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'Truth' in Science, Philosophy, Mysticism, and Common Sense at its Best

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    In the end, the idea that is perhaps best expressed in English by the word 'accurate' or 'accuracy', is the gold and final definition, in one form or another, for deciding whether any statement about reality is a meaningful statement about reality in four areas of human inquiry.

    'Truth', in this context, is shorthand for the measure, way, or degree that any statement about reality is a meaningful statement about reality. That is, is indeed a statement about reality. The closest word to capturing the opposite meaning of 'reality' here is 'fantasy'.

    Here are the four areas of inquiry referred to here.

    Science in the most accepted meaning of the word 'science' by researchers and workers in any field of knowledge that is not specifically targeted at producing practical technologies or useful gadgets, but is still very or even crucially useful to creating such things.

    Almost all of the most influential theories of truth in philosophy, and also that branch of philosophy known as 'logic'.

    The most universally consensual and insightful form of mysticism.

    The 'best' common sense, if 'best' means anything in the way of a reliable guide for a person to go by.​

    It would be easy and perfectly appropriate to add to this list 'academic scholarship' and most other of the kinds of scholarship that are widely recognized as such by people well beyond those relatively few people who think of themselves as 'scholars in that area' and those of their followers who also think of them as 'scholars'. Go ahead, if you wish, and lump that kind of scholarship in with the four areas above. You won't be wrong. You'll just be less lazy than me.

    Scholars are often something like crossover music hits that make the charts for the top 40 most popular songs in two genres of music, epistemological version of such things. Here, the genres are science and philosophy as thought of in this context -- as ideas about 'truth' that boil down to 'accuracy'.

    I've been told there is a German world that's usually translated into English as 'discipline', and which names an area of knowledge work the Germans consider a distinctive mix of science and scholarship.

    Examples, I think, would be business management, finance, and public relations.

    The public relations industry is where you go to buy propaganda services in those societies that allow propaganda services to be sold to individuals, rather than restrict them to a government monopoly. Most large corporations have in-house divisions for creating propaganda on their own, but they routinely buy the services of the public relations houses in order to ramp up performance and results.

    Propaganda is not being used here as an euphemism for advertising. To be clear, I am talking about the word in its sense of 'the application of science to the task of usefully misleading people, and most often intended for a large-scale or mass audience. That is more or less the industry's understanding of 'propaganda'.

    'Propaganda' is the word Edward Bernays, the leading founder of the American public relations industry, preferred in his earlier years to call 'public relations' when he wrote about it in magazine articles, gave speeches about it all across America to organizations such local chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, and so forth, and in his early books, such as Crystalizing Public Opinion and Propaganda, about how it could be used to control the voters in a democracy by a relative small group of well educated and technically skilled elites.

    Bernays was convinced he was helping to turn America into a nation of benevolent leaders equipped and dedicated to governing the masses in the masses own best self-interests. Make of that as you wish in terms of the proverb, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

    Today, recognizing and accepting that propaganda decides a lot about what reality is for almost every American, and most people in any media saturated society, is one of the most important keys to understanding what people think 'truth' is -- both in the abstract, in what they see in their lives as true.
    In the sciences, the notion that reality can be most meaningfully known as the best empirically reliable information -- 'accurate' information, in this context -- is what most -- but not all -- philosophers would think of as a suspiciously inflexible, and therefore annoyingly confining, definition of their sense of 'truth'.

    To most philosophers, 'truth' boils down to what it is to most scientists, only philosophers extend it's scope to at least include statements about reality that can be convincingly arrived at by deduction. Deduction is a strict form of logical reasoning that lies at the core of all common mathematics. In a logical sense, it does not admit logical flaw or error.

    The way I would put that is, deduction is terrifyingly difficult for this country boy, and simply out of the question as too likely to fail for use in creating opening gambits in order to pick up babes by means of my charming, babe glue wit. Plan B: Launch bragging about my three fulsome inches of woman-pleasing love rocket. Can't understand why I ended up single in life, given all that I have going for me, so far as discerning women must be concerned. Never met enough discerning women, is the most likely reason, I think. C'est la vie.

    I think the 'best common sense' is well illustrated by George Rogers, who was a community leader, volunteer fire chief, business owner, master mechanic, and kid's favorite go-to adult that was kid-deployable for fixing flat bicycle tires.

    (Because he always made time for kids and their tires, no matter how busy he was, excepting only he refused to pause when running to the fire station across the street to roll on a fire, unless the kid needed a fix to get home for lunch on time. He was a man, righteous and upright to his community, and there are damn few of us left like him these days. Especially since none of us still alive can find enough discerning women willing to do the chores necessary to carry on our righteousness. Especially, not the philosophically advanced versions of those chores. Gods! There just never are enough women with a truly committed interest in epistemology!)​

    Rogers had a way of using the facts he knew about all kinds of engines, cars, trucks, fire engines, etc. to find a solution or creative work around to nearly any mechanical or similar problem. That was his reputation in my home town, unpacked from the much more common, "He's a good mechanic", as that sentence was understood locally, and restricted to use.

