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Switch to Forum Live View How Religion conquered Science and vise versa.
4 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2010 - 3:15PM #61
Ken
Posts: 33,859

Nov 29, 2010 -- 2:51PM, lucaspa wrote:


Nov 29, 2010 -- 2:36PM, Ken wrote:

 Mirriam-Webster is not the standard for philosophical definitions. The definition of faith current in philosophical discourse was developed by Christian theologians in their debates about the roles of reason and faith in religion. If you define faith as being rationally supported, you make nonsense of everything they wrote.



I notice that you didn't post a definition from any philosophical site.


I don't have to. I read philosophy.


"Religious faith is of two kinds: evidence-sensitive and  evidence-insensitive. The former views faith as closely coordinated with  demonstrable truths; the latter more strictly as an act of the will of  the religious believer alone. The former includes evidence garnered from  the testimony and works of other believers."


You need to read the complete passage and read it more carefully:


"Religious faith is of two kinds: evidence-sensitive and  evidence-insensitive. The former   views faith as closely coordinated   with demonstrable truths; the latter more strictly as an act of the will  of the religious believer   alone. The former includes  evidence  garnered from the testimony and works of other believers. It is,  however, possible to   hold a religious belief  simply on the basis  either of faith alone or of reason alone. Moreover, one can even lack  faith in   God or deny His  existence, but still find solace in the  practice of religion."


Notice that the evidence-sensitive variety is contrasted with "faith alone." That is, the evidence-sensitive variety is belief that involves both faith and reason. Faith and reason are still understood to be quite different things, as indicated by the terms "faith alone" and "reason alone." This would be clearer if the writer hadn't used "faith" in both its technical sense and the informal sense of belief.


And no, you don't make nonsense of everything they wrote. Remember Thomas Aquinas making rational, reasoned arguments for belief?  Yes, those arguments have flaws, but Aquinas and others have always felt there is a role for reason in faith.  In fact, the doctrine of Trinity is a product of reason!  So basically you are distorting the early Christian theologians.


Not at all. Thomas Aquinas was, as you say, attempting to make reasoned arguments for belief. Faith is not synonymous with belief. Faith is a particular type of belief that is distinguished from another type - rational belief - by virtue of not being based on reason. Thomas was coming down on the side of those who thought reason has a role in religion.


In that context, "hope" means that I would like something I desire to happen.


And you are going to tell me that you don't think it will happen?


When voting for a political candidate, I never think it will happen. I wasn't born yesterday, you know.


If you don't think it will happen with one candidate rather than the opponent, why do you bother to vote?


Because somebody's going to be elected and it might as well be the candidate whose views are closest to mine.


No, I don't have faith that my views are best for society. I have very good reasons for thinking that they're best for society.


But you don't have proof, do you? You don't have knowledge that your views are the best for society.  You have a faith based upon reasons! 


I've already explained that faith cannot be based upon reasons.

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2010 - 5:25PM #62
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,028

Ultimately usage establishes meaning for words. In most cases the meaning of a word is clear particularly if the referent of the word is clear. Jump is an action for getting over a fallen log.


 However, in many cases the referent of the word is not clear and may not be definable.  Take "meaning" as an example, the theist's "God provides meaning," and the nihilist's "life has no meaning" are using "meaning" in essentially the same way, but it is difficult if not impossible to determine what the referent of "meaning" is in either case.  Or for that matter what the theist or the nihilist is even talking about.  


Faith is another word for which the referent and therefore the definition cannot be clearly determined.  So we are stuck with Humpty-Dumptyism.  As long as faith is defined precisely by the user that is what it means, no more, no less.    


Nov 29, 2010 -- 11:25AM, lucaspa wrote:

Nov 29, 2010 -- 10:50AM, JCarlin wrote:

Hint: A dictionary definition is rational support for usage not meaning. 


Expand on that.  Usage is what we mean the word to convey.  IOW, we use words to convey particular meanings.  Dictionaries report those usages and meanings.




Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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4 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2010 - 5:40PM #63
F1fan
Posts: 11,140

Nov 29, 2010 -- 2:35PM, teilhard wrote:


No, indeed, I Affirm that "God" IS "The Creator" -- REALLY ...


( But THAT is NOT "Creation-ISM" ... ) ...




They are related concepts.  Neither is superior nor inferior to the other.  Neither have any basis in reality.

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2010 - 5:47PM #64
F1fan
Posts: 11,140

Nov 29, 2010 -- 11:20AM, lucaspa wrote:


1. How does "hope" differ from "faith" in this context?  Just because you used a different word doesn't mean it has a different meaning. If you look at the Thesaurus function of Merriam-Webster, you see that "hope" is a synonym for "faith" in that definition.
2. Don't you think your views are "rationally based"?  So you have faith that your views are best for society.  So again your assertion that faith is "rationally unsupported".




It seems the latter use is more synonymous with trust, not hope.  Hope generally aims for outcomes outside of one's ability to affect change.  Trust implies a competency in oneself and the system.  Reason is a system of thought that one applies, and is a skill.  So given the norms and standards we apply, we don't hope we are skilled, we trust we are skilled.  And this sort of trust is not based on faith, it is based on reason.

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2010 - 12:54PM #65
lucaspa
Posts: 557

Nov 29, 2010 -- 3:15PM, Ken wrote:


I notice that you didn't post a definition from any philosophical site.


I don't have to. I read philosophy.[/quote[


LOL!  If you've read philosophy, then you have a definition.  So yes, if you claim that the philosophical definition is different from the dictionary definition, then you do indeed have to back that claim and post the definition.


You need to read the complete passage and read it more carefully:


"Religious faith is of two kinds: evidence-sensitive and evidence-insensitive. The former views faith as closely coordinated with demonstrable truths; the latter more strictly as an act of the will of the religious believer alone. The former includes evidence garnered from the testimony and works of other believers. It is, however, possible to hold a religious belief simply on the basis either of faith alone or of reason alone. Moreover, one can even lack faith in God or deny His existence, but still find solace in the practice of religion."


Notice that the evidence-sensitive variety is contrasted with "faith alone." That is, the evidence-sensitive variety is belief that involves both faith and reason. Faith and reason are still understood to be quite different things, as indicated by the terms "faith alone" and "reason alone." This would be clearer if the writer hadn't used "faith" in both its technical sense and the informal sense of belief.



As you admitted, your argument is not clear.  I submit it is not "clear" because you are misreading the passage.  When the author said "faith alone" he meant the evidence insensitive kind of faith and "reason alone" he meant the evidence sensitive kind of faith.


Looking into it more deeply, you are taking the early Christian arguments about this out of the historical context.  Reason at that time was Greek reason, which was a mode of thought and the idea that this mode of thought was the only means for determining truth.  Faith is contrasted to that not because faith lacks "reasons" (as in evidence or reasoning) but goes beyond that to evidence gathered from revelation.  Note that in the Middle Ages scientists also rejected Greek reasoning because the universe is contingent and what we needed to do was not "reason" how the universe is, but actually go out and look at how the universe is.  If the observations contradict "reason", then reason is wrong.  The early Christian theologians got to that point faster than science did.


Not at all. Thomas Aquinas was, as you say, attempting to make reasoned arguments for belief. Faith is not synonymous with belief. Faith is a particular type of belief that is distinguished from another type - rational belief - by virtue of not being based on reason.



All you are doing is reasserting the same claim.   As I look at discussions of faith and belief, the two are used interchangeably without the artificial distinction you are using.  I can understand the emotional and theological need the distinction fills, but it is not there. 
"Faith is the confident belief or trust in a person, idea, or thing that is not based on proof.[1][2]"  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith   Faith is inextricably linked to belief.


  In that context, "hope" means that I would like something I desire to happen.



No, you are voting on the basis of belief or trust that something you desire is going to happen.  What's more, it is a belief or trust that what you desire to happen is actually a good thing.


