The Quest for Meaning

There has been lots of talk recently of doing away with ‘religion’ altogether. This would be the wonderful manifestation of a truly enlightened society. I woke up and thanked God for the day. The ‘enlightened society’ thanks no one.

Methinks the thanks is thwarted heretofore in the process.

What would it look like, if we could actually abolish religion? Would we be a calmer – –  more reasonable species – – intent on furthering mankind?


‘Truth’ is the casualty of marginalizing religion.

It isn’t that religion is truth, for it is not, but the search for truth is the sole thread searing through all religions. This isn’t a religious stance, but a truthful one. Mine isn’t an argument for religion, but for truth. We can only find what we seek. If we stop seeking truth, what then, will we find?

This has brought us empiricism, and I love empiricists. They adhere to life’s testable, reliable facts. ‘Proof’ is what they seek. They insist: if it isn’t empirical, it cannot be relied upon. Empiricism – for them – is the only viable way to reaching the truth in any matter.

Empiricism: What a concept.

Truth (as we know it) isn’t pliable, but it does change. This is an empirical truth.

Atheists, unbeknownst to them, insist on non-logical processes. Oh, they may say: “Think about it! Be logical…” but they are depending on a non-logical process to bring about a ‘logical mind’. Without a logical predecessor, logic itself is the outcropping of an illogical process.

“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”

-Albert Einstein

There is truth, and it is ‘out there’. In fact, it very well may be ‘out of this world’. If life has meaning, something other than our minds, (and their neighboring cousins,) is responsible. When being brutally honest with themselves, atheists will admit that ‘meaning’ is just a comforting delusion. Barring the quest for ‘ultimate truth’, meaning isn’t just illusory. It is the ultimate illusion.


We are truly responsible not by abolishing the quest for Ultimate Truth, but through seeking it ourselves.

Try accomplishing that without chafing against religion.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jonathan Berger
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 11:12:50

    Your writing, for me, is a lot like viewing old photographs of when we were back in college. It brings back memories of you and your fantastic and unique writing voice.

    Thank you for sharing with me and with the world.


  2. KyuuketsukiKekerusey
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 07:26:45

    Interesting post but, though I’ll leave your claim that religion is concerned with truth (as long as you accept that truth is not an absolute), you’ve done little but advance a strawman on the empiricism front. Empiricists do not seek “proof” in an absolute sense, they seek supporting (or denying) evidence and atheism has bugger all to do with anything as it carries no philosophical value whatsoever.

    Here’s a piece I wrote some time ago that bears on your post:

    Science Versus Truth
    Science is an ongoing attempt to explain the universe and in this respect has explained or is attempting to explain all that is observable. Science is not absolute and no one in their right mind claims it is so or has the absolute answer to anything … apart from creationists! But then that’s not true science but the fundamentalist cartoon version of science.

    So what is science? Science is, as I say above, an ongoing and self-correcting attempt to understand the universe around us. And what is truth? Truth is something which implies absolute correctness, no doubt whatsoever, a logical concept the opposite of which is something that is not true (by which I mean anything logically the opposite of that which is true AND everything which is not entirely true). To give a simple example:

    The statement, “the bath is full” would be true if the water in said bath were lapping at the very top, that no more water could enter that bath without a change of conditions affecting the observation. Conversely the statement would not be true if there were no water in the bath at all or if there were any amount of water in the batch between empty and full … if any amount of water could be added subsequently to that bath without spilling water over the side then the bath would not be full even though it may appear to be so.

    Now, the essential nature of science is that it derives its confidence from accumulated observations and a rational interpretation of the same. Science has little to do with truth (certainty) because nothing in science is above challenge (though it may seem so at times) and therefore cannot be considered absolute. Something can be considered to be correct for decades and can be confirmed by thousands (perhaps millions) of observations but it only takes one verified challenge to bring that theory to its knees and force its removal or change. I am not denying that science (and scientists) can be extremely stubborn at times … as a philosophy it (was) created & (is) administered by scientists, scientists are human and humans can be hard to shift from a given point of view, we can see examples of that even now, but in principle the above is correct.

