[FoRK] "faith" vs. critical rationalism Re: Philosophy, for whoever needs it

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar drernie at radicalcentrism.org
Tue Jun 24 14:38:46 PDT 2008

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the elaboration, it is quite helpful. But...

On Jun 24, 2008, at 8:01 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> My rejection of "divinity" as a subject of rational inquiry is not a  
> statement of belief or disbelief, of certainty or probability.  It  
> is a statement about the unsuitability of that topic for rational  
> inquiry, consideration, or discussion --- by definition of  
> rationality, under critical rationalism.  I am not *willing* to  
> believe because I do not recognize the validity of any  
> epistemological method that would allow me to acquire and possess  
> such belief.  Religion insists on faith;  faith sets itself outside  
> the realm of the rational by definition.

That's where you're losing me.  Yes, there *are* certain  
epistemologies where "faith" is contrasted with "rational inquiry."


But, even within fideism, some see faith and reason as complementary,  
rather than antagonistic.

I wonder what definition of "faith" you are using that makes it  
*necessarily* antagonistic.  For example, I can have "faith"  (or  
"believe") that:

a) human beings evolved from unicellular organisms via a process  
involving natural selection

b) there exists a singular unifything Theory of Everything that can  
characterize all observable physical phenomena

c) the United States exists in its present form largely due to the  
courage, intelligence and character of a hisorical person named George  

d) societies built around respect for the individual maximize total  
happiness better than any of the alternatives

Those propositions -- which guide the actions of many scientists and  
politicians -- could certainly be characterized as acts of "faith",  
but aren't (necessarily) "religious" or "outside the realm of rational  
inquiry."  Are they?

If not, then you can perhaps guess my follow-up question; but I'll  
save that for another post...

-- Ernie P.

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