When voting for a political candidate, I never think it will happen. I wasn't born yesterday, you know.



Then why bother to vote?  Sorry, you can't have it both ways.  If you "never" think the candidate you vote for will do what you hope will happen, then it is irrational for you to take the time and effort to vote.  Your hopes are just as likely to be realized if you don't vote or if you vote for the candidate who says he/she will not do what you hope will happen.  After all, if they "never" do what they say, then they may do the opposite.  See below: 


 Because somebody's going to be elected and it might as well be the candidate whose views are closest to mine.



In light of your post above, why?  According to you, you are not likely to see your views enacted as policy anymore with the person whose views are closest to you than you are with someone who has diametrically opposed views. 


In your dance to avoid the evidence that faith/belief is based on reason and evidence, you are contradicting yourself.  You are making ad hoc hypotheses to avoid the specific arguments without looking on the effects those ad hoc hypotheses have on your position as a whole. Welcome to the same reasoning as creationists!


 I've already explained that faith cannot be based upon reasons.



You've actually just asserted that.  So why don't you now explain it.  Why can't faith be based upon reasons? Other than you don't want it to because you want to label people with religious faith as not having reasons.   Remember that "reasons" are not the same thing as "reason".

"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works."  James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspects of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.
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4 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2010 - 1:00PM #66
lucaspa
Posts: 557

Nov 29, 2010 -- 5:47PM, F1fan wrote:

It seems the latter use is more synonymous with trust, not hope.  Hope generally aims for outcomes outside of one's ability to affect change.  Trust implies a competency in oneself and the system.



 "more synonymous" perhaps, but still synonymous.  When you read more, you see that the poster is actually trusting that the politician with views closest to his own will act on those views and make those views policy.  Despite the claim that the poster "never" thinks this will happen. 

Reason is a system of thought that one applies, and is a skill.  So given the norms and standards we apply, we don't hope we are skilled, we trust we are skilled.  And this sort of trust is not based on faith, it is based on reason.




Actually, the trust that you have the skill of reason can't be based on reason.  That is circular logic.  For that trust to have any basis, the trust must be based on evidence that you have correctly applied the skill. 


Since faith is trust where you cannot prove (see previous post), and since you use the word "trust" when applied to skill, then that trust in the skill of reason is faith.  You have faith that you are skilled in reason.

"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works."  James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspects of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.
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4 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2010 - 1:03PM #67
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,541

Nov 29, 2010 -- 3:15PM, Ken wrote:


I don't have to. I read philosophy.


 I've already explained that faith cannot be based upon reasons.





Ken,


Let's expand the contextual usage - with the word faithful.  This is helpful because it moves the defintion from "pie in the sky" absolutism of pretend precise defintions to usage - as others have pointed out.


Faithful is a process term - and implies an internal standard or goal state to be actualized. The behavioral expression, that is objective in the environment is waht is objectively faithful.


To use the example - you can faithfully vote Republican.  There is no hope or "faith alone" - it is a realized faith, which was performed, by your objective vote.


Christianlib may vote just as fatihfully - but vote Democratic.


One can be faithful to belief in materialism.  But not from reason, but from instinct.  However, rationalizing materialistic behavior - it one of cultures most popular sports.


Being Faithful to a religious doctrine can be a reasoned practice and involve deep observation of the self and ones intentions - to avoid materialism, selfish feelings of wanting to dominate others and a positive outlook for opportunites to be alturistic.


I am a guy with little faith or faithfulness - as my profile says.


Let me farther clarfy that the New Church most strongly believes in reason and that "faith alone" as prescribed in some Calvinist and other fundamentalistic denominations - is a veiewed as perversion of the teachings of the Lord.


Many new converts to our small church have science and professional credentials.  Being of use, in the real world, is stressed.


Here is the website of a couple, both who have PhD's.  They came to the New Church from reason and searching.  They both preform service to the larger community with their academic skills.


www.drdriving.org/


How's your driving Ken?  I hope it better than mine.  I do try to be faithful to the rules of the road. 


ps -- I have enjoyed many of Teilhards posts in this thread - as well as the opening post!

