Are the facts "subjective", really?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I was actually perusing through the AP site to catch up on the last couple of days, being so busy and all. I had been watching and listening to the news off and on throughout the weekend, but it felt like I was missing something. It seemed to me, at least, that the violence level in Iraq has been reduced significantly. I was wondering if it was just the coverage of the President's passing, but it seemed I had that feeling since last week.



So, after finding only a couple of stories on Iraq, I began to search the internet for alternate sources. I, of coarse, searched google, it IS right there atop my browser, right? I was looking for a breakdown of deaths by month or maybe even day, to confirm my suspicions. I found very little but ran across this gem:



http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0417-02.htm



I knew that the info in this article could not be right, because my memory is not THAT bad, I hoped. After a couple of keystrokes I came upon this info:



http://members.aol.com/forcountry/kiamonth.htm



This info is apparently readily available and it was but a mere 3 weaks ago that the article was written. I have to ask is this the kind of sources that people get their info. I mean, this IMO is far worse than even saying "GWB lied" or that line of reasoning. Do people actually read this and just say "OK."?



Very concerning.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Can you be more specific about what the contradiction is? I looked, but didn't feel like sifting through all those data looking for what exactly you're talking about. Maybe you could quote the specific passage that is wrong from that Knight-Ridder article, and then the specific passage that refutes it in your link.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member




    You've linked to an article headlined "US deaths from enemy fire at highest level since Vietnam".



    Which they are. Did you think that that meant "as high as Vietnam?".
  • Reply 3 of 48
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,448member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    Can you be more specific about what the contradiction is? I looked, but didn't feel like sifting through all those data looking for what exactly you're talking about. Maybe you could quote the specific passage that is wrong from that Knight-Ridder article, and then the specific passage that refutes it in your link.



    I think it would be in reference to this statement...



    Quote:

    "This has been some pretty intense fighting," said David Segal, director of the University of Maryland's Center for Research on Military Organization. "We're looking at what happened during the major battles of Vietnam."



    According to the tables he posted, if this death rate continued throughout the entire month, it would likely match the death rate per month of one of the years where we were exiting or building up into Vietnam. It would be approximately 200-300% less than the numbers where major operations were occuring.



    So basically he is claiming the guy is a liar.



    Nick
  • Reply 4 of 48
    faust9faust9 Posts: 1,335member
    87deaths/14 days = approx 6.2 deaths/day. Extrapolate that over a month (months are not 4 weeks)



    For a 30 day month:

    6.2deaths/day X 30 days=approx. 186 deaths



    For a 31 day month

    6.2deaths/day X 31 days=approx. 193 deaths



    November 1971 was the last month to attain this statistic. Remember, the 87/14 was released in the middle of April (almost 8 weeks ago not a mere three weeks ago).



    So, what's your point? What inconsistency did you spot?



    If your looking for current casualty reports then good luck. This item has been in the news since the war began--The pentagon is not making war casualties readily available. The pentagon is not releasing injury reports an lumps death casualties into groups making month-to-month analysis tough.



    [edi] corrected October 71 to read Nov 71.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    I think it would be in reference to this statement...



    I don't know if this guy you quoted is referring specifically to numbers of casualties. He may just be referring to the fact that there's "heavy fighting." The specific numbers given later in the article seem accurate to me, and based on what faust has posted.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    naplesxnaplesx Posts: 3,743member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by faust9

    87deaths/14 days = approx 6.2 deaths/day. Extrapolate that over a month (months are not 4 weeks)



    For a 30 day month:

    6.2deaths/day X 30 days=approx. 186 deaths



    For a 31 day month

    6.2deaths/day X 31 days=approx. 193 deaths



    November 1971 was the last month to attain this statistic. Remember, the 87/14 was released in the middle of April (almost 8 weeks ago not a mere three weeks ago).



    So, what's your point? What inconsistency did you spot?



    If your looking for current casualty reports then good luck. This item has been in the news since the war began--The pentagon is not making war casualties readily available. The pentagon is not releasing injury reports an lumps death casualties into groups making month-to-month analysis tough.



    [edi] corrected October 71 to read Nov 71.




    Nice math, or interpretation or whatever.



    What if I said that the whole premise of the article is misleading.



    1. The stating "enemy fire" to describe the causes of deaths is using an extremely vague definition. If roadside bombs and terrorist suicide attacks are to be included then events like Beirut, Lebanon (303 dead, 161 injured) and even 9/11 (2993 dead, 8900 injured) both according to faust9 eponentially surpass the Vietnam war numbers . Extrapolate those figures for a week, month. Yikes.



    2. Numbers of total deaths are included to further muddy the water. Hostile fire deaths are somewhere around 600 and even then around 550 or so.



    That is why I have a problem with it.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    naplesxnaplesx Posts: 3,743member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by tonton

    ???



    I see one contradiction in the (widely distributed, known source) article as compared to the (unconfirmed, personal AOL site) table.



    The article says that over a single two week period in April of 1968, 752 soldiers died. Quoted source is the National Archives. The table says that in all of April, 1968, a total of 520 US soldiers died. Source is given as OSOD.