    Evolution (for example) is now considered so safe that nothing could shake it as a theory but all it would take (to use a theistic example) would be one piece of verified evidence that the hand of deity were involved in the process and evolution as a theory would die … granted it would stumble on for a while not realising it had been beheaded but it would, if that observation were confirmed, ultimately die. However no such evidence has been uncovered and more and more confirmatory evidence continues to be uncovered in support of it and since its birth the Theory of Evolution, though it has changed in fine, has remained unfazed by all comers for 140 years.

    Science doesn’t deal with truths or absolutes, it deals with facts, theories and hypotheses, is wholly open to challenge and, in this light, science represents our best current attempt to understand the nature of the universe around us.

    Science is the recognised method of discovering things about the universe and it does it not by deductive reasoning but inductive. The inductive method, instead of building conclusions on a set of assumptions deductively, builds on a set of observations and derives generalisations from them and the modern scientist looks on induction as the essential process of gaining knowledge, the only way of justifying a generalisation. Moreover the modern scientist recognises that that no generalisation can be allowed to stand unless it is continually challenged (by newer methods & techniques). The upshot is that no amount of inductive testing can make a generalisation absolute hence the scientific necessity that all of science is tentative hence the fact that I argue that truth (the absolute) & fact bear no relationship to each other. As a result modern natural philosophy makes no attempt to attain ultimate truth because there can never be sufficient observations to achieve such a status.

    This is also the reason why modern science CANNOT investigate claims such as god, spirit & soul as it is not possible to build a generalisation without observation and observations of these things have not yet been gained and the more we progress the less likely they appear … non-testable phenomena lie outside of the sphere of inductive science.

    And finally, the piece-de-résistance of science, the peer-review process – peer review does not, as some (notably creationists) would have us believe hobble the search for knowledge but in fact opens up the whole of modern natural philosophy to all of the scientists all of the time, for by the very fact of publishing ones work others are made aware of it and a given generalisation is brought into an arena where it can be tested by them. Peer-review is a formalised version of scientific challenge and the difference that process makes is immense … in principle everything every scientist does (or group of scientists do) is checked (peer-reviewed) by others. That doesn’t mean mistakes can’t happen, frauds can’t be perpetrated but it does mean that such mistakes (purposeful or otherwise) will one day, almost certainly, be uncovered and reversed. Creationists are so very fond of highlighting what they see as the mistakes of science (Piltdown man, Nebraska Man and so more besides) but in fact such examples are more notable for the fact that it wasn’t some numbskull creationist that uncovered the fraud or flaw but science and so can be seen as an example of science doing exactly what science should … self-correct. It is the reason why creationists dare not publish their garbage in reputable scientific journals preferring to appeal to like-minded theistic individuals and the lowest forms of reasoning in the general public … because they know that if they did so their claims would be ripped to shreds so quickly that it would hardly have been worth applying their twisted reasoning to paper. It is also the reason why certain individuals in forums and on blogs find it so difficult to get their whacky theories accepted by any rational individual … quite simply because those who review their claims apply a peer-review like response to their lunacy.

    But back to science.

    As a consequence of the nature of science, the very fact that it is capable of admitting to and correcting its errors and claims only tentative knowledge, I cannot say with absolute confidence that any or all of science is correct. However my opening statement said, science is an ongoing and self-correcting attempt to understand the observable universe. The key points in that are that it is ongoing (it’s not done yet, there is more to discover) and it is self-correcting (everything is up for challenge, there can be no absolutes). In that light science can be seen to be no more (or less) than our best current understanding of the universe and no part of science, as evidenced by the huge number of scientific ideas that have been modified, overturned and dismissed as not worthy of consideration, is beyond challenge and therefore simple logic dictates that no part of it can be considered truth in an absolute sense.

    It seems to me that people have a choice … learn what science truly is i.e. not inerrant (nor claiming to be), not possessing an answer to every question (nor claiming to), and recognising no absolutes (nor claiming to) but, as I say above, representing our best current understanding of the universe around us or join the hordes of fundamentalist religious dimwits who place their faith before cold hard logic & reason.

    Then of course to the usual fundamentalist question … how do we know that science works? As one engineer famously put it, “because the bridges stay up!”

    That is why science is not absolute (why it has little to do with truth)!


    • arthuriandaily
      Nov 13, 2013 @ 20:39:12

      Keke: Here is your post, though I don’t see much relevance.


