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Author Topic: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?  (Read 3946 times)

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Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #100 on: December 30, 2012, 10:38:41 AM »
Only if you do not believe there is an absolute truth in regards to morality.  If you consider those questions of life and death to be similar to “the moon is made of cheese” then certainly.  Yet if there is an absolute truth then words true and false are applicable to questions of morality.  As the OP asked about beliefs being truth, I will go with that area.  If this is not a discussion of absolute truth then the discussion is simply, do people believe science.  Not what I read the original post as being.
This is simply not true. Even if there's an absolute truth, then that doesn't mean morality is objective as well.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #101 on: December 30, 2012, 10:42:09 AM »
If you're trying to state that science is 'just an opinion', then it's a pretty far stretch. There is no truth to any life and death statements, just opinions; my opinion is nothing happens. Some believe in Heaven and Hell. Some believe in Valhalla. You can believe the moon is made out of cheese, regardless of the fact that in reality, it's not, because that's your opinion. However, none of us knows what happens after death until it happens, and then, we're not exactly able to tell people about it.

So yes. On the subject of death, everyone is on equal footing - no-one knows any better than anyone else. But to me, and going by what we know about the human body, the idea that there's nothing is a little more believable than a land filled with demigoddesses and goats with mead spewing nipples and pits of brimstone filled with fire and demons. As much as I'd like to imagine that after death, I'll be going to a place full of Vikings, hot babes, booze and meat.

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #102 on: December 30, 2012, 10:44:42 AM »
If you're trying to state that science is 'just an opinion', then it's a pretty far stretch. There is no truth to any life and death statements, just opinions; my opinion is nothing happens. Some believe in Heaven and Hell. Some believe in Valhalla. You can believe the moon is made out of cheese, regardless of the fact that in reality, it's not, because that's your opinion. However, none of us knows what happens after death until it happens, and then, we're not exactly able to tell people about it.

So yes. On the subject of death, everyone is on equal footing - no-one knows any better than anyone else. But to me, and going by what we know about the human body, the idea that there's nothing is a little more believable than a land filled with demigoddesses and goats with mead spewing nipples and pits of brimstone filled with fire and demons. As much as I'd like to imagine that after death, I'll be going to a place full of Vikings, hot babes, booze and meat.
I'd contest this as well. There are no indications that anything happens after death. If someone wants to claim that something other than the shutting down of the brain and the decomposing of the body happens, they will have to provide evidence. At this time, as far as our knowledge goes, nothing actually happens.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #103 on: December 30, 2012, 10:50:35 AM »
Not sure I ever stated that nor did I ever state that science was wrong.  I even pointed out when going down this path about the moon being made of cheese was more humor than anything.  That I pointed toward the subjective truth pertaining more toward the unmeasured and the unobserved.  Did I not make mention when answering Sabby’s question that if one believed in an absolute truth then I could not make a contradictory true statement and once more I just said if someone believes in an absolute truth for morality. 

Also, you likewise have to provide proof that there is nothing after death.

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #104 on: December 30, 2012, 10:54:05 AM »
Not sure I ever stated that nor did I ever state that science was wrong.  I even pointed out when going down this path about the moon being made of cheese was more humor than anything.  That I pointed toward the subjective truth pertaining more toward the unmeasured and the unobserved.  Did I not make mention when answering Sabby’s question that if one believed in an absolute truth then I could not make a contradictory true statement and once more I just said if someone believes in an absolute truth for morality. 

Also, you likewise have to provide proof that there is nothing after death.

My position is that there's no indication that there's anything beyond death. That's because in order for there to be something after death, there has to be a functioning mind to experience this. With death, that dies. So... that's where it ends.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #105 on: December 30, 2012, 10:57:18 AM »
Depends on what someone maintains goes into the next life.  Of course by that assumption the heads in the frozen containers are “alive” and not dead.  Of course continuing down this road simply leads to an off topic discussion.

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #106 on: December 30, 2012, 11:03:00 AM »
Depends on what someone maintains goes into the next life.  Of course by that assumption the heads in the frozen containers are “alive” and not dead.  Of course continuing down this road simply leads to an off topic discussion.

It would, though an interesting one. If you maintain that something goes into the next life, I challenge you to demonstrate this. As far as I am aware and I am pretty sure that (and the general opinion is behind me on this (save for a few religions)) there are absolutely no indications that anything is 'maintained' or lives on.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #107 on: December 30, 2012, 11:11:43 AM »
http://profezie3m.altervista.org/archivio/TheLancet_NDE.htm

"With lack of evidence for any other theories for NDE, the thus far assumed, but never proven, concept that consciousness and memories are localised in the brain should be discussed. How could a clear consciousness outside one's body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?22 Also, in cardiac arrest the EEG usually becomes flat in most cases within about 10 s from onset of syncope.29,30 Furthermore, blind people have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience.31 NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation."

