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?s about the big ? (Some Answers for Your ?s pt.1) madison88

Posted by fachad on September 10, 2002, at 0:49:34

In reply to Re: ?s about the big ?, posted by madison88 on September 8, 2002, at 19:23:15

>>...So any choice is purely arbitrary.
> I am not sure a choice can be completely arbitrary because there always is a gut level reaction involved.

Well, by arbitrary I meant not decided by rational or evidence based methods.

>Also, the nature of truth is a bit cloudy for me. For there to be truth and falsehood there must exist something that dictates it, usually which takes the form of God.

Yes, the nature of truth is somewhat problematic, and that problem is formally addressed by epistemology.

The most common, and common sense, answer to that question is known as the "Correspondence Theory of Truth", where truth is taken to mean an accurate representation of something in the world. True statements are statements which correspond to with things in the world.

So the objective world or shared perceptions can help us dictate what is truth without appeal to any supernatural being.

>How can you evaluate truth outside of a religious system?

Truth can be evaluated by empirical testing. For example, if I say that water boils at 75 degrees C at sea level and you say that water boils at 100 degrees C at sea level, we can deterimne our altitude to be at sea level, set up two pots, get callibrated thermomoters, and heat up the water, and see at what temperature it boils.

When the test is done, my statement will be found to be false, and your statement will be found to be true, and no appeal was made to God or any religion.

This simple sounding idea is the basis of the scientific method, and is the method by which civilization was lifted out of the dark ages that were dominated by religious dogma, and moved into modernity.

>How can you evaluate truth outside of a religious system? Perhaps I am confusing the terms with good and evil.

Yes, there is a major difference between determining true vs. false and determining good vs. evil. Whereas the nature of truth is examined by epistemology, the nature of goodness is examined by ethics.

You are correct that both involve evaluative judgments, but ethics is a whole different beast. But for the record, there are tremendous ethical systems that have been constructed without any appeal to god or an afterlife.

> So what happens when they do declare their doctrines true? Do we not have a right to challenge such beliefs?

You bet we do. I have a strong tendency to leave people to themselves as long as they are not bothering anyone...but when they come out pushing their dogma as "truth", and speaking of their BS (that's Belief Systems, I'm still being civil) as if it were scientific fact, I do challenge those beliefs.

No one is compelled by empirical evidence or rational argument into believing in any religious dogma. If they choose to believe it in spite of the lack of evidence, well, I guess that's what faith is.

But faith should well up from within you, not be forced on you by someone else. That's why proselytizing is so distasteful to me, and probably why it is forbidden on this board.




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