Faith (again?) (was Re: The inevitability of death, or the death of inevitability?)

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Sat Dec 29 2001 - 14:56:05 MST

On Saturday, December 29, 2001, at 03:49 PM, Josiah Draper wrote:

> Faith... is not the idea that "some things should not be rationally
> questioned", but if you have faith in something I would say it is more
> like knowing something is true or will happen although you don't have
> all the proof it wil. For example : the sun will rise next morning. You
> know it will happen, but you can't prove it or can you?

I can hardly believe this discussion is being had. It's quite simple:
there are two kinds of faith. On one hand, there is 'faith', which
means you think that something will happen based on what you know yet
there is no conclusive proof that it will happen. Then there is
'Faith', a belief that something is true, regardless of the facts (or
through the twisting of the facts). This latter kind is the bad kind.

Examples are simple enough. I have faith that the Singularity is coming
based on my current knowledge. If it doesn't happen, though, it doesn't
mean I was wrong, just that I mis interpreted the facts. If I say I
have Faith that the sun was spit out by a dragon, I have ignored or
twisted the facts to get the result I want (i.e. rationalization has
taken place).

Of course, what is 'faith' and 'Faith' changes with time. At one time,
I would consider it safe to have said that 'the Universe was created by
God' on a matter of faith, because the limited evidence available could
have pointed in that direction. Of course, today I consider this a
matter of 'Faith', although I won't deny that it is entirely possible
that something could be going on that there is no evidence of. There
could be some kind of supernatural stuff in the universe, but until it
provides some proof of existing, then it effectively doesn't and there's
no reason to go on thinking that it does exist since any such thinking
will be total guesses in the dark.

Of course, not everyone likes my use of capitalization, but those are
the breaks. If you have a better idea of how to distinguish these two
subtly but importantly different ideas that use the same word, please
let me know.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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