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 How does one verify truth?

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Aaron
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PostSubject: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:20 am

Karen wrote this in another thread and I thought it was worthy of it's own topic of discussion.

SpiritInfuses wrote:
Aaron,
You wrote: "Truth is simply a fact that can be verified. It's a subjective concept."

Could you clarify this a bit, as in my mind, at least, it feels contradictory. This is the crux of the debate that goes on nearly continually..., as to the veracity of any given thing. Verified how?

Thanks,
Karen

How do you think truth should be verified?

IMO, it boils down to reason and experience. Does anyone have any other thoughts?

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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:22 pm

Quote :
Does anyone have any other thoughts?

Are you kidding? Hello

Objective Truth (reality) can be verified through the scientific method. Yes, we make mistakes brought on when we run evidence through our emotionally vulnerable perception, but scientific advancement, through its ability to adapt and correct such mistakes if the scientific method is followed, is a continuing process that interprets and lines up evidence we have in order to eventually lock it in with objective Truth or ultimate reality.

For example: Al Gore said in his movie (echoing other man caused global warming alarmists), that the ice shield on Greenland is melting. This is totally absurd which just a moment's thought, and the evidence, will reveal. When glaciers melt they recede. When they grow (flow), they calve icebergs into the sea. It can be shown that this has been so throughout geologic time, long before we perceived or misperceived it. I brought this up only to show how the emotions can affect our perception (or justification for prevarication), since it can be proven to be false--unless you declare that facts are a subjective concept, which would in turn negate any objective (universal) facts.

Subjective Truth (beauty and the emotional aspects of love and justice) cannot be verified, because they are human constructs that, in this natural universe, are either passed on to other humans or die with us.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 6:55 pm

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Subjective Truth (beauty and the emotional aspects of love and justice) cannot be verified, because they are human constructs that, in this natural universe, are either passed on to other humans or die with us.

What about the fields of psychology, geography, and anthropology amoung others (stop rolling your eyes Beowulf Wink ) that study subjective phenomina? Aren't there facts within those fields that can be verified through methods like intersubjective peer review etc...?

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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:10 pm

How did you guess? I had to get my tri-focals before I could believe the truth that you would say that!

Truth in Geology is a discription of the soils and the characteristics of the soils. Truth in geography is in the accurate description of the people, culture, economy. Anthropology is the same. (there is no truth in psychology, just reasoned speculation). Truth is what can be measured by various independent observers.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:23 pm

Philosophically speaking truth is completely, and entirely, a grammatical issue. Arguing over what is or isn't true is an exercise in semantics. Everything is arguable and subjective, even pragmatism and realism.

Boringly enough there are actually distinctive theories of Truth. The most widely accepted, and used, theory is called Coherence Theory - which holds that something is true if it coheres with all other, or at least most other, elements of observation or semantical proposition.

Here's a great example: (Not mine)

Coherence Theories are valuable because they help to reveal how we arrive at our truth claims, our knowledge. We continually work at fitting our beliefs together into a coherent system. For example, when a drunk driver says, "There are pink elephants dancing on the highway in front of us", we assess whether his assertion is true by considering what other beliefs we have already accepted as true, namely,

# Elephants are gray.
# This locale is not the habitat of elephants.
# There is neither a zoo nor a circus anywhere nearby.
# Severely intoxicated persons have been known to experience hallucinations.

But perhaps the most important reason for rejecting the drunk's claim is this:

# Everyone else in the area claims not to see any pink elephants.

In short, the drunk's claim fails to cohere with a great many other claims that we believe and have good reason not to abandon. We, then, reject the drunk's claim as being false (and take away the car keys).


Here's a link to a great philosophy website about the theories of Truth.
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:50 pm

Some of the soft sciences (in which I don't include geography despite how it's been bastardized) do have something to say, but in most applications, they aren't subject to the scientific method or being mathematically quantified. This isn't to say that at some point they may become more objective, but they aren't so now.

