Facts Do Matter:
Why Facts Should Always Trump Politics

Facts are stubborn things; and what ever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they can not alter the state of facts, and evidence. -- John Adams (1770)

...Ancient religious texts shouldn't form the basis of social policy in the 21st century. The Bible was written at a time when people thought the Earth was flat, when the wheelbarrow was high tech. -- Sam Harris, LA Times, "Holy Terror" (2004)
(Also see Harris's analysis of why fanatics like Sarah Palin should not be vice president (or president, for that matter))

America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength -- tested, but not weary -- we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom. -- George Bush (2005)

This from the president whose administration brought us the "Patriot Act," the murder of Islamic detainees in custody, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, and the incompetence surrounding the handling of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens. -- Maureen Dowd (2005)

2/13/2012 - I was hopeful when America elected Barack Obama, who seems to be a very smart man and who usually made decisions based on facts. Sadly, this made the Republicans become even more of a fact-free party. The Daily Kos examines the Republicans' ignorance of facts. While Obama hasn't always dealt with facts as much as I'd hope, he's generally more reality-oriented than the Republicans are.

Despite the elections of Obama in 2008 and 2012, the country seems on the verge of sliding back into a "Know Nothing" period again, pushed down the slippery slope by Republicans.

Early 2007: Interesting how a government with checks and balances works. As people like Cheney, Bush, Delay, Gonzales and Lott have proven, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The nation is discovering more Republican lies on an almost daily basis.

Equal Time for Bush's Military "Service?"

At a time when the Bushies are doing their best to trash Kerry's military service (and anti-war activities after he returned from Viet Nam), it's instructive to review recorded information about Bush's military "service."

Why Facts Matter

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko rose to be the manager of the Genetics Institute in Odessa (Soviet Union) in the late 1930s. His "scientific research" inevitably supported Communist and Stalinst principles.

On the basis of rather crude and unsubstantiated experiments, Lysenko promised greater, more rapid, and less costly increases in crop yields than other biologists believed possible. Under Stalin, Lysenko became director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. (1940-65) and president of the then powerful V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. By 1948, when education and research in standard genetics were virtually outlawed, some geneticists had suffered secret arrest and death of undisclosed causes.

Lysenko's doctrines and claims varied with the amount of power that he held. Between 1948 and 1953, when he was the total autocrat of Soviet biology, he claimed that wheat plants raised in the appropriate environment produce seeds of rye, which is equivalent to saying that dogs living in the wild give birth to foxes. His fundamental, continuing argument was that theoretical biology must be fused with Soviet agricultural practice. -- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2003

Lysenko's methods led to the deaths of millions of people in the Soviet Union because crop yields fell under his administration. Theories of genetics and agriculture were rewritten to please Communist ideology rather than conform with scientific experimentation and facts. Farmers used seeds and crop rotation techniques that failed to yield adequate crops for nearly twenty years. It wasn't until Khrushchev's death in the mid-60s that Lysenko began to be discredited. Gradually, Russian farms started to use seeds that yielded more crops, improved crop rotation and more modern methods of cultivation.

Like the old (and now dead) Soviet Union, the Bush administration ignored facts whenever it interfered with its ideology. From the mess in Iraq to gagging public health professionals to severely limiting stem cell research, our government behaved more like a theocracy than like a modern democracy.

When the rest of the scientific world were pursuing the ideas of Mendel and developing the new science of genetics, Russia led the way in the effort to prevent the new science from being developed in the Soviet Union. Thus, while the rest of the scientific world could not conceive of understanding evolution without genetics, the Soviet Union used its political power to make sure that none of their scientists would advocate a genetic role in evolution....
Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death. -- Skeptic's Dictionary.

The Bush administration's insistance promoting ideology over scientific fact meant:

Review of Fahrenheit 911

Michael Moore is a rabble-rouser, and usually I find him a little annoying. However, I was very impressed by Fahrenheit 911. It's very good. I think it will win the Best Feature Documentary Oscar next year (while not nominated for an Oscar, it won a number of other awards).

I've been trying to figure out where Michael Moore might be lying in this movie, and I can't find anyplace. As you can tell from the title of this Web site, the facts do matter to me. Now, there are one or two places where he doesn't say something he should have (the pipeline thing, for example, which is still in limbo, or that Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq were and are all dictatorships). But I really couldn't catch him on much.

From a movie-making point of view, he's constructed a pretty tight film that makes all the right points. A few scenes run on a little long, but the editing is generally pretty good. I only had a couple of problems with it.

What Michael Moore does particularly well is "connecting the dots." I don't think I learned anything new from Fahrenheit 911, I was reminded of many things that I'd foregotten. He's also grown as a filmmaker - as he makes more complicated movies, he takes himself out of the movie. He only shows up in about five shots during the whole thing, and he really doesn't narrate as much of the film as you might expect. Instead, he lets the interviewees make most of the points.

When I got back to the Internet after the movie, one of the first things I saw was this:
U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov Vote in Case of Attack

*sigh* Michael Moore is sounding more like Paul Revere all the time. And the danger is from our own government rather than from an outside source.

Sites Promoting Facts Over Ideology