- Religion and Philosophy
ABSOLUTE TRUTH: Is it Absolutely True there are NO Absolute Truths?
There are many people out there who have BLIND FAITH in an irrational concept known as “absolute truth”. These folks are positing the Positive Claim: that there is absolute truth. But, they have no rational argument to justify their claim. They can’t even provide you with a single propositional statement which resolves to absolute truth....not one! Their only “claim to fame” is the following catchy phase which is often heard in the halls of churches and atheist gatherings:
“Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?”
OMG, quite a killer question, isn’t it? I mean, that’s it....you’re cornered....nobody can argue with that. It’s either a “Yes” or a “No” and you are automatically refuted, right?
Hey! Not so fast....
This is a classic example of the fallacy of Begging the Question; even though the emotional circumstances surrounding this question prevent almost anyone from seeing this hidden fallacy. The proponent of this question wants you to ASSUME that “truth” is the standard by which we evaluate everything, including what he just asked of you. Once you’ve swallowed his assumption and answer either “Yes” or “No”, you’ve already shot yourself in the face. Game over. The sophist has used the most popular trick in the book to force you to comply with his fallacious question.
Q: What is the trick?
A: The assumption that “truth” can be used to evaluate itself (i.e. Begging the Question + Circular Reasoning).
We need to remember that “truth” is just a word, like any other word. There is no magic associated with this word even though its proponents praise and worship it with God-like status. Truth is nothing but a concept; a relation established by humans. There is no universal standardized concept of validation which we can apply to all concepts, including “truth”. Each concept has to be evaluated on its own merits starting with its definition. This means that each concept of validation has its own limited scope or context. Truth’s scope of validation is predicated solely on our sensory system! We need to evaluate related sensory data in order to determine whether a proposition is true or not.
Again, “truth”, in and of itself, is first and foremost a concept. As such, it is impossible to use our sensory system to evaluate concepts. Concepts are evaluated analytically (i.e. conceptually) by following their definition. Remember: all concepts are defined, while all objects are amenable to illustration. All words will either resolve in the category of Concept or Object; there is no other option!
It is fallacious to use “truth” to EVALUATE “truth”. You cannot draw any rational conclusions from this obvious self-referential rhetorical exercise in futility. Consequently, whatever method we use to evaluate “truth”, the conclusion we reach cannot be a “truth”....period! Remember: “truth” is what is being evaluated here. So the proponent of the question: “Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?”,... is an ignoramus! Such a foolish individual is merely parroting what he heard his Priest say during Sunday Service without even understanding the critical issues.
We certainly don’t use the “Judicial System” to evaluate whether the Judicial System is “just”. Nothing objective can be achieved from such a circular exercise in futility. There was a preceding conceptual analysis which formed the Judicial System. It is at this stage and in this context where we need to critically analyze and evaluate the Judicial System in order to draw rational conclusions. Just like the Judicial System, “absolute truth” cannot be used as a standard to evaluate itself. We instead need to go to the root of the issue (the definition) and showcase where it fails by justifying how it contradicts itself. And the only means available to evaluate “absolute truth” is via conceptual critical analysis. We must use critical thinking to analyze the concepts of “truth” and “absolute”, and rationally explain why they are contradictory. We need to explain to the audience why “absolute truth” is a self-refuting concept; i.e. why it invalidates its “pre-supposed emotional” meaning.
In the following article on Absolute Truth I have explained why:
1) The word “absolute” resolves to the word “relative” under the scrutiny of critical analysis.
2) Similarly, the word “truth” resolves to the word “opinion”.
And NO “truth” is required to do this because we are critically evaluating the words “truth” and “absolute” in 3 crucial categories:
If “absolute truth” fails in any of these categories, then it is an irrational concept...meaningless/worthless. As it turns out, “absolute truth” is an impossible concept which had no critical thought put into it by the person(s) who first pre-supposed it. And yes, it was PRE-SUPPOSED by presuppositionalists who faithfully decreed it to be valid, even though it is impossible to be defined objectively.