They are scientific endeavors but we are only on the verge the beginning of understanding, some relying on psychobabble as smokescreen which has been been applied to a lot more than just psychology. It's like astronomy was in it beginnings, more supposition and anecdotal evidence than objective substance.

It's like neurology. It's a science in that we can verify the chemical reactions and the specific areas of the brain that control certain functions, but we've no idea or theories on how to quantify personality.

Go at it from the other direction. If something can be verified through the scientific method, it is objective. If not, it is either subjective or as yet indeterminate. You can't reasonably assume an unknown to be universal and objective just because someone declares it to be so without proof or at least substantial evidence. That's how we got all these revealed religions.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:06 pm

This is my reply to the question on the other thread:

stretmediq wrote:
What I call "truth" is just an idea that is logically consistent, compatible with what I see in the world, and testable because it makes predictions that can be verified empirically. But this kind of "truth" is not certain because I have know way of knowing that just because I have always seen things behave one way in the past they behave that way in the future.

To me there there is only one certain truth without quotation marks around it. And that is I exist. Everything else is just conjecture based on the best evidence available to me at the time.
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:50 pm

Uriah wrote:
Quote :
Everything is arguable and subjective


Why then argue if everything you say and science calls objective is actually subjective. If you're right, we're all wasting our time coming to these boards, getting an education or even earning a living because there's nothing we can't achieve by just staying home in our own heads imagining our own universe.

Why do anything but avoid pain and seek pleasure. In fact, why not just take an overdose of heroine, telling yourself that despite what others tell you, you know that for you it will make you immortal. Heroin (or watermelon seeds) would, after all, be whatever you care to think they are.

I believe the modern day rise of subjectivism originated in our academic community to justify moral relativism as an irrational emotional response to irrational emotional church dogma.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:16 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Uriah wrote:
Quote :
Everything is arguable and subjective


Why then argue if everything you say and science calls objective is actually subjective. If you're right, we're all wasting our time coming to these boards, getting an education or even earning a living because there's nothing we can't achieve by just staying home in our own heads imagining our own universe.

Why do anything but avoid pain and seek pleasure. In fact, why not just take an overdose of heroine, telling yourself that despite what others tell you, you know that for you it will make you immortal. Heroin (or watermelon seeds) would, after all, be whatever you care to think they are.

I believe the modern day rise of subjectivism originated in our academic community to justify moral relativism as an irrational emotional response to irrational emotional church dogma.

I disagree with your assertion - thusly proving my point Very Happy
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:36 am

Quote :
I disagree with your assertion - thusly proving my point Very Happy

Your assertion, sir, that your mere disagreement with my statement proves your point, proves mine. Cool
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:00 am

Truth is the underlying reality.

That is, what makes the earth spin around the sun instead of just crashing into it.

Centuries ago, scientists thought, I guess, that everything was spinning around the earth.

Now we think it's angular momentum, I guess.

But the truth of it was that it was working before the scientists of antiquity presented their theory, in fact it was operating quite nicely before humans were even a gleam in a highly intelligent ape's eye.

The earth flew around the sun the same ole way regarless of our theories of how it flew around the sun.

So I guess you can either believe that there's that underlying truth regarless of our subjective observations; or that there is no truth, other than the patterns we ourselves observe.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:35 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Quote :
I disagree with your assertion - thusly proving my point Very Happy

Your assertion, sir, that your mere disagreement with my statement proves your point, proves mine. Cool

Ha! Touche, indeed. And you're right, but so am I.

Look at it this way, everything is indeed arguable and subjective. Even in the face of hard science and immutable "fact" - some groups of people, for instance, still claim that the earth is only 6000 years old. Some people believe in ghosts, and base their entire structures of reality on the idea that what they "feel" inside, though contradicted by reality, is more real than reality.
That is why society, the cohesive cultural framework of knowledge and fact, is required to bring us all together. To dictate, in a way, reality so that we can all meet upon a level field of existence and experience. People historically require stories to tell them what experiences mean, how to interpret emotion, and how to communicate feeling to one another.

