March 14, 2013

"People like the idea of truth. That's one of the things that they believe, that they love truth."

"But they don't really love truth. It's not this unconditional love."

95 comments:

DADvocate said...

"But they don't really love truth. It's not this unconditional love."

Quite true. Knowing the truth isn't always possible. Admitting that truth is hard for some. Other times, the truth isn't the deciding factor. Often, many activities are safer, healthier, or "better" if done in a certain way or not done at all. The truth is, I prefer freedom to being forced to conform to these "better" ways.

edutcher said...

I think your initial premise is wrong.

Most people don't really care about "truth", as such.

What they care about is justifying their beliefs no matter what the truth.

Consider our many trolls.

rhhardin said...

Them believing is not a present act of believing, but a marker in an account of something else.

When I sat on the chair, I believed it would support my weight. I gave the matter no thought. Wittgenstein.

If you make a concrete picture of believing something instead of leaving it as a marker in an account, language goes on vacation until it's over.



Crunchy Frog said...

"You can't handle the truth!"

bagoh20 said...

The problem is that what's true keeps changing. Can we do something about that? I'm really getting pissed off being right one day and wrong the next. Sometimes I have to pretend I know shit that I don't just to coast through the sea of question marks and get to terra firma only to find out it's an island and the sea is rising...today.

Quayle said...

"People believe what they want to believe"

I believe this statement to be wholly insufficient and really rather off point.

The issue in life isn't what people believe is "truth" - there isn't anyone that doesn't hold to something that isn't true.

The issue is epistemological- HOW we come to hold what we believe is true.

So to me the more compelling statement would be, "People adopt new beliefs and hold to beliefs in the way that they want to adopt and hold to the new beliefs."

If one doesn't believe that truth can be known independently, then one never adopts truth without being aligned with some external person or entity.

And this leads me to Mormonism.

The most radical thing Joseph Smith ever said or taught wasn't that HE saw GOD or an Angel or translated a book from literal gold plates.

The most radical and compelling thing Joseph Smith ever said was that EVERY person could see GOD, and have angels visit them, and know by revelation that the book he put forth was true, and came from gold plates.

When then enables Brigham Young to state that the Mormon doctrine was whatever was true. If it was true, it was part of our doctrine, and we sought it and believed it.

Brigham could say that because Joseph had pointed out that each person had an independent way of discovering truth through their own spiritual senses and the revelations of God to them.

Rusty said...

Truth is often uncomfortable, embarrassing and at times downright painful.
But it is infinitely preferable than laboring under a lie.

chickelit said...

The human understanding is no dry light, but receives an infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called "sciences as one would." For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should seem to be occupied with things mean and transitory; things not commonly believed, out of deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections colour and infect the understanding.

~Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Aphorism XLIX (1620)

DoneGoneGalt said...

Never really considered truth lovable; just more desirable than ignorance or illusion. It does seem that belief can sometimes create it's own reality.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duu0bCkSlUo

Lucien said...

One of the final lines in "Absence of Malice" is (paraphrased):
Q: You two were involved -- that's true, isn't it?
A: No. But it's accurate.

Writ Small said...

All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

wyo sis said...

Truth is compared to the sun or to light sometimes. it exists independent of our will. It can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your response to it. It's not always comfortable or easy. Think of being awakened by having a harsh light shone into your face. But the character of the light hasn't changed, just your ability to bear it.

bpm4532 said...

If something is true, it can be proven and you don't have to believe. Belief is when you want something to be true, but can't prove.

bpm4532 said...

Belief in something that has been proven to be false is irrational and indicative of insanity.

Sorun said...

That's so true.

phx said...

I think the emphasis on "truth" for some people is misplaced. Some of us put more of a premium on "awareness" than truth. Awareness is what you are actually experiencing, and that's about as deep as truths can get - or at least I'd argue that.

From where I stand the goal isn't to "believe the truth" but to be aware.

Richard Dolan said...

Five words stand out in that post --idea, know, believe, love, truth. More interesting still is how they all relate to the concept of God.

