Author Topic: Truth Isn't Truth  (Read 2254 times)

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Offline brilligtove

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Truth Isn't Truth
« on: August 24, 2018, 12:25:19 AM »
If you ignore the spin, politicing, and jerknuggets, Rudy had an actual point. What he meant to say, I think, is that your truth and mine can be incompatable because humans are seething vats of cognitive bias. What personA and personB recall of a situationC - or experienced in the same situationC - might have little intersection. A and B need not be lying, or even wrong in a traditional sense. They might have experienced situationC as an almost entirely different event, compared to the other.

Leaving aside the Orwellian phrasing, Rudy has a point. Eyewitness testamony is an example of "truth isn't truth." It is notoriously unreliable (to the extent that I think it should be disallowed).

Given that truth isn't truth, how do we pursuade and influence people to do good?

(VERY aware that the question is a semantic flustercluck, thanks. Start simple, perhaps?)
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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2018, 12:35:00 AM »
Nah, he doesn't have a point about what he's saying he does.  He's expressing a truth and distorting it to serve his purposes.  If his version of "the truth" were correct, no witnesses of a crime would ever be credible if anyone else disputed them.  It's not just a matter of testimony, it's a matter of how that testimony fits with the rest of the evidence. 

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 12:41:48 AM »
This is in the philosophy channel because I don't want to talk specifically about Giuliani. The broader questions I was hoping to deal with include the falability of memory, the inaccuracies of experience, and the biases of being human... and helping people who are not skeptics deal with those realities.

That is what I want to talk about. Whether we do or not is another matter. :)
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 12:45:26 AM by brilligtove »
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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 02:46:10 AM »
Yeah, I figured.  I just completely disagree with the notion that Rudy had anything approaching a point or intended to say anything that comes close to being true.  He used something that's true to deceive and mislead people and that's not at all the same thing as speaking or attempting to speak a truth.  At any rate, that aside while I agree that testimonial truth is on the lower end of the spectrum of reliability, I disagree with the notion that it's worthless.  It really all depends on what else we know about the event, what other evidence is available in relation to the event, and the consequences of believing or disbelieving the testimony.  If someone is robbed at gunpoint from behind and the only direct evidence pointing towards the perpetrator is a bystander who saw the whole thing and can recognize the suspect, then I disagree with the concept of throwing it out altogether because it's not the best kind of evidence.  Should the person be convicted based solely on that testimony?  More likely than not, no, but introduce some additional evidence to corroborate it then yeah, maybe.  Certainly if not a criminal conviction than a civil finding since the burden is far less.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2018, 04:35:58 AM »
Brilligtove is right in a way. . . .There are many cases of innocence where the chief evidence against the defendant is eye witness testimony. In some cases it is really bad with the testimony being many years later after a shotty police line up.

http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/causes-of-wrongful-convictions/
Eyewitness Misidentification
Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. Over 75 percent of DNA exoneration cases have involved convictions based on mistaken identification evidence. A variety of factors can affect the reliability of an identification, mainly the simple fallibility of human memory.

I will bet you that Giuliani would never give defendants in a criminal trial that is not a rich friend the same consideration however.  Your title tainted the discussion just like whenever I hear "Freedom" or "Family", I think it is something almost nefarious.
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Offline CookieMustard

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 07:38:16 AM »
If you ignore the spin, politicing, and jerknuggets, Rudy had an actual point. What he meant to say, I think, is that your truth and mine can be incompatable because humans are seething vats of cognitive bias. What personA and personB recall of a situationC - or experienced in the same situationC - might have little intersection. A and B need not be lying, or even wrong in a traditional sense. They might have experienced situationC as an almost entirely different event, compared to the other.

Leaving aside the Orwellian phrasing, Rudy has a point. Eyewitness testamony is an example of "truth isn't truth." It is notoriously unreliable (to the extent that I think it should be disallowed).


So are you saying that all eyewitness testimony is a "perjury trap"?

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2018, 09:46:05 AM »
Rudy's ploy was similar to pulling out "Yeah, but what about quantum physics?" when talking about homeopathy. It is intended misdirection.

At some point in the "What is Truth?" question you have to lay down markers of context. If our context is "rational human beings struggling to live in community with one another," then Rudy and Trump are just plain full of s**t.

If you try to set the marker "higher up" then you either get quickly into supernatural "God-meaning" or you realize that we are part of the natural move toward entropy in the universe, and we are all just fleeting blips of energy in space-time.

I prefer to live in the "rational human beings struggling to live in community with one another" sub-universe, which makes philosophy and religion much simpler.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2018, 09:59:32 AM »
I agree with brilling.

Giuliani had a point.   His point was basically, so what happens if Trump testifies and his testimony is different from Cohen's or whoever else?  In the absence of any other evidence, it proves nothing.  Oddly, well known since the film Rashomon but generally ignored.

Brill's other point, I think, is that we can use this as an educational moment and convince some of our fellow citizens that memory and eye witnesses are unreliable. 
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 10:01:59 AM by Ah.hell »

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2018, 10:07:37 AM »
I agree with brilling.

Giuliani had a point.   His point was basically, so what happens if Trump testifies and his testimony is different from Cohen's or whoever else?  In the absence of any other evidence, it proves nothing.  Oddly, well known since the film Rashomon but generally ignored.

