Straight thinking is also all about the facts. What facts? All that can be known. And how do we define a fact? Facts are truths that can be verified in one or more of several reliable ways that pass the test of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” So, when thinking about facts, think straight by considering the following.
When Thinking About Facts, They Must Be Verifiable
Here are some of the ways facts can be verified for straight thinkers to confidently use. Some are ways we use daily without realizing we are using them.
- “Two plus two equals four” is a fact that can be mathematically verified.
- Reality can be verified. For example, the abstract concept of something being hard can be verified by experience. Try bumping your head against a rock! Soft can be verified by its softness, etc. Realities are all around us. We face the realities of the world every moment of every day and verify most of them repeatedly without thinking about it. They are the meat and potatoes of a straight thinker.
- Facts discovered by science are verified by skilled scientific experiments and, sometimes, by what is obvious to all of us. When heated, water turns to steam; and when it cools, it turns back to water. We can all verify that as an obvious fact.
- The laws of physics can be verified and some of them can be felt and experienced. Remember Newton’s apple? Watch your language if gravity directs that apple at your head.
- Historical facts can be verified — some more than others. For example, the Holocaust can be verified from many observable and reliable facts proving its reality. To deny a fact like the Holocaust is ostrich-like behavior.
- Subjective realities are realities that we feel and experience but have no physical factors that we can verify objectively, such as a thought or a feeling. These are still facts because they can also be verified by repeated occurrences under the same or similar conditions. We often hear them referred to as common human experiences.
- And so on…
When Thinking About Facts, Understand the Difference Between Verification and Interpretation
Verification is not the same as interpretation. Don’t confuse the two. Interpretations are not necessarily facts. They are opinions about what the facts mean. Many of us can fall into this trap and treat interpretations of what the facts are supposedly telling us as though they are real and undeniable facts. Professors sometimes fall into this trap of crooked thinking, along with politicians! Anyone can be trapped. Don’t you fall for mistaking interpretations for facts. Straight thinking knows the difference.
Straight Thinking Cannot Substitute Interpretation for Fact
Nietzsche was not thinking straight when he made the statement, “No facts, only interpretations.” He obviously did not think that through. Straight thinking would not make such a ridiculous statement. He may have consumed food and water that morning and apparently missed the fact that these are necessary for his health and wellbeing. Straight thinkers would not have said, “No facts!” Nor would they have regarded the necessity of food and water as only an interpretation rather than a fact of life for us all.
Here’s an example of mistaking interpretations for facts. Investment advisors verify their decisions about a stock’s proposed performance in many ways — from the facts of a financial report to the charted trends of a stock’s previous performance, even to the gut feeling they have about how a stock is going to react to the market. They know success depends on a correct reading of the facts they can amass. When an investment advisor passes his interpretations of a stock’s trend off as a fact, he or she is crossing the line between fact and interpretation.
Deliberate Substitution of Interpretation for Fact Is Deception
Life is a matter of decisions, and we humans have found many ways to rationally justify our decisions — or irrationally do so even if we know we are not thinking straight. Straight thinking depends on verifiable facts that can be either objectively or subjectively verified. Crooked thinking is often used to deceptively pass off an interpretation as a fact. Please don’t sink to the mental dirt of deliberate deception. To be continued…
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