These simple logical axioms will help you distinguish fact from fiction. All you need is common sense. No need for sophisticated mathematics philosophy.
We firmly agree with Socrates’ assertion. Truth is obtainable even if it is only to determine what isn’t true. The logical axioms are tools which help is spot the fiction.
The Logical Axioms Are The Starting Point
The first two axioms are about “how” to spot tactics regarding the dissemination of information. Let’s jump right in.
1. Repeating A Lie Does Not Make it True
People use in an attempt to prove that a false premise is true. This is the essence of propaganda. Repeating an argument no matter how absurd it makes it believable. The more frequently the more will believe it. Using different mediums is also a tactic to make the argument more palatable The argument works like this. This must be true because a lot of people believe it. Similarly, because it’s a lie that’s been told a for a long time, it must be true. And, finally, because some charismatic celebrity endorses it, therefore, it must be true.
Just remember, false information remains false. It does not matter how many times it’s repeated. It doesn’t who matter who endorses it. Celebrity endorsement and endorsement by mass acceptance are ploys overcome the lack of truth.
2. The Scarcity of Truth Does Not Make it a Lie
Minimizing facts simply because they aren’t popular is a common ploy. So, this argument is a favorite ploy when attempting to debunk legitimate facts. This is especially true for recently made discoveries. Some religions that have undertaken missions to cleanse the populace of those artifacts and documents that contradict their opinions. This should not deter the modern-day truth seeker. A fact remains a fact even if it is only found in one place.
3. Ad hominem Attack
Right along with the above idea is a ploy to shift your attention away from the facts. Attacking the person is an Ad hominem (Latin for “to the person”), short for ‘argumentum ad hominem’. The idea here is to shift the focus from the facts to the credibility of the person presenting the idea. Rather than confront the data, it’s often easier to attack the person. You’re probably familiar with this tactic. It’s a favorite of politicians.
4. The Duck Principle or Plagiarism
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. And if it also has feathers and webbed feet like a duck, then it is a duck. Do not let someone sell you a duck by a different name. This is plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. When you intentionally conceal the original source it’s plagiarism. Violating this principle is an obvious breach of even the most liberal ethics. But this type of ethical dilemma is quite common in the realm of religion. They have some interesting tactics to get around it.
Example of the Duck Principle in Action
A good example is at the heart of the Abrahamic religions (The Western organized religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). These belief systems are really combinations of earlier Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian and Babylonian traditions. You can follow the breadcrumbs from here. Take any, yes any, practice, ritual and 90% of the quotes from the sacred texts. You can trace them all back to the aforementioned mythologies. The Church did admit to this, but not publicly. The Catholic Encyclopedia older than 1908 record truths for internal use. Here they admit to adopting what they also term as “Pagan” rituals and doctrine.
“The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907) … the Church has borrowed without hesitation from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and to all nations. In such matters as these, Christianity claims no monopoly or originality.”
The Originators Become Heretics
Some still assert rituals or doctrines recorded in ancient cultures which are identical to theirs are actually “preconceived forgeries”. Yes, they assert that the earlier originators are actually the forgers and not them. The people who created their doctrines are the heretics. How could this be? They argue that these people were possessed by the Devil and then told about the future doctrines of the Church. This includes all the sacred texts and practices. In this way, they could write it down and practice all the rituals eons before the Church existed.
The problem with this argument is that it assigns the attribute of omniscience to the devil. Ops. The Devil shouldn’t have the attribute of omniscience. Only God is supposed to be able to do that. They use this argument to explain the plagiarism. They maintain the “Pagan” origins are preconceived forgeries of their sacred doctrines. And, most of the time it this argument actually still works within the Church. Because “believers” believe what they are told.
Why not just admit where all the stuff came from? Because that would admit to that the source of all of their beliefs are really”Pagan” mythology. And they don’t like Pagans. This proves the only thing crazier than an imaginary friend is an imaginary enemy.
5. If a Document Says Something, Then That Is What It Says
This is a favorite tactic of used car salesmen. Even though the speedometer says the car has 100,000 miles, trust me, it really only has 50,000 miles. So, you’ll find this one one of the axioms useful when people sacred texts for their arguments. They claim the text really means something other than what it says. They cherry-pick what they hold as authoritative and ignore the inconsistencies.
The argument is essentially even though the divinely inspired text says XYZ, what God really meant was ABC. This argument is often necessary when a religion develops doctrines that contradict or go beyond the scope of their sacred texts. You will often find this tactic used in combination with one or more of the other false logical tactics listed in this section. Similarly, they chose which parts of the texts are sacred and which they can ignore because “we don’t believe that way”.
The next in our list of axioms deal with the denial of science and logical reasoning.
6. Discrediting Valid Science
This is one of the axioms that is probably the one that’s easiest to spot. People are often straightforward with the opinions. Anyone attempting to debunk legitimate sources such as history, chemistry, archaeology, and astronomy are suspect. You should use these sciences to validate or invalidate the reliability of documents or doctrines written in past antiquity. These secular sciences and disciplines are not inherently bad or evil, as some would have us believe. However, this does not prevent some of the largest organized religions from asserting that the use of these sciences to contradict their traditions is tantamount to a “wrong against God”. It’s simple. Trust legitimate scientific proofs and the theories which point to the truths they support.
7. False Positive Association
The close association of a lie to the truth does not turn the lie into the truth. This “piggybacking“ on the truth is a favorite of those seeking to validate their “stuff” by associating it with a reliable work. When opportunity, access, and motive exist, truth seekers should not overlook the possibility of this false positive association. Testing the validity, applicability, and reliability of the data will reveal this tactic. Often the premises on which the argument for the association is based on circular logic. That is because more reliable work is valid, their doctrines must also be valid because they have adopted the more factual work as their own. This is one of the axioms that leads directly to ask questions about the validity of this association.
