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 Post subject: Faith vs. reason
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 5:40 am 
faith n.
  1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
  4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
  5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
  6. A set of principles or beliefs.


Definition #2 is the important one here. With just a pinch of 4 and 5.

reason
1. To exercise the rational faculty; to deduce inferences from premises; to perform the process of deduction or of induction; to ratiocinate; to reach conclusions by a systematic comparison of facts.

My inquiry was prompted by this article: http://slate.msn.com/id/2108726/
The author seems to feel that faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. (Just that Bush isn't a good example. :))

Quote:
A religion is sometimes a source of happiness and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak.
The great trouble with a religion, any religion, is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fires of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason, but one cannot have both.

Robert A Heinlein (As Hartley M Baldwin, in Friday)
I find that I don't trust people whose base principles are founded on 'faith'.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:38 am 
Personnally, I think it's a real tragedy that some elements of society have come to regard faith as a good thing.
However, it should be noted that not all religious folks rely on faith...Some base their beliefs on logical reasoning (a reasoning which I believe to be incorrect, but at least it is a reasoning).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 8:15 am 
sun tzu wrote:
Personnally, I think it's a real tragedy that some elements of society have come to regard faith as a good thing.
However, it should be noted that not all religious folks rely on faith...Some base their beliefs on logical reasoning (a reasoning which I believe to be incorrect, but at least it is a reasoning).


Concur. :) Though, is 'faith as a good thing' a new concept?

To take that further... the difference between 'having faith' and having beliefs is that faith precludes the possibility of re-examining ones beliefs when new data is available.
Isn't 'religious' the state of taking something on faith?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:58 am 
Pronto, I think you are missing something from that definition.

Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

I have examined my beliefs deeply and and open to thier reexamination on NEW evidence. I have evidence, but it is not material and logical, it is spiritual and personal. That means my evidence is non-repeatable and non-transferable, but that doesn't mean it is invalid, just that I can't prove to anybody else that I'm right using that evidence.

I spent two years as a missionary for my beliefs and I don't remember ever trying to prove that my beliefs were correct. I shared what those beliefs were, I gave my reasons for believing them, and then I told the people to seek the same evidence/proof that I had for themselves. I cannot reproduce the answers God gave me for you, all I can do is tell you what answer I got and tell you to get the answer yourself. I did this because my beliefs have improved my life and I wanted other people to experience that same improvement and joy. If you don't then that's fine, it doesn't invalidate my experience.

I will agree that 'blind' faith, that is someone that does not examine thier beliefs but merely accepts them and never thinks (or allows someone else to do the thinking for them), can be very bad, scary, and damaging.

But I think that having faith is generally a good thing.


Quote:

Quote:
A religion is sometimes a source of happiness and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak.
The great trouble with a religion, any religion, is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fires of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason, but one cannot have both.

Robert A Heinlein (As Hartley M Baldwin, in Friday)


I disagree, I think it is perfectly possible to carry a torch of faith with us out into the bleak uncertainty. Staying by the fire without acknowledging the darkness is limiting and short sighted. Staying in the darkness because of disdain for the weakness of those that do not leave the fire, or because of a disbelief that the warmth and light of the fire are a good thing, leads to many unnecessarily cold nights.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:48 am 
Looking at the fire will kill your night vision.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:53 am 
Congrats, Kit the Odd, I'm very happy for you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:09 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Kit the Odd wrote:
Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.


What other sort of proof or evidence is there?

Quote:
I have examined my beliefs deeply and and open to thier reexamination on NEW evidence. I have evidence, but it is not material and logical, it is spiritual and personal.


What, specifically, is this evidence? Have you had any revelations, maybe?

Quote:
I disagree, I think it is perfectly possible to carry a torch of faith with us out into the bleak uncertainty. Staying by the fire without acknowledging the darkness is limiting and short sighted. Staying in the darkness because of disdain for the weakness of those that do not leave the fire, or because of a disbelief that the warmth and light of the fire are a good thing, leads to many unnecessarily cold nights.


I'm not entirely sure how to unravel your analogy here.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:38 pm 
Quote:
I will agree that 'blind' faith, that is someone that does not examine thier beliefs but merely accepts them and never thinks (or allows someone else to do the thinking for them), can be very bad, scary, and damaging.

But I think that having faith is generally a good thing.


Okay, but in that case, what definition of faith are you using?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 3:13 pm 
Meh. I'm leery of people claiming to be 100% rational, with nothing unproven in their belief system.

But then, I've taken college classes on logic and epistemology, so I've probably suffered some kind of brain damage.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:00 pm 
Warning this is a little long, though hopefully clear.

I think there must be a distintion made between blind faith, and a well questioned faith. Blind faith is never questioned. Too many people are willing to take one side of the story and then stick their fingers in their ears and go "lalalalalala" when any thing that makes one rethink the first side. I think this is what ticks people of most about fanatics, the "My way is the only right way, so everyone must follow it to the letter.' :roll: This is when fights small or major start to occur.

True faith is being able to believe one thing is true dispite doubt and lack of proof one way or another. Whether or not any god exists has a great lack of material or logical proof, yet many believe strongly one way or another on the issue. Personally, I have strong faith that there is a God and Goddess who look over me and have had personal encounters with them. Nothing logical or material enough to be shared, but enough to know my faith works for me. I've also talked to others who have had similar experiences but with different deities. We could all be utterly wrong and barking up the wrong tree of faith, but there is also no solid proof of that either.

