# Science, truth, and knowledge

## Recommended Posts

55 minutes ago, beecee said:

OK, my apologies on that score...One can only conclude your link in an effort to explain logical fallacy and/or appeal to authority, most certainly misinterpeted Dawkin's view on the theory of evolution.

No.

The Linked content : https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority , made no interpretation of Dawkin's view on the theory of evolution.

" Appeal to Authority,  argumentum ad verecundiam (also known as: argument from authority, ipse dixit)

Description: Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered. Also see the appeal to false authority.

Logical Form:

According to person 1, who is an expert on the issue of Y, Y is true.

Therefore, Y is true.

Example #1:

Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and perhaps the foremost expert in the field, says that evolution is true. Therefore, it's true.

Explanation: Richard Dawkins certainly knows about evolution, and he can confidently tell us that it is true, but that doesn't make it true. What makes it true is the preponderance of evidence for the theory. "      https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority

55 minutes ago, beecee said:

Quote

"Basically, expert opinion is (or should be) a shortcut for obtaining legitimate evidence. So the assumption is that the experts obtained their evidence for their expert opinion legitimately".

another Logical Fallacy :  https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/225/Contextomy

" Contextomy  (also known as: fallacy of quoting out of context, quoting out of context)

Description: Removing a passage from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. "

The full passage from : https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority

- question from       C. Loftus   Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 02:57:36 PM

Would it be considered appeal to authority if you referred to a consensus among multiple authorities?
Example:
Most experts in the field of Y agree that X is true, so X is true

- answer from       Bo Bennett, PhD    Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 03:33:04 PM

Yes. However, it would not be fallacious if the conclusion were slightly different:

Most experts in the field of Y agree that X is true, so X it is reasonable to accept X as true.

Of course, the expertise has to be properly established. For example, if most experts in Tarot card readings think the cards tell the future, it is NOT reasonable to accept it as true. Basically, expert opinion is (or should be) a shortcut for obtaining legitimate evidence. So the assumption is that the experts obtained their evidence for their expert opinion legitimately. "

##### Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, et pet said:

No.

The Linked content : https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority , made no interpretation of Dawkin's view on the theory of evolution.

Actually yes, as per my last post, otherwise I am at a loss as to what you are trying to interpret.

Like I said, I find their account of what Dawkins said as misinterpreted. But certainly I do agree that it is very near, say around 99.9999% certain. If ssome want to interpret that as true, then so be it.

##### Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, et pet said:

Explanation: Richard Dawkins certainly knows about evolution, and he can confidently tell us that it is true, but that doesn't make it true. What makes it true is the preponderance of evidence for the theory. "      https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority

Another confusion. What makes something true is not preponderance of evidence.

Preponderance of evidence is what makes us confident that a particular proposition is true; it does not make the proposition true.

There may be no evidence whatsoever to support a particular proposition. That proposition may nonetheless be true.

Conversely, there may be a preponderance of evidence, yet the proposition that this evidence purportedly supports may be false.

What makes a proposition true, as I've been defining truth here, is correspondence to facts.

Edited by Reg Prescott

##### Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Well, this is redolent of certain dubious claims made around here to the effect that knowledge is not always knowledge of that which is true, and that a "scientific truth" may be superseded by a new scientific truth.

Knowledge is always knowledge and new knowledge will perhaps logically modify or even supersede it, as per the scientific methodology.

Quote

Now, "scientific truth" construed as a true proposition pertaining to scientific subject matter is entirely unobjectionable.

On the other hand, the suggestion that some scientific truths may not be true is just plain silly.

Not at all, in fact in reality, the silly contributions to this thread, are those that ignore the science, the knowledge, in favour of some questionable philosophical jargon, to make themselves seem at least part knowledgable.

Science is always in eternal progress...that's why it supersedes mythical supernatural and paranormal nonsense and the hairy fairy philosophical interpretations as put by some.

##### Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Well, this is redolent of certain dubious claims made around here to the effect that knowledge is not always knowledge of that which is true, and that a "scientific truth" may be superseded by a new scientific truth.

