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Author Topic: The Only Blog I Read
Scott R
Member # 567

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So, I've got the coolest in-laws ever.

This is from my bro-in-law's blog-- the very blog to which I refer in the thread title:

I had a friend ask me to describe what faith was all about to her. She pointed out that many situations can be explained by different causes and that where one person sees divine intervention, someone else might see simple chance, or even scientific cause.

I told her that causation is a tricky business in the first place, since we have no way of demonstrating the actual proof of causes. If we think about it, there is nothing whatever -- in science, in religion, in sociology, in law -- which entails another event. Nothing. There are many ways in which we can assign cause to events; and there are many ways we can make accurate predictions. I'm not out there suggesting that just because the ball has fallen every time I've thrown it up before, that it's not going to fall this time; but I am pointing out that there is nothing which actually entails that it do so. Once we acknowledge that causation is inherently linked to history, and history is linked to perception (we can argue over objective and subjective history|herstory till cows come home), then we have to see that whatever we do to describe an event is our own understanding of it. And for the most part, this is an acceptable view. (Note, I am not talking about moral right and wrong here -- not for example, suggesting that the rapist who sees his victim as willing-participant is at all not a rapist and not morally wrong -- merely pointing out that our understanding of the world around us is fundamentally our own.) If this view is acceptable, then whatever we use to explain it is valid within any scheme which is understandable (conveyable) to any two persons (making up my own internal language to describe something doesn't work, but if I can teach that language and have it codified by someone else as to have some sort of reasonable flow, then I can be ok).

Faith, then, and divine intervention is a perfectly acceptable explanation of events. I would argue that it is a true representation of events for the faithful. The coolest thing about faith then, is that the only persons for whom it matters, are the ones who are themselves faithful. Faith in an outcome, and causes which are a result of faith in ideas, in prayers, in God, in whatever, are only apparent -- and only need to be apparent -- to those with the faith.

I'm not trying to make a case here that faith is a cause. I am trying to show that seeing outcomes resulting from faith are not unreasonable explanations for empirical events in the world. Today, I received a windfall in one of my accounts as an answer to financial concerns over which I had been praying. It was an answer to my prayers -- I have no doubts. To others who also received the same windfall, it was the result of a corporate buyout of one stock in their holdings -- a simple, everyday business merger. Both are correct. The only problem comes when the faithful try and deny those events which are directly related to their faith in favor of alternate explanations. Faith in anything requires conviction, and honesty with oneself and with one's peers. Without such, it's not faith at all.

Find his blog here: www.phaedo.com/blog
Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 821

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The argument about causation (except for the religious conclusion and the part about subjectivity) is Hume's.

Skepticism about causation -- the question of whether the future will follow the same laws as the past -- is perhaps the most unbeatable form of skepticism. I'm not even sure what it would be like to have an answer to causal skepticism. It's a problem so inherent in human learning -- the way we reason from our experience sets up our downfall.

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