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #108 on: December 30, 2012, 11:20:29 AM »
http://profezie3m.altervista.org/archivio/TheLancet_NDE.htm

"With lack of evidence for any other theories for NDE, the thus far assumed, but never proven, concept that consciousness and memories are localised in the brain should be discussed. How could a clear consciousness outside one's body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?22 Also, in cardiac arrest the EEG usually becomes flat in most cases within about 10 s from onset of syncope.29,30 Furthermore, blind people have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience.31 NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation."
This is an often quoted article and it's demonstrably flawed. When Deepak Chopra says something, it usually is nonsense.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #109 on: December 30, 2012, 11:33:05 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_case

Also, just because there is criticism of a study does not make the study invalid.  As Dr. Kauffman points out in his criticism there are a lot of variables in place that cannot be accounted for and Kauffman also does not list his own sources in his critique.  "His colleagues" is not a reputable source for a published article written in proper format.  The proper way to refute the other study is to run an experiment following the model and then present findings.  Hence the purpose of writing in that format so that an experiment can be repeated.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 11:37:38 AM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #110 on: December 30, 2012, 11:49:19 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_case

Also, just because there is criticism of a study does not make the study invalid.  As Dr. Kauffman points out in his criticism there are a lot of variables in place that cannot be accounted for and Kauffman also does not list his own sources in his critique.  "His colleagues" is not a reputable source for a published article written in proper format.  The proper way to refute the other study is to run an experiment following the model and then present findings.  Hence the purpose of writing in that format so that an experiment can be repeated.
This might be true, and I personally can't be bothered to find actual studies that contradict the findings of this particular one because I can't access JSTOR or pubmed from my current location. I could point you to various criticisms from mainstream Dutch scientists that criticize this work as well. I'm not sure you're able to read Dutch though and you'll most likely complain that it's not peer reviewed research. However, even when we assume of all this to be true, the conclusions are still wrong. You can't say that NDE indicate towards an afterlife because they cannot be explained by current science (which is also wrong by the way, we have reasonably sound ideas of what NDE are. If your brain starts becoming short on oxygen, it'll start malfunctioning. It goes to show that this article is more than 11 years old), because that's an argument from ignorance. If NDE are supposedly an indication of afterlife, this needs to be proven first. Spiritual nonsense and fantasy explanation don't automatically become the best possible answer because  actual science hasn't found a proper explanation.

Offline Lithos

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #111 on: December 30, 2012, 01:01:44 PM »
In a world where there is truth, then these concepts have a right and wrong.

No, they do not. Photon for example acts both as particle and as wave and handling it as either is neither right nor wrong, different ways are right in different applications.

Not sure I ever stated that nor did I ever state that science was wrong.  I even pointed out when going down this path about the moon being made of cheese was more humor than anything.  That I pointed toward the subjective truth pertaining more toward the unmeasured and the unobserved.  Did I not make mention when answering Sabby’s question that if one believed in an absolute truth then I could not make a contradictory true statement and once more I just said if someone believes in an absolute truth for morality. 

Also, you likewise have to provide proof that there is nothing after death.

Two things are worth mentioning about this, first. Morality is social property that has no meaning at all when thinking in terms of truth. You will find that people from varied cultures tend to have some things very different and some things very much the same cause some things tend to be of common benefit in societies in general. There is no absolute truth for morality and there is no reason to waste time in trying to find one either.

Second, two people sprouting statements that have no verifiable scientific proof or even research based on more than just one or two cases is in no way shape or form science. Some person can say there is life after death, other can say there isn't. Both of them should shut up, it is not measurable, not observable so it does not really matter. Resources should not be wasted in researching it either.

Also there was discussion about our senses and reality. And yes, our senses certainly are unable to handle some facets of reality. Also our thinking is not able to comprehend some facets of reality due to our mental frame of reference, surprise surprise, having to do with the scale of things that we generally deal with and what is useful. Take solid matter for example, distances between particles compared to their size are vast, we are made of very much nothing but we do see and feel solid objects as solid. This is quite handy cause the forces that keep it together would cause us all sorts of damage if we tried to walk through solid objects. In same way some tested and proven facets of quantum mechanics such as particle being able to be in two places at same time and other weirdness is incomprehensible to common sense, if it had not been proven by experiments it would be  in same category as philosophical or religious debates.