Another trick the sophists will often parrot is: “To say ‘there are no absolutes’, is an absolute statement!”
Got any more tricks up your sleeve? I mean, c’mon....is this even an argument? Is this the BEST you can do??
How can supposedly intelligent people utter such lame statements?
Can’t they form an argument which is more than a sentence long? How about an analytical and rational argument which follows the definition to explain to the audience WHY there is absolute truth?
If they cannot reconcile their obsessive fetish of “absolute truth” with its definable terms, then all they’ve got is dogmatic faith.
Why do these folks need to resort to sophistry, tricks, obfuscations and lies to push their agenda? Just what is it that they are trying to protect/hide/defend?
Q: Isn’t intellectual honesty always the best policy?
A: Not if the proponent has ulterior motives! When the proponent realizes that your argument destroys their religion/agenda, they will vainly fight tooth and nail to prop up their position. They will curse, scream, Appeal to Ignorance and contradict themselves at every turn in order “drown out” your rational argument. After all, cursing and screaming is what “wins” arguments, right?
TRICK QUESTIONS, OH MY!
“Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?”
Their trick questions are always predicated in the negative and arranged in such a way as to surreptitiously assume their intended outcome (Begging the Question). And of course, the questions only have 2 possibilities: Yes or No. No matter how you answer, you agree with their outcome whether it is or isn’t the case. Nice trick!
This is no different than declaring someone a “wife beater” by simply asking them: "Is it absolutely true that you stopped beating your wife?" No matter how they answer, they are automatically a wife beater!
Here are a few more.....
"Is it absolutely true that you left no evidence behind after sleeping with your neighbor’s wife?”
"Is it absolutely true that you no longer steal office supplies from work?”
You need to realize that even if you don’t answer these questions, you are automatically “implied” guilty at the instant these questions are posed to you!
Q: Is this how people have intellectual discussions?
A: No, but this is how the Sophists had intellectual discussions in ancient Greece.
The Sophists were like the Televangelist Priests or like the YouTube Pop-Philosophers of today. You paid your admission (i.e. donation) and watched the "artist" perform his tricks. They used rhetoric to give the illusion of valid arguments. It was nothing more than an art of persuasion - an appeal to emotion. Rhetorical appeals clearly had benefits over empiricism. People are usually certain of their emotions and instincts, and they are often used as a basis to motivate them to action.
In ancient Greece, the Sophist would, for instance, single out a man from the audience and address him as follows:
"You admit, sir, that you have that which you have not lost?"
The innocent answer was: "Of course."
"Then, my friend, as you never lost a tail, you must have a tail."
Among those laughing at the befuddled man, there was a woman with her husband. The Sophist turned to her and inquired:
"Madam, is this your husband?"
The woman proudly answered with a smile as she gave her husband a kiss: "Yes! He is the love of my life!"
The Sophist asks: "Has your husband slept with another woman?"
The proud woman affirmed without a doubt: “No, not my sweetie!”
The Sophist asks: “Is it absolutely true that your husband was a virgin when you met him?”
As the smile faded from her face, she answered: “Umm...No.”
The Sophist logically concludes: "Then it is absolutely true that your husband has slept with another woman!"
As the crowd explodes in laughter with tears rolling down their cheeks, the woman angrily turns to her husband and slaps him!
The Sophist's mental gymnastics were successful because it was little known in pre-Aristotelian times that formal logic is based on a strict technique of properly arranging your predicates. And the skillful "logician" can do amazing tricks when using these purely “logical” techniques coupled with hidden negative predication and Yes/No type questions. A logical argument may be logically correct/coherent, but it doesn’t necessarily correspond to reality. Logic is a rule-based descriptive tautology. It is NOT reality-based and has no explanatory power. Logic can only be used to subjectively describe whatever the proponent wishes to describe, and in the manner that suits his argument. Logic is always subject to a proponent’s biased usage. Logic and truth cannot ever be used to objectively explain anything in reality!
