Why Science Should Abandon “Truth”

Bennett P.

The word “true” is not ill-defined. The definition of true is “in accordance with fact or reality”, and if true was only used properly, it would be a perfect word. A more realistic definition of true, is “in accordance with personal belief or what is assumed to be reality.”. If people are to believe only facts supported by evidence truth would work, but considering the vast majority of people determine truth based on what they believe, a better system to determine what one should believe as fact is needed to replace “true”.

The reason why this is necessary is that most of the general public often misunderstands messages from the scientific community. Some specific words are often misunderstood such as “theory” and “possible”. For example, it is possible Santa Claus is real, although all evidence points to the contrary. As for theory, it doesn’t mean a guess, and theories never become facts, so although evolution is “just a theory” that doesn’t really mean anything. Below is a sample of what a ranking system like this would look like. Realistically, something like this will never overthrow the common use of “true”, but perhaps it could be useful for clarity. If a system were to be implemented which ranked ideas on a scale of truth, this would make it easier for regular people to understand because there would be far less confusion.

Proposed Levels of Truth
Level 7: Truth Indisputable fact, no possible alternatives exist. I challenge you to come up with an example besides existence exists, or the more famous I think therefore I am
Level 6: Facts supported by evidence with no alternative theories that are also possible. A general consensus in the scientific community agrees it to be fact; there is no practical reason to disagree with it. Example: The theory of gravity is correct.
Level 5: Theories supported by evidence with alternate theories that are possible. There is evidence to suggest Homo Sapiens bred with Homo Neanderthalensis and so they were bred into our species, but there is also evidence to suggest disease brought by Homo Sapiens killed the Neanderthals. This means both these alternatives are true with a level 5 certainty.
Level 4: Probable based on what we know, but little to know evidence to support it. Assuming with a level 5 certainty that stars are real and some stars are observable, we can say with level 4 truth that there are other stars we have not yet found.
Level 3: Possible based on what we know, but little to no evidence to support it. Assuming with a level 5 certainty that stars are real and some stars are observable, we can say with level 3 truth that there are at least 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 other stars we have not yet found.
Level 2: Belief Something an individual considers fact, without any guaranteed truth. Example: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are real.
Level 1: Possible if we assume everything on levels 3-6 is incorrect. It technically possible that nothing we have learned in science is true, and thus anything is possible. Example: It is possible everyone on Earth except for you are squids in disguise.
Level 0: False No one believes it is true including the person who is saying it, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest it is true, and there is seemingly overwhelming evidence to suggest it is false. Example: Everything that is purple is made of rotten mushrooms.
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