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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Let's not use "Faith" when we mean "Trust". (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Let's not use "Faith" when we mean "Trust".
dkw
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quote:
Not all belief is faith, but all faith is belief.
No. Nonononono a million times no. That is ONE definition of faith. It is not the only one and it is absolutely not what I mean when I talk about faith in the religious sense.
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Xaposert
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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.
No, don't put words in my mouth. I have not said faith justifies belief. Only evidence and reasoning can justify a belief. Faith is more of an attitude that allows one to be confident in beliefs that are not proven or known to be certainly true.

quote:
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).
As others have pointed out, that is NOT how "faith" is typically used in the context of religion. Religious faith is based on evidence that is sufficient but not undefeatable. It is not blind faith decided upon arbitrarily without any evidence in its favor.

quote:
Dag, I see we exist in two different worlds.

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

Please note: It is claims like this that illustrate why I think it is critical we remember how similar religious faith, faith in science, and faith in common sense all are. Everybody lives in a faith-based world. Everybody is completely confident in things that they don't really know for sure. If they did not, they'd live a terrible, uncertain existence, unable to have confidence in even the simplest of things, such as whether the sun would rise tomorrow. The choice to live without faith, if actually chosen by anyone, would be horrendous.

This is how extreme skepticism comes to be: People realize that reason offers very little certain knowledge, but then cling to the idea that faith is a bad thing, leaving them with almost nothing they can have confidence in.

It is also one reason people reject philosophy - because they see how the above reasoning leads to extreme skepticism, and seeing how extreme skepticism is silly, thus reject philosophy as a whole. I think that rather than rejecting philosophy, they should accept the uncertainty that philosophy's reasoning suggests, and accept that faith is necessary to allow us all to survive in the face of that uncertainty.

[ March 29, 2006, 01:06 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]

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FlyingCow
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You can have faith in God's existence.
You can believe in God's existence.
You do not have knowledge of God's existence (do you?)

You can have faith in God's goodness.
You can believe in God's goodness.
You do not have knowledge of God's goodness (unless I am missing something.

Faith and belief both can exist without knowledge, and both can exist without material evidence.

Contrarily, you *know* that if you drop a rock, it will fall to the ground.

That is an entirely different concept.

Whether or not you say you *also* have faith that the rock will drop to the ground, it doesn't change the fact that the knowledge that a rock will drop to the ground is decidedly different than faith/belief in a deity.

quote:
He has graciously accepted our word that we do not use the word "faith" in that manner very often.
Has he? It seems he's still trying to draw a line of distinction in usage.

quote:
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?
No, in fact I have no knowledge about what you mean when you say you have faith in God. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Is your faith in God the same as your faith that a rock will fall when you drop it?

I'm going to assume it isn't (though I may be wrong). If it is not, then why not?

My major contention here was with Tres' statement that the world could very easily cease to exist tomorrow, which it cannot unless you digress into empty philosophizing. It is not faith that prompts this.

The subsequent discussion devolved into the semantic differences in meaning of the word faith.

Sure I can say "I have faith that the world will still be here tomorrow," but that statement would of course be made with tongue firmly in cheek. I know the world will still be here, saying I have faith in a fact would be redundant and meaningless.

Karl, I believe, is trying to draw a distinction here. Instead of saying you have "faith" that the world will still be here, he feels that is something that you "trust" based on scientific observation. He's trying to separate the two usages of the word, for sake of clarity.

I would go a further step and say that you "know" it will still be here tomorrow, that faith or trust has nothing to do with it at all.

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

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
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.

And it's impossible to converse with someone who insists on misrepresenting what I say and what I think.
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Xaposert
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quote:
Contrarily, you *know* that if you drop a rock, it will fall to the ground.
You *know* a rock will fall to the ground in just the way that a religious person with extreme faith in God *knows* that God exists. Meaning that you cannot prove it is true, but you are so confident that it IS true that you are willing to consider it knowledge anyway. And yes, I've met religious people who say they *know* God exists.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Karl, I believe, is trying to draw a distinction here. Instead of saying you have "faith" that the world will still be here, he feels that is something that you "trust" based on scientific observation. He's trying to separate the two usages of the word, for sake of clarity.
And, in his very first post, he points out that the first definition of faith is basically "trust." It's got the word "trustworthiness" in it.

quote:
Has he? It seems he's still trying to draw a line of distinction in usage.
Yes, he has:

quote:
I guess the difference is the basis for having faith in the one versus the reasons for having faith in the other. One is faith based on material evidence. The other is based on non-material evidence (or spiritual evidence, if you prefer). The critical difference for me, then, is that I find non-material evidence to be illusory.
Later he goes on to attempt to draw a distinction between the two.

