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Featured OMG! I've had an idea! Grab Your Smelling Salts, and read my idea about Faiths One, Two, and Three!

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Aug 9, 2017.

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  1. ...to be life changing. I shall never again doubt the man's brilliance! Really! Never again!

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  2. ...to be the culmanation of my intellectual career.

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  3. ...to be as personally rewarding as the time I got drunk and upchucked on my prom date.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. ...an uphill, hard-fought battle with vertigo and nausea.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. ...an illuminating journey into the otherwise dark jungle of his mind.

    6 vote(s)
    42.9%
  6. ...a spot-on critique of Johann Georg Hamman's ideas about faith. Or so Sunstone tells me it is.

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  7. ...has driven me to drink. Or worse. Probably worse.

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  8. ...is something I'll never forgive him for. Never!

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  9. ...explained to me why he's been twice divorced.

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  10. ...is something I will now make every effort to forget ever happened to me.

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Now and then, I hear someone argue that "everything people believe is ultimately based on faith", and that, consequently, there is no truly fundamental difference between, say, the beliefs of an evolutionary scientist about the diversity of species, and the beliefs of a young-earth creationist about the diversity of species.

    For instance, just as a creationist has faith that his or her deity created within six days the diversity we see in life forms today, an evolutionary scientist has faith that that diversity is the product of evolution over hundreds of millions of years. Why are their beliefs fundamentally equivalent? Because both rest on faith, it is argued. The creationist's beliefs rest on faith in the existence of a creator deity, etc, and the evolutionary scientist's beliefs rest on faith in the constancy of natural laws, etc. Since neither faith can be proven with absolute certainty, the two sets of beliefs are epistemologically the same.

    There are variations on that argument. Subtle twists and turns, but that's about the gist of it, in my opinion. I'd love to hear any corrections of my summary of the argument.

    Now then, I would like to propose that the notion, "everything people believe is ultimately based on faith", which appears to be the core claim here, is indefensible when furthered by the claim, "Therefore there is no truly fundamental difference between one belief and another." It is indefensible because it rests on a fallacy of logic.

    The fallacy in question is one of equivocation. In brief, the argument equivocates between up to three different meanings of the word "faith", depending on what version it comes in. Which is the same as saying it talks about up to three different things, while calling them all the same thing.

    Here are the three different meanings of "faith":

    Faith One: A belief in something despite compelling evidence to the contrary of that belief. If I know my spouse has cheated on me with six other people, and yet I still have faith he or she will not cheat on me again, then all else being equal, my faith can be defined as a belief in something despite compelling evidence to the contrary. This is sometimes called a species of "fideism".

    Faith Two. A belief in something in the absence of any compelling evidence pro or con to that belief. If I have faith that an undetectable leprechaun is farting undetectable rainbows just beneath my windowsill, my faith can be defined as a belief in something in the absence of any compelling evidence pro or con. Of course, one can argue that the compelling evidence here is a complete lack of evidence. i.e. "if the leprechaun existed, there would be some compelling evidence of its existence". And while that may or may not be a strong argument to most people, it is also an irrelevant point in this context, since it does nothing to change the fact that it might not be a compelling argument to some other people. It seems to me at least some theists use faith in this sense of the word.

    Faith Three. A belief in something in the presence of compelling evidence for that belief. If I believe, based on solid experience, that my car will start on this cold winter morning, then my faith can be defined as a belief in something in the presence of compelling evidence for that belief. That is, I cannot be absolutely certain that my car will start, so it can be said of me that my expectation it will start amounts to a kind of faith it will. But my faith here is distinct from faith one, because I have no compelling evidence to contradict it, and it is distinct from faith two, because I have compelling evidence to support it. This would seem to me to be the kind of "faith" that one might ascribe to, say, and evolutionary scientist.

    Now let us apply what has just been said to the notion that "everything people believe is ultimately based on faith, and consequently, there is no fundamental (i.e. epistemic) difference between one belief and another".

    If that were true, there would be no fundamental difference between faiths one, two, and three. And yet we have seen that there are fundamental differences between the three faiths in terms of how each treats empirical evidence. Put differently, a belief arrived at via faith one is based on a different epistemology from a belief arrived at via faith two or faith three. To argue otherwise is to argue that belief contrary to evidence, belief in the absence of evidence, and believe in congruence with evidence are all one and the same thing. But tut tut! I say, tut tut! That's just not so!

