I once made an absurd statement to my friends. I said "There are no
There are no facts.
What I meant by this was that there is no universal truth, that
everything is distorted by the person perceiving the truth. It has been
shown time and again that science is fallible and constantly changing;
what we take as fact one year may not be the same thing the next. Case
in point, Newton's laws, which were largely accepted as "truth" until
Einstein turned them on their ear.
I then talked about how what I though of as yellow could be green
for someone else, not in that the wavelengths of light were different,
but that the way my brain interpreted color was different is
different. There are people who make strong associations between color
and other symbols, for instance the letter "C" might "look" green to
these people. Perceptions are different because our senses are
fallible, and since our senses connect us to the world, the way we
perceive the world is not necessarily the way it really is. Our brains
are left to interpret shadows of reality, shadows which may be
different for different people.
So obviously I got made fun of, so I gave it up and we moved on
to other topics.
It was really my misuse of the word fact that got me in trouble. A
fact is, as tim three put it, "an opinion with monopoly
power". An opinion. So a large number of people, a group of
scientists for instance, can get together and decide that some
theory is correct, because none of their experiments have been
able to disprove it. The theory becomes a fact, but as this does not
necessarily make it universally true.
Even everyday things, like the fact that I went to work today, can
be disputed. Things like that are contestable because my boss could
say he didn't see me at work and therefore I was not there, never mind
the fact that my boss works at home, and I work at the office. This is
a fictional example of the people with the power rewriting history to
their own advantage. In this case, maybe my boss doesn't want to pay
me. Even what I think is the truth could be false, if I was dreaming
or in a coma or something. Even facts like this, which are irrefutable
to one person, can easily be doubted by some other person.
Science and religion have, still are, and probably always will
contest the true nature of the Universe. Everybody seems to think they
have the "right" answer. You can blame it on God, or you might think
the Universe just sort of did it itself (i.e. Big Bang), or maybe
you just don't know. The truth is in dispute, and people or
communities of people that share the same views like to tell everybody
else what the "truth" is.
So in the end, for me, there are widely accepted truths and facts which aren't absolute truths. I feel that it's up to the
individual to find their own truths, especially in matters of spirit. A person can alway try to convince
you that what they think is true *is* the one truth, but really,
there's as many truths as there are people to interpret the world
multiplied by the number of things there are to interpret.