In Brief—A presentation of statements designed to test your knowledge of commonly accepted beliefs, history and current events with regard to whether those statements are true or myths.
We’re Not Entitled to Our Own Facts—
Periodically, Gail Collins, columnist for the New York Times presents a list of questions to test how much attention her readers pay to the news that has appeared in the Times. Her blend of humor and political acumen is hard to beat. Far be it from me to compare myself to the incomparable Gail Collins, but she has set the template. See how you do in separating myth from reality. Write down your answers (Truth or Myth) to keep track.
1) Christopher Columbus discovered America.
2) Little George Washington truthfully admitted he cut down the cherry tree.
3) The slaves on Southern plantations were represented as workers, not slaves, in a new Texas high school textbook.
4) American planes accidentally bombed a Doctors Without Borders (Médicines Sans Frontières) hospital in an attack in Kirkuk, Iraq.
5) If you stand at the bottom of a dark well and look upward through the opening you can see the stars in the daytime.
6) Prolonged solitary confinement is not torture.
7) Planned Parenthood sold for a profit body parts from live human babies to research organizations.
8) President Barack Obama is a Muslim who was not born in the United States.
9) America has engaged in torture, ethnic cleansing and biological warfare throughout its history.
10) Excluding embassy guards, the United States has more than 900 military bases around the globe.
11) Waterboarding is not torture when terrorism is involved.
12) In the United States, only guilty convicts are executed.
13) Americans cannot be imprisoned for non-payment of debts.
14) Global climate change is caused by human activity and is not a normal fluctuation.
15) God is good, all-seeing and all-powerful.
The Truth Will Out—
Now let’s see how you did. Three wrong answers show you are not paying attention. Four or more mistakes and I have a bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you.
#1 is a Myth. Columbus found an island in the Bahamas, not America.
#2 is a Myth. The myth was created after Washington’s death.
#3 is True. A student discovered the lie. The publisher agreed to correct it.
#4 is a Myth. The attack on the hospital was deliberate. DWB/MSF provided the military with the hospital’s coordinates days before the attack and repeatedly told the military to cease the attacks. At the military-friendly congressional hearing when an American general stated the bombing was an “accident,” DWB/MSF was not called to counter the military spin.
#5 is a Myth. It remains daylight outside even though the viewer is in the dark. This is an old myth that seems to have eternal life, and I included it to put a stake through its heart among the readers of this blog.
#6 is a Myth. The U.N. has defined prolonged solitary confinement as torture.
#7 is a Myth. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s claim has been refuted by several reliable sources a well as the facts. She made the story up to win votes.
#8 is a Myth. This is a provably false effort by the American Right-Wing to attack President Obama. Though bogus, this continues to circulate on the Internet.
#9 is True. An unbiased reading of American history provides numerous examples of such crimes by individuals and the government.
#10 is True. The U.S. military has established active bases throughout the world. The number 900 may be an understatement.
#11 is True. Waterboarding is clearly established as torture.
#12 is a Myth. There are numerous documented instances of innocent persons being executed for crimes they didn’t commit.
#13 is a Myth. Though we are told there’s no such thing as debtors’ prisons, every day individuals are unjustly locked up for failure to pay a debt.
#14 is True. Scrupulous research by qualified experts in several fields proves that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change threatens the survival of humanity and numerous species.
#15 is a Myth. A look around at reality and simple logic prove that the deity worshipped by all believers is non-existent. Such a deity cannot logically be good, all-seeing and all-powerful.
Though some readers may disagree with facts set forth here, those readers are challenged to provide reliable evidence for assertions of falsity. The Comment section gives dissenters an opportunity to explain in what respect the conclusion is false.
As has been said before, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.