A-believerism or A-deism?
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26-02-2013, 04:44 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
Well! That was odd.

Just as it was getting interesting.

On the verge of hearing about a new perspective and then *poof* gone.

What a pity.

Nevermind Drinking Beverage

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26-02-2013, 05:09 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(26-02-2013 03:55 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(25-02-2013 07:41 PM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  ...
"have a little faith"
...

OK, point taken. As a vague expression, in polite conversation... fair enough.

Except I would be more likely to say "trust yourself".

Particularly so on this forum where there is general consensus that faith = belief without evidence but also when teaching standards and best practices (the de facto standards) because in that context "a leap of faith" implies a deficient position.
For example, today I just come back from a day talking about designing metrics over the lifecycle of services and said (I quote myself) "If you have not determined, designed, implemented and are operating the appropriate metrics and measurement tools your future decisions might as well just be a leap of faith". And the students were well aware it was meant in a derogatory sense and no one objected. They nodded.

(25-02-2013 07:41 PM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  ...
We have faith in friends and loved ones in exactly the same way that we have faith in gods,
...

OK, sure, by your definition.
But I think the point has been made by now that the 'faith' we have in people who we can see, touch and smell is based on a track record of evidence i.e. their previous behaviour and also the behaviour of other people we know that creates a 'baseline'; whereas there is no such track record for gods - which we can be fairly certain are the inventions (and therefore the extensions of) comparatively ignorant peoples.

So I would argue that the cognitive processes are not the same.

(25-02-2013 07:41 PM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  ...
I think an argument could be made that everything we do in a relationship to an organization (as an entity) is cognitively similar (if not exactly the same) as the way that believers conduct their "relationships" with gods.
...

And here is where I must excuse myself from the conversation. I am not a believer so I have no first hand knowledge or experience of how or why believers conduct their "relationships" with gods.

I never had an imaginary friend and I never had a comfort blanket. I cannot get into that mindset.

And I count myself fortunate for that.

Thumbsup

(25-02-2013 07:41 PM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  ...
The Brits (was just there) tease American's for not adopting metric, and yet they still measure in miles. Go figure
...

As a Brit (who incidentally thinks in km), I can assure you that any excuse to tease the Yanks will be grabbed, tied up and mounted.

In fact, we don't even need an excuse.

Heart
Well, looks like I signed off too soon. I appreciated your posts, DLJ. You actually listen and try to understand.

So, before going, to respond to your considerate and considered comments...

Like I said, I don't care what label is used. Until now no one has actually talked about the issue I raised. Everyone else threw up terminological or definitional hurdles and ignored the fact that I'm talking about something real that we all engage in every day, unless someone has discovered a way to live life in utter absence of reference to, interest in, or dependence on intangibles, which I very much doubt. OK, I'll be totally honest. I don't believe it for a minute. Your last post just barely touched on the real issue, but at least that's something.

What you said about faith = belief without evidence is precisely what I meant by not listening. Unilaterally concluding that everyone who claims to have faith means "belief without evidence," although I realize how polemically convenient that would be for you, is naive and presumptuous. No one really cares if you set up a straw man of "all faith is belief without evidence." It's just not so. Insisting that it is so without due diligence--because if you actually talked to sincere believers, you'd find they have lots of evidence for gods, the same kind of evidence you mentioned before about other intangibles--is simply a refusal to listen.

I also think that belief without evidence is irrational and undesirable. I also know that you and I and everyone on this board can and most likely have encountered situations in which we felt helpless and reached out for help to something beyond ourselves. I don't really care what that something was. Claiming (or pretending) that one is beyond that sort of thing only broadcasts disingenuousness or marked shallowness of life experience or dissociation from pain that we haven't processed and healed from yet.

I even clearly spelled out over the course of my posts that what I call "faith" is most certainly belief on the basis of both evidence and heavy skeptical scrutiny. That seems to go in one ear and out the other. I don't fit in the neat, convenient "faith is baseless belief" mold. Sorry! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There is definitely a track record for gods, although everyone in this thread has shown a decided aversion to considering it, let alone discussing it. Rather than consider it, you define it out of the realm of possibility, so then--guess what?--there is no longer a reason to consider it! Funny how that works. I bit like the circularity that irrational believers use to get around the need for a basis for "faith" (your version.) You guys are so afraid of the bogey-men of religion that you've branded all faith counterfeit, even your own, and have become allergic to the term.

