Re: A parable.
- On Jan 30, 2010, at 3:58 AM, Keith Green wrote:
>I think that the problem between Science and those who prescribe to scientific analysis as the basis for putting 'reality' into context are really not much different than Religious people who try to use Religion as a means of putting 'reality' into context. The problem with both groups is that both have a tendency to forget that both Science and Religion are constructs that were designed to be aids or tools to simplify the things perceived in a way that serves the best interest of those are concerned with such. Both groups tend to 'Worship' the construct, rather than understand them as just a few of the infinite possible tools available to perceive all of the infinite perspectives on things that are 'real'. Ironically, the scientists or mathematicians definition of science and the religious persons definition of faith are almost identical. I often laugh at this strange dichotomy. I'm sure many others do as well - LOL ! Unfortunately, sometimes we can become so arrogant in what we think we know, so fearful of not knowing, and allow a perceived sense of 'control' to become the prime motive to know. I believe all of this impedes cognitive development - SG.
> On Jan 28, 2010, at 7:10 PM, Bill Taylor wrote:
> > Keith Green writes a very neat summarising article about the difference
> > between "faith" and day-to-day confidence. I urge people to keep it.
> Glad you liked it. :-)
> > -> When I visit my car mechanic, I don't have faith that he did it right.
> > -> I have a reasonable (and fallible) expectation that he did.
> > Quite, and even more so if it's your doctor or airline pilot!
> > It's because we don't have to have "faith" in them, (as we might for
> > a witch doctor or an astologist), that society has developed a whole
> > raft of confidence-building processes, involving (publicly-checkable!)
> > training and examination systems.
> > Confidence in individuals is a totally different thing from faith in
> > doctrines, so much so that the original complainer might almost be accused of
> > debating trickery in this matter. It is, after all, a fairly obvious point.
> I don't think it's obvious. If it was obvious, it would have been boring to write about; there would have been no challenge. I don't think anything is obvious, actually.
> > -> And it involves having a very strong belief they are true.
> > It's *more* than a strong belief - it's a *commitment* - hence the above
> > insanity. Indeed, the whole religious enterpise seems to me to be
> > a species of voluntary insanity, as much as anything.
> As I see it, faith is one mistake. But there are many other mistakes, some unique to atheists. I didn't mean to indict religious people.
> No religious people are perfectly faithful. If they were, perhaps that would be insanity. But there are always areas of their life where they don't think about faith and don't use faith.
> Some atheists have faith in science or evolution without really understanding how they work.
> I think most common mistakes are shared by the religious and non-religious people alike. Religion is not a dividing line for most issues.
> > -> Religious faith aims to put some questions beyond rational criticism.
> > -> Science puts nothing whatsoever outside the scope of criticism.
> > SPOT ON! Hence religious fundies turning so easily to hate and violence
> > in the face of opposing views, terminations, cartoons.
> There are a lot of religious people who don't turn easily to hate or violence. There are peaceful, civilized religious people.
> Of course there are exceptions. There are also uncivilized atheist
> exceptions. I don't think it's fair to associate violence with
> religion today, at least in the English speaking countries.
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- On 03 Feb 2010, at 14:30, S G wrote:
> - The word "faith" is generally understood as being translated from
> the Greek word pi'stis. It generally conveys the thought of 'firm
> persuasion', conviction, trust, and the like. The phrase "Assured
> expectation" and "Substance" in the various renderings of the text
> above both derive from a translation of the Greek word hypo'stasis,
> a term that was common in ancient papyrus business documents.
> Hypo'stasis generally conveys the thought of something that
> underlies visible conditions and that guarantees a future
> possession. The phrases "Evident demonstration" and "Evidence", in
> the above renderings are derived from the Greek word e'legkhos,
> which conveys the thought of bringing forth evidence that clearly
> and unambiguously demonstrates something, especially something that
> appears on the surface contrary to the facts. These examples are
> provided so as to arrive at a more accurate understanding of what
> the word faith means to many religious persons. Hence, the true
> definition of faith has never been mere credulity or belief. It has
> always involved the submission of evidence in order to actually be
> real faith. Essentially, what the scriptural text from which the
> concept of faith is derived from is saying is that faith is
> something that is hoped for or expected based upon the demonstration
> of real evidence, or "evident demonstration of realities" that are
> not readily apparent, proven or 'beheld'. Now if this does not sound
> similar to us, just think: How many of us were exposed to a fellow
> Scientist's idea, some new radical concept that we readily hoped was
> or could be true? We did not have proof of it, yet we like the
> concept and may have thought it was very intriguing. Then what do we
> generally do? We may have gone out to legitimize or prove the
> concept by the accumulation of whatever facts or evidence we could
> find. However, until there was concrete evidence to support what we
> believed to be true, we kept our minds clear so as not to be tainted
> by irrational emotions and cloud our judgement. Once we have
> acquired enough evidence to support our belief, we then go out to
> show how the evidence highlights the possible reality of the idea or
> concept, almost as if it exists already and can be proven. Why?
