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Über die Wahrheit April 9, 2006

Posted by The Truth in WARNING: Heavy Reading Ahead.

WARNING: HEAVY READING AHEAD. May cause indigestion, migrane, heart palpitations, unhealthy philosophical reflection, mental instability, drowsiness (DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE HEAVY MACHINERY) or tired dry eyes. But you’re a champion if you try to understand it.

Today’s little lesson also has to do with History. What is truth? Why do we keep searching for it in the first place? Is it due to an intrinsic fear of the unknown? The knowledge that nothing is true? Of course, without the concept of truth, many other concepts would cease to be valid – objectivity, justice, et cetera. Of course, it also has to do with philosophy.

Western philosophy, which finds its roots in Plato and the ancient Greek philosophers, holds that absolute truth is attainable via philosophical reflection and argumentation. Thus, knowing the truth of, say, virtue, one would be expected to live in a rational, ethical way because it would be irrational to do otherwise. In fact, much of modern ethical theory is based on this. Is it true, for example, that it is wrong to steal because you have a hungry family to feed at home? Perhaps it’s not so clear here. Most of us, however, will feel that it is wrong to harm someone intentionally very true. How about theology? Is the Gospel of God the absolute truth? Based upon religion, we can judge everything to be absolutely right or wrong.

Unfortunately, today we’re living in a society where truth is increasingly being undermined. We’ve seen reason being unable to stop irrationality (Hitler and Nazi Germany. More recently, Gulf War II, when Iraq was attacked on suspicion.) We’re living in a world where the omniscience of God is being called into question. Indeed, keith jenkins postulates that truth is a concept, something which is ultimately, just self-referencing. It’s only true in its own context. However, i beg to differ. This truth is slowly becoming reality, not just a concept. I shall attempt to explain.

In the past perhaps, there were more truths because power was more secular. So perhaps there was the truth of the Chinese Emperor, the truth of the Pope, the truths of kings, princes and royalty. Truth is only controlled by those who have the power to – and thus, there are many many versions of truth. Truth, as such, is a regulatory system for what people should believe.

In extreme cases. let’s consider the authority of the Church from the tenth to fourteenth centuries. A period of crusades, the extermination of the Templars, and witch-hunts. The Church controlled education then; as such, it had the power not just to decree what was true and what was heretical; but also to make these ideas take root amongst the masses. Aberrations were not tolerated then. Anyone who so much as spoke against the church ran the risk of divine punishment, or at the very least, imprisonment and torture.

The Church preached purity and true faith then, even as it fell victim to Italian power plays. This was a big cause which led to the Reformation later. But enough ancient history. The question to ask is such: As globalisation erodes boundaries and unites the world, increasingly the various truths will disappear. How will we then ensure that the one and only truth is as factually correct/rational/ethical as possible? How will we ensure that those who are enforcing the truth do not betray it?



1. Martin J Sallberg - November 13, 2012

As shown in a metastudy comparing cases of miraculous recoveries after brain damage to cases of brain damage where no such recovery happened, by Kurt Fischer and Christina Hinton at “Mind, Brain and Education”, key factor for brain plasticity is a tolerant environment. This study differs in approach from earlier research. While Steven Pinker’s “nature versus nurture” studies lumps everything into one single statistic and systematically dismisses all anomalies as “anecdotical”, the new study examined the anomalies (in this case, miraculous recoveries after brain damage) and compared them to a control group to spot the key difference. But why is tolerance that important for brain plasticity? Well, having to defend one’s actions leads to justification, and justification paralyzes self-criticism and self-correction. Quibbling about “whose fault it is”, which also follows from intolerance, leads to creation of mental strawmen in the form of purported “instincts” to blame on. So the key to creating a rational world does not have to involve electrical, optical or medical brain tampering at all. It just requires the abolition of social pressure to blame and justify. The discovery of epigenetics is one part of the evidence for non-fixedness. Then there is the discovery of DNA-repairing enzymes and the logical conclusion that repairing DNA damage that have already happened is the same as creating non-random adaptive mutations (how should the enzymes know what to repair? They have no map of the whole DNA in them). Then is the discovery that DNA and RNA requires very special circumstances to form, as opposed to the ease with which cell membranes, as shown by Jack Szostak, self-organizes into existence. Such cell membranes can grow and divide as long as they are provided with proteins. As shown at Vertical Gun Lab, amino acids are fused into proteins by meteorite impacts. So cell membranes self-organized into existence during a part of Earth’s geological history with very high impact rates. There is also evidence that microbes can be somewhat smart. So when impact rates declined, cell membranes created genes as a solution to the problem of surviving without meteoritic protein production. We are NOT the survival machines of genes at all. Genes were created by cell membranes to serve cell membranes. Red blood cells survive for weeks with no nucleus or DNA, until their proteins wear out. Mammals in Chernobyl are known to produce lots of DNA-repairing enzymes. Also read “Aneuploid neurons are functionally active and integrated into brain circuitry”. There is geological evidence that abrupt climate change have been common throughout geological history. This shows that the ride was too rough to be livable to fixed organisms. As shown in “Key step in evolution replicated by scientists”, yeast became multicellular when centrifuged for some 60 days. They did, in other words, respond to environmental stress by becoming more complex. This debunks any idea that complex organisms should be somehow less adaptable than simple organisms. Multicellularity allows more exchange of problem solutions between cells. Experiments about cutting the tails off mice only proves that purely externally imposed anatomical damage is not inherited. It does NOT disprove a primarily behavioral Lamarckism in which acquired characteristics can only indirectly affect the anatomy of offspring since anatomical growth is behavior at the cellular level. Neo-Darwinists themselves claim that most DNA must be junk because too much functional DNA would mean too many harmful mutations to be purged by natural selection, but such a limitation would also render the evolution of complexity impossible. The study “Bacteria evolved way to safeguard crucial genetic material” should be completed with comments about the fact that if the functional was conserved and “junk” changed, all life would look the same and be surprisingly genetically different, which is diametrally opposed to the fact that life looks very diverse and scientists were surprised by the genetic similarities between organisms. There is evidence that banning and punishing is counterproductive (such as those not allowed to think about polar bears thought more about polar bears). Punishment thus comes from its illusion of productivity (others timeserve, “if you can’t see it it ain’t there”) and cannot have been selected by natural selection at all. The faliure of natural selection to purge punitive behavior can be easily explained by the fact that selection by death or sterility of whole individuals is far too blunt to fine-tune complex behavior. If anyone is born wanting to punish it is just due to inheritance of acquired characteristics. A first moral individual born in a group where everyone else was amoral would not survive, therefore Darwinian evolutionary psychology about morality is total bogus. Evidence for rapid evolution, especially from domestication research, proves that any belief in genetically hardwired brains is bound to make racist predictions which are falsified. Studies debunking the concept of race effectively took the tolerance factor into account as a social factor, but before Kurt Fischer’s and Christina Hinton’s metastudy individual psychiatry failed to do the same. It is important to inform about the metastudy. See Pure Science Wiki for more advice on how to stop the antiscientific Machiavellism among scientists, and to share knowledge.

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