Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

In search of Truth

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality,
they are not certain; and as far as they are certain,
they do not refer to reality. — Albert Einstein

Humans have a strong urge to find the “truth”. I think that’s an evolutionary trait helpful in gaining control — the “truth” allows for better predictions hence you have more control over your situation and have a better chance of survival/reproductive success. But due to our limited knowledge and limited perceptions there is no way we can find the ultimate, actual truth about anything. What we do is form a model that fits within our limited knowledge, and use it as the ultimate truth. A better approach would be to use the model as a predictor, and watch for a superior predictor to replace it, knowing that neither is likely to be the real truth. Einstein’s quote above puts this idea succinctly.

It sounds like scientists would all have this approach, but human nature intervenes — most believe their models (theories) are the truth and will argue vigourously to defend it as such. I’d much rather they’d argue to defend their theories as being the best predictors they know of. The difference in approach should give one an open mind to improvements.

Those whose beliefs of “truth” comes from a book (such as creationists) would benefit the most from this approach, as models in such books are not useful for prediction. Their vigourous arguments to defend their truth rests solely on discrediting other models. By not being able to predict properly with their useless models, they give up control over their lives.

March 13, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, imho, religion | , , , , | Leave a comment