Showing posts with label Truth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Truth. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

So Help Me God

An oath to God when one does not believe means nothing. No Christian should support forced oaths to God.
Which is why as an atheist I have no issue with emulating George Washington and adding "So Help Me God" for political reasons in court or anywhere else someone asks.  It would be much better if they made me affirm rather than swear at God but that is their problem not mine.

If it gives me credibility among the credulous why should I care?  I will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (but not God's TRUTH™) because it is my responsibility as a citizen to do so.   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Curious_Soul wrote:
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
― Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Evolution of Belief

Evolutionary models explain how humans evolved social brains that were optimal for conformity to group norms, and that means they will adopt whatever ideas, rituals, art, attitudes, etc. that identifies tribal association.  That's why someone from Denver is more likely to wear a Broncos jersey rather than people living in othe cities with their own football team.  Or why people in the USA are more likely to be some form of Christian and people in the Middle East more likely to be Muslim.  People affiliate and then defend affiliation for various reasons, but most certainly involves a degree of denial. F1fan

How do you determine which group norms are untrue?  If one gains social status (in Denver) from arguing that John Elway, or whomever is the greatest Quarterback in the religion of the NFL is this denial that there may be other quarterbacks that may be in the running? Is it a false belief? Is it a disfunctional belief in Denver?  Do you think a Bart Starr fan store selling nothing but Packer and Starr paraphernalia would be successful in Denver?

Is your belief that there is no guiding force behind evolution necessarily true?  Does a plurality of Gods indicate that there must be none or "One ring to rule them all" including the god of unguided evolution?

Perhaps the human brain evolved to conform to group norms and accept those group norms as true, since arguing the falsity of group norms carries social penalties up to and including death by torture.  Including arguing against secular beliefs. 

Atheists still are subject to social sanctions for arguing against the prevailing religious beliefs of a country or state.  Does this mean atheism is false?  Does it mean atheism is true?

Friday, October 25, 2013

TRUTH™ Means that Others are Wrong.

The theist concern for the TRUTHTM is a critical difference that causes many problems.  If you have the TRUTHTM then by definition anything that does not comply with that TRUTHTM is necessarily inferior and/or wrong.  You are still under the delusion that an atheist or even a rational theist that thinks differently from you has a wrong belief, and that therefore considers their belief to be the TRUTHTM and all other beliefs inferior and/or wrong.
For most atheists and some rational theists this is simply not the case.  A rational approach to living merely says this paradigm works for me, and I will therefore follow this path.  Others are not necessarily wrong or inferior, they are just on a different path to a common goal, that is getting along with all people and things in a responsible way. 
As long as belief in God is subservient to getting along with others in a responsible way, I have no issue with that belief.  But if that belief is that God takes precedence over others and that those others are wrong and/or inferior, then we have a major problem.  It is those and only those theists that don't give the benefit of the doubt that are a problem for their fellows, theist or not.  Unfortunately, those theists are all too common and pose a real threat to atheists, and rational theists, and non-theistic believers in other truths.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Belief, Truth, Reality, and Learning


I believe nothing as beliefs are incompatible with that learning. The mind is configured to protect beliefs, and the only counter is to root out the beliefs, be aware of them and be ready to sprinkle a little salt on them as needed.

What do you mean here? Of course you believe things about reality. Are you just saying you are open to changing your currently tentatively held beliefs?

I define "belief" as an emotionally accepted truth that needs no verification.  "God exists" is a belief.  "Fox News is fair and balanced" is a belief.  According to noted skeptic Michael Shermer in The Believing Brain beliefs come first and are defended later.   He further argues with strong scientific backing that information that tends to weaken or refute the belief is not even processed by the brain.  "Fox News is BS" is not even heard by a believer in Fox News. The "La, la, la, I can't hear you" is not figurative according to Shermer, it is a true statement.
I don't confuse "belief" with "true" in regard to statements or "real" in regard to the material world.  Both "true" and "real" are ultimately verifiable by independent means.  "You are 33" is a statement that I tentatively accept as true, but if someone else said it is false, we could resolve the dispute factually with documentation.  "The chair is real" can be verified by sitting on it.  You need not believe the chair is real.  If you were concerned you would sit tentatively and if it seemed substantial possibly rock on it to verify that it is functional as a chair.   

