Re: virus: ((God Pi + Bad dogma) - Any pretense of reason) = Silly Graf

Mon, 29 Mar 1999 12:35:47 -0800

TheHermit wrote:

> Prof. Tim
> You seem to have completely missed or greatly underestimated the power of
> reason. I know exactly where SnowLeopard is coming from, and do not care for
> it one itsy teeny bit. I'd have kept my mouth shut, only he sat there
> babbling nonsense, and nobody seemed to want to reply.

Carl, I'm glad you are tireless in your repudiation of Christianity and mad dog faith. No sarcasm intended; I really am glad that your convictions lead you to play that role. You're right in that few people on this list have any enthusiasm for that project. I'm sure that most of us, certainly Professor Tim, have spent many hours on similar projects. I for one saw little return on my invested time and energy, so I don't bother with it any more. I do my best to serve up good ideas wrapped in a palatable tortilla of entertainment and titillation, but I feed only the hungry.

I think you overestimate the number of "active" lurkers on the list, and therefore overestimate the potential damage Snow Leopard might have wrought on unguarded minds. Of course, I could be completely wrong about the kind of people who read CoV messages while never posting to the list, but I doubt that many of them are the kind who would have been swayed by the generic dogmatism the Snow Leopard has to offer.

> Which might just have
> given him the impression that he was "scoring points", or may have lead
> somebody else on this list who was wavering between the reason which is
> espoused on the website and the insane positions espoused by some of the
> "gurus" here, to believe that there was no answer for Snowleopard's
> particular challenges or brand of phaith - or any other brand no matter how
> much less poisonous, for that matter.

I'm sure you would agree that many of the propositions that SL holds as articles of faith are falsifiable. This being the case, hir (I thought SL was female, but since I'm not sure, I'll use neuter pronouns) beliefs better fit the traditional description of faith than they do phaith.

> So while my response may have been addressed to him, it was in fact written
> more for the benefit of others.

You've mentioned that you are called upon to conduct public talks and debates on the topic of religion from time to time, and I suppose that is why you treat the CoV more like a radio show than like a conversation over drinks or dinner, i.e. focusing as much on how arguments are taken by a non-participating audience than by the active participants in the discussion.

> All of the nervous wiggling seems to be on the side of the phaith holders.

At one time, you and a few of the other partisans in the on-going faith war seemed to recognize a meaningful distinction between faith and phaith, but since then I have noticed that a many participants have started substituting "ph" for "f" in most any word and using "phaith" exclusively, even when they mean to refer to the dogmatic insistence on the truth of falsifiable propositions in the absence of supporting evidence or in spite of evidence to the contrary. Have you decided that there is no legitimate distinction to be made there?

Should I go back to defending faith?

I'm not a Christian. I don't believe that anyone has ever changed water into wine, or been killed, buried and resurrected; I don't believe that the Earth stopped rotating so that one group would have more time to slaughter another, and I don't believe that there was a flood that wiped out all human and animal life on the planet save for one small but densely packed floating managerie. Because I couldn't convince you and a few other participants that the holding of beliefs such as the ones I just listed is not the only way to conceive of faith and the role it can play in one's life, I coined a new term to refer to the kind of convictions that I have been attempting to defend and promote.

Given your concern for the lurkers, do you really want to collapse the distinction between faith and phaith and have me go back to defending faith? Were I to do that, newcomers to the discussion may well think that my arguments are meant to lend support to SnowLeopard's position, which you know is not the case.

I know that you are passionate about this issue, but I also know that you know how to think. So think. What are you hoping to achieve, and does collapsing the faith/phaith distinction advance your goals?