Not all choices should be made on faith but many have to be. I have faith that the bank will let me spend the money in my account. I have faith that my husband loves me and there are no major problems in my marriage that aren't being faced. These things have some logic to them but have no proof (well, except for the bank but that is only when a transaction actually goes through).

Political choices made based on a specific theology or dogma now those many are having problems with. In Ohio, they are trying to pass an admendment baning gay marriages and state benifits to all unmarried couples. My understanding of this is a fundamentalist christian group is pushing their blind faith that being homosexual is evil and wrong and marriage should only be between a man and a woman and only legally married couples deserve benifits of any kind.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:05 pm 
Ok, there's a lot to respond to.

About the analogy, mostly it was just an off the cuff response to Heinlein's analogy. I think both are pretty poor analogies of the faith vs reason issue. I was just annoyed at his 'faith is for the weak' snear. I really enjoy Heinlein's stuff for the most part, I just think he's wrong in some things, this being one of them.

Jer, it is personal and spiritual evidence. I don't want to use the word emotion to describe it, but it is closer to emotion than to logic. And yes, the evidence is revelatory in nature. I have recieved revelations. No angels, no firey bushes, or anything that dramatic. But in the OT there is a story of Elijah hiding in a cave. A fire comes and a wind comes and God isn't in them. But then a still, small voice comes, and it is through that voice that God speaks to him. I've heard that same voice in my heart, I've had ideas and inteligence come into my mind that were not from me. I have that evidence. But I can not reproduce it for you, all I can do it try my best to explain it. You may not like that type of evidence, and I sympathize with your frustration with that kind of evidence, but it is all I have to offer. Sure there are other physical evidences out there, but most are vauge enough that they can be interpreted in any way you want. I, for instance, see the order of the universe and evidence of a supreme being. Others see it as nothing but a natural result of basic laws of nature. It is evidence for both, but proof for neither.

sun tzu, I an using the definition of faith that says that faith is a belief that impels one to action. A faith in the goodness of humanity may impel someone to help the homeless. A faith in society allows me to go to work when I have nothing but a belief that I will get paid. My faith in God impels me to be a better, kinder, more honest, more loving person than I would be otherwise. I think most people that believe in a supreme being would say the same about their faith. That is why I think faith is generally a good thing. It allows us to do things we wouldn't do if we required proof before we did them.

Anh Minh, I agree. Anyone claiming to be 100% rational, with no unprovens in their belief system is someone to watch warily. That is true whether that belief system is Chrsitianity, Judaism, Islam, athiesm, science, or any other. I've met fanatics of all types, religious and anti-religious. They are all scary. I also agree that some college classes should come with a heath warning about probable brain damage. If not from the subject matter, then from blunt force trauma after falling alseep in class. :lol:

Pronto, thanks, I'm happy for me too. Mostly I'm happiest when I wake up and get to walk in and look at my beautiful baby daughter. But I only mention that because I'm a typical father and I'll be home in an hour or so and will get to see her again. But I'll stop before I send anyone into diabetic shock. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:14 pm 
Mrs. Keradon also bring up a good point that acting on faith does not mean acting without logic.

I have examined my beliefs logically, and as long as a small set of asumptions is made they are logically consistent. My faith is in those basic principles.

If I felt God telling me that if I hold a certain feather I could fly, and that He wanted me to fly, then I would try to find the feather and fly. But I would take off from ground level myself. I wouldn't duct tape the feather to someone else and push them off a cliff. That's because I'd use my mind to pick the best method of working from those principles (feather-flight), and because I wouldn't force anyone else to act on those beliefs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:12 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Not all choices should be made on faith but many have to be. I have faith that the bank will let me spend the money in my account.


Such a belief is based on evidence and logical inference, though: what you know of finance, what you know of your account, what you know of financial institutions, what you know of the motives of said institutions. What similar evidence and experience leads you to believe in a God or Goddess?

Quote:
I have faith that my husband loves me and there are no major problems in my marriage that aren't being faced.


Such a belief is based on evidence and logical inference, though: what you know of your husband's past behavior, what you know of human psychology, what you know of your husband's personality, what you know of your experience with your husband.

You're equivocating colloquial uses of the word faith with religious faith. Your two examples are still based on experience, evidence, logic, and probability, and are more synonymous with, say, trust. Both are also examples of contingent faith: belief that is held but is discarded based on contrary evidence. If the bank did not, in fact, let you spend your money, or it turns out your husband was shagging college girls behind your back, would you still hold those beliefs?

Quote:
These things have some logic to them but have no proof (well, except for the bank but that is only when a transaction actually goes through).


Nothing in the real empirical world can be proved 100%, except for math theorems and such. What we have are degrees of certainty, based on experience, evidence, logic, and probability. (There's those four things again.) If I stick milk in the fridge, and no one goes into the fridge, and there's nothing around to open the fridge and take the milk out, I can be very certain (based on what I know of the physics of milk) that the milk will still be there.

Using religious faith as a basis for a belief system would be like if I believed that there was a million dollars under these couch cushions I'm sitting on. Even though no one's come in and put a million dollars under here since I last looked under them a few hours ago, even though no one I know even HAS a million dollars*, even though all I know of the universe says there's no way a million dollars will just appear under there. And then expecting people to think that it's a perfectly good belief system, because "I have faith in the million dollars!"

