Knowing Things That Aren’t True

People know an awful lot of things that just ain’t so.

Yesterday, for instance, twice in one day, I encountered the pseudo “fact” that people in Colonial America were burned at the stake for witchcraft–with Rev. Cotton Mather gleefully stoking the fires.

The truth is that not a single person was ever burned for witchcraft anywhere in North America–and certainly not in Salem, Massachusetts. As Casey Stengel used to say, you could look it up. Those persons convicted in the Salem witch trials were executed by hanging (one defendant was pressed to death, but that was an accident).

As for Cotton Mather, he was against the witch trials from the very beginning and did everything in his power to put a stop to them. He did not instigate and celebrate the witch trials. He opposed them.

Where do people get their erroneous knowledge? It matters, you see–because what folks think they know affects their opinions and their actions. When false facts translate into public policy, the results can be disastrous–for instance, in the big push to turn everything upside-down to Save The Planet from imaginary Global Warming.

We should all regularly re-examine what we think we know. There may be some surprises in store for us.

Remember this warning from the Bible: “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4) It applies not only to deliberate untruths, but also to misinformation and ignorance.


5 comments on “Knowing Things That Aren’t True

  1. Well put, Lee! Problems in our society? Blame the Puritans!
    I do wonder about “imaginary Global Warming”, though. I guess there are two questions: (1) Is the planet experiencing a slight warming? (2) If so, is this warming caused by human irresponsibility (rather than simply a natural cycle)? I suppose a third question could be posed if the answer to #2 is “yes”: (3) Is the antidote to human irresponsibility greater control from a bigger government? Well, I’m tending toward “yes” on #1, I’m not at all convinced on #2, and I’m definitely against #3.
    Really, I think the liberals are pressing for #2 just to get to #3. I’m afraid that the (intended) result of generations being educated in “government-think” at government schools, is that both citizens and government leaders really think that big government is the source both of truth and of our salvation! Almost makes one believe in conspiracies!

    1. The fossil record seems to indicate strongly that the earth’s climates–there is no such thing as the earth’s “climate,” singular–are always in a state of flux. So, yes, it could be getting warmer–or cooler–at any given time, and probably is. As for this constant change being caused by human activities that leftist prigs disapprove of–well, that’s the part that’s 100% imaginary. But if they can only make us all believe in it, then they can promise to save us as long as we give them undreamed-of powers. It’s just too good a prospect for them to give up on it.

      Fortunately for the rest of us, The World’s Smartest People are bloody idiots who don’t even suspect that, when they go zooming around in private jets, and live in huge mansions, and spend money and energy like it was confetti, it kind of makes us suspect they might not be altogether sincere.

  2. Here’s where some people get their ‘erroneous knowledge’ – from government and from idiots, not necessarily mutually exclusive:

    . . . and this one may shoot the ‘idiocy meter’ right through the roof:

    Yep. That’s the answer – just hug them. I’d recommend doing it from afar, unless we want to be stabbed, beheaded or blown up for our hugging efforts.

    Insanity – all of it!

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