Re: Science vs Truth ?

Ian Goddard (
Sun, 03 May 1998 16:27:09 -0400

Yak Wax ( wrote:

>> IAN: So there's no difference between false
>> and true statements? Statements transmit know-
>> ledge. If what A knows is false and what B knows
>> is true, the knowledge of each is equally scientific.

>Granted you can look at "true" in the sense of a scientific truth i.e.
>"this complies with 100% of our observations at present time." But I
>was opposing scientific "truth" presented as a competing against
>religious truth. The popular definition of "truth" is that which
>is unquestionable - clearly this is not scientific.

IAN: It appears that many who fancy the mantle
of "science" believe that there are truths that
are not to be questioned, such as the claim that
"A is A, A is not both A and not-A." Questioning
that doctrine is a sacrilegious "no no" to many.

Just as the church labeled as "heretics" any
who questioned the church doctrines, these
people label as "crackpots" anyone who
questions their central doctrines.
It's all the same thing.

The reliable base of science that transcends the
mantles various people claim is the testability
of a claim and the degree to which it adheres to
physical reality, not the degree to which one set
of adherents can heap personal abuse on opponents
(an analysis which is not directed at Yak Wax).

>... "true" is not an absolute and it's important to be careful
>of how you use terms such as "true" and "false" because they are
>presumed an absolute by both religious groups and some scientists.

IAN: If there is no absolute truth, then that
is an absolute truth, therefore there is an
absolute truth. Therefore, the claim that
there is no absolute truth must be false.

>So if religion and science have very different ideas about what
>is true and what is false, using science to prove religion to be
>false is an entirely pointless exercise.

IAN: Well, that is different than saying "religion
is about truth and science about knowledge," for
that implies that the religious definition of
"truth" might be false, and that must be
determined by some definition of truth,
which means whatever definition we're
using, we're calling something "truth."

If science has any idea about truth, and if
science selects some knowledge and discards
other knowledge, I think that we cannot div-
orce science and truth in the way you seem
to have suggested. I believe that science
discards any knowledge that tests false,
which means that it does not accurately
model the physical reality we inhabit.

>When faced with an observational truth (a theory that complies
>with 100% of evidence so far) science will still consider alterna-
tives (which your definition would consider false)...

IAN: That is not true. To claim that science
is about defining truth does not negate inquiry.
The very fact that it is about defining truth
dictates that all truth models be tested.

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