* Well, my cousin David up in Massachusetts is a millionaire, but he hasn't been to the house since I last looked under the cushions, if ever.

Kit the Odd wrote:
Jer, it is personal and spiritual evidence. I don't want to use the word emotion to describe it, but it is closer to emotion than to logic.


Okay.

Quote:
And yes, the evidence is revelatory in nature. I have recieved revelations. No angels, no firey bushes, or anything that dramatic. But in the OT there is a story of Elijah hiding in a cave. A fire comes and a wind comes and God isn't in them. But then a still, small voice comes, and it is through that voice that God speaks to him. I've heard that same voice in my heart, I've had ideas and inteligence come into my mind that were not from me.


Okay.

So, basically, unless I'm mistaken, your evidence consists of gut feelings and mental epiphanies, the sort of thing people who do crossword puzzles have regularly.

Perhaps you could elaborate a bit, to clear up any misconceptions I'm having.

Quote:
I have that evidence. But I can not reproduce it for you, all I can do it try my best to explain it.


Then go on. What sort of emotion? What sort of ideas?

Quote:
sun tzu, I an using the definition of faith that says that faith is a belief that impels one to action.


Hebrews 11:1, KJV wrote:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


Hebrews 11:1, NIV wrote:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


Not only does the Bible disagree with your definiton, but the dictionary entry Pronto quotes does too.

Religious faith is the claim that one does not need justification to hold a belief; that a belief can be held in spite of no evidence or even contrary evidence.

Quote:
A faith in the goodness of humanity may impel someone to help the homeless.


Such a faith is based on evidence and logical inference, though: what they know of human interactions, what they know of sociology, what they know of psychology, what they know of empathy. (And helping the homeless would be more based on an empathic belief: that helping others makes you feel better about yourself, and makes others feel better about you.)

Quote:
A faith in society allows me to go to work when I have nothing but a belief that I will get paid.


Such a faith is based on evidence and logical inference, though: what you know of employment, what you know of employment laws, what you know of the personality of your employer, what you know of previous experiences with employment. Religious faith in this case would be like walking up to someone who doesn't employ you and expecting them to pay you for working for them; believing you will be paid even if you had no evidence or experience that such a belief was justified.

Like Mrs. Keradon, your two examples are still based on experience, evidence, logic, and probability. Both are examples of contingent faith. If your job did not pay you, or everyone you knew and saw went around raping and stabbing people, would you still hold those beliefs? What about your belief in God? Is it contingent? If there were evidence against it, would you still hold it?

How do you react to the problem of evil? If God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, why is there evil? War? Famine? Pestilence**? DEATH?
How do you react to the errancy of the Bible? If the Bible is the perfect word of God, why is it inconsistent on many points? Vague? Ambiguous? Why does it disagree with science, history, and archeology in numerous cases?
How do you react to the inconsistencies of God's behavior? If God is all-loving, why does he send people to hell? Eternal punishment with no hope of redemption after the fact is not a sign of love. If he wants everyone to repent and be saved, why does he provide no evidence for it? He knows that there are some people, such as myself, who need empirical evidence to hold a belief. Why does he not provide it?

** Or, if you've read Good Omens, Pollution.

Quote:
That is why I think faith is generally a good thing. It allows us to do things we wouldn't do if we required proof before we did them.


Like, say, fly airplanes into buildings in the faith that you'll see paradise? Burn people at the stake in the faith that God will reward you for your righteousness?

Quote:
Anh Minh, I agree. Anyone claiming to be 100% rational, with no unprovens in their belief system is someone to watch warily.


The only provens in my belief system tend to involve prime numbers. There is no such thing as absolute proof in the real world, only degrees of certainty.

Quote:
I have examined my beliefs logically, and as long as a small set of asumptions is made they are logically consistent. My faith is in those basic principles.


What assumptions are those?

Quote:
If I felt God telling me that if I hold a certain feather I could fly, and that He wanted me to fly, then I would try to find the feather and fly.


Mark 16:16-18, NIV wrote:
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.


Matthew 17:20, NIV wrote:
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."


God here tells all Christians that you can do these things. Have you tried? Have you moved a mountain? God says that if you have faith in him, nothing will be impossible for you. So why do Christians still die of snake bites? Why do sick people still stay sick when Christians lay hands on them? Why do Christians still need excavation companies?

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:32 pm 
Of course that assumes one has faith "as small as a mustard seed" which is difficult given that faith is not measured in quantitative units. Obviously this is figurative, not literal speech.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:45 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Madcat wrote:
Of course that assumes one has faith "as small as a mustard seed" which is difficult given that faith is not measured in quantitative units. Obviously this is figurative, not literal speech.


But the point is clear enough. Even if you only have the smallest bit of faith in God, even that tiny bit of faith is enough to do the impossible.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:26 pm 
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Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
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Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Kit the Odd wrote:
About the analogy, mostly it was just an off the cuff response to Heinlein's analogy. I think both are pretty poor analogies of the faith vs reason issue. I was just annoyed at his 'faith is for the weak' snear. I really enjoy Heinlein's stuff for the most part, I just think he's wrong in some things, this being one of them.


I'm just going to pop in at this point and mention that Heinlein has said over and over again that the views of his characters are not necessarily his own views. In other words, that "faith is for the weak" thing is Hartley M. Baldwin speaking. *NOT* Robert A. Heinlein.

