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  Topic: No reason for a rift between science and religion?, Skeptic's chance to prove his claims.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,04:34   

I think you mean "the reason that you have to stop importing intentionality into your counters of my arguments is because I want you to. It's irritating and annoying to me. I have a good reason for wanting you to stop but goddammit would you please fucking just stop already? "

No BWE. I meant what I said. Those issues were not relevant to the arguments I have been making. Not relevant to one thing =/= not relevant to another thing or =/= I don't like it. I take my part in creating a misunderstanding, I'm a big boy, I can see how I phrased something in such a way as to create misunderstandings. What I won't do is pretend that the misunderstandings are relevant. Don't stop because it annoys me, stop because it's irrelevant. See the difference?

I didn't say you defined faith as something stupid. I said silly. Jeeze. I don't think I said you were biased although I should probably take this opportunity to do so. I should add, since that might be annoying, that you show a remarkable willingness to confront your biases and try to recognize them. Point being, that is part of learning how not to fool yourself.

I didn't mean YOU personally had accused me of bias, although it's lovely to find you doing so! Thanks! I meant, and I think I said, that throughout the course of the thread I had been accused of bias. If you think I've got some bias, great! Point it out, point out where that bias invalidates my arguments (if it does). As you note I'm not oly willing to learn, I'm willing to correct myself. You come up with a better idea, a better explanation, a more accurate hypothesis or whatever, I'll cheerfully discard the old and accept the new. Like you say, it's  a vital part of not fooling yourself.

Indicentally I DON'T think faith is silly or stupid or useless or worthless. That doesn't mean I think it's epistemologically useful or worthy or clever or serious. That's a MASSIVE distinction. As I said very early on (and illustrated with the Douglas Adams "Feng Shui" example) even a set of ideas that is manifestly wrong and mostly faith based can involve some reason or reason-like processes which have actually produced a few nuggets of gold in amongst the mud. I freely acknowledge the value and utility of faith as an emotional and human thing, and I even go so far as to support it in that context. That says absolutely NOTHING about the validity of it as an epistemologically useful method.

In real life it just isn't that simple, religious people don't exclusively rely on faith and revelation to tell them about the world. If they did the situation would be ridiculous! Religions themselves, as mentioned early on again, have a great deal to offer us, but what they offer that works and is valid has been derived from reason or some reason-like process. The faith elements are entirely intercangeable. If I tell X is true based on faith alone, you can tell me X is false based on faith alone. We are at an epistemological impasse. The "truth" (I prefer "accuracy") of proposition X is not discernable by faith assertion alone, there is another way. That way is in this case explicit, conscious use of reason, itself a manifestation of a reason-like process of interacting with the universe as mentioned. It's the separating out of these various strands of religion and science that leads to the conclusion that there is a genuine epistemologcial basis for conflict. Again, NONE of that dictates or even suggests HOW WE ACT on that fact. No one, least of all me, is advocating antipathy between science and religion. All in fact I would and do advocate is we stop kidding ourselves that faith is a valid epistemological method. The rest, the churches, art, architecture, charities, music, harmony, social cohesiveness (if it works, there is some debate) etc we get to keep. The only thing we throw away are ideas based on wishful thinking that we cannot support. Does that mean everyone becoes an atheist? Of course not. It does mean that everyone (as far as is possible! Obviously) recognises the limitations of what their faith can and does do. That is a very small thing to ask.

Even then, as Steve Elliot mentioned, there might be a case when we throw the baby out with the bath water. It might not be possible for us to acknowledge the facts of the epistemological vacuity of faith without destroying the very real positive personal and social benefits it brings. BUT! AT LEAST allow people to ask the question and investigate this. Don't pretend that the very asking of the question or act of investigation is an attempt to destroy rather than to understand. Stop ring fencing these claims off as special when they are very very far from it.




  1091 replies since Aug. 06 2007,07:39 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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