FORA Culture

Season 2008 Episode 1101

Battle of Ideas: The Battle for Truth

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Battle of Ideas: The Battle for Truth
AIRED:
In various ways, science, religion, philosophy and the arts all claim to represent the truth. But what truth means is different in each case, and increasingly controversial.The traditional religious idea of absolute Truth has long been considered dubious. A radical skepticism was at the heart of the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment.By the end of the 20th century, though, many feared healthy skepticism had given way to a destructive hostility to all truth claims in the guise of post modernism and various forms of relativism in politics and culture, as well as notoriously in academia.In recent years there has been a backlash against postmodern ideas and a reassertion of truth claims. From Al Gore's touting of scientific consensus against those who doubt the reality of climate change, to Pope Benedict XVI's railing against relativism in the name of religious Truth, there is a palpable yearning for certainty in a seemingly uncertain world.Politicians increasingly look to ?the science' - data passed off as truth - to legitimize 'evidence-based policies', meaning argument is replaced by conflicting research findings.Others argue religious faith is essential to a fulfilling life, and some scientists have responded by challenging religious truth claims. Disputes around ?Creationism? raise thorny questions about what is true and how to challenge untruths. If all you can rely on is scientific evidence and dry facts, what hope is there for passionate and substantive political debate? Is the search for truth merely about accepting the world as it is, or might it mean understanding the world the better to transform it? - Institute of Ideasmoreless
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