Joined: Jan. 2006
Nope, faith as a source of knowledge is not silly, it simply isn't a source of knowledge. It doesn't work. This source of knowledge has run up the curtains to join the choir invisibule, it has gone to meet its maker, it's bereft of epistemological value it rests in peace, it's fucking snuffed it, it is an ex source of knowledge.
Ok maybe not. It never lived as a source of knowledge to start with.
"Silly" would imply it gives us answers that are nonsensical. Sadly, faith doesn't give us answers of any kind. Like Pauli once said to a young physicist after his presentation it is "ganz falsch", or "not even wrong". That's the problem, the use of faith as an epistemological tool gives us nothing, not even wrong answers, there's no way to know if they're right or wrong. It's a cock up to use faith epistemologically. In a lot of ways, and based on some of the theology I've read, I'd even say it's a category error to use it that way, it's not what it's for....that however might be a very debatable point that I need to read more about, certainly some theologians think that way.
I'm not trying to have it both ways at all, look at the Feng Shui example on page...whatever it was, very early on anyway. The systems of religion/belief we have developed might well have uses. We need to study this more. We need to take the ideas apart, polish the bits that work, repair the bits that are broken and discard the bits that don't work and never did. Those bits that will be discarded are the faith bits. That's because faith simply doesn't work as an epistemological tool. Does it work as a comfort, or as a source of potential inspiration etc in emotional and social terms? Perhaps it does (I think it varies to be frank) but it doesn't actually work in an epistemological sense.
Like I said above, all I want is unimpeded study. No ideas off limits, no ring fencing claims, no hiding behind veils of easily claimed mystery and prejudice. We humans KNOW these things can be used to cover up glaringly bad ideas, we've seen and done it before. It may be that we need to give credence to some form of "noble lie" (look it up, it's not a new idea), but at least let us discover this by investingating the topic, because it is by no means clearly the case. How do I know? Easy! People not only live with a variety of religious beliefs and faith claims, some of which are mutually contradictory, but in some cases live with none at all. That's a bit of a giveaway. Based on that alone I don't think investigation with harm anyone or anything. We already live in a world where faith based claims are investigated and busted daily, we always have done. From the earliest critics and schisms to the latest heretics, people have always scrutinised faith based claims of others and found them wanting. It's curious that the same analysis almost never seems to be made of one's OWN faith based claims. I'll have to look it up but there was a rather revealing survey/piece of research I read about recently to do with exactly this. Hmmm. Now where did I see it?
As for "everyone's got a worldview"? Oh really? I defy you to find mine (other than "go with the best evidence you can get as best you can", which hardly constitutes a "worldview"). I also guarantee that if I do have a worldview, then you will be incapable of describing it. Give it a go. It might involve some reading ;-) The implication you are (and have been since page one) trying to make is that this is somehow all relative, all a mere matter of opinion. Decidable by the individual. The consequences of this, and the logical incoherence of this have been pointed out to you before. It's not even consistent with your claimed faith! Whether you or I like it or not, the universe around us APPEARS to work a certain way. Our best evidence supports this and our best ideas try to model and explain it. Those ideas are not concrete, being mutable on the basis of new evidence. Disagree? Provide some evidence. Not conjecture, not assertion, but evidence.
Does this mean we know it all? Nope. Does this mean there is a quest for certainty? Nope. Does this mean that there is no room for a person to have faith in something? Nope. Does this mean that we should persecute religions and religious people? Nope. All it means is that we should acknowledge our limitations and try to improve upon them in as careful and precise a manner as possible.