One can loosely say that the Nazi Germans first used the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile technology during the Second World War. In short, the Germans invented ICBMs. The military revolution that has been brought about by these developments is tremendous to a civilised world but tantalising to a trigger-happy hermit kingdom.
I read somewhere that the apple tree that ignited Sir Isaac Newton discovery of gravity is still in existence. The falling apple from this tree made Newton ask himself radical and yet thoughtful questions. This self-inquiry led to inevitable discoveries.
There are two keywords here – an invention and a discovery.
When do we say something has been invented and not discovered?
Is truth discovered or invented?
We always define truth as being absolute. I cannot travel to London and then call it Johannesburg. The truth is that London is distinct from Johannesburg. It is as true to a Mongolian as it is to a Jamaican. I can climb to the highest tower and shout myself hoarse, ‘This is Johannesburg and not London’, but it won’t change a thing. It does not matter how long I hum it on rooftops.
There is a possibility I can discover the city I am claiming to be Johannesburg is London. That is not an invention; it is a discovery. 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-Johannesburg 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. Your sincere belief that a Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR can beat a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S will not change the truth.
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 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? What tenets of Christianity are as espoused by its holy book? Augustine of Hippo put it clearly when he said, “Never judge a philosophy by its abuse.”
Is truth knowable? I do not have to say much on this. If I claim 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’. When did 2+2 didn’t add up to 4?