Truth vs Emotions

Truth is what is real and factual. Application of logic yields new facts, new understanding of truth.

But logic breaks where emotions rule.

We see this easily in betting games. The term “pot committed” comes from poker. A person’s reasoning and logic goes out the window when he has committed so much money in the pot that he disregards his actual chances of winning and keeps throwing money into an already losing proposition.

We see this in science where a scientist can become so emotionally committed to a theory that no amound of contrary facts will sway him. Witness the late Fred Hoyle and his commitment to his Steady State theory. Regardless of how much evidence pointed to a Big Bang or similar theory, he kept on insisting that the universe was in a steady state.

We see this so often than in politics. People get so committed to a certain ideology that their intellect has taken a permanent leave of absence.

And of course religion. Forget the facts, the Earth is 6000 years old. Because an old book says so.

Science owns the realm of facts and truth. Politics and religion should be confined to areas where certainty is elusive – like what solutions to apply to global warming or praying for a loved one’s life. But when science comes up with a definite answer to how we should mitigate climate change, politics should step aside and let the factual solution be applied. And when the doctor with scientific certainty prescribes the medicine that will save your wife’s life, you can still pray – but you should not reject the medicine. Only when there are uncertainties regarding the medicine, then it boils down to judgement, ideology, religion or hunch. But when there is certainty, let facts and logic prevail.

Facebook discussions are rampant with emotions and virtually devoid of logic. And the way you can see this is the incessant display of logical fallacies; Straw Man, Argumentum Ad Hominem, No True Scotsman, Appeal to Authority or other Red Herrings. And the way you handle it is to keep calm, remain on the subject, observe the facts, listen carefully and stay with logic.

Logic: The science or art of exact reasoning, or of pure and formal thought, or of the laws according to which the processes of pure thinking should be conducted; the science of the formation and application of general notions; the science of generalization, judgment, classification, reasoning, and systematic arrangement; the science of correct reasoning. [1913 Webster]

What if everyone was right?

What if Christianity was right? What if Islam holds the truth? And Buddhism? And Hinduism and the Native Americans and the Inca and Scientology and atheism? What if Science also got it right? All at the same time.

Perhaps all viewpoints are correct. Perhaps they represent their own unique view of truth.

Of course it would be hard to fully reconcile two diametrical different viewpoints of “God exists” and “God does not exist”. Or perhaps not.

While each ideology or world view tend to hold their own as the Only Truth, it would be interesting to see if a more universal view could be uncovered by treating each view as looking at truth from but one angle.

Back in 1991 I was interviewed by a student of the Theological Faculty of the University of Oslo. He was doing his master thesis on “Reincarnation in Christianity”. While he didn’t believe in reincarnation himself, he was fascinated with the 19 references left in the Bible after diligent purges were conducted early on in the book’s history. He knew I believed in reincarnation and wanted my views and my past life stories. This example goes to show that seemingly opposing views could be reconciled.


A crude attempt at unification of world views could go like this: The universe is created. Continually. There are causes and there are effects. A higher cause may be called God. Different versions of this cause can go by different names. There are lesser causes and some animate bodies and bring them to life. In doing so, the causes form identities. These identities die when the body dies and what you consider you is no longer. But keeping with the conservation of information (related to “unitarity” in quantum mechanics), the information you carry is never lost. The core of you, the cause, the soul, passes on “to the other side” or a “higher understanding” where this cause can decide to once again forge an identity and participate in experience. There may be several or even infinite levels of such “higher understandings” forming a fractal universe. The movie trilogy, “Matrix” may serve as an artist’s representation of this. Identities from higher causes may be seen as Gods, angels or the like. But none are omnipotent, only potentially so – as taking on an identity exchanges potential for actuality and experience. In keeping with Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, the physical universe is not complete – it is not all there is. There is always more truth to be uncovered, more realms to understand. The journey never ends and the journey is the destination.

This crude example would make the core of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, all ancient mythologies, new age, angels, spirits and the physical sciences into aspects of truth. Their sum could be even closer to truth. A more complete truth may evolve as more aspects of world views are unified.

Instead of starting with “that viewpoint must be wrong”, perhaps truth is better uncovered by “how can that viewpoint be right”?