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Author Topic: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?  (Read 3938 times)

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Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2012, 12:38:57 AM »
There is a certain amount of belief extended to the scientific community that the results, findings and such are indeed true.  Afterall, very few people have actually been to the moon and the samples recovered are distributed by only a select few sources.  Once more, this is simply casting a little shadow over a very simple concept so one can see how subjective truth can easily be expanded to more complex notions that are not so observable.
The concept of independent verification justifies this belief. There has been no system (not that I am aware of anyway) that can compare to this, or even come close to providing the results that the scientific method has. Feel free to show alternatives.

I don't see how this leaves any room for subjective truths. Like I argued before, if there are any subjective truths they are ill defined or they're just not truths. What could be subjective is one's personal experience of certain truths. But that simply means that you're either right or wrong about them. Personal experience isn't relevant when it comes to determining what is true and what is not true.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2012, 01:39:10 AM »
The scientific community has been wrong before even with idependent verification through articles printed in journals and has been swept up in a tide of popularity and false findings.  Hence why contradictory studies can both be published and upheld even while using the scientific method and independent verification.  Also, the scientific method is very narrow in scope and practice with a requirement for controlled enviroments and precise definitions.  Many discoveries are not made by the scientific method but rather through direct observation, personal expierence.  Later the findings are tested, but the discovery is through personal expierence and insight.

Subjective truth does have a place in science and in the world.  Subjective truth is even incorporated into various aspects of the scientific field and accounted for within the scientific method so that some form of testing can be done.  Yet subjective truth is still a up to the interpretation of the individual and so remains a personal expierence and a truth for that person.

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2012, 01:57:05 AM »
The scientific community has been wrong before even with idependent verification through articles printed in journals and has been swept up in a tide of popularity and false findings.  Hence why contradictory studies can both be published and upheld even while using the scientific method and independent verification.  Also, the scientific method is very narrow in scope and practice with a requirement for controlled enviroments and precise definitions.  Many discoveries are not made by the scientific method but rather through direct observation, personal expierence.  Later the findings are tested, but the discovery is through personal expierence and insight.

Subjective truth does have a place in science and in the world.  Subjective truth is even incorporated into various aspects of the scientific field and accounted for within the scientific method so that some form of testing can be done.  Yet subjective truth is still a up to the interpretation of the individual and so remains a personal expierence and a truth for that person.
The scientific community might have been wrong, but the method has not. Errors can all be attributed to incorrect application of the method. The research may be flawed, but I challenge you to show a flaw in the actual concept. That's not even mentioning that there's no system that comes even close. Subjective experiences on the other hand are as flawed as one can imagine. People's can 'feel' and 'experience' whatever they want to, but that doesn't mean they're right. The inaccuracy of human experience is so large its not even worth calculating. This makes experience almost entirely meaningless when it comes to determining what is truth and what isn't. It just degrades the concept of truth and turns it into "what people like the truth to be." This method has no reliable track record of making accurate predictions and is therefor vastly inferior, if not meaningless.

You're just changing the definition of truth to personal belief. We have a word for that already, it's called belief.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2012, 02:08:30 AM »
Typically when something produces flawed results continually then there is a flaw to the concept and sytem.  Improper use is certainly an aspect, but then that is certainly a flaw to the system being so delicate and easily manipulated to produce false conclusions.  This means that even with the scientific method being utilized false truth can be expected.  Also the scientific method relies on human observation which, as you continual point out, is flawed.  Therefore something that relies on a flawed system and method of input is by extension flawed.  We just don't have anything better, but that does not mean the system is sound.

As for the use of the word belief, I would counter that most people know when they are expierencing pain.  People typically say "I am in pain."  That is taken as a true statement despite any method of objective detection.

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2012, 04:09:04 AM »
Typically when something produces flawed results continually then there is a flaw to the concept and sytem.  Improper use is certainly an aspect, but then that is certainly a flaw to the system being so delicate and easily manipulated to produce false conclusions.  This means that even with the scientific method being utilized false truth can be expected.  Also the scientific method relies on human observation which, as you continual point out, is flawed.  Therefore something that relies on a flawed system and method of input is by extension flawed.  We just don't have anything better, but that does not mean the system is sound.

