March 18, 2020

"If facts are the seeds..."


Text: "If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow."


Marcus said...

The Rachel Carson who is responsible for more deaths due to malaria than any other human being? No thanks


Bring back DDT and save lives

Yancey Ward said...

No surprise that was written by a woman.

This is me doing my rhhardin impression.

Yancey Ward said...

On Sanders continuing his campaign:

Sanders should continue his campaign for one fucking obvious reason- every "expert" on television says COVID-19 will kill a million old people. Joe Biden might be one of them.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Sheer blather.

Ann Althouse said...

It's a sign I see every day when I go out for my run. Someone decided it was the quote to install there.

I thought of rewriting it for coronavirus times: If facts are the virus that later produces knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the febrile body in which the virus must grow.

Something like that.

rhhardin said...

The facts are the male seed that goes into the female.

Ken B said...

I think this might be a deepity.

“If facts are the seeds, then words and sentences are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.”

“If facts are the seeds, then beliefs and imaginings are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.”

“If facts are the seeds, then hopes and wishes, prejudices and follies, inklings and intuitions are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.”

See? Easy.

Ken B said...

If facts are the seeds, mosquitoes are the soil in which malaria must grow.

Ken B said...

Tone deaf is a mild description
This is the same media that decided the initial travel ban was racist. They cannot, will not, grasp the substance nor the seriousness. They play puerile woke gotcha instead.

Two-eyed Jack said...

By the Law of Contraposition, "If the emotions and the impressions of the senses are not the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow, then facts are not the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom."

h said...

Emotions and impressions of the senses are the fertilizer: the right amount helps the plant to flourish; too much kills the plant.

Big Mike said...

No wonder Rachel Carson was such a lying idiot. If you would develop knowledge and especially if you would seek to develop wisdom, then you must carefully school yourself to ignore the "impressions of senses." Your senses will lie to you, and you must always be on the lookout for a reality that is at odds with the impressions of your senses.

And emotions are totally aligned against knowledge and wisdom.

bagoh20 said...

If facts are seed then Rachel Carson was a condom.

Mark O said...

This makes more sense:

It begins in a forest where the woodchucks woo, and the leaves wax green, and vines intertwine like lovers; try to see it. not with your eyes, for they are wise, but see it with your ears: the cool green breathing of the leaves. And hear it with the inside of your hand: the soundless sound of shadows flicking light.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow."

1. Facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom.
2. Emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the fact seeds must grow.


1 → 2

Fact 1: Rachel Carson got her facts wrong
Fact 2: Rachel Carson getting her facts wrong caused enormous harm

In me, learning these facts later produced the knowledge that much environmentalism is counterproductive BS and the wisdom to treat prog do-gooders with extreme skepticism.

My emotional aversion against malicious ignorance and predictably disastrous do-gooderism enabled these seeds to grow into a true allergy against all things prog.

Thanks, Rachel!

Two-eyed Jack said...

Mark O, you are a young and callow fellow.

bagoh20 said...

If facts are seeds, then questions are flowers, explorers honeybees, and data the pollen.

Two-eyed Jack said...

If wishes were trees, the trees would be falling.
Listen to reason, the season is calling.

Kevin said...

From a recent Althouse post:

"Knowledge is not just up to you, it requires the cooperation of the world beyond you."

Bay Area Guy said...

Fact 1: California has about 39 Million people.

Fact 2: California has 13 Coronavirus deaths.

Fact 3: Leading causes of deaths in California in 2017
1. Heart Disease: 63,000
2. Cancer: 60,000
3, Stroke: 16,000
4. Alzheimer's: 16,000
5. Chronic lower respiratory disease: 14,000
6. Accidents: 14,000
7. Diabetes: 9,500
8. Influenza/pneunmonia: 6,300
9. Hypertension: 5,600
10. Liver Disease: 5,300

Rory said...

On-time delivery is the soil.

Big Mike said...

Fact 2: Rachel Carson getting her facts wrong caused enormous harm

But only to Africans and Latin Americans. No one she much cared about.

bagoh20 said...

