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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Let's not use "Faith" when we mean "Trust". (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Let's not use "Faith" when we mean "Trust".
Destineer
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Yeah, Tres constantly equivocates on the word "faith."

Coming to believe something on the basis of evidence that is sufficient but not undefeatable is quite different from choosing to believe it in the absence of any evidence (which is how the word "faith" is typically used in the context of religion).

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dkw
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quote:
choosing to believe it in the absence of any evidence (which is how the word "faith" is typically used in the context of religion).
No it is NOT! Almost every religious person who has posted on this thread has said that the word faith is NOT synonomous with belief, evidence based or otherwise.
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FlyingCow
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So, dkw, what would be your distinction between the word "faith" and the word "knowledge"? Is there one?
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password
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Flying Cow, that's a very Thomistic view-- to take "things exist and we can know them" as a first principle. and one that I agree with. Saying that concept is real and doesn't need to be proven is one of those things that we all tacitly agree on by even entering an argument. That is not the same thing as saying it's a proven statement, it is, in fact, the opposite. That does not make it less true or less sure, but rather more so.

As you said, it doesn't require faith, or proof. It just *is*. Those who question it do so to their detriment.

Edit: I'm not sure that's entirely what I meant. Part of my point is that, by some definitions floating around here, it does take faith or trust or what have you.

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FlyingCow
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Also, what is your definition of faith that is divorced from belief? Dictionary.com has difficulty separating those two.
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dkw
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FlyingCow, if I were looking for a synonym for faith I would go with either "trust" or "priority." Or a combination of the two. Knowledge is not even close.

Edit: Dictionary.com is correct in that the word "faith" is often used that way, as per Karl's definitions on the first page. Where I quibble with it is the idea that that is what is primarily meant by religious faith.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Humans are the only creatures that worry about such ultimately pointless ideas.

A dog knows that if it jumps off the couch, it will get to the floor. Birds know that if they stop flapping their wings in the air, they will fall towards the ground.

Their understanding of the world informs their actions. A dog will not look over the edge of a fifth story roof at a building across the street and make that jump. It knows it will not make it, that it will fall and most likely die. It will stop at the edge.

Does it have faith? Does it require proof?

No, it understands the world through its past interactions with it, and its future actions are influenced by these past interactions.

A rat who is shocked when it presses a food pellet bar will stop pressing that bar. This is true whether or not the scientist in charge of the experiment has detached the batteries.

quote:
Whether or not you have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow has no bearing on whether or not it will happen.
Whether or not you have faith that God exists has no bearing on whether he does. The existence of God, while not a scientific postulate, is a factual question: He either exists or He doesn't.

quote:
All that is simply a misuse of the word faith. Those are things I know, not things I have faith in.
Wrong. It is a proper usage of the word faith not based on your assumption that faith in something is somehow incompatible with knowing something.

quote:
You want to broaden the term faith to include everything. What is 2+2? I have faith that it is 4. What do you call a reqular four sided polygon? I have faith that it is a square. What part of speech is the word "of"? I have faith that it is a preposition.
No, I don't. 2+2 is 4 because we have defined "4" to be the number 1 greater than 3, 2 greater than 2, and 3 greater than 1. Similarly, we have defined "square" to mean "reqular four sided polygon." To someone who speaks no English, neither of those statements is true.

quote:
There are things that you can know, that do not rely up faith. If you feel there are not, then you deny the entire concept of knowledge.

Wrong. What we deny is that knowledge requires material, repeatable proof.

quote:
By taking your philosophically abstract view, we can eliminate the words "know" or "knowledge" from our vocabulary, as it is impossible to know anything, only to have faith in something. "Knowledge" and "faith" are not synonyms.
Only if you are still erroneously thinking anyone is equating faith and knowledge. Faith is a different concept, one which allows you to say "I know X" when you haven't personally witnessed X. It also allows me to say, "I know X will happen tomorrow" when I have witnessed X every day for the last 35.4 years.

Faith is a precedent to knowledge - without faith, there is no knowledge. But that doesn't mean faith and knowledge are the same thing.

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Destineer
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quote:
faith is NOT synonomous with belief, evidence based or otherwise.
Sorry for just responding to the first post... I try not to do that, but the temptation was too great this time.