Because the human experience itself is so subjective and everything witnessed is arguable - everything in the universe is as well. But that is also a trap - one you recognized immediately.
How far down that rabbit hole does one allow oneself to go?

We must identify givens, factual moors from which we can move forward collectively. This - in broad strokes - is the purpose of science and academia. Once achieved we must enter into them, and more importantly let them enter into us, thereby we become, not individuals, but members of culture.

But you're extremely point on with this statement:
The Paineful Truth wrote:

I believe the modern day rise of subjectivism originated in our academic community to justify moral relativism as an irrational emotional response to irrational emotional church dogma.

It is something like politically correctedness run amok. We are expected to respect individual "truths" and personal subjective realities merely because of the blind idea that "anything is possible", that reality is on some level illusionary, and that the psychical pales in comparison to the metaphysical. The human condition, so confused by the barrage of stimuli that it is nowadays, has retreated into the safe confines of the self.

There is a distinct difference, I would say, between open conversation and hard, fact oriented, debate - sadly most folks don't understand that difference.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:45 am

Uriah wrote:
Quote :
Look at it this way, everything is indeed arguable and subjective. Even in the face of hard science and immutable "fact" - some groups of people, for instance, still claim that the earth is only 6000 years old. Some people believe in ghosts, and base their entire structures of reality on the idea that what they "feel" inside, though contradicted by reality, is more real than reality.

Some people are just dead wrong. A 6000 year old flat earth is only a "reality" in someone's fancy which is neither immortal nor objective. I feel that I have indeed fallen down the rabbit hole and you (practicing for the debate club?) are defending both sides against the middle.

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with (my) head!"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head"
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:08 pm

Great song...

I think I know what Uriah was getting at though. There are many types of "truth". What we generally talk about when we talk about "truth" is objective truth. However there are other kinds of truth called called subjective truth, and intersubjective truth. (As you already know.)

Subjective truth is not verified by objective means it's verified by subjective means. If I make the statement or have the feeling that I love my children, then that's a subjective truth because it's verified by me. As far as we know there's no way to objectively prove or disprove that statement and there's no way to intersubjectively prove or disprove that statement either since no one else has the same relationship to my children as I do.

If I make the statement that the Beatles are the greatest rock band of the 20th century then that's also a subjective truth because that's my opinion. But it may also be an intersubjective truth as well since the Beatles' music is something that can be experienced by a wide variety of people. It's through discussion and peer review that intersubjective facts are made into intersubjective truths.

So what's important about the study of truth IMO isn't trying to decide from the start what the one overriding ultimate truth is, it's deciding what category all of the different truths in the world belong to. Once that's done then you can start to look at the different truths and category of truths and try to figure out how they all relate to one another.

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Uriah

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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:47 pm

Aaron wrote:
Great song...

I think I know what Uriah was getting at though. There are many types of "truth". What we generally talk about when we talk about "truth" is objective truth. However there are other kinds of truth called called subjective truth, and intersubjective truth. (As you already know.)

Subjective truth is not verified by objective means it's verified by subjective means. If I make the statement or have the feeling that I love my children, then that's a subjective truth because it's verified by me. As far as we know there's no way to objectively prove or disprove that statement and there's no way to intersubjectively prove or disprove that statement either since no one else has the same relationship to my children as I do.

If I make the statement that the Beatles are the greatest rock band of the 20th century then that's also a subjective truth because that's my opinion. But it may also be an intersubjective truth as well since the Beatles' music is something that can be experienced by a wide variety of people. It's through discussion and peer review that intersubjective facts are made into intersubjective truths.

Well you'd be wrong, everyone knows The Clash is the greatest band in history. and that's the truth. Smile

Aaron wrote:

So what's important about the study of truth IMO isn't trying to decide from the start what the one overriding ultimate truth is, it's deciding what category all of the different truths in the world belong to. Once that's done then you can start to look at the different truths and category of truths and try to figure out how they all relate to one another.

