Re: virus: Expressway to their skulls

Eric Boyd (
Sun, 31 Jan 1999 00:21:31 -0500


Tim Rhodes <>:
But look closely, Eric, "not B" is NOT the case. It is "I don't want to accept to possiblity of B" and "If B then all our work seems useless" that leads to "therefore not A" in this example:


"To condone the idea that there is no God or afterlife -- to do anything less than wholeheartedly oppose every last instance of secular humanism -- is to concede that our lives have no meaning beyond day-to-day existence, that there is no morality other than that we make up as we go along. And as soon as we concede that, we may as well give up, or merge with the Treating Each Other Like Shit list. This is a core value we can't compromise on."

Exactly the same logical structure to this agrument, Eric. Does that mean you believe in God now too?

Well, no. I disagree with several of the premises of your argument, for instance the A ==> B part. I personally don't think that the non-existence of god implies either a lack of meaning or a lack of morality.[1] Therefore your argument isn't sound. But you knew that already.

However, that aside, I do see your point about not B not being the case, i.e. that not wanting it to be so doesn't make it not so. (I think that's the right number of negatives!) Just becuase we don't want falsehoods to win out against truths doesn't mean they don't.

I think the crux of this discussion hinges around that issue -- you are contending that the rational optimism (or "faith") that truth will win out over falsehood is, in fact, *blind* faith (dogmatism), i.e. belief in spite of the evidence. While this is a possible interpretation, I think that it more accurate to say that rationality presupposes itself, i.e. that rationality assumes that individuals will use reason to ensure that truth *will* win out over falsehood. Is that circular? If so, is it still valid, or is it a form of blind faith?

I don't think it's circular. I think rationality is a mind set, while reason is merely the primary tool of that mind set. Is it possible to use reason without assuming that said use will result in truth winning out over falsehood?

If truth is the goal, rationality is the way -- but there are no guarantees?

It's another corner-stone in a building I'm calling failability.


[1] I do however agree that a lack of meaning and/or morality would be bad.