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  1. #1
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    Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Pick a side and go.

    My opinion is an odd mix of the two, which I'll discuss after some of the more strong viewpoints have been presented.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Absolute truth is synthetic. It can not be witnessed. It can only be theorized. Only a truly objective mind could witness it. Since we are all subjective beings by design, relative truth is what we are capable of witnessing and using to guide ourselves through life. One should aspire to absolute truth, but accept in humility that attainment of such a goal is truly impossible. We improve ourselves as we improve our aim, even if we never hit the bullseye.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    First, it is important to clearly define what you mean by absolute and relative truth. Trust me on this one. While it may seem obvious to most, there are a few *cough*Perv*cough* who redefine the terms of this historical, popular, and traditional debate.

    Once you do so, and it is indeed of the traditional, more common argument, I'll participate. I'm not too interested in alternative definitions of the terms as they just don't mean much IMO.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by PerVirtuous
    Absolute truth is synthetic. It can not be witnessed. It can only be theorized. Only a truly objective mind could witness it. Since we are all subjective beings by design, relative truth is what we are capable of witnessing and using to guide ourselves through life. One should aspire to absolute truth, but accept in humility that attainment of such a goal is truly impossible. We improve ourselves as we improve our aim, even if we never hit the bullseye.
    I posed this same argument a while back, so I pretty much agree with you. But I was always curious in exploring then whether absolute truth even exists. If it is the subjective, relative mind asserting such a thing exists, then we can never postulate with any certainty that the absolute exists, can we? When you say absolute truth is synthetic, it makes it a silly endeavor to aspire for it, no? I mean, what would we be aspiring for since we can't wrap our relative truth around what an absolute truth would be?
    Souls of the animal kingdom: eagle, fox, bottle-nose dolphin, octopus, house cat. Okay, let's jump this jump. -- Rod Kimble

  6. #5
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyLady
    I posed this same argument a while back, so I pretty much agree with you. But I was always curious in exploring then whether absolute truth even exists. If it is the subjective, relative mind asserting such a thing exists, then we can never postulate with any certainty that the absolute exists, can we?
    In other words, we cannot know if absolute truth exists?

    Is this the claim?
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  7. #6
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    In other words, we cannot know if absolute truth exists?

    Is this the claim?
    Um. Okay. That is the position I will take. No, we can't know absolute truth exists because every thing that has been handed down and passed around to humans has been in human form, and therefore subject to the same subjectivity of every other human being.

    I might be a bit of a fence sitter on this one, because I do feel that there are some absolutes, or at least, I used to feel there were absolutes. I'm wishy washy, but want to explore it...so my...wishy washy...position stands.
    Souls of the animal kingdom: eagle, fox, bottle-nose dolphin, octopus, house cat. Okay, let's jump this jump. -- Rod Kimble

  8. #7
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyLady
    Um. Okay. That is the position I will take. No, we can't know absolute truth exists because every thing that has been handed down and passed around to humans has been in human form, and therefore subject to the same subjectivity of every other human being.

    I might be a bit of a fence sitter on this one, because I do feel that there are some absolutes, or at least, I used to feel there were absolutes. I'm wishy washy, but want to explore it...so my...wishy washy...position stands.
    No, we can't know absolute truth exists because every thing that has been handed down and passed around to humans has been in human form, and therefore subject to the same subjectivity of every other human being.

    You've just made an absolute truth claim. You have affirmed what you denied.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    FYI, a similar (but older) thread that addresses the nature of truth itself: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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  10. #9
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    No, we can't know absolute truth exists because every thing that has been handed down and passed around to humans has been in human form, and therefore subject to the same subjectivity of every other human being.

    You've just made an absolute truth claim. You have affirmed what you denied.

    No. I'm not necessarily *right*. I could be *wrong*. We just don't know if I'm necessarily right or wrong, so we don't have an absolute truth there. We have a claim about an absolute. It's not an absolute.
    Souls of the animal kingdom: eagle, fox, bottle-nose dolphin, octopus, house cat. Okay, let's jump this jump. -- Rod Kimble

  11. #10
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    If you admit that your claim about absolute truths not existing could be wrong...why should we place any value in it? You aren't claiming anything at all then.

    You are saying:

    "There are no absolute truths. But there might be."

    A truth claim, is a claim about a truth. You have made a truth claim. But then you 2nd guess that claim with the disclosure "It might be wrong", therefore, it is no longer a valid truth claim and we can logically dismiss it.
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  12. #11
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    "Relative truth" is a contradictory concept. This is easily demonstrated: "Truth is relative" is an absolute truth claim.