Now, Tresopax clearly uses the word "faith" to denote an attitude that justifies beliefs, so I guess you would agree with me that he's not using the word in the right way.

But keep in mind also that as a philosopher, words like "belief" take on sort of a technical meaning for me. In philosophy, "belief" means any attitude that involves assenting to the truth of some sentence. I would imagine you'd agree that you can't have faith in God without assenting to the truth of the statement "God exists." Therefore that faith counts as a belief, in the minimal sense that I mean when I use the word.

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Dagonee
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quote:
So, dkw, what would be your distinction between the word "faith" and the word "knowledge"? Is there one?
What is your distinction between "light" and "vision"? Or even "pink" and "melodious." They are different things.
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FlyingCow
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The definitions I have seen of faith mostly include the word belief, is what I'm saying. The ones that don't use words like "loyalty", "dogma", or "allegiance", and most that refer to religion include the word "belief" in their definition.

I am having trouble separating the statement "He has faith in God" from "He believes in God". Could you elaborate on the distinction for me?

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dkw
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Destineer, I disagree. Because it would be perfectly possible to believe in God and still not have faith in God.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Now, Tresopax clearly uses the word "faith" to denote an attitude that justifies beliefs, so I guess you would agree with me that he's not using the word in the right way.
Actually, something that justifies belief is not the same thing as belief. You're muddling two concepts.

quote:
I am having trouble separating the statement "He has faith in God" from "He believes in God". Could you elaborate on the distinction for me?
"He believes in God" can be a statement about belief - "I believe that God exists" - or a statement about trust. When someone says, "I believe in you, son," do you honestly think they are commenting on the fact that they believe their son exists?

The correct distinction is between "He has faith in God" and "He believes that God exists." And the difference should be obvious at that point.

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twinky
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Dagonee, a lot of people posted while I was writing this, but my post was directed at Irregardless. He said that material evidence is obtained by conducting an experiment and observing the results, and then that the means of evaluating evidence for "natural" and "supernatural" claims are the same. But the first way one can evaluate material evidence is, as he notes, to corroborate it with a test of one's own. "Natural" evidence is tested experimentally in accordance with the scientific method; such tests produce repeatable results independent of the person performing the experiment. The same is not true of "supernatural" evidence, insofar as there is even any material evidence to be tested. For example, if the Red Sea parted, it only parted once.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I think he spoke too broadly.

The only similarity between the evaluations of "natural" and "supernatural" evidence is that in both cases we often trust other people's accounts of things. That seems to be what you, Tresopax, and Irregardless have been getting at, if I'm not completely misreading your collective posts.

From my perspective, though, this whole discussion is an attempt to put an apple in the same category as a refrigerator. I think that it does both science and religion a disservice to conflate them in this way, because it implies that religious truths can be empirically tested in accordance with the scientific method. Such a misapplication of the scientific method would belittle the... well, the numinous nature of religion.

But maybe I'm wrong: I certainly don't think that the rigorous application of the scientific method to observations of the universe in any way hinders me from feeling awe when I look up at the sky on a clear summer's night. Added: If anything, it helps.

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FlyingCow
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quote:
No, I don't. 2+2 is 4 because we have defined "4" to be the number 1 greater than 3, 2 greater than 2, and 3 greater than 1. Similarly, we have defined "square" to mean "reqular four sided polygon."
But, based on your use of faith, you can say that you have faith that you were taught the correct definitions, and that you have faith that the person who defined these things is correct.

Seems a bit overboard, to me.

quote:
Faith is a precedent to knowledge - without faith, there is no knowledge.
See, this is backwards. You have to know things before you can have faith in anything. Without a knowledge of language, and the knowledge gained by observation, it would be impossible to even have this discussion about faith.

Without the knowledge of the world, you would have no need to have faith in gravity.

quote:
A rat who is shocked when it presses a food pellet bar will stop pressing that bar. This is true whether or not the scientist in charge of the experiment has detached the batteries.
Yes, this is true. We have learned that based on the way our brains interpret information, they can be conditioned, especially with regards to pain (which is one of the body's survival warnings).

How often are you being intentionally deluded in a laboratory? Do you believe in some Pavlovian god?

