Tag Archives: Truth

228. Finding Truth in 2021

25 Apr

Now, more than ever, the determination of truth, is of primary importance. The Democrats and Republicans have remarkably different interpretations, and who is perceived as right, will have a major impact on all future US elections. I have written many times on the topic of truth, and it is of persisting importance.

First, absolute truth in many areas is not currently attainable. At best, we can say that certain ideas are more likely true than others. When a fact is most likely true, it is often reasonable to act on it. Even if it is ultimately proven wrong, we can look back and say we did our best at that time. And there is an old saying: don’t ignore the good, for a desire to be perfect (my version).

A general procedure for all types of truth, is to start by looking at major traditional sources of information, such as widely read newspapers. And to be extra cautious, examine them for inconsistencies and obvious confusion of facts. Unreliable sources tend to frequently vary in the “facts” they present. They often make promises that are unlikely to be kept. They often present ideas for which there is no clear source — generalizations without any data.

In science, ultimately “consensus” (general agreement) brings us closer to truth than other methods. Consensus means that most reputable experts in an area agree with each other. Articles in established, peer-reviewed journals are more likely true than other sources. “Peer-reviewed” means that other competent scientists in the same field have evaluated the report. In many areas of science we see a variety of opinion, gradually changing and the formation of a significant “consensus.”

A good example of consensus is the area of climate-change. For many years, I have followed this important topic. The history goes way back into the 19th century. For example, Joseph Fourier, in 1824 proposed the basic premises of atmospheric transmission. Light from the sun passes easily through the atmosphere, it warms the ground, and heat waves are generated. But the heat is limited in transmission, so our air serves as a kind of blanket, holding in the heat. There was little consensus for the early thought, but decade after decade, more evidence was gathered and the number of supporting scientists gradually increased. For at least the last 15 years, there has been a strong consensus for all aspects of climate-change and dangerous global warming. Government reports, scientific journals, established newspapers, and many foreign leaders, all support this idea.

The concept of scientific consensus, is applicable to many aspects of our lives, including covid-19 procedures, clean energy, food resources, and many types of pollution and contamination.

I suggest that people, in general, must focus on the following considerations. The nature of the world is best understood by science. Many political and religious leaders mean well and have valid ideas, but do not have a devotion to hard evidence and clearly supported facts. Many leaders will tell comforting stories, but relying on stories can interfere with the more productive, rational solving of problems. For those needing comfort, more effective is: talking to a good listener and exploring relaxation methods.

Science does not generally deal with all aspects of life, but the methods of science do have broad application. I emphasize science, but also think that kindness to others is of great value. I want to live in a world where understanding and empathy are valued over greed and domination. And this applies to all humans.