Those who vehementlydisagree are free to use the powers and infinite wisdom of their logic to explain why a simple pen falls to the floor instead of the ceiling. Is it because of gravitons, gravity waves, warped space or God? What is YOUR logic? Can you analyze this question with formal logic, predicates, fancy symbols, axioms, laws and theorems? Will your concluding proposition be an “absolute truth” or a “relative truth”? I can already see all the proponents of Absolute Truth out there sweating buckets and running away in fear from such a simple question!
The reader is urged to read the following article to understand logic and its limitations:
Since logic and truth are useless when applied to reality, we instead use critical thinking and rational analysis to analyze such propositions concerning reality. We analyze them at the level of “DEFINITION” and “CONTEXT”, and always accompany our conclusion with a rational explanation to JUSTIFY their validity in reality. Now you can see why truth cannot be used to determine the validity of the concept of truth itself. So the trick question: “Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?”...is a circular exercise in futility. But nonetheless, the Sophist HOPES that you swiftly answer this contradictory question so he can declare a lame “win” over you.
People today are not much more intellectually sophisticated than those in classical times; and in many ways, they are more easily fooled. The North American educational system is one of the worst in the developed world. This stuff should be taught in introductory logic courses in Grade 7. So it’s no wonder that most people cannot even conceptualize the fallacies inherent in these trick questions. If you want evidence of this, then just Google “absolute truth” and you will see everyone parroting the party line: “Is it absolutely true there are no absolute truths”....unwittingly thinking this to be an argument in support of absolute truth. Hilarious! I mean, the trick is on those who ask this question, just as much as it is on those who foolishly answer “Yes” or “No” to it. So we have a situation where ignorant parrots are attempting to recruit more ignorant parrots into their Religion of the Absolute.
However, to be fair, it should be noted that sophistry does have value in our society as it creates jobs. And not surprisingly, the fields of employment which heavily depend on sophistry are: Lawyers, Politicians, YouTube Philosophers and Priests.
These tricks are very old....I mean, over 2500 years old! So they shouldn’t be able to fool anyone with a healthy dose of basic schooling. I am not presenting or exposing anything new in this article. This stuff is old news. But sadly, it is shockingly “new” to the overwhelming majority of readers out there. Regardless, it is their personal problem. They are free to choose whether to finally wake up, or continue to believe in what tricksters and fast-talkers preach to them.
Again, the KILLER question is: How can people fall for this gimmick and BELIEVE that such a trick question is EVIDENCE for an absolute truth?
Obviously, when you trust others to spoon-feed you information without so much as any critical thinking on your part; you usually end up believing in the impossible.
In any case, this article finally puts an end to this nonsense. All these tricks and unfounded “catchy phrases” are self-refuting because they are predicated on fallacies: Begging the Question, Circular Reasoning, Argument from Ignorance, Fallacy of Equivocation....just to name a few.
Nonetheless, most people who navigate to my Absolute Truth article will usually gloss over the title and attempt to refute it (the “title” itself, not the article). This is why 99% of the respondents will say: “Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths? Ha ha, I just refuted your article, lol, you’re such a tool.”
Meanwhile, these clowns haven’t even read the article to understand the issues, nor do they care to do so. Again, their educational system has really failed North Americans if they can be deceived so easily and reduced to parrots and fools by their puppet masters. So, it’s of no surprise that when I ask them to give me just one “absolute truth”, they always end up contradicting themselves, getting angry, cursing and running away from their argument.
All the Absolute-Truther (who has faith in absolutes) needs to do is answer the following question:
Q: Do these one-liner trick questions you utter, actually put forth a rational argument for “absolute truth”.... or are they self-refuting rhetoric from Priests who intended to impress gullible pushovers like you? Which is it?
An intelligent human has NO faith; whether in absolutes or in any other human-invented concept. An intelligent human can explain and justify his argument with the luxury of detail. And to do so, he needs to be a critical thinker, not a parrot!
So the next time a half-witted Priest asks you: “Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?”
You can respond: “Just define ‘truth’ and ‘absolute’. Then you’ll know FOR SURE!!”