Re: virus: The Alleged Virtues of Faith

Bill Roh (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 21:16:32 -0500

> Deron Stewart wrote:
> >>Imagine talking to a person wearing a Mexican sombrero who says >>to you: "Show me the benefits of wearing a hat and I will. But until
> >> then I'll stay just the way I am."
> David McFadzean wrote:
> >I don't think this is a fair characterization.
> Well, there were two ways to take my post. It explitly asked what you would say to this person. How does one argue or persuade in this situation?
> The other way to read it was that the sombrero wearer in the parable represented you (which of course it did, in this particular context :-).
> I believe that until you recognize your own faith -- and see that it's not such a bad thing -- this faith/reason bugaboo will remain unresolved. Faith is unavoidable if we want to avoid the "sun" (which represented chaos, or insanity, or information overload and paralysis).

I used to make the mistake, and I still do, that you are making here. That is the assumption that other think like you do. This is not the case. In the same way you were tought faith, and have experienced it. I have not experienced it. It is not necessary in the divine sense or in an absolute sense. where you need to place faith, is where some of us are content to say it "is unresolved", "I have confidence that" or "I trust her". Faith would not suit me in any of these for it implies absolutism which, like god, I dont think exists.

> The sombrero may be the best hat of all in many situations, but it's, well...a hat. (The "hat" represents the wearer's world view or religion. The "sombrero" represents a scientific/rational/athiestic world view in this case).
> (In this parable, I guess level 3 would mean owning and wearing more than one hat...who wants to swim in a sombrero?)
> >Most of us admit to
> >having faith right now in the form of unexamined and possibly
> >inconsistent beliefs.
> Those are small potatos -- loose threads on the sombrero's emboidery. Consider these statements that Richard Dawkins made in interview for an example of what I mean by faith [1]:
> Dawkins: If religion goes, there may well be a vacuum in important ways in people's psychology, in people's happiness, and I don't claim to be able to fill that vacuum, and that is not what I want to claim to be able to do. I want to find out what's true.
> Interviewer: And that will be a better world?
> Dawkins: It will certainly be a truer world. I mean, people would have a truer view of the world. I think it would probably be a better world. I think people would be less ready to fight each other because so much of the motivation for fighting would have been removed. I think it would be a better world. It would be a better world in the sense that people would be more fulfilled in having a proper understanding of the world instead of a superstitious understanding.

Deron, perhaps you read only what you didnt type. Do you notice the words "I Think" prefacing his comments? "I think" is not the same as "I Know" or "I have faith that" He quite deliberately leaves room for doubt in his statement, and where he doesn't he is carefull to keep the reasoning within a box, and not all inclusive.

> That is faith! Faith that truth and science will lead to a better world. Even Dawkins has trouble saying it straight out -- because who the hell knows?
> His whole goal is to educate people about science and stamp out religion and astrology but who really knows if the world will be a better place if he succeeds?
> In many ways I share his faith. But he is the true believer.
> I just love this interview! If I could summarize this issue up in two lines these would be them:
> Q: And that will be a better world?
> A: It will certainly be a truer world.

Why assign your morals to what he is saying. This is not affirming that it will be a better world. And if we agree on that "True" means, as in "accurate", than we all can agree that it would be more true. I dont see faith here, but I see someone looking hard to find it.

Bill Roh