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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 >  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2007,21:33   

35 pages of comments and no one is any closer to an answer then they were on the 1st page.

Are all you guys smoking pot?  I'm trying to figure out the lure of this thread.  Maybe if I was high I could go along with it.

If we assume X (make shit up) then we can conclude Y (made up shit).

Ok, I got that part.  It's like make believe for grown ups.  I get it.  

What's the point though?  Did I not tell you god exists and the evidence is that Elvis (the TRUE king) lives in my shorts?

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2007,22:16   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Dec. 07 2007,22:33)
35 pages of comments and no one is any closer to an answer then they were on the 1st page.

Blonds are hotter.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2007,22:27   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 07 2007,22:16)
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Dec. 07 2007,22:33)
35 pages of comments and no one is any closer to an answer then they were on the 1st page.

Blonds are hotter.

Thanks, now I get it and that actually makes sense.

Ok, carry on!

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2007,23:37   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Dec. 07 2007,21:33)
35 pages of comments and no one is any closer to an answer then they were on the 1st page.

Are all you guys smoking pot?  I'm trying to figure out the lure of this thread.  Maybe if I was high I could go along with it.

If we assume X (make shit up) then we can conclude Y (made up shit).

Ok, I got that part.  It's like make believe for grown ups.  I get it.  

What's the point though?  Did I not tell you god exists and the evidence is that Elvis (the TRUE king) lives in my shorts?

Shit? Stuff.

Smoke some pot I guess.

:)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 08 2007,08:20   

Quote (BWE @ Dec. 06 2007,20:32)
Quote (BWE @ Dec. 04 2007,14:41)
Skeptic,

From my perspective, your position derives from faith but not directly in God; rather it appears faith in the people who told you about God and the book those people showed you. They told you what God was like. They told you what God thinks. They told you what God expects. If you hear God talk to you and he says the things you heard in church and read in a book but he doesn't ever ever ever say those things to people who haven't read the book, then we might be able to employ reason to that little tidbit.

I am tracking with your comment (I think) but do you contradict yourself here?

 
Quote
It took me 34 pages to realize that until and if I can prove God exists, or some similar agent, then I have no right to claim that knowledge can come from external sources.  

The question of whether or not revelation is coming from God, the Devil or my own diseased head is irrelevant to the conversation.  Why?  Because the premise is unprovable.  I convice you that God spoke to me and told me "thou shalt not kill" unless you also believe in God.  Certainly God could be more blatent and tell me the winning six numbers but I'm pretty sure that still wouldn't constitute convincing evidence.  The knowledge that "thou shalt not kill" did come from somewhere and it is foolish to argue about it's source because there is no resolution to that discussion.

It's all fun and games till God tells you to go kill him a son or obliterate an entire city, people and all. Not that I'm going down the bad things in the bible road but it looks to me like you cherry pick a bit. Sure, I can't tell you God didn't speak to you. I wholeheartedly agree. But what god says is a whole different story.

Imagine if a native from the deepest darkest part of the Amazon, he's never seen nor even heard of humanity outside his own hunting grounds. Imagine if he walked out of the Jungle and told the story of Jesus. Or the miracles in the bible. Or imagine that he says "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife. God told me that."

But actually, that's not what happens is it? What seems to happen is this:
 
Quote
The Huaorani were contacted only 50 years ago. Before that time, these hunter-gatherers were roaming in small groups on an area three times bigger than their present day territory. Recently, the Ecuadorian government granted the Huaorani communal rights over their current territory....
The Huaorani are known for their spears, which are long, with both ends sharpened. One of the ends is carved with sharp barbs. Once the spear enters the body, there is no way of taking it out without tearing the flesh and causing more damage.  They are feared by neighboring tribes for their violent reputation.  Huaoranis are indeed very temperamental, moody, and unpredictable.  They have a long history of bloody vengeances; violent payback was part of their culture.  Most of the conflicts were solved by spearing the other party, then the family of the victim would seek revenge, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.

In 1956 the Huaorani were contacted by missionaries of the Summer Language Institute and the process of evangelization began. The missionaries translated the Bible in Huao Terero. They taught the Huaorani it was shameful to walk around naked as they were accustomed, making them ashamed of their traditions and lifestyle.  The influence of missionaries became very apparent to me when I was playing cards with young adults in a Kichwa community in the jungle just outside Huaorani territory.  I was accompanied by a young Huaorani man who had been my guide in a trip to Huaorani territory.  To make the game more entertaining, I proposed that whoever loses, get punished (made to do something funny, like sing, dance, or act silly).  My guide immediately let me know that he was not allowed to dance, because in the Bible it is written that dancing is bad.  When he was punished, my Huaorani guide started singing a religious hymn learned from missionaries.  Huaoranis were lured to live in fixed areas (reservations) where the missionaries built houses and schools, thus destroying their nomadic lifestyle, and disrupting their social structure.  The missionaries paved the way for oil companies to enter Huaorani territory and start drilling. Money, clothing, and new diseases made the Huaorani dependent on consumer goods and western medicines.  In exchange for salt, sugar, and Nike shoes, they gave missionaries and oil companies permission to do pretty much whatever they wanted on their land.

http://www.amazon-indians.org/page11.html

Right?

