The thing is, as was the case in previous iterations of our debate on this general topic, I feel like we are speaking a little off to the side, past each other, instead of directly confronting the other. That's the problem with the Other, of course, that our attempts to confront it never really meet it fair and square. But that's a tale for another day. . .
Anyway, I don't disagree with Steven that there's something out there that exists outside of our consciousness.
What gets me going is the idea that this something is made of "facts."
Pardon me, readers, for once again going etymological on your respective asses, but I think there's a reason that the word "fact" derives from the Latin word meaning "to make."
In my book, "facts" are what we make in our efforts to get as close as possible to that something out there that we can never fully capture. It doesn't mean that the "it" isn't out there. But the "facts" are always already approximations, like those equations I couldn't really complete successfully in Calculus that break movement down into very small static units, or the digital "translation" of analog music.
Mind you, I readily acknowledge that facts can come very close to their mark, just like a CD can sound very much like the source it's made from. For most purposes, the difference between "fact" and what it seeks to capture will be functionally insignificant, undetectable. However that doesn't mean the gap isn't there.
What my previous entry was trying to express is my sense that we usually need to act as though that difference were not only insignificant, but meaningless. And that's fine, so long as we retain some portion of our minds for speculative thinking in which we do admit the possibility that meaningless differences can mean everything.