Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#81  Postby jamest » Feb 25, 2012 1:58 pm

stalidon wrote:Sadly, I think this thread is doomed by its own title, which I didn't think through before writing it. The title should read: "IF we accept that there are no absolute truths, how do we justify our criticizing of religion?"

There cannot be a God if there are no absolute truths. That's why you would justify criticizing religion... if it were so.

The point, as far as I recollect, was in acknowledging that we all start from assumptions,

Would this be an assumption, also?

What *I* can't say, is that these assumptions are absolutely true,

Is it absolutely true that they aren't absolutely true?

I abhor relativism.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#82  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 2:05 pm

jamest wrote:Is it absolutely true that they aren't absolutely true?

No.

I abhor relativism.

What's your justification for absolutism?
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#83  Postby jamest » Feb 25, 2012 2:11 pm

stalidon wrote:
jamest wrote:Is it absolutely true that they aren't absolutely true?

No.

I abhor relativism.

What's your justification for absolutism?

Apart from relativism being self-refuting, I am of the opinion that the mind can transcend 'the world'. In fact, the mind itself transcends the world. However, I do not intend to hijack your thread by changing focus. I just wanted to point out that if there were nothing more to be said than the relative truths between worldly objects, then we'd be fully justified in criticising religion.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#84  Postby Nicko » Feb 25, 2012 2:13 pm

stalidon wrote:Sadly, I think this thread is doomed by its own title, which I didn't think through before writing it. The title should read: "IF we accept that there are no absolute truths, how do we justify our criticizing of religion?"


Or perhaps, "If we accept that our perceptions of reality are relative ..." Thus avoiding the oxymoronic nature of stating that "truth" is "relative".

The point, as far as I recollect, was in acknowledging that we all start from assumptions, and the best we can say about these assumptions is that they are reasonable, logical, and seem to agree with the world as we perceive it. What *I* can't say, is that these assumptions are absolutely true, that they are grounded in a metaphysical indubitable source.


I would say that if an assumption is reasonable, logical, and seems to agree with the world as we perceive it, then its not really an assumption.

When we are talking about the assumptions that science is based upon, we are talking about things that cannot really be proven, but are assumed: the universe is not incoherent, evidence can be observed etc.

If someone is criticising a particular approach to understanding based upon the assumptions contained therein, they cannot seriously counter it with an approach containing more assumptions: ie omnipotent creators with incoherent abilities and undefined qualities.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#85  Postby John P. M. » Feb 25, 2012 2:15 pm

I'm a bit slow today (late night last night), so: Where does an existence of God come into the picture here? Yes, I'm aware of the title of the thread, but apart from that - how is 'God' tied explicitly (and exclusively?) to 'absolute truths'?
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#86  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 2:33 pm

@jamest: I was candidly curious, since I wandered into idealism for some years, and yes, that's a good point.

I'd say that 'relative truths' are all we have to say because no 'truth' that we can expose is closed, complete, and in no need of being revised over time. So, they are 'relative' to our level of knowledge (individually and as a species/society).

I don't think this is my thread, nor do I intend to defend 'Relativism', as defined by any philosopher, since that isn't my position: all my 'relativism' entails is saying that there seems to be no 'absolute truths': eternal, universal, non perspectival, closed, complete, in no need of revision over time, etc. Colloquially: that I have no evidence of such absolute truths, hence I don't think they exist.

I do think 'truth' exists in several senses: facts, logical truth, correspondence between a proposition and the facts it describes, etc. Mostly (that I can think of) this is a property of language, a property of uttered propositions.

I do not think that truth is relative to each person. I don't think either tho, that any of us can possess absolute truths.

One can call any of the former truths (eg. a description of a fact, a logical law) 'absolute' as an emphatic rhetorical device, which is fine be me.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#87  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 2:44 pm

John P. M. wrote:I'm a bit slow today (late night last night), so: Where does an existence of God come into the picture here? Yes, I'm aware of the title of the thread, but apart from that - how is 'God' tied explicitly (and exclusively?) to 'absolute truths'?


Once you have an omniscient god, you have an absolute authority in matters of truth. Which in itself doesn't mean, of course, that the interpretations of His Holy Word by believers are absolute truths. But it 'exists' out there, and He has it.

