True or False

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by seewhatisunseen, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. seewhatisunseen macrumors newbie

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    #1
    In everything around us we see that there are instructions that govern the way things operate. The computer you are sitting at has instructions that it follows. The human body is instructed by genetics that govern very specifically the way we are physically structured and function. The laws of physics act as instructions governing the way matter operates. An example of this is gravity that exists all throughout the universe holding things in their place. Even at the atomic level, the basic elements interact with each other in a specific manner. Everything is governed by instructions or laws that keep things structured and in order.

    Upon entry into this world, the mind of a newborn baby is essentially like a blank slate. It lacks much of the instructions it needs to function. Mentally speaking, as a person grows and learns, they become a product of their environment. The things they are told and the things they see (whether good or bad, true or false) become the instructions for that persons mind. When a mind is young it's like a sponge soaking up as much information as it can get. The environment in which that mind develops will largely determine the direction and beliefs of the individual, so it is only natural to want our minds to be filled with as much beneficial and truthful knowledge as possible and as little error or destructive information as possible.

    Deception and error aren't always obvious. There are plenty of examples in history where people and even masses of people are led into error. In 1943, 100,000 young people in brown shirts filled the Olympic stadium in Munich Germany. They formed with their bodies a sign for a fanatical, yet persuasive man standing behind the podium. The message read "Hitler, we are yours." Their environment and upbringing resulted in the destruction of Europe and the slaughtering of innocent millions. Years later, a group of Chinese students were persuaded to read and memorize the sayings of a little red book, "The sayings of Chairman Mao". The result was a cultural revolution that still keeps a billion people under the slavery of communism. It's easy to see how vulnerable people are to their surroundings.

    One of the most dangerous aspects about an error or a lie is it's ability to spread around like a flu virus. After a lie, culture, or a behavior is introduced and has spread to several million people over the course of time it becomes far more credible because subconsciously, many people mistakenly believe that "millions of people cannot be wrong". The "go along with crowd mentality" comes into play because people feel safety in numbers. People tend to conform to those around them and become like one another. Another tremendous problem lies in the fact that people are a mixture of truth, error, ignorance, and imagination. Since humans are social creatures, they pass on what they have seen, heard, and believed and this is oftentimes compromised by errors. Human beings have a bad habit of corrupting people around them without even realizing it. There are quite a few factors in society that contribute to this; Greed, ignorance, power, materialism, selfishness, human error, immaturity, egotism, pride, emotions, and other human characteristics. All of these factors are a product of an imperfect human mind that can pervert, water down, or obscure the truth. They help produce the opposite of truth which is falsehood and error. When the truth is compromised it affects all of us.

    How can a person know that their minds are not the product of bad information or a corrupted culture being spread around like a virus? All too often we sell ourselves short. Sometimes it behooves us to question and ask ourselves why we believe and do the things we do. Our minds, as complex as they are, cannot always be trusted. Feelings can't always be trusted. They change like the weather. One moment you can be happy, the next, you're sad. Science is often found to be mistaken when knowledge advances and theories are proven wrong. The more knowledge we become aware of, the more we realize how little we know. Without all the pieces of the puzzle in place, it's impossible to draw a conclusion that is 100% certain, yet as humans, there is not a person alive who possesses all knowledge or all the pieces of the puzzle. Most of us don't even come close to it. This brings me to my final point.