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Dagonee
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quote:
The ones that don't use words like "loyalty", "dogma", or "allegiance",
Exactly.

quote:
and most that refer to religion include the word "belief" in their definition.
There are a significant number of Christians (Dana, correct me if I misstate this) who believe that faith in Jesus leads to salvation, with no other requirement. They are not saying that merely believing that Jesus was conceived as the Son of God, was born, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven is sufficient for salvation.
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Destineer, I disagree. Because it would be perfectly possible to believe in God and still not have faith in God.

Wait, though: he said that faith requires belief, not that belief requires faith. I think that's a useful distinction.
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FlyingCow
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quote:
"He believes in God" can be a statement about belief - "I believe that God exists" - or a statement about trust. When someone says, "I believe in you, son," do you honestly think they are commenting on the fact that they believe their son exists?

The correct distinction is between "He has faith in God" and "He believes that God exists." And the difference should be obvious at that point.

By this semantic tapdance, he could never say "I have faith in you, son" because that would equate to him saying "I have faith that you exist."

[Roll Eyes]

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Dagonee
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quote:
But, based on your use of faith, you can say that you have faith that you were taught the correct definitions, and that you have faith that the person who defined these things is correct.

Seems a bit overboard, to me.

Why. I do have faith that I was taught the definition correctly. That's a true statement.

quote:
See, this is backwards. You have to know things before you can have faith in anything. Without a knowledge of language, and the knowledge gained by observation, it would be impossible to even have this discussion about faith.

Without the knowledge of the world, you would have no need to have faith in gravity.

Without faith that language conveys knowledge, you would not be able to learn things from others.

quote:
Yes, this is true. We have learned that based on the way our brains interpret information, they can be conditioned, especially with regards to pain (which is one of the body's survival warnings).

How often are you being intentionally deluded in a laboratory? Do you believe in some Pavlovian god?

I'm pointing out a limitation of what you call "knowledge." I didn't claim it happened to us. But what you elevate as knowledge is simply conditioning. I prefer to have it mean a little more than that.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
quote:
"He believes in God" can be a statement about belief - "I believe that God exists" - or a statement about trust. When someone says, "I believe in you, son," do you honestly think they are commenting on the fact that they believe their son exists?

The correct distinction is between "He has faith in God" and "He believes that God exists." And the difference should be obvious at that point.

By this semantic tapdance, he could never say "I have faith in you, son" because that would equate to him saying "I have faith that you exist."

[Roll Eyes]

I see my faith in how you would interpret what I wrote was misplaced.

I stated exactly the opposite of your conclusion. A person saying "I have faith in you, son" IS NOT SAYING "I have faith that you exist." That's my whole point.

The fact that you think the conclusion you incorrectly imputed to me is absurd is enough to demonstrate the difference between "He has faith in God" and "He believes that God exists." Which is all I intended to do in that post.

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FlyingCow
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Could someone define faith for me in such a way that it has no relation to belief?

And could someone also define belief for me in such a way that it has no relation to faith?

The accepted dictionary definitions for these two words imply a far closer connection than many of you seem to be admitting to.

In fact, if you type in "belief" into thesaurus.com, the first thing that pops up is

"Main Entry: belief
Part of Speech: noun 1
Definition: faith
Synonyms: acceptance, admission, assent, assumption... "

It appears that the these two words are often considered synonyms in common parlance. Where is the significant distinction?

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twinky
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Since it's clear that the word "faith" is easy to misconstrue, why don't we take Karl's original advice? I still think his suggestion of "trust" in place of it is apt. [Smile]
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FlyingCow
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quote:
"He believes in God" can be a statement about belief - "I believe that God exists" - or a statement about trust. When someone says, "I believe in you, son," do you honestly think they are commenting on the fact that they believe their son exists?

The correct distinction is between "He has faith in God" and "He believes that God exists."

quote:
I stated exactly the opposite of your conclusion. A person saying "I have faith in you, son" IS NOT SAYING "I have faith that you exist." That's my whole point.

At first, you said someone saying "I believe in you, son" is not saying that they believe that the son exists.

Then you say that "I have faith in you, son" is not saying that they believe the son exists.

You used believe and faith interchangeably.

Therein lies my confusion. They appear synonmymous in that usage.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Could someone define faith for me in such a way that it has no relation to belief?
Since no one said that the two are not related, I'm not sure why you would ask this.

FlyingCow, I gave a very specific example, which you only rolled your eyes at. I'm not sure how to make it any simpler for you.

