The Truth Part II


Objective truth is an interesting notion. Us finite creatures like to think of it as both existing and accessible, and perhaps, most importantly, capable of informing our morality. I would, however, like to point out that morality and truth-seeking can only really matter to the “developed.” Those starving can only truly care about staving off their hunger and, perhaps, their loved one’s hunger. I, suppose, that might be tipping my hat to Maslow. Still, if one doesn’t think this true, one only has to look at the looting that takes place after a natural disaster.

Furthermore, even in a culture that is developed, one has to ask if objective truth can truly be found. It is quite popular today for people to think that science and philosophical debate can shine a light on objective truth. Unfortunately, people are not rational humans at heart, and as Nietzsche pointed out time and time again in Beyond Good and Evil often a philosopher’s  argument says more about the philosopher than the truth.

The problem, at base level, with trying to use logical methods to carve out objective truth is that human beings are not inherently rational beings. Thus, this begs the question of whether or not human beings even have the ability to discover objective truth. It is as if we can only see through a people through a windshield of car, while driving through a snow storm. We are prone to error, and these errors can be dangerous.

This is to to say, a little knowledge, without enough knowledge, can be dangerous. First year med students are known to want to over diagnosis themselves and their families with horrible illnesses, it is for this reason medical schools don’t give them prescription pads. Nevertheless, we give philosophers and clergy free reign over what constitutes objective truth.

On the other hand, objective truth may be out there, but can humans grasp it? I would argue that this is not clear, and this why much of the time we need to operate in probabilistic and pragmatic truth. It matters that Janet isn’t lying when she says John raped her. It matters that the engineer who worked on the bridge did his math correct, so I can be sure my car can go over it safely. It matters that the underlying mathematical system is sound. I can be reasonably sure, that everything shown on the Ancient Aliens program is horse shit.

Finally, some want to argue that we need to have one undefined axiom and rely on that for system of truths. They, conveniently, want to add God as this axiom. The problem, however, is that the really is no sufficient reason to think that such an entity exists, and its existence raises more problems than it solves. Even if it did exist, this beingm almost by definition, be incomprehensible to us finite creatures, but this isn’t the way most monotheistic traditions see God. Instead, the Western traditions are absolutist and ingrained with either “believe in our God and in our way.” The being the believe is defined with omni properties, acts a certain way, etc. Without these notions, the whole structure of their truth and morality falls apart. I would argue the falling apart of the absolutism of the monotheistic Western God is partially responsible for the chaos and culture wars we see today in the West.

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What’s the Meaning of Life? And Other Questions


A lot of atheists maintain that we create our own meaning. Famous people such as Neil Degrass Tyson and Richard Dawkins have said as much, but for someone prone to existential crisis I’m not sure that helps.

When people ask what the meaning of life is, they are usually asking an objective value based question. Phrased better: what is the meaning of life, ultimately? But, there are no good answers to these types of questions. Look at some other value based questions. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do people have to die? Why does everything change? Why do people and animals suffer? There just simply aren’t answers to these questions.

At this point, a theist usually balks. These, to them, are important questions requiring an answer, and the theist is likely to point to their particular religion for the answers. However, not every question or every sentence is logical. At this point, perhaps my math background helps. Take a look at this sentence: this statement is false. If it’s true, then the statement is false. This is a logical contradiction. If it’s false, then the statement is still false. If it is true, it false, and if it’s false, it is false. (Here is an article in case you are confused.) The statement cannot be true or false.

We are humans. We are used to human agents doing thins for reasons, but the universe and life events don’t work that way. If there is no human-like being running the show, it is very unlikely that objective value based questions have answers.There just aren’t. Now, I’m sorry, if this bothers people, but that’s the way the world is as far as I can tell.

Even I, would like to have answers. There is something deeply satisfying about having answers, but there aren’t always answers. I know how it can feel to lose a loved one at a young age, and it is hard not ask why. My advice? Just don’t ask these types of questions. Things like death and suffering are just natural parts of life, and it’s time we just accept that.