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The Age of Mis-Information June 27, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Health & Wellness, People.

Donald-Duck-LazyMuch of what we think we know is based on information supplied by others ~ how much of it is true?

How can we separate the wheat from the chaff?

A $30,000 study on reusable tote bags concluded that many of the bags were contaminated by raw meat juices.

That made sense to me.  I accepted it as true:  Living Sustainably is a Challenge

Reading further, I came across a claim that the study was biased from the outset . . . because it was funded by plastic bag manufacturers who sought to discourage the use of reusable totes in order to keep profits high.

Should I accept the study’s findings, or not?

Growing up, my mother told me to drink my milk because it would create strong bones and a healthy body.

The author of Milk ~ The Deadly Poison  claims my mother, like many, has been brainwashed into believing health claims for milk that are nothing more than propaganda and lies by the dairy industry.

Using his science background, he claims that calcium is poorly absorbed from milk and that milk leaches calcium from the bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

He points to studies showing that nations with the highest incidence of osteoporosis are those with the highest consumption of milk and other dairy products.

More specifically, per Amazon’s description of the book:

Robert Cohen performed research in the 1970’s on the hormonal effects on the brain and behavior. Twenty-five years later, this father of three became concerned about the most controversial drug approval in FDA history, the genetically engineered hormone that is now in our milk supply.

Along the way, Cohen discovered that milk is implicated in causing breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and chronic childhood illnesses. Cohen’s skills as a researcher, and his passion for the safety of his family, led to his single-minded pursuit to expose the truth about milk.

To insure that all citizens of the world learn the truth, Cohen founded and is executive director of America’s Dairy Education Board, a group of nationally prominent doctors dedicated to dispelling the myth that milk is nature’s perfect food.

Who do I believe?  My mother . . . or a man I’ve never met?

My mother did not do any independent testing on milk and its effect on calcium absorbtion.  She is merely relying on what she’s been told over time by others.

But the author, despite his impressive credentials, might have a secret agenda ~ to increase the sales of his book in order to leave a legacy behind.

Who do I believe?

GM created an Electric Car, then stopped production, claiming there was no demand for the car.

The documentary Who Killed The Electric Car? claims that pressure from the oil companies, and dealers,  caused GM to abandon production and pull all the leased cars off the street . . . to crush them.

People who had driven and loved the cars told film crews that, when they begged GM to buy the cars, GM refused their offers.

Are their claims true?   Conspiracy in action?

Steven Meyers claimed to have developed a car powered by water.  He died somewhat mysteriously.  Was he silenced due to his invention?  Or were his claims fraudulent from the start in order to attract money from investors?

Where is the truth?

How much of the information on our radar screens is accurate and reliable?  And how much of it is mis-information designed to manipulate our actions, our beliefs, and our consumption of goods and services?

If I knew, I would tell you . . .

Would you believe me?

Related posts:  A Silly (Gluten Free) Goose * Water Over The DamFree To Be  ME * Decisions, Decisions * The Roads Are Many * Winks Whispers &  Nudges


1. Richard Scott - June 27, 2010

Alas, most of what we call truth is violently believed opinion.
Look at the Mac vs. PC wars. If you look at the numbers, you find that whichever the user bought first becomes the best (and best defended) system.

I fear it comes down to this: “MY” truth is truth. “Your” truth is myth.

Or, to put it another way, sadistics… sorry, statistics can “prove” anything you want.

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

Agreed. As a result of “confirmation bias” . . .

We believe something. When something comes on to our radar screen which supports that belief . . . we snatch it up.

When something appears that refutes our belief . . . we reject it.

What we believe becomes the self-fulfilling “truth” in our lives.

2. Carole Waller - June 27, 2010

Re: anything we do or buy, I say research as much as you can, then use your head. Nothing is completely safe, and we’re not going to live forever. We shop only once or twice a month, use many bags, so I never considered buying lots of cloth bags–we line our wastebaskets with the plastic ones. As far as using our mothers’ wisdom, I think it should be taken into account, and supplemented with knowledge we have gained since her time.

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

Wise words, Carole. We need to think for ourselves.

We need to remain open minded when faced with new evidence. We need to take into consideration the research of experts . . . tempered with our own experience.

Long before hearing about Cohen’s book, I stopped drinking milk:

* All other mammals, even those with longevity (elephants, gorillas, etc.), discontinue drinking milk after infancy.

* No other species drinks milk from anything but its own species.

* Cows on factory farms are horribly mistreated and live in horrendous conditions.

