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The Usefulness of Faith
Posted: 18 June 2009 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]  
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Traces Elk - 17 June 2009 02:12 AM

Let’s try it again: I said I don’t need faith because I’m willing to test, and even to experience failure. When testing is impossible, faith is not the default, since one is at liberty to say “I don’t know”. Only dumbshits are really uncomfortable about using that phrase.

What exactly is it you’re saying “you don’t know?”  Are you saying “you don’t know” how to build a fusion powered generator?  Congratulations.  How modest of you.  Are you saying “you don’t know” if it’s even possible to build a fusion powered generator?  Well, I don’t either, and I’m not going to take it on faith that it is or it isn’t.

Are you saying “you don’t know” whether it’s wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians?  But you nevertheless believe it’s wrong.  Don’t you?

But maybe you’re saying “you don’t know” whether there’s an answer to the question of whether it’s wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians—in effect, that “you don’t know” if there’s a cat in the ethical coal bin?  Sort of like your agnostic cousins in the theological coal bin?

There are plenty of things “I don’t know,” but there are a few things I do.  I know that there is no cat in the coal bin, be it theological or otherwise.  To believe it’s wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians requires believing in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence.  Hence the usefulness of believing in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence:  the usefulness of faith.

Traces Elk - 17 June 2009 02:12 AM

The genie’s out of the bottle, kid. You’re caught between the governmental trade reps, multinational CEOs, and international crime gangs, none of whom ever negotiate in good faith. You want good law-enforcement, then? Who watches them being corrupt as any? Faith is the last thing I need.

I’m not trying to convince you to have faith in any of those things, Gramps.  And I’m not trying to convince you to believe in the cat in the theological coal bin, either—or anything at all for that matter.  But you already know that.  You’re just making a feeble attempt to cloud the issue.

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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: 18 June 2009 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 18 June 2009 10:12 PM

Are you saying “you don’t know” whether it’s wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians?  But you nevertheless believe it’s wrong.  Don’t you?

But maybe you’re saying “you don’t know” whether there’s an answer to the question of whether it’s wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians—in effect, that “you don’t know” if there’s a cat in the ethical coal bin?  Sort of like your agnostic cousins in the theological coal bin?

There are plenty of things “I don’t know,” but there are a few things I do.  I know that there is no cat in the coal bin, be it theological or otherwise.  To believe it’s wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians requires believing in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence.  Hence the usefulness of believing in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence:  the usefulness of faith.

It doesn’t matter how “wrong” you (or I, for that matter) think it is, unless we’re actually willing to act on our beliefs, in order to prove we actually believe it. You’ve had my lecture about how much people lie about what they believe. The belief itself is worthless; acting purely on faith continues to be stupid and dangerous, which is why most people never prove they take anything purely as an article of faith.

Warfare is just diplomacy carried on by other means, and does constitute acting on faith. I forget whether and/or how much you lionize Heinlein, but basically, the guy was a crypto-fascist dweeb.

Belief is useful to those who want to leverage that belief into signing people up for some army or police force to fight the suicide bombers, not to mention recruiting them to become suicide bombers. Most people, however much they think it’s wrong, just try to keep out of the way. They have to pay their taxes whether they believe it’s wrong or not. It’s doubtful that suicide bombers are interested in fiscal responsibility. Generally, the people who sign up to fight have something to say to other people about their beliefs or lack thereof, most of them are god-botherers, and they care what other people think of their “patriotism”, which just leaves you mired in another dipshit jingoistic rant. Disclose what it is that makes your “belief” that it is “wrong for suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians” anything but lip service. Because, unless you’re willing to go to war about it, you’re just mouthing the platitudes of an armchair general still trying desperately to justify your own personal articles of faith to people who see clearly how full of shit you are with romantic dreams of fighting for one’s “beliefs”.

It’s plain that confronting what suicide bombers imply for the case of some supervening “ethics” has you in a bit of a tizzy. It has you in such a tizzy, and has done so for several years now, that you have lost the ability to state plainly what case you are actually making with respect to the value of “faith” to anyone, except in motivating ethnic or international warfare. Faith is a device for making people stupider than they already are. You have failed to make any kind of dent in unfaith. Maybe you’ll want to return to your earlier rants about the reflex of self-preservation in organisms and try to conflate it with faith.

Antisocialdarwinist - 18 June 2009 10:12 PM

I’m not trying to convince you to have faith in any of those things, Gramps.

