Refection #1: The Truth Is Out There… Or Is It?

The Truth Is Out There.

When I first typed the title phrase into Google for inspiration I was met with pictures of aliens, websites full of UFO stories and a link to the X-Files’ Wikipedia page. That was not what I imagined I should be looking for, aliens and UFO’s, maybe there’s life on other planets but a discussion for another time. The phrase can be interpreted in so many ways, to the scientist truth relates to accuracy in measurements, to the religious truth can mean finding God. For this post I’ll discuss “Truth” as related to the scientific studies.

Figure 1: First Google result to
Figure 1: First Google result to “The Truth is out there”

A year ago I had to write a paper for an atmospheric science class, at first the paper didn’t seem related to the subject field at all… The professor, a renowned meteorologist, instructed us to write a paper titled “Can We Ever Know the Truth”. Well of course we all thought he was crazy; in our minds we didn’t have to write about religious theories in a class where we’re supposed to learn about rain and clouds. But this paper was not about religion or aliens it was to teach us that everything we will ever know, the research we conduct and papers we read is subjective in some way or another and that there is no absolute truth, ever.

Can we ever know the truth? We can get close to the truth in my mind, but everything, even in the most thoroughly planned and executed studies will have errors. Is there truth in theories? Maybe. Is there absolute truth – no, theories are man-made, our experiences from us and our world view influences the way we interpret and create theories. Can instruments help us to find the truth? probably not, even if it is in the smallest percentage, there will still be underlying errors.

In my opinion we can never know the Truth, there will always be some bias in our research and theories, that’s just the nature of human beings. Instruments too will always have errors, not all variables can or will ever be accounted for.

I just wonder if I should’ve written about aliens and UFO’s, that would’ve been cooler…


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