So, when you talk about a God that you didn't invent, we can look at things like where the idea originated. Right? Or wrong? I'm not talking about disproving God, I'm talking about myth. It can be traced, diagrammed, mapped over time using GIS software like Arcsoft and Arcview, broken down into its constituent bits analyzed and set upon a platter for display.

At that point, reason would tell us that the revelation didn't come from God. Not that knowledge can't come from revelation -

*An aside: and until Louis refines the definitions to draw at least narrow gray areas, his point regarding knowledge looks a bit like "opium makes you sleepy because of its soporific effects" to me right now. But skeptic, watch how he deals with that statement and then watch how I respond. I do suppose that logical soft spot to be the case in this one narrow part of the OP so I expect Louis will vigorously defend his definitions and I will consider his definitions. I suspect Louis will either not be able to support his definition in which case he will blush, giggle and say "oops, quite right.", or he will support his definition in such a way that reason can be reasonably delineated in which case I will concede the point and probably muse on the subject for a good while later because I might see it in a new way. I however, will not say "oops, quite right." Only a Brit would say that and that's because they aren't afraid of looking homosexual like we americans are. Sorry, I can't speak for aussies or kiwis.

- but that previously known knowledge isn't by definition revelation.

Maybe that makes sense. I don't care what you believe but if you claim yesterday's headline as a revelation and also immutable truth and rational investigation leads to a conflicting conclusion the that is the spot where the rift between science and religion begins.

Woo. Gotta go. Bye.

this one skeptic.

Ok, I understand your point but this has the potential of going into a completely different direction.  The main thing that must first be recognized is that nothing in The Bible, The Koran, Budda's teachings really has anything to say about the actual existence of God.  Those are all works of men who take then initial premise that God exists and then try to understand then nature of God in human terms.  This could quickly degenerate into theology and he said, he said but that's not the point.  The point is whether or not knowledge can come from sources other than human reason.  

I was thinking about this and faith itself and I may have to concede some ground to Louis.  I was working on an analogy involving aliens coming to Earth and sharing their technology.  It would naturally be assumed that these aliens came from a much more advanced culture than ours so when they shared their thoughts on the nature of the universe we would, naturally, be influenced.

So the question then becomes, where is reason working.  We reason that these aliens are much more advanced than us and so we're going take them at their word as to the nature of the universe.  This is faith also.  We don't actually have any reason to accept this knowledge but we do.  Now, knowing human nature we would immediately start trying to cooraborate this knowledge and in doing so we'd actually answer two questions.  Is this knowledge rational and are these aliens atually more advanced then we?

Taking this back to God.  I accept what God says because he's God and that's a reasoned (not rational) decision.  My initial belief in God may or may not be based upon reason depending upon my route to this belief.  This may not be something that can be determined as it with be individual to each person and that person may not even know the actual reason.  But the knowledge that God has passed down is not based upon reason.  This is a source of knowledge that we can not access and have no way of evaluating at it's source.  The same as the aliens, we will try to cooraborate it but that is still just the process of putting it in our terms.  To go back and try to find the source of this knowledge in human terms is a historical exercise and thus open for interpretation.  We can never truely be confident as the exact source and impact of myth so uncertainty will always remain.

So, my faith in God may be a reasoned choice and I can view God's revelation in a reasoned manner but the I can not say that the knowledge itself originated from an application of reason...as long as the premise of God is accepted.  Of course, if there is no God then all knowledge is sourced from human reason and there is no rift between faith and reason because faith doesn't really exist, it's just an illusion and there can be no actual conflict with an illusion.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 08 2007,08:22   

Blondes are more beautiful,
Brunettes are hotter.

There, now that we've settled that.

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 08 2007,10:41   

Quote
The point is whether or not knowledge can come from sources other than human reason.

Depends on what knowledge you want to have.
 
Quote
Taking this back to God.  I accept what God says because he's God and that's a reasoned (not rational) decision.

And who says he's actually saying that? And who says he's still saying that now? It's like something from a Dutch comedian (wroughly translated): So how do you know that God exists? Well the Bible says that. But how do you know that what the Bible says is right? Well the Bible says that.
What's sad in the Bible, is sad by humans. Who says God has ever spoken? People who hear voices in there head nowadays are called schizofrenics, why would the old prophets be different? And also, who says that who claims to be God, is actually God? Why would I trust such a voice?
O and about Buddha, he actually has nothing to do with God, yes nature gods are in most buddhist teachings (the original nature religions mixed with buddhism, as also happend with christianity or the islam at some places) but the original teachings only involved life after death.
Quote
Blondes are more beautiful,
Brunettes are hotter.