      • Kekerusey
        Nov 14, 2013 @ 02:40:52

        It’s a simple argument that science has little to do with absolute truth (as your argument infers) … if you can’t see the relevance then I can only assume you’re an idiot (or perhaps I should say, IDot)? 🙂


      • arthuriandaily
        Dec 04, 2013 @ 18:51:39

        If science isn’t interested in truth, (as your argument infers,) then what relevance to truth does science have?

      • UK Atheist
        Dec 05, 2013 @ 14:10:59

        I said absolute truth. Things can be considered to be true by inductive reasoning (weight of observable evidence) but nothing in science is absolute … it really isn’t that difficult a concept you know.

      • arthuriandaily
        Dec 13, 2013 @ 00:30:34

        ‘Inductive reasoning’ based on what truth, Keke? Inductive reasoning cannot be attained through untruth – – unless inductive reasoning is worthless.

        Things can be considered true based on inductive reasoning – of things that are perceived to be true – based on the fact that truth is not absolute.

        Truth CAN BE inferred from observable evidence of things which are deduced to be true through said observation, regardless of whether truth has ever been or can be obtained, since all evidence points to the fact that science has deduced that truth isn’t attainable.

        You cannot be backed into a corner, since your logic is circular.

      • UK Atheist
        Dec 15, 2013 @ 04:18:47

        SLAP! Inductive reasoning isn’t based on any kind of truth, to quote Wikipedia, “Inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive reasoning) is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for (not absolute proof of) the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is supposed to be certain, the truth of an inductive argument is supposed to be probable, based upon the evidence given.

        In other words, as I have already said, it is based on the weight of observable evidence. And no things cannot be considered true in any absolute sense with inductive reasoning merely very, very probable.

        To give a very simple example (since you seem to require such things) … the sun rises in the East. You’ll agree that is true, yes? According to science it is also true but it is not absolute. It is “merely” very, very probable that it will do so on future occasions because it has always done so (and, of course, because we now believe we understand the reasons why that is). That the world and it’s dog considers it true (in an absolute sense) that the sun rises in the East is irrelevant because, as far as science is concerned, all it requires is one observable instance of the sun rising in the West (or some other direction other than East) and the theory is demonstrated to be false. Therefore the theory that that the sun rises in the East is manifestly not true in any absolute sense, merely in a probabilistic sense.

        So no, truth (in an absolute sense) cannot be gained from observable evidence because the observable evidence may one day be demonstrated to be in some way flawed.

        There endeth the science lesson … again! I’d like to think that it endeth completely however, the available evidence indicates you’re far too busy pushing your own agenda to pay any attention to minor problems like logic and reason so I strongly suspect we’ll be here again in a month or so’s time.


      • arthuriandaily
        Feb 01, 2014 @ 13:33:25

        Keke: You are trying to give ‘strong evidence’ that truth is not empirical. Of course, this cannot be proven empirically. Most things that have ever been conceived to be true – – have been discovered to be false. Choose your inductive OR deductive methodology, it matters little.

        To demonstrate that inductive reasoning works, you have to prove that your resolution is sound. But you cannot do this empirically. Moreover, whenever the truth is unimportant, no real purpose can ever be served.

        The purported purpose inductively attempted is reliability. This is an empirical truth. It stands solid on its own footing, and can be BOTH inferred and deduced.

        But reliability is of no use without truth. In a world where there is no truth, only differing perspectives, methodology is merely an art form of the sapien species.

        In some parts of this planet, and at certain times of the year, the sun does not set. I suppose you could use inductive reasoning to deduce there is no east or west. So, either your example has fallen flat, or it has been proven. If it has fallen flat, it is because there is a truth about the sun, the earth, the earth’s rotation, the axis, AND perspective. ‘East’ and ‘west’ are merely words utilized for function.

On the other hand, this might be precisely your point. WHEN perspective changes, observation also changes, and TRUTH is induced from your global (as well as psychological) positioning.

        Inductive reasoning is not reasonable based upon truth. What we are left to glean are observable truths from a given perspective. Since every perspective is different, every observable truth is changeable.

        Every person has their own perspective, and thus, their own truth. Truth’s can be discussed, agreed upon, debated, and contain varying degrees of reliability.

        Truth itself is always changing. This is the unchanging truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: