Monday, October 30, 2006

Muy Interesante

So everyone here is something interesting that I think you might enjoy-
This is a passage from a speech by Dudley Malone during the Scopes trial, and he was speaking for the prosecution. Just for those who don't know the Scopes trial was a product of the conflicting cultural cross current of the era. It was trial for a teacher from Dayton who was accused of teaching evolution, which was against the law at that time, and was put on trial to see if he should be charged with the $100 fine that was the punishment of doing such a thing. However the trial turned far more into as Roger Baldwin put it "the good book against Darwin, bigotry against science, or as popularly put, god against monkeys." It became a defining point in the history of Americans morals and beliefs. Even though Malone was on the prosecution he felt the genesis and evolution were not in conflict. So here is his closing statement with a tribute to the power of truth:

"Truth always wins and we are not afraid of it. The truth is no coward. The truth does not need the law. The truth does not need the forces of government. The truth does not need Mr. Bryan (prosecuter) The truth is imperishable, eternal, and immortal and needs no human agency to support it. We are ready to tell the truth as we understand it and we do not fear all truth that they can present as facts. We are ready. We are ready. We feel we stand with progress. We feel that we stand with science. We feel that we stand with intelligence. We feel that we stand with fundemental freedom in America. We are not afraid. Where is fear? We meet it. Where is fear? We defy it..."

Thoughts ideas? anyone


RKadlec said...

I disagree. Truth does not always win, especially in court cases. People lie all the time and no one would know otherwise unless you find evidence to prosecute the liar. People, especially people with something to hide or an alternative agenda, are always afraid of the truth. Afraid of the truth coming out, being exposed. Maybe truth in and of itself isn't a coward, but the people who use it to their own advantage and those who cower behind it are certainly afraid and cowards themselves. Truth doesn't need the law to survive, per say, or prosper. But it always helps when you have truth AND the law on your side. Whether people choose to believe your truth is up to them, you've no control over it.

Vvyynn said...

Well, Miss Cadillac, I don't think we're arguing about the winability of truth, although I'll give a little rant about it now. I agree. I think from an early age we're taught that Truth and justice will always win, because truth and justice are good and good things always win. This is a bunch of idealistic hoo-haw. Really, truth and justice seldom win. It's always the ones with the most money or the most popularity or the most publicity that wins, not the ones who are "More Truthful". Truth is a joke that nobody laughs at.

Anyhoo, the true question presented here is wether truth is universal. TOK says "Yes", I say "No". Or rather, if there is a universal truth we'll never find it, so STOP TRYING. Focus your energy on something better and more productive. Like me. I'm sitting at a computer and making pessimistic rantings. That's productive, right? Right?

So, yes, we are force fed that truth will always win, but it seldom does, and truth (the fancy universal kind, not that plain old subjective) does not exist.

kelly said...

I do agree with the speech. Although in certain situations the truth isn't necessarily presented as such it is in fact the truth. No matter what we as humans do to try to prove what we see as the truth, it will always be there no matter what it is labeled as.

Scummy said...

Since this question originally pertained to truth's place in the justice system, I feel inclined to discuss quite possibly one of my favorite cognitive psychologists since Noam Chomsky. Heck, she makes Steven Pinker look like Benjamin Lee Whorf!
Ha ha!

But seriously.

Her name is Elizabeth Loftus, and she is a mensch. She performed an experiment to see how 'true' court testimonies are. See, she'd show people videos of, say, car crashes, wait a week, and then ask them to describe the incident. The kicker was that she used different verbs in the questions she asked, so:
Control: "How fast was car 1 going when it bumped into car 2?"
Experimental: "How fast was car 1 going when it smashed into car 2?"

More loaded words consistently yeilded higher (and wrong-er) speed estimates. But these estimates were, in fact, the eyewitnesses' 'truth.' This is the same truth on whose basis men and women are put in jail every day. And it is very much subjective.

So there, Mssr. Scopes!