I know, Junior, because you’re so well-aware of how little you have going for you in the theory department. You’re trying to convince me to show respect for people of faith, because they’ll blow me up if I don’t. I would hardly be surprised to find that you have, in practice, a touch of skinhead white-supremacist with a bit of faggy leather-boy costuming you keep tucked away in the closet.

[ Edited: 18 June 2009 08:17 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 18 June 2009 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]  
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unsmoked - 18 June 2009 04:04 PM

I’ve been wondering if this isn’t actually Stocking Elk

Those are reindeer, pressed into service around the time of the Winter Solstice. In the Western Hemisphere, they’re known as caribou.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]  
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Traces Elk - 17 June 2009 02:19 AM

I don’t just walk up to people on the street and hassle them about being faithhead nitwits. However, if someone walks up to me and proselytizes, an event that is becoming increasingly-rare in my neighborhood, I give them a terse bit of advice about where they can insert their Chick tract or E-meter. I have a special affection for the nitwits who come online specifically to tell me it’s none of my fucking business, and then cannot even bring themselves to write “fucking”, as if they thought they were being polite.

I’m thinking about starting a new forum called “Christians Who Say Fuck.”  Would you post on it, TE, as the resident pagan?  I’m just seeing what kind of dickwad you really are, and I have a pretty good idea.  I’m thinking that you are a small-penised (probably smaller than Serena Williams’ clit) white male (affectionately known as a “pencil dick”) with small hands and small stature who is very self-conscious about his inadequacies and who takes his frustrations out on people in a forum setting because he can’t handle personal contact.  Am I close, honey-bunny?  If we ever met in person, you wouldn’t know what to say or do.  I would overwhelm you.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]  
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Traces Elk - 18 June 2009 11:39 PM

It doesn’t matter how “wrong” you (or I, for that matter) think it is, unless we’re actually willing to act on our beliefs, in order to prove we actually believe it.

All right, that’s a good point.  If I take it on faith that suicide bombing is wrong but don’t do anything about it, then my faith isn’t very useful.  Then again, my ability to influence events in the Middle East is pretty limited.  I could vote for the presidential candidate I think will be most likely to alleviate the conditions that foster suicide bombing though, couldn’t I?  Or is that too milquetoast for you?  And suppose I did do something substantial enough for you to consider it “acting on my belief?”  Would you then have to admit my faith was useful?  And don’t try to claim that whatever action I took would be ineffective or counterproductive simply because it was based on faith—that’s a cop-out.

Traces Elk - 18 June 2009 11:39 PM

You’ve had my lecture about how much people lie about what they believe. The belief itself is worthless; acting purely on faith continues to be stupid and dangerous, which is why most people never prove they take anything purely as an article of faith.

Well, if they’re lying about what they believe, you can’t necessarily say the belief itself is worthless, can you?  Because they don’t actually believe it.

Traces Elk - 18 June 2009 11:39 PM

Belief is useful to those who want to leverage that belief into signing people up for some army or police force to fight the suicide bombers, not to mention recruiting them to become suicide bombers.

I’m not claiming that faith is always useful in a way that promotes your own personal beliefs.  What do you believe in, anyway?  “First, Do No Harm?”  What logical proof or material evidence supports that?  I’m not belittling the belief in doing no harm, only pointing out that it’s an article of faith.  And to the extent that you act on your belief in doing no harm, it’s a useful article of faith.

Traces Elk - 18 June 2009 11:39 PM

You’re trying to convince me to show respect for people of faith…

Wrong again.  I’m only trying to convince you that faith is useful and that you yourself most likely believe in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence.

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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: 18 June 2009 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]  
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Eugenie - 19 June 2009 12:33 AM

I’m thinking that you are a small-penised (probably smaller than Serena Williams’ clit)

Serena Williams’s clit?  Ooh, Baby.  Pictures, please.

[ Edited: 18 June 2009 09:54 PM by Antisocialdarwinist]
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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: 18 June 2009 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]  
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Eugenie - 19 June 2009 12:33 AM
Traces Elk - 17 June 2009 02:19 AM

I don’t just walk up to people on the street and hassle them about being faithhead nitwits. However, if someone walks up to me and proselytizes, an event that is becoming increasingly-rare in my neighborhood, I give them a terse bit of advice about where they can insert their Chick tract or E-meter. I have a special affection for the nitwits who come online specifically to tell me it’s none of my fucking business, and then cannot even bring themselves to write “fucking”, as if they thought they were being polite.