    But it's clear after a little research that the table data is completely inaccurate. In fact it's ridiculously inaccurate. According to that table, there were only 29,105 US deaths in Vietnam from 1966-1972. The actual number is closer to 54,000.



    But why this is significant, I have no idea. NaplesX completely out of ideas?



    So the answer to NaplesX's question: is this where we get our news, the answer is no. We don't get our news from AOL sites with inaccurate tables. Do you?




    The fact that the table I referred to is low as far as estimates, further drives my point home, at least for me. Maybe I am nuts.



    I am just a little surprised at the anger toward me. I did not attack anyone here, did I?



    I wasn't trying to.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    faust9faust9 Posts: 1,335member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by NaplesX

    Nice math, or interpretation or whatever.



    What if I said that the whole premise of the article is misleading.



    1. The stating "enemy fire" to describe the causes of deaths is using an extremely vague definition. If roadside bombs and terrorist suicide attacks are to be included then events like Beirut, Lebanon (303 dead, 161 injured) and even 9/11 (2993 dead, 8900 injured) both according to faust9 exponentially surpass the Vietnam war numbers . Extrapolate those figures for a week, month. Yikes.



    2. Numbers of total deaths are included to further muddy the water. Hostile fire deaths are somewhere around 600 and even then around 550 or so.



    That is why I have a problem with it.




    1. The knight-Ridder report mentioned the Beirut incident.



    Quote:

    From NaplesX Common Dreams article

    Since Vietnam, there was one attack on U.S. forces that inflicted a higher death toll than anything experienced since: 241 servicemen were killed in Beirut in 1983 when a suicide bomber from the Islamic group Hezbollah drove a truck full of explosives into their barracks.



    I had to extrapolate because you provided a link to a site that only provided monthly data, not week-by-week data. The Knight-Ridder article mentions a week-by-week comparison. Find a week-by-week run down for the Vietnam conflict if you want to dispute the claims on the Knight-Ridder article. I dare say the Knight-Ridder reporter has access to Lexis-Nexis so was able to get week-by-week data.



    So I ask again what is your point? The article is factually and analytically correct.



    2. Again what are you talking about?



    Quote:

    From the Common Dreams article which the original poster doesn't seem to have read

    The first part of April has been the bloodiest period so far for U.S. troops in Iraq. There were 87 deaths by hostile fire in the first 15 days of this month, more than in the opening two weeks of the invasion, when 82 Americans were killed in action.



    I used 14 days, so my math is a little off. Here I'll fix that.



    87/15=5.8



    5.8*30=174



    5.8*31=180



    PS. I did a NewsMax search using Iraq Casualties and this is the only hit: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2...10/12637.shtml . Oddly enough the NewsMax article stops at March. Why didn't they do a story in April when we saw the heaviest fighting? I tried Iraq heavy fighting as a search also and got no hits. I wonder which source of information is lacking...
  • Reply 9 of 48
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Its so obviouse and yet only Addabox noticed so far.



    You all must be able to tell by this guy's usual reasoning capacities that he meant this (to quote Addabox):
    Quote:

    You've linked to an article headlined "US deaths from enemy fire at highest level since Vietnam".



    Which they are. Did you think that that meant "as high as Vietnam?".



    Now it pretend he meant something else and there is a bunch of prevaricating and nit-picking while he tries to pretend that his innitial post was not the complete proof of great reading comprehension skills that it seems to be . . . for instance, the article mentions Beruit . . .um . . . but I guess that's not fair . . because it is near the end of the article . . .
  • Reply 10 of 48
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    I'm more interested in the question of whether the "facts" are "subjective." pfflam: did you see that piece in Harper's a while back (reprinted from Critical Inquiry or Criticism, I think) interrogating the postructuralist interrogation of facticity? It was a pretty remarkable essay.



    I'll look for a link.



    Cheers

    Scott
  • Reply 11 of 48
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by NaplesX

    I, of coarse, searched google...



    Too bad google can't teach basic english.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Yeah. Bruno Latour from Critical Inquiry. Here's the info:



    Latour, Bruno. "Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam." Harper's Apr2004, Vol. 308 Issue 1847, p15



    Article
  • Reply 13 of 48
    smirclesmircle Posts: 1,035member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by NaplesX



    Very concerning.




    I am totally outraged.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by midwinter

    Latour, Bruno. "Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam." Harper's Apr2004, Vol. 308 Issue 1847, p15



    I've got news for Bruno: It never had any.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    I've got news for Bruno: It never had any.



    I honestly wouldn't know, as I've only ever flipped through a few issues of the journal. The focus is not on Critique itself, but instead offers a meta-commentary on the state of "facts" in the world, since, after all, it is the lefties who used to say that facts were malleable and now, what with the Bush admin distorting them left and right, the left is forced to say that facts are facts are facts.



