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Faith, Reason And Other Ways Of Knowing, Is it reasonable to have Faith?
Broken Chouchou
post Aug 4 2010, 11:54 AM
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QUOTE (Razzy @ Aug 4 2010, 08:13 PM) *
I meant that people who are incapable of doing certain things would probably find it easier to have faith in others who are capable of doing those things for them/helping them.


And again; the parallel to religious faith, even if unintended, is so obvious it's slapping me in the face. While this (having a weak character) may not be, or IS not, the only reason for having faith in god, in some cases I do believe it might play a part in it.


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Little Washu
post Aug 4 2010, 12:35 PM
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QUOTE (Broken Chouchou @ Aug 4 2010, 11:54 AM) *
QUOTE (Razzy @ Aug 4 2010, 08:13 PM) *
I meant that people who are incapable of doing certain things would probably find it easier to have faith in others who are capable of doing those things for them/helping them.


And again; the parallel to religious faith, even if unintended, is so obvious it's slapping me in the face. While this (having a weak character) may not be, or IS not, the only reason for having faith in god, in some cases I do believe it might play a part in it.

Out of curiosity, what have you got against religion? Does it bother you that much what other people have faith in as opposed to yourself?

Also, I believe in God. I assume that makes me a weak person? Just because I'd like to think there's some reason for the existence of myself and everything?


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Broken Chouchou
post Aug 4 2010, 12:56 PM
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QUOTE (Little Washu @ Aug 4 2010, 09:35 PM) *
Out of curiosity, what have you got against religion? Does it bother you that much what other people have faith in as opposed to yourself?


What people believe in doesn't bother me at all, as long as it doesn't hurt others.

QUOTE (Little Washu @ Aug 4 2010, 09:35 PM) *
Also, I believe in God. I assume that makes me a weak person? Just because I'd like to think there's some reason for the existence of myself and everything?


Read what I said again ;/


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Chiyo
post Aug 4 2010, 01:16 PM
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Razzy - very true, I don't believe in "love" in such a sense. We choose a partner based on what we look for as a positive genetic code. But that's off the subject.

Be careful everyone not to blur the lines between faith and having a faith. Believing in something does not automatically mean religion, having faith in yourself for example. People's religion is a delicate subject so (for future reference) lets be clear that people are allowed to voice how they feel but that does not mean they project their beliefs on others.


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von Hohenheim
post Aug 5 2010, 01:19 AM
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No, faith is not reasonable. By definition, it is not. If we define knowledge as anything that has to be true, then faith has not so much to do with obtaining knowledge, so much as discerning truths from falsehoods. In which case, one can say that faith is not systematic enough to be able to be used to determine whether or not something is true.

A more reasonable approach is to start by admitting that you don't know anything. Then use logic and the scientific method to discern truth from falsehood; the latter works particularly well because of its rigor and success in science itself. And at the end of it, if you can't determine a truth from a falsehood, after all the logic and testing you've done, all you can do is admit you don't know anything about it. Pretending you know something to be true doesn't change the fact that you don't know anything about it; you'd just be lying to yourself if you relied on faith.

If we concern ourselves with subjective things that have no truth values, then it constitutes no real truth other than the existence of the statement itself.

Here's another way of looking at it from the popular biologist, PZ Myers:

We have bad brains. We cannot rely on our senses. We get drunk, we see things that aren't really there, we dream, and the whole works. We cannot rely on anything our senses tell us. Instead, we must use a rigorous method like the scientific method to "know" anything at all.

I differ from this perspective because even if we had good brains, it still doesn't mean we know anything--how good or bad our brains are only influences our ability to interpret knowledge.


