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#209907 - 10/19/10 04:46 AM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Pretty good discussion, everyone!

#209919 - 10/19/10 02:01 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
Good reply.

I agree with most of what you say - we're human, liable to fail and stumble, and that, oh yeah, religion can be perverted. In fact, I tend to think that (personally) the idea behind religion is good - it's the Church (pick whichever variety you like) that eventually twists the message to their own uses. For example, do people really think that the Catholic church wasn't, for centuries, a second "government" in Europe? Look at their gilded cathedrals, and tell me that God told the Pope that he wanted that much bling. It was a search of power, money and control. People corrupt religion.

But, I'm off topic!

I suppose the answer depends on how you define "truth." If you're looking for the answer to life, then religious/spiritual ways are probably the way to go. If you're trying to find a specific question or concept answered, you can't just expect God to provide you an answer.

Finding truth requires knowing the "question," and then going about trying to find a solution. I don't think there's any one way that's right. Scientific method, Socratic method, serendipidy, all tend to give the right answer, eventually.

#209925 - 10/19/10 03:43 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: MDinana]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
As long as we're talking about truth, and "questioning everything", I would suggest that people might question all those tired, worn-out anti-catholic cliches.
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#209927 - 10/19/10 03:53 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
I suggest there are some tried-and-true ways to find truth.

Practicing truth finding is one, whatever actual method you use. Getting kids to practice truth-finding skills should probably also be fun and not too hard to begin with.

Any game they like that develops reasoning ability would seem to qualify. Twenty questions, battleship, clue, even go fish, require thinking to discover some kind of truth.

Participation in activities in the world that reward truth finding should help. School newspapers that teach the who, what, why, where, when, and how make sense. Anything that teaches research to find original sources and to read them carefully sounds like a good idea.

Some exposure to logic, especially exposure to the concept of logical fallacies, through things like debate or critical thinking couldn't hurt. Experiences that teach the value of maintaining doubt, even after coming to any number of tentative conclusions or interim truths, would serve well.

We could encourage learning the history of discoveries to illustrate how often we can be wrong before we are right, the value of perseverance, the challenges - even dangers - of being right in environments that do not necessarily welcome being right, and the roles of observation, serendipity and creativity.

Maybe steer some of those homework assignments a bit? Try a dinner table challenge or two?



#209932 - 10/19/10 05:25 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
Doug_Ritter Offline


Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 2042
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a provocative and interesting subject and worthy of discussion Around the Campfire. HOWEVER, let's keep the politics and religion out of it or we will shut this thread down.
Doug Ritter
Equipped To SurviveŽ
Chairman & Executive Director
Equipped To Survive Foundation

#209933 - 10/19/10 05:52 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
One of the fundamental concepts of chemistry is electron duality. It is possible to prove that electrons are physical bits of matter with mass, charge, and velocity. It is also possible to prove that electrons are continuous waves with amplitude, wavelength, and the ability to cause interference patterns.

The problem is a particle can not be a wave, nor can a wave be a particle. Being one negates the possibility of acting like the other. Yet an electron can be either depending on how you test it. The truth is it is neither a particle nor a wave but something mysterious and wonderful beyond our ability to grasp. A "wave" or a "particle" are simply models we use to describe something, they are not what the object truely is.

Now think about this: an electron is also one of the simplest things in the universe. What does that say about "big" things?

And now for a little housekeeping. This thread has been very deep and when things go deep they are both fascinating and dangerous. Deep subjects stir up deep feelings and few things are deeper than religion. I suspect there are people reading this thread who a week ago liked everyone involved but now may have some hard feelings towards some. Part of me says, "So be it" but in the long term interest of this forum I suggest we cut back on the religious side of things.


p.s. Seems that while I was composing my sermon Doug was posting a much shorter version of the same thought. grin

Edited by Blast (10/19/10 05:54 PM)
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#209935 - 10/19/10 06:06 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
In my humble opinion, much of what is considered truth is relative to our experiences be they cultural, religious, time period, socioeconomic status, etc. Therefore, the process by which we seek truth is the key to discovering and adopting the various truths we encounter in life. The process has been given many catchy terms like critical analysis, process analysis, data analysis, experimental process and a whole host of other terms. The bottom line in teaching truth to our children is to instill in them a sense of wonder.

The human spirit is curious by nature, our goal should be to encourage and foster independent investigation. We should seek to avoid monolithic thinking in our children and while we naturally desire that they adopt our truth as parents, their experiences may lead them to a completely different set of truths than ours. I try to teach and instill values, in my children, how they ultimately take those values, implement and formulate truths will likely be different from my truths, because they are different and unique individuals.

Without involving religion, my approach to life is based upon three things: knowledge, volition and action. For me, all three are required to accomplish any task, large or small. I must possess the knowledge to make intelligent decisions, I must have the desire to implement the knowledge I have acquired and finally I must act, if the knowledge and desire are to have purpose. I believe if I can instill those three pursuits in my children, I have provided them with the tools to tackle most things in life.


#209936 - 10/19/10 06:21 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: NightHiker]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
Originally Posted By: dweste
Should we teach our kids how to find the truth?


Teach them to recognize lies ...."

I love your post! Nothing like robust and well-meant contrarianism!

So, how should we teach the recognition of lies?

I was thinking of it as a more advanced way to finding the truth, but let's see where the brain trust takes it.

#209940 - 10/19/10 06:37 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
Teaching someone to recognize a lie includes the process of recognizing the truth. Recognizing a lie involves extra layers of complexity in my opinion. It's not easy. For example, there are thousands of salesmen who are pushing "get rich quick" books. How do you know who's lying? Is it the guy who sounds like a scumbag? No, that guy could very well be telling the truth. You don't know who's lying unless you already understand fully the subject matter at hand. In other words, you must first know the truth or at least the proper steps to get to the truth.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#209952 - 10/19/10 09:45 PM Re: How to find the truth? [Re: dweste]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
It is helpful to understand that truth is not a destination. You don't get there and settle contentedly. Truth is a continuum. There are greater and less truths. Greater truths don't invalidate less truths. Quantum physics didn't invalidate Newtonian physics.

Lesser truths are not often entirely false and they never go away entirely. Geo-centrism was correct in saying that it looks like the sun travels around the earth. That is our natural experiential reality and default. Careful observation shows this to be an incomplete understanding but it isn't entirely wrong. In fact it contains, for people not focused on astronomy, more important truths than the heliocentric model. If you want to understand people it helps to understand that the default assumption for human consciousness is to assume that we, as individuals, are standing still in space and time.

Look around. Have you noticed that kids seem younger and less mature than back in the day? Have you noticed that distances seem shorter? Have you noticed that authority figures are less impressive and competent. Certainly when I was a kid we were more mature, the distance to the store was longer, politicians were more trustworthy. I haven't changed. I don't feel like I've changed.

Truth is also not fixed. You can't contain it or put a leash on it. One of my complaints about most western religions is that they gain a truth and then stop. A religious friend tells me that every truth I will ever need is in his one book. He treats truth as if it was a lap-dog to be trotted out, petted, let out occasionally. He worships this set of truths but has stopped struggling and looking for better explanations and insights.

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