I think you hit the nail on the head here.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:56 pm

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Uriah wrote:
Quote :
Look at it this way, everything is indeed arguable and subjective. Even in the face of hard science and immutable "fact" - some groups of people, for instance, still claim that the earth is only 6000 years old. Some people believe in ghosts, and base their entire structures of reality on the idea that what they "feel" inside, though contradicted by reality, is more real than reality.

Some people are just dead wrong. A 6000 year old flat earth is only a "reality" in someone's fancy which is neither immortal nor objective. I feel that I have indeed fallen down the rabbit hole and you (practicing for the debate club?) are defending both sides against the middle.

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with (my) head!"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head"

Look, I'm sorry dude. I go to school full time and sometimes I can't break out of that headspace. Plus, I'm a longwinded A hole. Laughing

Ultimate truth is relatively meaningless in the human context. It's a nice dream to strive towards, and that is what makes the institution of science so great - because it is doing just that. But if you found yourself amidst a culture of people who thought the world was flat and that god would get angry with you if you didn't wear a special hat, or ate certain foods on certain days that would become your reality. That would be truth. Just ask poor Giordano Bruno.
Ultimately, and this is my position, human culture dictates more of what our "truth" is, and is more of an influence on our beliefs and behaviors, than the empirical truth of science.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:36 am

Warning: Tangent

Truth stems from induction. For example, you were hit on the head with a brick and frozen "in time". Then 500 hundred years later, you were revived. But you noticed something. All intelligent creatures walked on fours legs......


Tangent!!! WOW!. Why do intelligent creatures walk upright? Could intelligent life evolve in a four legged creature?

...It can't............can it? It can't.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:43 pm

I'm only asking....why?
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:14 am

Quote :
But if you found yourself amidst a culture of people who thought the world was flat and that god would get angry with you if you didn't wear a special hat, or ate certain foods on certain days that would become your reality.

That's just not correct. If you'll help me out, wasn't there a western explorer who, knowing there was an eclipse imminent, was able to make himself into some sort of God through truth that he knew (but obviously didn't share for strategical reasons - gosh, that's not like the imperial west, God bless us!)
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:29 am

Helium wrote:
Quote :
But if you found yourself amidst a culture of people who thought the world was flat and that god would get angry with you if you didn't wear a special hat, or ate certain foods on certain days that would become your reality.

That's just not correct. If you'll help me out, wasn't there a western explorer who, knowing there was an eclipse imminent, was able to make himself into some sort of God through truth that he knew (but obviously didn't share for strategical reasons - gosh, that's not like the imperial west, God bless us!)

Yes, well that would definitely be the exception, and not the rule. But is true that one could use their esoteric knowledge to gain leverage.
Regardless the truth is that the culture you found yourself within, would be dictating your actions. And that is my point, we are culturally over-determined, biologically under-determined.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:14 am

Uriah wrote:


Regardless the truth is that the culture you found yourself within, would be dictating your actions.

But that doesn't determine reality.
And in any case, you could still rebel.
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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:31 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Uriah wrote:


Regardless the truth is that the culture you found yourself within, would be dictating your actions.

But that doesn't determine reality.

Tell that to the Jews who died in the many Nazi death camps.

The Paineful Truth wrote:
And in any case, you could still rebel.

The real reality of it is that most people can't.

The point is that subjective reality and objective reality are like two sides of the same coin. One dynamically effects the other and neither is more real than the other.

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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: How does one verify truth?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:52 pm

Uriah and Aaron's points are well taken, that absolutely your culture is an incredible influence.

And Paine's is also correct when he assesses that the culture maybe be nearer or farther to the truth.

For instance, was it the Aztec's that ripped out like 20,000 beating hearts a year at the height. HOpefully a culture like that is doomed the same death as the Nazi's
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