An no one is disconnecting belief from faith. They are saying that believing that something exists and has properties X, Y, and Z isn't the same thing as faith.

Your "semantic tapdance" aside, you know that "believe" is often used in a fashion similar to "trust" and that "faith" is also often used in a fashion similar to "trust."

I can't think of any things that I trust that I don't also believe exist.

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dkw
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I should note that arguments about what "faith" really is were at the core of the Protestant reformation and a few other splits along the way. Officially, the argument was about whether or not faith alone is sufficient for salvation, but a bit part of the disagreement was caused by differing definitions of faith.
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password
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I believe that Flying Cow exists.

I have faith that Flying Cow is not pulling our collective legs, but is genuinely trying to understand what Dagonee and others are saying.

belief - assent to a particular fact

faith - trust in something that seems evident, particularly in the face of fear it isn't true.

edit: this is not meant to imply that I fear Flying Cow is gaming us.

C.S. Lewis talked about how he knew anesthesia worked, but, when it came to surgery, he had all kinds of fear that he would either suffocate or that he would feel the surgery going on. He defined this as loss of faith in anesthesia. Had he been operated on and pressed ahead in spite of those fears, I would say his faith in anesthesia had withstood a test.

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FlyingCow
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Dag, I see we exist in two different worlds.

Yours is faith based, because you choose it to be. Mine is not.

Therein lies the difference.

Knowledge in my world exists separate from faith. Faith may exist based on that knowledge or not.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Since it's clear that the word "faith" is easy to misconstrue, why don't we take Karl's original advice? I still think his suggestion of "trust" in place of it is apt.
Because the word "faith" is more accurate than "trust," because religious people use "faith" all the time, and because the minute we agree to this, someone like KoM is going to start using such agreement every time a religious person uses the word "faith" to denigrate their beliefs. (Note that I am not accusing Karl of having any such motive in starting the thread nor you of having any such motive in reiterating the suggestion.)

quote:
At first, you said someone saying "I believe in you, son" is not saying that they believe that the son exists.

Then you say that "I have faith in you, son" is not saying that they believe the son exists.

You used believe and faith interchangeably.

Therein lies my confusion. They appear synonmymous in that usage.

Yes, but they don't mean "believe exists."

"Belief" can be used to indicate trust. "Faith" can be used to indicate trust.

"Belief" can be used to indicate belief in existence. "Faith" can be used to indicate belief in existence.

But using this double-synonym phenomenon to mean that faith only indicates belief in existence is incorrect.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
Could someone define faith for me in such a way that it has no relation to belief?

And could someone also define belief for me in such a way that it has no relation to faith?

I believe I did that, back on the first page. Faith relates to the source of a position. Belief relates to the strength of that position and the willingness (or unwillingness) of a person to question it.

For example, someone like KoM, at least taken at his word, derives his position about God from intellectual arguments. It is based on conviction, rather than on faith. Of course, I have my doubts as to whether that's the whole story in his case, but all we really have to go on is what he's posted.

His fanatic opposition to the idea of God, however, is clearly a matter of belief. He's internalized this position so deeply in his gut that, like a barbed hook in a fish's mouth, it'd probably rip him apart if he tried to take it out. Barring something pretty major, he's never going to so much as consider the possibility that God exists.

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FlyingCow
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quote:
Your "semantic tapdance" aside, you know that "believe" is often used in a fashion similar to "trust" and that "faith" is also often used in a fashion similar to "trust."
Yes, and "believe" is often used as a synonym for "faith" and vice versa. How is something being "often used" useful to us in this case?
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Dagonee
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quote:
Dag, I see we exist in two different worlds.

Yours is faith based, because you choose it to be. Mine is not.

Therein lies the difference.

Knowledge in my world exists separate from faith. Faith may exist based on that knowledge or not.

No, we exist in the same world. The difference is that you refuse to acknowledge how much of your knowledge rests on faith: faith in the accuracy of others' reports, faith in the constancy of phsyical laws, etc.

This doesn't weaken the concept of knowledge at all.

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FlyingCow
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You know, once again I run into the same difficulty I have when speaking with starLisa. It is impossible to argue with someone who bases their arguments on faith.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Yes, and "believe" is often used as a synonym for "faith" and vice versa. How is something being "often used" useful to us in this case?
Well, for one, it explains your confusion over this distinction.
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kmbboots
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And Hatrack faces another epistemological crisis! I love when all of you figments of my imagination debate philosophy.

