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Faith versus superstition?
Posted: 16 May 2009 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Star Trek

TNG: Who Watches the Watchers This is the almost classic episode which is governed by Roddenberry’s atheism like no other. When the native population begin to worship him because they coincidentally witness the miracles of his technology, Picard rejects any kind of religion and even compares it to superstition, as if both were the same. This is a misconception because faith arises from a deep, somehow scientific desire to understand the meaning of life, death and afterlife, whereas superstition is a more or less conscious self-delusion without any further significance. Picard obviously doesn’t want to allow the people to believe in something supernatural, not only because he is the subject of their religion and he knows that he is not supernatural, but because it is against his preconception that any form of religion must be backward.

The section in bold seems wrong to me, but I don’t have a full argument against it because the author is not defining exactly what a person would have faith in. I would suggest defining “faith” in this context as a type of superstition about meaning. Do any of you have better arguments?

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Posted: 16 May 2009 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Seems the opposite to me. Faith requires no scientific understanding at all. It in fact requires a deep conviction or belief in something to be true with zero scientific basis.

It is often said that faith begins where science leaves off.

IMO people are superstitious when they are ignorant of facts. Superstition then leads to faith. Faith is factless opinion or little more than hope and gullibility.

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Posted: 16 May 2009 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Carstonio - 16 May 2009 12:34 PM

Star Trek

TNG: Who Watches the Watchers This is the almost classic episode which is governed by Roddenberry’s atheism like no other. When the native population begin to worship him because they coincidentally witness the miracles of his technology, Picard rejects any kind of religion and even compares it to superstition, as if both were the same. This is a misconception because faith arises from a deep, somehow scientific desire to understand the meaning of life, death and afterlife, whereas superstition is a more or less conscious self-delusion without any further significance. Picard obviously doesn’t want to allow the people to believe in something supernatural, not only because he is the subject of their religion and he knows that he is not supernatural, but because it is against his preconception that any form of religion must be backward.

The section in bold seems wrong to me, but I don’t have a full argument against it because the author is not defining exactly what a person would have faith in. I would suggest defining “faith” in this context as a type of superstition about meaning. Do any of you have better arguments?

Maybe it would be useful to take an intentional point of view on this and distinguish between faith itself and faith-with-an-object (referring to the latter as a form of belief).  Faith itself would not be something that could be given a precise rational definition, along the lines of what Kant called an aesthetic idea: “...by an aesthetic idea I understand that representation of the imagination which occasions much thought; without, however, any definite thought, i.e., any concept, being capable of being adequate to it; it consequently cannot be completely compassed and made intelligible by language.  We… see that it is the counterpart of a rational idea, which conversely is a concept to which no intuition (or representation of the imagination) can be adequate.”

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Posted: 17 May 2009 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Carstonio - 16 May 2009 12:34 PM

Star Trek

TNG: Who Watches the Watchers This is the almost classic episode which is governed by Roddenberry’s atheism like no other. When the native population begin to worship him because they coincidentally witness the miracles of his technology, Picard rejects any kind of religion and even compares it to superstition, as if both were the same. This is a misconception because faith arises from a deep, somehow scientific desire to understand the meaning of life, death and afterlife, whereas superstition is a more or less conscious self-delusion without any further significance. Picard obviously doesn’t want to allow the people to believe in something supernatural, not only because he is the subject of their religion and he knows that he is not supernatural, but because it is against his preconception that any form of religion must be backward.


The section in bold seems wrong to me, but I don’t have a full argument against it because the author is not defining exactly what a person would have faith in. I would suggest defining “faith” in this context as a type of superstition about meaning. Do any of you have better arguments?


Most people talk about the rhetoric surrounding faith rather than faith as actually practiced. This appears to be such a case. When you consider religious faith based upon the behavioral and rhetorical evidence (when it’s deployed and why and such in discussion/argumentation) you find it’s nothing but an ideological smokescreen for presumption. Not even the “faithful” buy faith when it’s deployed to cover the presumptions of another religious franchise that conflict with their own.

