Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quid Veritas

These words of Pilate I think sum up the errors of today. In that time Pilate looked upon Jesus the Christ and in the presence of Truth Incarnate asked for truth's definition. Because no punctuation was used in the original texts of scripture we are left to wonder it his statements were made in spite or if they were a true searching curiosity. Either way we all know the result - the Cross. However, the measure of the questions of Pilate are indeed the measure of the modern man in searching for truth and it is the measure of the modern man is his inability to understand or find belief in an absolute.

The enlightenment has done much damage to human civilization. While it is true that as a direct result we have such advances had never been seen before in the empirical sciences. As the grandchildren of the enlightenment we see the fruits which are present in all the things that we do every day. From brushing our teeth to hosting and posting on a blog we find the culture of the enlightenment. We live longer and we live better. The advancement of medicine and technology has been amazing and is a credit to the human spirit and the ability of man to reach for the stars. Yet at the same time there is something lost in the empirical emphasis that was given humanity in the enlightenment.

With all the good that has come from the enlightenment the one problem has been that we have lost a sense of truth. Truth has become something that is defined by the empirical sciences. If the touchstone of truth is empiricism then we have a serious problem. Now, many feel that those who begin with this line of speech are anti-science, however, the Mennonite approach is not a method that I can approve. Yet it must be said that since the the primacy of inductive reasoning was established over the traditional primacy of deductive reasoning we have made little human advancements and in many ways the human condition has remained flat.

Inductive reasoning is roughly what we call the scientific method. It is a method of having a proposition and systematically trying to disprove that proposition. Because of this - as it rests on a logical fallacy - it can only prove probability. Deductive reasoning is the process of moving from premise to premise to achieve a conclusion that proves ones original premise. Through this method one can prove absolutes. While this is all an over simplification we can say the reasons why these work the way they do is because inductive reason begins with a particular and trys to move to a universal and deductive reasoning begins with universals and moves to the particular. In essence this is the great divide of our time.

If one focuses all of their thinking in a way that does not transcend empiricism then one cannot enter into a knowledge of truth. We come again to this same problem that I have elsewhere discussed. Because of this we find a divorce of faith and reason. The empiricist cannot prove the existence of God therefore it must be a pure act of faith. However, the realist can both know and believe because his belief is founded in reason and he can be comfortable in his belief because there is no greater feeling than knowing that ones faith matches truth with absolute certitude.

The problem that I find is that to bridge the gap between those who can only believe in probability and those who believe in truth is nearly insurmountable. When I speak on this issue I am usually met with blank stares. This is not because it takes some esoteric system or language to understand deduction rather it is that most people today have not been given the tools to think in absolutes. The education of today espouses that what is good for you might not be good for me. So, when I say that what is good is good for all I am threatened with a white jacket and a rubber room. Yet it is an endeavor that is worth the time for it is only in establishing, once again, the primacy of deductive reasoning that we will find true advancement in the human condition and not just the conditions of humans.

2 Comments:

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At Saturday, February 04, 2006 11:05:00 PM, Blogger lilliana said...

Reading this I agree very much. I would not disregaurd the importance of science but I would agree that it is very important for us to really know the truth as was mentioned. I also agree that there has to be a move to make advancement in the human condition as was stated very clearly. Although I must make one comment knowing the writer of this blog that he does really belong in a white jacket and a rubber room...Just kidding, I love you too much for that, he he he.

 

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