My first wine tasting experiance... for my history buffs
What follows is part of a conversation with a theophobe as well as some additions for a deeper understanding for the readers of my blog (some of which you may have already read). Enjoy. I know I enjoyed the discussion and possibly making a bigoted person rethink her position, or at least instill in them a yearning for real history and knowing the difference between rhetoric and truth.
Late September turned into an opportunity for my wife and me to visit some wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley. We met up with some friends and family members, as well as some of their friends/co-workers. These family member's/friend's co-workers I speak of all work at a public school. So the direction of the conversation didn't necessarily surprise me, but it sure did dishearten me. What disheartened me was that this teacher wasn't just arguing a model or philosophy of history that didn't exist until Marx and Engels interpreted history with their worldview (that all of history is a class struggle), it was that they were putting forth arguments that my oldest son could probably tear down. I say tear down because most of the arguments put forth were what is called straw-man arguments, or just plain wrong. Below I will put into a Context what will follow:
a) First Contact
b) Conversation Starter
c) "Theophobia" -- A Psychosis?
d) Rhetoric vs. Argument
e) Non-Religious Movements vs. Religious
f) What is Fascism?
g) Ethics Without God!
h) Hitler: Christian or Philosophical Naturalist?
i) Hitler's Occultism
j) Buddhism -- Self-Refuting
k) Buddhism & Evil
l) Eastern Charity
m) Scientists Praying
n) Genesis Proved Right
Conversation started at the first winery about a topic that caused me to mention a letter I wrote to my son's sixth-grade classmate's parents. It was on Native American and Settler relations. As the conversation skimmed along I portrayed the teacher as explaining history in a similar fashion to Howard Zinn. This teacher mentioned that Howard Zinn's view of history was good; I, then, pointed out that this view did not exist until Marx and Engels -- sort of hoping this would spark said person to understand that this outlook on history, viewed through a lens of political opinion (e.g., Communism, Socialism), was not true history, rather, skewed history. This first contact at least allowed me to know with whom I was dealing.
The day went on; it was the usual fun, talking, learning, and laughing. At the last winery we were about halfway into our flight of wines when I hear this teacher and my wife discussing organized religion. As I am a student of comparative religion, philosophy, politics, and some history, I naturally gravitated over to where the real conversation was. You see, I say real because too many people believe it to be a bad thing to discuss weightier issues that include religion or politics. I think just the opposite. These items should be discussed vigorously and judicially, with a firm but kind heart. I say firm because I have found that in my many debates on-line and in person for the past decade the other party is ignorant that what they are saying is either a straw man or the premise can be turned on them, and sometimes it takes persistence (being firm) to point this their dilemma out.
Now that the groundwork has been laid somewhat, lets delve into some of the conversation.
When I came into the conversation this person, whom I will call Felicia in honor of their fallacious arguments, was saying they are against organized religion. Which is usually code for "they cannot stand Christianity?" So to set the record straight, I said that she must also be against Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucism, Sikhism, and the like. Realizing the premise she laid out, she quickly admitted to the fact that she is indeed against such religious people organizing into small communities of like minded people. The presumption was that she was arguing for un-organized religion? Whatever that is!? I would hate to see what religion looks like if guided by anarchy. So I wanted to point out the biased view she held by presenting this person with a label that she probably hadn't heard until now. I made the statement that she was Theophobic. She asked for clarification, I said much like a person can be homophobic, so to can a person be Theo(God)phobic. Obviously in our day and age of political correctness one does not wish top be labeled with a phobia, especially a teacher, this implies intolerance when the buzz-word of our day is tolerance. This clearly caught her off guard.
After thinking over what I had charged her with and the previous conversation she finally admitted to it wholly at first but after put a vague stipulation on it. This stipulation didn't help her recover from her admitted theophobia and dogmatic biasness on stark display. You see, she has probably portrayed religious people as bias and phobic, arguing for things dogmatically, however, I wanted to point out in conversation by explicitly and implicitly pointing out in this case it was on display by her, and not I (a religious person). Even if I didn't point this out as much as I could have, I am hopeful that in private reflection this person will reflect on how she came across.
At this point the usual litany of "straw man" arguments proceeded to spill forth as they normally do when ones precious bumper-sticker beliefs are challenged and shown to be vacuous. The next thing out of Felicia's mouth was that organized religion has killed more people and started more wars than any other reason in history. This is where I cringed -- a teacher that is charged with children who makes such false claims is a red-flag to me. These types of people repeat such lines not because they have studied history or religion in-depth, but because a politically motivated historian like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomskey said such a thing, or they simply picked up the saying from another friend (who themselves had heard it from another) and it fit so well in their theophobia framework to make the rejection of religion an easy thing in their mind's eye. This is more of a commentary on said person's psychosis than making any sort of valid argument. This being said let us deal with this charge:
The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it's possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We're talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law -- materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law.
