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To tell you the truth, I’m lying

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By John Pawlak

The saying goes that ignorance is bliss. Looking at the world today, there must be a lot of happy people out there.
I must admit though that I’ve been very bliss at times. It’s far more comfortable being bliss than spending all those calories trying to know what’s what.
But what’s what is what I’d like to discuss today. Not what is what per se, but more of why anyone wants to know what it is.
What what is, that is.
What I’m asking is, what is truth? How do we know what’s true and what’s not true?
When studying mathematics, I found myself enjoying an atmosphere devoid of any desire to debate the meaning of truth. Math sets the rules very crisply and truth is simply validity of logic.
Math is not constrained by the limits of reality, which bestows an enormous advantage in mathematics when making truthful claims. For example, I can assert that one plus one equals two on the surface of Neptune.
This is true, mathematically speaking, because we say so! (You have to love axiomatic logic).
But a scientist is constrained to observable and reproducible results and hence cannot prove the same statement without actually going to Neptune and checking it out. Maybe rocks don’t know how to add on Neptune and one rock added to another would result in seven rocks.


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