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

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Jun 24 17:37:40 PDT 2008

I agree.  But let me dash out a little ramble anyway.
At a certain level, in some cases, religion has been filler or 
entertainment.  Perhaps harmless, compared to alternatives developed 
that particular times and places.

Perhaps what we need is elaborate participatory creative mutual 
entertainment that touches on all of the social, mystical, supportive, 
educational, and therapy needs that religion sometimes covers.  Only we 
know it's all play and entertainment, like fashion and hair styles.  Of 
course our modern art forms provide a large part of this.  Sports.  
Children (and adults) learn culture more from TV shows and movies than 
the slice in their daily life.  Youtube and social sites help a bit.  
However something more structured, but still constantly evolving that we 
are serious about like an Anime "player" who creates 12ft. retractable 
angel wings is serious.  (Darn, don't have the picture posted.)  Maybe 
something like Capital Steps mixed in for humor.


Jeff Bone wrote:
>> On Jun 24, 2008, at 4:38 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:
>>> fideism
> You've tossed that link out before;  I'm not sure what you think it 
> adds to the discussion.
> It appears to me that all theistic belief must require and in fact 
> involves what might be termed a "fideistic gestalt" at some point.  I 
> conclude this in part from the observation that such discussions are 
> still controversial and that we have not all, or even most, despite 
> countless hours wasted in such debate over the millennia, converged on 
> certain knowledge of a single set of facts about such things.  The 
> failure of humanity to attain this common understanding demonstrates 
> (though does not prove) the futility of attempting to apply "reason" 
> to the topic.  (Note that this doesn't imply that I believe acceptable 
> epistemology is somehow democratic.)
> Rational epistemology results in the convergence of agreement about 
> increasingly significant facts of existence over those types of 
> timescales, with successive refinement.  Religion results in the 
> divergence of agreement about increasingly insignificant facts of 
> existence over similar timescales, and progresses through leaps of 
> imagination.  This is specifically because of the reliance on faith in 
> religion;  by admitting any degree of faith-gestalt into the epistemic 
> process, you permit anyone to "fork the code base" of 
> objective-reality-description with equal validity and you make 
> impossible any algorithm for pruning the tree.  There is no possible 
> decision process for choosing between alternate and exclusive systems 
> of belief, all of which insist with equal "certainty" and fervor that 
> they are the correct description of reality and every other system is 
> incorrect.
> Those that would claim that there are other, rational means of 
> attaining such knowledge apparently either know that the above ugly 
> "secret" is true and are embarrassed by and seek to disguise this, or 
> do not know it because they have failed to subject their own beliefs 
> and their meta-belief system to sufficiently rigorous introspection.
> Do you really think that I, having already dispensed with everybody 
> from Aristotle and his "unmoved mover" through the founding-father 
> deists all the way to Gould and his non-overlapping magisteria in this 
> great philosophical wank, am somehow going to be persuaded by a mere 
> unsupported assertion that there are other epistemic means of 
> attaining this knowledge --- and a pointer to a Wikipedia page?  I'm 
> well aware of the history of religious, particularly Christian, 
> apologetics.  You can't study history or philosophy or science without 
> having to whack your way through mile after intellectual mile of such 
> low-value undergrowth.  Reason about theology may be (is) impossible 
> but unfortunately thought, even sophisticated thought with all the 
> superficial optics but none of the substance of reason, is not.  To 
> consider the great waste of all that mental horsepower over the 
> centuries just makes me want to cry.
> But let me make what might be to some a surprising claim.  Despite how 
> detestable they might otherwise be and how pathetically flawed and 
> unsuccessful their attempts may be and how clearly disagreeable their 
> motives, at least the ID guys are making an attempt, however weak and 
> dishonest, to put the discussion on a more acceptable epistemological 
> basis.  ID is the alchemy of applied theology;  it doesn't even rise 
> to the level of pseudoscience yet.  Perhaps within the next millennium 
> we'll see it evolve into a science (and perhaps such a thing will be 
> needed to explain the behavior of posthumans. ;-)
> jb
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