As for the use of the word belief, I would counter that most people know when they are expierencing pain.  People typically say "I am in pain."  That is taken as a true statement despite any method of objective detection.
You should start by pointing out where science produces flawed results continually then. It is also of interest to explain how it can be determined that these results are in fact false. Is there any way to determine this, other than the scientific method itself? This also shows the self-correcting mechanism of science, which is why it is so valuable. Yes, science relies on human observation which I am glad you agree is flawed. However, this flaw is corrected by independent verification, peer review, etc. This doesn't mean science is flawless, because it isn't. I don't see any alternative though. Science has a track record that is unparalleled by any other mechanism that I am aware of. I'm inviting everyone here to give examples of systems that are somewhat similarly reliable in making predictions.

Yes, people know when they're experiencing pain. They can 'feel' it, because they literally have senses for this. This can be objectively verified using science, because we know what causes pain and how signals are relayed to our brain. I would counter that the statement "I am in pain" is not necessarily true. It's a claim that someone can make, but perhaps they're lying. I'm not saying it is practical in all circumstances, but whether they are in fact in pain (assuming its physical pain, mental pain is a bit more difficult because of limited technology) can be verified. After this is done, it becomes a factual statement. Before that, it becomes an unverified claim that may or may not be true.


« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 04:11:52 AM by mj2002 »

Online Strident

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2012, 05:31:02 AM »
Is it true that there is no truth?

Take this statement

"There is no truth"

Is that statement true or false?
If it's true, then the statement is false
If it's false..then..well, it's false.

In either case, I should not believe it.

There is such a thing as truth. The difficulty is knowing what is true or false.

This is the different between ontology (What exists) and epistemology (how we get to know what exists)

There are many things which are ontological questions to which we have no epistemological access. It's a mistake to think that merely lacking epistemic access means there is nothing ontologically there to have access to.

For example, take the following statement:

"at 13:00GMT on 27/12/12 there were 2,657,434 people in Paris"

That statement is certainly either true or false. However, it's impossible to have epistemic access to the answer. How could you possibly know whether that statement is true or false? You can't. Assuming the ballpark figure is roughly plausible, (the population of paris is around 2.5million) we can't say with certainity if the specific figure given is correct...but it still is definitely either true or false.

It's suprising how often people make this logical error, of thinking that, just because one can't know the answer to a question, that therefore there is no answer.

Another equally common logical error is to think that negative propositional statements are, by default, more probably true than positive ones. and that therefore, in the absence of a reason to believe the positive statement, we are entitled to default to belief in the negative...buy that's another story. 

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2012, 08:13:44 AM »
There is, to date, no way to objectively measure pain.  The most recent article I have seen on the subject involved an MRI and burning the hand of patients.  Pain is subjective and the treatment of pain is based off subjective statements.  So treatment and therapy is based off a subjective truth that is real to the patient alone. 

So because you do not see anything better than science, then the scientific method is to be heralded as the greatest instrument for finding the truth.  Very subjective of you in that regard.  The scientific method has various flaws that keep the method from being universally applied and used.  Social scientists face quite a struggle in setting up the scientific method for social research and in defining measurable definitions.  Medicine likewise faces several barriers when making use of the scientific method.  Vaulted areas of physics do not use the method because the concepts they are using cannot be experimented upon but instead rely on mathematical equations.  Critical thinking and observation still serve as the corner stones of scientific discovery.  The scientific method is simply another tool.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2012, 10:39:10 AM »
I just realized something - this thread has been all over the place trying to answer the first question, and hasn't even touched the second:  Do we really need truth?

I propose that while we may not need (or possibly be able to achieve) TRUTHTM, we at least need Truth, if only to have a common frame of reference to converse in.  If we're wandering around on the surface of the Earth, it's fine to stick with the 'truth' that the Earth is flat - until we have to fly from DC to Moscow to Tokyo and back to DC.  At that point, the Truth that the Earth is round is needed (or we have to do a lot of extra refueling).  Even then, it's fine to stick with the 'truth' that the sun and other planets go around the Earth - until we get into space-flight and have to factor in the Truth that Earth and the rest of the solar system orbits the sun.

Online Lithos

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2012, 12:05:17 PM »
There is, to date, no way to objectively measure pain.  The most recent article I have seen on the subject involved an MRI and burning the hand of patients.  Pain is subjective and the treatment of pain is based off subjective statements.  So treatment and therapy is based off a subjective truth that is real to the patient alone. 