Now, "scientific truth" construed as a true proposition pertaining to scientific subject matter is entirely unobjectionable.

On the other hand, the suggestion that some scientific truths may not be true is just plain silly.

Edit P.S. - Beware of the ambiguity in the word "fact".

1. a state of affairs that obtains in reality

2. a statement of fact

The former is extra-linguistic, thus not truth-evaluable (i.e., the predicates true and false do not apply).

The latter is a linguistic entity. And if it is indeed a statement of fact, then it is true by definition. There are no untrue facts.

At the time I write this I am breathing.  That is a fact .. and true, not false.  But I appreciate your appreciation of the nature of words. hardly necessary to say it, there are those perceived as facts and sworn to be facts which are not or may not be facts.

##### Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

There may be no evidence whatsoever to support a particular proposition. That proposition may nonetheless be true.

What makes a proposition true, as I've been defining truth here, is correspondence to facts.

Oh brother! If there is no evidence to support any proposition it will never become a scientific theory and probably lost in oblivion.

Quote

What makes a proposition true, as I've been defining truth here, is correspondence to facts.

Correction...What makes any proposition scientifically true is when it has a preponderance of evidence supporting it. You can never be aware or no if you have ever uncovered any possible truth, particularly as most who push this idea actually mean...the mythical ID nonsense.

##### Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, beecee said:

Actually yes, as per my last post, otherwise I am at a loss as to what you are trying to interpret.

Like I said, I find their account of what Dawkins said as misinterpreted. But certainly I do agree that it is very near, say around 99.9999% certain. If ssome want to interpret that as true, then so be it.

I am not "trying to interpret" what "Dawkins said".

The linked content is not "trying to interpret" what "Dawkins said".

Could you please provide "QUOTES" of their misinterpreted account of what "Dawkins said" ?

##### Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:

At the time I write this I am breathing.  That is a fact .. and true, not false.  But I appreciate your appreciation of the nature of words. hardly necessary to say it, there are those perceived as facts and sworn to be facts which are not or may not be facts.

The state of affairs that you are breathing is a fact (fact1 -- as defined previously). It is neither true nor false.

"You are breathing" (note inverted commas) is a true statement, thus a fact (fact2 - as defined previously).

21 minutes ago, beecee said:

Knowledge is always knowledge and new knowledge will perhaps logically modify or even supersede it, as per the scientific methodology.

Not at all, in fact in reality, the silly contributions to this thread, are those that ignore the science, the knowledge, in favour of some questionable philosophical jargon, to make themselves seem at least part knowledgable.

Science is always in eternal progress...that's why it supersedes mythical supernatural and paranormal nonsense and the hairy fairy philosophical interpretations as put by some.

So knowledge is always knowledge... until it is no longer knowledge?

Sigh! Bartender!!!! Make it a large one!

Edited by Reg Prescott

##### Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

So knowledge is always knowledge... until it is no longer knowledge?

Don't be so obtuse Reggy! Are you claiming that knowledge can never be updated, added to, renewed, further validated? Or are you simply just interested in defending your silly unsupported philosophical stance.

##### Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

The state of affairs that you are breathing is a fact (fact1 -- as defined previously). It is neither true nor false.

"You are breathing" (note inverted commas) is a true statement, thus a fact (fact2 - as defined previously).

So knowledge is always knowledge... until it is no longer knowledge?

Sigh! Bartender!!!! Make it a large one!

Here's your large one, I can't get the font down:  We are communicating in english, here are english definitions which may make you want a larger one:

truth
/tro͞oTH/
noun

1. the quality or state of being true.
"he had to accept the truth of her accusation"
 synonyms: veracity, truthfulness, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty; More
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
noun: the truth
"tell me the truth"
 synonyms: what actually happened, the case, so; More

a fact or belief that is accepted as true

plural noun: truths

"the emergence of scientific truths"
 synonyms: fact, verity, certainty, certitude

So we see that in the english language 'fact' and 'truth' are the same .. BUT then along comes 'the emergence of scientific truths' which as many examples attest to are merely THOUGHT to be true fact but are eventually proven wrong, never having been true or fact. 'The sun travels around the earth' is one example; and those men thought they were as scientific and truthful and factual as many today.  Make mine a California brandy.

##### Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:
1. So we see that in the english language 'fact' and 'truth' are the same ..

No, a fact is either a state of affairs that obtains in reality (fact1), or a statement of such (fact2). Truth, as I've been defining it (the correspondence theory), is the relation of correspondence that holds between certain propositions, on the one hand, and states of affairs in the world, on the other. In other words, a relationship that holds between facts2 and facts1.

A fact is not a relationship. Truth is.

15 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:
BUT then along comes 'the emergence of scientific truths' which as many examples attest to are merely THOUGHT to be true fact but are eventually proven wrong, never having been true or fact. 'The sun travels around the earth' is one example; and those men thought they were as scientific and truthful and factual as many today.

Exactly right. (Except "true fact" is a pleonasm).

15 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:
Make mine a California brandy.

Not till you stop shouting.

Edited by Reg Prescott

##### Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

No, a fact is either a state of affairs that obtains in reality (fact1), or a statement of such (fact2). Truth, as I've been defining it

Aha.  As you've been defining it works for you.

(the correspondence theory), is the relation of correspondence that holds between certain propositions, on the one hand, and states of affairs in the world, on the other. In other words, a relationship that holds between facts2 and facts1.

A fact is not a relationship. Truth is.

This is too philosophical for me.  I'm more a 'black is not white' kind of guy.

Exactly right. (Except "true fact" is a pleonasm).

"the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning (e.g., see with one's eyes ), either as a fault of style or for emphasis."           I can't agree that it's a pleonasm in this case but thanks for the new word.  It's more a spiritual philosophical statement fitting in your         definition of truth as a relationship.

Not till you stop shouting.                                                                                                                                                                                          ha ha.  I suspect you saw I couldn't get the font down, and are 'jesting.'    And I'll have to find what more you have to say on          tomorrow .. as I'm tired, it's almost 11 p.m. right now as I set these words down here, and that is a true fact.

##### Share on other sites

Universal statements of the form "Every X has property Y"   where X has unlimited scope, are best understood to be policies  for generating empirically verifiable finite propositions of the form " precisely n X's  have property Y", where in order to generate a proposition  the variable n must be substituted for any finite number.      It is analogous to  infinite FOR loops in programming languages.  Whenever a programmer uses an infinite FOR loop,  he isn't  implying that the algorithm will never ever be stopped, he is merely deferring the termination of the FOR loop to the external operating environment of the program and has nothing else to state about the matter.

Likewise,  so-called universal "laws" of science are better understood to be policies for generating verifiable and finite propositions that we deem to be  permissible in light of our current observations.     Here,  the "stopping conditions" of a policy of science are the fulfilment of falsification criteria for one of it's generated propositions .   As with a non-terminated infinite FOR loop,  a non-terminated policy of science implies nothing empirical whatsoever, positive or negative, concerning  the eventuality of it later stopping  due to falsification of one of it's verifiable propositions.

Put another way, science is empirically constructive and expresses a finite amount of information concerning what has happened and what can be envisaged to happen, but science implies nothing empirical about what cannot ever happen, despite occasional appearances to the contrary.    For example, take the so-called  law that "Nothing can accelerate faster than the speed of light".   On the surface, it looks as if if it were a meaningful negative empirical statement that universally forbids a genuine empirical possibility.  But what it is really saying is that "an object accelerating faster-than the speed of light" is a nonsensical sentence in the language-game  of relativity that isn't even a proposition.      It is a statement of grammar, rather than a statement of empirical fact.

##### Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

So knowledge is always knowledge... until it is no longer knowledge?

Sigh! Bartender!!!! Make it a large one!

Hey Reg, here are some definitions of science truth and knowledge.

