Faith-based thought vs thinkers Re: [extropy-chat] Intelligent Design: I'm not dead yet

Russell Wallace russell.wallace at
Sun Jan 29 22:21:07 UTC 2006

On 1/29/06, Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at> wrote:

> The only atheists that have done significant harm that I am aware of have
> only been able to do so because large numbers of people put faith in them.

Well yes, but you can expand on that: the only people of any persuasion
who've done significant good _or_ harm outside technical areas, have been
able to do so because large numbers of people put faith in them.

To me "faith-based thinking" rings like a contradiction in terms. To me
> faith-based thinking looks the same in its consequences as non-thought but
> perhaps
> you have a different understanding of the word faith.

*shrug* I'm not the one who introduced the term "faith-based thinking"; I'm
happy to just say "faith".

Can you offer any examples where faith-based thinking is progressive,
> humanistic, extropic, or in any way a net benefit to people in its
> consequences?

Pretty much the entirety of political, social and moral progress from the
days when slavery and genocide were the normal way of doing things. Yes, in
principle you can logically argue that a liberal society (in the classical
sense) has this and that benefit, but you have to want those benefits in the
first place, and the arguments depend on intellectual tools that weren't
available to the likes of Jesus, Martin Luther, George Washington, Gandhi or
their followers; nor would they have had any force if they were - nobody
actually makes political decisions based on abstruse logical arguments. All
the good those people and the ones who believed in them did, was motivated
by and based on faith.

- Russell
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