    Here's a key graph (the numbers are footnotes):



    Quote:

    What has critique become when a French general, no, a marshal of critique, namely, Jean Baudrillard, claims in a published book that the Twin Towers destroyed themselves under their own weight, so to speak, undermined by the utter nihilism inherent in capitalism itself?as if the terrorist planes were pulled to suicide by the powerful attraction of this black hole of nothingness?5 What has become of critique when a book that claims that no plane ever crashed into the Pentagon can be a bestseller? I am ashamed to say that the author was French too.6 Remember the good old days when revisionism arrived very late, after the facts had been thoroughly established, decades after bodies of evidence had accumulated? Now we have the benefit of what can be called instant revisionism. The smoke of the event has not yet finished settling before dozens of conspiracy theories begin revising the official account, adding even more ruins to the ruins, adding even more smoke to the smoke. What has become of critique when my neighbor in the little Bourbonnais village where I live looks down on me as someone hopelessly naïve because I believe that the United States had been attacked by terrorists? Remember the good old days when university professors could look down on unsophisticated folks because those hillbillies naïvely believed in church, motherhood, and apple pies? Well, things have changed a lot, at least in my village. I am now the one who naïvely believes in some facts because I am educated, while the other guys are too unsophisticated to be gullible: "Where have you been? Don't you know that the Mossad and the CIA did it?" What has become of critique when someone as eminent as Stanley Fish, the "enemy of promise" as Lindsay Waters calls him, believes he defends science studies, my field, by comparing the laws of physics to the rules of baseball?7 What has become of critique when there is a whole industry denying that the Apollo program landed on the moon? What has become of critique when DARPA uses for its Total Information Awareness project the Baconian slogan "Scientia est potentia"? Didn't I read that somewhere in Michel Foucault? Has knowledge-slash-power been co-opted of late by the National Security Agency? Has Discipline and Punish become the bedtime reading of Mr. Ridge (fig. 1)?

    Let me be mean for a second; what's the real difference between conspiracists and a popularized, that is a teachable version of social critique inspired by a too quick reading of, let's say, a sociologist as eminent as Pierre Bourdieu (to be polite I will stick with the French field commanders)? In both cases, you have to learn to become suspicious of everything people say because "of course we all know" that they live in the thralls of a complete illusio of their real motives. Then, after disbelief has struck and an explanation is requested for what is "really" going on, in both cases again it is the same appeal to powerful agents hidden in the dark acting always consistently, continuously, relentlessly. Of course, we in the academy like to use more elevated causes?society, discourse, knowledge-slash-power, fields of forces, empires, capitalism?while conspiracists like to portray a miserable bunch of greedy people with dark intents, but I find something troublingly similar in the structure of the explanation, in the first movement of disbelief and, then, in the wheeling of causal explanations coming out of the deep dark below. What if explanations resorting automatically to power, society, discourse, had outlived their usefulness and deteriorated to the point of now feeding the most gullible sort of critique?8 Maybe I am taking conspiracy theories too seriously, but it worries me to detect, in those mad mixtures of knee-jerk disbelief, punctilious demands for proofs, and free use of powerful explanation from the social neverland, many of the weapons of social critique. Of course conspiracy theories are an absurd deformation of our own arguments, but, like weapons smuggled through a fuzzy border to the wrong party, these are our weapons nonetheless. In spite of all the deformations, it is easy to recognize, still burnt in the steel, our trademark: Made in Criticalland.



  • Reply 16 of 48
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by midwinter

    I honestly wouldn't know, as I've only ever flipped through a few issues of the journal. The focus is not on Critique itself, but instead offers a meta-commentary on the state of "facts" in the world, since, after all, it is the lefties who used to say that facts were malleable and now, what with the Bush admin distorting them left and right, the left is forced to say that facts are facts are facts.



    I wasn't talking about the journal "Critique;" I didn't know it was a journal. By "critique" I just assumed he meant deconstructionist-type analysis. And as far as I'm concerned, that never had any credibility.



    But I liked the article - thanks for linking it. Next to our values, which are of course subjective, the most important things we have are facts. And I've never believed it was the realm of "the left," but rather the Christian new-agey Oprah-brainwashed angel-lovers. Kind of an odd collection of hardcore religious anti-evolutionists and pop-culture "Crossing Over" watchers.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    I wasn't talking about the journal "Critique;" I didn't know it was a journal. By "critique" I just assumed he meant deconstructionist-type analysis. And as far as I'm concerned, that never had any credibility.



    But I liked the article - thanks for linking it. Next to our values, which are of course subjective, the most important things we have are facts.




    And yet we have to interpret everything around us--and even what we consider a "fact" is historically determined.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by midwinter

    And yet we have to interpret everything around us--and even what we consider a "fact" is historically determined.



    How so? We progress in our knowledge, and sometimes we're just dead wrong. But that doesn't mean there's anything subjective about the truth itself, it just means that we have to appreciate the fact that we can be wrong.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    How so? We progress in our knowledge, and sometimes we're just dead wrong. But that doesn't mean there's anything subjective about the truth itself, it just means that we have to appreciate the fact that we can be wrong.



    Weeeeeelll.... Let's see.



    Hell, I don't know. Give me a fact and I'll show you how it's subjective.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    I'll give you two, including one softball.



    1. A simple historical fact: Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the US.

    2. The softball: If you are traveling 20 mph, and observe someone else who is traveling 40 mph, they will appear to you to be traveling 20 mph.
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