Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There's some truth in that...

What is meant when we say, "there's some truth in that?" Do we mean that it is primarily false, with some truth, that it is true in some cases but false in others? How can that be, each statement is either false or true, and only a lack of conditional statements prevents it from being completely true of completely false.

Example. The sky is blue. False. The sky is sometimes blue, but at sunset and sunrise it is different colors. (No science, please) There's "some truth" in that statement, but the statement is still false. It's a lie. It says that the sky is blue, and since it is an absolute statement (sorry Grace, but that resolution totally was too) it must be false. The sky isn't blue. That's also false, because sometimes the sky is blue, there's some truth in that statement, but it's false.

So... the sky is sometimes blue. Yeah, that's true. There's not "some truth in that", it just is true.

So... why do we bother with the phrase "some truth in that?" What do we mean by it. I think, maybe, that we mean we don't care enough about truth to bother correcting a false statement. Of course, you don't really need to. Nothing is gained except accuracy when stating that the sky isn't actually blue.

How important is accuracy?

Micah: "Yeah, the sky is blue."
Somebody else: "Actually, that's a false statement. The sky is sometimes blue is more correct."
Micah: "Shut up." (Thinks to self that this person is a jerk.)

Which, yeah, is totally the wrong reaction on my part. But, yeah, quibbling over words, why?

"But the goal of our institution is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion."

"Preach the world be ready in season, out of season reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."

But shun fooling controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless."

Truth. Pursue it, unless it doesn't matter. Like Calvinism and Arminianism. That doesn't matter. So, maybe there's "Some truth in both" but I don't really care.


  1. But there's also a distinction between truth in statement and truth in meaning. I.e. "The sky is blue" is true in meaning. We know what you mean when you say it. And even though the literal statement is false, what you /mean/ is true. Why quibble over semantics? It's silly. Which is why literalism sucks. *cough*

  2. I think that when people say "there's some truth in that" they mean they acknowledge that part of the a statement's reasoning is correct, but part of the reasoning they disagree with. Something like when the conclusion is false, but the premises are correct.

    Even if they mean that it is true in some cases but false in others, why does all truth have to be absolute? It is true that I am fifteen years old. I'm not always going to be fifteen, but the statement is still true, now.

    But hmm...saying "there's some truth in that" is only a subset of a larger family of correcting others. And you're right, accuracy or being right doesn't always. It's just hard to tell when things are worth quibbling about. (See...I didn't have to post this comment, I can just think what I want, and you can think what you want, and I can choose not to insert my opinion. But that's not any fun.)

  3. I think I can agree with both of you.

    Lately, everything going on seems trivial. Not illogical, it just doesn't seem important. The things people argue about, get angry about, fight about, yell about... they just don't seem to matter. If I'm listening in on a conversation, it just seems like people are discussing sub-points. Everybody's "arguing definitions".

    I think I'm getting spoiled by all the awesome conversations we have. I'm just not sure if I'm the one who needs to care more about little things, or if they need to care less. Or if my perception of "little" is wrong.

  4. I think that saying the reason we say "there's some truth in that " is because we don't care enough about truth it silly :P [/end abrasive comment]

    It's really semantics, Micah. The idea is that by saying "there's some truth in that" they're also (implicitly) stating that there's some falsehood in that. No lie is completely a has to hold some bit of truth in it. "I am a walrus" has the truth of "I am" but the falsehood of "walrus" it works under the TRUE assumption of an "I" So...yeah...that's me scolding you for semantics and then using some of my own ;) (See...semantic's mean something, if it is semantically wrong and there's no way to explain away the inconsistency than I think it matters._