You never had an imaginary friend or a comfort blanket? No prob, neither did I. A lot of atheists think that makes them more realistic, even more intelligent than the ignorant who invented gods no more real than imaginary friends. Actually, it also makes you less imaginative and less comforted. Imagination is an aspect of intelligence, too, although in our society it's been shoved into corners where we keep the eccentric, artistic, and abnormal safely marginalized and socially sequestered. I've met many atheists who take stoic pride in their ability to handle life "without the crutch" of faith. The ironic thing was that they had no conception--they could not conceive of it even when I described it to them--that faith might have nothing to do with weakness or crutches. That's definitely a deficiency of imagination.

Faith (as a reminder, NOT the baseless belief kind--the other kind) is how things get done. Everything. Just like you described planning. And it actually isn't trust or assurance or confidence. Although I was willing to stretch it for the sake of discussion, there is a crucial difference. Those are all cognitive states that don't necessarily require action. Faith is precisely what enables us to act. It is having enough trust, assurance, and confidence that we commit ourselves to action. Every time we act, we act in faith, because we have no guarantee how it will go, ever. Past evidence (and all evidence is past) does not necessarily indicate future performance, ever. Hume laid to rest that baseless belief--that evidence is sufficient to predict future behavior--with the problem of induction over 200 years ago, and most atheists still haven't caught up to him.

Not knowing, we still decide to act. No amount of information, evidence, or reason can eliminate the chance that our action will fail, and yet we act anyway. That's faith. That's all I'm talking about. I don't care if that use of the term doesn't fit neat, convenient atheistic "definitions." Call it blurf if you like. It's what we all do, deny it or not, deal with it or not, regardless what we call it.

LOL, and yeah, I agree. You don't need an excuse to tease Yanks. Our behavior just freakin' begs for it. Haven't been particularly proud of my resident country for quite some time, btw. But wait! Oh yeah... that's probably because I'm Canadian, haha. ;-)
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26-02-2013, 05:18 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(26-02-2013 04:44 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Well! That was odd.

Just as it was getting interesting.

On the verge of hearing about a new perspective and then *poof* gone.

What a pity.

Nevermind Drinking Beverage
Hey man, I'll stick around if you really want to talk. I was just getting tired of writing paragraphs' worth and getting responses like, "Could you please define 'we' and elaborate on what you meant by 'something' in your last post?" Sheesh. I feel like saying, "Come out, come out, wherever you are. I don't bite, and even if I snap a bit, it's just virtual. What are you afraid of?"

I'm game if you are. But please, please try to factor in what I've been writing. The faith I'm talking about is not baseless, not without evidence, and not irrational, and what's more we all engage in it. Can we talk about that and leave off tip-toeing around definitional qualms? Focusing on more familiar and less controversial intangibles than gods might be helpful. Otherwise, there isn't much to discuss, because we're already agreed on the irrational crap.
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26-02-2013, 05:20 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
Way past my bedtime. Just too much fun I guess. I'll check back in tomorrow. Cheers!
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26-02-2013, 08:35 AM (This post was last modified: 26-02-2013 08:40 AM by ClydeLee.)
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(26-02-2013 05:09 AM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  what I call "faith" is most certainly belief on the basis of both evidence and heavy skeptical scrutiny.

Faith (as a reminder, NOT the baseless belief kind--the other kind) is how things get done... Faith is precisely what enables us to act. It is having enough trust, assurance, and confidence that we commit ourselves to action. Every time we act, we act in faith, because we have no guarantee how it will go, ever.

Not knowing, we still decide to act. No amount of information, evidence, or reason can eliminate the chance that our action will fail, and yet we act anyway.

That's faith. That's all I'm talking about.
This issue with your idea of "faith" isn't, NOT listening.. it's reading exactly what you are saying and seeing how you have been talking in circles or about different ideas to form the same term.

