When did lying become kidding?

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When did lying become kidding?

Postby square peg » Mon May 10, 2010 10:29 am UTC

Something has happened. Lying has become common a breathing and causes about as much notice. There was a time where if someone lied they were reprimanded. While teaching I would often watch students do something they knew they weren't supposed to.
Jeremy, did you just ( INSERT OFFENSE HERE)?
No
Funny, I just watched you do it.
I was just kidding.
No, you were lying. Calling it joking does not a lie the truth make. A joke is not told to keep oneself from getting in trouble. A specific untruth is. Yet, when confronted with the fact that you just watched them perpetrate the offense 75% of offenders would have no remorse and on more than one occasion the perpetrator would smile mischievously.

Parents, you are to blame. It sickens me when I see a four or five year old tell a lie and instead of eliciting correction the response from their parent is "Awww, how cute."

Can anyone think of any thing else to blame?
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Iv » Mon May 10, 2010 12:10 pm UTC

On July 13th 1967, that is when.

Seriously, what makes you believe that this trend is new ?

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby JayAr » Mon May 10, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

Please don't use colored text, last I checked it was more for mods...

Yes this annoys me, I think it goes along with people to have immunity if they are caught being wrong. (Backtracking, oh that's what I meant... no you didn't know that 2+2=4)

People for some reason also think that they are 'immune' when the use an extra finger to go with an offensive hand sign. (Hey I'm safe, see the extra finger was there in the place you would look... the intent is still there) For some reason people say that this is a joke as well.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby scarecrovv » Mon May 10, 2010 9:50 pm UTC

I observed this constantly back in middle school. Therefore it must have happened prior to 1999. It's just silly, and I'd like to think that most offenders grow out of it.

Iv wrote:On July 13th 1967, that is when.

What happened on July 13th 1967? My Google-fu is failing me.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon May 10, 2010 10:09 pm UTC

That was a joke.
People have always lied.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Cleverbeans » Tue May 11, 2010 5:23 am UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:That was a joke.


Apparently it was a lie?
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue May 11, 2010 5:44 am UTC

square peg wrote:Jeremy, did you just ( INSERT OFFENSE HERE)?
No
Funny, I just watched you do it.
I was just kidding.
No, you were lying.

That is not lying, that is backpeddling. Here, let's break it down:

Person 1: [accusation].
Jeremy: [denial].
Person 1: [evidence in support of accusation].
Jeremy: [vague admission of culpability, vague defense of actions].

There is some teaching theory that you should not state your accusations in the form of a question, because it begs a denial. Instead, something more direct:

"Jeremy, cease throwing balls of paper at Jessica."

This way, a denial has to be more direct. "I wasn't throwing paper!" Now, you actually have caught the student in a lie, and you can respond with whatever action would be appropriate in the circumstances. But, yes, students are more often questioning authority figures, and this is partly due to an individualistic culture that recognizes this as a virtue. And it can be, just not when you're questioning authority figures over behaviour that disrupts the classroom. I've seen many teachers that are adept at making sure this does not happen. Perhaps the fault isn't just the parents.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Intrigued » Tue May 11, 2010 4:02 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
square peg wrote:Jeremy, did you just ( INSERT OFFENSE HERE)?
No
Funny, I just watched you do it.
I was just kidding.
No, you were lying.

That is not lying, that is backpeddling. Here, let's break it down:

Person 1: [accusation].
Jeremy: [denial].
Person 1: [evidence in support of accusation].
Jeremy: [vague admission of culpability, vague defense of actions].


I was forced to register to respond to this. Back-peddling to say that the first thing you said wasn't true is the same as saying that you lied. Directly saying "no" when you are asked if you did something, when you in fact did it, is the definition of a lie. Leading a lie doesn't make it not a lie, and people should be responsible for their own responses. Beyond that, there's really no interpretation involved at all - did you do this? no. Did he do it? yes, so saying no is a lie.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Azrael » Tue May 11, 2010 5:26 pm UTC

square peg wrote:... When I see a four or five year old tell a lie ...

Wait, you're complaining that a five year old is trying to talk their way out of being caught in a lie? Welcome to dealing with 5 year olds.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed May 12, 2010 1:17 am UTC

Intrigued wrote:I was forced to register to respond to this. Back-peddling to say that the first thing you said wasn't true is the same as saying that you lied. Directly saying "no" when you are asked if you did something, when you in fact did it, is the definition of a lie. Leading a lie doesn't make it not a lie, and people should be responsible for their own responses. Beyond that, there's really no interpretation involved at all - did you do this? no. Did he do it? yes, so saying no is a lie.