The title of this thread is "Science Truth and Knowldege:
Science: ttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science

Science:

1: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

2a: a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study

b: something (such as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge

3a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method

b: such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Truth:

: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

2a: a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study

b: something (such as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge

3a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method

b: such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : NATURAL SCIENCE

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Knowledge:

the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association

(2): acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique

b(1): the fact or condition of being aware of something

(2): the range of one's information or understanding answered to the best of my knowledge

c: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : COGNITION

2a: the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind

9 minutes ago, TheSim said:

Universal statements of the form "Every X has property Y"   where X has unlimited scope, are best understood to be policies  for generating empirically verifiable finite propositions of the form " precisely n X's  have property Y", where in order to generate a proposition  the variable n must be substituted for any finite number.      It is analogous to  infinite FOR loops in programming languages.  Whenever a programmer uses an infinite FOR loop,  he isn't  implying that the algorithm will never ever be stopped, he is merely deferring the termination of the FOR loop to the external operating environment of the program and has nothing else to state about the matter.

Likewise,  so-called universal "laws" of science are better understood to be policies for generating verifiable and finite propositions that we deem to be  permissible in light of our current observations.     Here,  the "stopping conditions" of a policy of science are the fulfilment of falsification criteria for one of it's generated propositions .   As with a non-terminated infinite FOR loop,  a non-terminated policy of science implies nothing empirical whatsoever, positive or negative, concerning  the eventuality of it later stopping  due to falsification of one of it's verifiable propositions.

Put another way, science is empirically constructive and expresses a finite amount of information concerning what has happened and what can be envisaged to happen, but science implies nothing empirical about what cannot ever happen, despite occasional appearances to the contrary.    For example, take the so-called  law that "Nothing can accelerate faster than the speed of light".   On the surface, it looks as if if it were a meaningful negative empirical statement that universally forbids a genuine empirical possibility.  But what it is really saying is that "an object accelerating faster-than the speed of light" is a nonsensical sentence in the language-game  of relativity that isn't even a proposition.      It is a statement of grammar, rather than a statement of empirical fact.

I can live with that....Nice.

##### Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

Now, it's your turn to answer my question: What do YOU think I see when there's a bona fide lemur sitting in front of me?

Once again, I am explaining from the start. You said that indirect observation of electron trace does not prove existence of electron, and came up with image of lemur. I explained you what does it even means "to see something" i.e. interactions of photons with matter/antimatter/particles. You complained that interaction of photons with electrons in trace of electron is not the same as looking at living animal. But it's pretty much the same. So I came up with three distinct cases in which billions of photons are interpreted by brain as image of known animal (their state to be alive or not, is actually irrelevant). Entire discussion started from your doubt in electron existence. Scientists are firing and accelerating electrons at will (and you too in old CRT TV (CRT - Cathode Ray Tube - basically "electron rays tube") ), in electron gun, simply pressing button, and immediately seeing effect caused by electrons. If they are accelerated to enough velocity, and thus have enough kinetic energy, after hitting luminescent screen, they decelerate and gave part or all of their kinetic energy to atom in screen which they hit. Excited atom is emitting photons in human visible spectrum. Human eye is observing photons, thus know collision did happen. That's not any tiny bit different from case in which photon is emitted by external light source, then it interacted with matter on its path ("lemur" or whatever else what is around you), and reached your eye and has been absorbed by retina, and interpreted by your brain.

I rephrased your statement "indirect observation of electron trace does not prove existence of electron" to "indirect observation of image of lemur does not prove existence of lemur", but you failed at understanding this analogy..

Edited by Sensei

##### Share on other sites

@ Sensei (post directly above)

This is all very confused and contains misrepresentations of my position that I'll leave aside for now. I asked a simple question, which I'll repeat here:

"What do YOU think I see when there's a bona fide lemur sitting in front of me?
(My own answer, to repeat, is that I see a lemur).

The closest I can find to an answer in your most recent reply is "interactions of photons with matter/antimatter/particles" and "Human eye is observing photons", in the case of watching TV.

Is this your answer? When there's a lemur in front of me I see photons?