You complained about the issue of the topic not being about your point but being about the details of the words... then went on a whole long post trying to explain the term. You could easily not use the term and have that issue settled much better; because, this post does less to explain what you mean to me.

When I read that first line I left quoted... I thought, huh, so he is saying what he means by faith is reasoning and critical thinking. I could accept that but think it's an improper use of faith.

Then I kept reading and saw you suddenly start describing faith in what I would call, our "intuition" or "hunches." Then explained how we live our lives this way and in our daily actions, do things despite having no reason, evidence, or critical skeptical thought applied to the action. I think that fits exactly with what people consider faith, even many atheists. The idea of acting or beliving things on flinches...

The issue with "taking it on faith" is seeing the commonplace person using their hunches that they apply to everyday life, to complex fields like Science or philosophy that often require one to use critical thinking and establish evidence for proper claims. Many staunch atheists you may of met time do this too, but not as much on here because this community is more in the skeptical/rational atheist mold that makes up the "new-atheist" movement.

Unless you can explain what you mean by faith being on the basis of evidence and skepticism while at the same time being what we use routinely without evidence or reason, I'm going to accept it as the later which doesn't diverge from the idea that faith is, "basically," belief without evidence.

Also, you stated you felt this was getting away from the point started... I'm not sure what your point still was. Or maybe I don't figure it out as well because it is what I agree with. Atheists do seem more opposed to dogma than simply belief... because a lot of them are that way. It's the dogma and distrust of scientific findings that are the most disliked aspects. If those ideas weren't the overwhelming prevailing ideas controlling voters and the public, the atheist groups wouldn't exist as they do currently.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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26-02-2013, 08:51 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(26-02-2013 03:49 AM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  You can't... Neither do you... nor do you... nor have you... And you really have no reason to...

That's a whole lotta denial my friend.
What you consider denial is actually a challenge to your unwarranted assumptions. Substantiating your generalizations with empirical data would help your cause far more than simply projecting your own thoughts and actions onto complete strangers.

(26-02-2013 03:49 AM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  No, actually, I don't have to clear up anything at all. My statements were clear enough. Sorry you don't seem able or willing to follow them.
Please read my posts properly before making such ignorant remarks. I wouldn't be asking for clarification if you had, as you claim, made your statements clearly. It is you who failed to specify whom you are talking about when using the term "we" and it is you who failed to support the underlying presupposition of your question, that whoever "we" is supposed to be universally perceives something that requires an explanation. I can hardly be blamed for your lack of communication and argumentation skills.

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26-02-2013, 08:55 PM (This post was last modified: 26-02-2013 09:52 PM by millardjmelnyk.)
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(26-02-2013 08:35 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(26-02-2013 05:09 AM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  what I call "faith" is most certainly belief on the basis of both evidence and heavy skeptical scrutiny.

Faith (as a reminder, NOT the baseless belief kind--the other kind) is how things get done... Faith is precisely what enables us to act. It is having enough trust, assurance, and confidence that we commit ourselves to action. Every time we act, we act in faith, because we have no guarantee how it will go, ever.

Not knowing, we still decide to act. No amount of information, evidence, or reason can eliminate the chance that our action will fail, and yet we act anyway.

That's faith. That's all I'm talking about.
This issue with your idea of "faith" isn't, NOT listening.. it's reading exactly what you are saying and seeing how you have been talking in circles or about different ideas to form the same term.

You complained about the issue of the topic not being about your point but being about the details of the words... then went on a whole long post trying to explain the term. You could easily not use the term and have that issue settled much better; because, this post does less to explain what you mean to me.

When I read that first line I left quoted... I thought, huh, so he is saying what he means by faith is reasoning and critical thinking. I could accept that but think it's an improper use of faith.

Then I kept reading and saw you suddenly start describing faith in what I would call, our "intuition" or "hunches." Then explained how we live our lives this way and in our daily actions, do things despite having no reason, evidence, or critical skeptical thought applied to the action. I think that fits exactly with what people consider faith, even many atheists. The idea of acting or beliving things on flinches...