From what I've read of Heinlein, he was in many ways a man of faith.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:25 am 
jeremiahsmith wrote:
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Not all choices should be made on faith but many have to be. I have faith that the bank will let me spend the money in my account.


Such a belief is based on evidence and logical inference, though: what you know of finance, what you know of your account, what you know of financial institutions, what you know of the motives of said institutions. What similar evidence and experience leads you to believe in a God or Goddess?


I've had visions, not small things, but something that completely overwhelms my senses to replace them with a different enviroment. To make them more impressionable, they were also given to me while awake and not while dreaming. One vision tried to tell my I was pregnant, it wasn't until the test came back positive later that I understood. I've also had visions of a being that I haven't seen before the vision. Though afterwards it wasn't hard to find the same being in ancient artwork that before I had no need or desire to study. For many years I've had this little voice in the back of my head prodding me to be not just a priestess but a High priestess of my faith(which is wiccan for those that didn't know). I joined a coven and worked as a dedicant for some time until that coven had a major split up. Then through a tarot reading I had a friend do I got the heavy hint again that it was a good time to start my own coven. The coven I am in now and started up, was only me, some papers, a few friends and lots of faith that this was to come together for the benifit for all. My faith is well justified with small coinedences surrounding the group when rituals are performed and the strong fellowship and bond formed in the short time we've worked as a group. I have evidence and logic to back of my faith, but nothing to solid to prove to others and also no need to.

jeremiahsmith wrote:
Quote:
I have faith that my husband loves me and there are no major problems in my marriage that aren't being faced.


Such a belief is based on evidence and logical inference, though: what you know of your husband's past behavior, what you know of human psychology, what you know of your husband's personality, what you know of your experience with your husband.

You're equivocating colloquial uses of the word faith with religious faith. Your two examples are still based on experience, evidence, logic, and probability, and are more synonymous with, say, trust. Both are also examples of contingent faith: belief that is held but is discarded based on contrary evidence. If the bank did not, in fact, let you spend your money, or it turns out your husband was shagging college girls behind your back, would you still hold those beliefs?

Probably depends on how those things get resovled. The bank could find that the error was completely on their end and resolve it in my favor. Any problems with my husband may also be resolved and land back at square one only with me being more wary but still having faith.


Quote:
Quote:
And yes, the evidence is revelatory in nature. I have recieved revelations. No angels, no firey bushes, or anything that dramatic. But in the OT there is a story of Elijah hiding in a cave. A fire comes and a wind comes and God isn't in them. But then a still, small voice comes, and it is through that voice that God speaks to him. I've heard that same voice in my heart, I've had ideas and inteligence come into my mind that were not from me.


Okay.

So, basically, unless I'm mistaken, your evidence consists of gut feelings and mental epiphanies, the sort of thing people who do crossword puzzles have regularly.

Perhaps you could elaborate a bit, to clear up any misconceptions I'm having.


When you know what a rack of antlers and hooves feel like, or can remember what it feels like to fly with your own feathered wings, then you might understand. It's beyond a gut feeling, I can still remember a dream I had where I myself was a goddess though only a minor one, and fading at that. There is more to describe, but then it's more for me to remember than for me to share. These things are for the individual to experience and understand and unless you have a similar experience it is hard to understand.
Quote:
How do you react to the problem of evil? If God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, why is there evil? War? Famine? Pestilence**? DEATH?
How do you react to the errancy of the Bible? If the Bible is the perfect word of God, why is it inconsistent on many points? Vague? Ambiguous? Why does it disagree with science, history, and archeology in numerous cases?
How do you react to the inconsistencies of God's behavior? If God is all-loving, why does he send people to hell? Eternal punishment with no hope of redemption after the fact is not a sign of love. If he wants everyone to repent and be saved, why does he provide no evidence for it? He knows that there are some people, such as myself, who need empirical evidence to hold a belief. Why does he not provide it?

** Or, if you've read Good Omens, Pollution.

Like, say, fly airplanes into buildings in the faith that you'll see paradise? Burn people at the stake in the faith that God will reward you for your righteousness?

Matthew 17:20, NIV wrote:
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."


God here tells all Christians that you can do these things. Have you tried? Have you moved a mountain? God says that if you have faith in him, nothing will be impossible for you. So why do Christians still die of snake bites? Why do sick people still stay sick when Christians lay hands on them? Why do Christians still need excavation companies?


I am not christian so can not answer about the christian faith. I can say a good part of my faith is placed in the fact that with life must come death, light comes darkness, summer comes along with winter. With out the bad we will never enjoy the good.

Why people believe their faith or dogma is the only correct way and everyone must follow or die, is still something I would like to know myself. In the sake of the balance, they may just exist to conter those happen to believe and not need to have everyone follow the exact path.
Anyone is welcome to talk themselves blue telling me reasons why I shouldn't believe the way I do, but I don't really care much how others worship unless it directly affects me and mine. My faith is for me to hold, not something that I can give to someone else or someone can give to me (well, except for the dieties is question :roll:, but I doubt there is much argument there beyond existance of said dieties).

And finally I have to ask, can anyone prove without a doubt logically or with material proof whether or not there is a God? This is where religious faith has to be faith, where anyone goes from here is how we get dogmas and religions or spiritual people.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:12 am 
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
When you know what a rack of antlers and hooves feel like, or can remember what it feels like to fly with your own feathered wings, then you might understand. It's beyond a gut feeling, I can still remember a dream I had where I myself was a goddess though only a minor one, and fading at that.