Well, yes, but the original poster was making some vague connection between kidding and lying, and seemed to object to the last line most. The line, "I'm kidding," is backpeddling, and backpeddling is about being caught in a falsehood. So the student is going from an outright denial, assisted by the way the accusation was constructed, to an attempt to defend their actions. "I was only doing something I thought was harmless and amusing, and I did not think you would object to it strongly enough to call me out on it." I'm not saying the student did not lie, but I am claiming the OP has incorrectly isolated the point where the lie exists.

And to clarify what I mean when I say the accusation assisted a denial, consider a situation where Student A throws a pen at Student B. "Student A, did you throw a pen at Student B?" The problem with the question is it carries your own interpretation of what just happened. Student B may have asked to borrow a pen, and Student A may have rather boisterously, or even absent-mindedly, thrown the pen to Student B. So they could say no, because they dispute the particulars. Whereas, "Student A, stop throwing pens at Student B," allows Student A to respond, "OK", because they're not going to lend out another pen, or to clarify, "I was lending the pen, and didn't want to walk over," or what-have-you. And, if they are to completely deny what occurred, they have to make a statement which is obviously a lie even taken out of context, like, "I wasn't throwing pens at Student B." It is much more conclusive to be able to write down and for parents to see, etc.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Intrigued » Wed May 12, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

Reading it over several times, I keep getting the same interpretation, the OP asserts that the student's first response is a lie, despite the student's attempt to brush over it and pretend it wasn't a lie, but just "joking".

The problem I see with your "problem about the question" is that, in black and white, even if the student was asked to lend the object, they still threw it, so there's no gray area that says "lending is not throwing, no matter what action is used to confer the object", if you throw something at/to someone to lend it to them, you're still throwing it. You threw it with a reason, but saying you didn't throw it is still a lie, and telling yourself otherwise is lying to yourself. I don't see how saying "no" to "did you throw a pen?" is any less conclusive than saying "i didn't" to "stop throwing pens". It's entirely black and white, and I just am failing to see a perspective where it isn't.

The thing is, when you ask a question, the other person doesn't HAVE to just answer yes/no, they can say "Yes, but it was only because they asked to borrow a pen, and were ready to catch it". If the teacher in question doesn't allow someone to state their case, that's a fault on their end, and I might understand the necessity to cover up something if the action is just, but if the student says "no", they have to be culpable for that answer. I'm not saying they should get the chair for this or anything, but it should be treated as equally bad as saying "i didn't throw a pen" to say "no" to that question. Otherwise you're sending an incorrect message saying that it is okay to lie to authority figures when they are enforcing just rules, as long as YOU don't think it's a big deal, especially if the wording is tricky. That's not how society works. If you want to exist within society, you have to abide by it's rules and accept the consequences of acting outside of them.

In the spirit of SB, I will also object to this...
Azrael wrote:
square peg wrote:... When I see a four or five year old tell a lie ...

Wait, you're complaining that a five year old is trying to talk their way out of being caught in a lie? Welcome to dealing with 5 year olds.


While I would say it's mostly a joke, and agree with the sentiment, it's also creating a straw man, since the OP didn't actually state a problem with seeing 4/5 year olds lie, but a problem with the parents who encourage that kind of behavior (by saying things like "Awww, cute") instead of correcting it. That is also something that really gets me disappointed in humanity. It's the same as when people think their little dogs yapping and going crazy is cute, when a big dog barking like that would not be allowed around people. I understand the size difference changes things on the practical side, but you're still encouraging and reinforcing bad behavior and mental instability.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed May 12, 2010 5:57 pm UTC

I very rarely see teachers let a child get past "yes, but.." or "no, but.." when they are explaining their behaviour. So the outright denial isn't suprising considering the sort of response a child is likely to get.

Something like:

"Did you throw that pencil?"

"Yes, but.."

"The reason doesn't matter, no throwing...blah blah blah"
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Sam Adams » Wed May 12, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
square peg wrote:... When I see a four or five year old tell a lie ...

Wait, you're complaining that a five year old is trying to talk their way out of being caught in a lie? Welcome to dealing with 5 year olds.


Actually, that's when bad behavior needs to be stopped. Don't allow kids to try and deny what they actually did; if they do, it's time out time.

Of course, as a parent, you, too, must not lie. Ever. Not ever.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Dark567 » Thu May 13, 2010 1:44 am UTC

Sam Adams wrote:
Actually, that's when bad behavior needs to be stopped. Don't allow kids to try and deny what they actually did; if they do, it's time out time.

Of course, as a parent, you, too, must not lie. Ever. Not ever.


