RE: virus: Prisoners my Derrida!

=?iso-8859-1?Q?Andreas_Engstr=F6m?= (
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 16:35:34 +0100

Tim wrote:
>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
>no idea -- it was 3AM and I was channel surfing looking for something to
>put me to sleep or give me a reason to be awake) who said something like,
>know someone once asked me, 'What would you do if scientists proved, beyond
>shadow of a doubt, that God did not exist?' And you know, I had to think
>that one for a minute. But I'll tell you what I told him. Even if God
>exist, even if Jesus never lived or died on the cross, I'd still be a
>And you know why? Because God or not, it's the best way that I've found to
>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.

The problem I have with most religious people is that they appear to think that it is impossible to live a happy fulfilled life _without_ religious faith. Or to do good without having a god that tells you so.

>> 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
>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 could even easier be said about faith, but of course you're right. Bull-headedness abounds, and so does bollocks.

>> 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
>same mistake. Nothing is obvious, especially the unspoken or unquestioned.

Urg. The "unspoken" here is very well established, and "unquestioned" is exactly what anything based on it can't be.

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

>The Inquisition?!? Is that really the best you can do? Try something from
>_century_ for a change, would you? If you want to compare 11th century
>to 11th century science I'm down, but you should recognize that science
>all that f$@king impressive in that era either. Grow up! Get with the

Science at the time was quite as dogmatic as religion was. The difference is that
one of the two evolved away from it. Guess which?

>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
>retro and invoking boogie-men from 800 years ago to defend you prejudices.
>living in the NOW for a while.

Dearie me. Check a bit further back in this thread. I wasn't the one to bring the Inquisition in as an example; I merely commented upon it.

Besides, one of the greatest problems of most christian faith is that it IS invoking bogeymen from even further back than a mere 800 years ago..

I am quite _now_, thank you very much. The question is _when_ people are who use as a basis for their faith the personal totem of a modestly wealthy man who moved from Babylonia northwards with parts of his family about 4000 years ago. If we want a faith, is there really nothing more sensible to base our faith upon?

>> 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
>The basis for reason is not something that is open to question by the user
>it; 'evidence' is a message that does nothing but re-enforce its medium."

Faith and reason are just two different ways to approach theories. Faith either
rejects or accepts, and it is thereafter carved in stone that this is the way it is.
Reason (or rather, the scientific method) rejects, accepts or admits that it can do
neither for the moment. Whatever the outcome, it is always subject to change in the
face of new evidence or re-examination of the evidence.

The basis of reason is non-dogmatism. I see no evil in it. To make it the only
thing in life not open to question is a paradox, but
as I see it a necessary one.
You may call it my faith if you like. I usually don't, but it's true. :-)

>There. Now we're even. So what? Would you like to stop tossing this coin
>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?

That could be interesting, yes.. either throw something at me or I'll throw something when I've had a bit more time to think..

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

I'm not talking about "god" either. I'm talking about "dogma". The only unquestionable thing in life should be that everything is questionable.

-Andreas Engström
(Great Randomness)

"When dogma enters the mind, all mental activity ceases." --Robert Anton Wilson