How to Tell Who’s Lying
These simple tips can help anyone sort the
probable truth-tellers from the deceivers.
Op-ed for New Years 2022 by David Coppedge
In my 22 years as editor of Creation-Evolution Headlines, I’ve seen a lot of controversial topics in science come through the news lines. By following the outcome of a controversy over years, one gains some savvy about identifying honest seekers from deceivers. We don’t call someone a “liar” who doesn’t have enough facts to know a subject; we reserve it for those who do know the facts but say the opposite with ulterior motives. I hope these three tips help tune your Baloney Detector for a wild ride of news coming in 2022.
Massaging the Messaging
Today’s media focus is not on truth. It’s on “messaging” – the art of presenting one’s message effectively. It’s like the packaging of a product. Messaging is an important skill to develop, but it should only matter after one has a truth to tell. Otherwise, it becomes propaganda. Honest people respect a poorly-presented truth over a masterfully-presented lie, just like preferring a clean candy in a brown wrap over a beautifully gift-wrapped piece of crud.
It’s amazing how a good marketer or sophist can take any proposition, no matter how absurd or wrong, and make it attractive. Try it some time for your own amusement. Debaters are trained how to do this by being assigned either or both sides of a resolution. It’s the bread and butter of lawyers; Greek sophists prided themselves on the ability to play either side equally well, even defending those they knew were guilty, because they denied the existence of truth. They would have snickered approvingly of Thumb’s Second Postulate, “An easily understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.”
Note: A guilty defendant in American law has a right to representation. An honest defense attorney can fulfill that role to ensure that all laws and rights are faithfully represented without distortion, that any mitigating circumstances are heard, and that the defendant has his fair day in court and at the sentencing hearing. The attorney knowing the defendant is guilty is not a “liar” in the sense meant here if everything he says is true and balanced.
As they laugh their way to the bank, ancient and modern sophists don’t care that the proposition “there is no truth” is self-refuting: if it were true, the proposition would be false. They believe it because they don’t. But they might continue laughing on their way to the bank with the Murphyism, “Hey, everybody lies, but it doesn’t matter, because nobody listens.” Well, well. One self-refuting statement deserves another: if that were true, then they are lying that everybody lies.
It’s obviously no good trying to use logic on such people who have reckless disregard for the truth. It is up to us, the perceptive readers and listeners, to learn how to sniff a rat even when it is not obvious. Here are my tips gained from watching the creation-evolution controversy for decades now.
Watch for the Censors
Liars don’t want to debate; they want to message. Today’s spokespersons for science increasingly strive for unanimity about what “the science says.” And with the aid of Big Media and Big Tech, they are achieving forced unanimity in more alarming ways than ever before, even at the cost of reputations and human lives.
It was stunning to me in my 2010-2012 JPL controversy (see Evolution News) that my opponents who were determined to oust me refused to look at the primary evidence. They got this notion that “Dave is pushing religion” into their heads, and would not examine what I had shared to see if it was true. I would hold up the DVD of Unlocking the Mystery of Life and challenge them, “Show me the religion. Where is it?” I gave it to the HR lady. I gave it to her boss. I gave it to my boss, and his boss. I gave it to the Ombudsman and to the Ethics Officer. I gave it to JPL’s lawyers; the DVD was among the essential trial exhibits. Not a single one of these people, as far as I know, ever watched the DVD. Even my primary accuser testified that she fast-forwarded through it and decided it had a “religious message” but could not point out, under cross-examination, what that message was. We had hoped to show the DVD in court, but when JPL’s lawyers objected, the judge promised to watch it on his own time. He never indicated that he did watch it. Here was the key piece of evidence of the whole trial, and nobody on the opposite side examined it! My naive notions of people of goodwill wishing to learn the truth took a beating that year.
