RE: virus: Scientists and Philosophers

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 11:18:01 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 9 Feb 1999, Bob Hartwig wrote:

> I don't ask for evidence for things that appeal to my intuition or common
> sense. Is this faith? By a certain definition of the word perhaps, but if
> so, the word becomes almost meaningless. It is overloaded. The same word
> is used to describe "this chair will hold me" and "God said it, I believe
> it, that settles it." By the way, do you see a qualitative difference
> between these phrases?

This was addressed to Richard, but I have a comment too. Our expectation that a given chair will hold us is based on its apparent chairly nature, and our past experience that such objects can be depended on to hold us. Note that a very heavy person, or a person who has recently had a bad broken-chair experience, will likely have less faith in the integrity of an unknown chair, based on eir own experience.

Some people describe their faith in God the same way, of course: "God has always come through for me before." But God gets the out that he performs in mysterious ways, so if he doesn't come through this time, it could be a fault in us, or it could be that he has some greater plan in mind we don't know about. Most people don't give such leeway to chairs.

leaning back at her desk