We can never really prove anything. Our senses may be deceived, our reason faulty. Powerful aliens may be creating images in our minds. We have no "proof" of anything. Because something happens the same way everytime we observe it it doesn't mean that it will continue to happen. We have observed that the "law" of gravity has always worked, but that is no proof that it will always work. We have no proof that what we believe we observe as reality at all. Nevertheless, we make certain assumptions in order to function and when these assumptions work over and over again, we trust them. We make a "leap of faith" that each morning the sun will "rise" and a new day will begin. We have no proof of this, but to doubt it would make our lives unlivable. Believing that what we see is true and not some dream or halucination makes it possible to function. Most of these assumption are so automatic that we don't even notice that we make them.

Religious faith is similar. We make certain assumptions that make our lives better. After these assumptions "work" over and over again, we learn to trust in them. Just as my life is livable because because I trust in certain assumptions about the physical world, my life is richer and more full because I have faith in my beliefs about the spiritual one. Rather than being a lesser form of knowledge, I pray that if the day comes when I can't trust anything else, my faith in God's love will remain.

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Dagonee
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quote:
You know, once again I run into the same difficulty I have when speaking with starLisa. It is impossible to argue with someone who bases their arguments on faith.
It would be more accurate to blame your inability to argue about this on your inability to internalize the concept that words have more than one meaning.

This whole thread started because Karl thought people were using definition number 2 when they spoke of their religious faith. He has graciously accepted our word that we do not use the word "faith" in that manner very often.

I'm not sure why you can't do the same. Do you have some special knowledge about what I mean when I say "I have faith in God" that I don't?

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suminonA
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There are many kinds of faith, and they are all useful. The debate is about whether saying that they are equivalent is useful or not.
I think a distinction (even without classifying them in a top ten) is important, at least for the realm of science. And for better communication.

A.

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kmbboots
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I really liked Karl's definition #2:

quote:
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This is the type of "faith" I think most people are talking about in a religious context. Note, it doesn't say the belief is illogical or without material evidence, simply that it does not rely on them.

For me the implication was that it was the "superior" of the two because it didn't rely on such flimsy things as material evidence or or logical proof. As Grimace (I believe) said it is a gift and thus, while informed by reason and evidence, it is somehow beyond both.
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
Since it's clear that the word "faith" is easy to misconstrue, why don't we take Karl's original advice? I still think his suggestion of "trust" in place of it is apt.
Because the word "faith" is more accurate than "trust," because religious people use "faith" all the time, and because the minute we agree to this, someone like KoM is going to start using such agreement every time a religious person uses the word "faith" to denigrate their beliefs. (Note that I am not accusing Karl of having any such motive in starting the thread nor you of having any such motive in reiterating the suggestion.)
I'm suggesting that we avoid usages of "faith" that imply a similarity between "faith" in scientific concepts and "faith" in religious concepts where no such similarity exists. In other words, suggestions of "faith" in scientific concepts (rather than in the trustworthiness of scientists). As I've said, I don't think that "faith" in this context is suitable.

I agree with suminonA.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
We can never really prove anything.

Again, I have to point out that in science, "evidence" is every bit as important a concept as "proof" -- if not even more so. And in this context, "evidence" means "evidence that is empirically testable in accordance with the scientific method." So saying that we can never really "prove" anything doesn't detract in the slightest from the usefulness of the scientific method.
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Irregardless
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
Dagonee, a lot of people posted while I was writing this, but my post was directed at Irregardless. He said that material evidence is obtained by conducting an experiment and observing the results, and then that the means of evaluating evidence for "natural" and "supernatural" claims are the same. But the first way one can evaluate material evidence is, as he notes, to corroborate it with a test of one's own.

I *will* say that one may empirically test for the existence of God (as described in the common Christian perception). Simply die. Either you end up at Judgment Day and God is there to be observed, or He isn't. The difficulty here isn't in performing the test, but in reporting & applying the results.

quote:
"Natural" evidence is tested experimentally in accordance with the scientific method; such tests produce repeatable results independent of the person performing the experiment. The same is not true of "supernatural" evidence, insofar as there is even any material evidence to be tested. For example, if the Red Sea parted, it only parted once.
Not all things are equally testable, though, even in the natural realm. I will again refer to the blind man & the rainbow -- how is he supposed to independently verify the observations of sighted people? To him, aren't their claims epistemologically indistiguishable from supernatural ones? If he accepts their claims about the properties of light, is his belief necessarily religious in nature?