Brill's other point, I think, is that we can use this as an educational moment and convince some of our fellow citizens that memory and eye witnesses are unreliable.

But it is not just Cohen, as we will see. What will Allen Weisselberg (the Trump CFO) testify to, or the clerks who made the entries, or the other people in the room? We live in a "consensus of truth" sub-universe, which is being severely strained at the moment by irrational cultists.
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Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2018, 10:54:52 AM »
I agree with brilling.

Giuliani had a point.   His point was basically, so what happens if Trump testifies and his testimony is different from Cohen's or whoever else?  In the absence of any other evidence, it proves nothing.  Oddly, well known since the film Rashomon but generally ignored.

Brill's other point, I think, is that we can use this as an educational moment and convince some of our fellow citizens that memory and eye witnesses are unreliable.

But it is not just Cohen, as we will see. What will Allen Weisselberg (the Trump CFO) testify to, or the clerks who made the entries, or the other people in the room? We live in a "consensus of truth" sub-universe, which is being severely strained at the moment by irrational cultists.

And...Weisselberg has just been given immunity.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/allen-weisselberg-longtime-trump-organization-cfo-is-granted-immunity-by-federal-prosecutors-in-michael-cohen-investigation-1535121992
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2018, 12:09:57 PM »
I agree with brilling.

Giuliani had a point.   His point was basically, so what happens if Trump testifies and his testimony is different from Cohen's or whoever else?  In the absence of any other evidence, it proves nothing.  Oddly, well known since the film Rashomon but generally ignored.

Brill's other point, I think, is that we can use this as an educational moment and convince some of our fellow citizens that memory and eye witnesses are unreliable.

That was where I was going, but I doubt that this community can compartmentalize enough to focus on that without getting sucked into specific politics.
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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2018, 12:55:36 PM »
That was where I was going, but I doubt that this community can compartmentalize enough to focus on that without getting sucked into specific politics.

Well, I think that's an issue of framing.  For illustration, I rewrote it to eliminate what I saw as pointers toward 'Giuliani's defense of Trump.' 

Context and Orwellian phrasing aside, there's an actual point here. All perception is biased. Persons A and B can experience an event and have little overlap in their recollections.

Here's an important example: The, "truth," of eyewitness testimony, "isn't truth."  Studies show it to be unreliable. So unreliable that I even think it should be disallowed).

Given that truth isn't truth, how do we persuade and influence people to do good?

(VERY aware that the question is a semantic flustercluck, thanks. Start simple, perhaps?)
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 01:15:55 PM by Soldier of FORTRAN »
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Offline wastrel

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2018, 01:08:06 PM »
That was where I was going, but I doubt that this community can compartmentalize enough to focus on that without getting sucked into specific politics.

Don't do that.

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2018, 02:34:28 PM »
I agree with brilling.

Giuliani had a point.   His point was basically, so what happens if Trump testifies and his testimony is different from Cohen's or whoever else?  In the absence of any other evidence, it proves nothing.  Oddly, well known since the film Rashomon but generally ignored.

Brill's other point, I think, is that we can use this as an educational moment and convince some of our fellow citizens that memory and eye witnesses are unreliable.
See I disagree, what is true is true regardless of whether the testimony all agrees or disagrees. We don't demand unimpeachable truth as evidence in court either, we go by standards of evidence like "probable cause" and "reasonable doubt" instead because we know we can't expect perfect knowledge. Giuliani is fundamentally confusing truth for the gestalt of truth that we call "fact" in court. If I shot JFK and fired 12 bullets, but only 3 are recovered and accounted for at my trial, the truth is 12 bullets and not 3.

The truth of the matter is that Giuliani is narrowly redefining truth in order make a statement true, akin to religious jargon.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2018, 03:26:19 PM »
I agree with brilling.

Giuliani had a point.   His point was basically, so what happens if Trump testifies and his testimony is different from Cohen's or whoever else?  In the absence of any other evidence, it proves nothing.  Oddly, well known since the film Rashomon but generally ignored.

Brill's other point, I think, is that we can use this as an educational moment and convince some of our fellow citizens that memory and eye witnesses are unreliable.
See I disagree, what is true is true regardless of whether the testimony all agrees or disagrees. We don't demand unimpeachable truth as evidence in court either, we go by standards of evidence like "probable cause" and "reasonable doubt" instead because we know we can't expect perfect knowledge. Giuliani is fundamentally confusing truth for the gestalt of truth that we call "fact" in court. If I shot JFK and fired 12 bullets, but only 3 are recovered and accounted for at my trial, the truth is 12 bullets and not 3.

The truth of the matter is that Giuliani is narrowly redefining truth in order make a statement true, akin to religious jargon.
While I don't think you are wrong, I think you are giving this much more thought than Giuliani.  I do think he was trying to point out that these cases it is effectively he said she said. 

But it is not just Cohen, as we will see. What will Allen Weisselberg (the Trump CFO) testify to, or the clerks who made the entries, or the other people in the room? We live in a "consensus of truth" sub-universe, which is being severely strained at the moment by irrational cultists.
In which case what does Trump's testimony add?

 

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