    CONFESSION TIME: I whipped all this out on the spur of a moment in order to ward off an inner explosion of boredom, and I haven't had the time nor the inclination yet to give it all a good, searching scrutiny. Instead, I thought it would be much more fun for everyone if I just posted it and then let y'all critique it in the hopes that at least some of your critiques might be downright insightful and thrilling. So please have at it! Enjoy! I look forward to your comments, insights, poignant misunderstandings, clever criticisms, and deeply meaningful, angst-ridden rants -- except yours, @Debater Slayer . I don't look forward to yours. :D
     
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  2. Flame

    Flame Active Member

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    A look into Sunstone's mind when he's bored. :eek:

    Note to self: Never be around Sun when he's bored.
     
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  3. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I voted for the last option...it's five minutes of my life I will never get back again...

    (even though you were spot-on with it, in the main...or was it in the mane? I can never remember which...)
     
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  4. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Maybe it was in Maine???
     
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  5. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    "everything people believe is ultimately based on faith"

    I haven't seen or heard that lately.
     
  6. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    4th kind of faith: You believe that if you work hard you can learn Calculus, so you work hard and learn Calculus.

    5th kind of faith: You know there's no way in hell that you can end poverty, but you keep trying anyway.

    6th kind of faith: You trust a stranger when you really don't have to, just on principle.

    7th kind of faith: Someone hits you in the head with a bat, and now you trust everyone.

    8th kind of faith: You stick your head into the mouth of a trained lion. It has faith that you are inedible.

    9th kind of faith: You spray bug spray in your home believing that it will kill bed bugs, even though you've been told that it won't and even though the diatomaceous dirt you tried didn't work. Then they die. Its a miracle.

    10th kind of faith: So you're a Satanist?

    11th kind of faith: "I believe in nothing. No, really. I believe in nothing."

    12th kind of faith: and a partridge in a pear tree
     
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  7. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    Faith is but a mystery. :innocent:
     
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  8. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    The idea has a long history. It was essentially cooked up by Johann Georg Hamann in the 1700s, and had an influence on such notable philosophers and theologians as Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Mendelssohn, as well as some more recent thinkers. I hear it all the time, from various people, but usually a wee bit more crudely put that I've done so in the OP.
     
  9. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    I see where he's coming from, I just don't agree with him. I mean, I easily accept as fact that I have 2 arms and 2 legs, no faith is required to believe it.
     
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  10. Rival

    Rival Noachide Fundamentalist Pro-Semite
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    Brain in a vat thing.
     
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  11. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    you have gone insane

    not to worry......all of your fellowman is also bonkers
     
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  12. The Holy Bottom Burp

    The Holy Bottom Burp Active Member
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    Words are such pernicious things at times! I think there is a lot of truth in what you wrote, we all believe different things for different reasons, and but we would all claim there is evidence for what we believe (there are even people who claim to have seen leprechauns, though I've never heard of one farting rainbows!). The sticking point is what we regard as "good" or "compelling" evidence.

    I freely admit to be fairly dismissive about certain "genres" of evidence; holy books are one and unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence is another. The scientific method seems to me the most reliable way of discovering evidence without the cultural filters and biases we are all subject to; it has served our species well over time. My life experience, my education, my intellect push me that way, I don't have much choice. I feel I'd have to take my intellect behind the barn and shoot it dead to go back to religious/superstitious belief. However, I don't take the word of science to be true regardless, a lot of it is pretty much our best guess based on what evidence there is. I think there is value in saying "I don't know" and being content with that; one day we might know.
     
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  13. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    How very odd (or perhaps you're trying to be droll?) You provide three separate "reasons for belief" (which are really epistemologies) and then propose that there is no fundamental difference between them -- right after having been at pains to describe the epistemic differences between them? What were you thinking?
     
  14. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I don't think you understood what I said, but I do you believe you have faith you understood. :D
     
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  15. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    As it happened, that was the fundamental mistake both of my ex-wives made.
     
  16. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Ouch! :D
     
  17. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    That's an interesting point, albeit I think Rival is right to point out the brain in the vat notion.
     
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  18. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    After consideration, I believe I see your point, but I'm not sure how relevant it is in this particular case since I believe the over-riding question isn't whether the evidence is objectively compelling, but rather whether the person of faith finds it compelling.
     
  19. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    It took me a while, but I voted. It was an act of faith.
     
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  20. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    While you're on such a introspective roll, @Sunstone, what is the difference between faith and belief, in your opinion?
     
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