Handling ‘the truth’

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“Some people can’t handle the truth… this is just scientific FACT”

I see this online all the time. It centres the person who is talking and is problematic for other reasons besides:

  1. ‘The truth’ is contextual, cultural and subtextual. Fundamentally, one truth doesn’t exist. Views, opinions, experiences, identities will always impact how we create, share and understand information.
  2. Hanging on to steadfast ‘truths’ closes off the exploration of new information, understanding and advancement. These truths, historically, have been used to oppress and undermine people who are seen as ‘minorities.’ No one single group of people should own and control the narratives of truth.
  3. Science is a continually advancing field, we don’t know anywhere near as much as we could do about ourselves, the world, and the universe. That’s why the field is growing bigger and getting more momentum. The more we know the more we realise we don’t know.
  4. The word ‘fact’ comes up alot in debates about the existence of groups of people. As if anthropology, social construction, identity and community are not also based in reality. Why would science (or what the person who wields this saying around knows of science) be more important or more ‘factually correct’ than the person they’re talking about or engaging with?

Fundamentally, statements like these don’t factor who gets to decide what is fact and what is fiction. They’re not based in fact or truth (whatever those things may mean). They’re usually based in fear, intolerance and anger.

People can share their truth in a way which isn’t demeaning, belittling or bigoted. They can also keep it to themself, that’s allowed too. FACT.

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