Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Science vs. Truth

Science doesn't tell us what is true. Science observes, measures, hypothesizes and then sets out to prove where and how it's hypotheses are wrong. The knowledge we gain is not truth but understanding. It allows us to make more reliable predictions. Through science we may know things better. But through science we may also know things even better tomorrow, next year, next century... we presume to not know so our understanding may improve. So we may make more more accurate predictions, perhaps new predictions, as new and/or better information becomes available.

"Truth" is a fool's goal. For any Truth that may be asserted do not terms and conditions apply? How then is this Truth? Certainly there are axioms. But in terms of how to live your life, how to treat other people, general civics, all "Truths" are conditional, multifaceted and rely on circumstances. When such a Truth is offered even the least skilled sophist should be able to identify how this alleged Truth is incomplete, hit&miss or independent of reality.

Science and skeptical inquiry do not tell us what is true, but rather what is not true or otherwise irrelevant.

"Truth" only gives us something to believe. "Truth" is the antithesis of enlightenment.


  1. Hmmm. Right. But I love yanking Christians chains using the word truth. The truth is the world is round, moves, revolves around the sun, is not 6k years old.The bible therefore doesn't contain the truth.

  2. I avoid using the word "truth" in any debate-like conversation. Anybody can call something truth. And when you're dealing with supernatural claims saying something is true or not true does not move things forward.

    Also, to make a claim about reality and then claim it's true is redundant and smacks of self-congratulations. I strive to explain how we know something corresponds with reality rather than just make a claim of truth. It's a lot more work but it shows me I'm not clinging to unsupported beliefs and it's more convincing to anyone who's not intent on clinging to their own unsupported beliefs.

    And to further complicate things, every decent piece of fiction I've read contains truth. It's easy to equivocate that kind of truth with claims about reality.

    Thanks for reading