virus: Logic and Truth

Reed Konsler (
Sun, 21 Apr 1996 15:01:14 -0400

It occurs to me that Religions and other systems of faith dictate a
moral code and a code of behavior which a correct for all time and any
situation. Most Religions contain a description of the universe which
is declared absolutely true and immutable.

Logic, and it's expression within science, doesn't provide such
convienient escapes from personal responsibility. Science is a practice
where tomorrow the next experiment might mean we don't know what's going
on or maybe we think it's very different from before. A scientific
understanding of the universe is dynamic, perhaps chaotic, and always

This is obvious I guess, but I'm surprised to still see arguments on
this board of the type:

Sceptic: "But logic may lead you the erroneous conclusions from
incomplete data"

Scientist: "Sure, but we'll work it all out eventually."

Sceptic: "How do you know?"

Scientist: "The method had worked so far, we are ever more closely
approximating reality...someday, perhaps far or near, we will be able to
answer any question to might have to the limits of your own perception"

Sceptic: "But you can never be confident you are absolutely right."

Scientist: "Yeah, so?"

Sceptic: "But you can never find the absolutle truth that way!"

Scientist: "That isn't the purpose of science."

Sceptic: "Then this is all futile!"

Scientist: "I don't understand what you mean?"

Sceptic: "There must be something more than this."

Scientist: "Why?"

Why? Here and in my flesh-life a number of people have told me they
reject reason as the tool in the pursuit of truth because it isn't
getting us there fast enough or ever.

I'm always shocked that anyone might think that they, as an individual,
are going to discover "the one and true answer" themselves, in this
lifetime. Pretty hubristic, I think. We have come a very long way in
the past centuries...and as communication has accelrated we are moving
ever faster towards a more encompasing, multi-faceted, and complex
understanding of "reality". But it doesn't fit on the back of cereal
box and you cannot communicate it through stained glass windows alone.

The answer to life is not a single sentence, nor is the definition of
anything we are trying to define. If it were, I think we would all be a
bit underwhelemed and move on to something more interesting.

But the rational mind is moving ever closer to that answer.

I believe this. I know becuase I observe myself acting as if it were