If facts are seeds, birds are really smart.

Narayanan said...

Who is going to dig the hole, who is going to put them in the hole,
Who is going to water them

Asking for Mike Bloomberg

Ken B said...

So your argument is, that because heart disease kills so many, no infectious disease is worth worrying about?
I know you will deny that is your argument, but it is your argument none the less. This is because you could cite those same figures at the beginning of any outbreak. Bubonic plague for example, or the Spanish Flu. They started with a few deaths too, right? So your argument is just exactly as valid against covid as against the Black Death. That should suggest to you that maybe your argument isn’t as good as you think, that maybe there is a hole.

Char Char Binks said...

If ifs and butts were fruits and nuts

Char Char Binks said...

Ken, you seem to be assuming that you know the future trajectory of Covid-19 infections. You do not. You have a hole, and it stinks.

Why don’t we shut down the world every time someone dies from the flu, which is several times a day, thousands per year? Someone sneezes from Kung Flu, a few nursing home residents die, and the Dems want to shut down everything until Election Day.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Ken B,

I have made no argument. I have planted facts, like seeds:)

Lewis Wetzel said...

The word "fact" has an interesting history. It wasn't used much before the 17th century. Before then, people spoke of "truth." The difference is important, a truth is something arrived at by reason. A fact is something arrived at by observation. A truth has a vital human component. Humans create or arrive at a truth. A fact is something that exists outside of human awareness or interaction. We acknowledge truths, we observe facts.

Ken B said...

“Ken, you seem to be assuming that you know the future trajectory of Covid-19 infections. You do not. You have a hole, and it stinks.”

No. I am assuming no one knows the future trajectory. It’s precisely because the trajectory is up for grabs that makes it an issue. But I do “assume” there is strong reason to fear exponential growth and a pandemic. I “assume” that the same way I “assume” that aspirin causes stomach bleeding: because the experts tell me so, and because they have evidence they show me. So, since that is a serious possibility I support temporary measures to curtail it.

eddie willers said...

Though I kinda agree with you BAG, just remember what Bart Simpson said:

What's it called?
Once again

But Main Street's still all cracked and broken
Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken

Bay Area Guy said...

Planting facts as seeds for my Texas flowers:

Fact 1: Texas has a population of 29 Million.

Fact 2: No, of Coronavirus deaths in Texas: 1


No argument, or editorializing, just mere facts.

PresbyPoet said...

What is truth?
What are facts?
We name things, as though we understand.
Dark matter, Dark energy.

We call things colds. Some kill.
We call things flu. Some kill.
We call things cancer. Some kill.
We fight wars. Some die.

We must learn what we don't know, but we never know, what we don't know.
I have a physics textbook from 1910, used at UC Berkeley. Full of knowledge. Full of ignorance.
We name things, as though we understand. Wuhan flu. Corona virus.Chinese virus. Corvid 19. Wuhan 19. Wuhan 400. All we do is name our ignorance. "Here be dragons".

We have a 100 year old globe. Antarctica is included. It is wrong. We humans are very good at seeing patterns. Some are correct. Confirmation bias is real. Smart people can join cults. Scientology, Jim Jones, the SLA, social justice, environmentalism, Charles Manson, Islam, Mormons. They promise truth. The more certain we are, the harder to find the truth.
What is truth?

Facts are slippery. What is the expansion rate of the universe? What is time? How many have died from Wuhan 19 in America? The parable of the blind men and the elephant is a useful reminder of our ignorance. Remember ignorance is curable if you admit you don't know.
What is truth?

Quaestor said...

What a verbose way to say nothing.

Lewis said...

Morning Happiness

Oh, in the heart of Hell - or, a voyeur
Staring at what is impossible – happiness.
Somewhat numb, glad for an unfeeling,
Hoping to make this just a dream – then
I’ll wake up, open the curtains, stare at what was
Once my life. I’ll be tortured by hope,
Begin, again, to say the words “I love you.”

Lewis said...


