[FoRK] Re: Anything to be learned from religion?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew
Thu Aug 11 22:51:27 PDT 2005


On 8/11/05 10:28 PM, "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> I think your argument is deep into semantic absolutism.  If math and
> science isn't "truth", what would be an example of "truth"?


The difference between math and science is that science has no axioms
(except maybe math?).  That this difference exists is the result of explicit
choices.  The closest things to axioms we have in science, like
thermodynamics, falls out of the math anyway.

The problem with axiomatic systems is that they assert 'truth' when no such
assertion can be legitimately made by humans.  I do not have a problem
working from some given set of assumptions as I do it all the time, but what
I do have a problem with is when people do not recognize that those
assumptions should not be treated as true axioms in the abstract.  The vast,
vast majority of the time it is perfectly safe to treat the small number of
de facto axioms as absolute truths, but it is also useful to keep in mind
that those axioms are nonetheless arbitrary.

My argument is not philosophical, at least as I see it.  It is more about
knowing precisely what you have, to the extent possible, and not fabricating
any convenient 'truths' or additional information to round out the
collection.  There is nothing wrong with assuming a set of axioms if one is
aware that this is what they are doing.


Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers




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