Criteria of Truth – observations

Criteria of Truth
1  Authority
2  Coherence
3  Consensus gentium
4  Consistency (mere)
5  Consistency (strict)
6  Correspondence
7  Custom
8  Emotions
9  Instinct
10  Intuition
11  Majority rule
12  Naive Realism
13  Pragmatic
14  Revelation
15  Time
16  Tradition
 – from Wikipedia Criteria of Truth

Of these criteria, Science recognizes some (such as 1 & 10) as useful, but not criteria for Scientific Truth, when employed thoughtfully.  Others (2, 5, 13) are accepted criteria for Scientific Truth.

The remaining criteria, which are the criteria with which most non-Scientists are familiar,
are not criteria for Scientific Truth:
1. It’s not true just because a great / powerful / knowledgeable / benevolent authority say so.
3,6. You can fool all of your friends all of the time.
4. Cause & Effect must be established, not just coincidence.
7,15,16. Laziness isn’t much of a recommedation.
8. The Universe would vanish in an instant if Truth were so volatile.
9. What human has this, and of a useful quality?
10. The false positive rate makes this a major time-waster.
11. At least 3 depends on your friends; this could include adversaries.
12. What? – I can’t know Truth if I use eyeglasses? Or a stopwatch? Or an electron microscope?
14. The problem with Revelation is that Science, although it has Criteria of Truth,
has not found criteria for deciding which Revelation should be accepted.

To a carpenter, everything that sticks up is a nail.  We all naturally apply the criteria with which we are familiar.  That is why Scientific progress has depended upon training. There has been little Scientific progress without training in the Scientific Method and Criteria of Truth.  Everywhere you look in life is something which came into existence as a consequence of that Science.  Before the modern Scientific Method, the basic Criteria of Truth was Pragmatism, with much interference from non-Scientific criteria.

 Without Science:
 The shelter under which we wake would be overhanging branches or a fold of rock.
 There would be no packaged, preserved, & stored food for breakfast.
 Our clothes would be largely unprocessed natural materials.
 We would FIND rather than MAKE.
 We would only CONSUME rather than CREATE.
 Many of our children would die before weaning.
 Our grandparents would never live to see our children.
 Our children would inherit the earth, but little else, from us.

 We would not have the capacity to feed, heal, maim, or murder vaste numbers of brethren.

 We would know very little of the majesty, mystery, beauty, and breadth of Creation.

Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough
that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment,
you must also be right.
  – Robert Park

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at
does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses.
They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton,
they laughed at the Wright brothers.
But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
– a classic Carl Sagan epigram

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All original material Copyright James R. Stone 2010, except where specifically noted. Some images licensed under Creative Commons, or GNU Free Documentation License, or unlicensed and public domain.

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