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A lie (also called prevarication), is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others, often with the further intention to maintain a secret or reputation, protect someone's feelings or to avoid a punishment. To lie is to state something that one knows to be false or that one has not reasonably ascertained to be true with the intention that it be taken for the truth by oneself or someone else. A liar is a person who is lying, who has previously lied, or who tends by nature to lie repeatedly.

Types of lies

The various types of lies include the following:

Fabrication

   A fabrication is a lie told when someone submits a statement as truth, without knowing for certain whether or not it actually is true. Although the statement may be possible or plausible, it is not based on fact. Rather, it is something made up, or it is a misrepresentation of the truth.

                   

Bold-faced lie
   A bold-faced (or barefaced, or boldfaced, or bald-faced) lie is one which is told when it is obvious to all concerned that it is a lie.

                   

Lying by omission
   One lies by omission by omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions... In most cases, the person has not directly denied a truth, but merely omitted some part of what transpired.

                   

Lie-to-children
   A lie-to-children is a lie, often a platitude which may use euphemism(s), which is told to make an adult subject acceptable to children. A common example is "The stork brought you" (in reference to childbirth).

                   

White lie
   A white lie would cause no discord if it were uncovered, and offers some benefit to the liar, the hearer, or both. White lies are often used to avoid offense, such as telling someone that you think that their new outfit looks good, when you actually think that it is a horrible excuse for an outfit. In this case, the lie is told to avoid the harmful realistic implications of the truth. As a concept, it is largely defined by local custom and cannot be clearly separated from other lies with any authority. As such, the term may have differing meanings in different cultures. Lies which are harmless (but told for no reason) are generally called white lies.

                   

Noble lie
   A noble lie is one which would normally cause discord if it were uncovered, but which offers some benefit to the liar and assists in an orderly society, therefore potentially beneficial to others. It is often told to maintain law, order and safety. A noble lie usually has the effect of helping an elite maintain power.

                   

Emergency lie
   An emergency lie is a strategic lie told when the truth may not be told because, for example, harm to a third party would result. For example, a neighbour might lie to an enraged husband about the whereabouts of his unfaithful wife, because said husband might reasonably be expected to inflict physical injury should he encounter his wife in person. Alternatively, an emergency lie could denote a (temporary) lie told to a second person because of the presence of a third.

                   

Perjury
   Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law, or in any of various sworn statements in writing. Perjury is a crime, because the witness has sworn to tell the truth and, for the credibility of the court to remain intact, witness testimony must be relied on as truthful.

                   

Bluffing
   Pretending to have a capability or intention which one does not actually possess. Bluffing is an act of deception which is rarely seen as immoral, because it takes place in the context of a game where this kind of deception is consented to in advance by the players. For instance, a gambler who deceives other players into thinking he has different cards to those which he really holds, or an athlete who indicates he will move left and then actually dodges right, is not considered to be lying. In these situations, deception is accepted and indeed expected as a tactic.

                 

Misleading
   A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but there still remains the purpose of making someone believe in an untruth.

                 

Dissembling
   "Dissembling" is a polite term for lying, though some might consider it a reference to merely misleading. It is usually considered to be a euphemism for lying.

                   

Exaggeration
   An exaggeration occurs when the most fundamental aspect(s) of a statement is true, but only to a certain degree. An example of this sort of lie is when someone says they are so hungry they could eat a horse.

                   

Jocose lies
   Jocose lies are those which are meant in jest, and are usually understood as such by all present parties. Teasing and sarcasm are examples. A more elaborate instance is seen in storytelling traditions which are present in some places, where the humour comes from the storyteller's insistence that he or she is telling the absolute truth, despite all evidence being to the contrary (i.e. tall tale). There is debate about whether these are "real" lies, and different philosophers hold different views.

                   

Contextual lies
   One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them. To say "yeah, that's right, I slept with your best friend" utilizing a sarcastic, offended tone, may cause the listener to assume the speaker did not mean what he said, when in fact he did.

                   

Promotion lies
   Advertisements often contain statements which are incredible, such as "We are always happy to give a refund", or exaggerated predictions such as "You will love our new product".

                   

Belief systems
   It is alleged that some belief systems may find lying to be justified. Leo Tolstoy is cited as describing religious institutions as "the product of deception [and] lies for a good purpose".

                   

                   

Well, this week's diary, in the works for several weeks now, took a sudden turn in a new direction just before publication. I'll be happy to entertain revisions, or you may just go ahead and post your own favorite video clips in the comments.

ATHEIST RESOURCES ONLINE

POSITIVE ATHEISM

YOism.ORG

We will feature new links here on the main diary page, but most of our accumulated links have moved over to our BLOGROLL on the right side of the page.

Links to PREVIOUS EDITIONS of YOUR SUNDAY ATHEIST:
Please check out these earlier editions of the series. The list is getting long, so only some of the previous diaries are linked here. However, clicking on diary #9 will give you a list of links for diaries #1 through  #8.

#9: Speaking in Tongues Edition
A closer look at the Pentecostal practice of "speaking in tongues" (a.k.a. glossolalia), a practice which is current in the Assemblies of God churches, where Sarah Palin spent twenty years as a worshipper.

#5: Dalton Trumbo Edition
Looks at the new documentary on writer Dalton Trumbo and the Hollywood blacklist.

#4: Child Abuse Edition
Discusses three award-winning documentaries exposing the abuse of children at the hands of preachers, evangelists, and Catholic priests.

As always, here is your Video reward for making it all the way through another diary. ENJOY!

                                         
                       

NEXT WEEK'S EDITION OF YOUR SUNDAY ATHEIST (number fourteen in our series) will examine some troubling possibilities facing the new Obama administration. Or else we'll be seriously contemplating extreme reactions to the new McCain/Palin administration. Meanwhile, use some of those handy dKos tools, like SEARCH or SUBSCRIBE, and keep up to date on this series as new diaries are published.

Originally posted to rdbaker43 on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 03:19 PM PST.

Poll

I want the truth

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| 44 votes | Vote | Results

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