In the years since 2000 when I started CEH, I have seen the Darwin Party, with rare exceptions, engaged in two strategies: ignore Darwin skeptics when possible, and censor them otherwise. Ask the folks at the Discovery Institute, who are forced to disseminate their sophisticated and valuable information outside the mainstream Big Science empire. The Darwin bigots learned long ago that debates hurt their cause, because they kept losing, so they slammed the door on debating the scientific evidence for or against design or Darwinism, and went into One-Party Rule. It’s Darwin Pravda 24 x 7 now. Can you name one Big Science journal that ever favorably cites Dr Michael Behe (tenured PhD biochemistry professor), Dr Stephen Meyer (two PhDs), Dr Jonathan Wells (two PhDs), Dr A.E. Wilder-Smith (three PhDs) on matters concerning Darwinian evolution? Then they turn around and say that proves that ID has no merit or else they would publish! What a scam. Almost every time there is a passing reference to intelligent design by any scientist, the Darwin Party raises an outcry and the journal is forced to retract it, or else the editor is censored or fired, as happened with Dr Richard Sternberg.
In the old USSR, the poor Soviet citizens only knew the existence of alternative news from Radio Free Europe or Voice of America broadcasts, which were promptly jammed by the regime. What does that tell you about the confidence of the Soviet leaders in their own beliefs? If their communist ideology were so obviously true, if it were really the heart’s desire of the working man, what were they afraid of? They knew the promise of a worker’s paradise was a lie, but the pigs had power and wanted more. They wanted to spread their miserably failed system around the whole world with the Communist International—the comintern. The Darwin Party is the new comintern, with an iron grasp on Big Media, Big Law, Big Hollywood, Big Education, the National Park Service and most natural history museums, in addition to Big Science. You will get their “science” and only their “science,” and you will like it. Better regurgitate the expected Darwinist answers on science tests, or you will be flunked.
Note: By “Big Science” etc., we are not slighting the many individual scientists who do good, sound, honorable work. We mean the leadership: those who presume to “speak for science” like journal editors, lobbyists, bureaucrats and censors. It’s like the often-corrupt “Big Labor” leadership lobby presuming to represent hard-working laborers.
Contrast that with CEH. Almost every article in 22 years that mentions Darwinism uses our opponents’ best material. We take on their Goliaths. We quote Nature, Science, PNAS, and all the leading Big Science journals. So does every major creation ministry, and the intelligent design communities. We want to debate the evidence. We want people to hear both sides. Give us your best shot. Respond to our evidence and arguments. The rare exceptions where both sides had a hearing on the same stage (e.g., Ham vs Nye, Dover) become selectively edited by the Darwin Party and twisted into fodder for the TalkOrigins dobermans who dress up selected quotes to dismiss the need for any further discussion. As you know by now, one of our lead content contributors, Dr Jerry Bergman, has documented three good-sized volumes of unilateral actions by Darwinists to slaughter the careers of, silence, and censor Darwin Skeptics. Then he was censored by them himself! These people are vicious and intolerant.
So that is the first and major clue to detect liars: Watch for the censors. Darwinists are not the only ones doing this in science. In the last few years there have been increasing efforts to define “official narratives” for the media, and to censor others. Look at this example regarding Covid-19 policy: Dr Peter McCollough, interviewed in American Thought Leaders by the Epoch Times (12/30/21), is a 40-year insider in health care policy, clinical trials, vaccinations, publications, collaborations with world health leaders, in addition to patient care and specializations in cardiology and nephrology. He has been astonished at the inexplicable policies of the FDA and NIH regarding Covid-19. For another example, listen to Dr Robert Malone, one of the leading inventors of RNA vaccines, also highly published in the journals. Because his advice differs from the official “vaccinate-everybody” narrative, he has been censored from LinkedIn and now Twitter without explanation or justification. Those are Soviet-style tactics. Malone and McCullough are not alone; there are hundreds of healthcare professional skeptical of the “mainline narrative” coming from the current administration and bureaucracy who are being ignored and censored. Some have had to get their own website to get around the censors. The media give all the attention to Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins, whose conflicts of interest regarding Wuhan and Big Pharma are highly disturbing.
