What is Truth?
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28-01-2012, 05:00 PM
RE: What is Truth?
There is nothing that obvious, as proven by the cabinet door over the kitchen sink =p There are always those who will by some happenstance disregard or not perceive something. It doesn't mean you're stupid.

If we want to meld the two threads into one then I will put my point in on this. As I stated with the sentient vs non-sentient truths dialogue: What has happened, whatever horrible fact that must be dealt with is physical. Who caused it, and why they caused it is an idea. The physical non-sentient portion has a definite answer which can be reached by studying and prodding. The non-physical sentient portion has a multitude of answers which can each be right in it's own way.

If you want to know who to blame there is one answer that is both right and wrong but in essence the closest answer you can have. Everyone who was alive during the period of the time this event took place. In fact this answer goes so far as to blame every life form until the incidents zenith if there has been determined to be a zenith. That answer does not lead you anywhere or help solve things. There is a reason that after the horrors of nuclear power were discovered contingencies and alternatives were found. People saw that it was a problem and came up with solutions. They didn't put all of the larger scientific nations on trial for co-creating a monster. They accepted that it was inevitable.

If you focus too hard on dealing with ideas then you will never actually deal with the physical issues. The truth about the problems you presented in your other post is that there actually are problems and those need solutions. Knowing someone is to blame and finding a reason that it happened does not prevent it from having happened. Seeking a scapegoat is just an appeal for vindication. Work on the solution because there is no definite who,what,where,when, or why answer to an idea. It can be everything at once. We know who built the weapons. We know who wants to use them. None of these facts have stopped it from being a problem.

This is one of the largest traps a brilliant mind can find. Believing that there is a right side to an argument. Survival of the fittest is not about who was right or wrong, it's just about who lives. Oftentimes both forms are equally correct, but one is more successful. There is a point where you have to accept that physical consequences are the concern. Yes if we could remove the ability to cause incidents from the brains of future perpetrators then many atrocities would be prevented, but this society has never asked for or willingly accepted such advancements. Part of what makes truth deafening is that serious truth with no leeway is unemotional. It's just there and that's all it has to be. If you truly want to find definite answers to sentient truths then your best bet is to kill them. The only way to have your definite articles in such ways is to mechanize humanity. To remove sentience which allows for so much variation in order to achieve truth.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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28-01-2012, 05:47 PM
RE: What is Truth?
In a word, Gwyneth. Big Grin

I was just dreaming about that poor girl again. Heaven or hell, right or wrong, saint or sinner; all dependent upon which side of the line one places the Gwyneth.

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28-01-2012, 06:10 PM
RE: What is Truth?
I often hear people argue about their country. I have heard educated, intelligent people try to explain it on television, in books, in speeches. What bothers me is the almost total lack of reference points. The body of explanation is floating in air, without an anchor in reality. We have no starting point on which we agree.

If I ask anyone in Canada to define the basic principles by which our society is organized, I get different answers. Some say it is a democracy, some say it is capitalistic; most would agree that it is a nice place to live (we Canadians are proud to be ‘nice people’).

If I ask them about the problems we have, I really get an earful: Too much taxation, too much government, too few public services, too soft on crime, too much corruption, too much poverty, etc., etc.

And when I ask, “Too much, compared to what?” - no answer. How do we define what is normal, what is acceptable? By what principle, by what yardstick? Nobody knows. We just don’t like some part of our social environment for personal reasons and we call it too ‘something’.

Take taxation. Everyone agrees that we pay too high a proportion of our income. What would be the right proportion? Why pay taxes at all? And if we do, what is the right amount? Should it be the same for everyone or should it be progressive? If yes, how progressive? Why? What determines fairness? How do we calculate it? Everyone who ever filled out a tax return knows that tax laws are insanely complicated. Who made them, based on what principle, what criteria?

Almost nobody, at least not in public media, discusses these questions. We just express emotional and personal opinions and expect others to agree with our un-stated assumptions. Sometimes even we ourselves do not know what assumptions.

Our opponents are no better off, so arguments seldom go anywhere. We keep shouting each other down, interrupting each other's statements -- nobody convinces anybody about anything; the argument is doomed from the start.

Quite often the purpose is to score points. We treat the discussion as a contest, instead of an attempt to find a solution and thus let everybody win. This attitude, of course, is consistent with the aggressive genes in our species that want to fight, rather than cooperate, for survival.

If we tried to build science and industry by this method, we would still be in the caves. It just doesn't work. It can't. The scientific method, which was so successful over the centuries in technology, is not limited to science: it is a general problem-solving method that could and should be applied to all our problems.

We need a common starting point. If we go from there, step by step, making sure we agree on each step, then either we arrive at the same conclusion, or a point of disagreement. Work on that point, until we reach a compromise, and then resume our discussion, knowing that we are still together, solving our problem.

In the case of taxation, we would have to ask some basic questions first, before going into details or percentages:

“What are the essence, purpose, goals and priorities of a human society?”
“What are the basically different options for organizing people?”
“What are the advantages and disadvantages of these options?”
“Which of the options do we chose?”
“What is the optimum way to implement this option?”

If we answered these questions, the rest would be easy. Basic facts, simple logic, and some arithmetic would provide the answers.

The general public assumes that the scientific method is designed for, and restricted to, science. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Take the judicial system, for example. The body of laws is supposed to read like a scientific document. All the terms have to be clearly defined, all the laws clearly stated, covering every probable scenario, every possible exception. No contradiction is allowed in the document and if one is demonstrated, it needs to be revised to remove the contradiction.

Of course, no law-book is perfect, just as no encyclopaedia of science is flawless. But the intent is there and with the right attitude, things can be improved all the time.