So the historical reality that this teacher of history seemed to ignore is that non-religious movements have killed more people in the Twentieth-Century than religion has in the previous nineteen (or for that matter, all of mankind's history). I also pointed out to Felicia during our conversation that the non-religious view of origins has no moral law to point to any of the above acts as morally wrong or un-ethical. They are merely currently taboo. For someone to say the Nazis were morally wrong they have to borrow from the theistic worldview that posits a universal moral code. If there is no Divine moral law, then as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim makes the point, "If there is no God, all things are permissible." Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right.
This same strain of thought caused Mussolini to comment:
"Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition . . . . If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth . . . then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity . . . . From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable."
(Side note: the above definition by Mussolini of fascism, a philosophy major, fits more closely with non-religious liberal democrats today than with religious conservative Republicans.)
The only problem is that without God, man is the one who dies, quite literally. As Dr. Ravi Zacharias observes: "Conveniently forgotten by those antagonistic to spiritual issues are the far more devastating consequences that have entailed when antitheism is wedded to political theory and social engineering. There is nothing in history to match the dire ends to which humanity can be led by following a political and social philosophy that consciously and absolutely excludes God." And,
One of the great blind spots of a philosophy that attempts to disavow God is its unwillingness to look into the face of the monster it has begotten and own up to being its creator. It is here that living without God meets its first insurmountable obstacle, the inability to escape the infinite reach of a moral law. Across scores of campuses in our world I have seen outraged students or faculty members waiting with predatorial glee to pounce upon religion, eager to make the oft-repeated but ill-understood charge: What about the thousands who have been killed in the name of religion?
This emotion-laden question is not nearly as troublesome to answer if the questioner first explains all the killing that has resulted from those who have lived without God, such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, et al . . . why is there not an equal enthusiasm to distribute blame for violence engendered by some of the irreligious? But the rub goes even deeper than that. The attackers of religion have forgotten that these large-scale slaughters at the hands of anti-theists were the logical outworking of their God-denying philosophy. Contrastingly, the violence spawned by those who killed in the name of Christ would never have been sanctioned by the Christ of the Scriptures. Those who kill in the name of God were clearly self-serving politicizers of religion, an amalgam Christ ever resisted in His life and teaching. Their means and their message were in contradiction to the gospel. Atheism, on the other hand, provides the logical basis for an autonomist, domineering will, expelling morality . . . . . The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevski repeatedly wrote of the hell that is let loose when man comes adrift from his Creator’s moorings and himself becomes God -- he understood the consequences. Now, as proof positive, we witness our culture as a whole in a mindless drift toward lawlessness -- we live with the inexorable result of autonomies in collision. [Zacharias cites Hitler, "I freed
After pointing out that non-God movements are much more murderous than God movements, Felicia mentioned that my lumping Hitler in my analogy was wrong, she said he was a Christian and that I was wrong. I had never heard this before . . . just kidding, I have heard this brought up quite often and will deal with it in brief here (as I promised Felicia I would). First off, all someone would have to do is read Mein Kampf to understand that Hitler himself stood in stark contrast to Christianity. In fact, Hitler admitted himself that he was a philosophical naturalist; I will quote from a larger essay I did on the subject some years back:
For instance, Adolf Hitler appealed to the people of his country to have a backbone to advance the logical outworking of their worldview. Now mind you, not all naturalists are racists or killers of the less fortunate . . . however, this is a logical outworking of philosophical [or, metaphysical] naturalism.
"The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all . . . . If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile."
Hitler referred to this dispensation of nature as "quite logical." In fact, it was so logical to the Nazis that they built concentration camps to carry out their convictions about the human race as being "nothing but the product of heredity and environment" or as the Nazis liked to say, "of blood and soil."
The teachings of . . . Hitler and others like them, however, are completely consistent with the teachings of Darwinian evolution. Indeed, social Darwinism has provided the scientific substructure for some of the most significant atrocities in human history. For evolution to succeed, it is as crucial that the unfit die as the fittest survive. Marvin Lubenow graphically portrays the ghastly consequences of such beliefs in his book Bones of Contention:
"If the unfit survived indefinitely, they would continue to 'infect' the fit with their less fit genes. The result is that the more fit genes would be diluted and compromised by the less fit genes, and evolution could not take place. The concept of evolution demands death. Death is thus as natural to evolution as it is foreign to biblical creation. The Bible teaches that death is a 'foreigner,' a condition superimposed upon humans and nature after creation. Death is an enemy, Christ has conquered it, and he will eventually destroy it. Their respective attitudes toward death reveal how many light years separate the concept of evolution from Biblical creation."
