Truth and Opinion

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Re: Truth and Opinion

Post by wolf560 » 16 Oct 2010, 04:24


...this is a very strange twist to this message thread....

So we let them sit in ignorance, even if we know different...???
We should leave them in the dark no matter how long it takes...???
It's OK if we know better but it's none of our business if they don't know...???
If they don't know it cannot hurt them, but who are we to make that determination...???

That leaves a LOT open to conjecture and I would be uncomfortable if I knew something that might make a difference and I kept it hidden from those who did not.....

Can we at least say that there are some things that SHOULD be kept to ourselves and other things that HAVE to be disclosed and maybe SOME in the middle that might be questionable?
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Re: Truth and Opinion

Post by Zylah » 16 Oct 2010, 05:17

Hello everyone - PineRaven, excellent thread. :tiphat:

It is quite true that science is more an exploration of reality than a hard-and-fast dogma thereof. In addition to the examples others have given, archaeology and evolution, I can add medicine as a science which is continually changing its 'rules'. The unfortunate thing is that until we actually carry out medical theory, we don't know for sure what will help and what will harm patients who entrust themselves to us.

Nursing as a practical science is always evolving. My instructor told us several standard practices in her day that have now been abolished and even reversed in some cases - one simple, glaring example is that standard treatment for high fever used to be placing the patient in an ice bath. This was before we understood that inducing hypothermia does not, in fact, help the patient get well (forgive the sarcasm, please). At this point we know the processes of body temp regulation well enough to understand that a high fever is best brought down by gradual degrees; therefore we never use water colder than tepid on such a patient.

On the same topic, treating fever once entailed heaping blankets on a person who was burning up in order to try to "break" the fever, hoping to make them sweat out the illness. Now we know that this is extremely counter-productive; we keep the patient as cool as possible (WITHOUT freezing them, as stated above!).

I could list many more examples. The point is, it is as foolish to place unqualified ultimate faith in a changing entity like science as it is to place same in an invisible being in the sky who is as capricious as the sea. What we can and do put faith in is what we have tested and found reliable; which scientifically defined is something measurable, repeatable, and observable. Yet the scientific definition leaves much to be desired; evolutionary science certainly falls under the category of 'not even remotely scientific', by the rules of experimentation.

Our understanding of reality is constantly challenged by science as it expands its knowledge base in all directions; I love atomic theory, by which I first had the HUGE epiphany that it's quite scientifically true, the old cliche "Nothing is as it seems." What to our eyes and observation appears solid and static is in fact (if science is to be believed, of course! :wink: ) mostly empty space whose particles are in constant swirling motion.

The objection of rationalists as far as I understand it is that in order for something to be deemed 'true', it has to be experienced over and over again by different people to the point that it can be predicted (measured, observed, repeated). Yes, we all have unique perspective, but there is a basic common ground which makes communication possible. For instance, if we did not have a static reference point for 'traffic rules', which most people generally follow the same way, vehicular transport would be impossible on a large scale.

This is where the difficulty occurs for the rationalist meeting a mystic; the mystic experiences things he or she cannot give over to the rationalist for testing. Therefore, if one person experiences this, and others with the same observable sensory abilities do not experience it, it is not a valid candidate for 'truth' or 'reality'. This is a valid objection, I think.

That said, I am a mystic and a practical scientist student at the same time myself. I have been able to validate my own spiritual experiences to myself through repetition among other unscientific methods that are good enough for me; so long as my spiritual guides don't start telling me to go ahead and enforce my view of justice on other drivers who engage in flagrant, dangerous violation of traffic rules (ROAD RAGE! yes, I am a sufferer) or to change the diet of a diabetic patient or something else potentially threatening to the balance of sane life, no one ought to have the right to scoff, condemn, or attempt to discredit what I "know" through mystical personal experience but can't prove to anyone else.

The main reason for the extreme closed-mindedness of people from any viewpoint (including science as dogma) is, I believe, fear. I have mentioned before that a wise old sycamore once told me the trees hold no moral law save this: that love births good and fear births evil. I have found that to be very true. When a person lives in a painful state of insecurity, terrified of what would happen if they were wrong and their 'Truth' turned out not to be absolute or 'true' as they define it, it is unbearable to him to give anyone else who has even a slight difference of viewpoint any credence whatsoever, or even the bare benefit of the doubt. It makes his entire world begin to 'wobble', so to speak, and the wobble in his mind precedes total collapse.

In my opinion, in order to even begin a dialogue that would allow real open-mindedness to blossom on a large scale, fear must be addressed and if possible diminished, then hopefully eliminated. Given the obstinate death-grip of terrified people on whatever seems secure to them, I do not hold out much hope of progress. :???:
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Re: Truth and Opinion

Post by Fox of the Oaks » 16 Oct 2010, 07:49

wolf560 wrote:...this is a very strange twist to this message thread....

So we let them sit in ignorance, even if we know different...???
We should leave them in the dark no matter how long it takes...???
It's OK if we know better but it's none of our business if they don't know...???
If they don't know it cannot hurt them, but who are we to make that determination...???
Hi Wolf560,
What I said I meant in rather light-hearted way, I wasn't really considering the possible interpretations of what I wrote. So I apologize for being too casual, but will say that I think while many times truth and wisdom can be shared for the benefic of others, at other times, people (both sharer's and 'receivers' of truth) for whatever reasons, have challenges preventing a clear exchange of understandings.

and Zylah, thanks for your insights.


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