Note: I am naturally skeptical of alternative medicines and conspiracy theories, because I know there are quacks and charlatans a-plenty making claims on the internet. These men are not quacks. They are leaders in their fields with hundreds of publications, including textbooks, to their credit, and lifetimes of service. McCullough cites papers and statistics and names of top health leaders he knows from the top of his head; he has been lead author on many key papers with dozens of colleagues. He knows conferences and policy debates that usually precede national guidelines. He has never seen anything like this before, where one narrative is pushed and others are censored, and where hospitals do not even try to advertise new treatments or seek to become centers of excellence.
You might know of other instances of media censorship in favor of consensus. You might find some about mask-wearing, lockdowns, social distancing. You might find them in discussions of CRT and “systemic racism.” You see it in messaging about climate change. It’s always the same: ignore when possible, censor otherwise. Isn’t it odd that the same people committed to this behavior have a lot in common? Usually it includes Darwinists, political leftists, globalists, and communists.
Prior to the censorship, there often comes a period of name-calling: “anti-vaxxer!” (applying that label to McCullough and Malone is laughable; they are vaccine creators and specialists. And note: I am not anti-vax either; I had both Pfizer shots as soon as they were available. Asking questions about a particular vaccine or vaccination policy is not being “anti”-vax; the term is being used as a slur.) So insert a third strategy: ignore, demonize, censor. Watch for that behavior, and you have a pretty good clue who is lying.
Watch for the Parrots
For amusement, watch this montage that Tucker Carlson put together showing liberal-media newscasters reporting about the border crisis in 2019. Just the first three minutes is sufficient. Another was made in 2019 by Greg Gutfeld (first two minutes). These are two of many I have seen like it, where all the mainline media anchors parrot the same talking points, down to repeating the very words or phrases. It gives all the appearance of programmed groupthink, as if newscasters are being given a script to read. Such behavior is not conducive to the search for truth or freedom of inquiry. It implies intention to channel public opinion through repetition.
Darwinists do this all the time. They have positive boilerplate lingo about Darwin, and negative boilerplate lingo about intelligent design, which all the secular media outlets pull out as needed and parrot uncritically. When all the people on one side are giving the same talking points and words, that’s a clue there are motives other than truth seeking. Another common example today is calling everything and everybody “racist” as a means of shutting them up. And it was a dead giveaway that propaganda was at work when all the media and journals switched from “global warming” in the 1990s suddenly and uniformly to “climate change” in 2006, as if on cue, with no discussion or explanation.
Watch for the Escape Artists
We have had a number of lively Twitter debates over the past few years. Few are those who are able to (1) speak with civility or (2) stay on point. There are Twitter atheists out there with little more to do than set smoke bombs or fire their splatterguns loaded with TalkOrigins (MockOrigins, I call it) prefabricated ammo at creationists. You can tell when they pull up slides someone else made without making an argument or responding to a point. I will use cartoons or photos sometimes to augment a point, but these types use them as distractions so that they don’t have to think. Trying to stay on point with many of them is like trying to nail gelatin to a wall. Some of them will toss an irrelevant question my way instead of answering mine, and then claim I am dodging them – a sort of reverse projection, called gaslighting.
Some critics will nitpick a detail in one of our articles and zoom in on it, missing the point, as if focusing on a zit on a speaker’s face without listening to what he is saying. These are all marks of a liar who is unable to make a sound argument and defend it.
Only God can know the secret things in a man’s heart, but I have found these three clues helpful guides to judge who is being honest and who is not. Beware the censor who avoids a fair debate and only wants one side to be heard. Beware the parrot who repeats talking points ad nauseum without thinking. And beware the escape artist who cannot stick to a fair question and stay on point (or accuses you of that when he raises an irrelevant point). We’re likely to see many new examples in 2022.
In 2025, three years from now, the media will probably celebrate the Scopes Trial of 1925, the “trial of the century” that gave rise to the “Inherit the Wind” stereotype, one of the Darwin Party’s propaganda triumphs. (The real trial was vastly different from the play and movie.) Let’s work to get the truth out and turn the liars’ celebrations into fiascoes of shame, so that Big Science will learn from history never to try that strategy again, and will get back to science’s ideal of seeking the truth wherever the evidence leads, openly, transparently, and in full view of all the facts.