So because you do not see anything better than science, then the scientific method is to be heralded as the greatest instrument for finding the truth.  Very subjective of you in that regard.  The scientific method has various flaws that keep the method from being universally applied and used.  Social scientists face quite a struggle in setting up the scientific method for social research and in defining measurable definitions.  Medicine likewise faces several barriers when making use of the scientific method.  Vaulted areas of physics do not use the method because the concepts they are using cannot be experimented upon but instead rely on mathematical equations.  Critical thinking and observation still serve as the corner stones of scientific discovery.  The scientific method is simply another tool.

The scientific method is the best tool there is, and that has been verified many, many times. Ability to get data when it is needed, ability to replicate experiments when it is needed, and ability at any time to present arguments and tests that disprove previously sound theory are all parts of a package that delivers the closest presentation of "truth" about something that we are ever able to get to. Physics still use scientific method as base, theories remain non verified till there is actual observation based evidence on the predictions that they produce. The current hunt for higgs boson is great example of that. The problems with using scientific method for social studies are simply problems of creating sound enough experiment setups, but lo and behold when research is important enough and enough work is performed to complete it, workable methods tend to be eventually found.

Many people seem to harbor the flawed idea of there being available absolute truth. This idea is popular to imagination based things like religion and illusions produced by certain mental disorders. Nature is as it is, and scientific method is the best way there is to get closer to figuring out how it actually works. No scientific discovery is the absolute truth and no discoverer even claims that. Each popular theory just is, as long as better one comes along, closest thing to explaining how some aspect of nature works before better describing and tested theory comes along. People who do not bother to go through this effort have absolutely nothing apart from products of their imagination.

Absolute truth does not exist, so far, and I doubt that being able to absolutely model everything is not possible till very far in the future. Its value is that it would be nice to know exactly how it works, at the moment we have to deal with only knowing to certain degree of accuracy. Where it comes to motion of planets for example and changes and fluctuations in passing of time, at the moment we only know to the degree of accuracy that we are able to measure. Whether absolute truth would be needed, it is hard to say for sure. It seems to be that knowing what is possible to the degree of measuring and utilization technology we are able to produce is enough in many cases. That also is all that there can be cause there does not seem to be others than us humans to figure it all out.

Offline mrsjaz

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2012, 12:43:13 PM »
Sorry Sabby, I was really asking a question in a bad way. I simply wanted to know if there were “real” examples that I or anyone else could use to prove that belief and or subjective truth was not reliable proof.  And why people use cheese moons examples instead of real examples.

It was a bit of an aside I confess.  :-[

@ mj2002
Quote
I'm having trouble with your notion that "most if not all" truth is subjective. This is what I gather from your post, correct me if I am wrong. How can truth be subjective? That seems to go against its definition. If a 'truth' is different for other people, it either isn't a truth or it is just an ill defined truth that needs to be refined in order to remove bias.

My truth concerns my here and my now which to me is subjective, but outside of my subjectivity there exists an objective truth. 

"Often people will choose the assumptions that best fit the conclusion they prefer. In fact, psychological experiments show that most people start with conclusions they desire, then reverse engineer arguments to support them – a process called rationalization." ( from the Sceptics guide to the universe )

So removing bias becomes an objective in itself and very hard to do. :-\

 



Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2012, 01:59:34 PM »
My truth concerns my here and my now which to me is subjective, but outside of my subjectivity there exists an objective truth.
What distinguished your personal truth from beliefs?

Offline mrsjaz

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2012, 07:14:24 PM »
What distinguished your personal truth from beliefs?
I think that's a hard question but... I have a very small belief system - very small, and I have a very large personal truth system. My personal truths are life affirming ones they help define who or what I am, I'm good at drawing and so on. My belief system appears more from what I choose  - I not a lover of the word belief, it feels random, and hard to convert to something positive. Do I believe in science? Yes sometimes, do I believe if faith? No. I'm not saying I'm correct in my view that's how I view my reality. Belief for me is the absence of knowing. My personal truths are things I know about myself.  :-)
         

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #62 on: December 30, 2012, 01:34:29 AM »
I think that's a hard question but... I have a very small belief system - very small, and I have a very large personal truth system. My personal truths are life affirming ones they help define who or what I am, I'm good at drawing and so on. My belief system appears more from what I choose  - I not a lover of the word belief, it feels random, and hard to convert to something positive. Do I believe in science? Yes sometimes, do I believe if faith? No. I'm not saying I'm correct in my view that's how I view my reality. Belief for me is the absence of knowing. My personal truths are things I know about myself.  :-)
         

It sounds like your personal truths are more opinions about yourself and your skills.