Here's the thing you seem utterly unable to grasp: there being a distinction between the faith in science and faith in God does not therefore mean that "faith in God" is speaking only of belief in existence.

That is what KarlEd has conceded. You keep insisting on telling us what we mean.

quote:
Karl, I believe, is trying to draw a distinction here. Instead of saying you have "faith" that the world will still be here, he feels that is something that you "trust" based on scientific observation. He's trying to separate the two usages of the word, for sake of clarity.
Except that the first definition of faith also works for what he is saying. He is not trying to draw a distinction between faith type 1 and trust. Originally he was trying to draw a distinction between trust and faith type 2. Since no one was using faith type 2, the distinction wasn't applicable to the discussion he thought it was.

After we got beyond that misunderstanding, we then proceeded to attempt to discuss the ways in which faith in science is different from faith in God. I posted my understanding of those differences.

You're still hung up on the original distinction, andf the only way you can actually make it is if someone else is using faith in the sense of definition 2. No one is. So your distinction doesn't work.

That doesn't mean other distinctions don't work. Just that yours doesn't.

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FlyingCow
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There are also religious people who believe that we are just shells for Thetans who have extraterrestrial past lives and who were dropped onto Earth around volcanos by an alien named Xenu 75 million years ago before being blown up by hydrogen bombs.

I know there are people out there that believe any number of things.

What I was curious about was whether Dag (or dkw, for that matter) draws a distinction between faith in God and faith that a rock will fall to the ground when dropped. I'm assuming there is a difference, and I'm curious to hear what they feel that difference is.

It very well may be the difference in their minds between religious faith and scientific faith.

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twinky
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quote:
You *know* a rock will fall to the ground in just the way that a religious person with extreme faith in God *knows* that God exists.
"No. Nonononono a million times no."

quote:
Meaning that you cannot prove it is true, but you are so confident that it IS true that you are willing to consider it knowledge anyway.
Something has to be proven in order for it to qualify as knowledge? I certainly don't think so.

Added: Go back and read Karl's post at the bottom of the last page, in case you missed it. It and Dagonee's follow-up are too important and useful to get lost in a page rollover.

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Irregardless
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
What I was curious about was whether Dag (or dkw, for that matter) draws a distinction between faith in God and faith that a rock will fall to the ground when dropped. I'm assuming there is a difference, and I'm curious to hear what they feel that difference is.

I'd say that any difference is one of degree, not kind.
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Xaposert
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I agree.
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Dagonee
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quote:
What I was curious about was whether Dag (or dkw, for that matter) draws a distinction between faith in God and faith that a rock will fall to the ground when dropped. I'm assuming there is a difference, and I'm curious to hear what they feel that difference is.
I already answered this, using a bridge analogy. If you have questions about that post, I'd be happy to answer them.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Something has to be proven in order for it to qualify as knowledge? I certainly don't think so.
I agree. This is why I can say "I know God exists" and "I know a rock will fall to the ground."

But I can more easily convince you of the latter.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Irregardless:
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?
Right. There are many competing claims in the world about God's existence and characteristics. I would say that a significant competing group exists for any given religion (even if we reduce it to Christians and Muslims).

Now, there is no significant group competing for the characteristics of the laws of science (take gravity, the rising Sun, the existence of Alaska and any other scientifical fact/theory).

If that is not a fundamental difference, I wonder what is.


A.

[edited to remove a controversial formula]

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FlyingCow
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Dag, I apologize, I'm not sure how I skipped it, but I somehow missed your post at 09:08 AM, which clears up almost all my questions about your distinctions between the two.

Your position makes a lot more sense now, I just needed those pieces to complete what was a very confusing puzzle.