The issue with "taking it on faith" is seeing the commonplace person using their hunches that they apply to everyday life, to complex fields like Science or philosophy that often require one to use critical thinking and establish evidence for proper claims. Many staunch atheists you may of met time do this too, but not as much on here because this community is more in the skeptical/rational atheist mold that makes up the "new-atheist" movement.

Unless you can explain what you mean by faith being on the basis of evidence and skepticism while at the same time being what we use routinely without evidence or reason, I'm going to accept it as the later which doesn't diverge from the idea that faith is, "basically," belief without evidence.

Also, you stated you felt this was getting away from the point started... I'm not sure what your point still was. Or maybe I don't figure it out as well because it is what I agree with. Atheists do seem more opposed to dogma than simply belief... because a lot of them are that way. It's the dogma and distrust of scientific findings that are the most disliked aspects. If those ideas weren't the overwhelming prevailing ideas controlling voters and the public, the atheist groups wouldn't exist as they do currently.
Haha, you say I'm going in circles, then ask me to go 'round a few more loops? ;-)

Part of the problem is that we're dealing with a counterfeit problem, not a definition problem. I'm talking about two things, where you guys (lumping y'all together since it's been pretty consistent with little disagreement among you) are talking about just one. The notion of faith has been bastardized, shanghaied and corrupted by people who wanted to use it to make large populations gullible and compliant. Atheists (so far without exception in my experience) not only reject the counterfeit--and rightly so, because it's bullshit--but go one further and assume that there is no genuine article. I'm trying to point out the genuine article, which I call faith. I'll call the counterfeit anti-faith, because it's fundamentally a form of irrational, fear-based distrust, the opposite of something that generates genuine confidence. Recognizing faith does not set up a slippery slope back into irrationality. It actually does the opposite. I've never been saner or more competent in my life. Anti-faith, on the other hand, embodies the quintessential insanity of believing what I have no right to believe, and is the origin of the irrationality that people associate with "faith."

I can see, though, how I've caused confusion. I'm talking to people who seem to view faith and rational, critical thinking as mutually exclusive. Anti-faith is mutually exclusive and antagonistic to rational, critical thinking. Genuine faith is not. I experience faith and reason as fully integrated, mutually complimentary, and impossible to separate. What's more, the best rational thinking I've ever read, heard, or done has been likewise. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone more critical, skeptical, and realistic than me.

So, when I said faith, you guys took it for anti-faith under the label "faith" and assumed that I was talking about something divorced from rational, critical thought or evidence. I wasn't, so I tried to say, Hey no, faith is integrally involved in rational, critical thought and evidence, and then I tried to point out how. You took those comments to refer to rational, critical, evidence-based thought itself, which in your view is devoid of anything resembling faith, then wondered WTF I meant (or assumed that I didn't know what I was talking about.) And 'round and 'round we went.

Another part of the problem is that many atheists/materialists/empiricists maintain that intuition, hunches, gut feelings, desires too deep for thought itself--i.e., subjective modes of perceiving/knowing--are avoidable, as if you can think without them. I disagree (as do huge bodies of philosophical and psychological work) and tried to point out examples of how integrally and crucially subjective perceiving/knowing is involved in rational, critical thinking.

Subjective perceiving/knowing is essential to all cognition, not just irrational cognition. What are basic beliefs if not beliefs with absolutely no evidence or justificational support? We also call them assumptions, axioms, first principles, etc. These are thinking's starting points, and we don't choose them because we have rational support or evidence for them. We hold them because they seem so obvious that we feel it's ridiculous to question them or that we have no other option than to accept them. To get beneath them and justify them would require yet deeper basic beliefs to base that thinking on, and so on.

Descartes went all the way down to "I think, therefore I am," and he could have gone deeper. I haven't been able to go deeper than "something is," but maybe a more fundamental starting point is possible. It all has to start somewhere, and everything else that follows--including evidence and what we think it means--rests on those rudimentary, intuitive, unjustified foundations. The punch of the premise of The Matrix was precisely that--in spite of all rational, critical thinking and all evidence--we can't be sure that we haven't gotten everything wrong. We believe--without any way of assessing that particular question, since it calls into question everything we could possibly use to assess it--that we get it right enough to live and love and laugh without worrying too much about it.

