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Author Topic: Faith and reason.  (Read 2636 times)

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Offline doodasaurus

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2012, 11:17:10 AM »
Rather ironic that this occurs in a post accusing the religious of "rhetorical tricks." This looks rather like one of those to me.

Look, faith and reason are not distinct entities because reason rarely proceeds from purely "reasonable" premises. The history of reason in the real, actual world is not an orderly philosophy seminar filled with grey and cautious men and women carefully avoiding getting any of that dirty "faith" on their Eggos.  A great deal of the history of science and philosophy is the history of intuitive leaps, of following the gut, of inspiration and emotion and the instinct of being right about something, and following a particular line of investigation that at first seems hopeless or completely crazy. All of those irrational phenomena are frequently entangled with faith -- be it "spiritual," religious, or even just secular and poetic -- and much of the history of reason was explicitly shaped and motivated by questions of faith and yes, of religion too.

You can be a rationalist, and a partisan of science, without trying to deny or falsify or squirm your way out of any of this. But of course you have to accept a mentality where you're not on one Team and "faith" is on the other Team and you're trying to score points on them.

This *exactly* demonstrates my point, BTW.  I entirely agreed that "faith" and "reason" aren't polar opposites -- but that faith has many definitions.  Reason, too.  But that people confuse the meanings in order to promote a specific ideological agenda in such a fashion through the use of word games.

And we're not talking about, say, faith and reason in the Enlightenment -- or I wasn't -- but about the current, modern definitions of the words.  But by bringing up archaic meanings and eliding those meanings to a modern discussion on the subject, you're engaging in the precise form of rhetorical trickery I was talking about.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2012, 12:23:46 PM »
But by bringing up archaic meanings and eliding those meanings to a modern discussion on the subject, you're engaging in the precise form of rhetorical trickery I was talking about.

Be specific. Which word or phrase in my post "brings up an archaic meaning" or "elides" [sic] that meaning to a modern discussion on the subject? Because I'm not aware of doing any such thing and have the distinct feeling that the supposed difference between "modern" and "archaic" definitions of "faith" are all in your head.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2012, 12:49:51 PM »
Be specific. Which word or phrase in my post "brings up an archaic meaning" or "elides" [sic] that meaning to a modern discussion on the subject? Because I'm not aware of doing any such thing and have the distinct feeling that the supposed difference between "modern" and "archaic" definitions of "faith" are all in your head.

I was specific, but I'll be specific-er.

Reason and religion have been at loggerheads since the publication of Origin of the Species.  The late Renaissance early Enlightenment thinkers such as Descartes and Kant believed that a person could construct a fully logical argument to demonstrate religious truths, particularly the existence of the Christian god.  However, during the 19th century, that was turned on it's head -- the truths of natural philosophy were doing things like proving the world was much, much older than six thousand years, discovering all kinds of mechanistic explanations for what had hitherto been considered divine phenomenon (such as the weather).  Worse, the idea of a well-ordered universe just seemed to be wrong -- it was a cosmos filled with a great many . . . just perplexing things.  Origin of the Species was the final nail in the coffin, though.  By saying no divine intervention was required for the creation of humans, evolutionary theory created a schism between "reason" and "faith" that exists to this day.

So, while it was reasonably for a person like Rene Descartes to both reasonably and religious, since then there's been a lot of change in the relationship between secular and religious knowledge.

By saying, "Just look back at the history of reason" to demonstrate some identity between reason and faith ignores the weather change in reason and faith dating from the late 19th century (though certainly present to a lesser extent quite a bit before that; I'd say the real break between faith and reason, in the west, was burning Bruno at the stake -- Bruno's reason went head to head with religious faith and they set him on fire for daring to challenge religious faith).  So, by appealing to archaic definitions between reason and religious faith to say that, today, there continues to be an identity between them is a trick.  It's a trick that depends on a person being ignorant of the ways religious faith and secular reason have almost completely parted ways.

Since the middle to late 19th century, secular reasoning (not just in science, but in law, politics, economics, you name it) has been at considerable odds with religious faith.  Sure, if you look back at the history of both you can find a time where that's not true, but it's true today.  Appealing selectively to the past to "prove" something, while ignoring incredibly significant and relevant historical events that occurred along the way, is rhetorical trickery.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2012, 01:14:36 PM »
I was specific, but I'll be specific-er.

Thanks. And I'll identify a few problems here:

Quote
Reason and religion have been at loggerheads since the publication of Origin of the Species.

