Few parents have all the knowledge needed to answer all the questions which children ask, especially when their children grow up. We usually consult the Internet (or sometimes professional experts) to find answers for the questions which we or our friends, parents and teachers don’t know. But unfortunately, as much as the Internet can be a valuable resource for discerning truth seekers, the Internet is a source of misinformation and unfounded speculation – a minefield of tricks and traps for those who don’t know how to distinguish truth from fallacy. This begs the question: what is truth and how can we discover Truth?
Before answering these questions, we need to take time to consider the fact that the vast majority of modern philosophers, social scientists and other academics have convinced themselves and their students that there are no absolutes in life and therefore no such thing as absolute truth, and that only relative truth is possible. It’s important to stop and think carefully about what these people are actually saying: They insist that “There is no such thing as absolute truth.”
To appreciate what “absolute truth” means in contrast with “relative truth” we should consider statements which are not possible to denote as either true or false until we know the context of the statement. For example, the statement “Sheep are large animals” is an example of “relative truth.” Sheep are certainly bigger than many other animal species but much smaller than elephants, giraffes and rhinos. Likewise, the statement “It was cloudy all day in London on Tuesday.” is an example of “relative truth.” Without context, those statements are in fact ambiguous and inconclusive.
The following statement: “All living sheep are animals.” is an example of absolute truth. Another example: “Five ounces of gold are more than three ounces of gold” That statement is absolutely true.
Some intellectuals might argue that all these statements are only relatively true because they are expressed in the English language which is not the only language people use to describe the nature of material or abstract realities. This argument appears to be like the argument that all religions are equivalent and only relatively true because they are only true for those who believe those religions. A similar argument contends that verbal expressions in the English language are only true (or perhaps false) for people who understand English but not for those who don’t. But the ability or inability to read, understand and decide if expressions are meaningful and true or false is irrelevant. We agree that people who don’t understand English are unable to decide which statements expressed in English are true in the absolute sense and which are meaningless or not true, but that does not mean that nobody can make those decisions. It’s not necessary for everyone to know something is absolutely true before that conclusion can be made. That would be the same as asserting that because millions of illiterate people don’t know that volcanoes are growing at the bottom of the oceans, therefore, there are no volcanoes at the bottom of the oceans. The argument is clearly irrational. We will return to this matter of the relativity of languages later in this monologue.
To repeat what was stated before, many modern intellectuals and philosophers insist that all opinions, beliefs, stated convictions, assumptions and concepts are relatively true and none are absolutely true and that there is therefore no such thing as absolute truth. That’s astounding! In effect, they are asserting that expert opinions, religious beliefs and doctrines, value and ethical systems, scientific theories and formulas are equivalent and some if not most are somehow true in their own unique way.
In making these bold claims about the nature of the world and the non-existence of absolute truth, these people are opening themselves to a philosophical rebuttal from which they have no rational defence. If (as they say) there is no such thing as absolute truth and that different opinions, beliefs and convictions are equivalent and only valid in a personal sense, relative to other equally valid convictions, then by their own assertion on this matter, they must concede that the contrary view and conviction is just as good, valid and true as theirs: Now, in fact, there is a bold claim and conviction, that they are wrong in their assumptions concerning the non-existence of absolute truth. WHAT??? Yes, you heard it! The contrary view and conviction is based on relevant research and on considerably more analysis and reflection on this subject than any of those who deny absolute truth.
Before explaining the mistaken assertions and logic of those who deny absolute truth, we should note that these people are actually inviting us to dismiss their claims, because by their own admission, their convictions, opinions and assumptions are only relative, personal and subjective. They don’t claim to know with absolute certainty or with any better evidence than anybody else. It’s good to hear and note what they believe and claim, because we do have better research and can make a bold claim which contradicts them. A small but sufficient number of intellectuals know for certain that while most people are not aware of absolute truth, this concept and what it means is indeed an essential part of abstract reality.
Like time, space, gravity, death, justice and peace, absolute Truth is conceptually conceivable, and can even be mathematically represented and demonstrated to anyone who cares enough about discovering the truth to examine the evidence. People can ignore the truth for a long time; but they cannot forever ignore the consequences of ignoring the truth.
Absolute Truth is not impossible to define in terms of numerical principles and to demonstrate as an abstract concept, using a 3-dimentional graph, but it is admittedly difficult to demonstrate to everyone and there are very few who have the courage, integrity, emotional and mental energy to search until they find the answers they seek. If they persist, they will be able to observe the demonstration and eventually appreciate abstract reality in which we can discover and appreciate Absolute Truth. Let us be clear about this matter: ignorance of any facts does not eliminate or discount those facts.
Relativists claim that absolute truth does not exist, but they must also concede by their own theory of relativity that the opposite conviction is also valid and true when someone states that absolute truth does exist. Therefore, in the minds of these relativists, absolute truth does exist, according to one set of convictions and statements, and it does not exist, according to their own convictions and statements. Their theory of relativity admits that both convictions must be accepted as valid and true relative to one another. My position on this matter does not accept all convictions and I don’t have to. Only their duality or multiplicity of different relative “truths” admits all convictions. We should note their convictions but we don’t have to accept them.
For relativist philosophers, to live with these contradictions, they must have split minds with one statement existing in one half of their mind and the contrary statement in the other half and “Never the Twain Shall Meet” or else the failure of their logic and common sense will be obvious. Knowledge can expose and displace ignorance and confusion; but ignorance and confusion can never expose and displace knowledge. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss and people often choose (by greater or lesser degrees) to ignore facts and logic.