Richard Dolan said...
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rcocean said...

"People believe what they want to believe"

That certainly describes most atheists. They can't see God, so God must not exist. Or they wish Religion didn't exist, so its therefore false.

However, Bob's point about people think their country being "the best" didn't much sense to me. "The best" is a subjective value and so can vary from person to person and from group to group. Throw in lack of knowledge and people may have a very good reason to think their country is "the best".

chickelit said...

A commenter named LouiseM left this on Ambiance:

"Several poems fluttered into my life this past week. They came via the internet through blogs, along with a song. A definition of truth also showed up, one I’m still weighing and considering, where truth was referred to as: an eternal conversation about things that matter, conducted with passion and discipline. ( P. Palmer) I like the thought of truth being a conversation (experienced relationally?) and appreciate the connect between passion and discipline, with the discipline part fitting the matter as a corrective thoughts I’ve been entertaining." link

rcocean said...

One funny thing about Lefties like Bob. They will cringe/get angry if you say the USA is better than Mexico, but then defend illegals from Mexico because they're "Just searching for a better life".

So which one is true?

Sorun said...

"That certainly describes most atheists. They can't see God, so God must not exist."

I don't believe God exists, which is not the same as "God must not exist." The burden of proof is on those who wish others to believe that God exists.

m stone said...
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rcocean said...

"I don't believe God exists, which is not the same as "God must not exist." The burden of proof is on those who wish others to believe that God exists."

You're just proving what I just said. They can't see something, and think everyone who does is hallucinating.

Nini said...
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m stone said...

Actually Sorun, God reveals himself to all people according to Romans 1. Even those in the bush and who cannot process information like us.

It is not up to men to prove that God exists nor convince you that he does. God does very well, thank you very much. It's an individual choice to believe or not and I respect your decision.

Lem said...

That's a good quote chicklit... It reminded me of something.

I noticed that while I was trying to think everything false, it was necessary that I, who was thinking this, was something. And observing that this truth, "I am thinking, therefore I exist" [cogito ergo sum] was so firm and sure that all the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics were incapable of shaking it, I decided that I could accept it without scruple as the first principle of philosophy I was seeking.

Descartes.

Everything is mostly gaps. I'm thinking, what I believe is mostly fiction... the real 99%.

Like debt, fiction dosent seem to be that harmful, once you embrace it ;)

n.n said...

The truth often poses an inconvenient obstacle to realizing our dreams of material, physical, and ego gratification.

Chip Ahoy said...

Sometimes the true nature of Abby's eyes fail to come through photographs and this is distressing. I believe I can tell an untruth by using Bob Wright's eyes over Abby's eyes and come closer to the really truly universal Spirit of Truth of Abby nature through her saintly eyes.

Nini said...

I think we do love truth, if what you mean by truth is that which is real. The human beings’ search for truth naturally follow from our will to live. If the will to live can be equated to love for truth, then yes , human beings love truth.

There may be different ways of knowing truth but that fact does not negate our natural inclination to search for truth.

Sorun said...

"God does very well, thank you very much. It's an individual choice to believe or not and I respect your decision."

That's the right answer, not something like "atheists think this or atheists think that," which is what some dumbasses do.

Chef Mojo said...

That's interesting. So. Everyone who's seen god? Tell me, please; what did he/she/it look like?

No. Really. Literally, please. None of this allegory bullshit.

What did god look like?

Lem said...

The eyes have it.

Bob Ellison said...

Nice trap. I look forward to the springing of it.

People want truth. They also want truth to comport with their superstitions. Amazingly, even trained scientists often fail to recognize the dissonance there.

Lem said...

I'll make a "concrete picture of believing something" until a real naked girl comes along.

Lem said...

Sometimes, seeing better, is not necessarily a good thing.

Or so it is believed.

Paddy O said...

τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;

Paddy O said...

"If something is true, it can be proven"

So, until something is proven, it's not true? That's silly talk.

rcocean said...

"That's the right answer, not something like "atheists think this or atheists think that," which is what some dumbasses do"

Poor brave little atheists. We need to respect them, don't you know. Fuck that.

