Sunday, November 24, 2019

Are your pants flammable or inflammable?

First of all, flammable and inflammable do not mean the same thing. If your pants are flammable, it means they can be set to fire, such as a piece of wood. However, inflammable means that your pants are capable of bursting into flames without the need for any ignition. The opposite of both words is non-flammable.

Is it ever OK to lie? What about when under oath? What about during wartime?

Most people would say that lying is bad. I remember studying Immanuel Kant while at PURDUE and it was thought that lying is always ALWAYS unacceptable and wrong. Like you should never, ever lie. Period.

So how about:
  1. You lie to your wife or husband, to get them to a location where there shall be a surprise birthday party waiting for them.
  2. A young child was in a terrible accident. Their parents have been killed in the crash, but the child is unaware of this. The child is barely conscious, as they ask about their parents. The attending physician says they are OK - but the physician intends to tell the child the truth once they are stronger and more stable. 
  3. A woman's husband drowned in a car accident when the car plunged off a bridge. It was clear from the physical evidence that the husband desperately tried to get out of the car, and died a terrible death. At the hospital, the wife asks the attending physician what kind of death her husband suffered. The physician says: he died immediately from the impact, he did not suffer.
  4. I am negotiating for a new car. The salesperson asks me what is the maximum I am prepared to pay for the new car. I say $30,000 when I would really pay $35,000.
  5. A woman interviewing for a job she desperately needs is asked if she intends to have children. She knows that such a question is none of their business, and possibly illegal to ask, she lies and says that she does not intend to have a family. 
  6. Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, lying to an SS officer.
I could make a longer list. And I am sure that really smart people can give compelling reasons why even with really good reasons - it is never, ever OK to lie. 

Liar Liar is a 1997 comedy film with Jim Carrey who plays a crooked lawyer Fletcher Reede. Through the magic of the movie, Fletcher realizes that he cannot lie - he can ONLY speak the truth at all times, no matter what. Think about a lawyer unable to ask questions if confident of a false response. The movie is funny because the premise of an attorney who CANNOT LIE is so absurd.

Anyone watch the impeachment hearings this week? 

Perjury, the crime of not "telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is a serious offense because it can derail the basic goal of the justice system - the goal of discovering the truth. Is a lie by omission still a lie? Paltering, or using truth as misdirection is considered to be just as ethically rotten as telling a bald-faced lie. 

Science is based on truth. Medicine is based on truth. Our entire society is based on identifying and defending - the truth. STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math stops working, if we do not defend the truth. 

The video below is going viral on the Internet this week. It is worth watching - try to fit it into your Thanksgiving break. I am not a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen the actor, comedian, screenwriter, director and film producer. But I think I would like to shake his hand and buy him a beer. 

As we enter Thanksgiving Week here in the USA, I think we should be truly thankful that we are even allowed to watch this video without living in fear of retribution. I still believe with all my heart that the USA is the greatest country in the world.

But I also believe that we are still a work in progress. We can do better, and we shall do better. We get the leadership we vote for so VOTE! And, we also vote with "our money" when at the store, or online. 

Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the International Leadership Award 
at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now Summit.

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