My pursuit of truth over falsity and why it matters

In an era of rampant misinformation, propaganda, and biased opinion in politics and society, you may have at least once asked yourself - what is the truth and how do I go about determining truth to save my sanity?      

As long back as I can remember, I was always obsessed with the truth. In my personal, childish, opinion, either something was true or it was a lie and this is the absolute attitude that many children and some adults have before they realize that absolute truths seem few and far between and lies and half-truths are quite numerous. Many truths are not absolute which means that they may be true 90% of the time and untrue or false 10% of the time. Similarly, a truth may be true only 10% of the time and false 90% of the time. The percentages vary depending on what truth that you are talking about.

Up until my last year in high school, when I took physics, I deluded myself into thinking that science would have all the answers to any question which could be asked and was the true source of all truths. Then I was shocked when I learned about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle which stated that you could no longer measure the exact location and velocity of an atomic particle because the act of measuring the phenomenon with light altered the position of the atomic particle so that you could never be sure where the particle actually was. From that moment on I knew or understood that science would never have all the answers to all the mysteries of nature or the universe or would never be able to quantify or clearly show how nature or the universe worked, especially with respect to human behavior.

What is truth?

I discovered that there are basically four categories of truth that can overlap to some extent, but that broadly speaking there are General truth, Judicial truth, Scientific truth, and Human Nature truths.

General truth is a generalized statement that is true all the time or most of the time such as humans are conceived and most are born, live, age, and eventually die. Stars and the moon exist. There are mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, and oceans on earth.

Most humans would not deny these general truths no matter where in the world that you may live because they are truths which an average healthy human can verify or prove via their senses which are universal for most. Yes, a color-blind individual may not see the same colors as normal humans do but this is an anomaly or an exception to the sensory experiences of the vast majority of humans.

Judicial truth in the western tradition is ultimately determined with a trial by jury if there is no plea bargain and the judge and attorneys do not decide to agree on a verdict before a jury trial actually begins. Evidence is presented during a jury trial by humans testifying under oath that they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Some witnesses such as psychiatrists and forensic experts are used to introduce actual physical evidence which may or may not be circumstantial facts.

Assuming that the trial is not a frameup and actual truthful or factual things are presented, a verdict is reached which is true beyond a reasonable doubt. Obviously, if witnesses lie or the evidence is bogus judicial truth will not prevail but if most of the jury is composed of relatively moral or ethical humans, mistrials and injustice doesn’t occur that often. Sure, a lot of money and excellent well-paid lawyers can corrupt the judicial process but life is not always fair in the real world.

Scientific truth is obtained via the scientific method which means stating a hypothesis, principle, or assumption, performing one or more experiments, and hoping for repetitive results or conclusions which prove that the hypothesis is true. This is followed up with a rigorous mathematical equation or verified chemical products from a chemical reaction experiment.

Unfortunately, there are also many theoretical mathematical equations that are used to theorize about physical laws about the universe which can’t be tested in the laboratory. Often these concepts are really untrue mythology such as wormholes, bubble universes, parallel universes, dark matter, and dark energy. The mentioned concept examples are inferred but not provable physics conclusions. Sabine Hossenfelder has written a great book “Lost in Math” which outlines the reasons for the sad state of mathematically based mythological theoretical physics concepts today which no experimental evidence will prove to be true now or in the foreseeable future.

Examples of scientific truths are that at one atmosphere of pressure pure water will boil at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the planets orbit the sun, the sun generates energy with a fusion reaction which is hydrogen atoms fusing or combining to create energy, and you will get third-degree burns on bare skin if you pick up a hot metal object at 200 degrees Celsius and hold it for about 10 seconds.

Human nature truths mostly deal with morality or ethical principles which should guide the behavior of most humans in the world. If you ignore morality or ethics then chaos and anarchy threaten society.

How do you determine truth?

Scientific truth is determined through the scientific method but moral or ethical truths are determined from historical precedent of some authority figures or with statistical analysis in the present.

For example, by asking questions to a large sample of humans you may determine that most humans don’t like to be lied to, most don’t like to be stolen from, most don’t want to be murdered, and most don’t want to be cheated on if married. From these observations and others you may come up with a secular moral or ethical code that might -- in non-emergency situations -- include don’t destroy biodiversity, don’t lie, don’t be inefficient, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery if married, and don’t murder. These are truthful statistical norms or norms of behavior that most humans can agree with and decide to put into practice in the family and society.

Trust is the bond that holds families and society together so that peaceful interactions between humans are possible. A reputation for integrity, trustworthiness, dependability, and competence is vital since humans have a tendency to trust honest, moral or ethical, and competent humans. Having these characteristics often translates into a good reputation and humans will believe that what such humans are saying is the truth and that one with a good reputation is largely doing things that are moral or ethical.

If you can no longer find reputable trustworthy individuals in historical books, in leadership positions, and in society at large then you have an insurmountable drawback in your pursuit of the truth. Ultimately it is a question of who you choose to trust in politics, economics, psychology, sociology, medicine, science, technology, etc. Theoretically of course you should trust the facts and only the facts and this is something which you can personally research and determine yourself, although it is a very arduous yet worthwhile process.

Pursuing the truth is an ongoing lifestyle because as you learn more useful information your believed truths will change to some degree. Hopefully, your integrity or honesty and moral or ethical beliefs will largely stay the same and not change much. Love morality or ethical behavior, try to be somewhat tolerant of diverse cultures, and if you want to hate then hate immorality or unethical behavior everywhere.

Although many humans prefer comforting lies to the truth, be courageous and dare to be different. Be a righteous warrior and pursue the truth with a passion since society will benefit in the long run if truth ultimately prevails in the right places, especially in your family and community, which are the foundations of a great nation with competent leaders that have integrity.

Politically there are two ethical truth warriors which I will mention and recommend that you check them out. One is the prolific young Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire and the other is Mark Levin. My age is showing but I would also highly recommend Gad Saad and Thomas Sowell who have little tolerance for political BS.

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License

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