Since I’m convinced that cow’s milk, like meat, is unnecessary and detrimental to our health, I’ve replaced it in my diet . . . over my mother’s protests. : )

3. Paula - June 27, 2010

Interesting subject (and one I discussed back in May) about “What is truth?” Pilate asked that question over 2000 years ago, and I’m sure it had already been asked, and it continues to be asked. (I for one, think Pilate really wanted to know!) What is the nature of truth?

So much of scripture is about the search for ultimate Truth, and many of us, while pursuing that end, along the way find it important to discover for ourselves the nature of ordinary, work-a-day truth. How do we know what we are being told, what we are being lead to believe is true, or is the truth? And how do facts relate to truth? The Merriam- Webster Dictionary defines fact in the following way:
1 : a thing done: as a (obsolete) : feat; b : crime; c: (archaic) : action; 2: (archaic) : performance, doing; 3 : the quality of being actual : actuality; 4 a : something that has actual existence, b : an actual occurrence; 5 : a piece of information presented as having objective reality— in fact : in truth

Interestingly enough, the first definition of fact – a feat – is obsolete. The definition is obsolete as in old, worn out, useless, and irreparable. So a fact is no longer considered an accomplishment, I guess! Sounds like a lot of the so-called facts that have been offered as truth over the years! The word truth does not enter into the definition until position #5 – and probably for these days that is correct.. So, I wondered, what does Merriam-Webster offer as the definition of truth?

1 a (archaic) : fidelity, constancy, b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance; 2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact ; (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality; (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality, b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true as of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions
3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality, b (chiefly British) : true; 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard; 4 (capitalized) Christian Science : god
— in truth : in accordance with fact : actually

It appears to me as though the definitions are related to one another almost in the inverse; however the final definition is synonymous with the last for fact. How closely are truth and fact related? Probably not very closely (although I suppose they can or should be), because I believe that truth, and certainly Truth, is immutable and unchangeable. Facts change every day, even though they are often accepted as truth: the world is flat; the universe turns around the earth; time is a constant, etc. Even the facts that we have discovered since those, might be proved one day to be false, as many facts have been, at least for the time being! Sergeant Friday (of Dragnet fame) used to ask for “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” He used the word fact as an antonym for opinion or subjective observation. Unfortunately, in courtrooms all over the world, opinions often crowd out and outlast the facts, yet the assumption has always been that we use, or should use, the word “facts” as those things which are clearly known and undisputed today. Subjective observations – (as all observations are), opinions, and honest belief are no substitute for facts, and certainly not for truth, nor Truth.

I feel that our language fails us when we use and/or accept and understand observations, opinions, honest belief, etc. so interchangeably with facts and/or Truth.

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

That’s quite a comment, Paula!

Lots of “facts” to digest and “truths” to consider. : )

I really started something with this post. Or continued what Pilate started.

4. Paula - June 27, 2010

BTW, one of the reasons suggested for why girls are reaching puberty earlier and earlier in life (some as young as 6,7,8, or 9) is the hormones artificially put into milk and other foods that screw around with their own hormone levels. I suspect that is true of boys as well, and I could infer that could be a reason why boys/girls are getting into so much trouble with the law these days and showing such aggressive behavior: Their minds are not near ready to deal with what is happening in their bodies and coursing through their veins!

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

That’s my understanding . . . and I expect that it is true.

There is so much in our food that is detrimental to our health.

5. Joanne - June 27, 2010

Bravo, ALL of you…! I feel fortunate to be in the company of THINKING beings… That being said… MY truth can sum up this whole question of FACT vs FICTION: the FACT is that we are living in a literal MATRIX. We have been programmed or have pre-programmed ourselves in our accepted and agreed-upon realities — from another time/dimension… not sure which…

Now, I could attempt to prove my truth with the use of a code I cracked ten years ago… but because I’ve decided to enjoy my pre-programmed reality and because my pre-chosen ignorance is blissful, I’ve chosen to follow my own guidance system through this web of FACT vs FICTION and continue to have fun while still participating in THE GAME of LIFE… I hope this settles it for some:-D

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

Thanks, Joanne!

An even broader more meta-physical view of truth for us to consider in the great dance of life!

6. Paula - June 27, 2010

Joanne, you are of course right…as the only things we accept as “”truth” or “fact” are the things we choose to believe…so it probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, because what is “true” and what is a “fact” will be what what it will be, and we will continue to do our dance of life around them! 😀

nrhatch - June 27, 2010

You’re right, Paula.

We believe what we want to believe and accept it as the “gospel truth.” : )

7. Forks Over Knives | Spirit Lights The Way - September 23, 2013

[…] posts:  Tammy’s Top Ten Reasons To Become A Vegetarian * Food, Inc. * The Age of Mis-Information * Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate * 10 Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Food Matters ~ You Are […]

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