So.... No Santa Claus? And all though I say it with a smile, I am seriously asking.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby dosboot » Thu May 13, 2010 4:27 am UTC

Ironically, society sort of saves itself regarding Santa Claus because although it is against basic principles people almost universally convince themselves it's really okay anyway. Kids grow up being taught this -- there isn't a risk about having the wrong message on honestly because they know Santa Claus is the special exception. It's more like there is a risk that we're telling them it is okay to have exceptions your principles if that's the established way of doing things.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Glass Fractal » Thu May 13, 2010 4:59 am UTC

Sam Adams wrote:Of course, as a parent, you, too, must not lie. Ever. Not ever.


"Why is the sky blue?"
"Well son, I'm not going to lie to you. The sky is actual violet, our eyes simply cannot see that frequency of light very wall. Photons from the Sun strike molecules in the atmosphere where are scattered in many different directions. Light with long wave lengths scatters away more than those with short wave lengths, since our eyes aren't sensitive to the shortest wavelengths we see blue."
"Huh?"

I'd say there are two reasons we lie to children: to protect them from things we don't want them to know and to explain things in a way they can understand. You might argue that the first one is bad but the second one is completely necessary. Kids don't have the background to understand a lot of concepts. To get their interest or tell them something useful you generally have to give them information that is less true than the whole truth. I guess you could preface explanations of the world by saying "this isn't the whole truth, but it's a way of explaining it that you can understand".

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Vox Imperatoris » Thu May 13, 2010 5:22 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
Sam Adams wrote:Of course, as a parent, you, too, must not lie. Ever. Not ever.


"Why is the sky blue?"
"Well son, I'm not going to lie to you. The sky is actual violet, our eyes simply cannot see that frequency of light very wall. Photons from the Sun strike molecules in the atmosphere where are scattered in many different directions. Light with long wave lengths scatters away more than those with short wave lengths, since our eyes aren't sensitive to the shortest wavelengths we see blue."
"Huh?"

I'd say there are two reasons we lie to children: to protect them from things we don't want them to know and to explain things in a way they can understand. You might argue that the first one is bad but the second one is completely necessary. Kids don't have the background to understand a lot of concepts. To get their interest or tell them something useful you generally have to give them information that is less true than the whole truth. I guess you could preface explanations of the world by saying "this isn't the whole truth, but it's a way of explaining it that you can understand".


First of all, your example is silly. The sky is not violet: it is blue. Color is the product of the interaction between wavelengths of light and our sense organs; the fact that we see the sky as blue is what means to call it "blue". Otherwise, we would refer to the wavelength of the light, not the color of the sky, which is the the effect of these interactions on our perceptive faculty.

Second of all, giving people an incomplete explanation in an honest and forthright way is not "lying" to them. There's a clear difference between deceiving people by omission and simply not burdening them with your long-winded explanations.

I submit 1913 as the year when lying became kidding. Enough bad things already happened that year; why not add another? Seriously, I agree with basically everyone else that the question is not worthy of merit.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Glass Fractal » Thu May 13, 2010 5:46 am UTC

Vox Imperatoris wrote:The sky is not violet: it is blue. Color is the product of the interaction between wavelengths of light and our sense organs; the fact that we see the sky as blue is what means to call it "blue". Otherwise, we would refer to the wavelength of the light, not the color of the sky, which is the the effect of these interactions on our perceptive faculty.


But if we could see the whole spectrum properly it would be violet. My point is to contest the idea that "you must not lie. Ever. Not ever." Realistically lies of ommission are the only way for an educated person to explain the world to a curious child. You simply cannot explain the Middle East conflicts to a small child who sees mention of them on TV without simplifying things until they are, in my view, almost totally untrue. Once you delve to the level of metaphors you've produced something that "isn't the truth, just a lie you can understand".

Vox Imperatoris wrote:Second of all, giving people an incomplete explanation in an honest and forthright way is not "lying" to them. There's a clear difference between deceiving people by omission and simply not burdening them with your long-winded explanations.


It sounds as though you have made the confession: "I am unwilling to be wholly truthful and please don't regard me as wholly deceitful!" *cough*

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Sam Adams » Thu May 13, 2010 5:56 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:So.... No Santa Claus? And all though I say it with a smile, I am seriously asking.


When our kids were growing up, we took them to the mall and they sat on Santa's lap. We read them stories about Christmas and Santa, but we never actually tried to convince them that Santa was real. If they asked, no, we would not tell them that Santa was real.

We also told them to put their teeth under the pillow, but they figured out that one pretty fast, too.