On the other hand, there is no need to have two separate minds. Those who are convinced that we all live in the same world, share the same reality and strive to use language to communicate and express our personal and sometimes unique experiences of this one and only world do not require two separate minds. Each of us has a unique mind and we live in only one common world (or reality) and that’s why we can learn from partly different and partly collective experiences. We don’t need to designate one half of our minds for this statement and another half for the contrary statement. By acknowledging one single ultimate reality that we all live in and participate in, and by acknowledging absolute truth as the goal of our communication we are not implying that anyone of us embraces all truth, or knows everything, or speaks absolute truth all the time. We are simply saying that there is one and only one universe which comprises both abstract and material realities and which we accept as the ultimate standard we should use to determine which of the many different perceptions, insights, descriptions and formulas or models of the world are better and definitely closer to reality than others, meaning closer to absolute truth. In other words, our statements and expressions of the world are not a matter of black or white, but of lighter or darker shades of grey. When we accept this perspective of the world which includes absolute truth (as the light) and this perspective of our communication about the world (as lighter or darker shades) we can intelligently discuss and objectively decide which statements or theories or explanations are confusing, ambiguous, meaningless or not true, or obviously false.
For example, it is obviously false to say that Father Christmas is a real person who hides at the north pole and comes to give presents to good children on Christmas Eve. Any philosopher who claims that this fantasy is true for all children who believe it is not using the English language the way dictionaries define the words TRUE and FALSE. We can only say that children who believe in Father Christmas think and act as if he is a real person; but their thoughts and actions do not bring Father Christmas into real life. Likewise, the words Truth and Fallacy are defined in the dictionaries and we should use these words the way they are commonly used and conventionally defined. Philosophers can twist and play with words for as long as they like, but we don’t have to play those word games which confuse people who have not been warned and trained to watch out for people who cleverly twist the meanings of words. Let us be honest and stick to conventional dictionary meanings so that people we communicate with will not be confused and mistaken.
Surveys can be carried out on a near universal scale to test and determine which statements and expressions are meaningful and true or meaningless, ambiguous. relative or false. We conduct these surveys by translating lists of statements and expressions into several different languages and testing large numbers of individuals within all the different language groups. When we find small but significant samples of people from all language groups who agree about each of the specific statements and expressions we present for people in the survey to read and decide, then that proves the point. It proves that even though we do not have a single universal language, and even though many people might be confused or less intelligent, certain members of the population can still clearly understand what they are reading and talking about when they communicate in their own languages. Furthermore, those who are intelligent and rational enough, can use common sense and logic to clearly understand and apply the following concepts: (1) meaningful, (2) meaningless, (3) ambiguous, (4) true, (5) false, (6) relative truth and (7) absolute truth.
If tests carried out on a universal scale were to find all kinds of contradictions, random decisions and responses by different people in the survey and there was little if any consensus, we would have to conclude that such chaotic results prove that absolute truth is impossible for humans to understand, recognize or apply in their lives. But carefully designed surveys and tests of communication indeed show that absolute truth is possible, meaningful and useful to those who appreciate it; but admittedly, absolute truth is rare, difficult to recognize and adequately express in our languages. It is best expressed in mathematics.
Even though we don’t know everything, not by a long way; even though our insights, descriptions, theories, models and formulas for most things are incomplete or inexact, even though we seldom find other people who agree with everything we believe or know, that doesn’t mean we know nothing of any value or substance and that everything we think we know is in fact just an illusion or a fabrication of our own personal, subjective world and nothing more. If that really was the case, no one would ever be able to agree about anything. If that really was the case, there would be no purpose in communicating with other people to share experiences, convictions and beliefs, no value in seeking and paying experts to share their knowledge, insights and theories with us and no value in recording and preserving facts, knowledge and principles of science, philosophy and mathematics. Those who believe that are welcome to their own opinions, but it’s good that we don’t have to share those silly, irrational convictions.
To summarize the argument – Carefully designed research and controlled investigations into verbal communication show that absolute truth is possible, meaningful and useful to those who understand ultimate reality and think in terms of our personal perceptions, concepts and statements which are our efforts to express absolute truth, even if incomplete or inexact. Our incomplete or inexact expressions do not deny absolute truth. On the contrary, by objectively defining absolute truth and demonstrating by objective measurements, mathematics and graphs that our verbal expressions are incomplete or inexact compared to absolute truth we prove the existence of absolute truth as a universal ideal. Even relativists who claim that absolute truth does not exist, would have to admit, according to their theory of relativity, that we are right in asserting that we and a few others might know about absolute truth and also know something of the real, common but complex and often unpredictable nature of the world. On the other hand, we are not obliged, in our rational, absolute view of the world, to agree to the contrary perspective and irrational opinions which have no proof. Such ideas are mere philosophical assumptions. Furthermore, when they admit (as they should) that we are right in our perspective and convictions, because in their view everyone is right in their own personal worlds, they would have to admit that they are irrational or confused for accepting two logically inconsistent statements. It doesn’t matter if the contrary statements exist in two different minds, as they say, or in two different personal perspectives of the world. Relativists must admit that the two logically contrary statements are both valid and true, or else they are simply playing word games and mind games and not really interested in logic, common sense and Truth. Then they don’t merit serious consideration.
The search for absolute truth is not futile. It is possible and practically achievable, even if difficult to discover and apply in one’s life. If other people are not able to discover the meaning and existence of absolute truth that’s not our problem or loss; it’s theirs.
The principles of knowledge and scientific investigation which we should use to discover absolute truth is the subject of another monologue.