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2012, 03:22:38 AM »
@ TaintedAndDelish

I’m not very good at these types of debates but a couple of points struck me about your example, please correct me if I’m wrong but your example and the one above by Sabby seem to fit square pegs into round holes.

Debate is good. If I am wrong about anything I've posted, I hope someone will point out the flaws in my logic so that I may learn from it.

Quote
They appear god-modded and designed to leave nothing to chance; yours seems to say “I am without reason, unaware of depth perception and I’m jumping.” And Sabby’s seems… well godded - as in  “get out of this example if you can.”

God-modded? Well, that's the tricky thing about discovering the truth about something. Its easier to just remain uncertain and say that the truth of the matter is too obscure to ever be certain of it. With that sort of stance, you avoid being wrong, but you also avoid getting to the truth of the matter.

Quote
Both have a subjective nature (I think most if not all truth does) that although I understand them as being designed to show what you meant, they nevertheless betray a type of bias, an untrue and unrealistic situation. Can you set up examples that make your point if they have this characteristic? As I said both appear “unnatural” or unreal examples used for real life problematic questions. Is that fair? I’m not criticising.  And/or it is a case of extreme questions requiring extreme examples?   

Most of the arguments that I've heard for "subjective truth" have been illogical, so its hard to give more "realistic" examples. Here is an example.

1. The "Heavan's Gate" cult's belief in a UFO that would remove them from the earth while it was "recycled" or "rebooted" or whatever. This was very true to them, but was not an objective truth.

2. Hitler's belief that people of various races were inferior. This may have been true "to him", but it is not an objective truth.

Simply stating that a judgment about something is true, does not make it true. Saying that "everyone else" believes this statement or that this belief is very old does not make it any more true either. There was a time when it was common knowledge that the world was flat. This was just flat-out wrong, however such a two dimensional view may have been sufficient at the time for map making or defining land boundaries as Oniya illustrated.

The "flying spaghetti monster" is a made up, nonsensical entity - a mere character. To say that the F.S.M. is anything other than a made up character would be an inaccurate judgment (hence false). I can claim that knowledge of the F.S.M. comes through faith alone. I can argue that only the F.S.M. can bestow knowledge of itself to an individual. I can claim that those who do not believe in the F.S.M. are unenlightened, but that does not make my judgment of the F.S.M. any more true. I cannot prove that the F.S.M. (A real, living, conscious, noodly god with big, saggy meatballs ) does or does not exist, so its existence must be considered a theory until it can be proven - even though it may seem to be very real to me.


Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2012, 03:53:29 AM »
To this point in the conversation the subjective debate has focused on the concrete, which is not really where the argument rests.  The moon being rock and cheese, while having some glimmer of truth in meaning, is rather ridiculous in practice.  When items are not so readily assessed and observed is when the notion of a subjective truth can be applied.  Subjectively a person might say that someone else is smart, but another might say they are not.  The basis behind this ranking of intelligence rests on comparison of one observer’s experience with intelligence to the experience of another with intelligence.  Now objectively a ranking system and measurement system can be established.  Once that has been setup then all parties can agree as to whether this instrument accurately measures the subject.  If all parties agree then an “objective” process can be established.  Problem is when no agreement can be made on the tool of measurement.

Subjective judgment is then used to rank intelligence and in some cases different types of intelligence.  So one might say that a quarterback having to make snap tactical judgments, gauge distance rapidly, keep track of multiple elements in a short time frame and socially command a team of people larger than himself is intelligent.  Another might say the scientist that critically examines piles of information, constructs experiments to measure abstract ideas and makes discoveries is intelligent.  Still another may point toward the artist that creates things from seemingly nothing, can derive a multitude of ideas from a single subject on near command and has the ability to view ideas from multiple angles and translate those ideas across boundaries as being intelligent.  There are a multitude of other examples, but in the end the dilemma is the same.  Which is more intelligent than the other and which form of intellect do we encourage?

There are other areas where subjective truth and judgment are paramount.  Places where objective truth cannot be reached due to lack of agreement on the tools of measurement.  Concepts like Good and bad (even evil), ideas such as freedom and justice and very real notions like life and death are all subjective truths that are not easily or even cannot be measured objectively.  Such truths are up to the individual that must then use those truths that cannot be measured objectively to carry out their lives and affect others.  The example of intelligence can be shown in this way as administrators must decide what programs in schools to fund and which to cut, ranking the importance of intelligence against each other to find the best outcome.

