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This came up on another post.

A lot of people give all sorts of complex answers to the question. What is the difference between scientific, rational truth and philosophy, and the religious ? Including especially for the scientific, all sorts of things like falsifiable hypotheses, and the experimental method etc.

But I think the real bottom line difference, is very simple. That one believes that truth is a given, an absolute and a granted privilege. (For the chosen few of course.) And the other believes that you only get closer to truth, by work, care, effort and sometimes hard choices.
So ?

Fernapple 8 Sep 20

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For the past 8 months, I have been the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Soon, I won't be. Let truth be whatever makes people comfortable. I am sure there are going to be plenty of you punching my online nose for typing that.

Soon be 43 ?

You nailed it. πŸ™‚


"But I think the real bottom line difference, is very simple."

Go on, you don't say.

Unless it's simply that one is fact and the other fiction.

No I said that one is the result of, work, care and effort and one is not.

You can see it as fact and fiction, but that is very absolute, and I would never say that religion did not contain any truth of fact at all, only that if it does, then it got there mainly by accident.


What is the difference? In religion you believe it coz you think your god said it through a book. In the real world you believe things through logic and evidence. Your bible has no logic nor any evidence.


Science answers questions by observation to determine the facts.
Religion has answers that can not be questioned.
Philosophy ponders questions that can not be answered.
The truth is factual answers to questions.


I see science as the pursuit of knowledge of our physical world by using the scientific method.
BUt there is more than our physical world in our lives, so theology, philosophy etc attempt to fill this area. But being non-physical (outside of science), the scientific method fails ie can't sense to observe or replicate or measure. So instead of knowledge supported by facts or science, we have belief supported by faith which is sold as a "truth".
"Known belief" or theological/ philosophical "truths" is an oxymoron. If it was known, it would no longer be a "belief" and instead enter the realms of science.


The "Scientific Method" works best.


When it comes to science verses faith I request evidence of faith based technology.
Good luck with that.

In the 70s I drove a 1948 VW Beetle. That took a lot of faith. πŸ™‚


There's a big difference between beliefs and facts.


That's the scientific process.

Love your new photo!


I think what you’re talking about is the difference between science and superstition. And my answer is... superstition is natural and science is artificial. And yes, one is free and the other requires lots of work, and is therefore more valuable. Religion, on the other hand, the one I’m more familiar with anyway, is just early (primitive) science, and early philosophy, and early medicine, and early psychology, and early ethics, and early law, etc. that never fell out of practice because, most people haven’t escaped their natural superstitious instincts. And because, in some ways, science still hasn’t learned how to provide some of the comforts that religion provides for people. And apparently isn’t interested.

skado Level 9 Sep 20, 2020

Reminds me of Indiana Jones movie, we deal in facts if you wants truths go to the philosophy class


"Truth" can be subjective opinion. I prefer using "fact" over "truth" when discussing issues that can be proven by empirical evidence. However, even "facts" can be disproven because an aspect was "understood" without enough information, i.e. people used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe. We still say the suns rises and sets when, in fact, it does neither.

That is exactly what I was getting at. All attempts at facts call it truth if you like, are subjective attempts at an unobtainable objective reality, whether they come from religion or not. That is why I prefer to emphasize personal attitude and personal commitment, rather than the pretence that pseudo objective methodology is a real difference, maybe a little bit perhaps there are no absolutes, but not so much.

@Fernapple I wasn't sure of your purpose--thanks for clarifying.


To me:

Scientific is merely a framework meant to explain a phenomena. To apply "true" to it would be dangerous since it can be overturned based on new evidence. However, in seeking truth, it seeks the objective truth, statements and frameworks that apply regardless of who and where the statement is made (though how and when can change the statement and framework)

I don't know what "rational truth" is but it sounds like math could fit this category. Here "true" does apply since as long as a set of axioms are accepted, one can bootstrap truth from it which stands the test of time.

Philosophy is not strictly about truth. I view philosophy as a process that can lead to truth. But things like The Trolley Problem or Philosophy of Science are not themselves true but tools to higher understanding.

Religion embodies what is personally true, the subjective truth. It is not rational true insofar as given a set of axioms one cannot bootstrap a singular course of truth like math. It is not the scientific truth as it is not objective nor amenable to experimentation. It is closer to philophical truth as it is not as much the truth but a means to search for truth

Quite, that is exactly what I was getting at. All attempts at truth, are subjective attempts at an unobtainable objective reality, whether they come from religion or not. That is why I prefer to emphasize personal attitude and personal commitment, rather than the pretence that pseudo objective methodology is a real difference, maybe a little bit perhaps there are no absolutes, but not so much.

I'm a relativist in most all things.

I abhor absolutism in most things.

And that includes being absolute in my relativism! πŸ˜›

I see that there are some absolutes, such as in math. There, the singular path that evolves after accepting a set of axioms is absolute. The axioms themselves are subjective, but the conclusions are not.

In a similar fashion, a scientific experiment as the same quality: if you agree to a set of presumptions (frictionless, vacuum) then there is absolute objectivity in behavior, even if the presumptions are subjective.

