Hi, Orf. What fills your mind these days?
After interrogating Jesus, Pilate asked: “What is truth?” Good question these days.
That question has troubled philosophers forever.
I probably can get a simpler answer to what is a lie.
You could check Webster’s.
Noah writes a lie is: “A falsehood uttered or acted for the purpose of deception.”
Sadly, that seems fairly common these days.
The definition contains two parts: first is the falsehood, second is the purpose of deception.
Interesting, so merely making a false statement is not enough for a lie.
Yes, a falsehood can be a misstatement of fact or an error.
When I read in the paper that windmills cause cancer that isn’t necessarily a lie.
No, it’s merely an error or incorrect statement.
But if I’m shown it’s an error by a scientist or other expert, and then to repeat it to deceive someone, that’s a lie.
How about if a president claims: “We have the best unemployment rate and employment numbers. We have the best numbers we’ve ever had in our country.” That is a hyperbole. But when it’s repeated 37 times to deceive voters, it’s a lie.
How about wages?
The president has said 76 times: “Wages are up for the first time in many, many years, decades, decades.” This is a lie since he has been told: “Actually, wages began a steady increase in 2014 but for many workers were stagnant in 2017, Trump’s first year in office.”
So that was a lie since it meets both parts of the requirement.
But Trump did give us the biggest tax cut in history. He has said it 181 times, so it must be true. It was bigger than Ronald Reagan’s.
Nope. The tax cut was eventually crafted to be the equivalent of 0.9 percent of the gross domestic product, making it the eighth-largest tax cut in 100 years. He keeps repeating it as an applause line, which makes it a humdinger of a lie.
How about the inauguration?
That is when we learned it was going to be a bumpy ride.
It began with a claim by Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The White House began calling the National Park Service on Jan. 21, 2017, pursuing better pictures.
Nothing wrong with that.
Not until The Guardian reported the White House staff ordered a government photographer to edit official pictures of Donald Trump’s inauguration “to make the crowd appear bigger following a personal intervention from the president.”
So a deliberate deception makes an error into a lie.
You got it?
How about people repeating “alternative facts?”
A fact is a thing known to be consistent with objective reality. Basically, if everyone agrees on something they simultaneously observe, that’s a fact. An alternative fact is a demonstrable falsehood. If it’s repeated in order to deceive, it is then a lie.
So, when someone repeats “alternative facts,” that’s lying.
So there are lies, damn lies, and alternative facts.