I can see now where you're coming from, although I am certainly not coming from the same direction. [Smile]

Tres, however, I still can't take seriously.

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Irregardless
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quote:
Originally posted by suminonA:
Now, there is no significant group competing for the characteristics of the laws of science (take gravity, the rising Sun, the existence of Alaska and any other scientifical fact/theory).

If that is not a fundamental difference, I wonder what is.

So your 'fundamental difference' is the number of people who agree or disagree with a particular claim? Weak. My point in making the analogy was that I apply reason & standards of evidence the same way whether we are talking about a religious claim or not. The presence or absence of people who disagree with my conclusions has no bearing.
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password
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
To quote password, "As you said, it doesn't require faith, or proof. It just *is*. Those who question it do so to their detriment."

In all fairness, once you accept that there is a class of phenomena that fit this statement, it's very easy to include "the existence of a creator" in that class...and I also said that I was overreaching what I intended to say in making that statement. [Smile]

The weird thing is, I would argue that I do have knowledge of God's goodness, and by extension, of His existence and that it is the same kind of knowledge that I have of gravity-- that is to say, I have experienced it, not to say that it is a definable law like Newton's universal gravitation. My knowledge that a rock will fall is not only based on my observations that it does so, but my experience that I also do so. That's why birds and balloons are such a source of wonder... they don't. Even when I have explained why they don't, I still get a thrill at seeing them, because they don't and I do.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all this, but it seemed important to say that. I wonder about this, though. We can "know" things that aren't true. So how do we define the difference between knowledge of that which is true and knowledge that we are sure of, but, it turns out, isn't correct?

For instance, back to Einstein, before him, everyone "knew" that things don't change length or mass without being acted on. We still "know" it, in the sense that first hearing the implications of relativity certainly screws with our worldview. Our experience teaches us that time flows at a constant rate and that length and mass are properties of objects. Einstein proved that wasn't the case. Which do we "know"? Can we "know" both? Does the one knowledge preclude the other?

Just flinging out random thoughts hoping someone else can make sense out of them...

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
Dag, I apologize, I'm not sure how I skipped it, but I somehow missed your post at 09:08 AM, which clears up almost all my questions about your distinctions between the two.

Your position makes a lot more sense now, I just needed those pieces to complete what was a very confusing puzzle.

I can see now where you're coming from, although I am certainly not coming from the same direction. [Smile]

Thank you, FC.
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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Irregardless:
quote:
Originally posted by suminonA:
Now, there is no significant group competing for the characteristics of the laws of science (take gravity, the rising Sun, the existence of Alaska and any other scientifical fact/theory).

If that is not a fundamental difference, I wonder what is.

So your 'fundamental difference' is the number of people who agree or disagree with a particular claim? Weak. My point in making the analogy was that I apply reason & standards of evidence the same way whether we are talking about a religious claim or not. The presence or absence of people who disagree with my conclusions has no bearing.
No, that is not the fundamental difference. The difference lies in the kind of “stuff” that each kind of faith considers. The point with the number of people has to do with the possibility to come with a competing faith in science.

A.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee: Bolding mine.

Originally he was trying to draw a distinction between trust and faith type 2. Since no one was using faith type 2 , the distinction wasn't applicable to the discussion he thought it was.


You're still hung up on the original distinction, andf the only way you can actually make it is if someone else is using faith in the sense of definition 2. No one is . So your distinction doesn't work.

That doesn't mean other distinctions don't work. Just that yours doesn't.

Well. I was. But, nevermind.
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FlyingCow
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password, I do feel that there are certain truths that are just knowns, "I exist" being paramount of them.

That the world exists as a physical reality in which I interact is another "known" in my reckoning of the world, though philosophers can debate that to their heart's content.

Based on observations of the world around me, other interpretations of data are made every millisecond, and my body and mind reacts to them (or ignores them) continually.

If I park my car outside my house at night, it will be there in the morning. If it is not, it was moved by some real force (towed, stolen, etc) and not just blinked into nonexistence. Its persistence of physicality is also a "known".

