Re: virus: FWD: The nature of truth

Dave Pape (
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 00:45:30 GMT

At 14:49 16/02/97 -0800, Tad wrote:

>Richard wrote:
>>This post by Lee Crocker on the Extropians list seemed apropos of our
>>current discussion:
>and brought a long post of 824 words packed around a deadly
>mental DNA:

Beautiful phrase, man :)

>"How can we determine truth? I think it's clear that we can't."
>Richard, if you want to quote Extropians, an honest thing to do would be to
>also quote the rational side of their discussion [Chlip]

Hang on? You think that deciding that we can't determine truth is not
rational? Then give me irrationality. Because I don't enjoy logic that much,
I think I prefer to pattern-recognise, visually associate diagrams...

Anyway, we've had 2500 years of rationality based on logic and there's still
debate amongst scientists about how we think, how our bodies function, how
diseases work, how the ecology of Earth works, etc.

Meaning that in all those fields we haven't determined the truth of the
hypotheses being set out. And we haven't in the last x-hundred thousand
years of human linguistic development!

I'd argue that the /evidence/ points to us NOT being able to determine
truth, because if you questioned any professional scientist closely enough
about any aspect of his/her work, you'd find that they're no more than
99.9999999999% confident of their experimental results.

The argument in favour of us being able to determine truth rests on utterly
abstract logic. No evidence. Just logic. As such, it's a leap of faith. Well
I get a kick out of science, and I have little faith. My middle name's
Thomas. I doubt.

If I was going, though, to try and attack the idea with lgoic (dunno if I'm
much good at it, it's taken me three drafts to get this far), I'd issue this

Prove to me that we can determine truth, because: As long as I doubt in any
way that we can (remember the middle name), then "we" have not determined
truth: "we" are in doubt because /I/ am in doubt. So "we can't determine
truth". I think that failing to convince me proves my case.

Dave Pape
Ran out of sig. ideas.

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