I’m thinking about starting a new forum called “Christians Who Say Fuck.”  Would you post on it, TE, as the resident pagan?  I’m just seeing what kind of dickwad you really are, and I have a pretty good idea.  I’m thinking that you are a small-penised (probably smaller than Serena Williams’ clit) white male (affectionately known as a “pencil dick”) with small hands and small stature who is very self-conscious about his inadequacies and who takes his frustrations out on people in a forum setting because he can’t handle personal contact.  Am I close, honey-bunny?  If we ever met in person, you wouldn’t know what to say or do.  I would overwhelm you.

Eugenie, you have to take everything Traces says with a grain of Salt, otherwise you’re likely to find yourself up the Creek without a paddle.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 11:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 19 June 2009 01:23 AM

If I take it on faith that suicide bombing is wrong but don’t do anything about it, then my faith isn’t very useful.  Then again, my ability to influence events in the Middle East is pretty limited.  I could vote for the presidential candidate I think will be most likely to alleviate the conditions that foster suicide bombing though, couldn’t I?  Or is that too milquetoast for you?  And suppose I did do something substantial enough for you to consider it “acting on my belief?”  Would you then have to admit my faith was useful?  And don’t try to claim that whatever action I took would be ineffective or counterproductive simply because it was based on faith—that’s a cop-out.

You came all this way and spent all this time to deliver a middle-school-caliber essay on standing up for one’s principles? Please. You’re behaving like some pathetic little tyke who’s too afraid to head for the deep end of the pool and too embarrassed to get out and sun himself on the deck where everyone will see what a fat little tub of lard he is. And the cold water has acted like a diuretic, so he’s peeing in his swim trunks. The most charitable spin I can give you is that you were about fourteen years old when you first appeared in the forum, and now you’re about seventeen. If that’s the case, all is forgiven, but you have to do the disclosure.

You seem to imply you’ve actually spent time at a college somewhere. Why are you still producing such piffle? You’ve been arguing with me for three years now. Do you have a learning disability? Or is it that your preconceptions still have you by the balls? What you’re after, apparently, is a proof that believing suicide bombing is wrong will lead to action that brings an end to suicide bombing. The faith is not about having enough conviction about suicide bombing, but faith that you can achieve what you set out to do. This is also called “believing in yourself”. This is fine, in small doses. Without some talent to back it up, it’s called “narcissism”.

Another rags-to-riches Hollywood ending, no doubt. Excuse my being blunt, but please grow the fuck up. Or not. Stay idealistic for a few more years. It’ll make you into a good little consumer.

I’m not claiming that faith is always useful in a way that promotes your own personal beliefs.  What do you believe in, anyway?

Where do you get a warrant to be interested in what I believe? You’re a cheeseball that I could simply walk away from on the street. Here, your argument sparkles like a dead herring in the moonlight, but is terrific fun to dismantle. You have presented a crappy argument, and I’ve trashed it. Once you present an effective argument, we can discuss what I might take on faith. I lack faith that you are capable of producing an argument. Surprise me sometime.

I’m only trying to convince you that faith is useful and that you yourself most likely believe in something for which there is no logical proof or material evidence.

Well, then, I guess your shipment of “Fail” has arrived. Unless you want to suggest something specific, the above statement is just more hot air from you. You have suggested that faith is occasionally effective in producing action. We are still left aghast at how little you seem to understand the Law of Unintended Consequences. You yourself don’t even possess a coherent idea about what you mean by “useful” that isn’t utterly trivial. Really! A junior-high-school civics lesson from a guy who once picked up a philosophy textbook for what looks like about half an hour.

[ Edited: 18 June 2009 11:40 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 19 June 2009 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]  
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‘You’re behaving like some pathetic little tyke who’s too afraid to head for the deep end of the pool and too embarrassed to get out and sun himself on the deck where everyone will see what a fat little tub of lard he is. And the cold water has acted like a diuretic, so he’s peeing in his swim trunks.’


Fookin’ hilarious!!!

Salt at his finest.  LOL

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Posted: 19 June 2009 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]  
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Hey, this is serious. I was not intending to be hilarious. Antisocialdarwinist proposes a hypothesis that I hold beliefs for which I have no evidence. He may actually be correct, but he has not proposed any candidates, let alone proposing any evidence for them. ASD is a bit of a bullshitter.  I have evidence that Antisocialdarwinist likes to behave like a ninny on the internet propounding insupportable hypotheses.

Any hypotheses I state will be supported by evidence. I may turn out to be wrong in my hypothesis, and it will be the evidence that hinges the matter. When I state an opinion, it will be clear that this is what I have done, and I do not dress it up in the kind of pseudo-intellectual crap on which Antisocialdarwinist depends so heavily.

