Writing for TownHall.com, Betsy McCaughey reminds us that “Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said the ‘best test of truth’ is whether it survives in ‘the competition of the market.'” I believe that Justice Holmes was wrong. Truth remains truth independently of whether men accept it or suppress it. The marketplace of ideas does not determine what is true or false, a statement is either objectively true, false, self contradictory, or ambiguous and undecidable. Opinion and consensus have nothing to do with truth.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. – Romans 1:18
The government doesn’t decide what is true. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube do not decide what is true. People in these organizations may choose to suppress viewpoints with which they disagree, and when they do, they do so in unrighteousness, especially when they suppress the truth to prevent the dissemination of what they call “misinformation.”
I updated this post to note that a statement may also be self contradictory.
I think you misunderstand the point. I don’t think Holmes intended to convey that truth isn’t truth if no one believes it. I think he’s merely stating that “a” truth which overcomes all man’s attempts to suppress it demonstrates a test overcome by that truth.
But I most definitely believe that truth, like morality, exists apart from man’s acceptance of it. We can all insist that fire doesn’t burn, but the truth remains. It burns like hell.
I might, but I don’t think so. His words imply that the best available way we have to assess whether something is true is to see if a consensus is reached in public debate. By this logic it is true that a child isn’t human until after it’s born, if even then in many states. But that’s an objectively false statement. A child is human from the moment of conception. That’s a truth that many, including a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court suppressed in 1973.