> Because the overwhelming evidence acquired gives us a conviction
> that what we have unraveled might be true, or real or is almost
> certain to be true or real even before we know it to be factual or
> have proven it. This essentially is similar to religious faith.
> Think about the first manned space missions. Before it began, we had
> accumulated huge sums of mathematical data as evidence that we could
> send a human into space. Yes, we had plenty of evidence, and a lot
> of the planet hoped that this could happen. So let's get right to
> the point: Simply put, isn't it true that mankind's thought of
> walking on the moon was at one time merely an "Assured expectation
> of things hoped for "? Is it not also true that scientists
> convictions at that time were primarily based upon "The evident
> demonstration of realties though not beheld"? Hence, according to
> the Biblical text at Hebrew 11:1 as quoted above, most scientist
> have "Faith". So, it becomes pretty clear that if we use the general
> religious definition of faith as described above, a definition that
> would suit most religious persons, we find that both the scientist
> and many religious persons have a very similar 'methodology' in
> their approach to try and clarify the things that are not readily or
> instantly provable. I hope this can help to clarify what the general
> consensus is amongst the religious community about the meaning of
> the word "faith". Hey Charles, forgive me if I don't get to the
> other counter-point(s) because it could get kind of lengthy, but I
> did want grab one other point you've made "It's only different in
> that the physicists were led to their conclusions by examining the
> best available evidence now, while the theologians are quoting
> conclusions that were drawn based on the best available evidence
> from around 3000BC. However I agree that God is one possible
> explanation for the existence of the Universe (or multiverse, or
> "something rather than nothing") and would be interested to know how
> the theologians explain the existence of God." I agree and
> disagree. Physicists are not always led to their conclusions by
> examining the best available evidence now, although I wish many more
> were !!! When we examine someone like Popper, there is no harm in
> referencing his past writings. There are still so many theories or
> paradoxes from the past that have not been solved and so much to
> gain from studying conclusions from the past as well. A true
> scientist is not afraid to examine all things past and present,
> although in view of time constraints, it is probably better that he
> or she contain their scientific study to the more 'reasonable'
> things ! Many religious persons are no different. They have to
> constantly refresh preconceived ideas and even change them in order
> to achieve a greater level of clarity about the things around them.
> "The world is flat" fell flat on it's face and both religion some
> scientist in time eventually had to recant. Now on that "God's
> Existence" thing ..... This Idea that He, She, They could exist....
> Well, let me say this, in order to really take that argument to it's
> grave or 'resurrect' the plausibility of a "God", the argument could
> only be effective if rational suppositions could be submitted into
> the debate. I've argued against the existence of "God" and for it,
> allowing for some very intriguing conclusions. I will say this
> though, I STRONGLY think that science and theology could really help
> each other out a bit if both were a little bit more 'humble' about
> their views. Both groups stumble across some very dynamic
> plausibilities about our potential to grasp the things around us.
> However, for now.... the basics !!! Nevertheless, at this juncture,
> I'm just trying to make the point that many scientist and many
> religious persons have significant similarities in their 'method' or
> approach to understanding the things around them - SG
The origin of God? It is a bit like asking the origin of the integers.
I like how Hirschberger, a German expert on antic philosophy, sums up
Plato theology by: the God of Plato is Truth.
For the platonist, science is just the favorite method of the
theologian. That conception of science is at the opposite of
instrumentalism in science, and authoritative argument in religion.
Carolyn Porco, who believes she is an atheist (but aware it is a
religion (*)) is already a theologian, because she admits that
science is the quest of the truth. She is a neoplatonist like Hypatia!
Science can never ascertain truth, only interrogates it. By
introspection, observation, imagination, dialogs, whatever.
Assuming we are machine, we cannot even assume we are correct machine.
But we can study "in the way of science" the theology (truth) of the
correct simpler machine, by the usual, non constructive, mathematical
We can "lift it" on us at our risk and peril only.
It leads to an arithmetical interpretation of Plotinus theology, and
it is testable (falsifiable).
Human theology cannot be a science, but it may be related to a theory
derived from an hypothesis, itself related to an act of faith, like
possibly betting on a digital brain substitution. We just bet on a
level at which our putative unassumable self-referential correctness
would be preserved.
I agree we are talking here on theology in the large sense of the last
3000 years, not necessarily some particular developed the last 1500 one.
I would bet it is probably the sense of the theology, and theo-
technologies, of the next millennia in our "normal futures".
(*) Presented by Dawkins here:
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