Thalamus - 06 June 2009 03:42 AM

Well ok, but my hypothetical remark required that the delusion or lie actually lead to happiness. Your example assumes that I will eventually find out that I was lied to. And yes, that wouldn’t be a good feeling, but that’s why I made sure I specified that the faith based belief would REALLY lead to ultimate happiness.

Take for instance the belief in Santa Claus. It makes children happy for the better part of their childhood. In moral terms, this belief maximizes happiness and is really harmless. Even though children later find out it isn’t true, it is not a belief worth abandoning.

Same goes for placebo pills. Are these pills a useful delusion? Yes. Are they at odds with science or morality? Not quite.

Idiots like Thalamus are confused as to the difference between the diminution of happiness and the causation of harm. We tend to call such people “bliss ninnies”.

[ Edited: 19 June 2009 09:17 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 19 June 2009 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]  
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Eugenie - 19 June 2009 12:33 AM
Traces Elk - 17 June 2009 02:19 AM

I don’t just walk up to people on the street and hassle them about being faithhead nitwits. However, if someone walks up to me and proselytizes, an event that is becoming increasingly-rare in my neighborhood, I give them a terse bit of advice about where they can insert their Chick tract or E-meter. I have a special affection for the nitwits who come online specifically to tell me it’s none of my fucking business, and then cannot even bring themselves to write “fucking”, as if they thought they were being polite.

I’m thinking about starting a new forum called “Christians Who Say Fuck.”  Would you post on it, TE, as the resident pagan?  I’m just seeing what kind of dickwad you really are, and I have a pretty good idea.  I’m thinking that you are a small-penised (probably smaller than Serena Williams’ clit) white male (affectionately known as a “pencil dick”) with small hands and small stature who is very self-conscious about his inadequacies and who takes his frustrations out on people in a forum setting because he can’t handle personal contact.  Am I close, honey-bunny?  If we ever met in person, you wouldn’t know what to say or do.  I would overwhelm you.

‘Eugenie!  Eugenie!  Why have you forsaken me?’

forsake 1: to renounce (as something once cherished) without intent to recover or resume 2: to quit or leave entirely : withdraw from

‘You have heard that it was said, AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH, but I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

‘If anyone wants to insult you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.  Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

‘You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be a daughter of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

‘For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?’

*  *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Haven’t you seen this story?  The renowned poet Bo Juyi asked the Bird’s Nest Monk, “What is the Way?”  The Bird’s Nest Monk said, “Don’t do any evils, do all forms of good.”  Bo Juyi said, “Even a three-year-old could say this.”  The Bird’s Nest Monk said, “Though a three-year-old might be able to say it, an eighty-year-old might not be able to carry it out.”

Bible quote from Mathew 5:38-48.  Buddhist story from ‘Zen Letters - Teachings of Yuanwu’ translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary.

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Posted: 20 June 2009 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]  
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Traces Elk - 19 June 2009 03:15 AM

You came all this way and spent all this time to deliver a middle-school-caliber essay on standing up for one’s principles? Please.

Please.  You’re the one who brought it up in the first place.  Or have you forgotten that already?  Maybe you should have yourself checked for Alzheimer’s.  You’re at that age now, you know.  And they say people like you who never use their brains are at a higher risk.

Traces Elk - 19 June 2009 03:15 AM

You have presented a crappy argument, and I’ve trashed it.

All you’ve done is the written equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing, “La la la.”  Only in your case it’s, “Blah blah blah.”

Traces Elk - 19 June 2009 03:15 AM

You’re behaving like some pathetic little tyke…

And you’re behaving like a pimply-faced boy with cumstained underpants insisting he never jacks off.  “I don’t use faith.  I don’t!  I don’t!”

Traces Elk - 19 June 2009 03:15 AM

The faith is not about having enough conviction about suicide bombing, but faith that you can achieve what you set out to do. This is also called “believing in yourself”.

That’s your big secret?  You believe in yourself?  Well, I guess I was wrong about you.  You haven’t found the black cat in the ethical coal bin, you are that cat.  Good for you, Felix!  You’re the cat with all the answers.  No wonder you’re such an arrogant prick.  Who wouldn’t be, suffering from that delusion?  That’s not just any leap of faith there, Pops.  That’s Evel Knevel trying to jump the Grand Canyon on a lime green Duck.  Not only is there no material evidence to support your belief in yourself, you have over 5,000 posts worth of fingers-in-the-ears, blah-blah-blahing that any “rational” person would agree prove otherwise.

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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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