There is one little expression that really gets on my wick – “everyone knows”.
This is an expression consciously or unconsciously designed to convince us all that something is fact where that “fact” is true or not, No one likes to be excluded from the crowd so being told that “everyone knows” will tend to make the non-believer feel excluded and cast doubt on his own beliefs.
Sometimes the statement is true. For example everyone knows that if you let go of something it will fall down [unless it’s lighter than air!]. Gravity is a fact that every living animal is well aware of from birth to death. It has been proved to everyone by experience and is an immutable fact. Everyone knows that gravity exists.
One of the ones that boils my piss is the statement that “everyone knows that smoking is bad for you” or the other classic “everyone knows smoking causes cancer”. I have heard this so many times even from people who support the right to smoke. That statement is couched as a fact when it is in reality unproven. It would be correct to say that “everyone is told that smoking is bad” or even “most people believe that smoking is bad”.
I know something when I either can experience it for myself or have been given sufficient proof that it is true. In all other cases I either believe something to be true or will question its veracity. For example I don’t know that smoking is bad for me. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t but the only “proof” I have ever been given is from a statistical analysis of figures by the medical profession [and we all know the expression “lies, damned lies and statistics”!]. They say that smoking causes cancer yet they have never been able to induce cancer in a laboratory. The truth would be nearer to the proposition that smoking may be a contributory factor and possibly a cause.
When I see the expression “everyone knows” I just see propaganda at work.