[asa] Truth and Science

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Sat May 05 2007 - 10:09:49 EDT

http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2007/04/truth_and_science.php?page=1 <http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2007/04/truth_and_science.php?page=1>



Truth and Science

A (1842-Word) consideration.


by Joshua Roebke * Posted April 30, 2007 10:29 AM


What is truth? How do we recognize it? Truth is a concept with which we are all pretty familiar. It is an undercurrent in every conversation and interaction we have with one another. Yet few of us ever give it much conscious thought except when we believe it is absent or in doubt. It's one of those intangibles that, when it does come up, we typically speak of only in absolutes. A statement can be either true or false, and that is all.


Even when we do think about truth and admit to blends of gray between the black and white, we frequently have a sense that a true answer merely exists beyond our immediate grasp. Given sufficient information and time, we could all eventually figure out the veracity of any claim or idea. In the meantime, most of us are satisfied with our hunches. We have a gut feeling for what is correct and proceed with our lives content in our beliefs.


Part of the reason for our satisfaction probably stems from the difference between what we say is "true" and what we consider to be "truth." The distinction isn't just semantic nitpicking. "True" is what we say of a statement we agree with or believe in. "Truth" is a far more nebulous and fundamental concept. We understand it as more of an ideal toward which we strive, rather than one we hold any dominion over.


Some of us are never entirely content with what is true in our lives and so are compelled to pursue the more elusive notion of truth. It is among this fervent group of people that scientists often count themselves (with poets, artists, authors, and others). Truth is an idyllic absolute to which they rigorously aspire, but the forms that it takes vary even for these different groups that seek it out.


The gamut of truths ranges from frowsy to elegant. We recognize some through experience, some we know by experiment, and others we accept without questioning. To simplify this diversity, we can split truths into two categories. There are those that reside within us, which will be gone when we humans are, and those that lie outside us. The first is a gestalt; emotional, ephemeral, and social. It lies within the purview of art and literature and most of us feel it at some level when we encounter it. The second is mathematical, permanent, and somehow not of this world. This exterior truth is often more difficult to attain and to understand.





Truth and Science, written by Joshua Roebke, posted on April 30, 2007 10:29 AM, is in the category Commentary. 53 blog reactions



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