There, now that we've settled that.

Tsk tsk tsk, you're totally forgetting Asians wich are generally more cute ;)

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 08 2007,17:56   

amended,

Blondes are more beautiful,
Brunettes are hotter,
Asians are cuter.

That better?

As for the rest, that's a completely different conversation.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2007,10:17   

Gaaaaah!

I spend a few days doing what I am rather well paid to do in a lab and suddenly I'm being touch eh? Well, erm, in a word, no.

a) I have an infinitely better sense of humour than that.
b) I am infinitely less sensitive than that, although granted I suffer fools not at all gladly (if you ain't a fool you ain't gots a problem). Irritation =/= offense. Anyone would have to try very, very very, very very very very VERY hard to actually offend me. Annoy me, kinda easy though! ;-) I doubt anyone has noticed {ahem}.

Right, in no particular order:

Quote
Touchy? Sorry. I just picked up on the whole episode a little while ago so I rehashed it for my own benefit. Sorry if it's a sore spot.

How I see things:


I'm not trying to poke at you.


See above. TICK!

Quote
In defending your own reference point, you took a semantic issue and moved it from an internal dimension to an external dimension. You started in on quantifying it, dissecting it and claiming rational reason as the only source of information that could be valid. The problem with that approach was that you included unconscious processes as rational and reasoned (I do understand the current developments). Of course they are but doesn't that kind of make the words meaningless?  I can read the thread more than one way depending on whether I want to see it as comedic or tragic.


In a word: bollocks.

Lenny was wrong. Lenny couldn't admit it. Lenny chucked a snit.

I'll elaborate:

a) I loved and love (very much present tense) Lenny unreservedly. Annoyed with =/= dislike. I've "known" the guy online for years and the only emotions you could accurately describe me as having re Lenny and I on this thread are surprise and disappointment. Full stop. Period. End of story. Anyone else saying anything different is, to put it bluntly, talking ever so delicately through the wrong opening in their body.

b) The issue being discussed was not a semantic one. It is far more important than that. If we use "questions" poorly, or poorly define what we mean we get problems. Rather than rehash what I've explained very clearly (IMO) at least 3 times now, I invite ANYONE who thinks this is merely an issue of semantics or subjectivity to go back and read what I wrote.

Incidentally, the recent discussion between BWE and Bill and me has been based on EXACTLY this. I phrased something poorly, didn't bother to go back and correct it and was RIGHTLY called on it. From what Bill has written he and I now understand each other (and I guess BWE and I do too). This was ENTIRELY my fault for phrasing what I said poorly. I used words which I thought I'd been clear about but it turns out I hadn't been. I admitted this, we've clarified where we agree, and moved on. This is called "discussion".

This is what Lenny was not doing. I have demonstrated, clearly, beyond reasonable doubt, that Lenny quotemined (intentionally or not) my arguments to hammer on what he sees as "atheist fundamentalism". He made this abundantly clear, and can easily be quote incontext to demonstrate this. He and I happen to agree that what he sees as "atheist fundamentalism" is a bad thing. The problem was and is, I'm not advocating "atheist fundamentalism" or anything like it. I may have slightly tried to point this out to Lenny. Lenny ignored this and carried on regardless. This annoyed and annoys me FROM ANYONE. Especially someone I like and admire like Lenny.

I can't help it if when I am clear, on those few occasions, people try very very hard not to understand. Again, compare and contrast with the recent discussions where BWE/Bill/Me have tried very hard TO understand each other. See marked differences. If I am fed up of anything it is reiterating the plainly obvious.

TICK!

Quote
You said that faith in reason is silly. Right. From the point of view you brought on, that is correct. But isn't that a kind of blanket doing away with the word? Are you just narrowing the definition of faith till it only means a belief in the irrational? So all you've done is have a long tirade against a definition of a word in that case. Or that reason includes any action or trust based on "processes that interact with and derive feedback and correction from the environment." (as Bill put it) Which includes pretty much everything else? I was looking for how you would define the words "faith" and "reason" in the context of the sentence. Apologies for being less than clear on that. I know you (plural) hashed out the definitions already but the context is what I was after. I did have a point I wanted to get at.


OH FUCK ME!!!!! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO  NO NO NO!!!!!!

;-)

Is it possible for me to be MORE emphatic about this? I don't think faith is silly, I haven't (and don't need) to define faith narrowly to demonstrate it's lack of epistemological value. If I have done anything it is to constantly reiterate over and nauseatingly over again that the ONLY sense I am using "faith" etc in is the epistemological sense. I've made long posts on other definitions of faith, the use of faith in everyday life etc, the distinction I've made since the very start and definitely made very clear is that the core of the issue I am discussing is an epistemological one. Why this is still being confused and expanded beyond what I have very clearly stated is beyond me. (Incidentally I know it's clear because other people have told me it's clear).

