Re: virus: accurate statements vs The Absolute Truth (was KMO

David McFadzean (
Sun, 03 Nov 1996 15:11:04 -0700

At 05:21 PM 01/11/96 MST, Jason McVean wrote:

>Again, if you say that Absolute Truth is simply a proposition,
>then obviously it is not the same thing as what it describes. I'm

Only propositions have truth values, so the Absolute Truth has
to be a proposition, right?

>One can never attain the speed of light because it takes an
>infinte amount of energy to accelerate a massive object (an
>object with mass) to that speed. Similarly, one can never
>completely describe objective reality because it requires an
>infinite amount of constantly changing ASCII to do so. But the
>speed of light still exists, and similarly, OR still exists.

I think it is safe to assume that we all agree that objective
reality exists.

>I'm suggesting that we call that infinite amount of ASCII, the
>Absolute Truth. When you purchase an objective reality at the
>Almighty Creator Shoppe, you get a matching absolute truth
>book bound in genuine Corinthian leather. If that idea is
>accepted, then we can say things like "The true value of pi to 5
>decimal places is 3.14159" and we don't have to immediately start
>arguing about truth. Similarly, I can say it isn't true that pi
>is 4.29 without triggering responses like "There is no absolute
>truth, just look at the situation in the middle east! Who's right

I think you are attacking a straw man here. Nobody is disputing that
the value of pi to 5 decimal places is 3.14159 and that saying so
is a true statement. But notice that your example is mathematical,
and the statement is true by definition.

Is the Book of Absolute Truth (bound in genuine Corinthian leather)
written in mathematical statements? If so, it can only talk about
formal systems, not objective reality. If it is written in another
language, what is it? It couldn't be written in any human language,
since our words are not absolute in any sense. It must be the same
book for all possible alien civilizations (by definition) so it
must be written in the Absolute Language, right?

>But the utility of the map has nothing to do with its veracity.

I can't think of any definitions of "utility" or "veracity" that
would make this statement true.

>I think that it is the opposite. The distiction is what is
>causing our difficulties in further discussion. As I said, I
>think we fundamentally agree, but the terminology is torpedoing
>our discussion. Without using terms like true and false, it is
>very awkward to discuss lots of topics, even in memetics.

Another straw man. Nobody said that true and false don't exist
or aren't useful. Like I was insinuating above, languages exist
but I doubt there is an Absolute Language. Similarly, portraits
exist but I doubt there is such thing as a Perfect Portrait.

>Come to think of it, I've never heard anyone who claims that
>Absolute Truth doesn't exist carefully define what it is. All I
>can recall is claims that it doesn't exist. Perhaps that would
>clear up some confusion. Maybe I'm trying to hit a moving target.

KMO recently defined it quite rigorously as the conjunction of
all possible true statements (I think, correct me if I'm wrong).

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus