The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

67° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Distorting facts is wrong

Truth has become a little fragmented these days. The best explanations, the ones closest to truth are the ones that best account for all available facts. But recently it has been drawn into sharp focus that the ideological battles of our time are not being fought between competing explanations. They’re being fought between competing truths.

It’s probably always been true that some participants in an intellectual debate invent their own facts to prop up their arguments, then simply deny those which are inconvenient. But it’s no longer an extremist strategy. Journalism, once considered a high authority to deliver unbiased truth, has largely fragmented into camps, each tailoring its truths to the relevant demographic.Unsurprisingly, this battle has bled into academia. Scientific and sociological claims are required to demonstrate more than an effective explanation of the facts at hand to be “”true.”” They must also be politically neutral. Any possible political implication, right, left or otherwise, and the hapless researchers involved will be instantly labeled Trotskyites, Fascists, bastards or shills.

But some of our knowledge is reasonably ceratin. Despite its many flaws, the educational system has done a pretty good job of propagating the truth as we know it, or at least as we knew it the last time the school system could afford textbooks. So those who want ideologically-appropriate truths have gone elsewhere.

According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, 83 percent of parents who home-school their children do so in order to provide their children with “”religious or moral instruction.”” Their main objection to organized schooling probably won’t surprise you. “”Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their home-school program,”” the Chronicle quotes Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. Darwin, as ever, is on trial — not because his theory pales in comparison to a rival explanation, but because it is found politically and religiously unpalatable.

Home-schoolers adhering to this curriculum have no shortage of textbooks that teach their truths, which “”dominates a growing home-school market.”” Writes the Chronicle: “”‘Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling,’ says the introduction to “”Biology: Third Edition”” from Bob Jones University Press. ‘This book was not written for them.'”” According to the textbook “”History of Life,”” a “”Christian worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.””

This is not a simple disagreement about which explanation is correct. This is a grenade lobbed into rationality’s window, an assault on one of the basic principles of logic — that the right conclusions care those which follow from their premises. To the fanatic, no amount of evidence, however contrary, is enough to upset their prearranged conclusion, and no amount of confirmation can justify the positions of their ideological enemies.

—Ben Harper is a philosophy senior.

He can be reahced at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

More to Discover
Activate Search