The crux of the issue is that Skeptic claims there is no reason for conflict between science and religion. Rather tha conflating this with "need" for conflict or "desire" for conflict (neither of which I see, advocate, or have argued for anywhere on this thread or elsewhere) I decided to refute his claim on the very simple, very uncontroversial issue of epitsemology (and a couple of other things). There IS a conflict between religion and science, like it or not. What we DO about that, and HOW we do things about that are not only a) irrelevant to what I've been saying they are b) irrelevant to the issue of whether a conflict exists or not. How much clearer can I be? There is only one genuine, uncontroversial area of conflict and that is the epistemological conflict between faith and reason. I drew this distinction in the FIRST POST and expanded on it subsequently.

What seriously annoys me is I have to repeatedly keep putting out fires of irrelevance like "you claim science can tell us everything" which I've never claimed (nor would), and "you just define faith as something stupid" which I don't, and "it's all because you're biased" which I'm not, and "it's all because of your worldview" which I don't possess. Granted I am far from the most perfect communicator of ideas but I've been sufficiently clear that at least most of the people who've read what I've written have understood it!

Quote
Or that reason includes any action or trust based on "processes that interact with and derive feedback and correction from the environment." (as Bill put it) Which includes pretty much everything else?


Why yes, yes it does include everything! That has been my point! Skeptic's claim has been that faith alone, as a method of enquiry, as a method of gaining knowledge, is a valid epistemological method. I'm refuting that point by showing that in every instance it is claimed that faith gives us some knowledge it's actually some for of reason-like process. It's not like I've been ambiguous about this.

Quote
I did read what Bill wrote and it seems like a reasonable approach to a philosophical question regarding knowledge. I don't know exactly why I need to "Stop importing "conscious" "aware" "human" etc as prefixes for the "unconscious reason-like" process I have been describing (admittedly poorly).", when you take full blame for the misunderstanding. Because you hadn't thought how to phrase what you wrote carefully enough to remove intentionality/awareness implications from it, the idea ended up getting a much richer treatment and you get the chance to have a wry chuckle.


No the reason that you have to stop importing intentionality into your counters of my arguments is because they are not relevant to those arguments. The reason you might have imported them is because I might have poorly communicated them, or at least I can see how the way I have communicated them could cause that misunderstanding. I was being nice. It happens!

I thought I'd been very clear about what I meant, I can see however that other people can read a sentence and get a different meaning. In order to progress the discussion I acknowledged (and continue to acknowledge) that the phrasing I used could confuse. I've had this identical conversation with people it didn't confuse, mainly because they understood the arguments within context. That's no kudos to them or detriment to anyone else, yourselves included, it's simply a statement of fact. That's why we have to try very hard to be clear about what it is we're saying. That's why I get very annoyed when people import tangetial crap AFTER they've been told that the crap they are importing is tangential or irrelevant. Misunderstandings are fine, I make them all the time, persisting in those misunderstandings after they have been tirelessly corrected isn't.

Is this getting through?

Forgive me if this is a tad disjointed and/or ranty. It's not meant to come across that way. I think I've been pretty clear about what I mean most of the time and it is getting slightly frustrating to have to continually go back to the start and reiterate the distinctions I've been making since page one.

TICK!

Skeptic:

Quote
I was thinking about this and faith itself and I may have to concede some ground to Louis.


{Louis faints}

BOOOM!

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Henry J



Posts: 4756
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2007,10:46   

Quote
{Louis faints}

BOOOM!


MEDIC!

This guy just fainted!

:O

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2007,13:25   

Quote
 
Quote ("BWE @ late@the bar")

I did read what Bill wrote and it seems like a reasonable approach to a philosophical question regarding knowledge. I don't know exactly why I need to "Stop importing "conscious" "aware" "human" etc as prefixes for the "unconscious reason-like" process I have been describing (admittedly poorly).", when you take full blame for the misunderstanding. Because you hadn't thought how to phrase what you wrote carefully enough to remove intentionality/awareness implications from it, the idea ended up getting a much richer treatment and you get the chance to have a wry chuckle.


No the reason that you have to stop importing intentionality into your counters of my arguments is because they are not relevant to those arguments. The reason you might have imported them is because I might have poorly communicated them, or at least I can see how the way I have communicated them could cause that misunderstanding. I was being nice. It happens!


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? "

:) I'm glad I didn't hurt your feelings.

I was just trying to help out ol' Len with some different words. I think he got annoyed and lost his ability to reason. :)

After the discussion on the previous few pages, I think the epistemological issue is resolved. I didn't mean to imply that I wasn't satisfied. Actually, I just savored a ham sandwich and 3 little bitty orange-like fruits and I'm even more satisfied if that's possible.

