Author Topic: nature of truth  (Read 5294 times)

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Offline mhaberling

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nature of truth
« on: December 22, 2012, 03:00:09 PM »
want to know where people are at on this issue... is truth definite or relative? (im in the definite side) but i want to know how the communit is split up on it... and fight!
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Offline jetson

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 03:17:17 PM »
I think there is an objective truth, but I'm not sure it's possible at all to get humans to agree and/or accept it.  And that's assuming we found a way to arrive at it!  How would we ever know?

What would be the practicality of an objective truth anyway?

Offline bertatberts

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 03:24:40 PM »
Truth is quality or state of being true, in accordance with fact or reality. What else do you wish it to be?
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2012, 03:41:10 PM »
there are alot of people who deny the existence of an objective truth... im trying to measure if that exists inside this forum
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012, 03:53:59 PM »
It matters not what we believe to be true, some things are always true and other always false.

What you seem to be talking about is belief.

Beliefs,  have no bearing on the facts of the universe. Truth is truth, is truth, what people claim as truths has to correspond with fact or reality.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2012, 04:17:37 PM »
It matters not what we believe to be true, some things are always true and other always false.

What you seem to be talking about is belief.

Beliefs,  have no bearing on the facts of the universe. Truth is truth, is truth, what people claim as truths has to correspond with fact or reality.
no, trust me ive been told by many the truth is relative but neither you nor i seem to think that
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Online One Above All

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2012, 04:22:36 PM »
There are relative truths and absolute truths.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline SHIN KAIRI

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2012, 04:42:35 PM »
want to know where people are at on this issue... is truth definite or relative? (im in the definite side) but i want to know how the communit is split up on it... and fight!
Dude stop asking questions to which skeptics cannot answer :laugh: At this rate, they won't like you :laugh:

« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 06:13:11 PM by SHIN KAIRI »
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2012, 05:57:06 PM »
Quote from: mhaberling
Quote from: bertatberts
It matters not what we believe to be true, some things are always true and other always false.

What you seem to be talking about is belief.

Beliefs,  have no bearing on the facts of the universe. Truth is truth, is truth, what people claim as truths has to correspond with fact or reality.
no, trust me ive been told by many the truth is relative but neither you nor i seem to think that
Then feel free to explain how it can be? What makes it relative?, explain how your reality will cease when I die? Tell me how a rock will cease to be a rock? tell how the sun will cease to be the sun, if it isn't factual?

Relative truth doesn't mean anything because its an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

Truth is truth regardless of what you believe or want it to be. 
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2012, 06:47:11 PM »
all i know is that people think that and that it is. and its a huge.concept in the humanities... i dont think teuth is relative or understand how it could be.(did you read the op) i was just wondering if anybody did

bertaberts who are you arguing with
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 06:52:34 PM by mhaberling »
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2012, 07:08:09 PM »
all i know is that people think that and that it is. and its a huge.concept in the humanities... i dont think teuth is relative or understand how it could be.(did you read the op) i was just wondering if anybody did

bertaberts who are you arguing with
I'm not I just trying to make it clear that truth is truth is truth, Truth is quality or state of being true, in accordance with fact or reality. There is no other meaning to it.
Anything else is pure supposition.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline wheels5894

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2012, 07:26:39 AM »
mhaberling, all this is fine but exactly what do you mean by 'objective truth'? Are you dealing with stuff we keep finding out through science or are you talking about the 'truths' of some religion? Things we learn about our universe seem to be true whether anyone believes them or not whereas religious truths require belief.

Which are we talking about, mhaberling?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2012, 10:44:49 AM »
mhaberling, all this is fine but exactly what do you mean by 'objective truth'? Are you dealing with stuff we keep finding out through science or are you talking about the 'truths' of some religion? Things we learn about our universe seem to be true whether anyone believes them or not whereas religious truths require belief.

Which are we talking about, mhaberling?

