“Those sheep have just been shorn,” the non-scientist said.
“At least on the side we can see,” replied the scientist — humorously highlighting the reality that even seemingly reasonable assumptions shouldn’t be confused with facts.
And in a college journalism class I was similarly warned against allowing logical extrapolations to lead to indefensible assertions.
The professor cautioned against saying someone “believes” something: “Now if they say they believe something, you’re totally free to report what they actually said, because what they said can be verified. But don’t assume, just because people say they believe something, that they actually do. Verify — or appropriately qualify — everything you write.”
I don’t expect everyone to be perfectly accurate in their use of language — though it would be great if we all made that a goal. However, those who’ve had the benefit of education and moral instruction should have an unwavering commitment to telling the truth, especially those who hold positions of leadership and authority.
A friend back in middle school often quoted a biblical-sounding proverb he’d made up: “A lie is an abomination, and an ever-present help in time of need.”
His proverb was witty. But I never thought I’d see the day when it would be widely embraced within society.
Well, actually, the first part of his proverb hasn’t been embraced, because there’s paltry little evidence that today’s leading liars — whatever their profession and whatever their ideological allegiance — buy into the once-widespread belief that a lie is an abomination.
But granted the sheer volume of falsehoods being foisted on the public, there’s overwhelming circumstantial evidence that those same liars wholeheartedly embrace the heresy that lies are an ever-present help in time of need.