‘Truth’ is one of those words that we use so frequently that we never really stop to think about what it means. We talk about ‘the truth’ as though there is this fixed thing that exists in an observable state that we can all agree on. It would be nice if we could agree on some truths, but if you look at the sweep of human history you’ll see that people have been fighting about ‘truths’ for centuries. Is there a God? Who are the ‘chosen people’? The list goes on and on.
Okay, so we’re not so good with discovering spiritual truth
(assuming there is such a thing). What about scientific truth? The
fable of science that we tell ourselves is this: A bunch of smart
people who like to measure things very precisely conduct experiments
and then they determine what conditions lead to certain outcomes. If
the same conditions always lead to the same outcome then we have
discovered ‘causation.’ In real life isolating conditions that lead to
other conditions is hard. So what happens with these really smart guys
is that they write lots of obtuse papers and attend conferences where
they speak in a language that is incomprehensible to local news
reporters. But that doesn’t stop the poofy-haired anchorman from
trying to explain that scientists have now discovered that, say, coffee
is actually good for you. Oh, but we all know that caffeine research
isn’t where the action is.
Stem-cell research is a fascinating field of study, as is everything
in the field of genomics. The notion that life has a blueprint that is
encoded into cellular structures, or even smaller structures, is
mind-boggling. If there is agreement among scientists about what is
possible we have to remember that it isn’t really ‘truth.’ At least
not a ‘commonly perceivable truth.’ Why not? Well, because we usually
perceive the world we live in through certain filters. The political
realm is one strong filter. But let’s not forget about religious
filters. A lot of people in this country rely heavily on so-called
‘religious leaders’ to help them make sense of the world that they live
in, which leads to some very interesting notions of what might be
‘true.’ (See e.g. Pat Robertson explaining what caused the recent ice storms).
I used to watch the local news to find out ‘what happened’ what
happened in my community. And I used to believe in Santa Clause. More
recently, I have decided that it’s better for me to decide for myself
what is true. I have great respect for scientists and anyone who tries
to suppress prejudice and bias in making estimates about what is true.
But, frankly, we’re all human and those are hard tendencies to
suppress. One thing I am pretty sure of, though: the chances that
groups of humans will be able to identify ‘the truth’ is zilch.
Assuming that ‘the truth’ is something that can be manifest in the
three-dimensional world that we all think of as a receptacle for
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“[…] but IF this is intended for a primarily Christian audience, […] (emphasis added through CAPS).
“Again, I’m assuming you’re talking about truth in general w/ that statement, instead of Christ (John 14:6).”
Now Steve, where do you see an assumption on my part, as you say? Does “if” necessarily equal an assumption? No! Not to be smart w/ you here, but please go back & read what I wrote, then get back at me! 🙂 But since you mention it, you can’t deny that my point is not a possibility (or could be taken as so). Which is why I was simply inquiring about, but the author of this will have to speak for himself. Perhaps, for clarification purposes. Maybe a reason why it could be (again, not saying it is) intended for a primarily Christian audience is his citing of Pat Robertson (founder of CBN, the 700 Club, & Regent University). So as far as scientific truth, Pat Robertson shouldn’t be the guy people (Christian or not) turn to for answers about what Christians hold to be truth or what people find to be scientific truth. Assuming people want a serious answer. Pat Robertson, as the link shows, is a lil’ (an understatement on my part) extreme in his ideas/views/opinions. Perhaps someone better to turn to, would be someone like Alister McGrath (https://www.bethinking.org/) or Ravi Zacharias (https://www.rzim.org/), etc. If you know anything about those 2 guys, then you would know why I mention them & could mention a few others. The 1 thing I find slightly amusing is, for example, Richard Dawkins, a well-known atheist (https://www.richarddawkins.net/), in his well-known documentary, “The Root of All Evil,” which comes from his book, “The God Delusion,” he visits extremists in worldviews such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. Now the documentary was funny b/c of background music of choice, some of the people he visited (for Christianity, he visited Ted Haggard…enough said), as well as other factors that made me laugh, as I was watching it in my Christian Worldview in the 21st Century, class. The main thing that made me laugh is his apparent unwillingness to visit any noteworthy apologist. He finally just had a public debate w/ Dr. Alister McGrath, but for many years, he refused to do so. He also didn’t include his interview of Dr. McGrath, in the final cut of “The Root of All Evil.” So personally, if I wanted to talk seriously about truth, as I attempt to do justice to the worldviews I discuss, I wouldn’t be documenting or citing people that are extremists, unless there’s good reasoning to do so. In saying that, I’m not accusing the author of doing that here, only he can speak for himself. I simply say that is my personal way of handling a serious discussion of what people hold to be true, from their given worldview.
In other news, I’m in Chicago at a friend’s house from college at ORU. It so happens that he has the internet, so I figured I’d check to see if anybody responded yet. Much love to you all & God bless! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays/New Year! 🙂
Will, why do you assume “this is intended for a primarily Christian audience”? He did ask about scientific truth, the gist of the post as far as I could see.
Well, since I’ll be gone for a lil’ while (for the Holidays), I figured I’d let you know the direction I am going to take my logical discussion w/ the material I’m questioning, in your note (or blog). I mentioned my friend that recently converted from Christianity to atheism. I had a similar discussion w/ him, after in his note (documenting his conversion) he said he doesn’t believe there are any “absolute truths” in life. Although it says that word-for-word in his Facebook note (Detailing how he came to a rational conclusion that “religion is hogwash,” after he studied on his own, world religions & what not. & for many theists that lack a well-reasoned explanation, God or gods or a deity, is used just to fill the “gaps” of life.), he vehemently denied it, when I called him out on his rhetoric choice. But after I let you know in a moment what I asked him, he flip-flopped like John Kerry. So in a similar way as I asked him, I ask you.If you’re absolutely certain that–>”[…] the chances that groups of humans will be able to identify ‘the truth’ is zilch. Assuming that ‘the truth’ is something that can be manifest in the three-dimensional world that we all think of as a receptacle for reality.'” …Then through your subjective experiential conclusion, haven’t you come to identify that as “the truth”? Knowing also that there’s nothing new under the sun &/or that many others share the same common view, then haven’t groups of humans (whatever their worldview may be…usually, atheism or skepticism or agnosticism), come to what in their eyes/hearts/minds, is, “the truth”? Again, I’m assuming you’re talking about truth in general w/ that statement, instead of Christ (John 14:6). So for those that deny there are absolute truths in life &/or say all truth is relative, are saying straw-man statements/arguments/conclusions. Reason being is they’re self-defeating porous statements/arguments/conclusions that don’t logically stand up for themselves.
“One thing I am pretty sure of, though: the chances that groups of humans will be able to identify ‘the truth’ is zilch. Assuming that ‘the truth’ is something that can be manifest in the three-dimensional world that we all think of as a receptacle for reality.”
I’m up playing Poker Stars (dominating, by the way) & I figured I’d log into Facebook to check my page. Sometimes I’ll read people’s notes or links to notes, so that is how I stumbled upon this page. My question is though, can you say this w/ absolute certainty? Also, I assume you’re speaking of truth in general, but if this is intended for a primarily Christian audience, putting “the truth” in quotes, can be taken to mean Christ. Regardless, my question still holds. If you receive this comment, how you respond may determine how I respond back. B/c even my friend that recently converted from Christianity to atheism (he’s very philosophical) might have a problem w/ your statement, if interpreted correctly or misinterpreted (depending how you look at it).