    There is truth regarding absolutely everything. There is not a situation that exists or that can be imagined where there is not a truth or set of truths pertaining to it, despite the fact that an individual may be unaware of them. We either know what is true, we know what is false, or we don't know enough of the facts to be certain. Many people believe that the truth is relative and that there's no such thing as absolute truth. This is an unfortunate mistake. Relativity is the result of the limited amount of knowledge and capacity of the human mind, but the truth is not limited to the human mind's ability to perceive or qualify it. Believing in something does not necessarily make it true, and not believing in something doesn't always mean it's false. For example, many children believe that Santa Clause rides around in the sky being pulled by a herd of reindeer. No matter how sincerely these children believe this, it has no effect on the reality that it simply isn't so. The same applies in negative sense as well. If I didn't believe that the earth revolved around the sun, no matter how sincerely I held that belief to true, I'd still be very wrong. Therefore we see that truth is not dependent on a human mind to make it truth and Perception is not always correct. This is why the truth is not relative. Human beings are notorious for making mistakes and being wrong. Sadly many people are mistaken in their beliefs. If I say there is one God, and Jane Doe says there are multiple gods, and Joe Blow says there is no such thing at all, simple logic tells us that two of the individuals are wrong and one of them is correct. We know this because it's a logical impossibility for an object, person, or thing to exist and not exist at the same time. Thus we see it's only logical that truth exists entirely outside of an individual and is not relative. People tend to look inward to their own imperfect selves for answers, when in fact they should be searching for the truth outside of themselves. There is absolute truth regarding everything. Your job is to find it. Truth is very real, very tangible and you will know when you have found it.
     
  2. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #2
    I'm not quite sure what your point is...With respect to the point re. God, multiple interpretations can lead to essentially the same end. There can be multiple forms, multiple ways of thinking, and multiple ways to reach right conclusions.

    Absolutism is problematic, especially when it comes to a set of beliefs. There is no one "right" code of ethics, morals, etc., because ethics and morals are human constructions. There is a point in organismal behavior that deviated from absolutism; at this point, events became unpredictable. Before this point in evolution, I would argue that all events were predictable based on the full compliment of the laws of physics.

    However, I think there may be subjectivity now. This suggests ambiguity that exists within every human social structure. Although there may be a set of laws governing any given situation, it seems to be the case that those laws do not absolutely dictate all situations.

    Take for example, a common behavior of humans. A person is unsure of a decision and so he asks another person to flip a coin for him to decide. When that person flips the coin, individual one has placed his decision in the hands of individual two. Because individual one exerts no real influence over individual two and therefore none over the event, the coin-flipping event is essentially random with respect to individual one. Thus, there is no absolute truth to the decision.

    And if even if there is an absolute truth, how useful is the concept if we cannot find the truth. You admit it yourself; we cannot possibly understand everything. We can understand a limited subset and make "best possible" decisions. Certainly, we should pursue truth; that is what the entire institution of academia aims toward. However, that we do not have all the answers does not make irrelevant those answers (or guesses) that we do have.

    I actually want to return to the God example. You say that the existence of one, many, or no God are mutually exclusive circumstances. Why? Is it not simply based on human interpretation of the situation. First, God could manifest Himself in many forms, including an apparent lack of existence. Then, in one frame of reference, there could be no God, and that would be accurate. Additionally, the belief in God is a philosophical endeavor. Isn't finding a particular was to perceive God simply a matter of finding the path by which you will attempt to find a higher truth? This should be something that you appreciate because you do seem to committed to the discovery of some higher truth. I could expand on this more, but I'm finding difficulty verbalizing the problems that I have with this example. Perhaps others will be able to put to words what I cannot at the moment.

    Finally, your last sentence is exceedingly problematic.

    How do you know that truth is tangible? How can it be tangible if it is a concept? Can you touch the laws of physics? Can you feel perturbations in atomic-level electric fields?

    Even more difficult to defend is the statement that "you will know when you have found it." How? There are several examples of scientists who have gone to the grave having discovered something significant and not having realized its significance. There are also many poeple who have "discovered" things that are false and have felt that they were quite true. How do you distinguish between these feelings? Why would these feelings occur? Did you not already say that feelings are irrational? And even if it is not a feeling, but a logic-oriented matter of cognition, still how can you "know?" We concur on the fact that humans have a very limited scope of knowledge, much of which is likely false-knowledge. Therefore, any thoughts or decisions that a human makes is predicated on a minimal knowledge that is somewhat fallacious. Therefore, anything we "know" is at least partially unreliable. I would argue that we, especially the scientists among us, follow a technique to pursue knowledge and have a base of knowledge solid enough that our findings can be trusted to a high degree. However, after discussing at length the weakness of human knowledge, how could you argue that we could ever know that we know something with absolute confidence? Would this confidence be some sort of divine inspiration or is it a product of the human mind? If it is the latter, which I believe it would be, then it cannot be trusted completely, and can likely be trusted much less than, say, a verifiable scientific experiement.

