One can loosely say that the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile technology was first utilised by the Nazi Germans during the Second World War. In short, the Germans invented ICBMs. The military revolution that has been brought about by these developments is tremendous.
I read somewhere that the tree that helped Sir Isaac Newton discover the gravity is still in existence. The falling apple from this tree made Newton ask himself radical and yet thoughtful questions.
There are two keywords here – an invention and a discovery.
When do we say something has been invented and not discovered vice versa?
Is truth discovered or invented?
We always define truth as being absolute. I cannot travel to London and then call it Nairobi. The truth is that London is distinct from Nairobi. It is as true to a Mongolian as it is to a Jamaican. I can climb to the highest tower and shout the whole day, ‘This is Nairobi and not London’, and it won’t change a thing. But there is a possibility I can discover that the city I am calling Nairobi is actually London. That is not an invention; it is a discovery. It is discovering the truth.
The truth is never invented. It is discovered.
Copernicus developed a theory that made Galileo invent a telescope and henceforth discovered that the Earth was spherical (I know this is debatable as Ancient Greeks had made attempts on this. Notable among them were Pythagoras and Aristotle. But we can stick with Galileo for now). Unfortunately, it came too late to be of any use to Christopher Columbus.
I think I have illustrated a point here. Now, Truth is Absolute, and as such it must be discoverable, transcultural (the London-Nairobi illustration), unchanging (the Earth is spherical, and it has been so even before the Pythagoras’, Aristotle’s’ and Galileos’ of this world discovered that). Beliefs cannot change the truth. My belief that the world is flat will never make it flat.
Are we heading somewhere? I hope so.
Absolute truth is always unaffected by the one professing it. Thus if I say Christianity is a religion of peace, but I still go on killing fellow humans, then that cannot invalidate the truth I profess. For us to determine if my profession is true, then we will have to go back to the founder of Christianity: What did He preach/say/profess? Augustine of Hippo put it clearly when he said, “Never judge a philosophy by its abuse.”
Is truth knowable? I do not have to write much on this. If I say truth is unknowable, then it means even this very confession is in jeopardy. I am disapproving what I am trying to prove. It is called a self-refuting statement. It’s like meeting a guy who speaks to you in English saying ‘I don’t speak English’.