They just aren't sure, they KNOW God doesn't exist and they're going to tell you about it! What a bunch of Aspberger assholes.

Bob R said...

So the postulate is that Bob Wright and/or Ann Althouse on a Thursday in March 2013 are able to identify one or more things that are true.


Why on earth would anyone believe that?

Paddy O said...

The trouble with truth is that we very rarely have the right perspective, so we just say what we perceive and can assess with our senses. Terribly untrustworthy for a lot of truth, those senses.

Lem said...

The eyes don't have it.

chickelit said...

@Paddy O wrote: τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;

Are you demotically possessed?

Kit said...

Well said, phx. I prefer awareness, as well.

Paddy O said...

"Are you demotically possessed?"

Maybe I am being coy? Nay.

mtrobertsattorney said...

"Faith is something you know is true even if you don't believe it."

Chef Mojo said...

1. Faith.
2. ...
3. God!

Just not buying it. Believers in gods have no workable hypothesis. They have absolutely nothing to base their belief upon other than belief.

Well, god botherers; I need proof. Knock yourselves out.

rcommal said...

Sweet jumpin'. The second comment in this comment thread says it all, in all of its "not me, but thee" glory.

See, alt. : In a nutshell.

phx said...

Thanks, Kit. I thought I was the only one here.

rcommal said...

pftuie

chickelit said...

Truth be told it isn't sold.

rcommal said...

Folks here are missing stuff, here.

chickelit said...

That's cuz there's a ruckus in the romper room next door, r,l.

Paddy O said...

"They have absolutely nothing to base their belief upon other than belief."

Silly talk. Everyone who has faith can give you a reason more than "just because." If they're not convincing to you, then that's fine. You aren't the arbiter of truth. You're just a guy with a relative perspective.

Alex said...

You're just proving what I just said. They can't see something, and think everyone who does is hallucinating.

I'd call prayer a form of schizophrenia.

Alex said...

Which god? Yawveh? Vishnu? Allah? Jesus? Which one?

rcommal said...

LOL + whatever, baby.

Shouting Thomas said...

The caricature of theology presented in this thread is laughable.

This one's a dud, Althouse.

Shouting Thomas said...

Why do God Botherers carry on this way?

Most religious people that I know are quite content with keeping their faith private and do no evangelizing.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Since people are at liberty to believe what they want to believe (unless perhaps you define belief as what seems to be true, in which case obviously what people want to believe has no bearing on what they actually believe), it's something of a boring tautology that people believe what they want to believe. I fail to see how that bears on whether people want to believe the truth. I think most people always want to believe the truth, and I deny that there are evolutionary reasons for this not to be the case. A much simpler explanation for why, e.g., people tend to claim that their native countries are best is that they lie or are deluded by those of their fellow countrymen who lie; another simpler explanation is that people who don't like the place they are at would tend to have left, and so wouldn't tend to be there in the first place if they didn't think their own country above average.

Of course, people may want other things that conflict with knowing the truth (determining the truth takes time and effort that could otherwise be employed), but I don't guess that is what you mean. What do you mean? How can it be useful to not want to believe the truth? One possibility is if it be easier to persuade others of falsehoods if the falsehoods are believed rather than lied about, but I doubt this be the case. Another is that people will like you better if you believe what they believe rather than pretend to believe what they believe. Again, Why? In fact, wanting to believe what you want others to believe or what they would want you to believe rather than what seems probable would be a (rather glaringly egregious) character trait, and character traits tend to be easier to judge than particular lies. Indeed, people who mislead about their own character traits tend to be insensitive about character traits, because misleading about character traits is especially a mating thing that tends to lead to mates with misled characters (so descendants of misleading people tend to be easily misled); and insensitivity toward one's own character is easy to test. Other sorts of lies are no more useful in mating than in other spheres, and so there is much less reason to think failing a test of whether one is kidding signifies a liar: there's no easy test of whether one is lying about something (beyond knowing the truth and whether the possible liar be not simply mistaken).

William said...