Truth is what after observation and testing is found, truth is not what "feels" right. If it was we would still think that time always passes at same rate, speed of light is infinite and that world of quantum particles is just anomaly and currently known laws of physics explain everything.

Actually research begins with an observation and then a statement of opinion.  From that statement an experiment must be extrapolated making the statement a hypothesis, a well worded guess and/or opinion.  Once more though, the tea might not be tea at all to the other people but instead coffee.  Vt might suffer from a rare condition whereby his taste buds do not register the taste of coffee as coffee, but instead as tea.  So once more the connection Vt has with reality is through a sense that can be deceived and so can be wrong.  Vt’s concept of reality is then not what he would believe, but 500 people are not going to make that cup of tea into coffee for him.

Hypothesis and research can also begin from completely theoretical grounds not related to observation. Also sometimes it can begin from data of experiment that was dealing with something entirely different if something in results rises questions.

The whole tea thing is fundamentally flawed cause true nature of tea is not defined by our senses but by what is in it. Put tea and coffee in homogenization machine and see what it actually has in it and you have answer, what senses observe does not matter. We have no idea if anyone even sees colors as the same yet they have accepted names and work just fine. What someone sees as blue might be what to someone else seems red for example, it is just what our senses interpret and does not matter as  long as it has common name. In just similar way it does not matter if tastes of things are different to different people.

Truth tends to have numbers, not labels. We see colors as different at different wavelengths of light. Red is simply a label for light whose wavelength range is  between 630 and 700 nanometers. It is a number, not a color and what it actually looks like behind different peoples neural receptors does not matter. What matters is that most people see distinct color at that wavelength range and our label for it is "red" ,so we can communicate it to others.

I also find it perplexing how an opinion is not true or false, but all research begins with essentially an opinion.

This would not be perplexing at all if people understood the fact that the point of research is to understand some phenomenon and its workings, and hypothesis behind some research might be entirely correct, it might be not correct at all or it might just as well be something in between. It does not matter till the research is done and there is actual verifiable understanding of what was researched. Research being done about something does not by itself validate or invalidate anything about the hypothesis, the results do. It is not valid scientific discovery till research results prove it to be. Many times technology getting better provides us to test theories that were impossible to really test before, and that way there can be long time between a theory coming up, and research results validating it.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 01:42:08 PM by Lithos »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #112 on: December 30, 2012, 01:07:16 PM »
Research begins with an hypothesis, which is a testable opinion.  If it can't be tested, it can't be used in scientific research.

See this sticky for the definitions.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #113 on: December 30, 2012, 02:35:33 PM »
I was not aware a photon was a concept.  Though if I had used that example to show a contradiction in science then I would have been told this is simply a matter of categorization and lack of understanding.  Also as for the first two points, you’re wrong on both counts to be honest.  The first one stating matter of factly that there is no absolute truth is wrong because there is no proof offered either way.  That you further write there is no point in the discussion and no possible ability to identify or discover an absolute truth is also without proof.  As for the second point, I will pretend that Lithos did not just tell MJ and I to “shutup.”  The first experiment I posted involved several hundred cases and the second is an observational piece that is published.  Both have met the criteria for publication and research.

Once more the purpose of the tea was to highlight the problem of associating truth with reality and display the little understanding and differences held in reality.  That each person perceives reality differently and so carries a different correspondence with reality.  So stating that something that is true means that the something accords with reality does not mean anything, because the something accords with our reality.  Truth does not have numbers, the measurements used to quantify truth have numbers and measurements so that the scientific method can be carried out across barriers of language.

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #114 on: December 30, 2012, 04:00:45 PM »
 I'd like to point out this post on logical fallacies. For those who haven't read it yet, its good stuff.

http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=24133.0




Offline Lithos

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #115 on: December 30, 2012, 04:56:30 PM »
I was not aware a photon was a concept.  Though if I had used that example to show a contradiction in science then I would have been told this is simply a matter of categorization and lack of understanding.  Also as for the first two points, you’re wrong on both counts to be honest.  The first one stating matter of factly that there is no absolute truth is wrong because there is no proof offered either way.  That you further write there is no point in the discussion and no possible ability to identify or discover an absolute truth is also without proof.  As for the second point, I will pretend that Lithos did not just tell MJ and I to “shutup.”  The first experiment I posted involved several hundred cases and the second is an observational piece that is published.  Both have met the criteria for publication and research.