My little pokey stick was a pokin' away but I'm safe on the other side of the bars here. Every once in a while I like to pop my grizzled head up and point out the difference between a description and an experience. I think that's one of the problems with Skeptic's claim actually. His Faith appears to come from information he recieved somewhere along the line. He then confused his thinking about that information with his recieving it at some point long ago and put his learned map right over his real landscape. He looks at the map and claims knowledge about the landscape. Ok, the accuracy of that knowledge depends on the accuracy of the map but the knowledge (whether true or false) didn't come from some outside source, it came from his map. The map's accuracy can be falsified in most places because it makes specific claims and right there! Bingo! A rift between science and religion.

 
Quote
What seriously annoys me is I have to repeatedly keep putting out fires of irrelevance like "you claim science can tell us everything" which I've never claimed (nor would), and "you just define faith as something stupid" which I don't, and "it's all because you're biased" which I'm not, and "it's all because of your worldview" which I don't possess. Granted I am far from the most perfect communicator of ideas but I've been sufficiently clear that at least most of the people who've read what I've written have understood it!


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.

 
Quote
That's why I get very annoyed when people import tangetial crap AFTER they've been told that the crap they are importing is tangential or irrelevant. Misunderstandings are fine, I make them all the time, persisting in those misunderstandings after they have been tirelessly corrected isn't.
:) It was an honest mistake. I'll probably do it again. But if it helps, I recommend some of the whiskey's they make in the north country over there. That always helps me anyway.

 
Quote
{Louis faints}


--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2007,13:43   

Quote (BWE @ Dec. 13 2007,14:25)
He then confused his thinking about that information with his recieving it at some point long ago and put his learned map right over his real landscape. He looks at the map and claims knowledge about the landscape. Ok, the accuracy of that knowledge depends on the accuracy of the map but the knowledge (whether true or false) didn't come from some outside source, it came from his map. The map's accuracy can be falsified in most places because it makes specific claims and right there! Bingo! A rift between science and religion.

This sort of error prompted me to coin the phrase, "The map is not the territory."

(*shoves Korzybski behind a rock*)

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 13 2007,14:23   

Hmmm. Learn something everyday. Korzybski. Thanks Bill. Now I've got another behemoth to add to my reading list.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Oh and blondes women of Indian extraction are hotter.*

I can prove this using an Etch-A-Sketch.

Louis

* My wife in no way made me say this. She does not have any form of secateurs poised around my testicles.

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

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

Quote
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?

Quote
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.

Simple!

Louis

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,04:40   

Oh yeah, whilst I remember. Of course the map is not the territory, and you'll find I am certainly not arguing it is. All I am arguing for is using a method of mapmaking that at least looks at the territory once in a while and tries to represent it as it is rather than perhaps as one might desire it to be.

Your map's no good if for the sake of saving your legs you put a flat road where a mountain range is.

I'm reminded of the old Cornish joke: A bloke is out for a nice country walk in Cornwall. As he wends his way o'er hill and dale he encounters a farmer and his wife leaning on their gate and asks them how far it is to St Just. The farmer replies "It's ten miles west of here, just keep goin' drekly that way." and his wife interrupts "Ah Bob, he's walkin', tell him it's five miles".

Get the point? Nice of her, potentially very useful (psychologically) for our walker, but as a representation of the territory: bloody useless, and at worse dangerously false.

Louis

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Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,08:51   

Quote (Louis @ Dec. 14 2007,04:34)
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.

Simple!

Louis

I don't think you can have it both ways.  If you remove any special knowledge from faith then I do think it becomes meaningless.  All the other benefits you mentioned (emotional, social, etc) have no real value if they're built on an illusion.  I'm not sure how exposed you are to not only religious people but spiritual people.  They actually do believe that God spoke and here's some of the things he said.  You remove that and just start looking at some ideas that some man seems to think makes sense and you end up with nothing more than a social club or something like scientology.

If I may be so bold, I think you're trying to say that religion, as a social institution, is not silly but faith as a source of knowledge is silly.  Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

BTW, everyone has a worldview even if they don't know what it is.  :D

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,10:25   

Skeptic,

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.

Louis

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Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,11:23   

We're just gonna have to disagree on a few points.  I see no utility is believing in any thing that has no real foundation.  If faith has provided no knowledge then nothing stemming from has any foundation and in about 5 minutes you could destroy any claims to comfort, security, well-being because there is no rational basis to believe these things.

Silly, now becomes semantic but I would certainly think it was silly to adhere to any belief that you know is unfounded just for the sake of feeling better about yourself or the world around you.

The worldview comment was jest but if I had to bet I'd say you had one whether you wanted to admit it or not.  I'm certainly in no position to describe it.  Maybe it just comes down to what definition of "worldview" we're using.  One thing, and I've noted it before, I'm really confused how you could reach the conclusion that I believe in relativism in any way.  I would think that by this point you would see that I reject relativism completely.