Trying To Listen

“Take the opportunity to listen”
And, though all the chords
Had forced their disgust,
I tried: but there was merely
A laziness, a fallacy of sound
Which toured that mid-ear
Of safe distrust, of distance kept
Because no distance could be understood.
So it was presumed we began
With only an undisciplined cry
And, searching for that word,
The ‘honest genuine’, the strict
Discipline was ‘do not try’.
Those ‘triers’ who where impotent
And strange and finally excluded.

Lewis said...


Merely A Poem

Alone but for the involuntary
Company of tinnitus,
the ghost of wall, floor, ceiling,
Once again a silence dividing
The drowned and the stranded.
behind only brutal hope, The thousand humiliations
Of a world expected, taken for granted:
A love that’s merely a poem?

Lewis said...



Being There

The malady of being there.
That particular faltering step
Towards what? A covert neon
Or the moon, eclipse of the night.
Like those long roads of understanding
At the end of which only a fields
Grubby grass, the twitch of a tree,
Broken and misplaced alien nature.

Rather, on the obdurate pavement,
Ones feet grooved to a steady tread,
Here in the town is one truly alone:
Anonymous with the anonymous,
Destructive with the destructive -
Out there another world, ejected ghost
Of a field that haunts our want
Of substance, useless to intrude upon.

Lewis said...


All We Have


What was given was not what was expected:
The hour in the dust, the snow melted,
And the streams dry: something more intelligent:
Wild meadow, a thousand flowers,
The overbearing noise of birds,
The useless, therefore, unsaid words,
Our bodies searching into silence
An attempt to forget, your smile
At a weight the world had pressed upon you
Wondering if you were dead.
I wondered if I was dead.
We asked whether we could live
After such insult, such injury.
An answer, tentative, to desperately sought,
Demanded of but there if we allow.
We are reluctant to live once more
Yet it is no longer our decision.
We can only die again.


The vague questions that bore us forward
They are still there. If words no longer answer
Then our hands continue to.
Over what does the world have power?
Not us, my love, not us.
We always walk beyond, together.


Come forward where there is light, let me see:
For I could not see but had a feeling
Of dread, as if a ghost might ask me
If this were not death, as if you could
No longer answer, were gone, had gone.
Amidst the woods the darkness terrifies.

Hold my hand, come into the light.
Yet still I cannot see you and all I grasp
Is your hand. If the stars are not enough
They are all we have. Do you not see?

Earnest Prole said...

Here’s Scott Adams’ version of this concept, loosely transcribed:

“The truth is not as useful as it should be because it doesn’t change people’s minds.”

“The job of politics is to change people’s minds, their hearts, their emotions, what they care about.”

“The types of things the President has said that don’t pass fact checking are almost always emotionally true.”

“There is an emotional and directional truth to what Trump says that’s independent of the facts being completely wrong.”

Lurker21 said...

If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.

Very mid-20th century, very Age of the Crisis of Man. For better or worse, people don't write or talk like that anymore. Today, people get impatient with those who still talk with that oracular "I know secret things you don't" tone.

If facts are the virus that later produces knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the febrile body in which the virus must grow.

So facts, knowledge, and wisdom can kill those whose immune system isn't working?

Could be.

Fortunately most people have acquired an immunity to that stuff.

Rosa Marie Yoder said...

"Besides, as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect."

So penned Jonathan Swift long ago.

Lewis said...


Yes, you may say: “I am nothing.”
That “ ‘Now’ is all I will ever be.”
Yet the earth wills otherwise:
There is death and though you fill
Your days with faithless action,
The endless mantra of a common ‘No!’,
Such wanted dis-appearance
Is only edge, a crescent glimmer
Of what is always dark,
Innocent, tragic, affirmed.
Life, which needs no knowing,
Lives you without you.

Lewis said...


The jacket of some dead, left handed chap -
And, now, soiled, unlaundered, wet with the rain,
A fantastic imposition on the neat
Courtesies of these reserved Durham streets -
Neither with the safe and unassumed
(Because there!) reassured flow of learning
Nor with the native anger - ‘a tramp,
Beaten by brooms’. Unsure because unrefered.