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2012, 05:07:07 AM »
To this point in the conversation the subjective debate has focused on the concrete, which is not really where the argument rests.  The moon being rock and cheese, while having some glimmer of truth in meaning, is rather ridiculous in practice.  When items are not so readily assessed and observed is when the notion of a subjective truth can be applied.  Subjectively a person might say that someone else is smart, but another might say they are not.  The basis behind this ranking of intelligence rests on comparison of one observer’s experience with intelligence to the experience of another with intelligence.  Now objectively a ranking system and measurement system can be established.  Once that has been setup then all parties can agree as to whether this instrument accurately measures the subject.  If all parties agree then an “objective” process can be established.  Problem is when no agreement can be made on the tool of measurement.

Subjective judgment is then used to rank intelligence and in some cases different types of intelligence.  So one might say that a quarterback having to make snap tactical judgments, gauge distance rapidly, keep track of multiple elements in a short time frame and socially command a team of people larger than himself is intelligent.  Another might say the scientist that critically examines piles of information, constructs experiments to measure abstract ideas and makes discoveries is intelligent.  Still another may point toward the artist that creates things from seemingly nothing, can derive a multitude of ideas from a single subject on near command and has the ability to view ideas from multiple angles and translate those ideas across boundaries as being intelligent.  There are a multitude of other examples, but in the end the dilemma is the same.  Which is more intelligent than the other and which form of intellect do we encourage?

There are other areas where subjective truth and judgment are paramount.  Places where objective truth cannot be reached due to lack of agreement on the tools of measurement.  Concepts like Good and bad (even evil), ideas such as freedom and justice and very real notions like life and death are all subjective truths that are not easily or even cannot be measured objectively.  Such truths are up to the individual that must then use those truths that cannot be measured objectively to carry out their lives and affect others.  The example of intelligence can be shown in this way as administrators must decide what programs in schools to fund and which to cut, ranking the importance of intelligence against each other to find the best outcome.

This is just allowing opinions into the realm of determining what is true and what is not true. I don't see how this enters into it. The moment you allow subjective judgement, it becomes an opinion. You're free to hold any opinions you like, but that doesn't make it a fact or 'the truth'. I am still wanting to see how this personal truth concept differs from the concept of opinion and belief. Just expanding the definition of truth for the sake of making opinions and beliefs more credible and trustworthy is nonsense. So when you are presented with a problem that can't be judged without personal views and opinions, then you're not seeking the truth any more. You're asking for judgments, views, opinions and beliefs. These are inherently flawed and that's especially problematic when there's no independent verification possible.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 05:08:50 AM by mj2002 »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2012, 05:52:48 AM »
In a world where there is truth, then these concepts have a right and wrong.  Because you cannot establish a criteria to rate or measure them does not exclude them from having a right and wrong answer.  These are more than simply opinions but questions that require answers.  Such questions as when does life begin, when is murder acceptable and who has freewill if that will exists have shaped the world.  None of these are objective question but all have a true answer if one believes in an ultimate truth. 

Offline vtboy

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2012, 07:03:34 AM »
I just realized something - this thread has been all over the place trying to answer the first question, and hasn't even touched the second:  Do we really need truth?

I propose that while we may not need (or possibly be able to achieve) TRUTHTM, we at least need Truth, if only to have a common frame of reference to converse in.  If we're wandering around on the surface of the Earth, it's fine to stick with the 'truth' that the Earth is flat - until we have to fly from DC to Moscow to Tokyo and back to DC.  At that point, the Truth that the Earth is round is needed (or we have to do a lot of extra refueling).  Even then, it's fine to stick with the 'truth' that the sun and other planets go around the Earth - until we get into space-flight and have to factor in the Truth that Earth and the rest of the solar system orbits the sun.

I think Oniya is on to something.

Absolute "truth" is a rather nebulous notion, freighted with all sorts of semantic baggage. But, objective utility, that's.... well, that's something useful. To the extent a map of the darkness permits us to avoid painful encounters with hard objects, it is sufficiently "true" from this perspective, notwithstanding that it may be replaced one day with a more effective map.

Take Newton's conception of gravity as an attractive force, exerted instantaneously through ether-filled space, by bodies with mass upon other bodies with mass. Einstein's more comprehensive theory of general relativity showed the model not to be entirely accurate. However, it remains sufficiently "true" -- i.e., useful -- for a lot of stuff, like calculating the tides and the velocities of falling bodies. Getting a grip on black holes is another matter, however.