As an example of how we all critically depend on subjective perceiving/knowing, take a notion no one here seems to have problems with: trust. The very nature of trust is to bridge risk, which includes parts of the risk for which we have no evidence to foster confidence. There is a part of the risk for which we do have evidence. Let's call that A-risk. There is always a remaining part for which we don't have evidence. Let's call that B-risk. Here's how I think it works:

I trust you with a priceless (to me) family heirloom because I believe (based on past evidence) that you are trustworthy. I have trust that covers A-risk based on past experience. That leaves a whole list of things that comprise B-risk:
  • Certainty that you won't deviate from past patterns
  • Certainty that in spite of being trustworthy, you aren't incompetent to care for the heirloom, e.g., have incompetence I'm not aware of, since I presumably assessed the competence I am aware of in order to deem you trustworthy
  • Certainty that upcoming events that would shift your priorities in disadvantageous ways will not happen
  • Certainty that I was not mistaken to think that you are trustworthy in the first place
Need I go on? In other words, no amount of past evidence can ever be sufficient to eliminate future unknowns which, if they were clear to me now, might induce me to not trust you with the heirloom. Something gets me over that confidence gap. I call it faith, distinct from trust, assurance, and confidence as I already explained in a response to DLJ. I can pretend that B-risk (which I have no way of enumerating completely, being unknowns) does not exist or is inconsequential. That kind of denial is even more extreme than belief without evidence. It's belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.

You guys keep thinking A-risk when I say B-risk, and then you try to fit what I say into your A-risk molds and it doesn't fit, so you come back to me and say I'm talking in circles. I'm not going in circles. You make it go in circles by taking my comments about B-risk as if I were talking about A-risk. That's what was happening with my exchange with DLJ, and he got it, at least in part. I hope I've made it clearer, because I don't think I can do much better at this point.

From the comments on this thread (DLJ excepted somewhat) I'd think you guys had eliminated all B-risk. Poppycock. B-risk is always there, both unknowns and unknown unknowns. You can ignore them, you can acknowledge them, you can explain them away, but nothing much changes for all that.

B-risk becomes insignificant the lower the level of total risk becomes and the less ambitious our venture is. The greater the challenge, the higher the goal, and the more the risk, the more B-risk there is and the more we feel it in terms of care, worry, and effort put into minimizing it. Maybe our disconnection boils do to a difference on that point.

Dunbar in Heller's Catch-22 invested all his energies toward maximizing safety while minimizing risk and stress, comically stressing out whenever anything foiled his efforts, in order to lengthen what could only promise to be a monotonous life span. His B-risk was normally pretty low, so he could probably have gotten away with pretending that it wasn't there. A soldier going into a battle is acutely aware of all kinds of B-risk, but if he goes into battle without knowing (extreme belief) that he is going to conquer and come back alive, his chances drop accordingly. Every athlete, amateur or pro, knows that he isn't meeting his potential unless he keeps his B-risk levels up there. B-risk is exactly why we praise courage and daring and heroism.

At least DLJ realized that I've got a square peg that can't be fit into the round holes you guys are used to. Hope he comes back. I think we might have some good discussions. I'm introducing something you guys obviously haven't thought about, and there's nothing wrong with that. You've been going through the typical steps that people go through when faced with unfamiliar concepts. It would be fun if you could see what's going on. :-)
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26-02-2013, 09:04 PM (This post was last modified: 26-02-2013 09:56 PM by millardjmelnyk.)
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(26-02-2013 08:51 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(26-02-2013 03:49 AM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  You can't... Neither do you... nor do you... nor have you... And you really have no reason to...

That's a whole lotta denial my friend.
What you consider denial is actually a challenge to your unwarranted assumptions. Substantiating your generalizations with empirical data would help your cause far more than simply projecting your own thoughts and actions onto complete strangers.

