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Old 23rd April 2012, 07:40 PM
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Default Who's truth?

Hey ho, long time not around.
Recently in a discussion with a couple of people talking about the nature of science journalists it came up about what they should be writing etc.
My simple responses was, "well the truth of the situation"
To which a quick response came from a young man who is involved in the atheist society at a university etc "whos truth"
To which i replied "the objective truth"
"yeah but whos objective truth" came the response.

Now i walked away from this thinking WHAT THE HELL? While i agree that each of our experiences are going to be different and therefore that experience we report may be different, this is not what i would refer to as the objective truth of a situation. I accept that this is a difficult position to get at, but we make our best effort at getting at it.

More recently, in a discussion with a fellow PhD student, this similar sort of thing came up. They basically referred to me as just as fundamentalist as the religious because i accept science as the best way to understand the world. This person then went on to talk about how there isnt one standard reality and therefore science is just one lens to look at a situation, and is no more or less valid than other perspectives.

Both of these events appear to be cases of relativism, and maybe they are talking about the nature of personal experience while i am aiming at testable reality; what disturbs me though is that both are people that i would have thought knew far too well these arguments.

However it is possible that i am completely wrong, someone want to comment on this so that i can see if i am missing something
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Old 23rd April 2012, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Who's truth?

Hi Slothhead, good to see you.

Shouldn't really answer as mine would be distressingly similar to what you've got elsewhere already but will give my distillation in case people want to discuss.

Where information can be measured against an objective metric, like reality, we can be sure what it is (within the limits of our observational and methodological abilities at this time). Where information can only be measured against a subjective metric, like in interactions between people and populations then truth can only be subjective.

Course the next thing is to argue about what reality and truth is, but as Bill said, "that's post-modernist bollocks".
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Old 23rd April 2012, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Who's truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Hi Slothhead, good to see you.

Shouldn't really answer as mine would be distressingly similar to what you've got elsewhere already but will give my distillation in case people want to discuss.

Where information can be measured against an objective metric, like reality, we can be sure what it is (within the limits of our observational and methodological abilities at this time). Where information can only be measured against a subjective metric, like in interactions between people and populations then truth can only be subjective.

Course the next thing is to argue about what reality and truth is, but as Bill said, "that's post-modernist bollocks".
Yeah... thanks for that.

Just thinking on it a little further, i guess the issue is in the word truth. I use the word in the sense of an objective answer, something that we can test. While there are different interpretations of evidence, which are obviously subjective due to personal bias etc, there still exists an 'objective truth' to the situation that we are attempting to get at.

When talking about the interactions between people etc, i tend to exchange the word of truth for experience. Maybe it is just me that does this and others have no issues with using the terminology of truth/ experience interchangably.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Who's truth?

then of course there is religious truth, or TruthTM, which always strikes me as attempting to apply your first meaning of truth (something which can be known through objective test) to the second and subjective type.

Needless to say I don't have much time for that sort of rubbish.
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Old 28th April 2012, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Who's truth?

For me there are two types of "reality" social reality and physical reality. Now imagine a bunch of YECs. The YEC social reality is that the Earth is only 6K to 10K old. So YECs have to deny physical reality [science estimates the Earth to be ~4.6 billion years old]. So the YEC social reality has to sacrifice physical reality to maintain the social reality of YECland. YECland is not even compatible with any theist group that does accept the physical reality of the Earth being billions of years old. So not only is the YEC world view incompatible with methodological naturalism, but is offside of most religious social realities as well. Of course, we could ALL be wrong, and the world could be only 10 seconds old, but hardly anyone believes that even though we can't absolutely disprove such a claim.

Going to mainstream religions, the social reality situation does not improve. There are many sects in Islam, Xianity and so on. Christianity has 30 thousand sects, which is another way of saying that there are 30,000 social realities within Christianity alone. They all believe different things, some accepting science and some not, and they are mostly incompatible with each other, even though the basic driver is faith.

Science is for everyone, because it does not claim a reality at all. It is just about making descriptive models of phenomena and destructively testing the emergent predictions of the model. No metaphysics whatsoever, which means no claims to reality, truth, purpose etc.

Science can no longer work in naive reality. Niave reality is the assumption that the train is reality. Gods, natural phenomena, fairies and eveything is NOT reality. Thus all thesists are naive realists.

We value science because it works. Who cares if the models are reality or not, so long as they work. "God models" don't work, except in their own social reality: a small magestieria of a faith group. So, no consistency.
The atheism model is agnostic about the reality of god, and works via reason and evidence. In that it is similar to science. Atheism is consistant within itself, accepts science, but does not accept a religious world view as being consistant. Thus atheism is the most consistent world view by virtue that it is driven by reason and evidence [and simple humanity], and is also free-thinking and democratic by default. Atheism is FULLY compatible with science and its ethical notions are non-absolutist.
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Old 28th April 2012, 06:01 PM
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@Slothhead: as Loki indicated PoMo alert.
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Old 28th April 2012, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slothhead View Post
"yeah but who’s objective truth"
Okay, I'll take a swipe ;D

I wont attempt a definition though (I think that would probably be a minefield) but instead offer an example of what I think an 'objective truth' could be..;

Gravity; it's not contingent on observation or verification.

Therefore I think a response to the quoted question would be 'no ones' because this truth, being objective does not require any 'experience', as suggested by the "who's".

I'm reminded of the Philip K. Dick quote;

"
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

The 'Fundamentalist' crap is just someone reading/watching/swallowing too many flawed sources. By definition someone following science cannot 'uphold belief in scripture'. It's hypotheses are the very antithesis of it! Speaking for myself I accept science as the best method of understanding my situation and the world around me because it is demonstrably so! You can consider apples and oranges for eternity but they will still be apples and oranges no matter what your alleged perspective!

I was recently taking to someone who waxed lyrical about 'rules' and that they are how you perceive (whether buddhist or not) and thus are not rigid; frankly they reasoned that this then let a truck load of wibble including quantum states bollards in as valid considerations to understanding the universe and 'perhaps' the supernatural.! Until I sat here considering your posts I did not have a clear way to push the discussion forward (thank you).

I would suggest that it is not a question of being wrong but just not fully prepared! Just like I mentioned above, when I was caught unprepared.

I'm not sure I would interchange truth with experience given the stigma assigned to the word 'truth'. From my own point of view if I encountered someone doing this I would attempt to 'call' them on it very quickly (especially having thought about it). To me they are VERY distinct and do not overlap. Experience is valid when corroborated with empirical evidence and truth is a fact of reality despite perception. I think confusing the two can lead to troubles!

Anyway, thanks for chance to think! Good stuff.


4lan

Last edited by 4lan; 28th April 2012 at 11:21 PM. Reason: format.
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Old 29th April 2012, 05:37 AM
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I'm still muddling over a post from a few days back (WAS I think). Basically truth is not a "thing" of itself and independent but rather it is an aspect of something such as a statement, whether the statement be objective, subjective or invective
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