Vox Imperatoris wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:"Why is the sky blue?"
"Well son, I'm not going to lie to you. The sky is actual violet, our eyes simply cannot see that frequency of light very wall. Photons from the Sun strike molecules in the atmosphere where are scattered in many different directions. Light with long wave lengths scatters away more than those with short wave lengths, since our eyes aren't sensitive to the shortest wavelengths we see blue."
"Huh?"

I'd say there are two reasons we lie to children: to protect them from things we don't want them to know and to explain things in a way they can understand. You might argue that the first one is bad but the second one is completely necessary. Kids don't have the background to understand a lot of concepts. To get their interest or tell them something useful you generally have to give them information that is less true than the whole truth. I guess you could preface explanations of the world by saying "this isn't the whole truth, but it's a way of explaining it that you can understand".


First of all, your example is silly. The sky is not violet: it is blue. Color is the product of the interaction between wavelengths of light and our sense organs; the fact that we see the sky as blue is what means to call it "blue". Otherwise, we would refer to the wavelength of the light, not the color of the sky, which is the the effect of these interactions on our perceptive faculty.


That there is one fine answer. Is the sky blue? Obviously!!! But some people will try and convince you otherwise.

But if we could see the whole spectrum properly it would be violet.
Are you saying that we don't see the whole spectrum? Does that include microwaves, infra red rays, ultra violet, x-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays thrown in? Our eyes perceive color as designed. What they see is what they see.

Of course, there is also one minor caveat. There are blue haired ladies. Is their hair actually blue? Of course it is blue. Why is it blue? Because they have yellowing cataracts on their eyes that make their blue hair appear white to them. As a result, when they look at their hair, they see white, while most everyone else sees blue.

How do I know this is true? I had one lens replaced. Now, one eye sees things with a blue shift, the other sees things with a yellow shift.

But the sky is still blue. It is just that one eye sees it with a slight green tint compared with the other one.

Second of all, giving people an incomplete explanation in an honest and forthright way is not "lying" to them. There's a clear difference between deceiving people by omission and simply not burdening them with your long-winded explanations.


The biggest question from kids is "where did I come from." It is important to identify what they are asking.

Answers can include "when two people love each other" or "Topeka." Sometimes the follow on question is also interesting, like "where does peanut butter come from."

The second biggest question is "why?"

I submit 1913 as the year when lying became kidding. Enough bad things already happened that year; why not add another? Seriously, I agree with basically everyone else that the question is not worthy of merit.

You've got a good point. That was the year that the government developed the technology to say "this piece of paper actually is money." It's been downhill since.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby JayAr » Thu May 13, 2010 2:10 pm UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
Sam Adams wrote:Of course, as a parent, you, too, must not lie. Ever. Not ever.


"Why is the sky blue?"
"Well son, I'm not going to lie to you. The sky is actual violet, our eyes simply cannot see that frequency of light very wall. Photons from the Sun strike molecules in the atmosphere where are scattered in many different directions. Light with long wave lengths scatters away more than those with short wave lengths, since our eyes aren't sensitive to the shortest wavelengths we see blue."
"Huh?"
.


My family loathes me doing this to the children whenever they ask questions...

Also this is the 2nd quickest thread I seen derailed
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Indon » Thu May 13, 2010 2:16 pm UTC

To bring a bit of relevance back to the thread, a hypothetical case.

Me (to friend): "Man, <ridiculous thing>!"
Friend (gaping): "What, really?"
Me: "No, I'm just joking."
Friend: "Oh, ha ha."

Is that lying? If it is, is it necessarily bad?
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Glass Fractal » Thu May 13, 2010 3:32 pm UTC

Indon wrote:To bring a bit of relevance back to the thread, a hypothetical case.

Me (to friend): "Man, <ridiculous thing>!"
Friend (gaping): "What, really?"
Me: "No, I'm just joking."
Friend: "Oh, ha ha."

Is that lying? If it is, is it necessarily bad?


Well, yeah, that's definitely a lie. Whether or not it's bad depends on what goes in place of <ridiculous thing>, but I would think that generally a conversation that goes like that would be not bad.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby ianf » Thu May 13, 2010 3:56 pm UTC

dosboot wrote:Ironically, society sort of saves itself regarding Santa Claus because although it is against basic principles people almost universally convince themselves it's really okay anyway. Kids grow up being taught this -- there isn't a risk about having the wrong message on honestly because they know Santa Claus is the special exception.


The risk with Santa Claus is that it sets a precedent. You start your kids off believing in Santa Claus and all the miraculous things he can do, then eventually you tell them that he doesn't really exist.

So then your kids start asking you about this other guy you've been telling them about - called God - and all the miraculous things he can do. What's the difference between Santa Claus and God? Why should you believe in one and not the other?

