Dear Editor:

People are funny. They avoid certainty and are drawn to speculation. Take, for example, sports. What fan would choose seeing a pre-recorded game over a live one? The fun is in guessing the future, not knowing it. Tune in to any network news station and notice how much time is spent on the known recent past versus speculation about what some see as a certain future. Without this speculation we would have 55 minutes of dead air every hour. Besides, speculators are low cost since it is impossible to dig out facts about future events so no research is needed.

But of supreme importance is that "false prophets" provide entertainment and stoke rage about what might happen. Being enraged like this is fun. The risk is that rage is hard to contain. A speculator takes an innocent fact and spins a story ending in an outrageous future event. People become angry about the fabrication and focus their rage on the innocent fact. The line between entertainment and fact blurs.

When we are entertained, it is a time to kick back and just enjoy the ride. But when faced with facts to comprehend, critical thinking skills are required. Sounds too much like work so people tend to avoid it. Yet it is only through critical thinking can we be guided to a better future. False prophets, entertainment and rage lead us in circles.

R. G. Sparber

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