It was difficult for the medieval mind to reject God. The liberal mind has the same difficulty rejecting the efficacy of the Head Start Program......Unconditional love is its own truth.

phx said...

It was difficult for the medieval mind to reject God. The liberal mind has the same difficulty rejecting the efficacy of the Head Start Program......Unconditional love is its own truth.

Yup could be. Let's take it a step further. I believe that virtually nobody escapes the sweet embrace of believing what they want to believe.

Who questions the default beliefs anymore?

rcommal said...

Most religious people that I know are quite content with keeping their faith private and do no evangelizing.

And then there are folks like edutcher and you, shouting thomas, who appear to be temperamentally incapable of not proselytizing aggressively, repeatedly and obsessively, your different points of view notwithstanding. (You are two of the triplets of different mothers.) Witness ye so many threads over so long a stretch of time in which you are dominant (and so arrogant!).

You two are kings, make no mistake. What a sorry state of affairs.

chickelit said...

Paddy O said...

So, until something is proven, it's not true? That's silly talk.

The short history of science is the sequential discovery of truths--tested and proven (cf. the word origin of proven). Newton's laws were just as true before he revealed them as they are now. So in this sense you are absolutely correct: many truths remain to be discovered!

Shouting Thomas said...

What is the truth that you folks are gassing about?

Science seems to be making truth rather more difficult to ascertain, not the other way around.

I've read quite a bit about the concept of parallel universes in physics.

Some physicists think that there might be a separate version of "you" who lives in each of a number of parallel universes.

I would like to be around long enough for the Holodeck to become a perfected reality, as it surely will. When it becomes close to impossible to tell the difference between a 3D simulated environment and its "real" counterpart, what will the truth be?

The simplistic stupidity which you are conferring upon religious people is... I can't find a word for it.

Stunning is the best I can do.

Do you really think that religious people have as simplistic a vision of the nature of God as you are attributing to them?

Paddy O said...

"many truths remain to be discovered!"

My point exactly!

chickelit said...

@Paddy O:

According to convention there is sweet and bitter, a hot and a cold, and according to convention there is order. In truth there are atoms and a void.
~Democritus (400 B.C.)

Democritus preached the truth without proof more than 2000 years ago. He was forgotten but proven true in the modern age.

chickelit said...

Some physicists think that there might be a separate version of "you" who lives in each of a number of parallel universes.

Given that anti-matter is proven--i.e, anti-hydrogen exists--why not higher anti-atoms?

The periodic table is, really, just a numerical progression from 1 to about 114, so why not a symmetrical opposing progression in the negative direction? marching up through the heaviest anti-trans uranium element? The neutron can be "zero" in the number line.

Higher order matter, like anti-Shouting Thomases are conceptual beings. What would they be like? Ritmos?

Shouting Thomas said...

Higher order matter, like anti-Shouting Thomases are conceptual beings. What would they be like? Ritmos?

A terrifying and hilarious thought!

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

Who is the Truth is a better question. It avoids the bias of political hierarchy imposed thoughts allowed or outlawed.

The claim of many to day is, "who is to say what is true?" implying that it is not what I taught them.

So we are back again to asking, "who is the Truth?"

wyo sis said...

Awareness is a pretty low bar. Try for something a little more challenging. See beyond your own limitations.

Mick said...

