Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Types of Truth...

In a strange way, the truth or "Truth" can have a degree of fuzziness depending on ones perspective. It comes in and out of focus based on the lens one chooses to view it through. In other words, some things are truer than others.

The evolving mind has come up with an intriguing description of this phenomenon and -if nothing else- helps structure this concept so that certain beliefs and philosophies can be categorized more clearly. For example reagrding reality, some points of view concentrate on a tree, others embrace the forest, while others don't even look at trees and concetrate on the "idea" of a tree and still others distill their observations to the worship of scratches and scribbles with no trees in sight.

1. personal truth
A personal truth is what is true for an individual. Personal truths reflect physiological attributes, psychological tendencies and the learning and experiences of an individual.

2. social truth
A social truth is what a distinct group perceives to “be so.” Social truths reflect group history, customs, and values.

3. human truth
A human truth reflects and pertains to the universal dispositions and abilities of our species, Homo sapiens.

Many things that we consider to be inherently true probably reflect distinctive features of human psychology. For instance, because human beings are primates that readily establish and acknowledge dominance hierarchies, the human individual may be predisposed to feeling that there is or could be some entity “greater than me,” whether or not that happens to be true.

4. universal truth
A universal truth is one that all sufficiently intelligent and educated observers, from this planet or any other (should they exist), would conclude to “be so.” For instance, the proportion of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is 3.141592 ( . . . ). This is a universal truth. Any capable, unbiased individual could verify that truth.

A universal truth is the only type of truth that is not relative to the person or group making the claim. Science, by and large, provides us with universal truths. Or it at least aspires to.
Religion, no doubt, reflects social truths, and perhaps, in some regards, human truths as well.

So, this doesn't validate in and of themselves the "new age" philosophies, religions nor postmodernism for example as reality. These edifices are mostly human constructs:

What believers in a religion frequently fail to do is to place possible human truths and their own social truths into a wider perspective.

Good or bad, they are chained and bound well within the subjective bounds of humanity whereas reality expands beyond this realm. Obviously, there may be utility in some of these perspectives, but always if their limitations are acknowledged.

These perspectives or tools work better -if they work at all- at a different level and may or may not reflect reality in a hit or miss sort of way. On the other hand, from a humanistic perspective many of these constructs can serve as useful bridges between us and reality -but again with the caveat that they need to be kept in check.

Reality itself -to an extent- may always be beyond our reach, but there are ways to embrace its essence and approximate an understanding of how things truly are. Here is where the self effacing and correcting community based methodology -science- has proven its worth. It has proven to date to be the most objective human tool available to consistently touch "her" true face.

Acknowledging our humanity in the light of whatever wonders we discover keeps us humbly grounded to ourselves and who we are - just highly social primates on a tiny pale blue dot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That Mitchell and Webb Look: Homeopathic A&E

Just wanted to add a link to this hilarious sketch.
Sadly, it does have a morbid side to it as the last post demonstrates.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Homeopathy: What's the harm?

So, inert placebo based ritualistic practices are harmless and should be tolerated as innocent and benign ?

In context, belief based medicine does a lot more harm than one would guess - but you know that. In a modern, fairly stable society these practices may cause less obvious impacts but -even here- if they hold more sway on every day reality than Bugs Bunny, the Simpsons and flying tea kettles we've got problems.

Imagine then, the consternation of those doctors in the trenches working in parts of the world where anarchy, lawlessness, illiteracy and corruption drip from every pore of society when homeopathy is promulgated as a reality.

Here's hoping the WHO will support their very reasonable and humanitarian plea for support.

"Many people in developing countries urgently need access to evidence-based medical information and to the most effective means of treating these dangerous diseases. The promotion of homeopathy as effective or cheaper makes this difficult task even harder. It puts lives at risk, undermines conventional medicine and spreads misinformation.

We are sure that you will recognise these dangers and ask that you issue a clear international communication condemning the promotion of homeopathy for treating TB, infant diarrhoea, influenza, malaria and HIV. We are sure, too, that you will recognise the urgency of our request, and look forward to your response."