June 18, 2023


by: tguerry


Categories: Current Culture

Truth and Beliefs

What Do You Really Believe?

I’ve recently been talking with a friend about the differing natures of truth and belief. Note: whenever presented with the opportunity to discuss something like this with someone smarter than yourself, take advantage of it. For some of us, that opportunity presents itself more routinely than it does of the rest of you.

The Search for Truth
“Science” is “the search for truth which, at best, results in partial enlightenment”. I say that because the scientific method is the best way to ascertain whether or not our findings approach the criteria of “Truth”, but those methods, as good as they are, will still never get us to the entirety of truth. There will always be more truth that we do not yet understand.

My limited understanding of the scientific method is that we test our hypothesis against every potential standard. Then, we submit our findings to other professionals in whatever field of science we’re inhabiting so they can mercilessly pick our findings apart — not for the sake of ego but for the purpose of approaching the subject from diverse perspectives. Even then, we may still misunderstand the truth of the matter and may later be corrected by more advanced technology or methodology. Take for instance the number of individuals convicted of crimes using the best evidence of the time but recently released due to advances in genetic identification technology which didn’t exist at the time of their trials.

The Safari in Pursuit of Belief
Belief is certainly trickier than truth because it dilutes the scientific method with emotions. I might well believe the claims of someone I respect (Pastor, Politician, Policeman, Poltergeist) based on nothing more than an emotional desire for that person to be correct. No matter how respectable the object of our faith might be, the methodology of emotion-based belief is a formula for disaster.

That begs the question of why we have become such an emotion-driven culture. Sometimes, there is a risk/reward consideration that impacts the decision making process and supports (or at least drives) an emotion-based choice. Take for instance, the recent COVID fiasco. Design of medication for human use is the most rigidly controlled scientific endeavor on Earth. Testing requirements vary from five to ten years before FDA approval, depending on the timeframe for potential side effects to appear. Yet, we vaccinated a huge portion of the population based on less than six month’s testing. I’m not arguing for or against the COVID vaccine but I am pointing out that the decision to shortcut the process was influenced heavily by mass hysteria. Only time will validate or repudiate that decision.

Turning the World Upside Down
What if we chose to value reason instead of feelings? Imagine the devastating affect that an atmosphere of informed decision making would have on the political realm. And if we suddenly quit embracing random information, based on the comfort level it brings to our irrational personal biases, an entire industry known as the news media would disappear overnight.

So, where do we begin? How do we derail our emotion-based beliefs and begin to replace them with informed, well-scrutinized, bias-minimized (because there’s no such thing as bias-free) attitudes? If you thought I was going to provide the answer, you don’t know me. I’m all out of answers, but maybe, just maybe, wrestling with the questions is more important than winning the trophy for best answer.

Cup-Of-CoffeeYou know the drill. Want to point out the inanity of what I just said? Want to blow smoke up my knickers? Skip both and let’s just talk. Email me at guy@lawsoncomm.com. I’ll buy the coffee.

You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Did someone forward this newsletter to you after reading it themselves? Don’t settle for that!


to get a fresh, unused copy of this newsletter sent directly to you every Sunday morning. If you decide it stinks, you can always unsubscribe.

Faith Unraveled

— Rachel Held Evans


Rachel Evans is someone who discovered both the searing pain and the soaring freedom of daring to question her own belief system, even when it meant risking the respect of those whom she loved. I don’t agree with 100% of her conclusions but I adamantly admire and respect her spirit. Thanks Gerry!

A meeting of great minds who think alike