We want to know the truth. Most people think they are too smart to fall for propaganda. However, we are all susceptible to cultural programming. So, these mental tools will help you distinguish fact from fiction. They don’t require any advanced mathematics or philosophy.
We firmly agree with Socrates’ assertion. Truth is obtainable, even if it is only to find what isn’t true. Axioms or maxims are tools that help us determine fact from fiction by uncovering deception. You should learn to use them in everyday life. It will surprise you at what you discover.
The Truth-Seekers Axioms
The word “Axiom” comes from the Greek axíōma, which means “something worthy,” it is also translated as “self-evident.” So, the following set of tools are beneficial. They alert us to issues with the argument’s construction or premises. They help us spot problems that affect what we understand as truth. For that reason, we review the list to keep them fresh in our minds. In this way, they help us spot issues with arguments attempting to deceive and distract us.
The truth-seekers axioms are the starting point for your journey using logic. Don’t be afraid. Logic is good. The most powerful tools are easy to use. If you want to know the truth, these tools can help.
When you spot these hypotheses’ violations, it’s a cue telling you to investigate and engage the complete framework of logical reasoning. Doing so may uncover other logical fallacies. So, we’ve put together a helpful set of tools to expose how people use arguments to sell everything from apples to ideologies.
Together these three tools are essential for today’s world. They guide us and help us find the truth about things. Group hypnosis or groupthink manipulation tactics assault us daily in politics and religion. So, you’ll find plenty of places to use these tools. Let’s jump right into these tools.
Tools to Know the Truth
1. Repeating A Lie Does Not Make it True
Repeating a lie is first on the list. It’s one you will see the most often, especially in politics and religion. This ploy is the primary element of propaganda and is the basis for modern advertising. It’s how to make a false premise acceptable. Repetition is the key. You’d think one would be easy to spot. The beauty of this ploy is that it’s almost invisible. Unless you look for it, you won’t see it.
It doesn’t matter how absurd the argument. Repetition makes it believable. That’s because the more often we see or hear it, the more we are likely to believe it. Using several types of communication methods helps to spread and solidify the message. Creating a slogan or symbol around the lie also increases belief in the false premise. Combining these makes the hypothesis more acceptable. Everyone will remember the lies about Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidental election. It all comes together with the slogan, “lock her up!”
The argument works like this. XYZ is true because many people think it is accurate or because some charismatic celebrity endorses it. Therefore, XYZ is true. Don’t fall for this. Just remember, false information remains false. Repetition does not make something accurate. Uncovering deception in advertising will save you a lot of time and money. Buy nothing until you know the truth behind the claims.
2. The Scarcity of Truth Does Not Make it a Lie
When someone tries to discredit facts due to a lack of their occurrence, they may be using sacristy as an excuse. Fresh ideas, facts, and sources are often scarce. Otherwise, they would already be well-known facts.
So, those trying to support a false position attack anything that contradicts it. Discounting facts or arguments because of their scarcity is the potential sign of an illegitimate position. A first-line defense is to debunk legitimate facts and new valid theories. Scarcity is an argument people use to discredit discoveries in science and archeology.
Western religion has a history of cleansing the populace of sources that contradict their worldview. Remember, the scarcity of data does not mean it is false and should not deter the modern-day truth-seeker.
A fact remains a fact, even if you can only find it in one place. The answer to this fallacy is doing your research. Uncovering deception often reveals how people destroy evidence. If we want to know the truth, we need to consider additional facts, even if they contradict our current understanding.
3. Ad hominem Attack
Another ploy to shift your attention away from the facts is attacking the person making the argument. Attacking the person is an Ad hominem, short for ‘argumentum ad hominem.’ It is Latin for “to the person.” The tactic here is to shift the focus from the facts to the person’s credibility presenting the idea.
Rather than face the argument or data, it’s often easier to attack the person. You’re probably familiar with this tactic. It’s another favorite of politicians. We’ve already given an example, “lock her up.” It’s short, so even the intellectually challenged can follow along, and it distracts from the actual argument.
