virus: Faith and Reason

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 9 Mar 1999 11:59:19 -0500

>Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999 17:31:18 -0700
>From: David McFadzean <>
>Subject: virus: Faith vs. Reason
>At 04:46 PM 3/8/99 -0500, Reed Konsler wrote:
>>>I would first like to hear how you think faith *creates* the model.
>>>That seems to be a key issue.
>>Very good. The same way reason does does reason do it,
>That question is so big I have to give a simplistic answer:

Of course. In the fullness of time we will arrive at a satisfying complexity. But, I think it's better to make small steps in this dance...I have such a hard time reading long posts with no paragraphs or punctuation.

>consistency checking. Are you sure faith creates models the same
>way? I don't see how offhand.

Faith checks to see if an arguement is consistent with the fundamentals. What does reason check against...the premises? What is the difference between a premise and a fundamental?

>>>What if we end up redefining "faith" or "reason" to such
>>>an extent that they wouldn't be recognized outside this
>>>discussion? Does it matter?
>>That depends on what your purpose is. What is our purpose
>>in making these rules?
>To decide if we want to continue playing.

Who is "we"? You and I, this group, all humanity, the multiverse? My answer depends on that. It matters that "we" understand "us", to be sure.

>Rule #6 (proposed): If a player does not agree to a rule, he or
>she must withdraw from the game.

Rule #6b (proposed): Each player interprets the rules for themselves. Thus, a player may choose to leave the game at any time, or remain in it, with complete freedom of expression.

>Rule #7 (proposed): The game ends if only one player remains.

Disagree. Real games have no beginning and no end, no winners and losers, and no points-keepers. What you are thinkink of is an illusion, like chess. Computers are sufficient to play such "games". It's the real games, which require the human touch, which I'm interested in.

>>Rule #5: Players shall endeavor to express themselves as simply as
>>possible to convey their point, but no simpler.
>>The thing which makes me hesistate is that, as you know, "logical
>>fallacies" are often very good decision making tools. Take "argument
>>from authority" or "poisoning the well". These thing happen, and
>>to mutual advantage. They ar fallacious in the pristine, cold world
>>of formal logic but very useful in the hot, passionate living world.
>>But, players shouldn't lie or try to confuse intentionally and without
>>purpose, I agree. Intentionally and WITH purpose...hmm...
>I'm not sure I want to play a game where fallacies are valid moves.

[shrug] We each define our own fallacies. Dennett made up "the argument from incredulity" in _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_. He said it was a fallacy to say "X is false becuase I can't believe that X might be true". The failure is one of imagination, not reality.

My point is that each "fallacy" is, itself, a rule. You're trying to sweep in a lot of stuff under a "no fallacy" rule...I may agree with some and not with others. I might agree with them all...but I don't know what you mean by "fallacy" right now, certianly there is no cannonical list of them. Why don't you tell me what kinds of arguments you think are off limits, in the form of rules, and we can see if we still want to play.

>I was hoping for illucidation, not merely entertainment.

I'm offering both.


  Reed Konsler