Lewis said...


The Whale And Parrot
For Anna
“All the cod is gone! “
B.B.C. World Service.


A big fish eat me
But there are no fish in the sea
And God will tell you who is right and who is wrong.
A big fish eat me but there are no fish in the sea
And the world will tell you who is right and who is wrong.
Jonah died, was born again, lived back to tell
Who was right and who was wrong.
And the world, did it end, did it begin?
A big fish eat me but there are no fish in the sea.

Lewis said...


What, in the schematic muddle .of it all,
The stars, the broken galaxies, the effluent
Of no-thing, what began or ended at
This point and at this point, the fallacy
Of forgetting or of being here or there,
Something which said “I love…” and forgot what
It was it loved: and to love! , to begin and
Again! A wish, perhaps, a child’s
Broken Sunday, thinking “Here, alone,
There will be someone that sees.”
Expecting that gladness of recognition
Which, of course, fails -here to there
And only the indecision, the amused surprise
Of a face you’d wish you’d remember.
The earth, the taste played by the mouth
Of a child alone and wanting, wanting
I know not what. Though he fights away
The blasphemy of being ‘one’ , it can only
Be fear, the ‘fiery blush’ , the desire
Not to be only Other.

Lewis said...


What begins, the force before it begins,
Grunt, inhuman human folly
Of taking a moment (and you forget which)
As sacred: and, yes, it belongs (but it will not)
To this Now of nows: beyond that
The clear space, the land seen free,
The ‘wanton abandon’ and the exhaustion:
Only wishing something was or I was or,
Finally, ‘this was’ : it’s not, mother.


Once, there was a thought, beginning with –
So, a summer rescue, coming along
In the car, the fiat 500,
And saying, this way (take a drink)
To what you always wanted:
From a distance, I must see
All the untruth that 'should', for a child,
Be hidden: the joke of inconstancy,
The fallacy of ever wanting a mother –
I saw it all -you forget, loins
That bore, that professed to bare me,
That said I was born: I was not.
But then, even earlier, from the day I exited
Your prison, your device, your despair
I knew it was wrong: that you lied, always
Forgetting (or knowing) I was watching,
Why I was silent? For a hand that caressed,
A thought towards me, a sense of saying
“You’re O.K.” But you’re not.
So, dumb, unheard,
‘Beautiful eyes’, there was only the redemption
Of pathetic resistance: did you see?
Could you see? Could you want to see?
And if you did, what would you have done,
Only have beaten the more?

Lewis said...

“An angel!" My hair dresser .

It’s merely individual, the four wings cramped,
A slight burn of candlelight
And we say “He’s O.k.” Arid so he is,
Broken not by any peculiar expulsion,
Cracked, rather, by a room.
And endless, endless those scribbled
Petitions back to God. You say
“Land on your feet!” which, of course,
Were broken before, even, the saints
Began their song. Because this age
Is so new, so endlessly new
And he, ancient, has forgotten, again,
How to say ‘Yes! - to God.

So, ‘across the water’ , he will drown,
And, yet, , ‘the attempt is worthy’,
Or, merely, vanity.
How endless the call!
And below him and above him the stair
That could never fail to climb, to descend


For, see, the precipitate stone: up,
Just the barred impossible: a roof,
Those walls, the handle of a door,
Window that cannot open: grubby, entirely?
His closed wings, vicious in a room.
Yes, this is useless. “There is no god.”

Lewis said...


It’s hard, hideous and wrong,
Probably, a vicious joke, a fellow
Who cannot remember (nor right ~is name)
Beginning, perhaps, to listen, ears forced, to God.
“There is no God’ “ and, as Nietzsche
So eloquently put it, ‘God is dead.’
God dead, dead God, I rebel against
All that lies. All’ lies are strong, .
Stronger than truth. I wish I was stronger than lies. ,”

Shane said...

Jack Handey is making signs now?