From Today’s Truth-Driver Commentary on WKZO Talk Radio AM 590 (mp3 file):

When I was a kid I always had a fantasy that when you die you get to ask a giant, god-computer any questions you wanted, and you could know the answer. As an adult, that led me to think that for all questions there actually IS an answer; it’s just that usually the answers to real-world questions are so complicated that we can’t understand them.

• Do certain pesticides, or cell phones, cause cancer?

• Do free-range chickens provide more or better nutrients to our bodies?

• What is the exact degree of human impact on global warming?

• Is John Gosselin really an agoraphobic alien, here to take Kate and their eight to Vega for re-colonization? (Okay, that one is easy … yes.)

Here’s the scoop, we may never know what is true and what isn’t, but it seems that for almost all earthly questions that we can ask, there is one truth—complex though it may be. Truth (small t) exists! The reality might even be that there are 11 dimensions and competing realities, but then THAT complex truth would still be the truth of how things actually are.

But back here in the real world there are complicated, actual effects on society of allowing gay marriage; actual, real-world effects of any given tax policy; actual, real-world effects of getting health care administration costs aligned with the rest of our global competitors. There are true effects of these things, even if they are complex and unknowable. True answers exist for all questions we can ask.

Now I don’t know those answers, and you don’t know those answers. But I will assert this; the best way to approximately and provisionally estimate truth is not through emotion-driven thinking, yelling, shouting, claims that “my god is better than your god and my god wants it this way,” or even just by repeating a statement so many times that others will accept it as truth. The way to do it is with the tools of reason, science, evidence, and calm, intellectually honest dialogue; because the closer we come to approximating truth, the better the world will be. Taking action based upon true assumptions is the path to less suffering and greater satisfaction. Conversely, false or overly simple assumptions about how the world works will never help us maximize well-being, and will never help us achieve the greatest possible benefit for the greatest number of people.

So won’t you join me in my ongoing quest to set aside ego, and pursue truth, wherever it takes us?

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(Stephen L. Gibson is the author of  A Secret of the Universe, a critically acclaimed, citation-rich novel about the intersections of science, reason, and faith. Still an emotion-driven thinker in recovery, Steve shares his journey in search of ever-elusive truth with thousands via his Truth-Driven Thinking podcast, and his Perspectives blog. © 2009, Truth-Driven Strategies LLC.)

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