As for the rest, again we disagree, I see faith as a source of knowledge which allows you to justify your "conflict."  If faith isn't a source of knowledge then the comparison of reason and faith is like apples and blue birds and there can be no conflict except by the ignorant.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,12:33   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 14 2007,08:51)
I don't think you can have it both ways.  If you remove any special knowledge from faith then I do think it becomes meaningless.  All the other benefits you mentioned (emotional, social, etc) have no real value if they're built on an illusion.  I'm not sure how exposed you are to not only religious people but spiritual people.  They actually do believe that God spoke and here's some of the things he said.  You remove that and just start looking at some ideas that some man seems to think makes sense and you end up with nothing more than a social club or something like scientology.

If I may be so bold, I think you're trying to say that religion, as a social institution, is not silly but faith as a source of knowledge is silly.  Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

BTW, everyone has a worldview even if they don't know what it is.  :D

Skeptic, I apologize for the derail earlier. One semantic issue needed clarification in order for me to engage the issue. That issue was the precise meanings (in this context) of the words "knowledge", "reason", "faith", and "truth".

Louis isn't asking to have it both ways. I think he explicitly points out that since you can have opposing faiths and no way to rate the truth of a faith based claim, that they don't fall into the realm of knowledge.

Your claim looks to me to be based on utility and not faith at all. What it looks like to me is that you are claiming that the value (social, emotional etc.) you get from your "faith" which you have defined as your acceptance of cultural traditions regarding the nature of God, overrides the benefit you would receive from modifying your reference point.

Fair enough.

Edited to add:
Quote
As for the rest, again we disagree, I see faith as a source of knowledge which allows you to justify your "conflict."  If faith isn't a source of knowledge then the comparison of reason and faith is like apples and blue birds and there can be no conflict except by the ignorant.
I would modify that to read:"except by the ignorant as brought to the human stage through fundamentalism." Which then goes on to define the lines even further until you end up at the point where the moment Faith leads you to make a positive claim...
...

791 else
792 goto page 1

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,14:11   

Yes, I agree, the loop persists.  It does all come down to what knowledge is and it seems we all have our own definitions there.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,17:16   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 14 2007,09:51)
If you remove any special knowledge from faith then I do think it becomes meaningless.  All the other benefits you mentioned (emotional, social, etc) have no real value if they're built on an illusion.  I'm not sure how exposed you are to not only religious people but spiritual people.  They actually do believe that God spoke and here's some of the things he said.

Skeptic - this reads backward to me.

I would argue that it is precisely the absence of both support by means of empirical knowledge and the receipt of "special knowledge" that endows an act of faith with the quality of faith. "I believe in God" as an act of faith acknowledges that this belief is sustained in the absence of the possibility of proof - or even the possibility of conclusively persuasive evidence - in support of that belief. THAT is what makes it faith, and THAT is what perhaps enables us to attribute to the faithful a measure of courage.

Many people believe in God, and that "here are some of the things he said." But they must acknowledge that there is no warrant to believe these assertions - they simply believe them, and act on those beliefs, as an act of faith. It doesn't follow that the "things he said" now have a privileged status as somehow "known" in an epistemological sense - to hold an assertion by faith alone neither confers nor reflects epistemological warrant. This is hinted by the fact that the "things he said" are often mutually exclusive and contradictory both within and between religious traditions.

[edit for clarity]

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,18:02   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 14 2007,14:11)
Yes, I agree, the loop persists.  It does all come down to what knowledge is and it seems we all have our own definitions there.

No!! The definitions all got hammered out. Go back and figure out which part you specifically refer to.

The loop is on your end, not one ours. The map. The map represents knowledge. Faith can't generate a map. If there is knowledge for which we have no adequate expressive form (as of yet) it might come from, as Louis' example, catching a ball, or perhaps the Zen archer, or meditation as we discussed earlier, and that information may not be subject to specific quantification (at least easily) but none of those are particularly "faith" and quite specifically none are religion. Religion is "trust" not faith. Trust that those who told us about it (it doesn't come spontaneously-the amazonian tribe example I used) were correct. Trust that the language they used to communicate the nature of the sublime and the words as abstracted symbols could communicate their knowledge accurately to you. Faith in terms of believing some idea that came to you through non-rational causes is not religion at all and has never led one person to find another person's God in the history of all humanity. The trust from the first example is in direct confrontation with science which requires a mapmaker to show his work.

That is the only thing science is good for: mapmaking. Its maps are the best humanity has for the natural universe. It doesn't say anything about God except what God is not.  God is not intervening in our physical universe in any measurable way and exerting any physical forces outside of relativity, quantum mechanics, physics in general.Faith doesn't contribute anything to that map for the simple reason that there can be opposing faiths.

Now, that in no way denigrates a belief in god. I very passionately believe in god and I don't think Louis would have any issue at all with my beliefs. I don't make claims about god however because of essentially this reason. And for the same reason, I understand that there is a rift between science and religion. Also for this reason, I take sides.

