Confusing faith, reason, and more


I’ve been having an interesting exchange with a woman online who I’ll simply refer to as CC. CC seems to have some confusions over faith, reason, and burden of proof. Below is a recent reply of mine to her.

This is the last time I will type the SAME DAMN THING. If you can’t get it now, there is no hope for you.

There is no concrete, objective evidence to support the existence of fairies, Big Foot, or Nessie (or any number of fabulous mythical beasts and other phenomena of the supernatural variety). What we do have tend to be exposed as frauds and hoaxes at worst and misunderstanding at best. Thus, I do not believe they exist. However, because I can’t prove a negative, I can’t “prove” they don’t exist. All I can say is that the evidence I have encountered and the odds as I understand them suggest that they aren’t real – so in essence, I have faith that my judgement in these matters is correct. I am willing to concede a possibiilty of being wrong on those matters (because it *is* possible – I can’t possibly know everything and be an expert in all things). But the proof in favor of such things has to be pretty damned strong for me to change my mind on it

That’s actually two separate things, your judgement and your opinion of your ability to make judgments. How you arrived at your judgment was by reason. If you feel your trust in your ability to make judgments is solely based on faith, so be it, but I’d bet that instead that trust comes from the evidence of your past judgments being sound more times than not.

I think you’re constructing a false dichotomy between faith and absolute knowledge. If you confuse the two, then yes, everything would then be faith, would it not? I mean, how much do we have absolute knowledge of? Are we really here or merely brains in a vat? But faith is more than a conclusion reached in lieu of absolute knowledge, it’s a conclusion reached not just without sufficient knowledge, but often in spite of actual knowledge. If I wake up every morning as a human, is it faith to assume that tomorrow I’ll awake as a human instead of a cockroach because I don’t have absolute knowledge I’ll awake as a human? Faith would be believing I’d have a Kafka moment tomorrow.

I can’t prove that alien life forms are not visiting the Earth and delivering anal probes upon unsuspecting hillbillies. I am about as certain as I can possibly be that they are not. However, there is a chance that I am wrong on this – my reason tells me that it’s a possibility, therefore, my doubt is somewhat based upon faith that I have reached a correct conclusion based upon the available evidence.

Again no, your doubt is not based on faith, but rather reason, for reason tells you that although accepting the alien anal probe claims is unreasonable, that’s not the same thing as having actual knowledge. It’s reason which forces you to accept the tentativeness of your conclusion (tentative as in your conclusion could change should you become aware of new information), whereas faith wouldn’t care about that, and a faith based conclusion is independent and immune from contrary evidence.

I also see you as perhaps mistaken about burden of proof. If someone makes a claim, it’s not the listener’s burden to prove it false. A claimant must give warrant for their claim to be accepted. If the claimant fails, then the claim is deemed unwarranted and dismissed. Claims aren’t accepted until proven false. Quite the opposite is true. They’re dismissed until it’s warranted to accept them, and reason requires that warrant to be something demonstrable.

For a rational atheist, god claims are examined rationally and deemed unwarranted to accept and summarily dismissed. From that dismissal, one can reasonably conclude then that there are no gods, like you reasonably concluded that there are no fairies, Big Foot, Nessie, or alien anal probers of hillbillies, but it’s understood that such conclusions are tentative in lieu of a better claim and/or new information.

So I truly hope that I’ve seen the last of you typing the SAME DAMN THING. Sadly, reason tells me it’s not, but I’ll use faith that it is. ;)

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13 Responses to “Confusing faith, reason, and more”

  1. If there is a god, then he/she/it must assuredly more approve of the homage of reason than of blind faith, a proper balance of rational self and social interests as opposed to pure enslaved egolessness or pure brute selfishness, of collaborative teamwork via mutually agreed upon benefit as opposed to enforced cooperation and assimilation of thought or goals, and of freedom of personal choice in the pursuits of life and personal acceptance of the natural or causal consequences as opposed to strict adherence to the commands of others and a lack of personal responsibility for actions….if such a God exists, then he must assuredly more approve of the trustworthy CEO that builds an honest fortune through his/her own work and the employment of smart workers than of the dishonest all-powerful politician whom appeals to and exploits people’s fears, the scientist and inventor as opposed to the theologian, and the honest worker or useful robot as opposed to the free-loader.

    Perhaps, someday, evolution will get rid of all of the laggards and deadwood in the world. But then again, there are far more losers in the world than there are winners, but why not have the winners reach out to the losers as opposed to the cheaters? Do the cheaters of the world really need to “level the playing field” when in fact America is already as level as it can get? Fine then, do so, the hopefully the winners will still find a way to win, but I think the fundamental problem is that religion creates losers and the government prevents winners.

  2. Making more friends, Chief?

    ;-)

    “Perhaps, someday, evolution will get rid of all of the laggards and deadwood in the world.”Christ will do that at His second advent.

  3. Okay, so you have fantasies about this Zombie Christ character coming to Earth and killing all the impovershed losers Gideon? Don’t you think that is kind of harsher than causality doing it naturally though?

    Also, in your fantasy-fetish, is this Christ character going to be flying here on some kind of spaceship or asteroid or death star? According to your religion, where does this Christ character live in the mean time Gideon?

  4. You’re the one with all of the fantasies, Quiff, as your predilection for sexuality seems to dictate.

    I won’t get any satisfaction seeing you die, either.

  5. Great, but I can see you like fantasizing about surreal events such as “His second advent”, whatever that is supposed to mean. I don’t know, perhaps you can fill me in on the details here.

  6. I also see you as perhaps mistaken about burden of proof. If someone makes a claim, it’s not the listener’s burden to prove it false. A claimant must give warrant for their claim to be accepted.Perhaps this is yet another reason why someone I’m familiar with never states their own beliefs. They would then be in the position of either giving warrant or being intellectually dishonest. Like Gideon is.

    Sorry Gideon. It’s just so obvious! You make endless *claims* about Christ, Yahweh, the bible, etc. but you seem to think everyone should just believe these things. Believe it or not, I actually feel intellectually obligated to accept *anything* you claim – as long as there is warranted evidence. That’s why I continually ask you to prove your assertions.

    If you prove them, I accept. So far, you have been as incapable of providing proof as any other theist. Just as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Scientologists are all laughable in your eyes, so your beliefs are laughable in mine – and for the exact same reasons.

    You and I probably both judge *all other* “unusual” beliefs under the same criterion. Does it not occur to you to apply those criterion to your own extraordinary claims?

  7. By the way, Philly, please don’t ever publish an image like that again. I sat for 10 seconds waiting for the page to load and the image to clear up! LOL!

  8. I’ll have to remember that, Evo. Behold the power of motion blur!

  9. Dear dumbassis:

    since you guys are athiests, and I know God, I think I can speak about this better than you. Since I beilive in The Lord, and you don’t, I know a LOT more about hin than you do.., silly.

    I read you blog just to LOL and see how stupid the comments here ar.

    I like your art/ ‘

    God, bless

  10. I am on pins and needles for Philly’s response to the previous comment.

  11. I’m liking this performance art of yours, too.

    So when did you meet “hin”, and what did Benny say? Just how much more about him do you know? (wink wink, nudge nudge)

  12. See your latest post on your blog for my response to your goofy assertion on proof, John.

  13. This movement was too much confusing in the faithful reason. They should know about the ethics of the religious and good values for everyone. They should know about the respect of faith as well.

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