The 'Unknowables:' Facts That Can't Possibly Be

Excerpt:  Ronald Reagan used to say that the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so. If you doubt him, consider some of the "facts" that the media pass on to us from liberal activists and think tanks. Not only do they tend to be nonfactual, but many of them are impossible to know. Take, for example, a recent Reuters story that uncritically promoted an alarmist report by the Worldwatch Institute, claiming that the earth's "vital signs" are in critical condition. "More wood was removed from forests in 2005 than ever before," the piece began, attributing that "fact" to the institute, without stopping to wonder how anybody could know such a thing.

To draw a conclusion like that, you'd have to pretend to have documented the number of trees cut down annually throughout human history. Back when people had to heat their homes with firewood, nobody kept count of how many trees they cut down. Furthermore, you can't obtain reliable data from within a closed society. There's no way of knowing, for example, how many trees were cut down in Siberia in 1955, as opposed to 50 years later.

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