Please watch the link if you haven't before. Even if you have. It is one of the most coherent expressions of faith I have ever come across.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,18:21   

Quote (BWE @ Dec. 14 2007,19:02)
Please watch the link if you haven't before. Even if you have. It is one of the most coherent expressions of faith I have ever come across.

Beautiful. (And you've got to hand the little dot one thing: It has produced some good films.)  

Another moment in cinema that arouses similar feelings - and that, not surprisingly, is also connected with Carl Sagan - is the opening moments of the movie Contact, during which the camera starts at earth, then recedes to cosmological distances, and into silence.

[Edit: Watch it here. Even in this little YouTube format it brings tears to my eyes.]

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,21:43   

Wow Bill. I've never seen Contact. The silence means so much.

Still, the poetic statement from the first is about as good as it gets for me.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 14 2007,21:49   

Quote (BWE @ Dec. 14 2007,22:43)
Wow Bill. I've never seen Contact. The silence means so much.

Still, the poetic statement from the first is about as good as it gets for me.

I recommend Contact. Seeing that little clip of the opening prompts me to rent the DVD - very much about the place of science in the world, and the nature of faith.

What may not be apparent in that little YouTube clip is that the sequence terminates in the pupil of a human eye (that of the Jane Arroway character).

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2007,04:42   

Skeptic,

I'll only second what Bill said, a) because he said it before I could get here to say it and b) because I reckon he said it better than I would have done!

We're back to the questions I asked you at the start. How do you distinguish between two mutually contradictory faith claims?

The answer is: unless you use reason of some description, or some reason-like process, you can't even attempt to do this (I make no claim that one will be successful if one does use reason etc). And if you do use reason you eliminated the need to make the claim on faith in the first place, you've destroyed the faith nature of the claim and replaced it with some intuition or conjection that you are advancing as a testable hypothesis.

It's a classic Catch 22 of epistemology! If you're claiming that Article of Faith X is "knowledge" by some personal, idiosyncratic definition of "knowledge" then you must, by the force of your own arguments, acknowledge that a mutually contradictory Article of Faith Y is also "knowledge". You defeat your own claim of "knowledge" because the same justification can be used for the exact opposite.

Even more than that even if this faith derived thing IS knowledge (which it isn't) it is uncommunicable. The second you communicate it, you are making it available for scrutiny on a rational basis. And that stuffs the claim that faith is valid epistemologically oce again, because the second that an idea or claim is scrutinsied on a rational, reason based, footing it survives or dies on the evidence and therefore is explicitly a product of reason.

That's the problem with claiming faith is valid epistemologically, it catches you coming and going. You trap yourself by the force of your own arguments. Personally (and again there are a few theologians who would agree with this), I think this cheapens faith and makes it available for mockery at the least.

Look at it this way Skeptic, if you are claiming that without a factual faith derived knowledge basis for your beliefs, then they would all be invalid and easily destroyed, how do you cope when someone else makes a claim to a factual faith derived knowledge basis for their beliefs that completely contradicts your own? Take a trivial example: you, as a christian think that Jesus is the son of god, a muslim thinks that Jesus is an important prophet. Both of these things are based on the faith derived teachings of those two religions, and they are mutually exclusive. Jesus can't both be the son of god and not the son of god. A and not A. The ideas are mutually contradictory. (Hint: appeals to mystery will not help you here). You're stuck. Any appeal to historical evidence or ay form of reasoned theological argument proves my point: reason (and reason-like processes) are the only way we know anything at all, faith doesn't work. If you make no use of reason etc and ONLY assert these things by faith alone then you're also stuck, because your muslim chum can do exactly the same, no reconcilliation is possible. No distinction can be made.

Incidentally, on a related but separate note, this is precisely why advocacy of reason is INCLUSIVE. Look again at the Sagan video BWE posts. Our human concerns and biases are infinitesimally small things compared to the majesty of the cosmos (and yes I know the origins of that word!). Simple acknowledgement of certain of our limitations, the failure of faith as a valid epistemological method being one of them, allows us to try to place things on a reason based footing. To follow the evidence, to eschew some of the rather chimpy, evolved, instinctual and petty concerns of our species. These are the first steps on a highly inclusive and productive road.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2007,05:57   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 13 2007,13:43)
This sort of error prompted me to coin the phrase, "The map is not the territory."

(*shoves Korzybski behind a rock*)

*BBzzzz*
Wrong!

If you actually go and check "Science and Sanity", you'll find it is "A map is not the territory".  Putting it the other way means  there is only one real distinct map because of the way "The" is used, and is therefore against the way/ tenets/ suggestions/ advice of General Semantics.  

(I read Science and sanity at uni.  It was quite helpful, although it could be boiled down into something maybe 50 pages long)

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2007,08:52   

Quote (guthrie @ Dec. 15 2007,06:57)
             
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 13 2007,13:43)
This sort of error prompted me to coin the phrase, "The map is not the territory."