(ironic capitals)
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#88  Postby WayOfTheDodo » Feb 25, 2012 2:47 pm

stalidon wrote:I found myself having the project of finding an ultimate foundation, a 'rock' in reality that could not be doubted, from which to develop my (personal) epistemology.

I didn't. I'll just go with the flow and don't really care much. I do care about facts and truth, though. Which led me to the conclusion that there is no god. And that religion is a poison.

This authoritarian trend and project would seem to have the aim of making everyone else 'see the light', making everyone agree to the 'obvious' truthfulness of what I think;

Wanting to convince other people that you are right is "authoritarian"? Eh... dude. Drugs?
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#89  Postby John P. M. » Feb 25, 2012 2:50 pm

stalidon wrote:
Once you have an omniscient god, you have an absolute authority in matters of truth. Which in itself doesn't mean, of course, that the interpretations of His Holy Word by believers are absolute truths. But it 'exists' out there, and He has it.


So it's about epistemology/knowledge? Can't a state of affairs be said to be 'true', as in the actual state of affairs, if no one knows about it? I guess no one will then be able to claim it to be true, but... :shifty:
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#90  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 2:51 pm

WayOfTheDodo wrote:
Wanting to convince other people that you are right is "authoritarian"? Eh... dude. Drugs?


:rofl:
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#91  Postby hackenslash » Feb 25, 2012 2:51 pm

stalidon wrote:
John P. M. wrote:I'm a bit slow today (late night last night), so: Where does an existence of God come into the picture here? Yes, I'm aware of the title of the thread, but apart from that - how is 'God' tied explicitly (and exclusively?) to 'absolute truths'?


Once you have an omniscient god, you have an absolute authority in matters of truth. Which in itself doesn't mean, of course, that the interpretations of His Holy Word by believers are absolute truths. But it 'exists' out there, and He has it.

(ironic capitals)


Your response doesn't answer the question. The question was not 'how is absolute truth tied to god', but 'how is god tied to absolute truth'. These are two very different questions. Certainly, if an omniscient deity exists, then it could be argued that this means that absolute truth exists, but the reverse proposition is not necessarily true, namely that absolute truth cannot exist without god.

Moreover, I provided an example of an absolute truth. Your response to that had nothing to do with the proposition, because logical absolutes are not tied to physical laws, although they certainly inform them. The LNC is an example of something that is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind, thus it cannot be relative, and it certainly couldn't have been different in the past.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#92  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 2:55 pm

John P. M. wrote:
stalidon wrote:
Once you have an omniscient god, you have an absolute authority in matters of truth. Which in itself doesn't mean, of course, that the interpretations of His Holy Word by believers are absolute truths. But it 'exists' out there, and He has it.


So it's about epistemology/knowledge? Can't a state of affairs be said to be 'true', as in the actual state of affairs, if no one knows about it? I guess no one will then be able to claim it to be true, but... :shifty:


So... you see where that leads you. Myself, I came to this position examining my personal epistemology, I don't know about others. A fact, a state of affairs, doesn't care whether anyone calls it true or not, it isn't a property of said fact or state of affairs.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#93  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 3:02 pm

hackenslash wrote:The LNC is an example of something that is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind, thus it cannot be relative, and it certainly couldn't have been different in the past.


How do you know that something is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind? Are you saying the LNC exists outside your mind? Can you point a finger to it?
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#94  Postby hackenslash » Feb 25, 2012 3:14 pm

stalidon wrote:
hackenslash wrote:The LNC is an example of something that is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind, thus it cannot be relative, and it certainly couldn't have been different in the past.


How do you know that something is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind? Are you saying the LNC exists outside your mind? Can you point a finger to it?


Do you even understand the LNC? Why would I need to be able to point to it in order for it to be objectively true?
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#95  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 3:30 pm

What I'm asking is where do you get this sense that the LNC, or the law of identity, for that matter, are 'out there' in the world (are independent of the existence of mind). For all I know, you can't prove LNC or the law of identity as being universal, eternal, etc. without using themselves to prove them. Are you saying you were present at the Big Bang and verified that LNC doesn't break?
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#96  Postby John P. M. » Feb 25, 2012 3:31 pm

Hmm... It seems I equate (conflate?) 'truth' with 'the actual state of affairs' and 'fact'.
There are a bunch of theories on truth though, to go with the context in question, I suppose.

