TRUTH: A FUNDAMENTAL GROUNDING
THE CHALLENGE OF GLOBAL WARMING is revealing weaknesses in many (if not all) parts of our civilization. The most fundmental of these is indeed the bedrock of civiliztion and that is a common and deep understanding of the meaning of truth. A difficiency here separates people from different parts of society in meriad ways, some of which are utterly critical. An example is the interpretion of bibical teachings that excuses virtualy any behavoir because it will be forgiven by god. Hence if one wants to believe that our president's behavoir is acceptable one just calls on "the grace of God" someing that is being referred to as the weaponization of Christian scripture. Or, to put it more plainly, you believe what you wish to believe and then find the evidence to back it up. Or worse still, if you repeat any lie often enough others and even you yourself start to beleve it (something we used to refer to as "starting to believe one's own bullshit.")
There are many situations in which truth means very different things. (I will avoid our current president's reduction of truth to absurdity by turning it into random noise and his introduction of the scatalogical term "fake news" as a synonym for a lie.)
Perhaps the most disappointing and perhaps even dangerous failure is the appreciation of truth as it is meant in the hard sciences, physics especially. As a consequence truth has lost a fundamental grounding in its meaning, to the point that science has lost validity in many quarters. Truth has become what you want it to be. Religion is often a substitute and the triple fortissimo of a Noble Prize winning experiment becomes a footnote in many media.
Worse, the members of congressional science committees are often non-scientists and worse still don't believe in it.
First, perhaps would be that virtually everything we touch, encounter or use (including each other) would not exist without truth-based science. In fact we all conduct thousands of simple "scientific" experiments daily. Sitting in a chair is one: a simple test of the structural integrity of the chair. It is too obvious and common to even cross our minds. But perhaps an automobile of a new design (especially if it is guided by artifical intelligemnce) would be another story and we would be in a rather high state of anxiety during our first "drive." What reduces the anxiety is repetition. One thousand trips later it would be a different story.
In the relm of hard science, an experiment in 2015 to detect gravational waves is a stunning example of how evidence is found and verivied that is irreefutable.
I have reproduced below a result of an experiment showing for the first time the detection of gravaivational waves. The confirmation comes from two installations about 2000 miles apart detecting identical signals. Clicking on the image will take you to a wonderful, animated Wikipadia description of the experiment. To a sientist it is stunning in its perfection and extraordinary difficults. It resulted in three Nobel prices almost immediately. I happened to have read "Black Hole Blues" by Janna Leven in 2016 that was a reprint becuase the actualy discovery of the waves happened after the first edition and was only included in the epilogue.
THIS IS "TRUTH" IN THE FORM OF HARD SCIENCE. There is simply no concievable way the two signals superimposed in this illustration could have happened any other way. Doubting scientists please skulk away. It is time to believe, for this is an example of the kind of science that breeds a extremely deep confindance that truth can be nailed down.
In the following discussion of climate change this kind of confindence is, in some ways even more difficult to come about, becuase of the mixture of normal weather and that of global warming. However, experiments like this are what scientists have in mind when they want verifiable evidence.