Quid est veritas

Apologies that if this post is a little choppy I’m writing on my mobile.

Amongst human beings there are many different methods for classifying information as true or perhaps valid versus not-true or invalid (which depending on your schema may not be untrue). One that is of enduring interest to me is the evaluation of truth or validity claims according to how much status belief or agreement will impart.

I’m not saying it’s a “good” way to make the distinction, but we have to admit it is probably the most popular. Nor is it simply a matter of believing whatever the ingroup you want to improve status with believes. That would be far too easy and easy things lead to status inflation.

Instead a set of rules are created for making validity evaluations, those who simply agree with the judgement of the group are in the lowest tier of status within the group. At higher levels it depends on ability to navigate the complex rules and making determinations of validity for the group.

At the very highest level of status people can actually change the rules by which truth is defined within the group, but if this is attempted without enough status it can lead to a loss of status or worse even splitting or disintegration of the group itself.

I am quite convinced that this status based method of evaluating ideas is the most important for most people. It’s a bit more complex than that, because we’re rarely only navigating our position in one group, we have to position ourselves in many different communities and identities. What strikes me about it though is how actually useless it is on the face of it for determining truth combined with how useful it has proven to be on a whole species level. Which is something I’d like to talk about more when I’m at a real keyboard.

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