Real News and #FakeNews

After the terrorist attack which took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on May 22, a satire blog, Scrappleface published a post with the following headline: Youth Issues Cry for Help from Manchester Arena. Being satire, this is obviously “fake news”.

The reason the entire post is darkly hilarious, though, is not because there is anything funny about a terrorist attack, but that what is written in satire is so close to what actually gets published from major world news outlets. Take for example, a tweet on the same subject from the New York Times asking “What Led Salman Abedi To Bomb The Manchester Arena?” (archived at Weasel Zippers). Here we go again with the predictable “unanswerable” question about what the terrorist’s motive could have possibly been. For any sane person, the answer is clear. Although the main perpetrator may have had other “issues”, there was one obvious answer as to what his guiding principles were here.

No wonder that more and more people consider the New York Times, et al., no better than silly internet satire sites, and for all the furor that has been going on about #fakenews, it really would help if these “real news” sites would stop publishing things as ridiculous than silly internet satire sites.

The War on Reality

I suppose that things like this “The newest thing deemed totally RAAAAACIST by the Marxist Morons? Science!” shouldn’t be surprising anymore. I can’t say “surprise” was the immediate reaction I had to this.

Then again, when, already back in the 1960s, we started getting drug-inspired mumbo-jumbo quasi-religious poppycock filling the airwaves with the idea that there is no such thing as reality, I really am not surprised. Take for example, the Beatles’ song “Rain”

I can show you that when it rains or shines
it’s just a state of mind…

or Donovan’s “There is a Mountain”.

First, there is a mountain
Then there is no mountain, then there is…

Now, I am not doubting the power of the mind and its untapped potential. As an Orthodox Christian, I am in awe of stories even of modern-day ‘mystics’, such as Elder Porphyrios who seemed to be able to know things about people without having met them before, and could communicate with others from a distance (sans telephone). The difference here is that this is not a denial of reality, but an augmentation of it. But when the Beatles sing about rain or shine being a ‘state of mind’, please demonstrate that if one walks out into a rainstorm, he doesn’t get wet.

Science is a discipline that is supposed to add to the human experience by observing reality and then basing judgments on this, in theory for the betterment of humankind. Many people see science and religion as opposing each other, but in fact, their purpose is not the same, nor do they ask the same questions. In both cases, one ought to be on the search for truth. Science may not be able to explain a lot that is understood as ‘religious experience’, but then again, there are tons of scientific questions that have been answered and now seem elementary that remained mysteries for thousands of years. For example, we don’t necessarily see germs, but even children are taught not to do certain things to avoid sharing and spreading germs, whereas just a couple of centuries ago, this was not understood at all. But yet, it seems like a step back into the dark ages to proclaim that just because a scientific fact may be ‘hurtful’ to someone’s sensibilities, the whole world ought to revert to a rejection of what really is.