RE: virus: Prisoners my Derrida!

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 18 Mar 1999 16:51:14 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 18 Mar 1999 Andreas Engström wrote:

> I defy you to find any western religious leader who ever said something
> like "Our faith is an incomplete model which might lead you down the
> wrong path". Their faith stops them from saying so.

Well, I watched a televangelist the other night (don't ask me which one, I have no idea -- it was 3AM and I was channel surfing looking for something to either put me to sleep or give me a reason to be awake) who said something like, "Ya know someone once asked me, 'What would you do if scientists proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God did not exist?' And you know, I had to think about that one for a minute. But I'll tell you what I told him. Even if God didn't exist, even if Jesus never lived or died on the cross, I'd still be a Christian. And you know why? Because God or not, it's the best way that I've found to live a happy fulfilled life." And I had a lot of respect for him for saying that, up front like that. So I quickly changed channels before he followed it with something asinine.

> Reason, however, in
> fact ENCOURAGES people to find flaws in theories, so that they can be
> reformulated or even refuted.

Bollocks! Did you see how hard it was to get Jake to even LOOK at his own theories, let alone find flaws in them? I've had an easier time getting the xtians that stumble into this forum to examine their own faith than I have getting the rationalists to question their rationality! You're speaking theory, friend, but the actual practice does not bear your theories out.

> That's what science is about. Russel would
> feel no need to say what you wanted him to say above.. it's too
> blindingly obvious to need stating explicitly.

Blinded to the obvious, seems more correct, and your sentence above makes the same mistake. Nothing is obvious, especially the unspoken or unquestioned.

> The inquisition gained its [blah, blah, blah, blah...]

The Inquisition?!? Is that really the best you can do? Try something from this _century_ for a change, would you? If you want to compare 11th century religion to 11th century science I'm down, but you should recognize that science wasn't all that f$@king impressive in that era either. Grow up! Get with the present! You want to talk about the successes of science in the modern world that's great! But you've got to deal with religion in modern terms too -- no going retro and invoking boogie-men from 800 years ago to defend you prejudices. Try living in the NOW for a while.

> Whatever hides behind faith can't be revealed by the one holding
> that faith. Faith is not something that is reevaluated in the face
> of new evidence.

"Whatever hides behind reason can't be revealed by the one holding forth reason. The basis for reason is not something that is open to question by the user of it; 'evidence' is a message that does nothing but re-enforce its medium."

There. Now we're even. So what? Would you like to stop tossing this coin (or rolling this die) for a moment and work instead on something useful, like understanding the nature of the thumb that flips the coin or the hand that rolls the dice?

(And no, I'm not talking about "god" here. If you think that, you're still two chapters behind the rest of us.)

-Prof. Tim