how can navigate if our desire is for absolute truth...

by Ruby456 52 Replies latest jw friends

  • Ruby456

    or do we give in to social constructivism? to relativity? or is there a way to be real and then to say whats real that everyone agrees to?

  • smiddy

    I don`t believe anyone , at any given time , will ever have knowledge of absolute truth .(whatever that is )

    Isn`t " absolute truth" in the eye of the beholder anyway ?

    Who defines what absolute truth is anyway ?

    Humans quest for knowledge began when Eve ate the forbidden fruit , if you believe the Bible ( way to go Eve ) and mankind is on a never ending quest to gain more knowledge and will continue to do so until the last man standing .

    That`s if I understand correctly where your coming from Ruby456

    Just my 2 cents worth

  • Ruby456

    well thats a perfectly valid position smiddy. exploration of knowledge is a worthwhile pursuit and this pursuit can be of what we would call fictional or virtual and/or of what we would say actually exists. But then this brings us to the question of what is living as in origin of life arguments?

    for example we have the example of the gene as an information processor that has its own goals which is to keep itself replicating. This for many is what it means for something to be alive. on the other hand a self organizing universe may not be considered to be viable proposition for engendering the start of life because this seems to suggest a sort of lifeless systems view without any method of passing on information.

    ontoh if we put both together - then can we say with absolute certainty that everything is mechanistic and deterministic - this doesn't seem very inviting either

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    'Absolutism' and 'perfection' are religious notions which do not chime with sensible human values. They are found in mathematics... and that's where they belong.

    The worst suggestion is to put your faith in invisible, unknowable divine beings and their promoters such as the JW org (although it may work for you if you like being fooled all the time!)

    Better to deal with life pragmatically, that means according to what works successfully and to only believe in those things which have evidence for their existence.

  • slimboyfat

    Why "give in" to social constructionism?

    All knowledge is situated in context, this is what I've come to realise.

  • A Ha
    A Ha
    This for many is what it means for something to be alive. on the other hand a self organizing universe may not be considered to be viable proposition for engendering the start of life because this seems to suggest a sort of lifeless systems view without any method of passing on information.

    Ugh. Who says a lifeless system can't pass on information? Varves in a mountain, tree rings, the light from distant stars... all carry information. If we get technical, black holes preserve information, and can even spit it back out (though I doubt we'd ever be able to interpret that information).

    if we put both together - then can we say with absolute certainty that everything is mechanistic and deterministic - this doesn't seem very inviting either

    We can't say this with "absolute certainty," but is has nothing to do with natural systems generating "information." There is almost nothing we can say with absolute certainty. It would be nice if we could, but I accept I could be living in The Matrix, then I do what any sane person would do--I chuckle and say i wish I'd thought of that movie--I'd be rich!--then I get on with life

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    But back to you worries about the deterministic nature of existence.

    First, social constructivism is a psychological explanation for human assessment of reality based on a broad and catholic discourse creating an intellectual frame for the ‘real’ world. The obvious weakness is that historically is did not find solid evidence for its discourse. It can only keep pace with the evolving scientific revelations of the cosmos and its interpretation... think Thomas Kuhn and his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The roots of this concept (SC) are found in the child’s development and its private need to understand its world...and so it is with the world itself as humanity ‘grows up’. (I am especially interested in this connection).

    Since, I’m sure we agree that truly nothing is absolute, this is probably the best we can hope for; a perception of reality based not only on our best interpretation of the material universe but one backed up by scientific rigour and sceptical thought...and understanding our place on the continuum of intellectual progress.

    Second, why should we find this mechanistic label untoward? Surely if it is comfort we want in our fleeting lives we have at our disposal the profound beauty of art in its many forms which we can share with those closest to us. Yet isn’t it also true that the progressive understanding of both the cosmos and the human psyche are in themselves a source of endless fascination and satisfaction?

    Perhaps Ruby, buried in the subconscious is an Aristotelian hierarchy which places conditions of human life ranging from “dire” to “perfection” and we can imagine an ideal world and therefore we do. In line with this, what distinguishes humanity from other mammals is a quest or longing for betterment, this emotive drive carries a largesse of hope, a thing which is completely absent in the analysis of the goings on in the material universe.