Adolph Hitler's philosophy that Jews were subhuman and that Aryans were supermen (mirroring the beliefs Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood) led to the extermination of about six million Jews. In the words of Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist: "The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consistently sought to make the practices of
Karl Marx, the father of communism, saw in Darwinism the scientific and sociological support for an economic experiment that eclipsed even the carnage of Hitler's
While not having the time to mention some of what is above as well as below, I promised Felicia that I would show her some evidence that Hitler was not a Christian. Many of the Nazi emblems, such as the swastika, the double lightning bolt "SS" symbol, and even the inverted triangle symbol used to identify classes of prisoners in the concentration camps, originated among homosexual occultists in
List, a close associate of Lanz, formed the Guido Von List Society in
The Nazi dream of an Aryan super-race was adopted from an occult group called the Thule Society, founded in 1917 by followers of Lanz and List. The occult doctrine of the Thule Society held that the survivors of an ancient and highly developed lost civilization could endow
Hitler dedicated his book, Mein Kampf, to Dietrich Eckart, one of the Thule Society's inner circle and a former leading figure in the German Worker's Party (when they met at the gay bar mentioned earlier). ". . . And among them I want also to count that man, one of the best, who devoted his life to the awakening of his, our people, in his writings and his thoughts . . . " Hitler was definitely not a Christian.
Felicia then mentioned that Christianity is refuted by science and that most of our smartest, brightest scientists are accepting Buddhism. So I broke this statement up into two parts, that is: are scientists converting to the pantheistic worldview? And, does Buddhism comport with reality/science? I will deal with the latter first. Although not the time nor place to explain the Law of non-contradiction, for those who don’t know, I will briefly explain. The law of non-contradiction is simply this: "'A' cannot be both 'non-A' and 'A' at the same time." In the words of professor J. P. Moreland (Ph.D.,
"When a statement fails to satisfy itself (i.e., to conform to its own criteria of validity or acceptability), it is self-refuting . . . . Consider some examples. 'I cannot say a word in English' is self-refuting when uttered in English. 'I do not exist' is self-refuting, for one must exist to utter it. The claim 'there are no truths' is self-refuting. If it is false, then it is false. But is it is true, then it is false as well, for in that case there would be no truths, including the statement itself."
I brought up Aristotle and his discovering and codifying many of the Laws of Logic, the most important being the Law of non-contradiction, one of the most important laws of logical thought. Another major problem that faces the pantheist is that there is no reality except the all-encompassing God. Everything else is illusion, or maya. But again, this is a nonsensical statement that is logically self-refuting. If everything is illusion, then those making that statement are themselves illusions. There's a real problem here. As Norman Geisler (Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago) pointed out, "One must exist in order to affirm that he does not exist." When we claim that there is no reality except the all-encompassing God, we are proving just the opposite. The fact that we exist to make the claim demonstrates that there is a reality distinct from God, which makes this key doctrine of pantheism a self-defeating proposition. It is an untruth -- by definition.
I then mentioned that Buddhism cannot answer the problem of evil and I provided her with an easily understood example that I often use, it is the example real evil.
Let's say I am home with my 10-year-old son. My work calls me into work on an emergency so I call my uncle Bo to come over and watch him so I can go in. While I am at work my Uncle Bo rapes and sodomizes my son. Well, eastern philosophies that use the karmic understanding of reincarnation posit that something my son did in a previous lifetime demanded that this happen to him in this lifetime.
Felicia didn't like this much. She defended reincarnation as if I was being bigoted and intolerant (like she was really being towards Christianity). So I gave some more examples dealing with how holy men in
Another example I gave which wasn't allowed to go to its fruition, because those who have tough challenges refuse to hear the tough answers: While speaking in
Ron, have you ever seen what Buddhism does to a nation or a people? Buddha taught that each man is an island unto himself. Buddha said, 'if someone is suffering, that is his karma.' You are not to interfere with another person's karma because he is purging himself through suffering and reincarnation! Buddha said, 'You are to be an island unto yourself.'" -- "Ron, the only people that have a reason to be here today taking care of these 300,000 refugees are Christians. It is only Christianity that people have a basis for human value that people are important enough to educate and to care for. For Christians, these people are of ultimate value, created in the image of God, so valuable that Jesus Christ died for each and every one of them. You find that value in no other religion, in no other philosophy, but in Jesus Christ."
Do you get it now? It takes a "Mother Teresa" to go into these embattled countries and bathe, feed, educate, care for these people -- who otherwise are ignored due to harmful religious beliefs.
