Simple and Complex Perceivable Truths
Shown at left are three Perceivable Truths about aspects of Ultimate Reality that help understand the concept of
The first Perceivable Truth, about the source of the first manmade Earth satellite, is simple because the related evidence indicates
only one plausible alternative view (red). Possibly very implausible alternative views exist, which are represented by the yellow area.
The black area represents the very small probability that the Ultimate Truth is different from any known alternative view.
Because there is only one plausible alternative view, the perceptions of most people are consistent with this view, and people
in different cultures around the world agree with one another.
The second Perceivable Truth, about dinosaur extinction, is more complex. It consists of at least three somewhat plausible
alternative views. These views include the relatively recent "huge meteor impact" view, the "ice age" view, and the "disease" view.
Perhaps there are other somewhat plausible alternative views not represented in the figure. The black area represents the probability
that no currently known alternative view is the correct explanation for dinosaur extinction. The people's perceptions about dinosaur
extinction vary considerably due to the multiple alternative views. Even experts can disagree because they may be biased in favor of
one or another alternative view or may be particularly familiar with evidence favoring one view over another.
The third Perceivable Truth, about the composition of matter, is even more complex because the related evidence can be
interpreted in many ways and because the evidence indicates that we are far from understanding the Ultimate Truth about matter.
The alternative views include the "particles" view (in which electrons, quarks, and other so-called fundamental particles are
point particles with no size), the "strings" view (in which the fundamental units of matter are vibrating strings), and various
other views. Again, the black area represents the probability that none of the views is a correct representation of
Ultimate Truth about matter. In spite of the great uncertainty about what matter is, textbooks lead people to believe
that one or another view is the correct description of Ultimate Truth. This was probably true a century ago when
scientists had views about matter which we now know were wrong. Surely most (or all) of today's alternative views are also
partially or totally wrong. Nevertheless, proponents of one or another view are inclined to portray their favorite theories as accurate
representations of Ultimate Truth.
Perceivable Truth about matter is an example of important Perceivable Truths that are impossible to fully understand and
can only be approximated in our minds. Most of the alternative views of matter are complicated and it takes
time and a background in physics and mathematics to understand how they explain the huge body of related evidence.
And understanding one alternative view about matter can make it more difficult to understand another view that is fundamentally
different. For this and other reasons, people's perceptions of the composition of matter (and other complex subjects such as
the origins of life) are usually simple relative to the Perceivable Truth.