My understanding of faith is decidedly different than Dag's or dkw's, as I think we have seen. "Faith" as a concept is less than "knowledge" in my mind. I may have faith in my girlfriend not to cheat on me, but I do not have knowledge that she won't. I do have knowledge that I won't wake up tomorrow to find her turned into a giant cockroach, a la Kafka, and to say I have faith in the same is, to my mind, redundant and unnecessary.

While I know this is contrary to the understanding of faith many on this board have, for me to "rely on faith" is to have an absence of anything else stronger to rely on. It is, in my worldview, a last resort when I cannot stand on firmer ground.

I understand I differ from Dag and others greatly on this issue, and that others may rank faith on equal footing to knowledge in their lives.

While I can respect that, I cannot share their conviction. Further, I know that if there are two points being made, and one relies more heavily on its presenter's faith rather than on something (in my own worldview) I consider more logically sound, I will give more credence to the other (as much as I may try to remain unbiased).

I imagine it's similar to a staunch theist finding more credibility in the claims of another theist than in an atheist (referencing the atheist minority thread), just based on shared values.

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Irregardless:
quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
What I was curious about was whether Dag (or dkw, for that matter) draws a distinction between faith in God and faith that a rock will fall to the ground when dropped. I'm assuming there is a difference, and I'm curious to hear what they feel that difference is.

I'd say that any difference is one of degree, not kind.
I disagree. When I use the word "faith" in the religious sense of faith in God, I am not talking about knowledge or belief. I am talking about the ordering of ones life towards something such that it becomes the ultimate priority toward which all other aspects of life are subordinant. The idea of using such a concept to refer to a falling rock is ridiculous.
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KarlEd
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quote:
The weird thing is, I would argue that I do have knowledge of God's goodness, and by extension, of His existence and that it is the same kind of knowledge that I have of gravity-- that is to say, I have experienced it,
This might be a tangent (and maybe not) so forgive me if I derail. . .

I will accept unskeptically that you have had experiences that you label as "God's goodness". However, I think that labeling those experiences "God's goodness" is a leap of faith unlike labeling the phenomenon of things falling to the ground "gravity". The latter is a rather arbitrary label for a demonstrable phenomenon. The former is anything but an arbitrary label. Something happens, you call it "God's goodness", and since such a thing as "God's goodness" exists, there must also exist a God from which such goodness can come. This is circular, and invokes a faith that is completely foreign to science. In fact it is practically the antithesis of science.

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FlyingCow
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As a total tangent, British brewers, before yeast had biologically been determined as the cause of fermentation, had simply called the process "God is Good" and went along their merry way.
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KarlEd
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quote:
The idea of using such a concept to refer to a falling rock is ridiculous.
Thanks dkw. That is precisely what I was getting at.

And please note that I am not making a value judgement on your point. I respect your beliefs and your faith, and Dag's too and I hope you both feel that, despite whatever skepticism I may have. But I wholeheartedly agree that equating the two things is ridiculous. The whole point of this thread was to recognize that the word "faith" is inadequate to convey, unqualified, the sense in which it is being used in these discussions, and to explore whether there might be more precise words or phrases we can implement to avoid becoming continually bogged down in semantics.

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dkw
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Well, yes, but I think your proposed solution was backwards. In the sense of using “faith” to mean belief, or even temporary suspension of disbelief, I don’t see the distinction between belief/faith in God and belief/faith in the laws of physics. How one reaches that belief may be different, but not enough to justify different words for the end result. I just don’t think that’s proper use of the theological version of the term “faith.”

Edit: Although I recognize that it is often used that way, ala "I don't need evidence, I have 'faith' that this is true." I'm trying to make it clear that that is not what I mean by the word. Not knowledge, not belief. Priority.

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Dagonee
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quote:
When I use the word "faith" in the religious sense of faith in God, I am not talking about knowledge or belief. I am talking about the ordering of ones life towards something such that it becomes the ultimate priority toward which all other aspects of life are subordinant. The idea of using such a concept to refer to a falling rock is ridiculous.
This might be another artifact of both my professional backgrounds, but I can couch this in terms of degree as well.

In an earlier post, I mentioned faith as a basis for decisions. My faith in God is such that (ideally - I'm not there yet) God becomes the most important factor in every single decision I make, which would subordinate every other aspect of life.

