A very short note on Richard Dawkins’ tweet because I am easily distracted. I’m going to call all these facts, which means that they are not facts (although we might call them self-evident):
1. Fact: no one is omniscient.
2. Fact: we can’t perceive or know everything at once (that’s point 1 said in a different way).
3. Fact: we pay attention to some facts and ignore others.
4. Fact: no two people have the same fingerprints (unless they do – it’s just an analogy).
5. Fact: no two people pay the same attention to the same facts.
6. Fact: so, each person perceives the world in a different way, based on the things to which they pay attention and ignore.
7. Fact: this prior knowledge informs their belief system which influences the ways in which they gather facts.
8. Fact: people generally gain this knowledge is particular settings, including schools. They are given facts and often asked to accept them on trust. You don’t go to school and the teacher says ‘what do you think about gravity?’. They say ‘this is a fact and you’ll damn well believe it, sonny/ missy’.
9. Fact: different groups present facts in different ways, so people learn in different ways and different groups end up perceiving the real world in all sorts of different ways. Then they go on twitter and often make an arse of themselves during aimless arguments.
10. Fact: you can make all these points without concluding that all opinions are equally valid. My belief is what counts, mate – socially constructed or not (fact: the assertion that I am right is an exercise of power to put the idiots in their place).
11. Fact: people who talk about social construction aren’t all arses using big words to look clever. Some of them are, but you would expect that with the law of averages (fact).