I still say I see a lemur. I'm fairly sure I've never seen a photon in my life. Not so long ago people like yourself would have been telling we lemur lovers that what we actually see is corpuscles, not lemurs. Turns out -- according to received wisdom nowadays -- corpuscles don't exist. Whoops!

What if 23rd century science decides photons don't exist either? Do you grant this as a possibility? If so, given that, on your account, all I see when I point my head towards a lemur with my eyes open is photons, we'd have to conclude that I'm seeing ... nothing!

If photons go, lemurs go!

Deforestation worries notwithstanding, seems to me lemurs have a better chance of making it to the 23rd century than the notoriously ephemeral postulates of physical theories.

Now, photons may indeed be impinging on my nervous system, as you suggest, in virtue of which I am able to see that lemur. Assuming the reality of photons, without their striking my retina I would be unable to see that lemur. You continue, though, to merely give me an explanatory account, which may or may not be true, of how I am able to see the lemur. Nothing you have said poses any threat to my claim that what I see is a lemur. To be frank, the suggestion that what I'm seeing is photons is ... crazy! I like you already

To explain all this satisfactorily would entail a lengthy excursion into human intentionality in general, and the intentionality of perception in particular. Perhaps some other time...

For now, though, another question: What do you think my fellow lemur enthusiasts will say a few weeks from now if I ask them, "What do you see?"

"Interactions of photons with matter/antimatter/particles" ?

Edited by Reg Prescott

##### Share on other sites
!

Moderator Note

The topic of this thread, from the OP is "to explore the various relationships that obtain between science, truth, and knowledge" (and the parameters of this were narrowed somewhat later in the thread)

However, it seems to have recently diverged into the scientific method, which is a separate topic (and further, science rather than philosophy) and some talk of of logical fallacies.

Let's stay on the main topic, as we seem to have done in the last few posts.

##### Share on other sites

This is all just semantics.  The lemur is a lemur wherever it is...  in front of you or on the telly it is still a lemur. It's location might vary, your eyes can be tricked by illusions...  but trickery and BS semantics aside....  it is a lemur. In front of you - it's a lemur.  On TV - It is a lemur, but not directly in front of you, it is somewhere else in space and maybe time, but the image of the lemur is there, representing the actual lemur.  In a painting of a lemur - it is an artistic representation of a lemur and not a real lemur...  but this is just semantics and does nothing to clear up the claims in the OP imo.   I might have missed the point - but where is this basic semantics discussion going with respect to science and knowledge and the opening claims?:

On ‎30‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 6:53 AM, Reg Prescott said:

To the following questions...

How much knowledge has science produced about the cosmos, the stars, the galaxies, the planets?
How much knowledge has science produced about evolution?
How much knowledge has science produced about atoms and molecules?
How much knowledge has science produced about anatomy, the brain, medicine?

... the denier of truth, on pain of inconsistency, must answer: "Zilch! Zero! Nada! Not a jot! Absolutely none!".

Do you still stand by this statement of yours that science has provided us with zero knowledge of the above topics?   How you can claim that science has given us no knowledge of atoms is baffling.  (unless by your wording 'the denier of truth on pain of inconsistence must answer zero' you mean that we actually HAVE learnt a lot from science - the wording is confusing  -  put it plainly - have we learnt knowledge of things from science? - I would say clearly we have.)

Edited by DrP

##### Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, DrP said:

Do you still stand by this statement of yours that science has provided us with zero knowledge of the above topics?   How you can claim that science has given us no knowledge of atoms is baffling.

You misrepresent me. What I said was (opening post): "... the denier of truth, on pain of inconsistency, must answer: "Zilch! Zero! Nada! Not a jot! Absolutely none!".

What that implies is anyone who denies that science discovers truth cannot consistently maintain that science has provided us with any knowledge.

##### Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TheSim said:

Universal statements of the form "Every X has property Y"   where X has unlimited scope, are best understood to be policies  for generating empirically verifiable finite propositions of the form " precisely n X's  have property Y", where in order to generate a proposition  the variable n must be substituted for any finite number.      It is analogous to  infinite FOR loops in programming languages.  Whenever a programmer uses an infinite FOR loop,  he isn't  implying that the algorithm will never ever be stopped, he is merely deferring the termination of the FOR loop to the external operating environment of the program and has nothing else to state about the matter.

Likewise,  so-called universal "laws" of science are better understood to be policies for generating verifiable and finite propositions that we deem to be  permissible in light of our current observations.     Here,  the "stopping conditions" of a policy of science are the fulfilment of falsification criteria for one of it's generated propositions .   As with a non-terminated infinite FOR loop,  a non-terminated policy of science implies nothing empirical whatsoever, positive or negative, concerning  the eventuality of it later stopping  due to falsification of one of it's verifiable propositions.

Put another way, science is empirically constructive and expresses a finite amount of information concerning what has happened and what can be envisaged to happen, but science implies nothing empirical about what cannot ever happen, despite occasional appearances to the contrary.    For example, take the so-called  law that "Nothing can accelerate faster than the speed of light".   On the surface, it looks as if if it were a meaningful negative empirical statement that universally forbids a genuine empirical possibility.  But what it is really saying is that "an object accelerating faster-than the speed of light" is a nonsensical sentence in the language-game  of relativity that isn't even a proposition.      It is a statement of grammar, rather than a statement of empirical fact.

I like the computing viewpoint and the introduction and use of the word policies. +1

The second paragraph falls a bit short of rigour though; acceleration can't be directly compared to speed , they are not the same.

You clearly understand that for the most part one cannot demand an 'either/ or' answer.
This is a very long thread, perhaps you, like everyone else, missed this post of mine on page 7.

Did you have any thoughts on the truth of the statements it contains and their connection to knowledge?

In particular, because I have the means of calculating the length of a pendulum of period 1 second does that mean I have the knowledge of that length?

Or because I have a book of sine tables and a calculator so I can look up the value of any desired sine, again does that mean I have the knowledge of the value of that sine?

Quote

Studiot

OK guys would someone like to analyse these statements and tell me if they are right or wrong, true or false and also if there is any difference between the categorisatiosn right/wrong and true false.

The period (T) of a simple pendulum is given by the equation

T=2πLg

The sine of of 35 degrees is 0.5736.

Check the actual post as this stupid forum will not reproduce the formulae faithfully when copying or quoting.

Edited by studiot

##### Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

You misrepresent me. What I said was (opening post): "... the denier of truth, on pain of inconsistency, must answer: "Zilch! Zero! Nada! Not a jot! Absolutely none!".

What that implies is anyone who denies that science discovers truth cannot consistently maintain that science has provided us with any knowledge.

As no-one can really know if what they have discovered is 'the truth' then I see this as waffle. How can one really know if the knowledge they have is actually true....  we can only be as confident as we can to the best of our KNOWLEDGE and understanding.  This all depends upon your subtle definitions of words such as knowledge and truth and we'll go round in circles discussing it and getting nowhere. Sorry if I have misunderstood your claims/points.

I don't like the statement " anyone who denies that science discovers truth cannot consistently maintain that science has provided us with any knowledge"  - it's like a semantic trap...  who knows what 'the truth' is. It seems solphistic (that probably isn't the right word but I think you will know what I mean).

I know there are different lines of thinking about whether science just builds models or of it searches for the truth...  personally I think it does both.. I might be wrong but it will take more than some stranger ranting about the subtle definitions of the words truth, knowledge, science etc to change my mind on that. I 'think' personally that it tries to build the best models of reality it can with the evidence available to it.  If new evidences come to light then the models change accordingly to incorporate said information and evidences.  If these models are 'true' to 'reality' or not is by the by  -  I am pretty certain JJ Thiompson 'knew' the atom wasn't a plumb pudding when he proposed his model for the atom. He was 'right' about the separation of positive and negative particles and came up with a model that was a pretty good representation of what an atom is until better testing equipment became available to humans and we could further improve our model. There was no way for him to discover atomic orbitals and the separation of a nucleus and electrons with the info and kit he had available to him until Bohr came along with a fresh approach. The model for the atom has changed many times over the last 150 year. I would be very surprised if it didn't change further as we unlock further information about it. Is what JJ Thompson proposed 'true'?   imo it was true...  but he didn't have all the evidence he needed to build the most accurate model. - so it was updated as more light (or alpha particles in this case) was shed on the matter.

##### Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, DrP said:

As no-one can really know if what they have discovered is 'the truth' then I see this as waffle.

I see no need to go further till we sort out your opening shocker.

Are you telling me that you go through life never using the words "true" or "truth". You've never said "that's true" or "that's not true"?

Assuming you have used these words, then it seems you're confident in your own abilities to identify truth, at least in some cases.

##### Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Are you telling me that you go through life never using the words "true" or "truth". You've never said "that's true" or "that's not true"?

if( x == 0 ) printf( "true!\n" );
else printf( "false!\n" );

True or false statements are in mathematics and programming..

Used by every programmer few, few hundred, or thousand times per day.

Edited by Sensei

##### Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Sensei said:

if( x == 0 ) printf( "true!\n" );
else printf( "false!\n" );

True or false statements are in mathematics and programming..

Used by every programmer few, few hundred, or thousand times per day.

Well, that's a start. What a relief too!

By the way, do you regard "[They are] used by every programmer few, few hundred, or thousand times per day" to be a true statement?

Why is everyone so terrified of truth??!! Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!

Can you even imagine going through life without speaking of truth? Might make a good party game. First person who uses the word "true" or "truth" has to chug a beer.

Betcha it'd be a very short game.

##### Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

I see no need to go further till we sort out your opening shocker.

Are you telling me that you go through life never using the words "true" or "truth". You've never said "that's true" or "that's not true"?

Assuming you have used these words, then it seems you're confident in your own abilities to identify truth, at least in some cases.

.... you see - we will go round in circles discussing semantics again. What shocker? That I admit to knowing that some people in the world (I think it was started by Solphists, I don't really know) suggest that we cannot really know that anything we believe or not is actually true?  As a philosopher you could probably tell me and put me straight as to where that line of thought originated. Personally I don't really care as it seems so blindingly obvious. How can you really know anything? I do not believe I am a brain in a jar....  but I don't think I can prove it. Maybe you can tell us how to prove it if you have studied philosophy.

To me - when people start asking 'How can you know you are not just a brain in a jar receiving external stimuli which makes you believe you live in the real world?' I think it is a waste of time talking to them...  There are things in life that we 'know' to be fact....  but they are still just based on what we have learned throughout our lives....   we could still be wrong about things we think are absolute facts and truths.  Are you saying you have never been wrong about anything?...  Thought you 'knew something to be true' and it turned out it wasn't? When this happens you update your understanding of reality in your own mind and build a new (better?) model of reality.

7 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Are you telling me that you go through life never using the words "true" or "truth". You've never said "that's true" or "that's not true"?

Of course I have - that's language. I am saying that there is a line of thought that says you can never really know if you are right or not. No-one knows what happened 5000 years before what we term the big bang for instance. No one has any way of knowing.  I know what I had for breakfast though - I was there and I remember eating it. I would say that it is 'true' that I know what I had for breakfast...  It is not, though, beyond the realms of possibility that I was tricked into believing that I ate this morning.  I don't see how but it isn't impossible.

Just now, Reg Prescott said:

Can you even imagine going through life without speaking of truth? Might make a good party game. First person who uses the word "true" or "truth" has to chug a beer

You can use the word (as you can with many words) in different contexts.  You will have a totally different conversation about what is truth with every different member here and everywhere else I'd expect. Do you ever reach a conclusion in these discussions? What is your point? What is the use of this? If you discuss what is true with a child - they might tell you different things to what a politician will tell you or then again a philosopher or a scientist. It depends on the definition and the context of the word....   Which we discussed several pages back with Studiot. It could be that I am still missing your point... or just failing to see it's worth.

##### Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×