But this is messing with my head (I just realized I'm in the Philosophy section, so obviously...). If I say "It is true that the earth has a round shape and goes around the sun", and I say this because I have good evidential reason to say it, then it is a statement of supposed truth (the way it is uttered). By extending the knowledge we have of the solar system and its history, one could then say "It is true that the earth had a round shape and went around the sun a billion years ago". Or couldn't we? No humans around to claim or recognize it as true, so was it true? Or was it 'merely' a fact? Or was it neither?

Is 'truth' only something we ascribe to utterances about the world? It seems rather empty to me if so. Then we may as well ditch the word altogether. But if we did, I'm sure people would instead say "It's a fact that he stole the car from me", instead of "it's true".

I need to go clear my head; I feel unusually stupid today. :teef: -Damn you alcohol! :pissed:
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#97  Postby Nicko » Feb 25, 2012 3:34 pm

stalidon wrote:
hackenslash wrote:The LNC is an example of something that is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind, thus it cannot be relative, and it certainly couldn't have been different in the past.


How do you know that something is objectively true, independent of the existence of mind? Are you saying the LNC exists outside your mind? Can you point a finger to it?


The LNC is objectively true in any coherent reality, regardless of whether or not anyone knows this.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#98  Postby hackenslash » Feb 25, 2012 3:45 pm

stalidon wrote:What I'm asking is where do you get this sense that the LNC, or the law of identity, for that matter, are 'out there' in the world (are independent of the existence of mind).


They're not 'out there' in any sense. It is, however, categorically true that something cannot be both 'what it is' and 'not what it is' simultaneously. This is a fact regardless of whether or not there is any mind to perceive it.

For all I know, you can't prove LNC or the law of identity as being universal, eternal, etc. without using themselves to prove them.


You can't prove or disprove them at all, because they are not verifiable or falsifiable, but that's not actually a problem. You could propose a paraconsistent logic, if you're a complete fuckwit, but I don't suppose you want to do that, because all such systems are incoherent.

Are you saying you were present at the Big Bang and verified that LNC doesn't break?


Well, this is new. I haven't actually seen the 'were you there' canard applied in this manner. I'd say it's interesting, but it simply isn't. What I can say, knowing a thing or two about cosmology, is that no instance of a violation will be found there, nor anywhere else, because it is definitionally true that something cannot be both what it is and not what it is simultaneously.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#99  Postby stalidon » Feb 25, 2012 4:34 pm

hackenslash wrote:They're not 'out there' in any sense. It is, however, categorically true that something cannot be both 'what it is' and 'not what it is' simultaneously. This is a fact regardless of whether or not there is any mind to perceive it.


So, are you backing up from the claim that LNC is independent of the mind? You're probably trying to say that LNC is a universal property of the world as is. In that case, you need to provide evidence for this. Not even science claims that any of its laws are absolute, and in no need of revision if evidence arises otherwise. Your use of the phrase 'categorically true' doesn't add information to 'this is true', nor does it make it absolute.

hackenslash wrote:You can't prove or disprove them at all, because they are not verifiable or falsifiable, but that's not actually a problem. You could propose a paraconsistent logic, if you're a complete fuckwit, but I don't suppose you want to do that, because all such systems are incoherent.

So, an axiom that is not provable or disprovable, and for which no evidence can be offered outside of the system it creates, is 'not actually a problem'. It might not be for you, but I'd rather not call it an 'absolute truth'. Calling someone that holds LNC as dubitable a 'fuckwit' doesn't make them stop considering it dubitable, hence relativism.

hackenslash wrote:What I can say, knowing a thing or two about cosmology, is that no instance of a violation will be found there, nor anywhere else, because it is definitionally true that something cannot be both what it is and not what it is simultaneously.

You knowing a thing or two about cosmology doesn't make you omniscient. Something being 'definitionally true' doesn't make it an 'absolute truth', just a tautology.
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Re: Truth is relative: why do we criticize religion?

#100  Postby hackenslash » Feb 25, 2012 5:00 pm

Enjoy your rabbit-hole. I won't be going down there with you.
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