    When trying to usefully reason out anything much beyond anything he couldn't get his hands on, Rogers was more or less so unable to articulate what he thought about such things, that his reasoning could be easily seen and understood as a statement about his core values. He had a beautiful concept of his god, expressed in the Evangelical terms used in his church, which so struck me as Rogers unknowingly talking about his love for our town and the men, women, and kids in it.

    There is actually a sense in which I can honestly see him as a philosopher with an uncommonly sophisticated and skillful way of applying his findings to practical applications. And not that bad of a philosopher, in the most general sense, at all. Surely he had a 'big picture' take on life that was remarkably effective at consistently doing things that made life better in so many ways for so many people in the community. And just as consistently, at avoiding wronging anyone.

    Mysticism is the trouble-maker here, as it always is, especially for most of the clergy, leaders, and apologists of any of the world's major religious traditions -- in some ways, bar none.

    Since so little is known about it that is actually knowledge by people -- even some scholars, in my opinion -- I won't get into it much here beyond this: 'Truth' in mysticism is a non-conceptual experience of reality as perceived without any distinction between the mystic who is experiencing the world and the world itself. From the point of view of the mystic, the 'two' are actually and ultimately the same thing.

    A Zen proverb (most likely part of a haiku) goes something like this: "I see the flower, the flower sees me."

    The lyrics to the popular song, "Amazing Grace" fit well enough in with some of the patterns the very few mystics who speak about their experiences tend to use when they do speak about them, that I think it's an odds-on bet the sea captain who composed the song and its lyrics was referring to his emotional understanding of what his experience meant to him.

    That's not the same as a mystic talking about his or her experience that in someway suggests they are trying to communicate it's nature.

    Almost all mystics then resort to using metaphors common in their different cultures. So very often, they themselves know that their use of words like 'God" are (as one mystic put it) "not a name for god, but an opinion about god." Most of us don't pick up on that, though many times, mystics state it, imply it, or leave pointed clues that that is precisely what they are dong.

    The most important thing here is that mystics seem to be in some kind of consensus about what they have experienced, despite any and all of the differences between them as individuals living somewhere at sometime in human history. There are no other spiritual ideas that come as close to being universally accept as truths, by people claiming first hand experience of the reason for believing them to be truths, than the ideas of mystics.

    Only likely exceptions are way too general to be seen as relevant in this context. 'Accuracy' is the essence of the issue here.

    In sum, there is some notion of 'accuracy' that could be found at the core of how 'truth' applies to mystical statements.


    My 2 cents.


    Perhaps something to think about: In a representative democracy, a lack of a common notion of what 'truth' means, is a threat in every way to the lives, well-being, hopes, dreams, and ambitions of every citizen in whatever way or to whatever extent his or her take on what's true about reality can be thrown off the mark when it comes to him or her trying to vote or support something in favor of their own best interests and wisdom for input on how they should be governed.

    The Lakota put to death any scout who lied to them. They did not have a sense of that as a legal death penalty in the way we do today. But they knew better than we do what truth meant to them as being able to live free and true to themselves.

    Anyone who lies to you in such a way as to hinder, damage, or prevent your trying to get what you want out of life, is not your friend. Absolutely, not your friend. No friend ever wanted to turn his or her true friends into the fools of their nation; into the fall guys and pawns for himself or for someone else.

    Not even on the internet. Not even on RF. If you wish, take into consideration here the nearly daily posts you see on this Forum that in one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally, might put some people off from seeking facts and fact-based advice on something important to them from the best, most reliable, most accurate sources of information in any society.

    Lying or misinforming people about who it could be best for them to go to for getting a useful understanding of themselves or their world is morally the same as to risk blinding them.



     
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  2. The Hammer

    The Hammer White Wolf - kvite ulfh
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    In the Sciences and can be applied to Mysticism and Reality, there are two terms I would use:

    Accuracy, as you stated and explained, and secondly Precision. Accuracy is in my view here aiming for a goal or singular value (in this case Truth), and how close the Mystic is to, Truth. The next is Precision, which is how often the same goal/value is reached consecutively.

    What I think is going on is that Mystics when we look at their experiences as lived, as a whole group, tend to be very Accurate in their understanding of Reality; but individual groups of Mystics are more precise to each others perceived reality than to the others. This precision tends to be in the form of Religious Groups. A non-theistic Mystic will be more precise to others of the same slant, and a Polytheist the same with other Polytheist, but as a whole they are all Accurate with each other.

    Now the real question is: Is there a group of Mystics that are both Accurate and Precise; and how closely does this reflect base reality (if there is such a thing). I am of the opinion that there is no singular base Reality to be experienced, but Multiple realities at once interacting with one another (therefore multiple Truths), of which we can only glimpse that current Experiences intersection of a 'set' of them; which is why there are a multitude of Mystical experiences, and Conclusions drawn from them.

    precsionvsaccuracy_crashcourse-579x600.png

    Edit: In regards to lying, misdirection, and turning others away from the Truth. Those that do this are actively opposing the Truths (multiple) in favor of Their Truth (whether or not it is actually True or Right), even though we can only experience one small piece of reality at any one given time, most parts are Accurate, even though some are potentially more Precise then others.
     
    #2 The Hammer, Feb 26, 2021
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I've found this a useful way to take a first look at both alleged personal views, and alleged facts, posted by anyone anywhere on the internet, including, of course, RF...

    Spare a moment after you read something, and before going on, to think whether what you've read might best be thought of as the author's way of entertaining him or herself, rather than as a sincere effort to say something truthful. The most decisive test is whether they are open to reasoning about what someone says to them that is actually in itself reasonable and to the point.

    Of course, we each of us must decide what 'reasoning' means to us. Just because that's a matter of one's personal understanding as much as it can be a matter of fact, does not give anyone the right to tell you that you can't use your own brain to decide what 'reasoning' means to you.

    The way I see it, that's the best anyone can ever do, provided they are still open to learning.
     
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  4. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    That is such an excellent point here! I tend to think of truth, facts, and all related things as implying repeatability. That is, as logically assuming that a truth, fact, etc. is accurate if and only if it can be tested in some way as replicatable. That's the way most philosophers, and at least some scientists, automatically see these things. Even wannabe philosophers who only study the stuff to meet the babes do that.

    I'm glad you posted about that, using 'precision' as your choice of term. You likely helped make sense to someone of what I was trying to say.
     
  5. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Not enough discerning women? Let me introduce you to Ma'at.
    Maat.png

    (Not to be confused with Isfet.)
     
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  6. The Hammer

    The Hammer White Wolf - kvite ulfh
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    Thank you.

    I use precision and accuracy both, as neither is interchangeable for the other, and each has it's advantages and disadvantages as far as applicability. It is always best to know if your repeated measurements are Accurate, Precise, or Both.
     
  7. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    We humans developed an 'intellect' as our primary means of survival. Other animals were bigger, stronger, faster, more numerous, more prolific, and so on. But we are 'clever'. We survive by recognizing patters in ourselves, each other, and our environment that enable us to anticipate the outcomes of various possible actions/reactions. So for me, much of this whole 'truth' idea really comes down to functionality. The truth is 'what works' within the context or circumstances being applied to it. And this is true for science, philosophy, art, religion, or whatever. In fact, these various 'disciplines' are really just categories of experiential context. Each seeking an understanding of 'what works' within their own experiential context.

    What I find helpful in seeing it this way is that it relieves me of the delusion that "truth" is something "out there", awaiting my discovering it. But is rather a dynamic "here and now" (what is) that's constantly being determined by my (and/or our) personal context and circumstance. And as such, science does not carry any more 'weight' in determining truth than art, philosophy, religion, or even simple pleasure.
     
    #7 PureX, Feb 26, 2021
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  8. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Everything we experience or think is processed subjectively. This subjective mind is what makes us sentient. There are as many subjective universes as there are sentient beings. (I like to think of this multiplicity of subjective universes as the multiverse-none of which is complete.) With regard to an underlying base reality (the universe,) I imply its existence from the evidence that these multiple subjective realities can interact with each other.

    There are some things we can do to improve the accuracy of the manner in which incoming data is processed within our subjective minds by removing like/dislike bias perceptions/prejudices. Precision can be improved by paying close attention/mindfulness. Being able to discern between data undistorted by subjective perceptive bias, perspective bias, and the mechanisms behind the perspective biases can also help. Once you get the subjective distortions sorted out, there are also objective tools one can employ to your ability to gather accurate data, such as eyeglasses, telescopes, various measuring devices, and means of record keeping. Philosophy and mathematics can help sharpen your logistics. Art can help open you up to conveying and receiving both rational and irrational subjective meaning to and from other individuals.
     
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  9. The Hammer

    The Hammer White Wolf - kvite ulfh
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    I agree with this.

    Now with multiple subjective realities interacting with and shaping objective reality, can Objective reality be truly experienced (via measurement), and if so, does this imply that subjective reality is wrong or flawed?

    Or is subjective reality the more accurate and precise, as it is what is experienced by the individual.

    How does subjective and objective reality interact to Create.
     
  10. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    It just means the subjective reality is incomplete as compared to objective reality.