Of course, your handling of this situation depends on your own belief system.

Indon wrote:To bring a bit of relevance back to the thread, a hypothetical case.

Me (to friend): "Man, <ridiculous thing>!"
Friend (gaping): "What, really?"
Me: "No, I'm just joking."
Friend: "Oh, ha ha."

Is that lying? If it is, is it necessarily bad?


I suppose that all jokes involve lying - that "child in the classroom called Tommy" or "the three explorers in remotest Africa" never really existed. Although this comes back to what our definition of lying is. Is it enough that what you say is not true or does there need to be an intent to deceive? Are you lying if you tell someone something which is not true, even though you believe it to be true? What about if you withhold all the details in order to deceive (being "economical with the truth" as our politicians put it)?

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Sam Adams » Thu May 13, 2010 4:14 pm UTC

ianf wrote:
dosboot wrote:Ironically, society sort of saves itself regarding Santa Claus because although it is against basic principles people almost universally convince themselves it's really okay anyway. Kids grow up being taught this -- there isn't a risk about having the wrong message on honestly because they know Santa Claus is the special exception.


The risk with Santa Claus is that it sets a precedent. You start your kids off believing in Santa Claus and all the miraculous things he can do, then eventually you tell them that he doesn't really exist.

So then your kids start asking you about this other guy you've been telling them about - called God - and all the miraculous things he can do. What's the difference between Santa Claus and God? Why should you believe in one and not the other?

Of course, your handling of this situation depends on your own belief system.


That is one fine point. Never tell a kid something that you know you will have to backtrack on. You know that Santa is imaginary. If you have a "belief" in God, then tell them that you "believe" in God and why you believe the way you do.

Although this comes back to what our definition of lying is.

Personal opinion...there are not multiple definitions of what lying is.

More important than dealing with your kids and Santa is what you say when your wife says "how does this dress make me look?"

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Vox Imperatoris » Thu May 13, 2010 7:30 pm UTC

Sam Adams wrote:
I submit 1913 as the year when lying became kidding. Enough bad things already happened that year; why not add another? Seriously, I agree with basically everyone else that the question is not worthy of merit.

You've got a good point. That was the year that the government developed the technology to say "this piece of paper actually is money." It's been downhill since.


I was hoping someone would catch that. What happened in 1913:
Not just the devaluation of our currency, but also the inauguration of racist, fascistic President Wilson (who, in his two terms, segregated the federal government, got us into the most pointless major war ever fought, arrested war protesters, and temporarily nationalized the economy) , ratification of the Sixteen Amendment to bring in the income tax, and ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to sound the death knell of federalism. Bad year.

Glass Fractal wrote:It sounds as though you have made the confession: "I am unwilling to be wholly truthful and please don't regard me as wholly deceitful!" *cough*


Lying does not simply mean stating something that's not strictly true on all levels. It's making a false or incomplete statement with the intent to deceive. Telling a child that Israel and Palestine are in conflict because they hate each other over religious differences is not a 100% full explanation of the situation, but it's not a deceitful statement.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu May 13, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

ianf wrote:I suppose that all jokes involve lying - that "child in the classroom called Tommy" or "the three explorers in remotest Africa" never really existed. Although this comes back to what our definition of lying is. Is it enough that what you say is not true or does there need to be an intent to deceive? Are you lying if you tell someone something which is not true, even though you believe it to be true? What about if you withhold all the details in order to deceive (being "economical with the truth" as our politicians put it)?


It's definitely not lying if you believe something to be true, even if the statement happens to be false. You're just wrong. Indeed, there are few statements that we can evaluate the truth value of so thoroughly as to be able to establish this definition as even remotely useful. I also wouldn't say that it is necessarily a lie not to give complete information: if my wife asks me what I did at work today, I'm not lying if I only tell her the highlights of what I did, and not, say, that I got a cup of coffee or went to the bathroom, unless for some reason she needed a minute-by-minute account of everything I did. In either case, you pretty much end up with a situation where everyone is lying, all the time.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Vox Imperatoris » Thu May 13, 2010 8:05 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
ianf wrote:I suppose that all jokes involve lying - that "child in the classroom called Tommy" or "the three explorers in remotest Africa" never really existed. Although this comes back to what our definition of lying is. Is it enough that what you say is not true or does there need to be an intent to deceive? Are you lying if you tell someone something which is not true, even though you believe it to be true? What about if you withhold all the details in order to deceive (being "economical with the truth" as our politicians put it)?


