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Rated: ASR · Essay · Contest Entry · #2210724
Can there ever be such a thing? Why? Why Not? January 2020
'Absolute Truth'

The subject of this essay concerns both science and religion; as a natural-born skeptic I have great difficulty in accepting such a thing as 'absolute truth' exists at all.

Taking science first, it is true that this deals with data. Numbers, observations, reactions... all give rise to scientific theories which are then held to be true. I have two main problems with this.

As with any data, it is all in the interpretation what it says. I'm no scientist, but there have been plenty of times, I'm sure, when the same data has been used by different scientists to back completely opposing 'scientific fact'. If the data represented an 'absolute truth' surely there would only be one way of reading it.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, what is held up as being a scientific fact changes as the ability to gather and 'read' data increases through scientific progress. Two instances of this spring to mind; the first, diet. What is claimed to be 'good' for us changes year by year as scientists analyze more and more data. Then take antibiotics, the miracle cure for so many illnesses. They have been prescribed so often that bugs and bacteria have evolved their own immunity and we are now left more exposed to many infections than ever.

Another thing to think about: most scientific research is sponsored. Some by drug companies, some by big business and some by governments. Each of these have their own desired 'absolute truths', and I can't help wondering how much integrity is buried by the necessity for sponsorship.

Religion is a very touchy subject. I am an atheist, but I respect others rights to believe whatever they wish to believe, so long as it does not harm anyone else. The thing with religion is that it is impossible to prove or disprove. Creation is a minefield - no matter how much science 'proves' how life began, those that believe that creation was an act of some god will keep going backwards. Where did the universe come from?

No matter how much 'evidence' is produced, those that 'believe' will either refuse to see it or explain it away. There can be no disputing that the bible was a book written by man, not any form of god; the same applies to any religious text. The power of religion is that so many people choose to believe in it, but there is no way that they can claim 'absolute truth', especially as it primarily deals with what happens to a person after death.

Science and religion have long been at loggerheads with each other and it is difficult to see how that can change. As far as 'absolute truth' goes, both leave me just as skeptical as I have always been.

(460 words)

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