Wrong. Science and some populist religious movements have been at loggerheads. Conflating "science" with "reason" is circular, assuming your conclusion in advance. Portraying "religion" as its opposite likewise, which is what requires you to (falsely) portray all of religion as at loggerheads with "reason."

Quote
The late Renaissance early Enlightenment thinkers such as Descartes and Kant believed that a person could construct a fully logical argument to demonstrate religious truths, particularly the existence of the Christian god.  However, during the 19th century, that was turned on it's head

Actually it wasn't. The natural philosophy that did things like disprove the literal creation narrative was only at odds with literalist approaches to scripture (which aren't applicable to thinkers like Descartes or Kant). The literalist approach to scripture has been in dispute in religious philosophy and theology from the beginnings of any religion you'd care to name that uses scripture.

Quote
Worse, the idea of a well-ordered universe just seemed to be wrong -- it was a cosmos filled with a great many . . . just perplexing things.  Origin of the Species was the final nail in the coffin, though.

Again, you're describing problems for a portion of religious and scriptural literalism and mistaking them for a description of the whole. Modern theology is actually a burgeoning field which is specifically interested in the cosmos filled with perplexing things.

Quote
By saying, "Just look back at the history of reason" to demonstrate some identity between reason and faith ignores the weather change in reason and faith dating from the late 19th century

As I've said before, what's going on here is a category error. You have a specific narrative in mind about the contest between science and the degenerate populist fundamentalism that arose in the 19th century which you imagine represents the whole the relationship between "faith" and "reason." The only problem you have is, it doesn't, even limiting ourselves to religion and science and not even getting into the various ways in which "faith" and "reason" both already overlap with "science" and "religion" that you're avoiding accounting for. (When I talked about the role of inspiration and instinct and the ways in can overlap with anything from theistic religion to secular poetics, I wasn't talking about some vague epoch before the 19th century. The same description holds true for physics and quantum mechanics in our own time.)

That's why you should make sure you know what you're talking about before you try to throw around accusations of "trickery." It can really come back and bite you.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2012, 02:07:01 PM »
Cyrano, the problem between us won't go away because we have different views of what religion is.  I don't make too many distinctions between "good" religion and "bad" religion because that's the no true Scotsman fallacy.  I also think, that in the United States, fundamentalist Christian religion is the dominant form of religion.  You make distinctions between those with literal interpretations of the Bible and those without, well, from where I sit, the liberal Christians have almost entirely ceded the religious discussion in the US to the fundamentalists.

Can you find religious people in America who comparmentalist religion away from reason?  Sure.  Can you find people in America who combine religion and reason.  Sure.  I like Spong.  But I don't think it's fair to say that these people have much of a say about religion in America.  And while I'm sure that most Americans don't have a literalist interpretation of the Bible, they are silent while the fundamentalists have taken over -- and have, then, become willful collaborators in the deceptions I am talking about.

If you don't believe that or see that, you'll never agree with what I say, yeah, absolutely.  And you are, I think, a part of the problem because instead of acknowledging what incredible damage fundamentalist religion has done to the communication with people deeply invested in reason, you're arguing there's no problem at all.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2012, 05:06:45 PM »
If you're not interested in distinguishing between different forms of religion, then you're not interested in an accurate description of the world you're dealing with. Citing the "no true Scotsman" fallacy to get you off the hook will not work here, because I haven't said that "true" Christianity (or any other form of religion) does or doesn't do X; frankly I'm not interested in what "true" religion is or isn't, I'm interested in factual accuracy and intellectual honesty.

You're well within your rights to think that fundamentalism is a problem in America (though I think calling it the "dominant form of religion" in America is stretching things; what it is is the most vocal and politically active form of religion in America, which isn't the same thing). But if it hasn't occurred to you to wonder whether this kind of four-legs-good, two-legs-bad mentality about religion is helping or hurting your ability to persuade other people to your view -- or indeed is helping or hurting the cause of the liberal Christians who you think should be doing so much more -- then it's hard for me to care what problem you imagine me to part of. To me, carelessness about the facts, unwillingness to confront the full truth, the preference of polemical convenience to inconvenient complexity, is always the problem... particularly when it comes to the basic business of delineating what is and what isn't in the world around us, and whether it comes from atheists or theists. Such is the root of bigotry, and I don't care any more for secular bigotry than I do for its theistic variants.

