Cherry Picking

Or a couple of challenging questions on Good Friday, 2021:

  1. Is the planet Earth the Cherry Capital of the Universe?
  2. Is it possible to maintain hope when surrounded by hate?
  3. Are we ever sure of anything?

I was born in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan aka the Cherry Capital of the World. Traverse City- Cherry Capital – Michigan History (msu.edu) This magnificent title is true because there are many cherry orchards in this part of our planet.  It’s also true because the local cherry producers gave themselves the title in 1925 when they established an annual festival to draw tourists to the area. You see, truth is what you say it is, for whatever purpose deem justified at the time.

The term “cherry picking” is used to describe the harvesting of fruit off a cherry tree or the practice of selecting facts that best fit your needs and conveniently ignoring any other facts that belie the truth you’re trying to promote.

“Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position.” Cherry picking – Wikipedia

Take the American legal system for example, or more specifically, the Derek Chauvin trial (aka George Floyd murder case) currently underway in Minneapolis, MN.  It is a given that the defense will cherry pick facts to defend the police officer, Derek Chauvin, to hopefully create doubt in the jury’s collective mind that excessive force was used on George Floyd preceding his death.  It is also a given that the prosecution will present their facts to make the case that Derek Chauvin went against department standards and thus was the perpetrator of murder based upon his own actions despite the videotaped observations that multiple officers and onlookers were present during the actions leading to death. 

Certainly, some individuals are more guilty than others, but are there truly any innocent parties when others present take less than full action to stop a crime in progress?  Can we ever be sure of the truth when people are not fully willing to collect and consider all the “facts.”

I’m writing this on Good Friday, the commemorated anniversary of Jesus’ death on a cross some 2,000 years ago. Supposedly the Jewish religious leaders, aka Sanhedrin, voted, not unanimously, to turn Jesus over to the local Roman regional leader, Pontius Pilate, for judgment and crucifixion.  Why, because this radical teacher was irritating them, berating them, upturning money tables on temple grounds used for the purchase of sacrifices for worship. Was Jesus innocent of any wrongdoing? Was he guilty of anything worthy of a death sentence? Were the authorities capable of determining truth from fiction and making judgments of merit without a shadow of doubt?

Are we sure about what took place in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago? Are we sure about what took place less than a year ago in Minneapolis? Are we sure what is taking place right now within a thirty foot circumference around us as we read this sentence?

So, back to cherry picking.  Climate change is cited for the reason pink cherry blossoms reached full bloom on March 26, 2021 in Kyota, Japan; just 8 days ago.  Records have been kept for the cherry season in this former capital of Japan since the 12th century. “Scientists have often pointed to the earlier flowering times of species such as cherry blossoms as indicators of global warming. The Kyoto record is described in one study as ‘probably the longest annual record’ of biological life cycles from anywhere in the world.” Earliest Cherry Blooms in Japanese City in 1,200 Years Linked to Climate Change, Says Scientist (news18.com)  

Despite all the records of facts mentioned above, we can be sure that:

  • * climate change deniers will not change their minds,
  • * white supremacists have already exonerated Derek Chauvin,
  • * fundamentalist Christians don’t care about either of the two bullets above because the rapture will protect them from the apocalypse, and
  • * Traverse City, Michigan is truly the Cherry Capital of the World

Or can we?

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