Absolute truth

 H/T to Bud at Dead Logic for this gem of stupidity:



Aside from the bountiful idiocy of Biblical literalism and young-Earth creationism present in the video, one of the lines caught my attention: their claim of teaching believers how to respond to when someone says there is no absolute truth.

All too often, these arguments get misconstrued by believers: Oh, so you claim there's no such a thing as absolute truth? Well, gotcha! You're claiming an absolute truth when you say that!

In fact, I looked it up on the Way of the Master website, and that's exactly what they say:
Those who say that there are no absolutes are often very adamant about their belief. If they say that they are absolutely sure, then they are wrong because their own statement is an absolute. If they are not 100 percent sure, then there is a chance that they are wrong and they are risking their eternal salvation by trusting in a wrong belief. God tells us that there is an objective, absolute truth that is not subject to man’s interpretations or whims, on which we can base our eternity. That truth is the Word of God (John 17:7).
Here's the thing about absolute truth: it's a lot easier to claim that something is absolutely true than to prove it. There's a wide gulf between the ontic and the epistemic claim. The question is not whether something is absolutely true, but how do you know that something is absolutely true? The reason scientific knowledge is provisional is because we know that there is a great deal about which we are ignorant. Though science has illuminated us with great knowledge, it has also served to show us that there are many more doors that have yet to be opened. Our knowledge is provisional because the attainment of new knowledge may require us to fundamentally re-examine our understanding of the world – much as Einstein's theories of relativity caused physicists to completely re-shape their Newtonian views of space and time.

Once upon a time, physicists thought that atoms were the fundamental constituents of matter. Then they broke it open and found protons and neutrons surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Then they broke those open and found quarks and leptons. And now the hottest theory of quantum gravity says that those are created by Planck-sized, one-dimensional vibrating strings. If that's ever proved, who's to say that still more fundamental questions would not unfold? We all agree that there are, most likely, fundamental truths about what reality is; but how could we know with certainty – short of becoming omniscient ourselves – that something is absolutely true?

Ray Comfort says above that this absolute truth is "the Word of God". But that's the problem: he just claims it. How does he know it's true? Because he does! Checkmate, atheists! It's fuzzier though: A lot of Christians think Ray's literalism and science denial are absurd. So how does Ray know that his particular interpretation of the Bible is the correct one? Well, he just does. So there!

"Just-so" statements are a staple of the devout, but they only expose how vacuous faith-based beliefs really are. Let's stick to deriving knowledge from falsifiable evidence, and have the humility to know we might be wrong.

Comments

Popular Posts