(*shoves Korzybski behind a rock*)

*BBzzzz*
Wrong!

If you actually go and check "Science and Sanity", you'll find it is "A map is not the territory".  Putting it the other way means  there is only one real distinct map because of the way "The" is used, and is therefore against the way/ tenets/ suggestions/ advice of General Semantics.  

(I read Science and sanity at uni.  It was quite helpful, although it could be boiled down into something maybe 50 pages long)

You're referring to Korzybski's famous passage, which equivocates on the pronoun: "A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness. If the map could be ideally correct, it would include, in a reduced scale, the map of the map, the map of the map of the map, and so on, endlessly, a fact first noticed by Royce."

But I wasn't alluding to Korzybski. I was referring to my wholly original phrase, "The map is not the territory," which I originated and which has no relationship to Korzybski. The passage in which it appears, a passage your grandchildren will be repeating to their children:

"Nor are there walking trees. The world stands tall around us, first cold, then fast, then silent. Neither is the candy the sweet, nor the sweet the kiss, nor the kiss the wedding ceremony, nor is the pastor, or minister, or justice of the peace, or the priest, witch doctor, etc. depending upon the venue in which your doom is consecrated and upon who (or is it whom?) completes the documentation any sort of substitute for the marriage license. Yet with respect to the human heart (and here I am referring to the emotional ins and outs of a person or woman and not his/their blood pumping muscle) there is pointing to it and showing you around it a very detailed map, namely this sensitive and wise book, yet the map is not the territory which you will remember is the strictly metaphorical heart. And it is in my heart that I long for walking trees, but there aren't any, which I could see by looking at a map of the area (which is to say by reading this book)."

*wipes tears* I can't continue...

[edit] But in the LoTR their are walking trees.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 15 2007,10:04   

I'm in trouble here.  After 36 pages I've come across some problems of definition and as BWE pointed they are my problems.  I went back and did some reading, not to ignore you guys but I sought third parties, and I've found that what I thought I was talking about was not really what I was talking about.  I hope that makes sense.

Let's look at faith first.  Faith is not a source of knowledge.  (pause, somebody help Louis back up again)

From Websters: faith: 2) 1. belief and trust in and loyalty to God, 2. belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, 3. belief in something for which there is no proof.

*all the first definitions referred to personal loyalty and fidelity*

Anyway, it is obvious that faith is evaluating information post-discovery and as has been pointed out to me, possibly using a reasoned method.  There can be the instance where a claim is believed just because but that is not the exclusive case.  Either way, no new knowledge is gained so faith is not a method for gaining knowledge.  In this same way, faith and reason can not be compared as methods but can be compared as means of evaluating claims.

Now all along I've been saying one thing and thinking another.  *Louis, you may just want to sit down*  When thinking of non-reasoned based methods of gaining knowledge I've been saying faith but I not sure that I have a word.  You guys might want to supply me one.  What I'm looking for is a method of gaining knowledge that is not based upon reason, such as revelation, meditation, prayer, etc.  For me, that is the opposite of reason in terms of method and faith will be the opposite in terms of evaluation.

So lets look at your example.  Jesus is or is not the Son of God.  The knowledge gained is either Jesus is or is not the Son of God.  Logic tells us that something can not be and not be simultaneously so one statement is true and one statement is false.  There is a way of evaluating both statements but there's no way to know which evaluation is correct.  You may say that this renders the answer meaningless, I'm not sure if you'd say that, but I would disagree.  

The source of both of these statements lie outside of a reasoned method of discovery.  In the Jesus is Son case, multiple instances of angels and God proclaiming the case to individuals and groups of people.  In Jesus is not case, The Prophet receiving direct communication from God.  Either there are two different Gods, which raises multiple contradictions or one statement is false.  There is no reasoned way of evaluating these claims directly as both are technically non-repeatable events.  But let's look a case that makes this actual knowledge.

For the sake of argument, imagine that an angel appeared to Mary and told her that her son would be the Son of God and it turned out to be true.  This constitutes knowledge as it correctly describes reality but it is based only upon human experience and a one time experience at that.  It is still true but we have to believe Mary to accept it.  We could take a reasoned approach and look at her character, whether she was really in the place she claimed when this event supposedly happened, an so forth.  Unfortunately, this considerations may have no connection to whether this event occurred and that's where faith comes in.

So I guess there's no reasoned way to differentiate between faith-based claims but that in itself does not exclude the knowledge contained in these claims.  One of them will be correct even if for the wrong reasons.

Does that put faith and reason at odds, yes in a sense.  The evaluation of information can be either reasoned-based or taken as a matter of faith.  Are revelation and reason at odds, no.  Revelation may contradict reason or the other way around but they still can not be compared because there is no overlap.  I can see that this may seem vague so I'll work on it.

  
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