the law giving the Attorney General independent authority prosecute voter fraud cases, without having to wait for invitation.  I never imagined the extraordinary spectacle of an Attorney General downplaying evidence of reported felonies before even beginning his  investigation.)

Notwithstanding political maneuvering in Richmond, the Fairfax announcement is an important step.  Thanks to the Board and to all who are working to ensure the integrity of our elections.

Sincerely,


Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

Posted in 2014 Election, Culture War, Delegate Rob Bell, Information Warfare | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

IF WE FEED OUR HEARTS GARBAGE, THEN GARBAGE WE BECOME

love is all you needSilence — peace and quiet — contents me easily enough, but music is inescapable. Whenever there are people in a  public place, there will be something that passes for music. So it is at the gym. Depending upon the “music,” I may find a bone jarring run on the gravel track preferable to the more gentle workout provided by one of the elliptical machines.

Consider the Top 10 songs. Here is this week’s list.

21 August 2014 — Top 10 Songs of the Week — Chart 662
This
Week
Last
Week
Song Artist
1 1 All About That Bass Meghan Trainor
2 2 Stay With Me Sam Smith
3 3 Rude MAGIC!
4 4 Bang Bang Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
5 5 Am I Wrong Nico & Vinz
6 6 Chandelier Sia
7 Break Free Ariana Grande Featuring Zedd
8 9 Stolen Dance Milky Chance
9 8 Problem Ariana Grande Featuring Iggy Azalea
10 7 Maps Maroon 5

What were the lyrics? Click on the links below.

  1. All About That Bass” – This is a “love song” where a young woman sings praises to her own fat booty.
  2. Stay With Me” – In this epic ballad the poor fellow sorrowfully “apologizes” to his one-night stand.
  3. Rude” – Here is strange one. The guy actually wants to marry the girl, but her father objects? Why? Doesn’t seem to be important. Daddy is just rude (i.e., he is a stereotypical rich guy with a beautiful, sexy daughter)? An idiot who thinks like that is just going get himself killed.
  4. Bang Bang” – In this musical creation, the siren brags about her — umm — bang bang.
  5. Am I Wrong” – Is this fellow just very confused, or did he just need some words to sing with the music?
  6. Chandelier” – These lyrics express the pointlessness of chasing the party life for its own sake. Unfortunately, they suggest no escape.
  7. Break Free” – I suppose men dream of being so handsome they can dominate a beautiful woman with their sex appeal, and I suppose some women dream of being so attracted to a man who will so use them. But “used” is the operative condition of both parties to such an arrangement.
  8. Stolen Dance” – If you cannot understand the lyrics, they don’t have to make sense?
  9. Problem” – People who write songs like this make arranged marriages (by parents) look altogether sensible.
  10. Maps” – Here the lyrics provide an excuse to display a video of our society’s seamier underside. Isn’t the glorification of self-induced, drunken tragedy just wonderful?

Am I being unfair to these entertainers? Perhaps, but they seem obsessed with sex and self-gratifying emotional displays.

Their art is disconnected from our Creator. At best, they glorify sex for its own sake. Love may be all we need, but sex is not love. Sex as the primary subject of entertainment is just pornography.

If we want to be better people, what good is music that just excuses bad behavior? We need to fill our minds with something that teaches us how we can better.

Matthew 12:35 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Posted in Humor, Philosophy, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

THE ARTICLE V GREAT DEBATE

We live in desperate times. We live in a time of great opportunities. Our world is out of control. We have never had more knowledge or better tools for bringing it under control. We have never had more laws, more regulations, more taxes, more spending, more intrusive government, ….

So on Thursday, August 28, 2014 @ 7 PM. we have been invited to hear a discussion of a very interesting proposal to scrap unneeded laws and regulations, cut taxes and spending, reduce the size of government, ….

Here is a note I received to today from Delegate Bob Marshall.

THE ARTICLE V GREAT DEBATEDear Friends,

Mike Farris and I will debate whether or not we should hold a national convention (with delegates from every state), under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to propose amendments that will make changes to our United States Constitution.

Both of us have researched this issue in depth and have reached opposite conclusions. I will argue that states should not petition Congress to call such a Convention for the purpose of amending (changing) the Constitution. Mike Farris will argue that we should.

Please join us if you can, and listen to both sides of the argument. There will be an opportunity for the audience to have their questions answered. The debate will take place on Thursday evening, August 28, from 7:00-9:00 PM at Colgan Hall on the campus of the Northern Virginia Community College located at 6901 Sudley Rd. Manassas, VA 20109. I look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

Delegate Bob Marshall

Although I have great respect for Delegate Marshall, I have been swinging over to the idea of a Convention of the states.  To see why, here are several posts I have written on the subject.

Nevertheless, I look forward to hearing the debate. Hard to imagine people better equipped for presenting each side of the argument.

Posted in Constitution, Delegate Bob Marshall, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments