by Dr. Ed Berry
We seek truth because truth will make us free. If we don’t find truth, we will not be free.
This may be the most important article I have written. As a theoretical physicist who knows the players in Montana politics, I may be uniquely qualified to write this article.
Here, I reveal the 3 most important rules to find truth. The rules are simple. Ninth grade students should learn these 3 rules. Yet some people, smart people, live their whole lives without learning them.
These 3 rules are the unspoken part of the scientific method. The scientific method is the only known way to separate truth from fiction. We find truth by discarding fiction.
Watch Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman explain the scientific method. You don’t need a physics education to understand it. But if you don’t understand it, you will never be a physicist. Once you learn the method and these 3 rules, you can apply your ability to find truth to all subjects.
Governor Bullock signed the CSKT Water Compact on Friday, April 24, 2015. The much too close Compact vote of 53 to 47 in Montana’s House shows how 47 smart people, including lawyers, do not understand the 3 rules to find truth.
What is truth?
Truth includes facts that we can demonstrate are true.
Truth also includes ideas who’s predictions have satisfied many tests. A future test may show them wrong. Until proven wrong, they are temporary truths.
You may believe religion brings truth to our physical world. Be careful. Religion is about the spiritual world that we cannot test or measure or disprove.
Religion is safe when it remains in matters of the spiritual world. But when people use religion to claim truth about our physical world they put their religion in danger.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church said our Earth was the center of our solar system. Copernicus and Galileo proved the Church wrong. When religion enters the physical world to challenge science, science always wins.
Today, the Catholic Church and many Protestant Churches teach that our carbon dioxide causes dangerous climate change. When religion invades the arena of science, science will ultimately trump religion.
How do we find truth?
Our search for truth requires we obey certain rules. These rules don’t exist in our DNA. They don’t exist in our religion. We must learn these rules by education.
These rules are part of the scientific method. All true scientists follow these rules. Scientists who do not follow these rules are pseudo scientists. Politicians who do not follow these rules are pseudo politicians.
Here are the rules:
Rule 1: We always must have an open mind. No matter how strong our belief in our idea or opinion, we must always seek data that might show our idea or opinion is wrong.
This means we must always read information that might prove we are wrong. If we reject contradictory information, as many do, we cannot find truth. We would subject ourselves to a life of illusion.
Why? Because in our real world we can never prove an idea is true. We only can prove an idea is false.
Rule 2: If data show our idea or opinion is wrong, we must reject our idea or opinion. If we don’t then we cannot find truth.
Sometimes, new information will prove our facts, ideas, or opinions wrong. We must always discard false facts, ideas, and opinions. That’s how we learn. That’s how we invent new things. That’s how we improve our lives.
Thomas Edison did not find the best way to build a light bulb. He found one way. First, he tried and rejected 999 ideas that were wrong.
Rule 3: If our religion prevents us from obeying Rules 1 and 2, we must reject that part of our religion. If a religion prevents us from finding the truth then it is a false religion.
How issues of truth differ from issues of opinion.
Here are issues of opinion, not truth. In politics, these would be partisan issues. Votes should be by preference.
- How should government regulate and fund medical care?
- How much should government spend on highways?
- How much should government tax and spend?
Here are issues of truth, not opinion. In politics, these should be non-partisan issues. Too many politicians can’t understand when an issue is non-partisan where truth must trump preference.
- How much does our carbon dioxide change the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide?
- How much does the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide change our climate?
- Will Montana benefit more with or without the CSKT Water Compact?
These are fundamental questions that should not enter partisan politics. The CSKT Water Compact is a non-partisan, truth issue that some politicians turned into a partisan issue.
False religions are dangerous to your freedom.
Environmentalism has become a religion. It tells its followers to “believe” our carbon dioxide causes dangerous climate change. It tells its followers to reject scientific evidence that contradicts environmentalist’s beliefs.
Some cult religions tell their followers:
- “never vote for the lesser of two evils,“
- “never change your political position,” and
- reject data that shows your principles are false.
Some cultists refuse to read information that contradicts their political opinions. They include opponents of the CSKT Water Compact who refused to read the rebuttals by proponent lawyers. They reject truth which is the only pathway to freedom.
Such cults include some Evangelical religions, Oath Keepers, and the John Birch Society. They drive the Tea Party votes in Montana. They claim to be freedom fighters but their anti-truth beliefs make them dangerous to our freedom.
By contrast, the wisdom promoted by the major Christian religions is to always vote to achieve the greater good.
To find truth, we must follow the 3 rules of the scientific method.
We must learn these 3 rules and apply them. We can’t learn them from our DNA. We can’t learn them from our religion, although religion helps when it advises:
That is, we must judge our actions and principles by the results they cause, not by how they make us feel. This is a Biblical statement of the scientific method. If the result is bad then our idea is wrong.
We must reject false “principles” and the cults that promote them. I know good people who cannot do this.
I introduce my website with this quote from the book about Ishi:
“Ishi looked upon us as sophisticated children – smart, but not wise. We knew many things, and much that was false. He knew nature, which is always true.”
We may be smart but unless we apply the 3 rules to find truth we will not be wise. We know many things, much of which is not true. Ishi knew nature or reality. Reality is the test we must use when we seek truth.