No offense, but I once dreamt I was a flying cyborg. I didn't take for evidence of more than the fact I was watching too much television.

I don't think there are any particular reasons why you should stop believing as you do, but I don't see any reasons to go on, either. (Save that, maybe, like Kit, it makes you a better person?)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:32 am 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

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Mrs. Keradon wrote:
I've had visions, not small things, but something that completely overwhelms my senses to replace them with a different environment. To make them more impressionable, they were also given to me while awake and not while dreaming.


What sort of visions were they? Where did they happen? Did you nod off and forget you did? The vision may have seemed very real and overwhelming, but this means nothing in and of itself. Dreams can be very vivid, and there are other explanations for a vision besides spiritual visitation or whatnot. (Like, say, a tumor. Might I recommend a CAT scan?)

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One vision tried to tell my I was pregnant, it wasn't until the test came back positive later that I understood.


Would you provide details of the dream? What aspects of the dream predicted your pregnancy? Are you sure it wasn't a case of retrodicting the dream; interpreting the details after the fact to claim that the dream was prophetic*? You said you didn't understand until afterwards, which strikes me as a good indicator the original dream was unclear and open to such interpretations.

* Or, you know, whatever the word is for "telling things about the present you don't know" as opposed to "telling things about the future"?

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I've also had visions of a being that I haven't seen before the vision. Though afterwards it wasn't hard to find the same being in ancient artwork that before I had no need or desire to study.


What was the being? What was the artwork? Did the culture with the art have any particular relation to your current beliefs? Are you sure you'd never seen it before at all? Are you sure you didn't misremember the vision later and get it confused with the artwork? Memory can be tricky, particularly with dreams. And, not to insult the artistry of ancient people, but a lot of the beings I've seen in ancient artwork tend to fall into the category of "people, deformed people, people with animal parts, people with extra parts, animals, insects, etc.". These are not exactly things that a mind run rampant would have difficulty coming up with.

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For many years I've had this little voice in the back of my head prodding me to be not just a priestess but a High priestess of my faith(which is wiccan for those that didn't know).


Lots of people have the desire to become advanced in their field. It's why people get PhDs and become CEOs. It doesn't mean there was any outside influence, except maybe society encouraging people to be all they can be.

(And if it was a real voice... see above regarding that CAT scan.)

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I joined a coven and worked as a dedicant for some time until that coven had a major split up. Then through a tarot reading I had a friend do I got the heavy hint again that it was a good time to start my own coven.


What were the details of the reading? Tarot and other divinations methods are notoriously vague and open to interpretation. If you'd already been thinking a lot about starting your own coven, you might have interpreted the reading as such. The person was your friend, and may have known you wanted to start a coven, and incorporated that into the reading.

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My faith is well justified with small coinedences surrounding the group when rituals are performed


What sort of coincidences? And what is so special about the coincidences that leads you to believe they were related to your rituals?

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and the strong fellowship and bond formed in the short time we've worked as a group.


That happens with any group sharing similar beliefs, though. Christian churches have similar bonds, as do Islamic mosques, as do IRC channels. It's sociology.

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Probably depends on how those things get resovled. The bank could find that the error was completely on their end and resolve it in my favor. Any problems with my husband may also be resolved and land back at square one only with me being more wary but still having faith.


They were merely examples for a larger point; it would still be possible for things to happen that would cause you to lose faith (i.e. trust) in the bank or your husband. Perhaps they'd have to be more extreme than my examples: for instance, him wanting a divorce, or the bank sending you a message about your account saying very clearly "NO MONEY FOR YOU". These beliefs are still based on past experience with banks and your husband.

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When you know what a rack of antlers and hooves feel like


I imagine it'd feel roughly like having four feet with giant toenails and a head with two giant bones growing out of it.

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or can remember what it feels like to fly with your own feathered wings, then you might understand.


Remembering those things proves nothing. Both strike me as easy enough to dream about with enough information and imagination, particularly the hooves and antlers thing, which would amount to having heavy feet and a headache. I've dreamt of a lot of things which I've never done and yet my brain was able to create a convincing sensation. While they may have been vivid and pleasant dreams, it shows nothing beyond that your brain is creative.

And what were you doing with wings and antlers, anyway? What sort of dreams or visions were they? Do you believe you were actually in an animal's body, or was it just a vision?

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It's beyond a gut feeling, I can still remember a dream I had where I myself was a goddess though only a minor one, and fading at that.


It's still a dream. I once dreamed I was in Hell. I still don't believe in it. Even if the dreams are vivid, it says nothing about the validity of the belief.

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I am not christian so can not answer about the christian faith.


Those were more for Kit than you; I tend to clump all my rants into one post.

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I can say a good part of my faith is placed in the fact that with life must come death, light comes darkness, summer comes along with winter. With out the bad we will never enjoy the good.


How is it faith to accept those things? We can see them every day. We have empirical evidence of these things.

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Why people believe their faith or dogma is the only correct way and everyone must follow or die, is still something I would like to know myself.


Because their dogma says so, usually.

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In the sake of the balance, they may just exist to conter those happen to believe and not need to have everyone follow the exact path.


It probably stems from the originators of those dogmas, who taught xenophobia as a way to keep the population under control, or to keep tribal identities, or whatever. No reason to invoke a sense of cosmic balance, just human sociopsychology at work.

