What falsehoods do I misinterpret as truths to hold self-evident?A disappointed Expert Escort after finding out another dearly held fact is wrong.
A crime is committed. An eye witness identifies a suspect. The suspect confesses guilt. At one time a confession that confirms an eye witness statement would have been iron clad evidence of guilt. Today we know that police are allowed to lie while questioning people. Yes, they are. After all in America, who cares about the designated bad guys? Police cannot overtly threaten a suspect with direct threats or violence. However, they can say, “we have talked to your mother and she wants you to admit what you did.” Or how about “if you don’t say you did it you are in for the ultimate punishment.” And “there’s undeniable evidence of your guilt, but if you say you did it, you can go home.” For those of us who thought police had to adhere to a code of honor that would preclude such contact, well, we were in for a shock.
I personally say I would never confess to anything I did not do. But what if, in a low voice, just between me and the one female officer on my side, she offered me something she never offered anyone else–a chance to go home if I just said something meaningless that would not even be on the record–would I chance it? Easy for me to say what I would not do when I am not in that position and have no life experience that could inform my understanding of being accused.
And speaking of life experience, that’s the issue that makes eye witness accounts unreliable. We never “see” anything for what it is. Instead, every bit of information is filtered through our understanding of what things that look like this have always been in the past, and therefore, when we see something that looks like a past event, and everything we see looks like a past event, then we figure out what we saw. There’s way more steps to seeing stuff than I ever realized. Hence, once unassailable evidence could be totally unreliable. The formerly indisputable is now questionable.
If we can’t rely on what we see and hear–and now we know we cannot–what can we rely on for the truth?