Truth? You wouldn't know truth if it smacked you in the face Law Prof Blogger! The TRUTH is that you have allowed, and refuse to even comment on--- because you are a coward-- the FACT that this putative "President" is an illegal entity--- thus there is no "United States", and no "Constitution", since the "President" is the executor of the laws. Seen any "laws" for the Criminal Bankers? No, they are being handed TRILLIONS of our great great grand-childrens' money. Seen any "law" for John Corzine, Obama bundler, who stole BILLIONS from private investors at MF Global? No, you see court decisions that legalize the theft of private investors' segregated funds. The "law" profession is the other useful idiot. So you belong to 3 sets of useful idiots! A Veritable Useful idiot CHAMPION is this Blog Prof!
Obama was born British because of the British subject father whom was married to his mother on 8/4/1961, thus he is not a natural born Citizen, and not eligible, no matter if born on the Oval Office desk (see Minor v. Happersett, 88 US 162, 167 (1870); see also Federalist 68--- Obama Sr. was "an improper ascendant"(improper ancestor), thus Obama 2 is not a "creature of our own" (natural born Citizen)).
You are especially guilty of aiding the treason because of your platform. The Complicit media and Academia are the useful idiots who aided the downfall of America-== you are part of it. Now we have "American Thinker" (Useful idiot mockingbird) saying that NON natural born Citizens Jindal, Cruz and Rubio are eligible. Think that's a coincidence?
You are watching the destruction of America from your comfy position in Marxist Acadedemia, but it won't be comfy for long. The law of nature will assert itself soon. You have not protected the Constitution you profess to teach, and so you will deserve no protection from it. The barbarians are at the door.

Paco Wové said...

"Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal"

— Heinlein

phx said...

Obama was born British because of the British subject father whom was married to his mother on 8/4/1961, thus he is not a natural born Citizen, and not eligible, no matter if born on the Oval Office desk (see Minor v. Happersett, 88 US 162, 167 (1870); see also Federalist 68--- Obama Sr. was "an improper ascendant"(improper ancestor), thus Obama 2 is not a "creature of our own" (natural born Citizen)).

It's like a form of Asperger's.

Rusty said...

Alex said...
You're just proving what I just said. They can't see something, and think everyone who does is hallucinating.

I'd call prayer a form of schizophrenia.


More like a form of hope.

phx said...

Awareness is a pretty low bar.

You misunderstood. We're talking about awareness of something other than your self.

Rusty said...

Chef Mojo said...
1. Faith.
2. ...
3. God!

Just not buying it. Believers in gods have no workable hypothesis. They have absolutely nothing to base their belief upon other than belief.

Well, god botherers; I need proof. Knock yourselves out.

LOL
Everyone has a god they believe in. Yours just isn't grampainthesky you think others believe in.

wyo sis said...

Still a low bar.

Robert Cook said...

I don't believe in Beatles.

Kit said...

Au contraire, wyo sis.

Thinking is not what leads you to the truth, it leads to inference and conjecture – based on your own bias, philosophies, ideologies, theories . When you see without these bias, truth is revealed.

chickelit said...

Robert Cook said...
I don't believe in Beatles.

Do you deny they were more popular than Jesus?

William said...

I think Ambrose Bierce defined truth as a lie that is universally believed in.

Nick Carter M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

phx said...

Thanks, Kit. I thought I was the only one here.

I wouldn't have pegged you for a solipsist, phx.

Nick Carter M. said...

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No comes to the father but through me." - Jesus

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - Jesus

phx said...

Greetings Ignorance is Bliss. Solipsism is only the starting position, in my view.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Lol, phx. I actually wasn't commenting on your original comment. I was making a joke based on your I thought I was the only one here statement. I didn't even notice how it might interact with your actual philosophy.

phx said...

Well that is funny. Nice meshup.

phx said...

I was wondering HTF you made the connection that I was indeed a solipsist.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The most likely explanation is that I was able to make the connection because I ( and everyone else ) am nothing more than a projection of your own sub-conscience.

phx said...

That's it!

Basta! said...

I just believe in me
--- Yoko and me ---
and THAT'S reality

:) the second line is hard to get out without choking

ken in sc said...

Everybody has to believe something. I believe I'll have another scotch and soda.

Mick said...

phx said...

"Obama was born British because of the British subject father whom was married to his mother on 8/4/1961, thus he is not a natural born Citizen, and not eligible, no matter if born on the Oval Office desk (see Minor v. Happersett, 88 US 162, 167 (1870); see also Federalist 68--- Obama Sr. was "an improper ascendant"(improper ancestor), thus Obama 2 is not a "creature of our own" (natural born Citizen)).

It's like a form of Asperger's."


Notice how there is no disproof of the factual information cited? Only Alinskyan ridicule. You should all be ashamed-- especially the "law prof" coward.