Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Subject: Facts vs Interpretations
One Anthrax Truther did actually argue that misspelling "PENACILIN" on the first anthrax letter and misspelling "Isreal" on the Assaad letter indicated that they were written by the same person. That Truther also argues that many hoax letters mailed during the past decade were also sent by the same person - because some similarities in syntax can be observed, even if there is no similarity in the handwriting.
Another Anthrax Truther argues that it is a fact that al Qaeda is known to be interested in weaponizing anthrax, therefore they must have been behind the anthrax attacks of 2001.
These Truthers are looking at facts, but they are interpreting (or rationalizing or twisting) those facts to fit their beliefs. If you ask why the culprit misspelled "Isreal" on the Assaad letter but spelled it correctly on the anthrax letters, he would probably rationalize that the culprit learned to spell the word correctly in the years between the two incidents. And, he'd defy you to prove otherwise.
Other Truthers point to the fact that there was a conspiracy involving the President of the United States to cover up the truth about the Watergate break-in during the Nixon administration. And the Truthers interpret that fact as evidence that there is currently a conspiracy involving the President to cover up whatever it is that the Truthers want to believe happened regarding 9/11, the anthrax attacks, the landings on the moon, the JFK assassination, etc., etc., etc.
Of course, the FBI and everyone else also interpret the facts. The difference is: Truthers only look at the facts they can interpret/twist/rationalize to fit their beliefs. When unbiased people discuss the facts to try to understand what really happened, they look at all the facts which support an argument and all the facts which dispute an argument, and the base their findings on what seems most logical.
It's not logical that only one person on earth can misspell "PENACILIN," "Isreal" and "anthracks" and therefore that person must have been behind all three crimes.
It's not logical that because al Qaeda had a motive that they must have sent the anthrax letters, even if a mountain of facts say otherwise.
Interpretations aren't the same as beliefs. People usually understand that their interpretations can be wrong, and they're usually open to hearing other interpretations. But, people who believe they are right are generally not open to other interpretations or beliefs. Too often, they aren't even open to viewing new facts.