In my mind, faith in God can be viewed as the ultimate fulfillment of the idea of a foundation for ordering ones life - a light made so bright it makes all other lights seem like darkness, a concept so big that everything else is infinitesimally small, a faith so sure that everything else is doubt. To speak Platonically, faith in God is the true thing, the rest are shadows on the cave wall. As such faith grows toward perfection, new aspects and nuances are exposed that cannot be detected in leser faiths. Eventually these newly noticeable aspects will dwarf the attributes that were present before.

But I think that recognizing what the two different faiths have in common is necessary to beginning that transformation.

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password
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I don't disagree with your conclusions Karl, though your description of the circular process doesn't feel right. That seems even more tangential, so I'm not going to bother arguing it and just write it off to my inability to express myself. [Smile]

What I'm trying to explore now is different meanings of the word "knowledge". What I was getting at is my knowledge of gravity, particularly that knowledge of it which Flying Cow was getting at-- "it just is" -- is neither based on abstract logic nor on the (very valid) scientific demonstrations of gravitation. It is based on my experience of gravity, which I understood long before I knew there was an, as you say, arbitrary name given it.

Personal experience definitely imparts knowledge. But the hitch is that knowledge isn't always true (cf. the relativity idea). I think what we maybe ought to say is that we all have knowledge of things, but that knowledge is necessarily incomplete. Knowing that I will fall down is rawer and baser than knowing the theory of gravitation, but it is still knowledge, even in cases where may not be true... i.e., not knowing about airplanes doesn't imply that I couldn't fly in one, but were I totally ignorant of them, I'd probably be scared witless at finding myself suddenly in one several hundred feet up.

Science and the scientific method allow us a greater and surer, in my words, a more complete, knowledge about some things. Does that mean that things which aren't demonstrable don't qualify as knowledge?

I don't think so...

Jumping back to Lewis, he wrote an essay called "horrid red things" about a child's understanding of poison. The child actually thought that something which was poisonous must contain "horrid red things" in it. This was false, but the child still has some knowledge of poison, and even an essentially correct knowledge, though it isn't scientifically explored and refined, and is, in fact, false in some respects.

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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
As a total tangent, British brewers, before yeast had biologically been determined as the cause of fermentation, had simply called the process "God is Good" and went along their merry way.

Now that is intelligent design!
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KarlEd
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quote:
Well, yes, but I think your proposed solution was backwards.
Well, yes, I've come to realize that. [Blushing]

I still think there's a need for some sort of distinction there, though.

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KarlEd
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quote:
Now that is intelligent design!
I knew there was a clever rejoinder to that post. I just couldn't think of it. [Big Grin]
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Xaposert
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quote:
When I use the word "faith" in the religious sense of faith in God, I am not talking about knowledge or belief. I am talking about the ordering of ones life towards something such that it becomes the ultimate priority toward which all other aspects of life are subordinant.
Perhaps, but in a discussion about whether or not it is rational to believe, I don't think this is the sense in which "faith" is being used. What you are referring to above is really a different (but related) concept. It's describing more a relationship with God than a relationship to certain beliefs.

I think "religious faith", in the context of this discussion, is the faith that one has in certain religious beliefs, not the priority of those beliefs. It is that sort of faith that I think atheists often object to. And it is that sort of faith that I consider comparable to faith in scientific theories or faith that rocks will fall when you drop them.

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TheGrimace
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"Dogs and Cats living together! It's Anarchy!"

We really need some Eskimo's coming in here berating us for only having one word for snow...

As has been established, there are more than a half-dozen definitions of the word within a single dictionary source, and even just one of those definitions can be broken down further into a number of distinct philosophical definitions that are all critically different in certain contexts.

I think the main point has been very well demonstrated that we have to all be speaking the same language otherwise we're kinda all arguing not so much AGAINST each other as TANGENT to each other. At this point, while an interesting debate, it's just a series of spiral arguments.

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dkw
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Tres: yes, but this isn't a discussion about whether or not it is rational to believe, it's a discussion about what the word faith means.
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just another thought, sticking with the gravity theme, and expanding on what I'm saying.