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Seit mein Körper sich geändert hat, habe ich zahllose Todesfälle eingesehen. Ich habe beobachtet, wie Freunde alt werden und sterben... habe ganz verwandelnde Orte angesehen, die ich mich früher errinere. Ich schau an, wie Menschen, wieder und wieder, die gleiche Fehler wieder holen und niemals lernen sie von die Vergangenheit. Doch meine einzige Befreiung, ist es mich selbst zu errinern, daß ich noch ein Fleck mitten dem großerem Bild der Sache bin. Da gibt es noch ein menge schöne einzige Dinge, die ich mag schon erfahren... Daran dachte ich, es würde wunderbar sein... Liebe Trisha, als ich du traf und wir Kinder haben, habe ich erkannt, daß ich niemals mich ändern würde und auch wenn unsere Söhne mein Blut in ihren Venen tragen, werden sie sich erwaschen. Sie werden Alter bekommen. Davon hat diese Gedanke mich erschreckt. Danach dachte ich, im Ernst...bin ich Monster.
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Edward Cardinal ...
post Aug 17 2010, 02:49 AM
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It really bothers me that some individuals treat those who "have faith" in some tenet or system of beliefs as irrational, uneducated, immature blockheads who are incapable of thinking systematically and logically. A plain reading of the definition of faith reveals that although faith does not require proof, it is also not the polar opposite of reason. Faith may not rely on truth, but it also does not exclude it. Faith is, at least ideally, meant to be guided by reason and spawn organically from rational and logical thought processes.

What I do like from an overall read of this thread is that many commenters seem to be alluding to the idea that there is a single unified body of facts that make up truth. As ideological relativism is another of my pet peeves, I am glad to see that some at least appear to espouse the concept of objective truth. I would go so far as to argue that the validity of the existence of God in some form is really a question of reason and not faith, but introducing that postulation would likely derail this thread and result in quite a bit of tedious debate. This being the case, I will save that point for another place and time.

QUOTE (Popogeejo @ Aug 4 2010, 10:57 AM) *
No I don't. I know trains run fairly on time because people get paid to make sure they do so. I know the train can drive a train because that's why he got hired. No faith, just logical and reasonable assumptions.


It seems to me that by making any sort of assumption you are in fact using a form of faith. In a strict sense, any belief held without direct, systematic proof lies outside of the realm of reason. In the above example, you are actually putting faith in the overarching system by which train transportation operates. Your assumptions may be logical and guided by reason, but yet they fall short of being proven in any scientific sense. An educated guess remains a guess nonetheless, after all.

QUOTE (von Hohenheim @ Aug 5 2010, 04:19 AM) *
We have bad brains. We cannot rely on our senses. We get drunk, we see things that aren't really there, we dream, and the whole works. We cannot rely on anything our senses tell us. Instead, we must use a rigorous method like the scientific method to "know" anything at all.


I would argue that this statement isn't even internally consistent. One's senses are the only means by which one is able to gather concrete information about the world and its contents. It orders to employ the scientific method, one needs to use one's senses. I need to utilize the sight provided to me via my eye to read a graduated cylinder, after all.



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von Hohenheim
post Aug 17 2010, 08:02 AM
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QUOTE (Edward Cardinal Elric @ Aug 17 2010, 02:49 AM) *
It really bothers me that some individuals treat those who "have faith" in some tenet or system of beliefs as irrational, uneducated, immature blockheads who are incapable of thinking systematically and logically. A plain reading of the definition of faith reveals that although faith does not require proof, it is also not the polar opposite of reason. Faith may not rely on truth, but it also does not exclude it. Faith is, at least ideally, meant to be guided by reason and spawn organically from rational and logical thought processes.


People who rely on faith may or may not be blockheads; it's not up to me to decide if they are. However, relying on faith does not lead to an unclear form of truth. If this is restricted to the individual's personal beliefs and opinions that do not affect public issues, that's not a problem. But now if you were to suggest that faith is alright to affect reason, in the sense that we allow faith to affect our decisions where things like science, government, and the general public are concerned, then I think it is not a good idea. Faith is arbitrary. It cannot help us make informed decisions--it prevents us from becoming informed because it says we should be content with not knowing, even if it is possible to discover the truth.

Faith does not require proof because it is not falsifiable. However, the fact that it is also not falsifiable means that it falls outside of the realms of rationality and reason. We require falsifiability in reason because if something cannot be falsifiable, there is no point in testing or even considering it--you can't talk about if it could be wrong, or under which conditions is the statement false. It doesn't matter if you think faith is guided by reason or not; you can't get anything much out of having faith.