(I should add that, on the tactical side of things: to whatever extent liberal Christianity has failed to confront its dangerous fundamentalist counterparts in America, a fair amount of that is owed to a mistaken sense of solidarity with their so-called religious brethren not unlike the solidarity that lumpen-atheism so frequently falls back to demanding from any form of atheism and agnosticism that disagrees with it in some detail. As an atheist, I would be no different in my own right from such Christians if I failed to call out developing illiberal currents in atheism. Moreover, even if you prioritize polemics above all, this kind of rhetoric is still a bad idea, because atheism remains a tiny minority inclination in America -- it has a growth rate in the last decade or so just matching the country's most reviled religion, Islam -- and it's therefore unrealistic to think you don't need allies from broader society to be able to effectively challenge the fundamentalist agenda. So this is one of those cases were sloppy thinking is also bad politics and bad strategy.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 05:18:40 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2012, 05:18:24 PM »
I feel I ought to say something before the entire thread burns to the ground.

I think I may have communicated poorly, in picking the title I did. Because I don't mean to imply that faith and reasons are opposites. The opposite of faith, in the sense I'm using it here ( belief founded on insufficient evidence ), is something like "doubt" or "skepticism". What I do believe is that faith and reason are in conflict. Faith isn't the opposite of reason, it's the abandonment of reason. I think this is perfectly self-evident, if you simply look at what the terms mean.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2012, 05:34:26 PM »
I hope not to be burning down the thread; spirited as doodasaurus' and my exchanges might be, we're hopefully keeping it within bounds. (The funny thing is, I expect we're on the same side as regards science vs. dogma disputes in contemporary North America, for example that both of us would readily agree that teaching "Intelligent Design" as a scientific theory is simple fraud. The dispute is over something more basic than that.)

Faith isn't the opposite of reason, it's the abandonment of reason.

This, however: not an improvement, and actually just false. Someone who, for example, attempts a logical proof of a proposition of faith is not "abandoning reason." Their premises may be questionable, but that's a different question. I would simply say that faith is the non-rational backdrop against which any attempt at reasoning takes place, and that virtually all reasoning takes place against such a backdrop (whether the "faith" at issue is in some religious dogma or something less defined or less "spiritual" than that). Specific instances of religious dogma interfering with certain forms of reason are sub-arguments within that basic dynamic, and should each be treated as such without confusing them with the general argument. Otherwise you wind up with fictions.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2012, 05:46:13 PM »
Faith is like the eatable that nearly every culture on the planet has devised in some form or other; a pastry or bread pocket filled with something savory or sweet.  Some cultures have more than one version.  It may be the result of coincidence or shared knowledge over time and distance.  Not everyone likes them though.

So why not the same modus operandi for faith and it's many forms of mono- and pantheism and atheism?  Religion is simply the methods and ingredients used to prepare them.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2012, 05:55:02 PM »
This, however: not an improvement, and actually just false. Someone who, for example, attempts a logical proof of a proposition of faith is not "abandoning reason." Their premises may be questionable, but that's a different question. I would simply say that faith is the non-rational backdrop against which any attempt at reasoning takes place, and that virtually all reasoning takes place against such a backdrop (whether the "faith" at issue is in some religious dogma or something less defined or less "spiritual" than that). Specific instances of religious dogma interfering with certain forms of reason are sub-arguments within that basic dynamic, and should each be treated as such without confusing them with the general argument. Otherwise you wind up with fictions.

If you're attempting to justify something logically, then you're not taking it on faith. Or, rather, it's not if the results of this attempted proof matter to you. If the results aren't going to change your mind, then you're still among the faithful. I must stress that point, because I'm not about to credit liars like Ray Comfort with any sense of reason or logic.

Again, I must insist on us using the same definition of "faith". I got this one from Merriam-Webster, just for added clarity: "firm belief in something for which there is no proof". That's what I mean by it, and that's all I mean by it. It's not limited to religious faith,

A good illustration of what faith is, and what it can do to people, is this quote by geologist and creationist Kurt Wise:

Quote from: Kurt Wise
Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2012, 06:09:59 PM »
If you're attempting to justify something logically, then you're not taking it on faith.

But that makes no sense. It's perfectly possible to take something on faith and then attempt to justify it logically, or for that matter scientifically. That's precisely what the medieval roots of Western science were: the faith-proposition of God's creation and its goodness was the justification for studying it methodically, instead of retreating into prayer and waiting for the Apocalypse. That this might skew logic and investigation is obvious, but it isn't the same thing as "abandoning reason."