(26-02-2013 03:49 AM)millardjmelnyk Wrote:  No, actually, I don't have to clear up anything at all. My statements were clear enough. Sorry you don't seem able or willing to follow them.
Please read my posts properly before making such ignorant remarks. I wouldn't be asking for clarification if you had, as you claim, made your statements clearly. It is you who failed to specify whom you are talking about when using the term "we" and it is you who failed to support the underlying presupposition of your question, that whoever "we" is supposed to be universally perceives something that requires an explanation. I can hardly be blamed for your lack of communication and argumentation skills.
C'mon man. Contribute something yourself. Give communication a try. You're way behind--my several pages to your few, uninformative questions.

Maybe my last post will help. I did, after ClydeLee made some substantive comments, realize that I was unclear, but he focused on my point, not something tangential.

If you actually said something instead of asking questions that clearly demonstrate you did not follow what I wrote, I might be able to meet you in the middle somewhere. And sorry, no, the problem isn't that I don't have anything to say, nor that I don't say it well, especially considering that I'm coining these arguments in real time, not plagiarizing them from earlier writing or someone else. I'm doing philosophy here, not rehearsing or regurgitating it. Forgive me the occasional fubar.

It's easy to be a critic when you've got next to nothing in the game. Man up, would ya? ;-)
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27-02-2013, 12:19 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
Well sorry to come into the debate so late, but having only read this last page of posts, you come off a lot like Deepak Chopra with his god talk. He uses the word 'god' along with all of it's associated baggage to describe his new-age, pseudoscientific, god-of-the-gaps talk. When he debates for the existence of 'god', he's not talking about traditional theistic belief held by the public at large; he goes far out into deistic/pantheist territory. However he does seem to enjoy being purposely misinterpreted; much in the same way William Lane Craig tries to swap out a deist god for a theist one in his Kalam debates, hoping nobody will notice.


You appear to just be lowering the standard for 'evidence' so that you can claim that you do believe with 'evidence'. You want to allow anecdotal, gut feelings, and intuition to be considered as 'evidence'. Fine, unilaterally change the definition to suit your personal needs. All that is, is special pleading.


If we clarify 'evidence' to mean 'scientific evidence', then guess what, you still fall into the traditional (and widely uncontested) definition of faith; that is, belief without or in the face of (scientific) evidence. If you can't show it, then you don't know it, and it isn't science. Do we always have scientifically sound reasoning for all of our actions, or all of the aspects of all of the decisions that go into them? No. I fail to see why this requires us to change the definition of faith so that you can use it while also claiming you have evidence.


It seems more like you have a octagon shaped peg that you swear will fit in the round hole, because it clearly isn't a square peg...

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27-02-2013, 01:02 AM
RE: A-believerism or A-deism?
(27-02-2013 12:19 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Well sorry to come into the debate so late, but having only read this last page of posts, you come off a lot like Deepak Chopra with his god talk. He uses the word 'god' along with all of it's associated baggage to describe his new-age, pseudoscientific, god-of-the-gaps talk. When he debates for the existence of 'god', he's not talking about traditional theistic belief held by the public at large; he goes far out into deistic/pantheist territory. However he does seem to enjoy being purposely misinterpreted; much in the same way William Lane Craig tries to swap out a deist god for a theist one in his Kalam debates, hoping nobody will notice.


You appear to just be lowering the standard for 'evidence' so that you can claim that you do believe with 'evidence'. You want to allow anecdotal, gut feelings, and intuition to be considered as 'evidence'. Fine, unilaterally change the definition to suit your personal needs. All that is, is special pleading.


If we clarify 'evidence' to mean 'scientific evidence', then guess what, you still fall into the traditional (and widely uncontested) definition of faith; that is, belief without or in the face of (scientific) evidence. If you can't show it, then you don't know it, and it isn't science. Do we always have scientifically sound reasoning for all of our actions, or all of the aspects of all of the decisions that go into them? No. I fail to see why this requires us to change the definition of faith so that you can use it while also claiming you have evidence.


It seems more like you have a octagon shaped peg that you swear will fit in the round hole, because it clearly isn't a square peg...
Sure, whatever.
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