True or False? 

What is one web page compared to the entire web? Perhaps a page with good information is worth several pages of misinformation. This page is dedicated to the research and resolution of conflicting information on the Internet. I'm going to place strict burdens of proof on myself so that the reader can rely on these conclusions (pending their own independent research). If anyone wishes to raise issue about any of these items, use the e-mail address at the end.

The Waldenses were Saturday worshipers - True or False?

There are Christians who believe that worship on Saturday (the Biblical Sabbath) is what pleases God. Some of these assert that the Waldenses, a group of 12th-century Christians deemed heretical by the Catholic Church, were Saturday worshipers.

It looks like most of the Internet material on Waldenses and the Sabbath derives from Ellen G. White (founder of the Seventh-day Adventists) and her book The Great Controversy . While White mentions "True Sabbath" keepers frequently in chapter 4, "The Waldenses", the chapter actually suggests that only some Waldenses worshiped on Saturday and gives some historical argument in support of this in the Appendix. However, encyclopedia articles and other discussions of the points of difference between the Waldenses and the Catholic Church are silent on their day of worship. Saturday worship is also missing from the Waldensian Confession.

I considered myself lucky to find a clear statement about the question after a trip to the library. In Gordon Leff's book, Heresy in the Later Middle Ages, we find this statement: "In the same way, [the Waldenses] observed only Sundays and the Virgin's feast day [Leff, Gordon, Heresy in the Later Middle Ages, Vol. 2, Barnes and Noble, 1967, p. 457].

I received an email from someone who cited a book that cited a book (neither of which I have access to) that says that an inquisition determined that some Waldenses worshiped on Saturday.

The answer: Under Review

Hitler was a Christian: True or False?

This question is complex enough to require a full web page to discuss. The answer is largely one of definition. But Hitler viewed Christianity as an invention of the Jews, and we all know how Hitler felt about the Jews! For the long discussion, check out my Was Hitler a Christian? page.

The answer: False

Marshall McLuhan's book is The Medium is the Message: True or False?

This has to be one of the most widespread errors of our age. Marshall McLuhan's book is commonly thought to be The Medium is the Message, but the actual word is "Massage", not "Message". The full title of McLuhan's 1967 work is The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects. You can check this out in the Britannica or the Library of Congress catalog.

The answer: False

The phrase "Opium of the people" is from the Communist Manifesto: True or False?

Close, but no cigar. The saying is by Marx, but not from the Manifesto. Actually it comes from Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. The full quotation is:

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.

The answer: False

St. Paul advocated lying to spread Christianity: True or False?

The idea comes from the New Testament, specifically Romans, Chapter 3. The text is somewhat convoluted here as Paul talks about and condemns certain ideas (including lying) and statements by his critics. The original Greek of the New Testament has no punctuation, and the lack of clear punctuation in some Bible translations gives little help to the quick reader. Following is the text from two translations: the King James Version and the Unvarnished New Testament translated by Andy Gaus.

(Rom 3:5-8 KJV) But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) {6} God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? {7} For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? {8} And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

(Rom 3:5-8 Gaus) But then if our wrongdoing only shows all the more the just nature of God, what shall we conclude? That God has no right to react with anger (as I imagine people saying)? No, never! How would God ever judge the world on that basis? "But," you say, "if by my lying the truth of God is increased, to his greater glory, how can I still be condemned as an evildoer?" Isn't that like what people insultingly say of us and some people (who deserve to be condemned for it) even claim that we say ourselves: "Let's do evil so good will come of it?"

The answer: False

Al Gore falsely claimed to have "invented the Internet".

I suspect the answer to this one rather depends on your politics than upon objective facts.

This is a two-parter. First, did Al Gore claim to have "created the Internet"? during an interview with Wolf Blitzer. A little of the text of what Gore said, plus the standard argument that Al Gore was taking credit for some else's success, is presented in a Wired magazine article.