Moderation in all things, especially moderation.
Relativism in all things, especially relativism.


Truth is subjective.

Of course. You may like this. []


I agree that falsifiability is an essential element to the scientific process, and it is not at all in religion, though more thoughtful religionists might try hard to reinterpret their religious tenets if scientific discoveries make their existing versions seem silly(for example, the Biblical creation story being said to represent a metaphorical six days of creation rather than literally).

But importantly, the whole concept of "truth" in science versus either secular philosophy or religion differs. Science concerns itself with seeking to improve our understanding of objective factual reality. That is its truth, and as such, it is always open to revision, because reality seems to have ever deeper layers of knowledge possible.

In contrast, philosophy, whether secular, religious, or new age woo-loving(my made up term for unaffiliated spiritually magical thinking), expects more from "truth." These approaches are concerned with articulating values to live by, which is of necessity at the very least somewhat subjective. That is about what is to be considered importsnt and why, not just about what is.

The remaining distinction I would make is between religious vs secular philosophies, which hinges on acceptance of the notion of "revealed" truth, in the case of religion, vs reasoned discovery, in the case of secular philosophy. (This touches on the scientific need for falsifiability, but in the case of philosophy doesn't quite match that level that science emphasizes.) The latter accepts the prospect of revision. The former pretends that their "Truth," with a capital "T," is eternal, perfect, and unchanging. ...which, of course, makes religion juvenile, as well as nonsensical.

I like all of that, especially your last paragraph which says more or less the same thing as the post, but is much more sharply expressed.


I want to do these:
Rational truth is the result of conclusions made through the use of the scientific method. Science and "rational truth" are tied together. Philosophy is a set of unproven theories or thesis. Religion, besides being the "opiate of the people" is 1. A way to explain what science and rational though has yet to explain. Over time, things that religion used to explain are now explained by science, but some choose to believe the religion over the science (as we are well aware). and 2. Religion is a method by which the powerful control the masses. Moses is an example of this. He persuaded his followers to do so with the use of "the word of gawd" chiseled in stone, no less.


The truth always seems to grant them, the winners with the factual truth, those who write the history have always been those who support the winners truth!!!


Falsifiability is important. Otherwise I get to do things like saying Aphrodite is responsible for erectile dysfunction and you should give her offerings through me until she is pleased to stop doing this. Let’s say ten guys do and 3 guys it appears to work. Those 3 tell ten guys, repeat. We now have a chain of guys taking my bullshit claim but insisting their truth is real because they experienced it. For that fourth generation guy who insists he knows people it worked for, can he demonstrate Aphrodite exists, did act, and in what manner?

That is the problem with religious methods. Every time look for the assertion they can not demonstrate, thus making their claims mere assertions.

Philosophy helps you ask better questions, but is susceptible to garbage in garbage out even if properly structured. Which is where religious philosophy fails, they still sneak that assertion in as true.

Scientific methods use provisional certainty and follow increasingly better evidence when able to.

Oh don't get me wrong, I am not saying that falsifiability is not important, it is perhaps the most important thing of all. All I am saying, is that falsifiability itself, comes out of something more basic and simpler.
You may like this. []

@Fernapple Thank you for reminding me of the elephants story. It is one of my favorites and it was first told to me in high school English class. It is surprising to me that so many of your readers had never heard it. I always assume that everyone else was taught the same stuff I was taught. Anyway, I have made reference to if is some of my teaching, but not in a formal way. I am now teaching remedial high school and middle school reading and writing, so I might actually make a lesson plan with the story at least for the upper class-persons.


All truths are personal, this despite what any God Mobster or scientist might tell you.

You may like this.

Some truths are facts. You cannot argue with facts (although many try). In the story that Fernapple refereed you to there is only one truth. The only being that the "drunks" encountered was an elephant. Some one may have perceived it as a snake, but the truth is-it is an elephant. The truth about Covid is that is it a highly contagious and deadly virus. Those are scientific facts that are not personal truths. On the other hand there, are truths that are personal as you said. Those are more abstract than the factual scientific truths discussed here. Truth is not always relative: not when it is backed by science.

@MyTVC15 I see a distinction between truths and facts. As Eugenie Scott puts it "Facts are a dime a dozen".


That's all a bit random, like an exercise in free association.

Yes I was looking for the basic drive which perhaps lay behind the technical solutions, like fasifiability.

β€œA lot of [what it means to be smart] is the ability to zoom out, like you’re in a city and you could look at the whole thing from the 80th floor down at the city. And while other people are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B reading these stupid little maps, you could just see it in front of you. You can see the whole thing.” Steve Jobs


Agreed. In science, we get closer to truth, but never, ever all the way there. And we are OK with that.

I do not think that scientists are okay with "not being all the way there". I think that part of the way that the scientific process works is that the scientists spend their entire lives pursuing the answers to the next scientific hurdle. I think that Dr. Anthony Fauci is an example of this. I think anyone working on a vaccine or advanced testing for covid are examples of this. Certainly the chemical industry, high tech industries and alternative fuel industries are examples as well. That is why we constantly have scientific advancement.

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