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2010 - 1:11PM #68
lucaspa
Posts: 557

Nov 29, 2010 -- 5:25PM, Jcarlinbn wrote:

 However, in many cases the referent of the word is not clear and may not be definable.  Take "meaning" as an example, the theist's "God provides meaning," and the nihilist's "life has no meaning" are using "meaning" in essentially the same way, but it is difficult if not impossible to determine what the referent of "meaning" is in either case.  Or for that matter what the theist or the nihilist is even talking about.  



If you "mean" what is "meaningful" to each individual, then no. Each may have a different idea of what makes life have "meaning".  But, in general, we have an idea of what "meaning" is in this context.   In this case, "meaning" refers to the special quality or significance of your life and interaction with the world and the people in it; lasting contribution to the universe.


We encounter words that do not have a precise definition, but we still know what we are talking about.  The words "species" and "intelligence" in science are 2 such words.  They don't have a precise definition, but we have a general idea of the meaning (" the thing that is conveyed especially by language") of those words that we can communicate ideas.


Faith is another word for which the referent and therefore the definition cannot be clearly determined.  So we are stuck with Humpty-Dumptyism.  As long as faith is defined precisely by the user that is what it means, no more, no less.



Again, I submit you are slipping from a general usage to the particular variations within the general for each person.  As a general usage, we do have a definition of "faith". 


What we have is a group of people who want to change that definition to exclude "reason" and/or "evidence".  The rationalization is that this group -- atheists -- want to put atheism on a higher epistemological level than theism.  It's not about figuring out what faith really is, but about preserving a dogma of a particular faith/belief.

"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works."  James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspects of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.
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4 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2010 - 1:18PM #69
lucaspa
Posts: 557

Nov 29, 2010 -- 5:40PM, F1fan wrote:


They are related concepts.  Neither is superior nor inferior to the other.  Neither have any basis in reality.



Creation and creationism are "related" only in that creationism is a proposed mechanism by which God created.  But creationism is not the only method by which God can create.  That is the logical mistake of creationists.  I understand why atheists want to stick with that logical mistake (it allows them to "falsify" God), but such rational thinkers as atheists should at least know that it is a logical mistake. 


The currently valid theories in science can also be considered as the mechanism by which God created.


I agree that creationism is a falsified theory.  However, I would like you to post your evidence that "God created" has "no basis in reality".  I'd prefer peer-reviewed scientific papers, but if you don't have those, then let's see what you do have.

"If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault."  Christian Observer, 1832, pg. 437

"Christians should look on evolution simply as the method by which God works."  James McCosh, theologian and President of Princeton, The Religious Aspects of Evolution, 2d ed. 1890, pg 68.
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4 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2010 - 1:30PM #70
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,541

Nov 30, 2010 -- 1:00PM, lucaspa wrote:



Actually, the trust that you have the skill of reason can't be based on reason.  That is circular logic.  For that trust to have any basis, the trust must be based on evidence that you have correctly applied the skill. 


Since faith is trust where you cannot prove (see previous post), and since you use the word "trust" when applied to skill, then that trust in the skill of reason is faith.  You have faith that you are skilled in reason.




lucaspa,


We can have trust in the results of reason - such as in the reasoning used in a computer program that encodes information objects, in such a way, as to generate empirically verifiable results.  


It could be said that a program is faithful to its goal of calculating a specific answer to a query.
 


Science has faith in math symbols and in computation.


That computation "works" and math is "true" is the primary doctrine of the religion of science!  We tacitly accept this, as M. Polanyi would say.


Wiki on Michael Polanyi -



Polanyi also seeks to draw attention to the role played by acquired practices i.e. tradition. The fact that we know more than we can say helps to explain how knowledge is passed on by non-explicit means, for example via apprenticeship i.e. observing a master, and then improving your skills under their guidance.


His writings about science as a tacit practice influenced Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend.




You have handled this debate with Ken and others very well.

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