8. False Negative Association
Falsely associating a fact or truth with a lie does not turn it into a lie. Be aware of the attempt to associate a socially unacceptable or religiously undesirable idea with a viable fact in order to render the fact unacceptable. This type of argument is also used to make certain facts or whole subjects or sources off limits. In this way, a spiritual leader’s clientele won’t even approach the subject, let alone turn their brains on and begin thinking about it. Excluding valid sources, subjects or legitimate sciences is limiting and prejudicial. A good sign is a “banned book” or subject or author list.
9. The Use of Emotions to Determine If Something Is True or False
When you encounter facts or arguments that you feel threaten or challenge your current paradigm, you will have a tendency to react negatively in order to protect your current belief system— even if the data is true. Instinctively, you react to protect your current paradigm, no matter what it is.
We understand intellectually that our emotions have don’t determine if something is true or not. However, when something violates our sacred ground we still react. When you “feel” some idea or fact threatening your emotional equilibrium, stop and take a break. Most importantly, you need to realize that religions are often designed to trigger your “fight or flight” reaction. This is a strategy to keep you from asking the tough questions which underpin the logic and factual basis of many religions. It’s a strategy of attaching anything that threatens the belief system with something negative. And, it works effectively. So, you need to employ the practice of emotional checks. Take a break. Do something to get your mind off the subject. This minimizes your emotional reaction. Otherwise, you’ll be in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’. Once you aren’t upset then continue with the research.
Conversely, there are many who use this tactic to keep their paying customers by feeding them what makes them feel good. So, they build reigions that are entertainment rather than inner work. It’s all about the experience. They want you to feel good. They need your money.
10. Utilizing Mysticism as a Proof of Divine Authorship
This strategy has been around for eons. If they can get you to believe whatever they are selling came from God, then it must be true. The argument goes like this, “I know something that I can’t communicate or prove to you. However, my mystical experience alone is proof of “divine authorship”. Its use in Western is traceable to the Persian mystery cults of first century CE in Rome. The Persian “Eureka” model goes as follows. If you get it, you got it. If you didn’t get it, you can’t understand it, but there is no way to be sure you got it. Get it?
You’ll often find this argument made by a seller with a superiority complex. They want you to feel inferior for not experiencing or knowing what they know. However, their mystical experience cannot be proven. But they certainly don’t want you to use logic and common sense to disprove it. Do not fall for this one.
11. Misuse of Context
Taking anything out of its proper context invalidates the conclusions derived from the proposed argument. It is a simple violation of logic. However, you’ll probably this one more than any other tactic. You can take anything out of context and make it mean almost anything. As an example, we’ll show how to prove that the Apostles of the New Testament drove an automobile. Not only that they drove a car. We can tell you the make and model! Just look at the following scripture: “So continuing daily with ‘one accord‘ in the temple.” Acts 2:46a (NKJ). By misuse of context, we prove the Apostles arrived in a Honda Accord station wagon. Accord it the name of a Honda. And, it must be station wagon for them all to fit.
Of course, this type of argument is pure nonsense. But the conclusions we reached pale in comparison to the creativity of some religious institutions. The truth seeker should always be on the lookout for the proper context. In some ancient texts, finding the proper context takes considerable backtracking, but the effort is always well worth it.
12. Always Determine the Validity, Applicability, and Reliability of Data
Don’t take anything at face value. All of the other axioms lead you to this one. If someone is trying to sell you an idea check their sources. Validate your own data before coming to your own conclusions. The key to accurate reliable research checking out where the information came from. Then determining if it is valid. You should ask, who, what, where, when and why:
- Where does data come from? Always use sources from outside the paradigm you are researching. Bias and prejudice are trademarks of sources from those inside the paradigm.
- Who else references this data?
- What is the scope of the research behind the data?
- When was the research conducted? Are there any other sources?
- First, why is this data important? And, why is the data found here or there? Why is the source reputable or unreputable? Lastly, why do some people support the data, why not?
Using unverified resources without validation always leads to wrong conclusions.
A quick review to summarize. These axioms are only useful if you remember to use them.
1. Repeating A Lie Does Not Make it True. Asserting something is true because it’s told a number of times.
2. The Scarcity of Truth Does Not Make it a Lie. Attempts to debunk limited sources of truth.
3. Ad hominem Attack. Attack the credibility of the source instead of confronting the idea
4. The Duck Principle or Plagiarism. Asserting the original is a preconceived forgery.
5. If a Document Says Something, Then That Is What It Says. Attempts to explain away what is in writing
6. Discrediting Valid Science. Anyone attempting to debunk legitimate sources such as history, chemistry, archaeology, and astronomy.
7. False Positive Association. When valid sources are cited attempting to associate false information.
8. False Negative Association. Associating an unacceptable idea with a valid fact to render the fact unacceptable.
9. The Use of Emotions to Determine If Something Is True or False. Be aware of people trying to elicit your emotions in order to sell an opinion or idea.
10. Utilizing Mysticism as a Proof of Divine Authorship. Using personal experience as proof of divine authorship.
11. Misuse of Context. Watch for the connection between their premise and the context.
12. Always Determine the Validity, Applicability, and Reliability of Data. Above all, check and recheck the validity of the data before you come to any conclusions. Ask the questions, who, what, where, when and why.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
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The content of this article is from “How to Find the Truth: A truth-seeking guide for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans and anyone with a desire to find the truth. By J. J.B, 2001.