Quote
Again, I must insist on us using the same definition of "faith". I got this one from Merriam-Webster, just for added clarity: "firm belief in something for which there is no proof". That's what I mean by it, and that's all I mean by it.

Strictly-speaking, there is no logically-bulletproof reason to believe in a "real" world to be investigated at all, so any instance of reasoning about proof admits of "faith" to at least this extent. Taking that as read, it is perfectly possible for someone to believe firmly in the possibility of, say, travelling in excess of the speed of light, a proposition for which there is no proof. Their investigations into that possibility do not therefore qualify as "abandoning reason." That distinction is just false.

(Further note: Kurt Wise's quote looks to me to be an instance of dogma trumping reason. That is not the same thing as "faith" trumping reason. If one had faith in a God to whom evidence and the employment of reason matter, hewing to one specific interpretation of "God's word" in the face of all evidence would be sacrilege.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 06:20:37 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2012, 06:20:41 PM »
But that makes no sense. It's perfectly possible to take something on faith and then attempt to justify it logically, or for that matter scientifically. That's precisely what the medieval roots of Western science were: the faith-proposition of God's creation and its goodness was the justification for studying it methodically, instead of retreating into prayer and waiting for the Apocalypse. That this might skew logic and investigation is obvious, but it isn't the same thing as "abandoning reason."

Strictly-speaking, there is no logically-bulletproof reason to believe in a "real" world to be investigated at all, so any instance of reasoning about proof admits of "faith" to at least this extent. Taking that as read, it is perfectly possible for someone to believe firmly in the possibility of, say, the possibility of travelling in excess of the speed of light, a proposition for which there is no proof. Their investigations into that possibility do not therefore qualify as "abandoning reason." That distinction is just false.

This is what makes no sense to me; working from an assumption then looking for evidence isn't the way logic works. It's not the way science works. If you've decided that God made the universe, you're not going to see what actually made the universe. You're going to see the evidence (or lead as much of it as you can) to point towards God in an effort to prove your idea, rather than finding evidence which points to a conclusion. You follow the breadcrumbs to the destination, not walk backwards and place the crumbs, hoping to find your way to the beginning.

Once you accept one idea on faith, it opens you up to a lot of other things. Especially when it comes to religious faith, where the idea is you're following what is true - God made the world. You have your answer. If you're sure you know the answer, you have no give or take. When presented with evidence to the contrary, you have only a couple of options.

i. Accept your beliefs and faith were wrong.
ii. The most common reaction, adjust your beliefs; "Well, the Bible says the Earth is flat, but -that- part was wrong. You can't expect a book written by man to be -all- true, right?"
iii. "A Wizard did it." It's all too common for a religious group to try and take claim for knowing 'truth' by saying that science is a tool
  • diety gave us to understand his world.


You'll notice that one thing a lot of religious groups opposed to science will criticize is the idea that science can get things wrong, and go back on what they said a couple of years prior. Science thrives on revision and constant checks to find truth in theories. Religious groups against science make it a proud point that they do -not- change their mind on a subject, because what they know is right.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2012, 06:28:57 PM »
Am I communicating that poorly, or are you deliberately misunderstanding what I'm saying?

But that makes no sense. It's perfectly possible to take something on faith and then attempt to justify it logically, or for that matter scientifically. That's precisely what the medieval roots of Western science were: the faith-proposition of God's creation and its goodness was the justification for studying it methodically, instead of retreating into prayer and waiting for the Apocalypse. That this might skew logic and investigation is obvious, but it isn't the same thing as "abandoning reason."

If you're simply trying to prove what you think is a foregone conclusion - in this case the existence of god - and ignoring any evidence that does not support your premise, then you are abandoning your reason. In fact, I can't think of a better way of describing it. Because while you may employ your faculties of reason and logic in trying to prove your claim, you're ignoring results that don't suit you. You're using your reason up to that point, but no further.

Strictly-speaking, there is no logically-bulletproof reason to believe in a "real" world to be investigated at all, so any instance of reasoning about proof admits of "faith" to at least this extent. Taking that as read, it is perfectly possible for someone to believe firmly in the possibility of, say, travelling in excess of the speed of light, a proposition for which there is no proof. Their investigations into that possibility do not therefore qualify as "abandoning reason." That distinction is just false.