Byron

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Posted: 17 May 2009 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Carstonio - 16 May 2009 12:34 PM

Star Trek

TNG: Who Watches the Watchers This is the almost classic episode which is governed by Roddenberry’s atheism like no other. When the native population begin to worship him because they coincidentally witness the miracles of his technology, Picard rejects any kind of religion and even compares it to superstition, as if both were the same. This is a misconception because faith arises from a deep, somehow scientific desire to understand the meaning of life, death and afterlife, whereas superstition is a more or less conscious self-delusion without any further significance. Picard obviously doesn’t want to allow the people to believe in something supernatural, not only because he is the subject of their religion and he knows that he is not supernatural, but because it is against his preconception that any form of religion must be backward.

The section in bold seems wrong to me, but I don’t have a full argument against it because the author is not defining exactly what a person would have faith in. I would suggest defining “faith” in this context as a type of superstition about meaning. Do any of you have better arguments?

I would tend to agree with the “bolded” text but with the clear understanding that religion and superstition are identical. And we have had this discussion before.

If you believe in things that you don’t understand
You will suffer
Superstition ain’t the way

- Stevie Wonder

Stay Well
Wotansson

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Posted: 17 May 2009 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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‘religion and superstition are identical.’

I would not say they are identical. They are bedfellows of course. One cannot be religious without being superstitious, but people can be superstitious and not be religious. I personally have known many such people. I know people who believe in ghosts and a spirit world, karma, good and bad luck, forces of evil etc., but do not believe in God.

Go figure.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 18 May 2009 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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McCreason - 17 May 2009 10:21 AM

‘religion and superstition are identical.’

I would not say they are identical. They are bedfellows of course. One cannot be religious without being superstitious, but people can be superstitious and not be religious. I personally have known many such people. I know people who believe in ghosts and a spirit world, karma, good and bad luck, forces of evil etc., but do not believe in God.

Go figure.

Good point that the converse is not necessarily true. I do still pick up those lucky pennies.

Stay Well
Wotansson

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Posted: 18 May 2009 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I have faith.  If I didn’t have faith that the guy coming toward me isn’t going to swerve into my lane and kill us both, I’d probably never leave the house.  Nothing to do with superstition.  Or religion.

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Posted: 18 May 2009 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Sure Andrew. Faith is little more than hope. We all hope we live to this afternoon to open a cold beer. Nothing wrong with that. grin

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 18 May 2009 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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McCreason - 18 May 2009 03:01 PM

Sure Andrew. Faith is little more than hope. We all hope we live to this afternoon to open a cold beer. Nothing wrong with that. grin

(Andrew):  I think it’s hope, based on probability.  Or the other way around. 
Maybe.

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Posted: 18 May 2009 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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True. Even as non-mathematical as I am I try to calculate those odds everyday. I ‘should’ be able to get through another day of living and enjoy as much of it as I can. Thats my ‘faith’ I suppose. Hope plus probability. I like it.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 18 May 2009 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Atoms must have a lot of faith.  I read that there are about 7,000,000,000,000,000 atoms in a single cell.  You wonder how they ever got it together to make the darn thing start ticking.  I mean, think of that many people ever agreeing on a project like that - especially considering the turnover - billions of old ones leaving every second because they are fed up or got married to a carbon atom and were kicked out, and billions of new ones coming in every second like Greeks bearing gifts. “Let me in!  I come with oxygen!”

[ Edited: 18 May 2009 12:02 PM by unsmoked]
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Posted: 18 May 2009 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Thats a lot of zeros US. Please use scientific notation from now on. grin

In ‘Reinventing The Sacred’ Complexity Theorist Stuart Kauffman even estimated the number of total atomic particles in the known universe.

You don’t want to know what that number was.

Maybe mind boggling does lead to faith.grin

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 18 May 2009 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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unsmoked - 18 May 2009 03:57 PM

I mean, think of that many people ever agreeing on a project like that…

You want to compare the interactions of human beings to the interactions of atoms? You are a numbskull.

Oh, sorry. You just wanted to breathe on the mirror. Congratulations. You made fog.

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Posted: 18 May 2009 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Salt Creek - 18 May 2009 04:26 PM
unsmoked - 18 May 2009 03:57 PM

I mean, think of that many people ever agreeing on a project like that…

You want to compare the interactions of human beings to the interactions of atoms?

Certainly not.  Wait a minute.  The interactions of atoms are a human being.

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“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 18 May 2009 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Faith is born whenever people develop the misconstrued idea that their superstitions contain the most fundamental answers to their personal lives.

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