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And finally I have to ask, can anyone prove without a doubt logically or with material proof whether or not there is a God?


The concept of deities in general? No. As I said, there's no such thing as a 100% proof in the real empirical world. It's possible there's a god out there who has decided to provide no evidence it exists, doesn't care if we believe it does or not, and doesn't give a rat's ass what happens to us.

Certain deities and belief systems, though, are based on self-inconsistent premises; they contradict themselves. Omnibenevolence and hell are both attributed to Jehovah, but based on the very definitons of those terms, the definitions of "love" and "pain" and "punishment" and "suffering", they are contradictory; a god who loved everyone as much as Jehovah says he does would not make people suffer if he didn't have to. These sorts of deities disprove themselves logically by contradiction. But a deity in general? No, it can't be disproven. But no one has given any credible evidence for such a being. Most evidence tends to fall into the categories of:

- Pointing at holy texts, which are invariably written by fallible humans, and which invariably claim divine inspiration. But no one actually goes to the effort to prove* such books are divine; they just assert as such because the book itself says so. And in many cases the books contradict either what we know of the world, or themselves.

For instance, the events depicted in the first few books of the Bible (the Patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, etc.) are known to not be actual events, but folklore, likely written down in 7 BC, based on anachronisms in text and archeological evidence, such as "this city wasn't around at the time this story involving it was supposed to take place".**

Also, the genealogy of Jesus is an instance of the Bible contradicting itself.

- Arguments from incredulity: "I don't know how to explain it, therefore God did it!" Usually heard in conjunction with such things as the origin of the universe, life, the capacity for rational thought, consciousness, apparent miracles. Simply because no one knows exactly how the universe started, or how exactly the lady down the road from the church got over her debilitating illness, does not mean you can just go "Ha, you all don't know, so I'm right! God did it!"

- Personal "revelation", which is more easily explained by what we know of human psychology, neurobiology, and so on. (If you heard some famous preacher say "God has told me to run for President and take back this nation for the Lord!", which would be more likely, that an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal god actually cared about the political aspirations of someone who wasn't one of his chosen people and told him to run for president, or that he simply had a dream built around his desires for power and the tenets of his religion?)

- Wishful thinking. Not even so much as evidence as emotional rhetoric. Many religous people think their lives would be meaningless without God, that life has no point if there's no afterlife, that there just has to be some sort of justice in the universe, and so they assert that there has to be a God, saying that if there were no God, they wouldn't like the way things would be. But this is all logical fallacy; the universe does not have to work in a way that suits you.

So far, all the arguments I've seen for the existence of gods fall into these categories, and none of them holds up to scrutiny. As such, I do not believe in a god, and believe that it is a very good possibility that no such thing exists.

Here's an article I found useful in this regard. (Well, kind of. It's a good read anyway. This is less related but it's good too.)

However, I seem to have turned this away from the main topic, which was that faith itself can or can not be a valid basis for a belief system. And I will assert again that it can not: faith, in the religious sense, is the belief that something can be true despite a lack of empirical evidence to support it, despite empirical evidence against it, and is believed to be true regardless of what the evidence shows.

* Okay, okay, not "prove", since we can't do that. "Provide enough substantial evidence to support the claim so that it would be unreasonable to deny".

** The Bible Unearthed, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. Good book. Do read it.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:56 am 
<standing ovation> I wish I could put together a coherent line of thought like that, Jerm. Well said.


(I wanna have your children, dude.:))


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:46 am 
This thread seems to have deviated just a wee bit. But then, who's to say that it can't?

Let's see. Jeremiah. You first.

You said, and I quote:
Quote:
"Dreams can be very vivid, and there are other explanations for a vision besides spiritual visitation or whatnot. (Like, say, a tumor. Might I recommend a CAT scan?) "


Yes, to a degree I can agree with you here. Although most people I know would point out the movie, Phenomenon, to back them up. At the same time, I'll have to also disagree with you. I've had dreams where a family member was in trouble in one way or another. When I'd wake up, I'd call home, only to find out that something had happened. This has happened twice with my sister and her car accidents, my father and some of his surgeries, and my mother when she was very ill. Thankfully, I haven't had any about my brother. He's too much of an asshole to have problems.

Ahh, let me collect my thoughts and I'll post more later.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:56 pm 
kreely wrote:
This thread seems to have deviated just a wee bit. But then, who's to say that it can't?


I don't think it has. We're still discussing the difference between faith and reason.

kreely wrote:
quote]
I've had dreams where a family member was in trouble in one way or another. When I'd wake up, I'd call home, only to find out that something had happened. This has happened twice with my sister and her car accidents, my father and some of his surgeries, and my mother when she was very ill.


Do you have an explanation of the mechanism behind this phenomenon?
If you can't come up with a rational theory of the way this happens and back it up with evidence (something reproducable and evident to someone other than yourself) then it is necassary for me to assume coincidence (2 or more events that appear to be connected, without actually having any connection) or self-delusion.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 1:01 pm 
Honestly? I think it's more along the lines of the ties that I have with my family. No matter how much shit we went though, they're still mine. This could be my unconcious mind picking up on "feelings" or it could be Diety telling me to wake my arse up and check on them. I cannot offer empirical proof to back me up. I can, however, offer statements from friends and family about these episodes.

It's like being able to guess the next song about to play on the radio. It just happens.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 1:15 pm 
An old fave of my ex-Coven:

You might be a fluff-bunny Pagan if your idea of an Athame is a consecrated butter knife.