Because I seem to be having difficulty getting the point across, I'll repeat my point here. If you believe it's possible to travel faster than the speed of light, against evidence to the contrary, it's an article of faith. By the very definition of the word "faith", it is. If you decide to investigate this belief, then you're making a move in the right direction. I think it would be fair to say that if you're doing that, you're no longer taking it simply on faith. However, that's only, as in the example above, if the results matter. If you find nothing that supports your hypothesis of traveling faster than light, but you persist in believing it, it's bad science, and it's faith. Not religious faith, in this case, but faith all the same.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2012, 06:34:48 PM »
This is what makes no sense to me; working from an assumption then looking for evidence isn't the way logic works. It's not the way science works.

Well, it's not the way science is ideally supposed to work. In fact, emotion and non-rationality is pretty important to the history of science; if we had rejected (or continued to reject) any discovery that didn't conform to such an ideal model, the bulk of scientific discovery to date would in actuality be inadmissible (including everything that supposedly confirmed a deity's existence, which is the bulk of Western science done up to the late 19th century), because the way science actually works is rather different from the abstract ideal.

This is not to say that science shouldn't or doesn't operate by continual checks and balances, peer input and peer review. It's just that the motivations for specific discoveries and enterprises admit of a lot more "irrationality" than the abstract model is willing to admit.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2012, 06:40:55 PM »
Am I communicating that poorly, or are you deliberately misunderstanding what I'm saying?

Neither. It's just that you're wrong.

You want a hard-and-fast point at which "faith" ends and "reason" begins. But there isn't one. If you're choosing to investigate an idea of faith "logically," for instance, you are reasoning, but since logical reasoning in fact never has to make contact with the world of (physical and experimental rather than abstract and self-consistent) proof, there is no division between faith and reason. If you're interested in reasoning from physical and experimental proof, then you've moved in a more scientific direction; this does not disqualify more abstract propositions and processes of reason from being either "reason" or "faith." Your distinction just isn't doing the job.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 06:45:23 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2012, 06:47:46 PM »
In my researching things I've found as many people who agree faith and reason can co-exist as I've found those who disagree.

None seem right and none seem wrong but in the scope of the philosophy they all seem to be exploring and looking for truth; not a truth or the truth but truth that melds the two.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 06:49:47 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #41 on: October 08, 2012, 06:49:47 PM »
So why not the same modus operandi for faith and it's many forms of mono- and pantheism and atheism?  Religion is simply the methods and ingredients used to prepare them.

Or maybe "belief systems" (secular or partially-secular or otherwise) are the methods and ingredients?

Offline Stattick

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2012, 06:59:05 PM »
So, shall we send a memo to the Catholic church that they aren't actually doing science then, and that all of their discoveries have been tainted by faith and shall forthwith be tossed out? Snark aside, it's ridiculous to propose that faith and reason are diametrically opposed to one another. Take a look the link below, and skim through some of the discoveries that the Catholic scientists who were monks, priests, or nuns have contributed to the world of science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_cleric-scientists

Offline doodasaurus

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2012, 07:09:06 PM »
The same Catholic Church that burned Bruno at the stake?

Or, more recently, when Stephen Hawking was at a Catholic physics seminar, a Vatican representative said that it wouldn't be proper for scientists to examine the very young universe too closely.  Hawking felt embarrassed because earlier that very day he had given a speech on precisely that subject.  It's good they're not burning anyone alive, anymore, but the RCC is quite comfortable interfering with science on theological grounds.

Of course there are Catholic scientists who do good work, as do scientists of all religious faiths, but it is simply clear to me that there is a very real conflict between reason (and not just scientific reason, but equally applicable to law, society and many other things) and religious faith.  Whether or not you believe there *should* be such a conflict doesn't change the fact that there often *is* such a conflict -- on evolution, abortion, gay rights and many other things, besides.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2012, 07:09:31 PM »
So, shall we send a memo to the Catholic church that they aren't actually doing science then, and that all of their discoveries have been tainted by faith and shall forthwith be tossed out? Snark aside, it's ridiculous to propose that faith and reason are diametrically opposed to one another. Take a look the link below, and skim through some of the discoveries that the Catholic scientists who were monks, priests, or nuns have contributed to the world of science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_cleric-scientists

We've already been informed that alluding to the actual history of science is somehow dodging the issue. I'm not sure how that's supposed to work, but apparently it's a rule.  "No Albertus Magnus for you!" :P

Although I can understand a bit of where that comes from. People are trying to guard against the assertion that religion is somehow essential to scientific progress in the present day, as opposed to the distant past. And science does have a vastly different authoritative profile now than in the 14th century; that's why new religions often try to cloak themselves in an aura of quasi-science (cf. "Christian Science," "Scientology," the "Moorish Science Temple"). Unfortunately that's an argument over historical specifics, not so much an argument over the general question of "faith" and "reason."