Im simply refering to truth in general... weather religous or scientific in nature doesnt really matter... Since you brought up religion... lets use "There is a God" now woukd you say that statement is either true in all cases or false in all cases?
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2012, 11:12:08 AM »
mhaberling, all this is fine but exactly what do you mean by 'objective truth'? Are you dealing with stuff we keep finding out through science or are you talking about the 'truths' of some religion? Things we learn about our universe seem to be true whether anyone believes them or not whereas religious truths require belief.

Which are we talking about, mhaberling?

I'm simply referring to truth in general... weather religious or scientific in nature doesn't really matter... Since you brought up religion... lets use "There is a God" now would you say that statement is either true in all cases or false in all cases?

Yes, the existence of a god, like the existence of anything, is which is either true or not true,Boolean if you like. However, this is no more special that whether there a computer in front of you - either there is or there is not.

Now, if I assume you area reading this, then I have evidence that you have a computer in front of you while you are doing so - (a mobile phone, as well as a tablet, are really just computers!) Of course, I can't know if you are reading this but if you post a reply I will fair certain evidence that there was a computer in front of you.

Now, how does the question of the existence of something - a god or a cat, have anything to do with your question?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 11:26:55 AM »
Im simply refering to truth in general... weather religous or scientific in nature doesnt really matter... Since you brought up religion... lets use "There is a God" now woukd you say that statement is either true in all cases or false in all cases?
I'm going to offer an answer here.

The problem is that science and religion go about discovering "truth" in different ways. Science finds an unexplained phenomena, poses a possible explanation, and tests to see if that explanation is meaningful. Evidence that contradicts the explanation means the explanation is not valid, or is somehow incomplete.

Religion, on the other hand, sees an unexplained phenomena, says "God did it!" and does not test the explanation to see if it works. No evidence to the contrary matters. If presented with evidence that opposes the religious explanation, the religious person just points to the "God did it" explanation and asserts that the contradictory evidence is meaningless, because we already know God did it, and since God did it, we don't need to explain it any further, because God.

These are two very different approaches to deriving "truth" from our world. The science based method has resulted in the computer you are using to type this and the internet that you use to share it with us. The religious based method says the blood of a bird will purify you of leprosy. Which one of these actually works?!?!?

So for the scientist, truth is about the best possible explanation given the best available evidence. For the believer, truth is about what we want to be true, and dismissing all evidence to the contrary.

So, while you are stuck curing disease with bird blood, science has antibiotics, immunizations, skin and organ transplants, blood transfusions, stem cell implants, and the gamma ray knife. If you would prefer the scientific methods to treat your disease over bird blood, then congratulations, it is only to the extent that you reject religious explanations and accept scientific ones that you can be considered a rational person.

And of course the best possible explanation given the best evidence means that the explanation is subject to update, revision, or even outright rejection in the face of newer, better evidence. Religion says "No thanks, we're confident that primitive, barbaric, ignorant, desert wandering, late bronze age goat-herders who couldn't even tell that insects have 6 legs got it right way back then, and there's nothing you can say or do to convince me otherwise".

Look, if paleontologists were to uncover the frozen remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a 10,000 year old ice formation, and all possible testing and analysis revealed that it was indeed a specimen of T-Rex from the end of the last ice age, it would seriously mess up evolutionary theory. And evolutionary theorists would admit this, and realize that they need to go back to the drawing board in a major way. It would be a monumental discovery, and would revolutionize science, and advance our understanding of the world we live in, much as the theory of evolution did when first proposed by Darwin. Or going the other way, if paleontologists found a T. Rex from 67 million years ago, and the fossil was entirely intact and well preserved, and in the stomach region there was a human skeleton, with the broken end of a spear still clutched in its hand, and with signs of damage to the human skeleton specifically from the teeth of the T.Rex, that would blow evolution away. That would be a real smoking gun, and evolutionary scientists would admit that it was a huge problem for their theory.

But since God is eternal and everlasting and blah blah blah, you can't just overwrite God's information with new information. How could God be wrong? Because he is no smarter than the inbred rednecks who wrote his alleged biography! Imagine that.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2012, 12:23:29 PM »
no thats way off topic... Look, in the past i have ran int people who claim the truth is relative, thjs group is almoust exclusively atheist in my experience... since this is a primarily atheistic website i was simply seeing if that position existed here
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2012, 12:25:55 PM »
Absolute truth is found only in mathematics as it is possible to show that 1+1 really does = 2 and from that everything else that is mathematical or capable of being reduced to pure mathematics flows.

