Friday, November 11, 2011


I believe that there is a thing called 'truth' out there, perhaps in some categories.

1. Factual Truth.  This would be something made up of facts and by virtue of being testable, or falsifiable, something that can be proven.  Scientific method applies here.

2. Historical Truth.  This would be history, where the preponderance of evidence demonstrates the truth of a given history.  Academic, historical methods might apply here.  Myth and legend are generally not in the category of historical truth.

3. Normative Truth.  This would be something that I can act upon, that if I act a certain way, then some positive outcome comes about.  Ethics might be applicable here. -- 'normative truth' connotes anything that affects one's action in this life for the better.

Once I get past these three, then there are things which are not proven to be true.

4.  Speculation on the unknown.  Sometimes speculation or theory postulates 'truth' that is not yet proven or known.  In time, such things might become known, in which case they either become factual truth, or having been disproven, become 'false'.  The biblical speculation of the world being the center of the universe, or that the sun revolves around the earth was speculation of the unknown, and now that we have scientific evidence to the contrary, such biblical speculation is 'false'.

5.  Speculation on the unknowable.  A subset of 4 is the type of premises that are untestable and unknowable.  The existence and attributes of God become part of this. 

6.  Myth and Legend.  Fabrications, fictionalizations, and speculation about historical events and people without basis in fact are myth and legend.

7.  False History.  Historical accounts, portrayed to be literally true (and not a legend or myth), that are provably incorrect.

8.  False Norms.  A normative statement that is not only based upon something false, but also does not accomplish what it is intended, or that causes more harm than good, is a false norm.

9.  Hope.  This is a unique type of speculation of the unknown, where there is a future expectation of something positive.

To be a servant of truth, is to
 - accept without compromise all historical and factual truth
 - act on normative truth. 
 - reject all speculation of the unknown proven to be false
 - reject all false history
 - recognize that myth and legend have positive value, as long as they are not taken to be literal history. 
 - suspend judgment on the unknown, the unknownable, and hope.   

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