  13. #12
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    A truth claim, is a claim about a truth. You have made a truth claim. But then you 2nd guess that claim with the disclosure "It might be wrong", therefore, it is no longer a valid truth claim and we can logically dismiss it.
    Uhhhmmm...so what does this have to do with absolute truth?
    Souls of the animal kingdom: eagle, fox, bottle-nose dolphin, octopus, house cat. Okay, let's jump this jump. -- Rod Kimble

  14. #13
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    A truth claim is a claim about truth. The very claim can be a truth (or a falsehood). You are putting it forth as a truth. It is contradictory. Then you even go so far as to say that it could be false. Which is fine, but any statement or truth claim that is acknowledged having the possibility of being false, especially by the one stating the proposition, is a truth claim that none need to ponder, think about, hold to any value as it becomes nonsensical.

    Logic, the order of reasoning, is the examination of truth claims. Your statement is logically unsound. Therefore, dismissed. It can tell us NOTHING. Truth claims have an objective...to tell us something. You admit that it cannot tell us what it is that it claims.

    It's the same as:

    "The tabbie cat is a mammal. But it might be a fish."

    It's nonsensical and the statement is logically rejected on grounds that it has no merit, is unsound, illogical, contradictory and affirms what it denies.

    In other words, it's nonsense. And truth seekers seek truth, not nonsense.

    Your absolute truth claim that absolute truth does not exist is illogical. That which is illogical is not logical. That which is not logical is dismissed as it is false (usually on many levels).

    Your statement is saying "There is absolutely no absolute truth but this may not be absolutely true"

    OR...

    "There is absolutely no absolute truth but there may be absolute truth."

    It's a meaningless statement. So it says NOTHING of the nature of absolute truth, nor is it a valid claim. Thus, logically dismissed.

    Either there is absolute truth or there isn't. But if there is absolutely no absolute truth, then at least THIS absolute truth (that none exist) would be true. And if 1 absolute truth exists and is true, then it is not the case that no absolute truth exists, for at least 1 does. And if one does, then the position that none exist, is false.

    THUS, absolute truth exists. Thank you for helping me prove it.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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  15. #14
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Absolute truth: There is a clearly defined right and wrong. Every action can be right, wrong or neutral.

    Relative truth: Each person sets his own moral standards.

    It is my belief that there has to be an absolute truth, as relative contradicts itself and could lead a society into chaos, but I personally believe that nobody knows what this absolute truth is and thus nobody can judge anyone's relative truth without knowing what the absolute truth is. Paradoxical, no?

    And Apokalupsis, please: let's forget the semantics. I could change the statement to say that "There are no absolute truths, except this one."

  16. #15
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by star
    Absolute truth: There is a clearly defined right and wrong. Every action can be right, wrong or neutral.

    Relative truth: Each person sets his own moral standards.
    Well, there is quite a difference between the nature of morality (which you have addressed in your above post) and the nature of truth (which you asked about in your opening post). They are not one and the same.

    See this thread: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11 for the nature of morality being absolute or relative.

    It is my belief that there has to be an absolute truth, as relative contradicts itself and could lead a society into chaos, but I personally believe that nobody knows what this absolute truth is and thus nobody can judge anyone's relative truth without knowing what the absolute truth is. Paradoxical, no?
    No, there is no such thing as "the absolute truth", unless of course one wishs to engage the theistic position of God being that Truth.

    But for the sake of the philosophical discussion, you are suggesting that there is an absolute T as opposed to the classic definition of "absolute truth" being that which is true for all at all times.

    There is no evidence for T. It is impossible to not have absolute truths however.

    And Apokalupsis, please: let's forget the semantics. I could change the statement to say that "There are no absolute truths, except this one."
    It's not semantics, it's called logic.

    Even your statement fails as it begs the question: How do you know this is the only absolute truth?

    If one exists, why can't others exist too? If you have conceded that it is possible for absolute truth to exist (the 1 statement), then why is it not possible that our universe allows more absolute truths to likewise exist?

    It's a faulty position, just like saying "There is no absolute truth."
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  17. #16
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    First, it is important to clearly define what you mean by absolute and relative truth. Trust me on this one. While it may seem obvious to most, there are a few *cough*Perv*cough* who redefine the terms of this historical, popular, and traditional debate.

