The difference between a belief and a fact

Greetings from the Couch
Sep 25 · 2 min read

I’ve noticed beliefs and facts are becoming interchangeable in public discourse. Politicians say they don’t believe in Climate Change or Global Warming. Some people believe the world is only 6000 years old. And I believe my cat will make me a banana milkshake tomorrow morning.

This is Pixel. He’s my cat.

However, facts (and science) work differently. Facts can be confirmed by different individuals. They are repeatable. Even if you don’t believe in them.

So the fact is, my cat doesn’t have opposable thumbs to pick up a banana. He doesn’t know what a banana is. And regardless, I don’t own a food processor, so my belief is easily disproved, even the night before.

On the other hand, it’s a fact that my cat attempts to wake me up between 0400 and 0600 every morning. I’ve consistently observed this behaviour over his 10 years of life, since he was brought to my house in mid 2009 wrapped up in a yellow towel. Not only that, it’s a verifiable, repeatable fact that the closer to December we get (FYI, Australian summer occurs between November and March each year, the opposite to the northern hemisphere), the earlier Pixel tries to wake me up.

There’s also a correlation — an event that happens to coincide but may or may not cause an effect — with Pixel’s attempts to rouse me to feed him breakfast. As the sun’s brightness increases, birds begin to sing. These birds could wake Pixel, who then attempts to wake me for his breakfast. However, without observing the birds and Pixel’s waking state, I can only say this is a possibility. I can believe it, but I can’t say it’s a fact.

But I invite you, the reader, to perform such an observation on your own pets if you desire.

Next up in Flaw & Order:

Well that escalated fast — adventures in philosophy

Flaw & Order

Putting the “What” in “WTF”

Greetings from the Couch

Written by

Really not a neural network enhanced instabot from the nastiest burrows of the darknet. (also do chai reviews on @melbournechai )

Flaw & Order

Putting the “What” in “WTF”

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