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, it is a duck. Do not let someone sell you a duck by a different name, and it is often plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. When you intentionally conceal the source, it’s plagiarism. Violating this principle is a blatant breach of even the most liberal ethics. But this type of ethical dilemma is expected in the realm of religion. They have some interesting tactics to get around it.
The Duck Principle is one of the truth-seeker axioms the Abrahamic religions violate at every turn. Every part of their system is a rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions.
The Abrahamic religions include Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They even admit to their “borrowing of knowledge in their internal documents, The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work 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 Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907)
Take any, yes any, practice, ritual, and 90% of the quotes from the sacred texts. You can trace them all back to the mythologies mentioned above. The Church admitted to this, but not publicly. The Catholic Encyclopedia, which pre-date 1908, records these unpopular truths about their origins. These encyclopedias were for internal use and not the general public. Here they admit to adopting what they also term as “Pagan” rituals and doctrine.
The Originators Become the Heretics
Some theologians assert that the rituals and doctrines found in earlier traditions are “preconceived forgeries.” They claim that the originators are the forgers, given the information about them by the devil. So, that makes the people who created their doctrines are the heretics.
How could this be? They claim the Devil told these heretics about the future doctrines of the Church. By the way, 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. Does that make sense? No.
The problem with this argument is that it assigns omniscience to the devil. Ops. The Devil shouldn’t have the attribute of omniscience. Only God is supposed to be able to do that. The argument they use to explain plagiarism is that the earlier “Pagan” practices are preconceived forgeries. Most of the time, this argument still works within the Church.
If they admitted their regions are just a rebranding, it would give credence to the original Pagan beliefs. And the Church doesn’t like Pagans. It proves the only thing crazier than an imaginary friend is an imaginary enemy.
5. If a Document Says Something
It’s a favorite tactic of a used car salesperson. Even though the speedometer says the car has 100,000 miles, trust me, it only has 50,000 miles. It’s a maxim you can use when people try to explain away problems with their sacred texts. They claim the text means something other than what it says. They cherry-pick what they hold as authoritative and ignore the inconsistencies.
The argument is that even though the divinely inspired text says XYZ, what God meant was ABC. This argument is often necessary when a religion develops doctrines that contradict or go beyond its sacred texts’ scope. You will often find this tactic along with one or more of the other logical fallacies. Similarly, they chose which parts of the holy books are sacred and which they can ignore because “we don’t believe that way.”
The next in our list of tools deal with the denial of science and logical reasoning.
6. Discrediting Valid Science “Just Because”
It’s the one violation of our maxims that is easiest to spot. People are often straightforward with their objection to facts. Learn to question those who debunk legitimate science. Sources such as history, chemistry, archaeology, and astronomy are superior to mythology. You should use these sciences to confirm the reliability of all data.
Secular sciences and disciplines are not evil. Some claim sciences that contradict their traditions and are equivalent to a “wrong against God.” It’s simple. Trust legitimate scientific proofs and the theories which point to the truths they support. Learn the truth, and accept the conclusions of valid scientific evidence.
Of all the truth-seekers axioms, this one has the most profound effect on common sense. The popular culture dominated by religion systematically trains people to deny science.
7. False Positive Association
The close association of a lie to the truth does not turn the lie into the fact. Piggybacking on factual data is a favorite of those seeking to validate their “stuff” by associating it with reliable sources. When opportunity, access, and motive exist, beware of this tactic.
Testing the validity, applicability, and reliability of the data will show this tactic. Often the premises on which they base their argument do not correspond with the data they are trying to piggyback. To get around this dilemma, they frequently use circular logic. They say because something is valid, so too must be whatever they associate with it. When this happens, we need to ask questions about the validity of this association.
For example, there is an empty tomb in Israel, and this is a fact. But that doesn’t mean your imaginary friend was buried there and then awoke from the dead. The association with an empty grave has no basis, in fact, with your imaginary friend.
