Seth Godin, writing at his site, is wrong. It happens.

He conflates truth and the acceptance of truth. Truth is truth.

In every fourth-grade classroom, the statement, 9 is bigger than 7” is clearly true. We can count out nine marbles. We have a mutual understanding of what bigger” means in this context. From this shared understanding of the axioms and vocabulary, we can build useful and complex outcomes.

On the other hand, Cheryl is a better candidate than Tracy” might be true for some people, but it presents all sorts of trouble if we look at it through the same lens of truth” as a term we learned in arithmetic. We know who Cheryl is and we know who Tracy is, but it’s not clear what better” means in this case. Are we describing who will win an election in two weeks? That’s awfully hard to test in advance.

And words as building blocks of truth’ gets even more complicated when the ideas intersect with both science and culture. The statement, The theory of evolution is our best explanation for how we all got here,” is demonstrably true in the realm of science, but for people with a certain worldview who value cultural alignment more than verifiable and testable evidence, this statement isn’t true at all.

The words matter. It matters whether we’re talking about ‘arithmetic true’ or simply an accurate description of what works for part of our culture.

Ahem. Truth doesn’t give a flying fuck about your certain worldview or cultural alignment. If you’re woldview is the Earth is flat, the truth doesn’t care. The Earth is not flat and that’s the truth. If you choose not to believe the Earth is round, then you are being willfully ignorant. You are actively trying to keep the world as you see it and not as it is.

I find people like that repugnant. Reality is reality. Sure, science can change and new truths are always being uncovered. However, worldview and cultural alignment is all bullshit. Those values are meaningless to the truth.

August 27, 2019

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