  • Ruby456

    thanks guys for appreciating what wavelength I'm on as this is exactly where I am heading - towards mechanistic, deterministic self organizing systems because I do want to avoid an earth centric view of what life is. Was reading something on xenobiology as this includes the kinds of life forms that astrobiologists look for and they need to keep open that other life forms may not be like those on earth so they look for what they term living entities.

    Living entities would include virtual as well as actual entities. has anyone heard of anything like this? automotons?

  • Hiemere

    Being that I only spent a few years attending the Kingdom Hall with my aunt after my parents' death until I turned 18, never becoming an actual Jehovah's Witness, I can say that I notice a peculiar common earmark to Jehovah's Witnesses. It even seems to be in them after they leave and I have even noticed it in some who were later attracted to the Witnesses. Now there are exceptions, of course, so don't make the mistake that I am talking about everybody.

    It seems that some are of the opinion that there needs to be this absolute truth, this panacea-like philosophy, this means to "tap" into whatever holds "all the answers."

    When they think they have it, they go all in. They feel the need to not only get totally absorbed in it but baptize others into it as well.

    And when they have it, they become intolerant of those who have different views or approaches of life. When they are JWs, they criticize and judge others as lost, ignorant, and view themselves as enlightened. When they leave, many of these (not all, however, not all) act the same way with their newfound convictions. Some of them become atheist and act no differently than they did when they were a religious Witness, criticizing and judging others who are not of their fold as lost, ignorant, while viewing themselves as the only who are enlightened.

    Why do Witnesses and some ex-Witnesses have this obsession with finding "the truth"? Nobody else has it. There are no guarantees. Sure, some idiots like the Westboro Baptist Church think they have it. But even my religion, the Catholic Church, acknowledges that there is no exclusive formula for or way for any mortal to possess and know "the answer to life, the universe, and everything," as Douglas Adams put it.

    Why do some people have this stuck in their heads, that you can have such a thing, that there is some religion or philosophy or way of life or thinking that will give you "the truth"? I don't want to insult, and I am just asking, but is that why some of you joined the Witnesses, because you believe that an organization or adopting a certain conviction or world view gives you the "correct" vantage point, that such a thing is really out there that humans can grasp and possess? Really?

    You know there's no such thing, right? Anyone who says there is, any group that claims that, and any philosophy or world view that promises that is just selling you snake oil. Being religious, agnostic, atheist, or anything else you can think of will not give you the total, final, and unquestionable "truth" you seek.

    Except for people who belong to cults, fringe movements and those who like to think that others are ignorant for not choosing the "enlightened way" they have, people normally don't even think it's possible to know or possess "the absolute truth."

    If you don't snap out of this, you're gonna fall for another cult or false guru or something like that, I guarantee it. There's no such thing. If someone knows you are dependent upon having "the absolute truth," they will use that need to enslave you. Life is not about nor dependent on having found some one and only "truth."

  • Ruby456

    hiemere, I think what people search for is coherence but this has varying importance for different people.

    the search for absolute knowledge is a search for objectivity and for what is real imo and I don't think people should be criticised for this. However in this relativity can be a stumbling block as it can be very frustrating to find one has gained a measure of objectivity only to find that there are multiple ways of looking at the same thing

    as slimboyfat said above we don't need to give into relativity and I would add that just knowing there are different and even contradictory perspectives just means that subjects, even science subjects, cannot be simplified to such an extent that we lose the bigger picture and this applies even if the work of science is to be reductive.

    regarding the start of life it is better to say that complex systems produce novelty - novelty can mean that we are simply ignorant of the feature that we term novelty as it may be that that feature was already there but because the system is so complex it could not be seen or understood in our present level of understanding.

    the second point about complex systems is that they are associated with emergence - this is worth looking up.

    the third thing that can enable us to guard against suggesting absolute truth as a form of objectivity is to consider that language tends to complicate and obscure - but we have to use words. Here it is suggested that we always keep in mind the use of metaphor. For example I have said above that astrobiologists search for living entities instead of limiting their search for life as we find it on earth. Automata automatons and such like - I guess these would be self organizing systems that are self sufficient but that we would not class as life that we see on earth.

    Hiemere the one thing that science would not do is slide into mysticism or spiritualism for answers. that would be unscientific - so here there is no danger of following a guru or spiritual leader. please be assured of that.

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