If you’re a rational, thinking person you’re probably feeling some frustration lately. The term “alternative facts,” for example, is likely to make your brain ache no matter who you voted for last November.
It’s a confusing world out there.
Let’s make everything a little easier by clearing up one simple thing.
What is a fact?
But I’m going to keep things as simple as possible here. I’m going to explain facts the only way I know how… with cake.
The following is a true story about a time I got cake. I’m going to do my best to tell the story using only objective facts. The story happened to me. I was present for the entirety of the story and I am easily the foremost expert on the story. My retelling of the story is a primary source. More on that later.
As further proof of the legitimacy of the story I will include photographs.
The Cake Story
Yesterday I went to County Market and bought a cake.
I found a cake that was to my liking, and decided to purchase it.
The cake I chose was a white cake with buttercream frosting. It cost $5.99.
I took the cake home and ate one and a half pieces.
Now I will briefly editorialize (include my opinion).
The cake was not great… a little too sweet for my liking. Kinda dry.
That is the cake story directly from the source. In case you were doubting the validity of any parts of the story, you can consult the photos.
Some of you conspiracy theorists out there might be saying that I doctored the photos. Maybe I’m actually standing in front of a Kroger? Maybe it was a juicy steak I’m slicing?
That’s true. I could have faked some of those things. However, if I was accused of doctoring the photos I would just have to show you the receipt for the cake, dated yesterday. Also I could show you the three-quarters of cake that is left over.
That is called empirical evidence. It’s proof you can touch. Which will lead you logically to the conclusion that I was telling the truth.
My story contains facts. They can be proven empirically and they can’t be reasonably disputed.
A primary source is the purest way to get your information. Someone who was actually there, and can prove it empirically, is the highest standard for information.
That is why encyclopedias, textbooks, and fact checking sites like Snopes.com always cite their sources. If you doubt their information you can look at the primary source where they got it.
If after being presented with a primary source that points logically to empirical evidence you still don’t believe the facts you are presented with, your standard for factual information is absurd.
Ask yourself, are you more likely to believe something if it fits with your opinion?
Sure, everything is made up. Truth, honesty, and probably even reality are human constructs. But our society has set these standards for facts and it’s been working pretty well for us for a few thousand years. It got us to the fuckin’ moon God’s sake. (If you don’t think that’s true I kind of wrote this article for you)
So no, there can’t really be alternative facts. A fact is a fact. If it’s something that can’t be proven empirically and objectively to be truth, then it’s an opinion.
Or a lie.
Thoughts, prayers, and good vibes to our readership.