The Nature of Faith
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29-05-2016, 11:19 AM
The Nature of Faith
Say, a group of people were walking along in the woods and came across some tire tracks.

It would be safe to assume that some kind of vehicle had been there. By the evidence presented by the tracks, they (assuming that they had the required skills) could estimate, with a high degree of probability, the size and weight of the vehicle. That's pretty much all.

Now, say there was someone in the crowd, named “Be-bop”. He declares that he has received a revelation that the vehicle was a pink 1967 Cadillac convertible that had white interior and three blonde girls sitting in the backseat, smoking Lucky Strikes and singing American Pie. Then he adds that, those who believe him (have faith that he has told the truth), will be transported to a place where these girls willingly serve their every desire.

The first paragraph illustrates the evidence-based approach of science. It is skeptical of any claim beyond what can be determined (first, by observation, then, by making logical and rational assumptions based on that observable evidence). Obviously, there is a possibility that it was, indeed, a pink 1967 Cadillac convertible, but skepticism would not accept that Be-bop had received a revelation of this without evidence. Nor, certainly not Be-bop's promise of being so transported.

The faithful, on the other hand, swayed largely by the promise, would accept Be-bop's claim that he had gotten his information through revelation. They might even form an association called Be-bopists and elevate him to the role of prophet. Their faith would not so much be that the vehicle was, indeed, a pink 1967 Cadillac convertible but rather, that Be-bop was a prophet, that he had the ability to receive revelations, and that they would be transported as long as they believed him.

The skeptics, on the other hand, would not believe that any of this was true (including the promise) without substantiating evidence.

This is exactly the situation that skeptics find themselves in in dealing with the religious. The particular dogma is not as important to the faithful as is the belief that a revelation has occurred. (If the Bible said that it was a sin to eat raspberries, the faithful would include that as an article of faith),

“The Scientific Process” is a toolbox, which includes observation of the natural (real) world, the application of investigative methods which have shown themselves to be reliable, and the elimination of “pet theories (speculations or hypotheses)” which don't stand up under these investigative methods (including peer review).

Revelations, whether your own or a group of ancient Be-bops, who wrote them down in a book, have been demonstrated countless times to be unreliable sources of information. Faith in these Be-bops or in their imaginations (delusions), is not a virtue; it is gullibility and an incredibly bad epistemology.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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29-05-2016, 04:03 PM
RE: The Nature of Faith
Ok, where is the Cadillac with the women in it ? Don't make me torture you with songs from the 70's.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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