It's definitely not lying if you believe something to be true, even if the statement happens to be false. You're just wrong. Indeed, there are few statements that we can evaluate the truth value of so thoroughly as to be able to establish this definition as even remotely useful. I also wouldn't say that it is necessarily a lie not to give complete information: if my wife asks me what I did at work today, I'm not lying if I only tell her the highlights of what I did, and not, say, that I got a cup of coffee or went to the bathroom, unless for some reason she needed a minute-by-minute account of everything I did. In either case, you pretty much end up with a situation where everyone is lying, all the time.


Thank you. I was trying to think of the best example for why not telling a complete explanation of the truth is not lying. "What did you do at work?" is perfect.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Intrigued » Thu May 20, 2010 4:58 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:I very rarely see teachers let a child get past "yes, but.." or "no, but.." when they are explaining their behaviour. So the outright denial isn't suprising considering the sort of response a child is likely to get.

Something like:

"Did you throw that pencil?"

"Yes, but.."

"The reason doesn't matter, no throwing...blah blah blah"


I did specifically address this argument in the post that you are responding to, so you can reread my post for the response.

As far as the rest of this goes, there are certainly times when lying can be deemed a morally defensible choice, but that doesn't make it not lying. It is up to us, personally, to define that line. To me, lying about whether you threw something to a figure of authority is disrespectful and goes past that line. Given a different situation/more detail - if the authority figure unfairly treated the child and let others throw pencils around the room without any reprimands, I would say the child is far more morally defensible in the lie, he's only doing it because of a corrupt system. Now if the child just doesn't agree with the rules the teacher has set in his/her own classroom, he can talk to the teacher about them, he can leave, or he can break the rules and abide by the consequences. If he believes the system is truly corrupt and lies in defense of his own freedoms, then he must know that he can face even worse consequences for that - but he certainly can't expect to know the rules, willingly break them, lie about it, and expect that he can get off scot-free. If he doesn't understand that these are your options when you decide (each moment) to continue living within societies bounds (and gaining it's benefits), then now is when he will learn them, and possibly in a more harsh way than his parents could have taught him.

I also can't help but to see the blatant metaphor here of the child breaking rules in class vs criminals in society. It's an extreme example of the same situation, but it points out that we all need to have our lines where eventually it becomes black or white. For me, seeing this situation at face value, I have to say that what the child is doing is selfish and wrong, and needs to be corrected, and, of course, he always has the option to leave for another society or to try to mark out some territory as his own where he can create a set of rules that align with his moral compass. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's an option if you aren't happy with the social contract.

There's also a difference between fiction and lies. Fiction is a joke or a story, told with the intent of the audience knowing that they aren't true events but being able to relate to them, or enjoy their absurdity, etc. Lies, as previously discussed, are told in an attempt to deceive someone into believing that something that is untrue is the truth.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Griffin » Sat May 22, 2010 5:55 am UTC

Although this comes back to what our definition of lying is.

Personal opinion...there are not multiple definitions of what lying is.

More important than dealing with your kids and Santa is what you say when your wife says "how does this dress make me look?"[/quote]

Sorry, but... there ARE multiple definitions to lying. You can go and look them up.

The sticker seems be between "knowingly speaking falsehoods" and "communicating with intent to deceive".
And telling lies, even then, is often perfectly acceptable and actually encouraged in certain situations.
To make it even more complicated, there are communications that can seem very much like lies to observers, without actually being so, because the communication is not as it appears - take, for example, the "How does this dress make me look?" question. You answer should depend on what, exactly, that question is communicating - and only rarely is it communicating what the words imply.

So, are actors professional liars? They're entire job is often to make you believe, if only for a while, that the world and situations they occupy are real. I'm reminded now of the play within a play in Shakespear's Midsummer Nights Dream, where every twist and turn was laboriously explained so that the audience would not suffer any deceit during the performance (ultimately making it quite meaningless).

Anyways, as to the OP:
The only way the student could be considered lying was if the Teacher was also lying (communicating that there was some unknown bit of knowledge he was seeking, to which the student could reasonably have a chance of deceiving the teacher in turn). So, basically, check yourself. If you're asking questions like that, you should look in the mirror before casting stones.

I most situations I've seen of the sort, it is very much a denial rather than a lie - an abdication of responsibility rather than a true attempt to deceive. As to why students do it? My guess is that they simply don't know a better response - they seek the outcome that will most quickly resolve the situation with the least amount of damage. If your students have learned the best way to respond to you is to blatantly deny any and all accusations regardless of their truth, well, again - you need to check yourself.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby styrofoam » Sat May 22, 2010 12:58 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:Sorry, but... there ARE multiple definitions to lying. You can go and look them up.