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On Truth

Hidden Secret? - Beliefnet :

"I am using human knowing in an individual absolute sense. For an individual something they know is true is in fact true for them. For you God exists is true. Whether God exists or not as a supernatural omnipotent alpha humanoid or anything else the statement that God exists is true for you (I assume.)

What I interpret from sensory data is true for me. Whether the things I touch, see, hear, etc actually exist is of no importance. For me observations of the material world including other people and their truths whether expressed as fiction, myth or fact, as I interpret them are true. I could not function if they were false.

For either of us new data may indicate that a truth is in fact not so, and we must deal with that as we must. For me, if a Universalist God were shown to mediate a real afterlife, I would have to figure out how I must modify my life to reflect that new data. You can forget the God of Paul, Even if proved unmistakably, I would change nothing to spend eternity in Herm presence. That would in fact be Hell."

The ability to determine personal truth, appears to be an innate function just like language and morals. Certainly it is heavily conditioned by the circumstances of life, but the ability to sort out all of the conflicting data, weight it appropriately with social values, and come up with truth on a particular subject seems to be as human as speech. Truth is as idiosyncratic as an accent, like an accent it may be understood by someone with similar truth conditioning, and may even be accepted as truth by others. It appears that we are conditioned to accept truth from others who are effective communicators of their truth if and only if it doesn't stray too far from our previous conditioning. Shamans, novelists and other story tellers, artists in several genres. Indeed people tend to choose shamans, novelists, and artists that agree with their previous conditioning, as those folks speak the truth.

But stray too far out of your comfort zone, and extreme efforts are necessary to even begin to understand the truth being presented as for example a fundamentalist preacher of a tradition far from your own. For some it is not even worth the effort. There are large areas of fundamentalist Christianity and Muslim that I will waste no time trying to understand. They have no truth that is useful for me, even though they spell it TRUTH!

I have strayed out of my comfort zone to understand the truths of Catholicism, just because the Catholic God has the best music, and Reformation Protestants and Jews, just because they have so much influence in and over my life. I may take their truths with much salt, but I can appreciate how they work for believers, or should I say adherents to the faith. I am not implying there are not both, and probably a continuum between adherents and believers.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Facts Truths and Half-truths

The Unification of Science and Religion - Beliefnet

What! No blocks to creativity?? That means you doubt the relevance of facts. Extraordinary. I thought it was only those like Whitehead who were aware of this

'There are no whole truths; all truths are half- truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.' -- Alfred North Whitehead

J'C: "Nice argument from incredulity there. Then you go on to tell me how I think. Cool.

I never was a big fan of Whitehead. I found his ideas muddy and confused filled with statements like the above. Categorical half-truths treated as whole truths. I got a half-truth to sell you, but don't worry I will sell it at full price.

Just for the record I do not doubt the relevance of facts. I have never encountered truth. Half or whole. Certain ideas stimulate the truth centers in my mind, so I accept them, but always provisionally. Not that they are half-truths, just that they are provisional truths. That is true unless something comes along to modify or falsify them."

An interesting confusion here between facts, half-assed-facts, and truth. Facts are verifiable by investigation and are generally agreed to be factual by those willing to investigate them. Half-assed-facts are urban legends, myths, rumors, and stories that sound like they might be verifiable, and may in fact be so. Or why exists. Half-assed-facts are usually presented solemnly as fact and generally expected to be accepted as such.

Truth is a statement that is evaluated by an individual as being irrefutable. Identifying truth seems to be an innate function of the human mind/brain. It starts with the truths learned at mother's knee, and goes on to those presented by authority figures particularly authority figures in positions of power or speaking for God. There is no such thing as a half-truth as Whitehead claims. The mind/brain does not work that way. It may be that Whitehead is speaking of provisional truth in his statement, I am not familiar with the context, but either the mind/brain accepts the statement as true, that is usable without thought or qualm, or it is not. The mind/brain does not accept maybes in its truth function. Even a provisional truth in a skeptical mind is nonetheless a truth. It is apparent in hard skeptics who are happy to assert the truth that eg. ESP cannot exist, or God is a myth. Truth is an intensely personal evaluation. Where people get in deep trouble is asserting a personal truth as general. Especially with respect to God. Existence of God is as personal an issue as sex, and should be treated as such in any discussion.