8. False Negative Association
Falsely associating a fact or truth with a lie does not turn it into a lie. Be aware of attempting to associate a socially unacceptable or religiously undesirable idea with viable data. It’s an attempt to render the fact unsuitable. Some use this ploy to make whole subjects or sources off-limits. In this way, their clientele won’t even approach the subject, let alone turn their brains on and begin thinking about it. Excluding useful sources, topics, or legitimate sciences is limiting and prejudicial.
Another sign of this tactic is banning books, prohibiting subjects or authors. If someone makes a list of what you should not read, that is Censorship.
9. The Use of Emotions to Determine Truth
It is a natural reaction to protect what you believe from threats. When you encounter facts that challenge your current worldview, you will act to protect your current belief system — even if the data is accurate. Instinctively, you react to protect your existing worldview, no matter what it is.
We understand intellectually that our emotions can not tell us if something is true or false. 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.
You need to realize that religious arguments revolve around triggering your “fight or flight” reaction. This strategy keeps you from asking the tough questions that underpin the logic and factual basis of their arguments. It’s a strategy of attaching anything that threatens the belief system with something negative, and it works effectively. And it is why we recommend the use of emotional checks. Take a break and get your mind off the subject; it will minimize your emotional reaction. Otherwise, you’ll be in a constant state of ‘fight or flight.’ Once you are calm, then you are better able to conduct your research.
Conversely, religions use this tactic in reverse. They use your emotions to keep you a paying customer. They feed them what makes them feel good. So, they build religions that are entertainment rather than inner work. It’s all about making you feel good so that you will support them. They need your money.
10. 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 religion is traceable to the Persian mystery cults of the 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, there is no objective proof of or for their mystical experience. But they don’t want you to use logic and common sense to disprove it. Do not fall for this one. Experience is not a measure of truth.
11. Misuse of Context
Taking anything out of its proper context invalidates the conclusions. It violates common sense and logic, and you’ll probably encounter this one most often in religion. You can take anything out of context to make an invalid argument.
For instance, we’ll show how to prove that the Apostles of the New Testament drove an automobile. And, not only did they drive 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). We prove the Apostles arrived in a Honda Accord station wagon through context misuse. Accord is the name of a Honda, and it must be a 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 appropriate context takes considerable backtracking, but the effort is still well worth it.
12. Determine the Validity and Reliability of Data
Take nothing at face value. All the other truth-seekers axioms lead you to this one. So, if someone is trying to sell you an idea, check their sources. Validate your data before coming to your conclusions. The key to accurate, reliable research is checking out where the information originated. Then determining if it is valid. You should ask who, what, where, when, and why:
- What is the source of information? Always use sources from outside the worldview you are researching. Bias and prejudice are trademarks of sources from those inside their worldview (paradigm).
- Who else references this data?
- What is the scope of the research behind the data?
- When did the research take place? Are there any other sources?
- First, why is this data necessary? Why is the source reputable?
- Last, why do some people support the data? Why is it others do not?
These questions align with the scientific method, which promotes healthy skepticism. It’s the mindset that brings us all the advancements of our modern world.
The Truth-Seekers Axioms Summary
Here’s a quick review to summarize or list of maxims. These mental tools are only helpful if you remember to use them.
1. Repeating A Lie Does Not Make it True. Asserting something is true because they have repeated it.
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. Beware of attempts to discredit legitimate scientific sources.
7. False Positive Association, citing an accurate source to associate false information with it.
8. False Negative Association is associating an unacceptable idea with something to render it intolerable.
9. The Use of Emotions to Determine If Something Is True or False. Be aware of people trying to elicit your emotions to sell an opinion or idea.
10. Using Mysticism as a Proof of Divine Authorship is the use of “a religious 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.
Use These Logical Axioms Daily
Uncovering deception is a necessity in our world. These 12 logical signposts will help you discern the facts from the fiction.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work 1907.
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.