Re: The integrity of data

From: [email protected]
Date: 05/18/04-08:36:20 PM Z
Message-id: <>

That's OK Katherine, all we have to do is watch the campaign ads on TV to
know that data integrity and all sorts of other integrities pertaining to the
truth are no longer of value to some. To paraphrase someone, I think one of the
good ol boys from Nazi Germany (perhaps Goebbels) "If you keep repeating the
lie, pretty soon it will be seen as the truth." (I know there is a quote
similar to this, but I can't find it)

In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really
good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change
their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it.
It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and
change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last
time something like that happened in politics or religion.
~~Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP Keynote Address
(Here Carl Sagan exposes the fundamental differences in attitude between
science (on the one hand) and politics or religion (on the other hand) when it
comes to matters of truth.)

"If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Four. Calling a
tail a leg does not make it a leg."
~~President Abraham Lincoln
(This quote shows the simple yet profound wit of my favorite US President,
Abraham Lincoln, at it's best. Here this gentle backwoodsman tells us that
regardless of how many times you repeat a lie to yourself, and regardless of
whether or not you have almost started to believe the lie, a lie still remains a

"When it comes to controlling human beings, there is no better instrument
than lies. Because you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be
manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts. That's why I
sided with the powerful and served them--because I wanted to share their
~~Michael Ende, from The Neverending Story: Gmork confesses his sins to

"But you know, what really made it all work was that I couldn't imagine it
wasn't real. Why would it be anything else? Why wouldn't you be exactly who you
said you were?"
~~Terry Brooks, from A Knight of the Word: a man concedes to a demon that the
demon's ploy was ingenious. The demon didn't win, though. In the end, the
truth has a power of its own to defeat confusion, ignorance, and lies.


"How will it be, this end of the world?"—Beyond The Fringe

I was reminded of an old album I had with Dudley Moore and I think one of the
Monty Python crowd. It was called Beyond the Fringe—a stage performance the
group did. It is long since gone from my collection, but I have been
looking for a digital version to replace it.

Mark Nelson

In a message dated 5/18/04 7:45:13 PM, writes:

> When one starts screeching about the integrity of data,  it was time to
> quit a long time ago. The integrity of data is important to me; I've
> fallen on my sword more than once in my professional life rather than to
> compromise the integrity of data, and I'm writing a book that is in part
> about how the disrespect for data is hastening the end of civilization
> as we know it. But that's for me to know, not to lecture everyone here
> about, and I apologize for the outburst.
> Katharine Thayer
Received on Tue May 18 20:36:54 2004

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