Truth in Trouble (excerpt from The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews)

April 21, 2003
Veritas Forum at the University of California, Los Angeles

What is truth? How can we explore it in the university? Dallas explains what the truth is all about. "The bitterness of truth is its total indifference to human will and desire together with the fact that human desire and will is set on reshaping reality and therefore truth to suit itself."

This 6-minute clip is from "The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews."
UCLA Veritas Forum, 2003.


Truth in Trouble

In a thought-provoking discourse on knowledge, truth, and their roles within academic institutions, Dallas explores the complexities and ironies facing the pursuit of truth in modern education systems. He brings attention to the way universities have historically grappled with defining truth, the relegation of certain truths to the peripheries of academic discourse, and the intrinsic challenges posed by human desire and will against the unwavering nature of truth.

Truth in Trouble

  • Highlights:
    Knowledge Defined: Knowledge is our ability to represent things as they are, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience. 
    Understanding Truth in Academia: Dallas begins his talk by emphasizing the fundamental role of universities in pursuing truth and disseminating knowledge. He critiques the modern crisis of truth, not only in religious or moral realms but across all disciplines, urging a deep reconsideration of what constitutes knowledge.
  • Historical Struggle with Truth at Harvard: He discusses Harvard University's historical challenges with the concept of truth, noting how its approach has evolved over time. Dallas highlights the gradual shift in academic environments that often restricts truth to the realm of the natural sciences, excluding spiritual and moral dimensions.
  • Essence of Truth: A thought or statement is true if what it is about is as that thought or statement represents it. He uses simple examples to clarify this definition and explains how truth forms the backbone of genuine knowledge.
  • Conflict Between Will and Truth: Dallas explores the deep-seated human conflict between desire or will and the immutable nature of truth. He argues that this conflict influences all human endeavors, particularly in educational settings, where there is often a push to reshape truth to fit human desires.