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Krys C

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What are 10 things YOU know to be true?

I was interested and intrigued by Sarah's '10 things you know to be true' list exercise, particularly with the pattern she observed in hearing others; that you would continuously see items exact and opposite to your own, items you've never heard of, or thought about before in exactly that light.

I'm fascinated by our definitions of what we consider to be 'truth', and the disputes between our definitions.

So I propose we post a couple lists of our own here, and experience our agreements (and disagreements), learn some new ideas and lines of thought. Personally, I think it best to write your own list BEFORE reading the ones posted here to avoid influence ;)

I hope a couple people will be interested in participating in this miniature project. And, hey, if you see something in someone's list you'd like to ask about, or learn more about, or debate. . .we now have the TED conversation platform to make that possible.





My list:

1. These are the most exciting times in which we could ever hope to be alive which have already occurred.
2. Too often, we allow inertia to control our actions.
3. Everyone should travel.
4. 'Because that's the way things are' is not a valid reason.
5. Whenever you say 'I had no choice', you're lying.
6. It is possible to have an honest and even pleasant relationship with someone you do not like.
7. Loving someone or something heart and soul does not necessarily make it good for you, or them, or it.
8. There are ideas and inventions yet to come which will make into reality what we consider to be fantasy today.
9. Everyone has at least one story worth hearing.
10. My truth is not final.

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    Mar 20 2011: Truth is based on the premise that something is false. Something must be false for the opposite to be true. What we know now could change tomorrow. The truth could become a falsehood. Hence the only thing I know to be true is time and change. The rest is all an evolutionary distraction.
    • Mar 20 2011: I promise you that 2+2 will never equal 5. Even if you are convinced it is so, it doesn't change anything. No matter what you think, thinking doesn't make things true or false. Time changes a lot of things but the things that are really actually true will always be true. The laws of the universe never changes. At least not to our knowledge.

      Also, maybe I've misunderstood you, but I think that "something must be false for the opposite to be true" can be a bit misleading and confusing. 2+2=5 is false but it's not the opposite of 2+2=4 which is true.
      • Mar 20 2011: The opposite of the proposition "2+2=5" is not "2+2=4". The opposite of "2+2=5" is "2+2 is not equal to 5", which is true.

        Qazi it totally right about the statement "something must be false for the opposite to be true". But in order for the statement to be right, you need to define the opposite beforehand. There are no absolute universal laws that govern the universe. The math/physics laws of the universe are a result of our limited interpretation of the universe, based on a number of assumptions and constraints.

        You are saying that "the laws of the universe never change". Maybe they don't, but we'll never know, as we don't know them yet and according to Godel's Incompleteness Theorem*, we never will.

        * = Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory.
        • Mar 20 2011: Ah, good point with the 2+2 thingy! Still, there's a lot more possible false statements than true ones. I thought Qazi made it sound like some sort of balance between true and false. I just thought it created some confusing implications.

          I haven't really read anything about this subject but I disagree that math is a result of our limited interpretation of the universe. There is just no way 2+2 will ever equal 5. Rather, "our interpretations is a result of the universe", of the laws of physics and of evolution. Truth is truth, no matter if we're around or not. (Tough I feel like I'm arguing against an argument you're not making here...)

          Maybe we will never completely understand the universe, we're always going to have to assume some things, but I'm pretty sure we're closing in on something. And there are things that we actually know to be true. Yes, some people would argue against that. But what good would believing that nothing is true ever do? Not that I don't think these questions are important or interesting but I just feel like saying that "maybe the laws of the universe will change tomorrow", "maybe nothing is certain" will just get in the way of any practical understanding of the world.
      • Mar 20 2011: @Vilgot Ok, I'm with you that we need to use whatever knowledge we have, take some things for granted and build on those. I'm just saying that truth is totally subjective and is only valid under specific assumptions.

        For example you propose that "2+2=4", which however is an idealization. In the universe round numbers do not exist. When you measure for example the voltage of a 2Volts battery you will never get 2. You can only approximate it by 2. The true voltage of the battery is unknown due to noise, disturbances, energy losses etc. So taking two batteries of 2Volts and adding them up does not mean a total voltage of 4. We only *assume* that the total voltage is approximately 4, but the "absolute true voltage" is unknown. In order to know the exact voltage you will need to measure the energy of every single electron that passes through the wires, which is impossible (quantum theory). Therefore in real world "2+2=4" does not exist, only "approximately 2 + approximately 2 is approximately 4".

        So I believe, math and any math equation is an idealization of a specific real world phenomenon, and bound to an error. It never describes exactly the phenomenon, which means that it is never "absolutely true". The implication of this is that the universe will never be fully described by a theory. Perhaps approximately but never absolutely. Any truth will always be subject to failure. Can I prove this? No, but Godel did.
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          Mar 20 2011: And it is good to know that Godel did prove that (or at least that someone did, I had forgotten his name, but remembered the concept).
          If one wants to be a real scientist one has to learn to live with approximates, theories that somebody else can prove are wrong. Science is, in a way, just a way of telling stories, just like art. It many times, but not always, uses other media to do that than art, for example math.
          Every given moment in existence is so vast, so complex, so filled with energy, form, movement and matter, that there will never be a story that can be more than a glimpse of it all, whether the story is told by a scientist, religious mystic or an artist.
          That glimpse blows us away.
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          Mar 21 2011: Many problems with math, here are a few of the top of my head one is the problem of induction, math is not subject to induction. You can't inductively prove 2+2=4 because it is always going to be 4 so if it is not subject to the external world then where does our mathematical knowledge come from and by what circumstance can we define it as true knowledge. This is the problem which is outlined by Immanuel Kant.

          Aristotle's problem is is a different one, it goes along the lines that each proof can only be proven true by the contents of another proof or it ultimately bumps up against something that simply cannot be the subject of proof but it is necessary for the process of proving, in other words axioms or self evident truths which appear to have no proof or sufficient cause.
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          Mar 21 2011: I wish I could tell you more about Godel's theorem but my mathematical knowledge is not that high up there I just know he was a fascinating man.
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        Mar 21 2011: If I do not have 4 in my world, 2+2 can never equal 4.
      • Mar 23 2011: of course tautological statements must be true, did you really prove anything? the nature of these tautological statements (2 + 2 = 4) is bullshit, thats whats under suspicion here, not the conclusions of the premises.

        the conclusion of the premise 2 + 2 = 4 is true

        the premise 2 + 2 =4 is not true.

        big difference.

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