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Posts Tagged ‘truth’

The Truth, The Whole Truth, Etc.

Posted by mikebftw on April 16, 2008

Whenever I try to explain to a believer why I don’t believe in any gods or religions, I find myself facing an often-recycled argument about truth.

“Well, that’s what’s true for you.”

What usually precedes this argument is any number of points I’ve made that rest on empirical evidence. What usually follows is a retreat to the far reaches of the universe of philosophical skepticism. A heretofore logical conversation partner instantly turns into the consummate postmodernist. Suddenly truth is a David Lynch film; confusing and nebulous and ultimately subjective.

While we may not be equipped to discover the capital-T “Truth,” we can all agree on a generally accepted level of confidence in the “amount” of truth we can perceive. It’s fine for someone’s words to question truth itself for philosophy’s sake, but no one acts on this perspective. No one. Imagine if you owed someone $500.00:

You: Here you go.
Lender: What’s this?
You: That $500.00 I owe you.
Lender: This is a stack of Pogs.
You: To you.
Lender: No, to pretty much everyone. And while I’m astonished that these are still in existence, my astonishment is not worth $500.00.
You: It is to me! Or is it… we ultimately have no way of really knowing, so let’s just call it square, OK?
Lender: Not OK. Prepare to be kneecapped.

I guess my imagined scenario is pretty ridiculous. The point I’d like to make is that believers can’t continue to be skeptical of nothing and skeptical of everything at the same time. If you really want to dive into the issue and swim around a little bit, I recommend this page, which I recently StumbledUpon:

http://www.sl4.org/wiki/TheSimpleTruth

m

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Posted in Philosophy, Skepticism | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »