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The Usefulness of Faith
Posted: 09 June 2009 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 08 June 2009 09:06 PM
MrRon - 06 June 2009 11:27 AM

The truly rational do not need the delusions of religion to be happy, fulfilled, and cooperative members of society. And this (the rational mindset) is what we should strive for in future generations.

MrRon believes in “the rational mindset.”  The “rational mindset” is a “better” path to being a “happy, fulfilled, and cooperative member of society”  than delusions are.  Where does this belief come from?  Faith.  Note that he’s also taking it on faith that it’s better to be a happy, fulfilled, blah blah blah than not.

 

You’re twisitng my words a bit. I said, “The truly rational do not need the delusions of religion to be happy, fulfilled, and cooperative members of society.” I did not say the rational mindset was a “better path.”

Faith plays no part in “where this belief comes from.” So that’s really a non-sequitir.

It is my opinion, and I would venture to guess the opinion of the vast majority of people, that it is indeed better to be a happy and fulfilled member of society than not. This is not a matter of faith, but an opinion (shared by many, no doubt).

Ron

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Posted: 09 June 2009 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Keep The Reason - 09 June 2009 07:40 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 08 June 2009 09:06 PM

Keep The Reason believes in growing up as a species.  Again, that’s his own personal preference—nothing wrong with that—but he’s taking it on faith that growing up as a species is “better” than believing in an imaginary God.

I disagree with this interpretation, because it’s not just a “belief” that we are growing up as a species, it’s clearly a demonstrable fact that we are progressing from a more primitive to a more complex state as humans and society evolve.

Forgive me if it seems like I’m picking nits here, KTR, but that’s not at all what you originally said, which was:

Keep The Reason - 08 June 2009 05:45 PM

How are we going to grow up as a species if we are forever swathed in the security blanket of ignorance, which is precisely where faith leads us?

Asking, “How are we going to grow up?” is not the same as claiming, “It’s clearly a demonstrable fact that we are progressing.”  The former implies that growing up is desirable, and that faith is preventing us from achieving it.  The latter is just an objective observation.

Here’s an analogy.  Suppose I asked, “How are we going to recover from this recession if the government keeps digging us deeper into debt?”  Would that be the same as stating, “It’s clearly a demonstrable fact that the economy is recovering?”  By your interpretation, it would be.

It’s not the clearly demonstrable fact that we’re growing up as a species that I claim you’re taking on faith, it’s the belief that growing up as a species is better than not growing up as a species.  Wouldn’t you agree?

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 09 June 2009 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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MrRon - 09 June 2009 08:06 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 08 June 2009 09:06 PM
MrRon - 06 June 2009 11:27 AM

The truly rational do not need the delusions of religion to be happy, fulfilled, and cooperative members of society. And this (the rational mindset) is what we should strive for in future generations.

MrRon believes in “the rational mindset.”  The “rational mindset” is a “better” path to being a “happy, fulfilled, and cooperative member of society”  than delusions are.  Where does this belief come from?  Faith.  Note that he’s also taking it on faith that it’s better to be a happy, fulfilled, blah blah blah than not.

You’re twisitng my words a bit. I said, “The truly rational do not need the delusions of religion to be happy, fulfilled, and cooperative members of society.” I did not say the rational mindset was a “better path.”

All right, I’ll take your word for it that you don’t believe the rational mindset is a better path to becoming a happy, fulfilled and cooperative member of society than faith is, and that becoming said happy, fulfilled and cooperative member of society through faith is just as good a path as the rational mindset is.  But now it sounds to me like you agree with Thalamus about the usefulness of faith. 

You clearly hold the rational mindset in high esteem, as something “we should strive for in future generations.”  Why?  Did you flip a coin one day to decide that?  Is it just someone else’s opinion which you’ve adopted as your own because it sounds intellectual to you?  You’ve already stated that you don’t believe it provides any better a path to happiness and fulfillment than faith does.  So what makes the rational mindset so important to you, if not happiness and fulfillment?

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 10 June 2009 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 10 June 2009 12:30 AM

You clearly hold the rational mindset in high esteem, as something “we should strive for in future generations.”  Why?

Because a population of rational thinkers is more desireable than a population of irrational thinkers, wouldn’t you agree?

So what makes the rational mindset so important to you, if not happiness and fulfillment?

Well, I would like to live a life knowing to the best of my ability that the things that I believe are true. And the best way to distinguish truth from fiction is to marry the scientific process with rational thinking. Now, I understand that some people don’t care whether their beliefs are true or not. However, I do. Do you?

Ron

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Posted: 10 June 2009 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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MrRon - 10 June 2009 10:44 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 June 2009 12:30 AM

You clearly hold the rational mindset in high esteem, as something “we should strive for in future generations.”  Why?

Because a population of rational thinkers is more desireable than a population of irrational thinkers, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, if I did agree I’d be taking it on faith, wouldn’t I?  Unless you have some logical proof or material evidence that a population of rational thinkers is more desirable than a population of irrational thinkers.  But actually, you yourself cite evidence to the contrary:

MrRon - 10 June 2009 10:44 PM

Now, I understand that some people don’t care whether their beliefs are true or not.

I.e., some people don’t care whether they are rational, right?  And therefore, presumably, they don’t find a population of rational thinkers any more desirable than a population of irrational thinkers?  Which contradicts your definitive, is more desirable.

Believing something despite evidence to the contrary is taking it on faith, wouldn’t you agree?

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 11 June 2009 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 11 June 2009 01:11 AM

I.e., some people don’t care whether they are rational, right?  And therefore, presumably, they don’t find a population of rational thinkers any more desirable than a population of irrational thinkers?

There are two possibilities for your defense of maintaining a stake in a population of irrational thinkers. One is that they are easily taken advantage of, and you consider yourself the man to do it, and the other is that you are one of them, and don’t like competing with rational people. In neither case does it reflect well upon you.

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Posted: 11 June 2009 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Salt Creek - 11 June 2009 10:48 AM

There are two possibilities for your defense of maintaining a stake in a population of irrational thinkers.

I’m not defending the belief that a population of irrational thinkers is more desirable than a population of rational thinkers.  My position is that neither belief (rational > irrational, or irrational > rational) is supported by logical proof or material evidence, and therefore both are based on faith.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 11 June 2009 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 11 June 2009 12:14 PM

I’m not defending the belief that a population of irrational thinkers is more desirable than a population of rational thinkers.  My position is that neither belief (rational > irrational, or irrational > rational) is supported by logical proof or material evidence, and therefore both are based on faith.

At best, you are “defending” the position that all points of view are equally valid (all being based on faith), in which case you cannot defend your position over another point of view. You are writing shit into the internet here because there’s no way to ban you as a troll.

In fact, the only way for irrational people to defend themselves when they realize they need to defend themselves from other irrational people is by borrowing or stealing weapons from people who know how to design them specifically so that irrational people may use them to destroy each other. In the process, rational people will eat it, too. Still, there is an asymmetry you haven’t figured out.

[ Edited: 11 June 2009 08:53 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 11 June 2009 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 11 June 2009 12:14 PM

My position is that neither belief (rational > irrational, or irrational > rational) is supported by logical proof or material evidence, and therefore both are based on faith.


So then which is preferable to you? Or do you consider them to be equal (i.e. rationality is no better/different than irrationality)?

Ron

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Posted: 11 June 2009 09:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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MrRon - 11 June 2009 10:40 PM

So then which is preferable to you? Or do you consider them to be equal (i.e. rationality is no better/different than irrationality)?

Let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing here.  I abbreviated the original statement, which was:  A population of rational thinkers is more desirable than a population of irrational thinkers.  What I assume you’re asking now is whether I would prefer living in a population of rational thinkers over a population of irrational thinkers?  And I further assume that by irrational you mean anyone who takes anything on faith?  And by rational you mean only those people who take nothing on faith and therefore believe in nothing? 

Then I have to say that I’d prefer living in a population of irrational thinkers, because a population of rational thinkers (according to the definition I’ve assumed for you, and forgive me if I’m wrong) would be a population of psychopaths and nihilists.

Now, before you accuse me of being a nihilist myself, let me assure you that I do believe in the Goodness of Life and the Golden Rule and all that crap.  But I also recognize that since there is no logical proof or material evidence to support my belief in those things, that I’m taking them on faith.  Hence the usefulness of faith.

Furthermore, I’m reasonably certain that if you look deep enough inside yourself, you’ll find—despite your claim that faith is a mind disease—that you too believe in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence.  Because you don’t strike me as a psychopath or a nihilist.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 11 June 2009 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Traces Elk - 11 June 2009 12:44 PM

At best, you are “defending” the position that all points of view are equally valid (all being based on faith), in which case you cannot defend your position over another point of view.

All points of view are equally valid, but some points of view are more equally valid than others.  You just need a little more faith to see that.

What’s with new arrangement of letters in your username?

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 12 June 2009 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 12 June 2009 01:18 AM

. . .
Then I have to say that I’d prefer living in a population of irrational thinkers, because a population of rational thinkers (according to the definition I’ve assumed for you, and forgive me if I’m wrong) would be a population of psychopaths and nihilists.

Are you assuming that psychopaths and nihilists by default of their conditions/proclivities equally lack the necessary cognitive features that tend to provide people with faith? One group is considered to be affected neurologically and the other psychologically. Both, for the most part, go about their lives without being detected as being psychopaths or nihilists by those around them unless they’re severely affected.

Do you see any other population group that necessarily lacks faith? How about autistic people? How about those with severe retardation—or would it take profound retardation to eliminate a person having capacity or propensity for faith? What about a person experiencing a psychotic episode? Does he necessarily lack faith?

Can any of these people have even a mustard seed worth of faith? What I’m trying to get to is, Are people categorized according to faith-level tendencies? Are you imposing a useful way of defining people’s mental realms? If so, then of what use is it, other than to attempt to argue against the legitimacy of the title of Sam Harris’ first book?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 12 June 2009 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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unknown zone - 12 June 2009 09:22 AM

Are you assuming that psychopaths and nihilists by default of their conditions/proclivities equally lack the necessary cognitive features that tend to provide people with faith? One group is considered to be affected neurologically and the other psychologically. Both, for the most part, go about their lives without being detected as being psychopaths or nihilists by those around them unless they’re severely affected.

Do you see any other population group that necessarily lacks faith? How about autistic people? How about those with severe retardation—or would it take profound retardation to eliminate a person having capacity or propensity for faith? What about a person experiencing a psychotic episode? Does he necessarily lack faith?

Can any of these people have even a mustard seed worth of faith? What I’m trying to get to is, Are people categorized according to faith-level tendencies? Are you imposing a useful way of defining people’s mental realms? If so, then of what use is it, other than to attempt to argue against the legitimacy of the title of Sam Harris’ first book?

What I’m saying is that in order to believe in something, whether it’s God or reducing harm in the world or saving the whales, you have to have faith at some level that what you believe in is right.  (You also have to believe that there is such a thing as right.)  You have to believe in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence. 

That’s not necessarily religious faith, which I think was the primary target of Sam’s first book.  I generally agree with most of The End of Faith, although it’s been a while since I read it, so I should probably be careful about saying that.  I remember there was one chapter about the war with Islam that I thought was particularly good.

Psychopaths and nihilists were the two most obvious examples that came to mind of people who don’t believe in anything.  I don’t want to imply they’re the only examples, so your point there is well taken.  Nevertheless, I’m still not sure I’d like living in a population of people who don’t believe in anything.

The topic of this thread is the usefulness of faith.  My position is that faith is useful and that anyone who believes in something is using it—including those posters who’ve disparaged it.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 12 June 2009 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 12 June 2009 03:03 PM

What I’m saying is that in order to believe in something, whether it’s God or reducing harm in the world or saving the whales, you have to have faith at some level that what you believe in is right.  (You also have to believe that there is such a thing as right.)  You have to believe in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence. 

That’s not necessarily religious faith, . . .
. . .

Psychopaths and nihilists were the two most obvious examples that came to mind of people who don’t believe in anything. . . .
. . .

The topic of this thread is the usefulness of faith.  My position is that faith is useful and that anyone who believes in something is using it—including those posters who’ve disparaged it.

If it’s not necessarily religious faith, then we can agree that the word faith is used with varying definitions. To me, that would signal the end of the argument of this thread. Right?

Also, I hope you’re not claiming that psychopaths and nihilists are unable to have the types of “faith” that are defined so as to exclude religious characteristics. Can you clarify?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 12 June 2009 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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There is a difference between believing in something and accepting something.

I don’t believe in science. I accept the discoveries and findings once they have been through the scientific method.

We can accept things as being right, true or correct without believing in them.

believing is hope.

Accepting is understanding.

I accept the theory of evolution as being in very high probability the reason for the diversity of life on earth.

I do not ‘believe in’ the theory of evolution.

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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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