We're going to have to agree on one (or on ways of distinguishing them) before we can start having a discussion...
Griffin wrote:So, are actors professional liars? They're entire job is often to make you believe, if only for a while, that the world and situations they occupy are real.

Probably not. Maybe you subconsciously believe that the situation is real, but consciously you understand it's fiction. As for the Shakespeare subplay, neither "the truth" nor "the lies" are reflections of reality (it's impossible to lie about something that isn't real).
Griffin wrote:Anyways, as to the OP:
The only way the student could be considered lying was if the Teacher was also lying (communicating that there was some unknown bit of knowledge he was seeking, to which the student could reasonably have a chance of deceiving the teacher in turn).

Any idea what that unknown bit of information is?
Griffin wrote:I most situations I've seen of the sort, it is very much a denial rather than a lie - an abdication of responsibility rather than a true attempt to deceive.

That's true. Everybody involved knows both that the student did it and that everybody else knows.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby SnakesNDMartyrs » Mon May 24, 2010 4:20 am UTC

Vox Imperatoris wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:"Why is the sky blue?"
"Well son, I'm not going to lie to you. The sky is actual violet, our eyes simply cannot see that frequency of light very wall. Photons from the Sun strike molecules in the atmosphere where are scattered in many different directions. Light with long wave lengths scatters away more than those with short wave lengths, since our eyes aren't sensitive to the shortest wavelengths we see blue."
"Huh?"

I'd say there are two reasons we lie to children: to protect them from things we don't want them to know and to explain things in a way they can understand. You might argue that the first one is bad but the second one is completely necessary. Kids don't have the background to understand a lot of concepts. To get their interest or tell them something useful you generally have to give them information that is less true than the whole truth. I guess you could preface explanations of the world by saying "this isn't the whole truth, but it's a way of explaining it that you can understand".


First of all, your example is silly. The sky is not violet: it is blue. Color is the product of the interaction between wavelengths of light and our sense organs; the fact that we see the sky as blue is what means to call it "blue". Otherwise, we would refer to the wavelength of the light, not the color of the sky, which is the the effect of these interactions on our perceptive faculty.


That there is one fine answer. Is the sky blue? Obviously!!! But some people will try and convince you otherwise.


The sky isn't blue. Colour isn't a property of objects, it exists in our minds independent of the external objects that we coat with it.

As for lying vs joking - I would say that there are a couple of factors at play. First, if you ask someone if they did something it implies uncertainty and therefore it lets the person think that a white lie may get them out of the situation. Secondly is the severity of the lie which relates to the first point because the more serious the lie is the less likely the perpetrator will treat it jokingly.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby styrofoam » Tue May 25, 2010 12:55 am UTC

SnakesNDMartyrs wrote:The sky isn't blue. Colour isn't a property of objects, it exists in our minds independent of the external objects that we coat with it.

Let's not debate the nature of color. Okay?
SnakesNDMartyrs wrote:As for lying vs joking - I would say that there are a couple of factors at play. First, if you ask someone if they did something it implies uncertainty and therefore it lets the person think that a white lie may get them out of the situation.

White lies typically have some benefit to the hearer. The OP example doesn't.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby 4=5 » Tue May 25, 2010 2:06 am UTC

Intrigued wrote:But the child certainly can't expect to know the rules, willingly break them, lie about it, and expect that he can get off scot-free.

Yes the child can, they don't want to get punished so they try anything to not get punished. I remember being a child, I would do what I wanted to and then if the authority yelled at me I'd do whatever worked at getting them to stop.

Glass Fractal wrote:
Sam Adams wrote:Of course, as a parent, you, too, must not lie. Ever. Not ever.


"Why is the sky blue?"

Because air is blue.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue May 25, 2010 3:08 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
square peg wrote:... When I see a four or five year old tell a lie ...

Wait, you're complaining that a five year old is trying to talk their way out of being caught in a lie? Welcome to dealing with 5 year olds.

Beat me to it.

My 3 (just turned 4! Yay!) year old does that ALL THE TIME, and the frustrating thing is my 8 year old is learning it from her. She understands that joking is telling something that isn't true, much like a lie, but you don't get into trouble from the joke (except when her jokes become about suicide, which they ALL DO NOW, thank you very much, drugged-up douchebag cousin).

It gives me hope, though, since I saw this behaviour all through high school, and even through college to a lesser degree. If my kids are hitting these milestones now, then the sky's the limit!

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Intrigued » Tue May 25, 2010 3:34 pm UTC

4=5 wrote:
Intrigued wrote:But the child certainly can't expect to know the rules, willingly break them, lie about it, and expect that he can get off scot-free.