Aristotle supposed that gravity worked because the earth was the center of the universe and everything had a tendency to seek that center. Newton said, through further refinement, that any two bodies attract each other in proportion to their mass and developed the concept of gravitational potential energy, saying that things would seek a state of lowest potential. Einstein came along and said that space is bent and things find their way to the "bottom" of the gravity "well".

But Aristotle was right in the same way the child was right-- when you drop something, it falls until it gets to the ground or something else stops it. His knowledge is essentially true and useful, even though it is, strictly speaking, false. But we wouldn't go so far as to say that it wasn't knowledge, would we?

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FlyingCow
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I'd like to edit Tres' statement:

quote:
I think "religious faith", [in my incredibly narrow definition of the term that doesn't take into account any of the discussion any one else has gone through so far on this board], is the faith that one has in certain religious beliefs, not the priority of those beliefs. It is that sort of faith that I think atheists often object to. And it is that sort of faith that I consider comparable to faith in scientific theories or faith that rocks will fall when you drop them.
Can I do that?
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twinky
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quote:
It is that sort of faith that I think atheists often object to. And it is that sort of faith that I consider comparable to faith in scientific theories or faith that rocks will fall when you drop them.
What we object to isn't the faith, it's the comparison. I can go outside right now, pick up a rock, drop it, and watch it fall. I can't kneel down, pray to god, and expect an answer.

If you're going to ascribe collective objections to a group, at least do them the decency of getting it right. [Wink]

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FlyingCow
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See, password, Aristotle made an incorrect leap based on first hand knowledge.

A rock falls to the earth. Anyone can see that, true. Everything in Aristotle's world fell to the earth when dropped. He therefore concluded that all things fell toward the center of the Earth.

His error came not in predicting that another rock, when dropped, would fall to the earth, but trying to make universal generalized statements about "all things", many of which are beyond his understanding (and he neglected that the sun, moon, and stars did not fall to the earth).

Newton took more factors into account when he made his generalizations, but even then, that was to the best of his ability. Same with Einstein.

None of their theories of the greater picture, however, stops a rock from falling to the earth.

That it will, when dropped, is still first hand knowledge.

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Agreed, Flying Cow.

And I bet every one of the three would have been content to have the qualifier "as far as we know" added on to their work.

The existence of the phrase seems to imply that "knowledge" needn't be complete or universal to be "knowledge". That what we know isn't necessarily "true" but it is still knowledge.

I'm honestly not sure why I'm suddenly fascinated by this concept, but I am. There's a big philosphical point poking around my subconscious, but it doesn't want to come out and play yet. ah well...


I feel like Richard Dreyfus, staring at a lump of mashed potatoes, saying "this... means something," while you all stand back from the dinner table convinced that I've lost my mind [Smile]

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twinky
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Do what the rest of us do: Talk around it until you or someone else says what you meant originally. [Big Grin]
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FlyingCow
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Meh, philosophy is mental chewing gum. Tasty for a time, but ultimately unfulfilling - plus, tiresome once it loses its flavor.

Great fodder for short stories or films, but nothing I'd want to devote more time than that to. There's too much in the real world that's more satisfying.

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ok... what do you mean when you say you "know" something? [Smile]

Edit: Flying Cow, well, yeah, but when you're stuck at work doing something that takes little concentration it does make for an interesting diversion.

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FlyingCow
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Fair enough.

When I say I know something, I mean that it is true beyond any rational doubt. I am sitting down. I know that. Is there any way for me to deny to myself that I'm sitting down? Not without denying reality utterly. It is fact, and it is something I know.

I know my name, I know I exist, I know what I'm wearing, etc. I know that if I knock a pencil off my desk, it will fall to the floor. To question these things is not useful in any way, they are basic facts upon which the framework of reality is built.

Now do I need to go into the whys and wherefors? Do I need to know the formula that describes the pencil falling to the floor mathematically, complete with air resistance and all other factors to know that it will fall to the floor? No. Do I need faith that there was a supreme being that created the pencil and the floor and set the world in motion a certain way so as to cause that pencil to fall? No.

The pencil falls. It's as simple as that. Moreover, I *know* it will fall, so I don't need to test it. To question that is silly, but any tests will hold up that the pencil will indeed fall to the floor if I push it off my desk.

