It seems, and this is particularly at Ephiral and Sabby but probably applies broader, that the word "faith" is viewed as offensive in and of itself and that that is derailing a really interesting potential conversation. To paraphrase the initial discussion between Daemonbane and Ephiral a little (paraphrasing in order to specifically pull out how it read to me):
The offensive bit isn't the word "faith" per se; the offense is in asserting that you know the minds of effective strangers better than those strangers
despite their specific assertions. It'd be just as offensive and annoying if I said I don't like chocolate, and the response was "Of course you do!" despite never having seen me eat any. "Of course you have faith!" just happens to be by far the most common way this assertion is made.
Relying on personal senses and logic has actually lead more people astray than toward the truth. People place a high price on their own perception, but in large part the senses lie to their user or make interpretations to expedite the process of decision making. To be honest and meaning no offense, I highly doubt you understand even a fraction of how even one of your sensory organs work in order to understand the deception and meanings presented. Also logic is not simply a gift, but is something that can be trained and does not always lead to a rational truth. Logic is typically taught as a course with quite a lengthy field of study in philosophy departments across the world so that logical arguments can be made. Essentially people are taught to construct logical arguments in order to debate other logical arguments. A philosophy student could form an argument and proof that shows all manner of things. So both of what you rely upon is quite faulty.
You're making a lot
of assumptions here that may be applicable in the general... but atheists are already an atypical case.
- IYou're right, direct perception is crap. (I understand a lot more about perception, intuition, and probability than you give me credit for.) That's why perception is extremely weak evidence, and I (and many like me) treat it as such.
- You're assuming a high value on logic for its own sake. Don't. The value I place on logic is strictly instrumental; it's good for getting me to a more accurate model of reality, nothing more.
- You assume that I rely on "logic and personal senses", and do so to the exclusion of all else. In point of fact, I actually use statistics that place paramount value on real-world evidence to get to inductive logic.
Even worse is that your logic is then based on your senses, which are deceptive. A logical argument is only as good as the supporting frame work and stipulations. This is a pretty poor way to proceed then. There have been quite a few philosophers that have argued against even recognizing the senses as a contributory factor in pursuing the truth due to their faulty nature.
Here's where you lay the foundation for the argument that all data ultimately depend on faith in the senses. Except... well, not exactly. Perception failure tends not to happen in such a coherent way that every data point you examine on a given subject, including directly verifying your conclusions against others presented with the same data set and priors, will coherently tell you the same wrong thing. Bias is a much more insidious beast, and pretty much impossible to overcome, but developing the skills to recognize and reduce its effects where possible is still more effective than throwing your hands up and saying "It's all faith!"
If you care about whether or not what you believe is actually true, at least.
Also, I think you are profoundly wrong that people lack faith in human decency. A simple response to a tragedy shows that people trust that others possess human decency. The first process performed is distancing of one’s self from the individual, individuals or group that has performed this task. An assertion of group identify and an ostracizing of the other. Basically some development of “us” versus “them” is constructed. Someone stabs a hallway of innocent students and the first question is, “what’s wrong with him?” There is not acceptance that this person is like us, but rather that something obviously sets him apart and makes him different in a way that is non-functioning and near non-human. Normal people would never do such a thing as this; normal people are decent and good.
You're missing the broader point: "What's wrong with him?" is a perfectly valid question, because the overwhelming majority
of the evidence (ie, all the hallways filled with un-stabbed students) shows us that people don't
do that without major extenuating circumstances, and further evidence (ie, most mass assaults/murders) shows us that the failure tends to be in the assailant. This does not need to be "faith that people are decent"; it is a perfectly valid question arising from the mountains of data available.
I would also argue that you think the issue was settle by Ephiral because you agree and find those sentiments more in line with your logic, which as we’ve shown can be faulty.
Um. To be technical, you've made a naked assertion
(though not one I disagree with) that some
logic can be faulty. You have yet to actually show this, or to apply it to the reasoning anybody has presented in thread (though this would not be difficult to do, depending on who you're speaking to here).
My use of the word faith is actually in line with the definition of the word because the word is defined as complete trust in someone or something. I would argue that atheists attempt to crowbar the word, as you put it, into an argument that possessing faith means a lack of rational thought and ability to argue. Much like this thread is dedicated to voicing frustration at preconceived notions of atheists, I am simply showing how preconceived notions of the religious are also false.
Okay, then, let me be plain:
I do not place "complete trust" in literally any proposition, including but not limited to "1+1=2" or "The sun will rise tomorrow". I further assert that assigning a probability of 1 to literally any proposition is effectively insanity.
Car accidents are not rare incidents. Deaths in surgery due to practitioner error are not rare incidents either that serve as anomalies.
Compared to the number of cars that don't
get into accidents or the number of people who don't
die on the operating table?
Number of vehicles in the US in 2009: 254212610.
Number of vehicles involved in accidents, US, 2009: 9534400.
Percentage of all vehicles involved in accidents: 3.75%.
(Data from here
I'm having a hard time finding hard numbers on total surgical fatalities, but subsets can be examined:this source
indicates that the fatality rate among Medicaid hospitalizations due to patient safety incidents was 0.19%, and this one
indicates that about 0.15% of the population above age 45 can expect to die from complications of medical care (and that the number of deaths below age 45 is likely to be statistically insignificant). If you have better sources, please let me know, as I'd like to get better numbers myself.
Now, I admit that "rare" and "anomalous" are subjective terms, but I'd say that using them to refer to things that happen less than five percent (or less than one percent!) of the time is pretty accurate.
Faith: Strong belief or trust in someone or something. Belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs. A system of religious beliefs.
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b: fidelity to one’s promises. Sincerity of intentions.
2 a: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.
b: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Complete trust.
3. Something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs.
Define "strong", please. This is an extremely
subjective term that needs nailed down if you're proposing a definition for everyone to accept. Is it P>0.5? 0.7? 0.95? 0.99? Is it "Nothing will change my mind on this subject"? "More evidence than I can possibly see in my lifetime is required"? "All existing evidence supports this conclusion"?
EDIT 2: For the record: I ask this because sense 1 doesn't apply in this context, and I absolutely and completely reject sense 2. Sense 3 is the only one that might apply, and it hinges on that.
EDIT: As for why it's important? Because it's not
just limited to "what you believe" and "what I believe". It's public perception - ie, the reason it's hyperdifficult for an atheist to run for office in the US. It's public policy
. Other people's faith touches on almost every aspect of your life, whether you like it or not.