Yes, one of our members really did that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:57 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
kreely wrote:
Yes, to a degree I can agree with you here. Although most people I know would point out the movie, Phenomenon, to back them up. At the same time, I'll have to also disagree with you. I've had dreams where a family member was in trouble in one way or another. When I'd wake up, I'd call home, only to find out that something had happened. This has happened twice with my sister and her car accidents, my father and some of his surgeries, and my mother when she was very ill. Thankfully, I haven't had any about my brother. He's too much of an asshole to have problems.


How many times have you dreamed about your family in trouble and it turned out they were fine? How many times has your family been in trouble and you never dreamed about it at all? Can you say confirmation bias? What were the details of the dreams? Did the events in the dreams correlate with your family's problems, or did you dream about your sister in, say, a burning house and it turns out it was a car accident? Were the dreams open to interpretation at all? How soon after the dreams did the events occur?

Do you worry about your family often? If you dreamed about them in trouble often enough, you're bound to get it right. And the illnesses and the surgeries? Both are things you could have known about in advance; illnesses can have symptoms before they get serious, and you usually have to schedule surgeries. What are the details of the dreams here?

Quote:
This could be my unconcious mind picking up on "feelings" or it could be Diety telling me to wake my arse up and check on them. I cannot offer empirical proof to back me up. I can, however, offer statements from friends and family about these episodes.


Or it could just be coincidence. Those happen, you know.

Why is it that people always turn to the farfetched answers instead of actually thinking about what's going on? Know ye nothing of statistics? Of science? Of psychology?

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:22 pm 
jeremiahsmith wrote:

Why is it that people always turn to the farfetched answers instead of actually thinking about what's going on? Know ye nothing of statistics? Of science? Of psychology?


You are basically putting faith in a set of theroies as much as some of us put it in dieties or dogma.

Statistics can be bent to show what ever the heck one wants them too. Psychology and science is full of guesses also known as theories. Yes, there is a basis for these theories but not any more than the rest of us are basing our faith on (assuming we've thought about our faith and admited and worked on doubts). Last I remember, there were all of maybe five or six laws (honestly can't remember for sure wheter or not it's 2 or 3 laws of thermodynamics) of science. That is all that has been proved with out a single doubt and will happen without faliure when tested. Most of what I'm sure of psychology and sociology is in the end a set of educated guesses and nothing more. In fact I know a number of people who when starting medication for pyschological problems, there is a hit and miss time period that they must go through to find what works.

Please explain how these guesses are more reliable than my experiences and how faith in science is more reasonable than that in a deity that I have hypothetically had communication with.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:27 pm 
kreely wrote:
An old fave of my ex-Coven:

You might be a fluff-bunny Pagan if your idea of an Athame is a consecrated butter knife.

Yes, one of our members really did that.


Sorry, but that make lots of sense to me. If it works use it. My thought is it makes you more of a fluff bunny, to ridicule what works for someone else because it doesn't make sense to you.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:16 pm 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
You are basically putting faith in a set of theroies as much as some of us put it in dieties or dogma.


How is it faith to accept something that's been demonstrated over and over again? Study after study of human psychology shows that memory is faulty, that people's interpretation of facts can be affected by others, that wishful thinking can affect people's thoughts. I'm not making these things up because I like the way they sound. Many of these things are supported to about the same degree that "the Earth is round" is, based on evidence and studies and analysis by people who know what they're doing. Do you agree that the world is round?

Quote:
Statistics can be bent to show what ever the heck one wants them too.


How unusual. So can dreams. Odd that you'd trust the random scatterings of your subconscious over tested and demonstrated math, but, hey, math is boring and dreams are fun, right?

Those who actually study statistics tend not to be fooled by tweaked figures, because they know about things as sample bias, small sample sizes, sampling methodology, and all sorts of things. And many cases, all you need to know of statistics is probability math, and knowledge of the way people interpret and misunderstand probability to make things seem more or less important. One in a million chances happen all the time, you know.

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Psychology and science is full of guesses also known as theories.


Do you even know what the word theory means, as it applies to science? It's not a guess. It's an explanation, that's derived from evidence, explains the evidence, and also predicts new observations. Atomic theory, germ theory, quantum theory, evolutionary theory, relativity theory: these aren't things that scientists just bend over and pull out of their ass. Scientists just didn't go "oh, I guess diseases are transmitted by little things called germs". They're based by the systematic analysis of evidence, and are continually refined and tested over and over again. They're about as far from "guesses" as you can get. You wouldn't be talking to us if it weren't for science and its "theories"; there'd be no Internet, no computers, and you possibly would have died of disease long ago. Cholera, maybe.

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Yes, there is a basis for these theories but not any more than the rest of us are basing our faith on (assuming we've thought about our faith and admited and worked on doubts).


Yes. The basis is the assumption that the universe is orderly, that it is self-consistent, that experiments are repeatable and testable. These are the assumptions everyone makes when they cook dinner, figure out where they left their keys, build a house, cross the road without getting killed. They've just been formalized. You probably don't even think about these things; it's become second nature to claim things like "people can't walk through walls", and yet that claim is based on the assumption that the universe isn't going to change the rules in the middle of the game and change the way electromagnetic forces operate, or that your memories of people bumping into walls aren't flawed.

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Last I remember, there were all of maybe five or six laws (honestly can't remember for sure wheter or not it's 2 or 3 laws of thermodynamics) of science. That is all that has been proved with out a single doubt and will happen without faliure when tested.


