What Happens When Every Idea Is True?

Rhett Allain
5 min readFeb 4, 2021
Photo: Rhett Allain. A view of New Orleans from across lake Pontchartrain proves the Earth isn’t flat

Scene: Two humans (A and B) meet near the water cooler at work. Or maybe they are just talking on the phone. I don’t know.

A: My parents finally got the vaccine for COVID. Too bad I can’t get it yet.

B: Oh? That’s too bad. Maybe you will get it soon.

A: Are you going to get it this month?

B: Me? Ummm….no way. I’m not putting that thing in my body. No thank you.

A: You don’t want the vaccine? Shouldn’t you get it?

B: Do you know how many people have DIED from the vaccine?

A: I’m pretty sure it’s zero. Zero deaths from the vaccine.

B: OH NO! It’s LOTS OF DEATHS. I read it online. I’m not gonna die.

A: News flash. Over 400 THOUSAND people in USA alone have died so far. I think you should be more concerned about dying from COVID than from the vaccine.

B: Well, no one knows the truth. You believe what you want, and I will believe what I want. I believe that the vaccine is more dangerous than COVID (which might not even be real).

This was not a real conversation. But it’s real. All too real. What is true, what is not true? Is EVERYTHING TRUE?

  • Did humans really land on the moon in 1969 or was it actually faked in a studio? Look it up.
  • Evolution isn’t real. There’s no way I’m related to a monkey. Just think about it for yourself.
  • The average temperature of the Earth is actually DECREASING, not increasing. Anyway, if it was increasing it’s just because of solar activity. Do your research.
  • The Earth is flat. Use your common sense.
  • Elvis is alive. I saw him.

So, here we are — the age of truth. Every idea is true. But what does this have to do with science?

Truth and the Nature of Science

Part of the problem is that science doesn’t give us the truth. Instead, science is the process of building models. We can never actually know what’s “true”. Indiana Jones said it best:

Archeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it’s truth you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down…

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Rhett Allain

Physics faculty, science blogger of all things geek. Technical Consultant for CBS MacGyver and MythBusters. WIRED blogger.