And, just to annoy Tres, it will fall if I do it tomorrow, too.

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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
To question these things is not useful in any way, they are basic facts upon which the framework of reality is built.

I think that's a good litmus test, with the caveat that sometimes it *is* good to question what you know. perhaps changing it to "not useful in any readily apparent way"?
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Amilia
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quote:
Moreover, I *know* it will fall, so I don't need to test it. To question that is silly
This is one of the things that made Galileo so revolutionary. Nobody else bothered to question the fact that larger, heavier object would fall to the earth faster than smaller, lighter objects. It was a known fact. Everyone *knew* it. To question such a thing would be silly.

[edit: I know this is not what you meant. And I realize that you do test the hypothesis (? not sure that is the correct term) inadvertently, and get corroborating evidence to demonstrate its truth, every time you drop your pencil and it does fall to the ground. It is just that Galileo's story came to my mind when I read your post.]

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Xaposert
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quote:
Tres: yes, but this isn't a discussion about whether or not it is rational to believe, it's a discussion about what the word faith means.
But what it means will depend on the context in which it is being used. And this particular discussion began as an attempt to refute a quote of mine taken from a thread which was discussing whether it is rational to believe.

quote:
What we object to isn't the faith, it's the comparison. I can go outside right now, pick up a rock, drop it, and watch it fall. I can't kneel down, pray to god, and expect an answer.
Why can't you kneel down, pray to god, and expect an answer? Because you don't have the same faith in God's prayer-answering as you do in the physics of rocks? [Wink]

quote:
Can I do that?
No. If you think "faith in religious beliefs" is an incredibly narrow definition of "religious faith" or if you think that is not the definition most people (excluding dkw's recently given definition) have been using, please explain why.

[ March 29, 2006, 06:10 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]

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KarlEd
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quote:
And this particular discussion began as an attempt to refute a quote of mine taken from a thread which was discussing whether it is rational to believe.
Well, not quite. I wasn't trying to refute anything. I was using your quote as an example of what I still believe is a hopelessly cavalier use of the word "faith", without any qualifiers, yet with a specific meaning in that context that may or may not match a meaning the word has in other contexts in which you use it, and in such a way that it obfuscates any real meaning you are trying to convey.

And since by this usage I was pretty much unable to understand exactly what you were trying to convey, I would hardly take it upon myself to try to refute it. [Wink]

. . . and I bet you think this post is about you. [Big Grin]

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Xaposert
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Why am I supposed to think that post is about me?

The quote you gave was an attempt of mine to argue that faith ought to be used in just that fashion - that it is misleading to use one word to describe an attitude towards religious beliefs, but not apply the same word to describe the equivalent attitudes towards other beliefs. So you were refuting it, even if without realizing it.

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FlyingCow
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there just a big hullabaloo that relgious faith was not faith in religious beliefs? That the idea of faith is divorced from the idea of belief in the minds of many? That faith is the underpinnings of all day to day activities for the faithful, the lens through which they view the world - rather than the narrow "faith in religious beliefs"?

I could be totally wrong with this, but I'll defer to Dag or dkw, since I'm not one who considers faith to be a big part of my life.

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TheGrimace
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FC, Personally I would generally distance the two, if not completely separate them.

In my own personal definition of faith (at least as it applies to religion) I have faith that God Exists and is a belevolent deity. On a separate note, through some small part faith and a larger part logical/theological reasoning I believe the Catholic church's views coincide most closely with my views on God (i.e. my beliefs).

To a certain extent I might say that I have faith that there are physical laws to the universe and that they are in general at a steady state (i.e. unchanging).

Pretty much anything else beyond those couple very basic statements I don't think I would apply the word "faith" to. The rest would be some manner of belief, trust, knowledge, certainty, reasoning, etc.

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Xaposert
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quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there just a big hullabaloo that relgious faith was not faith in religious beliefs?
Yes, dkw argued that point, and I agree that there is a religious use of "faith" that is divorced from the idea of belief. But I think there is, in addition to that, another religious use of "faith" that refers to one's confidence in a certain belief about religion. As I was just suggesting to dkw, I think it is the latter "faith" that we have been using in the context of this thread, because we have been talking about how faith relates to beliefs.
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