Secondly, I'm not sure that the one-time nature of certain events is altogether relevant. When believers discuss the parting of the Red Sea, they are not making any claims of repeatability. I might experience one earthquake in my life -- I can't experimentally 'make' an earthquake happen. It's merely an uncommon event that I witness. My belief in earthquakes does not start out as a religious one that gradually becomes scientific as I observe more of them. The nature of the evidence -- my firsthand experience of one and/or my description of it to others -- is the same regardless of the number of observations. My lifelong experiences with water seeking its own level should make it harder for me to accept claims of a dry trough opening up in the middle of the Red Sea, but then, my lifelong experiences with the ground being rock-solid and unmoving should also make it harder for me to accept claims of the earth sliding around, shaking and liquifying.

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suminonA
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[this is from a post on the first page of the thread]
quote:
Originally posted by Irregardless:
I have never been to Alaska. […] And more to point, I'm *not* going to navigate to Alaska, because it's not worth the effort. […] I have faith that Alaska exists. […] I cannot speak for anyone else, but I submit that my faith in God is fundamentally the same as my faith in Alaska, and for comparable reasons.

What if there is another group of sources claiming that the place called Alaska (located at the same coordinates) by the first group, is actually called Egypt and there are a number of very nice pyramids to visit? And then another group comes claiming it is called Texas, and more and more groups claiming it to be Normandy, Transylvania, Atlantis etc. Will your faith in Alaska remain the same? Would you reconsider the worth of going and check it for yourself?

If I were to consider only your cited post, I would expect the answer “My faith remains the same”. So the questions are rather rhetorical.

I’m asking these questions only to show why I think that your analogy is not valid for the point you are trying to make. [I submit that my faith in God is fundamentally the same as my faith in Alaska, and for comparable reasons.]


A.

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password
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
So saying that we can never really "prove" anything doesn't detract in the slightest from the usefulness of the scientific method.

Back to the anesthesia thing, that's a good example here because the idea that "anesthesia works" is not a universal truth. It affects different people differently and reaction to anesthesia is a statistically significant cause of death in operating rooms. Nonetheless, I have put my faith in anesthesia and had my life helped by it. I am of the opinion that it is trustworthy.

The statement "anesthesia works" isn't strictly true, isn't a natural law, because there are exceptions to the rule, but that hardly means anesthesia is useless. I think you could say the same with scientific method and religious faith both, even with their different standards of evidence.

As I said earlier, something doesn't have to be proven (in a logical sense) to be trusted.

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Irregardless
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quote:
Originally posted by suminonA:
What if there is another group of sources claiming that the place called Alaska (located at the same coordinates) by the first group, is actually called Egypt and there are a number of very nice pyramids to visit? And then another group comes claiming it is called Texas, and more and more groups claiming it to be Normandy, Transylvania, Atlantis etc. Will your faith in Alaska remain the same? Would you reconsider the worth of going and check it for yourself?

The effect on my faith will be dependent upon my assessment of the credibility of those disputing sources. If one of them could produce adequate evidence, I might very well change my faith. As for the worth of checking it out personally, that would depend as much on the relevance of Alaska to my own life (slim to none, actually) as on my estimate of its likelihood of its existence.
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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Irregardless:
The effect on my faith will be dependent upon my assessment of the credibility of those disputing sources. If one of them could produce adequate evidence, I might very well change my faith. As for the worth of checking it out personally, that would depend as much on the relevance of Alaska to my own life (slim to none, actually) as on my estimate of its likelihood of its existence. [emphasis added by suminonA]

That's one more reason for me to think that your analogy isn't valid. Your faith in Alaska isn't fundamentally the same as your faith in God.

[editet to rephrase]
A.