Yes the child can, they don't want to get punished so they try anything to not get punished. I remember being a child, I would do what I wanted to and then if the authority yelled at me I'd do whatever worked at getting them to stop.


Okay... so you didn't get off scot-free, you were punished. Scot-free doesn't mean punishment eventually ends. So you've basically said that you did expect that when you knew the rules and were breaking them, and lying about it, that you knew that punishment comes with that, but just that you would try to mitigate it in any way possible. That's all I'm saying... you can't, at that point, know "well enough" to lie in order to avoid punishment, without knowing that you're risking more punishment by lying.

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
Azrael wrote:
square peg wrote:... When I see a four or five year old tell a lie ...

Wait, you're complaining that a five year old is trying to talk their way out of being caught in a lie? Welcome to dealing with 5 year olds.

Beat me to it.


Still not enjoying this strawman... it's not the whole of what the poster was saying, and it was certainly not his point.

To address the whole argument about how the teacher was lying to the child by asking a question, I find that to be entirely unjustifiable. It isn't a lie to ask a question and confirm with someone what you saw. In courtrooms you ask questions of defendants in order to verify what happened. If you have a confession from them, then the situation is cut and dry. If they said they didn't do it - and are lying, then you're forced to present evidence to the contrary (e.g. I saw you do it) in order to try to place guilt. Again, it's one thing to not confess to it, but if you specifically say you didn't do it (when you did), that's a lie. Yes, it's also a denial, and maybe it's mostly a "quick reflex" to try to get out of trouble... but these are all just fancy words that describe how the lie happened, and maybe lessen the ill intent of it, but that certainly doesn't change it from being a person directly misrepresenting facts to another in order to try to make things better for themselves (and worse for the other person - since he now has less control of his class with his rules not being followed).

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby Andvari » Thu May 27, 2010 4:26 pm UTC

For me lying and joking are sort of one concept in my mind. It's just the way my friends and I interact, because we all know when what is said is a lie. It seems odd that there is this very general term for everything that is not necessarily true, which has a large negative stigma attached to it. That sounds bad, but what I mean is the way my friends talk to each other is often building lies on top of lies. Someone will say something that is obviously not true, and we will just start having a conversation based on the assumption that it is true, and that everything else we say is true. I suppose it's kind of like a game, but it's how we talk often. We'll do this around other people too, not to mislead them, but because we forget not everyone talks like this.
So, would lying be considering a bad thing if all parties involved are aware of the lie? Is the bad thing about the lie the fact that something untrue has been said, or the misinformation among others that it has caused?

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby styrofoam » Fri May 28, 2010 12:39 am UTC

Andvari wrote:So, would lying be considering a bad thing if all parties involved are aware of the lie?

That is called fiction, and my family will do it, too.
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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby PeriscopeSquirrel » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

To answer the original title question: a rather long time ago.

Proverbs 26:18-19 (New International Version)

18 Like a madman shooting
firebrands or deadly arrows

19 is a man who deceives his neighbor
and says, "I was only joking!"


And regarding the cause:

Jeremiah 17:9 (New Living Translation)

9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?


Finally, on the subject of when it is okay to mislead people...I notice that Resurrected Jesus has kind of a thing for wrapping his true identity in anonymity (or at least not taking steps to elucidate his identity right away) -- see the Road to Emmaus incident, Mary at the Tomb, and the Seaside Fish Breakfast. He didn't claim to be anyone else, but he presumably knew they didn't recognize him, and he didn't bother to say "Hey it's me!"

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby IcedT » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:15 am UTC

square peg wrote:Can anyone think of any thing else to blame?

I would say, "one or two kids did this successfully at some point and ever since then the rest have just been imitating them." Kids are serious posers. Especially young ones. Their brains are basically wired for them to imitate anything and everything they see that doesn't produce an immediate and visible negative backlash.

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Re: When did lying become kidding?

Postby GroverCleveland » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:19 am UTC

Personally I believe it became this way because lying is fun. To me, lying is like exercising your cleverness and quick thinking. If you do something and are caught, there isn't really a point in lying because it makes you appear even guiltier and casts doubt on any future statements you make in your own defense, but if you can make yourself seem innocent of an act before people even begin questioning you about it, you have cleverly eluded punishment. Because of this, lying can be related to not getting in trouble, and becomes fun and enjoyable.

I think when people realized this they wanted to make lying more acceptable by passing it off as a game, a kind of mental one-upping of each other and decided that if they got caught in the lie they could simply pass it off as kidding, or basically saying " all right, you win this time." when they verbally say " I was just kidding."


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