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February 12, 2005

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"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

Those who are certain they know what is true almost certainly are mistaken."

You're a hypocrite.

Well, Tait, you have a point. In some ways I am a hypocrite. But the very fact that I can honestly write that last sentence argues against it: I try my best to see things, and myself, as they are--not as how I want them to be. Another reader emailed me on the same subject, asking if I believed that it is possible to know part of the truth. Here's my reply:

"Regarding absolute and relative truth, sure, I believe it is possible to know part of the truth truly. That’s what science is all about. And we couldn’t live our daily lives without being confident that what we believe to be true really is.

That [Gide] quotation, like all 'one-liners' (or two-liners) is more thought-provoking than rigorous. When I read the Gide quote I immediately thought of people, me included at one time (and perhaps now also), who believe they have it all figured out—whatever 'it' is. If 'it' is the really big questions of life, and not just the small questions (why is the garbage disposal stuck?), then I think Gide’s point is well taken."

I'd say that evolution vs. creationism is a comparatively small question in the big scheme of things. For life and the universe can be observed, whereas God and all things spiritual cannot, by definition (something spiritual isn't physical and thus open to observation; if it could be, then it wouldn't be spiritual).

This is why if I'm a hypocrite, I'm a mild one. For I do believe that partial truth can be found and described. As above, this is the role of science. Science has found that the theory of evolution is the best explanation of how life on Earth has changed over the past several billion years. That's a fact. That's the truth.

My basic criticism of creationism is that believers in it aren't willing to face those facts. They have no idea who or what God is, or how God operates, yet they claim they know how creation occurred. To my mind, that is the real hypocrisy.

I've been called a devil worshipper for saying less than what I've read on this site in the last few minutes; truth is knowable to the individual, and believable only as far as reason allows. It's wonderful that you are able to delve objectively into the subjectivity of truth, however subjectively you do so. You almost make me want to believe in God again.

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