The August 22, 2005 New York Times had a fantastic article based on a Nature Journal report about religious belief among scientists: 40% of American scientists believe in God, specifically a God to whom they can pray and expect to receive an answer. Pantheism (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and the like) do not have a God to pray to. I also mentioned science has in fact backed the Hebrew/Christian account of creation, I used the following example (not quite word-for-word mind you):
For almost 2,300 years, the universe was thought to be static. However, the Bible clearly states that it had a beginning (see The Case for a Creator, “The Evidence of Cosmology: Beginning with a Bang,” which is where I am quoting the below from). Even now some physicists and cosmologists are still pushing the static view, multiple universe view, and the like. However, all these break down under the math used for them (an infinity cannot be put into a math equation and have it be tenable, this was Albert Einstein's Fudge Factor). What has modern science shown that since the Greeks has been assumed?
When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn't allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.
In the 1920's, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the
Starting in the 1920's, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models. For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble's astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.
Then in the 1940's, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe's background radiation -- and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There's no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.
The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There's no other explanation.
So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials . . . . Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object . . . . At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, "the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy" . . . . Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe "irritates me" (presumably, said one prominent scientist, "because of its theological implications")
So the Bible has stood on one interpretation of the universe when the world was against it. And the Bible ended up being spot on. Not only that, but the Big Bang demonstrates that a Cause must have happened, and that this cause is outside the time-space dimension and would be an absolute Cause (this fits with the theistic model for God, not pantheistic).
That's it. I hope you all enjoyed the journey down "
 People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By "presuppositions" we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions. "As a man thinketh, so he is," is really profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world. Then, having thought, a person can bring forth actions into the external world and thus influence it. People are apt to look at the outer theater of action, forgetting the actor who "lives in the mind" and who therefore is the true actor in the external world. The inner thought world determines the outward action. Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what worldview is true. When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, "not many men are in the room" -- that is, although worldviews have many variations, there are not many basic worldviews or presuppositions (Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, Crossway Books,
 A straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw-man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent. A straw-man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact misleading, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.
 "The real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?" http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5527
 Two articles I recommend: http://www.trueorigin.org/hitler01.asp - "Was Hitler a Christian?", and, http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v13/i2/nazi.asp - "Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust." The authors bio follows for those who think that believers are un-educated:
M.P.H., Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health (Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio; University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio; Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio), 2001; M.S. in biomedical science, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, 1999; Ph.D. in human biology, Columbia Pacific University, San Rafael, California, 1992; M.A. in social psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, 1986; Ph.D. in measurement and evaluation, minor in psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1976; M.Ed. in counseling and psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1971; B.S., Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1970. Major area of study was sociology, biology, and psychology; A.A. in Biology and Behavioral Science, Oakland Community College, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 1967.
Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation, 1983; Who's Who in America; MENSA; Ohio certification to teach both elementary and high school levels; Professional memberships.
Dr Bergman is or was active in the following organizations
National Association for Gifted Children; American Educational Research Association; National Council on Measurement in Education; American Sociological Association; American Psychological Association; Ohio Psychological Association; Association for the Scientific Study of Religion; American Association of Suicidology; Institute of Religion and Health; American Society of Corrections.
The Professional Organizations that Dr Bergman is now a member of and/or involved in, include
Ohio Science Teachers Association; American Biology Teachers Association; The American Scientific Affiliation; The American Association for the Advancement of Science; The American Association for the History of Science; American Chemical Society; American Institute of Biological Sciences; Ohio Academy of Science; American Institute of Chemists; New York Academy of Sciences; The New York Museum of Natural History; Other professional memberships; Society for the Scientific Study of Male Psychology and Physiology, President & Founder.
Radio, video tapes, and television shows
Dr Bergman has appeared on approximately 200 radio shows and 14 television shows for various Public Television and other stations. His research has been featured several times on the Paul Harvey Show, and once by David Brinkley.
 "The SS Blood and Soul," one of four videos in a video series entitled, The Occult History of the Third Reich (St. Lauret, Quebec: Madacy Entertainment Group, 1998); Now in DVD – ISBN: 0974319465). See also
 http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660 - PDF List of over 600 Scientists, and Professors who Disagree with Darwinism, pantheists (Buddhists, Hindus, and the like) support Darwinism, broadly.
 J. P. Moreland, Scaling the
 “. . . is considered the foundation of logical reasoning,” Manuel Velasquez, Philosophy: A Text with Readings (
 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p. 21. Said Jastrow of Einstein: "We know he had well-defined feelings about God, but not as the Creator or the Prime Mover. For Einstein, the existence of God was proven by the laws of nature; that is, the fact that there was order in the Universe and man could discover it." This is the basis for Natural Law, which is the foundation for the ethics found in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Not to mention why science boomed in the West and why the East lagged behind, because the universe isn’t real in eastern thinking. Why study and dissect an illusion? A Hindu scientist must first reject his religions presuppositions and then borrow the presuppositions of the Judeo-Christian worldview, which is that a) the universe exists, and b) men can discover truths about it.