A more useful term is “valid.” Which can be combined with “truth” to produce an absolute truth or some lesser forms of truth (it is hard, in practice, to know which is which.) This is also found in pure logic where certain propositions, by virtue of mankind’s experience and knowledge, are taken a priori as true and of the form A is B e.g. “All live house sparrows are birds.” / “Birds are of the set of living creatures.” but “All normal birds have feathers.” is not an absolute truth as ‘normal’ is likely to be subjective and cannot be defined.

Most of our world is based upon a priori truths; we had “All swans are white.” and, until relatively recently that was true but more properly, ‘valid’. It then ceased to be true but can be used as a truth, as can any definitive statement by the addition of “If…” – “If A = B then…”. The statement then may later be shown to be true or false and may thus add to a further truth or falsehood.

mhaberling,
You will be familiar with the induced proof of Pythagoras’s Theorem on right-angled triangles, so I will not repeat it, but it is along the lines of “If X =Y show that Y cannot be greater than Z” thus an assumption turns into an absolute truth.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 12:27:57 PM by Graybeard »
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline wheels5894

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2012, 12:30:28 PM »
no that's way off topic... Look, in the past i have ran int people who claim the truth is relative, thjs group is almost exclusively atheist in my experience... since this is a primarily atheistic website i was simply seeing if that position existed here

So, bring us back to the topic and be clear in defining what you want.

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2012, 12:42:51 PM »
Catholics quit burning us for saying the earth revolves around the sun, so at least some truth is relative.


Or they ran out of matches. Which could mean it is still absolute.


Your question in the OP is a bit generic. Give us an example of each type, let us know how much you want to involve religion and understand that few of us have PhD's in philosophy.
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline jetson

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2012, 12:51:24 PM »
...and understand that few of us have PhD's in philosophy.

I think we all have PhD's in philosophy!  I know there is more to it, but it always ends up feeling like opinion more than anything else. 

From wiki (my bold):

Quote
Etymology

The introduction of the terms "philosopher" and "philosophy" has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.[16] The ascription is said to be based on a passage in a lost work of Herakleides Pontikos, a disciple of Aristotle. It is considered to be part of the widespread body of legends of Pythagoras of this time. "Philosopher" was understood as a word which contrasted with "sophist" (from sophoi). Traveling sophists or "wise men" were important in Classical Greece, often earning money as teachers, whereas philosophers are "lovers of wisdom" and not professionals.

But what do I know, I'm just an atheist!

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2012, 12:53:42 PM »
Catholics quit burning us for saying the earth revolves around the sun, so at least some truth is relative.


Or they ran out of matches. Which could mean it is still absolute.


Your question in the OP is a bit generic. Give us an example of each type, let us know how much you want to involve religion and understand that few of us have PhD's in philosophy.

The example I was rather fervently argued on was this...

EDIT : This is not the only time I have run into this, but it is the best explanation I got... I've run into others that have just treated the idea that truth is relative as common knowledge.

Two people observe a lightning strike, but the exact moment when it happened was different for them.. Same for a hundred different people...

I argued that if you knew the exact moment they saw the lighting strike and the direction they were looking you could determine the point where the ligtning strike happened and the exact moment it hit the ground using a little geometry and the speed of light... but after a while it turned into them telling me that I really didn't understand enough about philosophy to truly understand..
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 01:01:27 PM by mhaberling »
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Offline jetson

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2012, 01:01:35 PM »
There are levels of practicality involved as well.  But no matter, regardless of the number of variables, there is likely an objective truth to the question, assuming all agree that the question clearly defines what it is trying to answer.

Asking 100 people "when did the lightning strike" will garner lots of unique answers, I think.  But asking "Given the following objective values, when did the lightning strike", and then providing a set of objective values for specific variables, will force each person to align their answers to those variables and their values, likely getting them to arrive at a more objective answer.