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Irregardless
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quote:
Originally posted by suminonA:
quote:
Originally posted by Irregardless:
The effect on my faith will be dependent upon my assessment of the credibility of those disputing sources. If one of them could produce adequate evidence, I might very well change my faith. As for the worth of checking it out personally, that would depend as much on the relevance of Alaska to my own life (slim to none, actually) as on my estimate of its likelihood of its existence. [emphasis added by suminonA]

That's one more reason for me to think that your analogy isn't valid. Your faith in Alaska isn't fundamentally the same as your faith in God.

[editet to rephrase]
A.

How so? Obviously there are many competing claims in the world about God's existence and characteristics. If one such source (religion) provided adequate credible evidence of its superiority over what I currently believe, then I'd change what I believe. How is that any different from what I said about Alaska?
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twinky
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Irregardless, we're going in circles. You're saying that faith is predicated on trust in other sources, and therefore that faith in scientific concepts and faith in religious concepts is essentially the same. I'm saying that this trust in others is the only way in which the two are similar and that conflating them is therefore unwise.

password, I'm not suggesting that something has to be logically proven to be trusted, or even provable. [Smile]

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KarlEd
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Dictionary.com lists all of these definitions of "faith":

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.

Technically, I probably should have used #4 as my "what most Christians mean when they talk about 'faith'". This really leaves the question open to the individual whether this Faith is also of type 1, or more similar to type 2. I think we also run into confusion because there is some of definition 3 in what people mean when they talk about "faith in God".

I think this is where the use of "faith" in regards to science bugs me: Faith, in Christianity at least, can be a virtue unto itself. In science, (after the initial acceptance that "things exist and we can know about them) faith is always a result of logic and evidence, and never a virtue if separated from them.

NOTE: I'm talking about religion and science, not individual people. That is to say, while Dag's "faith" is based on things he calls evidence (if I understand him correctly), not all Christians feel that way. While I was incorrect in claiming that "most" Christians mean def. #2, I am not incorrect in claiming that many do. I have known several. I believe that most Christians actually use a combination of several of those definitions in their personal definition of faith.

I think that the problem I have that prompted the original post is that for those of us who have "faith" in science to accept the use of that word, we have to define "faith" very narrowly and mean only a very specific thing. However, I don't think many Christians (Dag and dkw please correct me if I'm wrong) will accept the same limited definition of "faith" when they speak of "faith" in religious terms. To them I believe "faith" is something more than "faith in a bridge" or "faith in the self-correcting nature of the scientific method", etc. although it may include that narrow faith within the whole of religious "faith".

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Destineer
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quote:
Because it would be perfectly possible to believe in God and still not have faith in God.
Of course. This shows that faith is one kind of belief, but it is not the only kind. Not all belief is faith, but all faith is belief.
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twinky
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Clearly, I should have just waited six minutes and let Karl say exactly what I meant in a much more eloquent manner. [Big Grin]
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KarlEd
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[Blushing]
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password
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Karl, I'm going to try to speculate (despite the disasterous results I had last time I tried this) and say that I think many people use definition #2 with respect to themselves in the process of exaggerating their emphasis on the idea that their faith is in something not rigidly provable, or possibly even demonstrable. Somewhere along the line I think this became enshrined as more virtuous, for some people.

"Blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe", Jesus says to Thomas. I think that got set up as a standard in and of itself, eventually leading to the idea, which some, but not all, Christians do seem to have, that faith is more (or even only) valuable when there is no reason for it.

But, as I do not agree with that view, I may be totally off in in my description of it.

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Dagonee
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quote:
That is to say, while Dag's "faith" is based on things he calls evidence
My belief, or my category 2 faith, is based in part on evidence and in part on category 1 faith.

quote:
I think that the problem I have that prompted the original post is that for those of us who have "faith" in science to accept the use of that word, we have to define "faith" very narrowly and mean only a very specific thing.
A related problem is when people interpret "I have faith in God" as simply meaning "I believe in God with no evidence."

There is a frequent pattern here (I have no idea if it was in play in the thread that led to this one) in which:

1. Science's superiority is extolled because it is not based on faith (meaning category 2 faith).

2. Religious people admit their beliefs are based in faith (they mean category 1 or, more precisely, Faith, but the non-religious people mean category 2).

3. Religious people assert that science relies on faith (again, the meanings are misunderstood).

4. Non-religious people interpret 3 as claim that science isn't based on evidence (due to differing uses of "faith").

[ March 30, 2006, 08:27 AM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]

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