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What is a Fact?

This is a 3-week virtual class using the Zoom platform. This class will look into why it is so difficult–and yet crucial–to see how we combine and confuse facts, beliefs, and values.

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Time & Location





About this class

What is a Fact? We live in a world in which there are very few claims made that won't be contested by some individuals or groups as fake, false or fraught. Have we given up on facts? Is it futile to pine for a past when the request by Dragnet detective Joe Friday, "just the facts, ma'am," was understood by everyone as a perfectly simple proposition? In a word, yes. Because not all facts are equal, and yes, there are "alternative facts" and moreover, everyone (everyone) uses and misuses them. Are facts negotiable? Is everyone entitled to their own facts? Sometimes yes, sometimes, no; it all depends. The truth (careful here!) is that understanding the nature of facts is a lot trickier than it might appear.

This is a 3-week virtual class using the Zoom platform.  Sundays: April 3, 10, 24, 1-3 pm CST (Notice April 17 is skipped due to Easter)

David Bjerklie has been a science reporter, writer and editor at TIME Magazine, TIME For Kids, and TIME Books since 1984, as well as a freelance contributor to national and international magazines and newspapers. He has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at M.I.T.; a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow; a National Association of Science Writers Travel Grantee, and a National Science Foundation Media Fellow at McMurdo and South Pole Stations in Antarctica. In recent years, he has written extensively on mental health, and is also currently developing a journalism mentorship program for indigenous Arctic youth.

HND Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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