Man, did that make any sense?

Offline wheels5894

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2012, 01:17:36 PM »
Given 100 people reporting seeing lightening, I suspect we might never work the answer out as I bet the timings each gave would be unlikely to be truly accurate enough. This would illustrate that, although everything ought to have a right answer, we can't necessarily find it out. However, mhaberling, I doubt whether we would be using the word 'truth' to describe this sort of situation - I think that, rather, we would merely be looking for the time the lightening struck and not use the word truth at all.

Given that 'obsolete truth' sounds a lot like 'absolute moral values' are you trying to take us there by stages?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2012, 01:43:40 PM »
Given 100 people reporting seeing lightening, I suspect we might never work the answer out as I bet the timings each gave would be unlikely to be truly accurate enough. This would illustrate that, although everything ought to have a right answer, we can't necessarily find it out. However, mhaberling, I doubt whether we would be using the word 'truth' to describe this sort of situation - I think that, rather, we would merely be looking for the time the lightening struck and not use the word truth at all.

Given that 'obsolete truth' sounds a lot like 'absolute moral values' are you trying to take us there by stages?
I find it funny that you are suspicious of my motives...

look, don't start making this out to be something more than it is...
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2012, 01:46:55 PM »
There is an objective physical reality.  Then there are the subjective truths we think about it.  Science is the best method known by which we can line the latter up with the former.

Valuations, from which morals are derived, are not assertions of truth when their meaning broken down, and are as subjective as any other action.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2012, 01:53:46 PM »
Being a witness to a lightening strike is hardly the same as being a witness for a god. To the people who see the lightening crash there is defiantly evidence. To the believer there does not have to be the evidence for it to be true.

 When asked to provide proof in either example,one can and the other cannot. A belief or feeling in a god has nothing to do with the word truth. Truth as it is defined can only be based on evidence.

 The theist in general no matter what religion "believes" that his way is truth,but it is not fact that truth is based on,but belief.
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2012, 02:09:43 PM »
If you are relying on humans for the truth, there are too many variables. Experiments have been done to figure out how reliable eye-witnesses are, and the results are wanting.


If you want to measure a lightening strike from 100 different locations using scientific instruments, you can probably eke out about as much of the truth as is realistically available. If you want to rely on humans, you are out of luck. Not because we are liars, but because we are notoriously unreliable in situations such as you describe. Toss in the surprise factor associated with a lightening strike, the propensity of some to think that it was too close and be scared, the fact that many are afraid of lightening and that their fear might color their interpretation of what happened, etc. and you're out of luck.


And if you're too close, it is too bright to even see as a typical lightning bolt. Been there, done that. I know.


If police reports the cite eye witnesses are full of inconsistencies, it is pretty clear that the truth, no matter how it is labeled, is not reliably available through such means.


You may have to come up with a different scenario.



Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2012, 03:01:51 PM »
Catholics quit burning us for saying the earth revolves around the sun, so at least some truth is relative.


Or they ran out of matches. Which could mean it is still absolute.


Your question in the OP is a bit generic. Give us an example of each type, let us know how much you want to involve religion and understand that few of us have PhD's in philosophy.

The example I was rather fervently argued on was this...

EDIT : This is not the only time I have run into this, but it is the best explanation I got... I've run into others that have just treated the idea that truth is relative as common knowledge.

Two people observe a lightning strike, but the exact moment when it happened was different for them.. Same for a hundred different people...

I argued that if you knew the exact moment they saw the lighting strike and the direction they were looking you could determine the point where the ligtning strike happened and the exact moment it hit the ground using a little geometry and the speed of light... but after a while it turned into them telling me that I really didn't understand enough about philosophy to truly understand..
What I gather from this is you are saying truth is relative to the observer, but a fact/truth will always remain a fact/truth, The fact/truth is lightening struck, anything else is supposition.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2012, 03:13:14 PM »
^Yep. Except for the part that lightning doesn't actually strike the ground from above. It leaps out of the ground and into the sky. Something our human eyes can't seem to catch.
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.