In criminal trials both the defender and the prosecutor have to use precise logic to draw their conclusions (even though each tries to cheat as much as he thinks he can get away with) and the evidence they present has to be “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

It is a sad state of affairs that our politicians can get away with undefined concepts, gross errors of facts, blatantly illogical arguments, glaring contradictions and transparent emotional manipulation.

Just compare the public debate that lead to attacking Iraq in 2003, with the process I described above and ask yourself the following questions:

· Were all the terms used clearly defined (WMD, terrorist, democracy)?
· Were all the relevant data considered?
· Were all the statements offered consistent with one another?
· Were all the presumed facts clearly demonstrated?
· Were the conclusions reached by meticulous logic?
· Have the need for, and goals of, action been clearly identified?
· Had every alternative action been considered?
· Were the leaders ready to admit error when contradiction found?
· Was the course of action changed according to new evidence?
· Was there an attitude of honesty, integrity, openness, objectivity?

Somehow I think that it would help if the citizenry were better educated in science and logic. This is part of the reason I decided to write this book.
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28-01-2012, 08:24 PM
RE: What is Truth?
Being a certified nutbag is of course a limited liability corporation. Wink

“What are the essence, purpose, goals and priorities of a human society?” The first question, well, gwyneth.

When is information ever not conveyed? Well, oblivion. Truth is life.

Yours is the will to sanity. Mine, the strange attractor; island in the chaos. The moment, Truth, is conceptualized; it is no longer realized.

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29-01-2012, 12:07 AM
RE: What is Truth?
Truth is perception

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche
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29-01-2012, 07:26 AM (This post was last modified: 29-01-2012 07:42 AM by Zat.)
RE: What is Truth?
(28-01-2012 08:24 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Yours is the will to sanity. Mine, the strange attractor; island in the chaos. The moment, Truth, is conceptualized; it is no longer realized.

I have a button I often wear - it says: "Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most".

It makes me feel very sad and I wear the button to ward off the evil eye and Alzheimer's.

If there is one thing in the world I worship: it is Truth.

You know the question: "if one could tell you the exact date of your death, would you want to know?"

My answer, without hesitation is: yes, of course.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to plan the rest of your life, knowing how long you have left? Blow all your money on a wild adventure if you know you will be dead in a year? When my wife had cancer and we were not sure if she would recover (she did, thank you doctors!) we were prepared to sell our home, buy the biggest motor home we could afford and go on a huge trip all over North America, to visit all the places we have always wanted to.

Truth is liberating like nothing else is. Even the bad ones, because you have a chance of coping with it.

I wrote a SF story once in which a Chemistry student concocts some chemical spray that, when inhaled, makes people tell exactly what they think. The student would go to political rallies and release it near the speaker who, id mid-sentence, stopped bullshitting and started telling exactly what he really thought. Wouldn't it be marvelous if people were physically unable to lie?

Truth is reality and reality is life.
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29-01-2012, 08:44 AM
RE: What is Truth?
Like everything else worth considering, it's complicated.

Kripke's approach is interesting in that it at least avoids paradoxes. Albeit at the expense of surrendering the law of the excluded middle.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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29-01-2012, 11:10 AM
RE: What is Truth?
(29-01-2012 12:07 AM)Karl Wrote:  Truth is perception

Well, that works for a lighthouse. When the amount of light entering the sensor lens is below a certain level, it’s dark enough to turn on the strobes. Doesn’t matter whether it’s night or a storm or and eclipse or an alien invasion: all the truth a lighthouse needs is “dark enough”.

For isolated, very simple humans, I suppose the same method would work: hungry enough to kill something; cold enough to light a fire, scared enough to run.
For humans in groups, however, action must be decided by several entities with various perceptions. Practical truth becomes the subject of communication. Are enough of us hungry enough to risk attacking a mammoth? Are enough of us cold enough to light a fire out in the open, or can we hold out till we find a cave? While some of us are scared enough to run, others are brave enough to stand and fight.

Truth, then must become objective – at least to the point where subjective truths may be compared and evaluated.
How it’s defined, how it’s compared, how it’s evaluated always depends on its current function - what the truth of a given matter is to be used for.
Scientific truth, judicial truth, news reportage truth, financial accounting truth, social truth, emotional truth, spiritual truth, poetic truth all have different standards and different testing mechanisms. Even within a single application, the rigor may vary widely: in a murder trial, I hope judicial evaluation is far stricter than in the case of a schoolyard fight.

As to blame, again, it’s a question of purpose and function. If you just want to know whom to forgive, it doesn’t matter if you allocate too little blame to one person and too much to another. If it’s a question of putting someone on the rack, I hope the poof of guilt is required to meet a higher degree of precision.
If it’s a question of “moving on”, perhaps who or what brought about the current state of affairs is no matter; after all, every cause-and-effect chain goes back to the Big Bang and every condition is just the way things are. But if it’s a question of how to move on, how to correct what’s wrong, who should do what differently, then figuring out how the current state was brought about, and by whose actions, may be of considerable moment.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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29-01-2012, 11:30 AM
RE: What is Truth?
(29-01-2012 11:10 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  But if it’s a question of how to move on, how to correct what’s wrong, who should do what differently, then figuring out how the current state was brought about, and by whose actions, may be of considerable moment.

Thank you, Peterkin, I couldn't have said it better, even though I tried several times. Smile
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29-01-2012, 12:50 PM
RE: What is Truth?
I disagree that truth is something you can discover or come up with, or even perceive, especially according to an individual alone (except for in abstract cases such as 'my own truth').

Truth is an unbiased reality. Figuring that out is pretty tough, but we do what we can to come close.
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