QUOTE
What I do like from an overall read of this thread is that many commenters seem to be alluding to the idea that there is a single unified body of facts that make up truth. As ideological relativism is another of my pet peeves, I am glad to see that some at least appear to espouse the concept of objective truth. I would go so far as to argue that the validity of the existence of God in some form is really a question of reason and not faith, but introducing that postulation would likely derail this thread and result in quite a bit of tedious debate. This being the case, I will save that point for another place and time.


I would disagree because no one has a clear definition of what god is. Such an inquiry becomes meaningless unless you have a definition of god that can be tested, is meaningful and unambiguous. But when you have interpretations of god that include a 900 foot statue of Jesus, metaphors of nature, and not even deciding which religion best describes god, it is not a useful inquiry to ask if god exists. And when you stick to one definition, religious people shift goalposts, and change the definition of god.

QUOTE
I would argue that this statement isn't even internally consistent. One's senses are the only means by which one is able to gather concrete information about the world and its contents. It orders to employ the scientific method, one needs to use one's senses. I need to utilize the sight provided to me via my eye to read a graduated cylinder, after all.


Ja, but the scientific method is there to circumvent the problems with our senses. By using logic, we do not need to rely on our senses. Our senses are only a means of perceiving information; however, it is not the only way in which we can make observations or measure them. For example, we create rulers, telescopes, scales and other such devices--we cannot by ourselves determine the length of something just by looking at it with our senses because it is not consistent among different people what length an object has. Instead, we create a universal standard (the metric system) that is consistent among different people, and we analyze the differences (perhaps my ruler is off by a tiny 0.1micrometers. Not a big deal, according to certain statistical analyses...). This standard does not rely on our senses. It doesn't matter how long or how short you think an object is; it has the same length because we measure it according to the same standards. Now it's not exactly important what this standard is, as using the metric system or using the imperial system isn't a big deal--you can convert from one system to the other using math. The whole point of having this system is that you can measure something with consistently sized units rather than arbitrary ones created by your senses.

And while you may need your senses to read the results of an experiment, yours aren't the only ones--there will be other people performing a similar experiment, and who may either see the same result, or something slightly different. And here is where the problem of our senses gets resolved--when you have lots of people converging on the same result, it is most likely true. The probability that people arbitrarily agreed on the same result is not a coincidence--most people who have conducted the same experiment are doing so independently of each other, and you therefore cannot expect their sense to be the same (ie, they may all be unreliable). However, the fact that their results converge on a singular value indicates that there is some truth. Again, there are mathematical and statistical analyses for determining the validity of these results. It is precisely because we cannot rely on our senses that we do not know 100% whether or not these results will yield a truth, but science does not concern itself with obtaining absolute truth, so much as refining and improving what we know.

It is for this reason that I like mathematics. It works, regardless of how bad your senses are. You can doubt something all you like in mathematics. But by using a few logical principles, things that are true (or false) no matter how unreliable your senses are, you can prove things in math, and use them over and over again. Mathematics is not based on our senses; it is based off of abstract ideas.


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Seit mein Körper sich geändert hat, habe ich zahllose Todesfälle eingesehen. Ich habe beobachtet, wie Freunde alt werden und sterben... habe ganz verwandelnde Orte angesehen, die ich mich früher errinere. Ich schau an, wie Menschen, wieder und wieder, die gleiche Fehler wieder holen und niemals lernen sie von die Vergangenheit. Doch meine einzige Befreiung, ist es mich selbst zu errinern, daß ich noch ein Fleck mitten dem großerem Bild der Sache bin. Da gibt es noch ein menge schöne einzige Dinge, die ich mag schon erfahren... Daran dachte ich, es würde wunderbar sein... Liebe Trisha, als ich du traf und wir Kinder haben, habe ich erkannt, daß ich niemals mich ändern würde und auch wenn unsere Söhne mein Blut in ihren Venen tragen, werden sie sich erwaschen. Sie werden Alter bekommen. Davon hat diese Gedanke mich erschreckt. Danach dachte ich, im Ernst...bin ich Monster.
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