Part of the Wired article argument is that the Internet was created before Gore even went to Congress. That argument makes the assumption that the "Internet" is the same thing as the ARPANET. Those who know the history of the Internet, know that it started as a method of transferring data at high speed between government researchers. It was a Defense thing that turned into a University thing that finally turned into something on everyone's personal computer. While many of the technologies of today's Internet harken back to the ARPANET days, there are also significant differences, mainly differences in accessibility. Where one comes down on this question depends on what "Internet" means to that person. To some it is a set of protocols and to others it's the "information superhighway".

The second criticism of Gore regards his popularization of that term, "Information Superhighway". They say that the term "data superhighway" had been around before, so Gore's term isn't significant. I don't get the point.

In the "expert testimony" front, we have this for the affirmative team:

"Gore played no positive role in the decisions that led to the creation of the Internet as it now exists -- that is, in the opening
of the Internet to commercial traffic," said Steve Allen, vice president for communications at the conservative Progress and Freedom Foundation.

For the negative team:

Vinton Cerf, Nicknamed the "Father of the Internet:" "I think it is very fair to say that the Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator." Cerf is currently a senior vice president with MCI Worldcom.

Cerf said: "Al Gore actually deserves a lot of credit. In about 1986, he started asking questions like, 'Why don't we take these supercomputers and these optical fiber networks and put them together. Would that do anything?' Well, guess what? That eventually turned into the National Science Foundation Network, which became a core element of the Internet."


Marc Andreessen, the Inventor of the Mosaic Browser: Marc  has credited Gore for making his work possible. Andreesen noted that while he was a student at the University of Illinois, he was able to access a federal grant program that was funded through Gore's High Performance Computing Act, which allowed Andreessen to work on the technology that led to the creation of the Mosaic browser.

My Conclusion: A lot of people "created the Internet" and Al Gore's contribution was of some significance. For this reason, it's too strong to say that Al Gore made a false claim. His claim was at most exaggerated.

The answer: It's a value judgment

GAO Report refutes story that departing Clinton staffers vandalized the White House: True or False?

Al Franken in his 2003 book Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right takes the Conservative Media to task for falsely spreading unfounded tales about the Bush administration finding a trashed White House to move into. Franken then goes on to cite a GAO investigation to prove his point: Here is what Franken says on page 154:

"Fourteen months later, this, the final investigation of the Clinton administration, yielded a 214-page report that found no damage to the White House nor to the Executive Office Building. 'There is no record of damage that may have been deliberately caused by employees of the Clinton Administration.'".

The problem here, as brought to light by Franken's end note on page 359, is that he never looked at the GAO report, but instead looked at newspaper accounts of it. This is the actual conclusion of the GAO report:

"Damage, theft, vandalism, and pranks occurred in the White House complex during the 2001 presidential transition. Incidents such as the removal of keys from computer keyboards; the theft of various items; the leaving of certain voice mail messages, signs, and written messages; and the placing of glue on desk drawers clearly were intentional acts. However, it was unknown whether other observations, such as broken furniture, were the result of intentional acts, when and how they occurred, or who
may have been responsible for them. Further, with regard to stolen items, such as the presidential seal, because no one witnessed the thefts and many people were in the White House complex during the transition, it was not known who was responsible for taking them. Moreover, regarding other items reported missing, such as doorknobs, cellular telephones, and
television remote controls, it was unknown whether all of them were thefts, and if they were, who was responsible for taking those items and when they were taken. Further complicating our attempt to determine the amount of damage that may have occurred was the lack of documentation directly corroborating some observations and our inability to reconcile certain observations only a few hours apart in locations where some people saw damage, vandalism, or pranks and where others saw none."

What about that Franken's quote from the report? It's in there, but not as a conclusion, but rather a quote from someone at the GSA taken before the investigation. Full context:

We subsequently asked EOP and the General Services Administration (GSA) whether they had any information that may be responsive to your request. On April 18, 2001, the director of the Office of Administration (OA),1 an EOP unit, wrote us a letter indicating that the White House had no record of damage that “may have been deliberately caused by employees of the prior [a]dministration” and that “.…repair records do not contain information that would allow someone to determine the cause of damage that is being repaired.”

Here is the full GAO report.

The answer: False

Kevin (

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