is the Truth?
"Truth is in the eye of the beholder"
"Three men are witnesses in court, all of them say they saw the defendant kill a man, one says the man was wearing a red jumper, one says blue and the third says green. None of the witnesses are lying, all of them are sure of what they have seen. The defense lawyer stands up, and makes the case that if the witnesses cannot agree on a simple fact, then can we be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty? So the murderer goes free."
The first question I wold ask is, does the fact that the three witnesses don't remember a detail like the colour of a mans jumper mean that they can't be sure of the fact that the murderer is guilty? In some courts showing any minor indiscrepancy in accounts is enough to discount witnesses.
The above silly story is to illistrate the problems of defining truth that has lead to truth being defined in two different forms:
In court lawyers are paid to form the best defence/procicution they can for a given case, not necisarily to find the truth of the matter
Scientisits are paid by companies to do research, in order to get further funding in the future researchers can build a scientific case (by interpritation of observations) for anything favorable to the company and so get paid later to do further research for the company. Scientists are not nesisarily interested in finding the truth
If there is no absolute truth then any lie you make up is your relative truth and is just as good as any one else.
I believe this point of view to be wrong
The search for absolute truth
However there are always a number of ways of looking at an argument. Another way of looking at it is can we claim to know the absolute truth of a matter.
To claim knowledge of the absolute truths of the universe is to claim to know everything, an atribute usually associated with God. So an admission of possible error is of course nessisary (Relative Truth).
Repeatable observations, the basis for the scientific method in an unchanging universe have to be true. The interpritation of those observations is of course less certain. However observation and interpritation are rarely seperated. I can ook up at the sky and watch the sun rising and setting and observer, 'The sun goes round the earth', because of my preconseptions. The observation is the sun rises and sets(Absolute truth), the interpritation is scientificaly accepted as both the earth and the sun rotate around the centre of mass of the solr system (Relitive truth). This relitive truth is accepted by millions of people but in the third century BC millions of people thought differently to what we do now, and the relitive truths we now call science may in 100 years prove to be incorrect.
In the legal system the evidence is absolute true, blood on the clothes, finger prints on the knife, found boarding a plane to leave the country, confessed to murder on tape. The persuasive argument, (He didn't do it), no matter how compelling (He really didn't do it) is relitive truth.
Progression, the leap of faith
Considering that only good observations can ever be known for certain. To make use of these observations we must make leaps of faith into the unknown. There is no way of avoiding this logic can only go so far. The art of science is making these leaps as small as possible and building grand theories from small leaps from the prior work of others. The art of procicution and defence is making the leaps seem larger or smaller depending on what you and trying to convince the jury.
So what it truth, there is an absolute truth defined as "what is" observations for the sake of argument can be included with the absolute truth. and then there are our interpritations of what these observations mean which may or may not be correct (relitive truth).
|The scientific method
The legal system
Right and Wrong