In the winter or spring of 1973, I attended a required lecture by Walter Cronkite, the anchor of CBS Evening News and “the most trusted man in America.” At the end of each broadcast he said “And that’s the way it is.” I was 31yearsoldand I believed him. Again, it was a required lecture. I was lucky attendance was required.
During the lecture Mr. Cronkite spoke about different coverage of the same event by different reporters from different newspapers and networks (mainly we had ABC, CBS, and NBC – Fox wasn’t around). His point was that all sources were biased, not intentionally, but biased nevertheless because reporting was relaying the interpretation of events. Flash forward 44 years to today. The “news” is arriving from all directions, oftentimes from people with unproven credentials in print, broadcast, and the web.
On June 30, 1905, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” was published in German and mathematics. The author was A. Einstein. It introduced the Principle of Relativity and debunked luminiferous aether. I read it in an “approved” English translation of the German. Printed out, the document is 24 pages. Have you read it? If yes, did you understand it? In this case, it is not important because a distinguished scientific community accredited it.
On April 10, 1898, “Electronically Induced Nuclear Fusion of Deuterium” was published in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. This paper generated excitement because of the promise of a tremendous potential energy source for the world. In simple terms, deuterium is an isotope (not a baseball player) of hydrogen. When two deuterium atoms fuse together to make a helium atom, energy is released. In gross terms, this is sort of what is happening in the sun.
Dateline Santa Fe, May 23, 1989, “Conference on Cold Fusion Told of Failure to Find Key Byproducts.” At the conference, sponsored by the Department of Energy and the Los Alamos National Laboratory and attended by over 500 people, cold fusion as described in the article cited above was “debunked.” As an aside, the authors of the paper did not attend.
Have you read the cold fusion paper? Should you (or we) invest in refining the process? In this case it is not important because a distinguished scientific community debunked it.
In June 17, 2017, an article titled “Poll of Rural Americans show deep cultural divide with urban centers” was published by the Washington Post and subsequently syndicated by the Santa Fe New Mexican. Based on a poll conducted by The Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation, the article presents interpretations of the poll and draws conclusions that have not been vetted by an accredited body. Have you read the article? Have you read the poll data itself? It is probably not important because, while interesting to some, the potential impact is very small other than a casual debate over a cup of coffee. Or is it?
In Part Two of this extended post, three other documents will be considered:
- The Constitution of the United States (19 pages)
- The Communist Manifesto (38 pages)
- The Paris Agreement (25 pages)
Have you read them? (Links are shown in the footnotes.) Did (do) you understand them? And how do they affect the List of 18?