    Once you do so, and it is indeed of the traditional, more common argument, I'll participate. I'm not too interested in alternative definitions of the terms as they just don't mean much IMO.
    So, I take this to mean that you would rather debate a cursury view of these concepts rather than an analytical approach which attempts to be more concise. You would rather debate about a theoretical concept by accepting an implied unproven meaning without actually looking to see if there are any actual practical means for applying this concept or verifying this meaning. I don't have a problem with that, however, you should call this what it is, "The MYTHOLOGY of absolute truth."

    Don't misinterpret me. I think there is evidence that there are absolute truths, however, there is no absolute proof to be found. How could anything be considered absolute truth without absolute proof? Or are we supposed to simply take your word?

    History, popularity and tradition are not considered proof of any kind. They are listed as, appeal to popularity, appeal to authority, etc. in the fallacies. Why would you bring them up? You must know that they are fallacies, right? Apparently you would be happy just rehashing the old arguments where you can just quote the standard answers and not have to cover any new ground. I will not miss your involvement if this is truly how you feel. Perhaps there are others who are more interested in truth who will carry the banner of absolute truth, if it is too much for you. It will be your loss, IMO.
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  18. #17
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    "Relative truth" is a contradictory concept. This is easily demonstrated: "Truth is relative" is an absolute truth claim.
    This would be interesting if you offered a shred of proof. The fact is that it is not an absolute truth claim. The statement "Truth is relative" is self-referential. It also says that "This Truth is relative". Which leaves much room for interpretation. Where is your proof that your interpretation is the only correct one? It MUST be the ONLY correct interpretation for your statement to be true.
    Last edited by PerVirtuous; August 17th, 2005 at 04:37 PM.
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    Which is fine, but any statement or truth claim that is acknowledged having the possibility of being false
    Truth claims have the possibility of being true or false. If they didn't, it would be an absolute truth. You can make a statement that is an absolute, such as the one I just made. All truth claims have the possibility of being true or false. But that doesn't mean anything because they are true...or false. But then maybe there is some truth and some false within all truth claims and then...it's all still very wishy washy to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Your absolute truth claim that absolute truth does not exist is illogical.
    Wait a second, bucko, I never claimed this. This is what I claimed:

    Quote Originally Posted by HL
    we can't know absolute truth exists
    That is not illogical. It's a truth. But it is not absolute truth, because I could be wrong. Maybe we can know that absolute truth exists. I just don't see it from my subjective perspective. Now, you say because I admit I could be wrong, that my statement has no value. It does have value to those who have value in it. If you look at your world and think, "Yeah...that idea fits into my perception, I can use that, it's true" then it becomes a truth to YOU. But someone else can say, "That doesn't fit into my perception, it's false" and as a subjective individual, we never have any way of knowing with a capital K either way whose right or wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Your statement is saying "There is absolutely no absolute truth but this may not be absolutely true"

    OR...

    "There is absolutely no absolute truth but there may be absolute truth."
    I'm saying neither of those things. I'm saying we can't know if it exists or not. Kind of like...God. You can have faith in Absolute Truth, but that doesn't mean you'd know it if it bit you in the ass because you can only view truth subjectively. That's what I'm saying. The fact remains that I could be wrong. Maybe we can know if it exists or not. I have no True way of Knowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by APok
    Either there is absolute truth or there isn't. But if there is absolutely no absolute truth, then at least THIS absolute truth (that none exist) would be true. And if 1 absolute truth exists and is true, then it is not the case that no absolute truth exists, for at least 1 does. And if one does, then the position that none exist, is false.
    The flaw in your logic is that you have only stated something that is absolutely true for YOU. So if you say there can be no absolute truth, then that means that is an absolute truth that there can be no absolute truth. But the major element you're leaving out of that claim is that YOU SAY. Because YOU SAY, it is not an absolute truth. It is nothing more than a subjective opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    THUS, absolute truth exists. Thank you for helping me prove it.
    Let's see....if the nature of the game is to skew my statement so that it fits into your reasoning, then by all means, I'm certain you've proven to yourself that absolute truth exists. Unfortunately, you have not yet convinced me. But here is a little kissie hug for your effort.
    Souls of the animal kingdom: eagle, fox, bottle-nose dolphin, octopus, house cat. Okay, let's jump this jump. -- Rod Kimble

  20. #19
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    If you admit that your claim about absolute truths not existing could be wrong...why should we place any value in it? You aren't claiming anything at all then.

    You are saying:

    "There are no absolute truths. But there might be."