If someone wants to argue that science (the willingness to prioritize real-world proof, be part of a conversation and be corrected by others' results) is more authoritative about real-world concerns in the present day than dogma (the absolute insistence on propositions of faith in the face of results or peer correction), I'm entirely on board. I just don't want that dispute misrepresented as the dispute between "faith" and "reason." They're different arguments.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 07:16:51 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2012, 07:18:52 PM »
Belief systems works for me.  It's not the word that is important but the concept.


And ladies and gentlemen - Catholics are not the only group of people in history or on the face of this earth who used torture and death by horrible means to achieve intimidation.  Go look for all the rest of them.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 07:21:38 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2012, 07:21:30 PM »
And ladies and gentlemen - Catholics are not the only one group of people in history or on the face of this earth who used torture and death by horrible means to achieve intimidation.  Go look for all the rest of them.

China's CCP has justified the suppression of Tibetan Buddhism on much the same argumentative grounds used by many here against religion. For example.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2012, 07:24:36 PM »
Eeyup; suppression of religion is a pretty backwards idea.

Offline HemingwayTopic starter

Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2012, 07:31:32 PM »
Neither. It's just that you're wrong.

Your repeated assertion does not make it true.

You want a hard-and-fast point at which "faith" ends and "reason" begins. But there isn't one. If you're choosing to investigate an idea of faith "logically," for instance, you are reasoning, but since logical reasoning in fact never has to make contact with the world of (physical and experimental rather than abstract and self-consistent) proof, there is no division between faith and reason. If you're interested in reasoning from physical and experimental proof, then you've moved in a more scientific direction; this does not disqualify more abstract propositions and processes of reason from being either "reason" or "faith." Your distinction just isn't doing the job.

I don't actually recognize most of what you've just presented as my views, as my own views. You're either seriously misunderstanding or misrepresenting my position.

I haven't said that there's a point where faith ends and reason begins. I've said that reason ends with faith. You'll notice that those are two quite different things. I made very clear in an earlier post that I see the conflict as being between faith and doubt ( or skepticism ), the latter being a necessary component of reason.

As to the bolded part: The conclusion simply doesn't follow from the premise. If you're employing deductive reasoning, then you should be fine. If you're using inductive reasoning to support some claim, then you may arrive at the wrong conclusion. You'd have no way of knowing you were wrong, so you might persist in believing something that was not true. You'll notice, however, that the definition of faith I provided makes no mention of whether or not a claim is true. You could believe in a falsehood based on a flawed proof, but it wouldn't be faith in that case.

Snark aside, it's ridiculous to propose that faith and reason are diametrically opposed to one another. Take a look the link below, and skim through some of the discoveries that the Catholic scientists who were monks, priests, or nuns have contributed to the world of science.

I will concede this point - and this entire debate - if you can point me to a single Catholic scientist who arrived at his conclusion through faith.

I think you'll notice very quickly, though, that this whole challenge is meaningless. Literally meaningless, that is - you can't arrive at any conclusion through faith. You may try, as for instance Ray Comfort has, but you'll find yourself very much in conflict with observable reality.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Faith and reason.
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2012, 07:42:25 PM »
Quote from: Hemingway
I haven't said that there's a point where faith ends and reason begins. I've said that reason ends with faith.

Ummm... you really don't see that that's just restating the same thing? Because that's certainly how it looks to me, and if you're seeing an "obvious" distinction there, you're right, I'm not grokking it. Please explain.

Quote
The conclusion simply doesn't follow from the premise. If you're employing deductive reasoning, then you should be fine.

Why? Deductive reasoning isn't qualitatively any different from inductive reasoning as regards its relationship to experimental proof. The definition of deduction is:

Quote from: Camridge Dictionary of Philosophy
For any sentence S, relative to a set of sentences K, a finite sequence of sentences whose last sentence is S (the one said to be deduced) and which is such that each sentence in the sequence is an axiom or an element of K, or follows from preceding sentences in the sequence by a rule of inference.

That has nothing to do with the distinction between physical evidence and self-consistency which is the differentiation between logic and science.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 07:44:07 PM by Cyrano Johnson »