    In my previous post I have described how ones subjective reality can be skewed by perception bias. Having a subjective mind (sentience) makes one vulnerable to delusion (mistaking subjective content for objective content.) However, one can also free oneself from delusion by using the subjective mind to critique one's perceptions and how they are processed (logistics--how one manages the complex system that is one's mind and how it moves the raw source data and processes it for the conscious mind to interpret.)

    Propaganda, as mentioned in the OP, can also lead to like/dislike perception bias. ;)

    I'm not sure I can offer anything either accurate or precise regarding this.
     
    #10 crossfire, Feb 26, 2021
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  11. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    “ ‘Truth’ in science”, huh?
    Is it really important? I think so, but I’m reminded of what Judge Jones wrote in his decision on the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial:

    “After a searching review of the record and applicable case law, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science.”

    Judge Jones reveals that he doesn’t believe science is interested in searching for what “may be true”, but searching only within the limited parameters, aka naturalism, science sets for itself.

    The truth in “ex nihilo nihil fit”...er...doesn’t fit.
     
  12. night912

    night912 Well-Known Member

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    No, he's saying that the proposition of a designer "may be true," but ID itself, is not science.
     
  13. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Um... got her number?

    Asking for a friend.
     
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  14. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I think you might be a little off on your take-away from Jone's argument. The case involved direct testimony by at least one leading philosopher of science who specializes in studying creationism's and science's relationship to each other as possible fields of inquiry. Jone's reasoning for ruling as he did the case demonstrates that he thoroughly understood her testimony.

    Your third sentence down beginning, "Judge Jones reveals...." is a distorted and potentially misleading interpretation of Jone's reasoning and what can be logically drawn from his reasoning as conclusive of this or that anything -- by either him or anyone else. I'm guessing you unintentionally generalized while being mislead by how some common words would be used in her testimony and Jone's reasoning in the uncommon, technical ways they are used by professional philosophers.

    That's so common of a mistake for humans, everyone makes it at least six times a week and twice on Sundays. Plus, you aren't really too far off, assuming no one jumps to conclusions on the basis of what you said. Honestly, there's always a chance of that no matter how spot on we get things, isn't there?

    Everything else you've said strikes me as insightful, relevant, and useful for anyone to understand about science.

    My very best effort to boil down to a bumper sticker a possible answer your key point about the importance of science to us is this: Science loads the dice in our favor of discovering useful, fact-based knowledge for navigating empirical reality.

    I'll think I'll keep my day job before I commit myself to the copyrighting gig I got last week at the Spring's most desperate bumper sticker plant. I won't last long anyway -- the CEO has got it in his head that on-the-job training is best done by firing anyone who slips up, then expecting that to have set an example to the survivors that will fast forward them into learning their jobs on their own. He's a Democrat. But his kid sister is a vicious cheerleader for the practice.

    I don't know why I thought marrying her to get a job writing bumper stickers was a two for one deal on improving my sex life. I got to stop strategizing like one of today's politicians does when creating his or her own Frankenstein notion of a 'political compromise' to hold up in public as evidence of his bipartisan spirit.
     
  15. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    To me, you have just offered an insightful and well worded paraphrase of some of the OPs key take-aways. Thank you so much for that!

    Incidentally, your second paragraph would amount to respectable, off-the-cuff take on what is currently the best model for how humans form an idea of the world they are seeing, sensing, experiencing at any given moment -- from an epistemological point of view. I don't know how what I just said comes across to you or to anyone else, but to me that's like genuine, intuitive genius -- or something along those lines, discounted for the fact most folks these days understandably don't use the word 'genius' in the warped and twisted way that I do.

    I think my usage is much more helpful to me in understanding people, and much more of an incentive to criminal assault and battery for my friends and neighbors. 'Perfect', as I grasp the core and most essential meaning of 'perfection', in terms of defining words.

    But, Dude, do you have any idea at all how you are stealing my very best barroom pick up lines?
     
  16. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    You/re welcome to them, back, as they've never worked for me.

    but I still wonder; is there a truth 'out there', apart from what works according to my own limited realm of context? I suppose it's pointless speculation, as as i don't see how I could ever know. But for some reason it just doesn't feel that way.
     
  17. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Your guess is as good as mine, or anyone's at that point. I've never seen it boiled all the way down that reality doesn't become a guess, if only in some ways or contexts, at least then not understandably much of a guess. But what does that actually mean, 'understandably'?
     
  18. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    It's interesting, though, that we can know that we don't know without knowing what we don't know. A weird phenomenon that allows us to speculate well beyond are grasp. And that it seems to me to be at the very heart of what it is to be human.
     
  19. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    “Empirical reality.” Nice phrase....I can go with that.
    Honestly, I think we are all misled in some facet of our ‘knowledge.’ And you’re right in that Jones’ reasoning isn’t conclusive. I just felt his summary merits attention. I know the Judge was more interested in keeping Church & State separate. That’s part of his job.;)
     
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