    A truth claim, is a claim about a truth. You have made a truth claim. But then you 2nd guess that claim with the disclosure "It might be wrong", therefore, it is no longer a valid truth claim and we can logically dismiss it.
    You are misinterpreting the statement. The statement does not cover WHY there are no absolute truths, yet you answer as if it did. The statement that was made may have been worded ambiguously to allow you this misinterpretation, however, what was actually being expressed is: "I, as an individual, do not have access to enough knowledge to recognize with absolute certainty an absolute truth, therefore, to me, there are no absolute truths."

    The claim is not regarding the existance of absolute truth, as you misinterpreted it to mean, rather on the ability of the subject, or any other subjective being, to have knowledge of it. If there is not absolute knowledge of it, it is unknown and unproven, therefore, not absolute.

    The secondary statement, "I might be wrong." is now completely in keeping with the original statement. There is no conflict whatever. Your dismissal is hereby revoked.
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  21. #20
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    Re: Absolute truth vs Relative truth

    Quote Originally Posted by PerVirtuous
    So, I take this to mean that you would rather debate a cursury view of these concepts rather than an analytical approach which attempts to be more concise.
    No. I just prefer using scholarly accepted terms which attempt to investigate the nature of truth itself. The measurement of truth is something entirely different.

    You would rather debate about a theoretical concept by accepting an implied unproven meaning without actually looking to see if there are any actual practical means for applying this concept or verifying this meaning. I don't have a problem with that, however, you should call this what it is, "The MYTHOLOGY of absolute truth."
    Actually, this is untrue.

    Here is what the age ole absolute vs relative truth debate is:

    Absolutism - Absolute Truth - Actual truth perceived without one's mental obscurations and fabrications.

    Absolute Truth - Inflexible Reality
    "Absolute truth" is defined as inflexible reality: fixed, invariable, unalterable facts. For example, it is a fixed, invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no square circles and there are absolutely no round squares.
    http://www.absolute--truth.com/

    Absolutism contends that in a particular domain of thought, all statements in that domain are either absolutely true or absolutely false: none is true for some cultures or eras while false for other cultures or eras. These statements are called absolute truths. A common reaction by those who newly criticize absolutism is the absolute truth statement: Absolute truths do not exist.

    The statement, 'Absolute truths do not exist.', reveals the characteristic of absolute truth. Absolute truth does not apply to reality, existence, belief, or to human intelligence. In the logic of dichotomy of true-not true, application is without respect to what is absolutely true. Certainly, absolute truth does not define material existence, but supports material existence, position, and state of being. Absolute truth is as applicable to 'not true' as it is to 'true'. The double negative reveals this monistic status of absolute truth. The non-existence of absolute truth would, if true, be as true as the existence of absolute truth in an absolute sense. To postulate the non-existence of truth; however, is to violate the most fundamental capacity of mind. It is as though a snake could swallow itself by starting at the tail. Therein lies the value of absolute truth for thought. Violation of truth value in an absolute sense, validates the truth value of existence versus non-existence. Some say, "If I see it I believe it." Others say, "I believe it if I know it." If the sense of knowing is little better than the sense of sight, little can be made of the analogy. The acuity of the sense of absolute truth may not be good enough for most to clearly distinguish the difference between what is true and truth itself.

    One could ask, 'Is it true that truth exists?' One can also ask, 'Is it true that truth does not exist?' The first can be affirmed by mind, while the latter cannot be affirmed without a gross distortion of sense. If truth does not exist, it would certainly be true that truth does not exist. That is the quality of absolute truth. If the negation were true, one could not ask the question and expect a true answer. Absolute truth is the essence of thought and distinguishes the capacity of the sapient being.

    A particularly confusing absolute truth in state form (but good for example) is:

    Absolute truth cannot be a lie.

    Some interpret this to mean:

    The outcome of absolute truth cannot be a lie.

    But that refers specifically to the action form of absolute truth. Others interpret it as:

    Absolute truth statements cannot be lies.

    But that refers specifically to the state form of absolute truth. The original statement can be interpreted as either the state or action form. In the state form the statement is not true, but in the action form it is true. Either way the statement is an absolute truth in state form.

    A potential example of absolute truth in action form is:

    The words you are reading exist because of absolute truths in action form supporting their ability to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_truth

    In pure mathematics, however, there is said to be a proof for the existence of absolute truth. A common tactic in mathematical proofs is the use of reductio ad absurdum, in which the statement to be proved is denied as a premise, and then that premise is shown to lead to a contradiction. When it can be demonstrated that the negation of a statement leads to a contradiction, then the original statement is proved true.