    I will end as I begun. I have yet to understand what your point was in this treatise.
     
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #3
    Like you, I wonder what his real point is?!

    As far a what is true, in some cases it can be realative to your understanding of the universe. For example, until I was introduced to imaginary numbering system, I thought the square root of 4 could only be a plus 2 or a minus 2.

    Humans tend to think in 2 or 3 dimensions.

    What happens when humans commonly think in 4 or more dimensions? Possibly the truths that are aparent today will not be the same tomorrow.

    Take for example the sound barrier. Today, we cannot fathom the possibility of not being able to fly faster than the speed of sound it is so common. Engineers know how to design a vehicle that will exceed the speed of sound. Yet not too many years ago, it was considered an impossibility. No one knew how to design an aircraft that could break the sound barrier.

    As man learns more, our thinking becomes more broad -- our minds expanded. The possibilities are endless. And as our knowledge base expands so does our knowledge of what is true.

    Sushi
     
  4. seewhatisunseen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

    Colossians 2:2-4
    My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
     
  5. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #5
    I had a feeling that your broad and meandering opining would come down to some fashion of religious dogma. No wonder your "God example" made me so uneasy. I was expecting this sort of direct religious argument and thought I might have miscalculated when it did not appear shortly after the above-noted example.

    But you have not disappointed. It all comes down to moral absolutism: Christianity is the only right path, of course! And the evidence? The Bible, of course, which must be absolutely true. Other religious texts, of course, cannot be true by virtue of the fact that the Bible declares its own truth.

    I am happy to accept that the Bible says good things. But to cite it as incontrovertible just because it is makes for a weak argument. What's perhaps worse, it makes for an argument that contradicts your previous sweeping declarations about truth and understanding.
     
  6. seewhatisunseen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6

    You might be interested in some of my other research which demonstrates how the biblical account of things gets proven correct time and time again.

    http://www.ac18.org/research/
     
  7. pooky macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Wow, what a long and pointless post. Responding only to point out that I know quite a few physicists & mathematicians, even religious ones, who would argue that your view of absolute truth represents an extremely simplistic view of the universe, that, as human knowledge has progressed, has gone out of fashion. The universe is a very fuzzy place. It has been demonstrated many times that it is possible to get large scale precision from a collection of imprecise parts, and that large scale order can come from many chaotic elements.

    --Edit:
    Furthermore, your "research" on your web page demonstrates just how simplistic your understanding is. Your examples demonstrate grade-school misunderstandings of fundamental principles, including your gross misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics. Don't use them as examples unless you understand them.
     
  8. screener macrumors newbie

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  9. Neserk macrumors 6502a

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  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    For about one paragraph, I thought that was going to be moderately interesting. It wasn't.
     
  11. Voltron macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Perhaps you can explain why there is more than a 40 year error of when the flood ended when you compare Noah's notes vesus one of his sons notes. The numbers just don't add up.
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

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    #12
    Faulty intelligence, I suppose. Or perhaps no intelligence at all.
     
  13. pdham macrumors member

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    #13
    I am a very scientific mind, always have been. Dismissed Christianity when I was younger because I thought it didn't fit my idea of science. Now that I am a devoted follower of Christ, I have learned that the evidence for the historical accuracy of the Bible, compared to other works of antiquity. is in fact outstanding. Below is are two links that deal a little bit about the historical reliability if the Bible. Read the links as if it was talking about an academic book and think about how people are so ready to dismiss what the New Testament says, but are perfectly comfortable to teach Aristotle in school.

    Link 1
    Link 2

    Paul
     
  14. Neserk macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Gee, maybe it is because when teaching Aristotle they are teaching about someone's life as a human being and when teaching the bible it is about absolutes. Now, if you taught the bible as a piece of religious literature... then you might get somewhere.
     
  15. screener macrumors newbie

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    #15
  16. skunk macrumors G4

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    #16
    What has "historical accuracy" got to do with whether it is the "word of god"? Since when did the fact that there are a lot of copies prove anything at all? If this is the conclusion of your "very scientific mind", there is something wrong with your definitions.

    By the way, none of the other books you mention claims to be the word of god.
     
  17. pooky macrumors 6502

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    #17
    So what does this demonstrate? That the manuscripts of the bible correspond quite well with each other, and nothing more. This in and of itself is not proof that these manuscripts were the work of god. IF you were going to try to demonstrate that, you'd have to do it by proposing alternatives and ruling them out systematically. That's how logic works.

    For example:
    You could propose the works were inspired by a deity, and the copies were overseen by said deity. But they could have just as easily been inspired by extraterrestrials, who would have had the technology (as we do now) to insure accurate copying. Of course I'm being facetious, but hopefully you see the point. There is no reason to believe the copies are so good because god did it, there are other explanations. Off the top of my head, people who hold strong religious beliefs often are very zealous in the pursuit and propagation of their faith. This could lead individuals to faithfully and repeatedly copy their religious text in the hopes of spreading the word, so to speak, all without the help of any supreme being. This could result in the prevalence of copies of the bible over other works that have academic, but not religious meaning.

    Finally, I'd like to point out that no one asserts that Aristotle's teachings are "truth," rather we look at them as an interesting study of Greek philosophy. It is recognized that there will be errors in the writings as we have them, all we can do is study what we have. Whether they are word-for-word transcriptions or not is academic, they are still interesting. The bible is regarded as truth by the evangelicals, and so is put in a different category. From the (admittedly flawed) writings of Aristotle that I have read, I think he would agree that truth is much harder to demonstrate than opinion, and carries a much higher burden of proof.
     
  18. themadchemist macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Precisely. You know, the various manuscripts of Harry Potter are also astoundingly precise.

    ...Not to mention those of a handful of other religions.

    Thanks pooky for pointing out that another batch of so-called proof of Christianity's singular superiority and correctness is, of course, meaningless.
     
  19. Don't panic macrumors 603

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    #19
    the inaneness of these "demonstrations" is mindboggling
     
  20. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #20
    You have clearly not seen pdham's offerings...

    While the demonstrations to which you refer are founded on false interpretations and misunderstanding of scientific principles, their fallacy is at least subtle.

    The two links that prove the Bible's authenticity to pdham's "scientific mind" are so confoundingly stupid that I'm not quite sure what the author was smoking at the time.

    I'm not saying that Christianity is wrong. I think that it's general principles are fine and the cultural and social structures it provides to a number of people are comforting and helpful to those individuals. Importantly, those structures provide a mechanism, a route, by which Christians can express their spirituality.

    But the Bible is still a human text, even if divinely-inspired. It has mistakes, inconsistencies, exaggerations, extrapolations, and human additions.

    This is true of other religious texts as well. However, for the most part, they all are generally good and true and helpful. They provide different paths to the same end, in my opinion, and I'm really getting tired of the evidence trumping one over another.
     
  21. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #21
    i wonder if in a few hundred years there will be people genuinely convinced that harry potter existed and he could fly on a broom...
     
  22. diamond geezer macrumors regular

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    #22
    What is this babble doing in the politics section?
     
  23. Neserk macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Was wondering the same. I'm suprised it has been locked. Previous religious threads have been.
     

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