As I've said many things before, no claim in the real world can be proven 100%. Science is descriptions of how we see nature. Our observations may continually agree with these things, but that only demonstrates that there's a high certainty we've got it right. Most people will agree that the world is round, and look at people who say "THE WORLD IS FLAT" like they're crazy, but it's still not 100%-certain and proved absolutely.

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Most of what I'm sure of psychology and sociology is in the end a set of educated guesses and nothing more.


Oh, of course. Nobody in the psychological and sociological fields bothers to test their hypotheses and make sure they're right. Nope, never never. They just think of something and say it's right and the rest of the scientific community goes "Sounds good to me!"

I find your apparently-complete ignorance of science and the scientific method appalling. Have you even ever attended a science class?

Quote:
In fact I know a number of people who when starting medication for pyschological problems, there is a hit and miss time period that they must go through to find what works.


Oh, of course. Because psychology doesn't know everything that obviously means it knows nothing.

Quote:
Please explain how these guesses are more reliable than my experiences and how faith in science is more reasonable than that in a deity that I have hypothetically had communication with.


"Faith in science"? How is it faith to accept what's been shown repeatedly, with empirical evidence and logical inferences? That's like saying "Accepting that the world is round is a matter of faith!" These theories, your so-called "guesses", are more reliable because they're based on objective empirical evidence and logical inference instead of wishful thinking and noctural ramblings of someone's subconscious. Why do you believe that these were communications from some unseen, unevidenced deity, instead of just dreams, which billions of people have nightly and mean nothing? Because they were detailed? Because you want them to be?

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:01 am 
I apologize if my words are too simplistic than what I intended. I shall start again, with hopefully putting more clarity into these words.

Basically, what I was trying to say is that the formation of a belief system, whether under religion or science, is done in a fairly similar fashion, but through different sets of evidence or interpretaions of said evidence.

Through science, a proven theorem can be shown through the repetition of the experiment that proved it. The proven theorem is then given a law, which describes (sometimes with mathematics) what it is.

However, in some cases, there can be brought forth new evidence which causes a proven theory to be either given an exception (under certain circumstances), or to be shown as totally false. Before then, though, scientists had absolute ...faith... that this theory is true, based on those repetitions. They have confidence in these theories, based on these repetitions. But are they absolute truth?

I'll submit three things as examples of what I mean (one, admittedly, from law, and two from science):

1.) In 1969, David Milgaard was convicted of rape and murder. In 1992, he was set free, and finally exonorated in 1997. Based solely on one new piece of evidence. DNA testing.

Before then, though, there was widespread belief...widespread faith... that he did indeed commited the crime. When the new evidence was presented, then a new conclusion was reached.

2.) The Big Bang Theory. A theory that's been presented in basic science texts. In March of 1999, New Energy News (NEN) presented an editorial where an opposing hypothesis was given. This was based on the 11 billion light year view that the Hubble could see to at the time.

At the time, this was considerably older than the universe was thought to be. The Big Bang Theory is a hotly debated topic, but some scientists did have some faith in it's validity.

3.) Ferdinand Cohn and Louis Pasteur both taught the belief that microbes and bactieria are Monomorphic, or only have one form. This was challenged by Bechamp and Enderlein (among others), who supported that such microbes can actually alter their form, based on their environment.

So thus, you have two opposing theories, based on acceptable scientific practices. Which do you believe, and which do you throw out?

It's the third point that's the core of my argument. There are various belief systems out there, whether it be scientific or religious. Each are based on the evidence provided whether it be through gathering of evidence through controlled experiments or through the interpretation of scriptures, documents...or personal experiences.

Often times it is a certain choices that are made. In terms of science, it's the choice of the controls under which the experiment is given. In terms of religion, the choice of interpretation of such experiences. Given an alternate series of choices, you can sometimes end up with the same result/interpretation, or a different result.

Can a belief system, built either by doctrines of religion or theories of science, be rendered valid or invalid solely on empirical evidence or a lack of such evidence? Wouldn't there also have to be faith that such evidence is correct? And also what about any new evidence that may be brought into play?

Occam's Razor, while a good rule to folow at times, tends to not allow for newer evidence to be considered above the minimum.

I think that's enough... is this a little clearer? If not, I can elaborate further, if you wish, especially on any topic I might have missed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:38 am 
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Basically, what I was trying to say is that the formation of a belief system, whether under religion or science, is done in a fairly similar fashion, but through different sets of evidence or interpretaions of said evidence.

There is no evidence used in religion. Everything in religion is subjective, internalized. Evidence is something that can be held, wieghed, measured, seen, heard. External and objective.

Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Through science, a proven theorem can be shown through the repetition of the experiment that proved it. The proven theorem is then given a law, which describes (sometimes with mathematics) what it is.
There is no polite way to say this. Your understanding of the word "theory" is as flawed as your understanding of "evidence".
A theory can not be proven.
There is always some amount of uncertainty of the accuracy of a theory. One can disprove a theory, but not prove it 100% correct.
In science sometimes a theory is used, and is useful, that is known to be incorrect, or incomplete. A theory doesn't attempt to explain reality, it merely attempts to model some limited part of the universe.

Thats where that "cold uncertainty of reason" comes in. With faith you can be certain, you can know you have a lock on reality. You're probably wrong, but you can feel certain.


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