Once more the purpose of the tea was to highlight the problem of associating truth with reality and display the little understanding and differences held in reality.  That each person perceives reality differently and so carries a different correspondence with reality.  So stating that something that is true means that the something accords with reality does not mean anything, because the something accords with our reality.  Truth does not have numbers, the measurements used to quantify truth have numbers and measurements so that the scientific method can be carried out across barriers of language.

At the moment there is no proven absolute truth anywhere, till that is proven there can be nothing true and objective about it esisting or not existing so you forgot to mention that by that definition i meant that also i should shut up about it, there is no sense in discussing what does not matter. The experiments you posted are interesting but do not have any scientifically conclusive results. This has also been touched on many related writings. Meeting criteria of publication and research does not mean that there is any scientifically valid result that comes out of the published research. Specially since publication is generally granted merely by one organization and not by scientific community as whole. 

Understanding reality is only way closer to the ideal of (what i personally believe is fantasy) absolute truth that there is. Our subjective perception of it is not what I would ever call objective truth, they might well be my subjective truth but that is concept that has nothing to do with things other than personal. And reality indeed is presented by clearly definable measures that can be communicated to anybody.

I can believe that a soup that my mother makes is best in the world, I probably could believe if i was misinformed or delusional enough that moon is cheese. You might believe in afterlife and god. They are all things that have some meaning for us but they have absolutely nothing to do with what actually goes on in the world around us. Until someone objectively proves that the soup indeed is best in the world, or that moon is cheese, it is all just our imagination. Imagination has a lot of power in making us feel better about something so imagining things is all good, children enjoy it and so do adults. Giving label of either truth or reality to it is something that can be very harmful and also very dangerous though, as it easily leads to conception of "this is true to me it has to be to those people as well". Actually proven findings are only way to be able to say "this is true" to somebody about anything.

This thread was about what good truth is for us I believe. And along those lines, subjective truth is only good for some peace of mind. Objective truth about how nature works has many, many applications and has helped us to get many of the things we are able to enjoy today. Subjective truth being completely personal is not very sensible discussion topic, and thus this discussion to me has been mostly about objective truth, things that can be said to be true to anyone. So far Scientific method is only way to find such things. I am already forced to repeat myself so at this point the thread I shut up, anything relevant I have to say about this topic is already in my posts.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 05:01:53 PM by Lithos »

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #116 on: December 30, 2012, 06:22:17 PM »
@ Pumpkin Seeds, I'm trying to understand your point of view on subjective truth or personal truth, which I assume is the same. I'm trying to see this from your perspective.

It seems that this notion of subjective truth would be valid only within the scope of ONE person's experience or perception. That it cannot be applied outside of that scope as a subjective truth many not necessarily be an objective truth. Likewise, it would seem that objective truth does not necessarily apply to this subjective bubble as the person in question may not be privy to objective truth. Similarly, it seems that one person's subjective truth would not apply to another person as the two persons in question exist within two separate scopes.

Is this accurate so far?

If this is so, then I have to ask the following questions:

What makes a subjective truth true?
* If due to a lack of education, I believe that 1==2, is that a subjective truth?

What would render a subjective assertion false?

What is the difference between a subjective truth and an opinion?

What value does subjective truth add? How is it useful?

Offline Caehlim

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #117 on: January 01, 2013, 08:36:20 AM »
Assigning the value of 'true' or 'not true' to a moral opinion is as inappropriate as assigning the value of 'good' or 'evil' to the statement that 'cheese is made from curdled milk'.

Nicely put. I agree.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #118 on: January 08, 2013, 07:18:59 AM »
One of the problems here is that people are trying to simplify a very complicated set of problems by “adding 1 and 1” to get 2.  Obviously if I were to set a block down and then set another beside it and ask how many blocks are those, whatever answer is given the person does mean there are two.  Unless of course the individual counting does in fact see more blocks.  We can never truly know if the person counting the blocks actually sees more than 2 blocks.  There is no current way to see through another person’s eyes or have their exact perspective.  Communication is the only way to connect with another person and well, people lie.

A subjective assertion is rendered false when the person making the assertion no longer holds that assertion to be true.

I have stated before and still hold that what is called an opinion is simply what someone calls another person’s belief or subjective truth.  People don’t die for opinions afterall.

I disagree that subjective truth and consensus have no bearing on reality.  If 99 people are looking at someone in pain and say, “that doesn’t hurt” then the one person that says “that looks like it hurts” will re-evaluate their definition and perception of pain.  Understanding what other people hold as truth helps understand the way other people will react, interact and manipulate the world around them.  Lack of understanding subjective truth and having respect for what other people hold to be true is at the heart of most global conflict.  That seems to hold a lot of value.