From a utilitarian view, the theories of both Newton and Einstein are "true" to varying degrees, with Einstein's being truer (i.e., more useful) for permitting prediction of a greater range of phenomena, and doing so without Newton's unexplained construct of the "ether." In this sense, the Ptolemaic geocentric model of the heavens is also "true" for backyard astronomy purposes, as it permits fairly accurate predictions of the observed motions of many celestial objects.   

Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
In a world where there is truth, then these concepts have a right and wrong.  Because you cannot establish a criteria to rate or measure them does not exclude them from having a right and wrong answer.  These are more than simply opinions but questions that require answers.  Such questions as when does life begin, when is murder acceptable and who has freewill if that will exists have shaped the world.  None of these are objective question but all have a true answer if one believes in an ultimate truth.

Saying that none of these are "objective" questions assumes your conclusion. Saying they have "a true answer if one believes in an ultimate truth" only begs the question with which this thread started.

I am puzzled by any notion of "truth" divorced from efficacy. "Subjective truth" strikes me simply as shorthand for saying we do not yet have entirely satisfactory explanations for why some people do the things they do. But, to confess incomplete comprehension is hardly a concession that the phenomena we call "mental" or "emotional" or "moral" belong to some separate category of knowledge, incapable of objective modeling and verifiable prediction. Advances in neuroscience have already opened part way the curtain which has concealed the mechanism of human impulse, and I am sure that fuller objective explanations of such mysteries as love, empathy, delusion, and religiosity will continue to emerge. 

Offline mj2002

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #68 on: December 30, 2012, 07:04:37 AM »
In a world where there is truth, then these concepts have a right and wrong.  Because you cannot establish a criteria to rate or measure them does not exclude them from having a right and wrong answer.  These are more than simply opinions but questions that require answers.  Such questions as when does life begin, when is murder acceptable and who has freewill if that will exists have shaped the world.  None of these are objective question but all have a true answer if one believes in an ultimate truth. 
All the answers to the questions 'is murder acceptable' etc are opinions. If you believe they are truths then please explain to me the difference between opinion/personal belief and personal truth.

Offline Sabby

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2012, 07:34:37 AM »
Murder is wrong, true or false? Trick question. Murder removes a human life from the world. Am I saddened by this murder? Does this murder have any lasting effects? Do I consider it to be justified? These are all opinions. The only truth here is that a life has been taken.

Looking for more then that, you might as well be asking "How much does Justice weigh?" Which I've heard asked before.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #70 on: December 30, 2012, 07:53:39 AM »
Opinion and belief is what someone calls another person’s truth.  Someone does not stand all night in the rain chanting for a cause, march into gunfire holding up a sign, get on a boat to be sent thousands of miles away to fight or blow themselves up for an opinion or belief.  Such commitment is done out of a devotion to their personal truth, to what these people have discovered for themselves.  We could say they fight for their beliefs, but they would say they fight for something dear to them. 

As for there being no right and wrong, that would be the conclusion of a subjective mindset.  Someone that looks at such questions subjectively invariable reaches the conclusion there is no right or wrong, because if everyone is right then everyone is also wrong also. 

Offline Sabby

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #71 on: December 30, 2012, 08:02:44 AM »
You're still changing definitions.

We've been throwing around the definitions of truth and opinion, and we're not really getting anywhere retracing these, since we clearly have very different definitions here. So I've heard your assertions, and now I would really like to hear an example to demonstrate your point.

Can you show me two 'truths' that conflict with each other?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 08:09:31 AM by Sabby »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #72 on: December 30, 2012, 08:10:24 AM »
What definition did I change?

As for two, true contradictory statements that would depend if we are taking a subjective approach or an absolute approach.  If I subscribed to absolute truth then that is impossible, because two statements cannot contradict each other while also being true.  If I subscribed to subjective truth then that is easy.  Abortion is wrong by one person and right by another. 

Offline Sabby

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #73 on: December 30, 2012, 08:16:59 AM »
Your using belief in place of truth, that was what I meant by changing definitions. Sorry if I was unclear.

Quote from: Dictionary.com
noun, plural truths
1. the true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
4. the state or character of being true.
5. actuality or actual existence.

Abortion is wrong by one person and right by another. 

These two quotes do not match. It is fact that one person disapproves of abortion, and one person approves. These are conflicting opinions. Not truths.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Truth: What is it, and do we really need it?
« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2012, 08:19:26 AM »
Prove them to not be true then.