2011 Year in Review
Blue Whales
Christmas Carol
Duty to Object
Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth
Flood and Bush
Never There or Here
Review: Sufjan Stevens' Age of Adz
Space Flight
Success With Values
Terrible Kids Music
The Nineties
Year in Review

Re: “Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth” - Wheat

Note: If you have not read Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth by Leaven, then please read before continuing below. This is continuation of the conversation that began there.

In reading Leaven’s post, I think almost exclusively of the debate between science and religion most obviously exposed in the evolution vs. creation arguments. I think Science (emphasis on capital S) has made this the crux of all discussion of the nature of religion. Meaning that if one does not accept a Darwinistic view of the beginning of life on Earth, then one is a “Creationist” and therefore ignorant and backwards. Unfortunately, many people who espouse to be religious are ignorant and backwards, so they become easy prey for the teeth of logic.

However, I do not believe that the creation argument is the penultimate discussion of Truth or Faith vs. Fact, as if those things were actually mutually exclusive. Instead, I think that Science wishes to make this the battle because it is one they feel comfortable winning. They can point to a history of religion making mankind the reason for all creation instead of its current conclusion. They can point to fools who thought the Earth was the center of the Universe and scoff.

However, it is their mind that makes these judgments as if their mind was able to appoint itself judge. They miss that religion realizes that the Universe if beyond mankind and acts in accordance with this. Man is not the judge in any religion. In fact, that would by definition be blasphemous.

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Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth - Leaven

Frank Herbert, the author of the Dune series, wrote an essay in the 70’s entitled “Listening to the Left Hand”.  In it he poses an experiment in relativity.  Line up three bowls in front of you. Put ice water in the one on the left, hot water in the one on the right, and lukewarm water in the middle one. Soak your left hand in the ice water and right hand in the hot water for about a minute, and then plunge both hands into the bowl of lukewarm water. Your left hand will tell you the water of the middle bowl is warm, your right hand will report cold.  His main argument in the article is that we miss new ways of understanding, because we cling to ideas of absolute truth, or worse that we will dismiss signs pointing to better understanding because it does not fit into our own preset absolutes.  He asserts that all perspectives are relative and therefore equivalent.

While I agree that we should not limit ourselves with ideological strictures, I disagree with the underlying premise that there is no capital T truth, and that the idea of it, or even more so, the pursuit of it prevents real progress in our movement through life.  To use his own experiment, whether the left hand tells you one thing about the water and your right hand tells you another, neither changes the fact, the truth, that the bowl of lukewarm water in the middle has a temperature! Our inability to properly describe it does not make it less so.  To me this is indicative of an underlying pride in man that makes this idea that “it only matters is we can prove it” far more perilous.  It is the equivalent of playing peek-a-boo with a bear.  With a willful childlike lack of object permanence, the bear doesn’t exist when we cannot objectively observe it. Peek-a-boo, bearclaw to the throat.

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