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and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)

By Tom Collingwood Ph.D., Catholic Stand, 20 July AD 2019

Tom CollingwoodIn reading or hearing the media discuss a particular issue a common term heard is “everybody knows” or “its common knowledge that” followed by some dogmatic statement on the issue. It is hard to tell, at times, if what is being presented is true or propaganda to support a particular position.

Mark Twain was quoted as saying “There are lies, damn lies and statistics”. This statement is often used to support the notion that statistics can be manipulated to support a viewpoint. Buying into that concept can make one quite the skeptic, especially when looking at an issue that one may not have any real background or knowledge.

Judging the Truth

When assessing media reporting of research especially that are hot button cultural issues such as homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion etc. (usually, anything involving sex and morals) conclusions and claims do not always stack up as being valid.

Being trained in the scientific method and conducting research studies over the years has given me a basic understanding of the nature of valid data collection and interpretation that is generic to any field of inquiry. When I observe media reports on a particular topic that “lens” is used to judge the validity of a given claim based on research data.