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Archive for March, 2013

Truth vs Everything Else

I saw the following ironic statement on io9:

Interestingly, all humans may be descended from a common female ancestor, the so-called Mitochondrial Eve. But that’s science, not Biblical conjecture. [Emphasis and italics added]

The quote’s author is forced to include may, because science doesn’t claim to give us truth. In fact, science starts with conjecture and often end in conjecture [an idea based on incomplete or inconclusive information]. The Bible, however, is a historical record. It’s either correct or incorrect, but it’s certainly not putting out a hypothesis. It claims to be Truth.

Why is Biblical truth important? As discussion of the article developed into an argument for or against the validity of the Bible, one of the commenters said the following:

The rapacious need of Christian fundamentalists that the Bible be word for word literally true is born of this tendency of the last couple of centuries of Western thought that the only truth that matters is the logocentric, the literal, physical, rational truth. Therefore, to be of value to humanity, the Bible must be literally, physically, rationally true. It is important to note that this error of thought and logic is only a couple of centuries old in religion. Anti-theists make the same error.

In short, what difference does it make if one says God started a process if our investigation of that process is completely separate from and independent of that doctrinal insistence – as the Catholic church has tenaciously advocated for a century? Perhaps if we on the irreligious side of these issues could drop our own dogmatic doctrinal insistence on the absolute absence of any Creator, we could rob fundamentalists of the ammunition they use against us.

There are two key points here: The nature and value of truth. First, by nature truth is literal and rational. The commenter posits the value of “mythocentric truth,” but it does not exist. If it were to be anything else [non-literal or non-rational] it would no longer be truth, merely myth. Secondly, lies can contain extrinsic value, but not intrinsic. The value of a lie is subjective. Its only value is in the response of the hearer. The value of truth is objective: Regardless of the response, it simply is. To be intrinsically valuable to humanity, the Bible must be true. The writer says that we shouldn’t care if there is a Creator or not, if he is not involved now, what does it matter? If the Bible is a lie, at least it fortifies believers from a cold and impersonal universe [extrinsic value]. Another commenter replied to this, saying, “The way I see it, if their [sic] is no creator, then everyone is equal and your choices are your own.” For this commenter, the truth matters. He understands that the existence of God is not subjective; it is either true or false, and knowing which is incredibly valuable to how one acts.