    The logical proof of the statement, "There exists an absolute truth," is almost trivial in its simplicity. Suppose we assert the negation of the statement, that is, that there is no such thing as absolute truth. By making that assertion, we claim that the sentence "There exists no absolute truth" is absolutely true. The statement is self-contradictory, so its negation, "There exists an absolute truth," is true.
    http://whatis.techtarget.com/definit...861884,00.html

    Logical Contradictions in the Denial of Absolute Truth

    No one has ever proven that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Those who hold this view simply assume that it is so. Such assumptions prove nothing. Why should we blindly accept them? This is nothing more than "begging the question".

    But more than this, there are logical contradictions and inconsistencies in denying absolute truth. One might even be fair in saying that people who deny absolute truth are guilty of hypocrisy. Why is this?

    Is the statement, "There is no absolute truth" absolutely true? If it is, then there is something that is absolutely true - that statement itself. If it isn't absolutely true, then why insist that we should all believe it?

    We can illustrate through a small conversation.

    Joe: "There is no such thing as abolute truth."
    Mary: "Are you sure?"
    Joe: "Yes I am."
    Mary: "Are you absolutely sure about that?"
    Joe: "Er, yes, I mean, no - well, maybe."

    Is the statement, "All truth is relative" only relatively true? It may be relatively true for many, but if it is only relatively true, there must exist someone for whom it is absolutely true. But if that is so, then not all things are relative.

    Similar Fallacies

    Based on the falsehood that "All is relative", many people say, "It is alright to believe what you want, as long as you don't try to impose it on others". But this statement itself is a belief about what is right and wrong. Those who speak out this belief most definitely want to impose it on others. This is because they do not want to have to deal with any conflict in the realm of religious or philosophical ideas. It is actually a form of cowardice and laziness. It is also a hypocritical view. It sets up a standard of behaviour which it insists on for others - thus violating the very thing it pretends to uphold.

    It is easy to spout out statements like "the material world is an illusion" or "there is no such thing as truth" but no one consistently lives according to that kind of philosophy. If they did, they would soon be dead.

    Relativity - Relative Truth - The apparent truth as perceived as real by the dualistic mind.

    To claim that truth is relative is to claim that the very same statement can be both true and false, depending on one's point of view.

    Ironically, most of the reasons given for relativism stem from the fact that it is a simple, objective, truth that different people may differ from one another in the ways they perceive or conceive the world about them, and may differ, therefore, in the beliefs they have about the world.
    http://www.eequalsmcsquared.auckland...ding-truth.cfm

    Relative truth is that which is true for you, but not necessarily for me. It depends upon perspective. It corresponds with one's view or perception of reality.

    Absolute truth is a truth that is true for you, me, and everyone else. It is not dependent upon perspective. It corresponds with reality itself..

    Don't misinterpret me. I think there is evidence that there are absolute truths, however, there is no absolute proof to be found.
    Absolute truths (truths that are true for all):
    1) Humans are mortal beings and will eventually cease living. .
    2) GW Bush is President of the United States of America on Aug 15th, 2005 at 6:00pm.
    3) www.onlinedebate.net is a website that was founded and is run by Apokalupsis.
    4) PerV was a registered member of Apok's ODN site on Aug 17th, 2005, 6:00pm PST.
    5) All canines (or animals of the family Canidae) are mammals.
    6) The planet earth is not flat (2 dimensional).

    All absolute truths. Absolute truths exist. This is the nature of truth. It is absolute, knowable and corresponds to reality. This does not mean that all truths are known or all specific truths are knowable. It means that the NATURE of truth in and of itself, is knowable and corresponds to reality (or what is).

    How could anything be considered absolute truth without absolute proof? Or are we supposed to simply take your word?
    You misunderstand what absolute truth is. see above.

    History, popularity and tradition are not considered proof of any kind. They are listed as, appeal to popularity, appeal to authority, etc. in the fallacies. Why would you bring them up?
    1) I never said they were.
    2) I never brought them up.
    3) Don't drink and read.

    You must know that they are fallacies, right?
    I'm more than familiar with fallacious reasoning. I have many a book I can recommend to you if you are truly interested.

    Apparently you would be happy just rehashing the old arguments where you can just quote the standard answers and not have to cover any new ground.
    Negative. Such is not the case, nor have you shown it to be.

    I will not miss your involvement if this is truly how you feel. Perhaps there are others who are more interested in truth who will carry the banner of absolute truth, if it is too much for you. It will be your loss, IMO.
    The only loss that exists is when stubborness fuels ignorance. See above for what absolute truth means. There is nothing wrong in learning something new Perv. Don't be afraid of it. Embrace it.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; August 17th, 2005 at 06:34 PM.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




 

 
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