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

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at
Mon Jan 30 03:29:08 UTC 2006

Russell Wallace wrote:

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.
No I couldn't, in good conscience, expand on that like that.  [I nearly said in "good faith" instead of in good conscience. ]

I think science, and more fundamentally, reasoning, and those that practice them *have* done significant good because some others have also been able to put aside faith and belief.  

You say people of any "persuasion". I can be persuaded by reason if I am willing to question my assumptions and think about other arguments but how is someone persuaded to faith ? 
    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".
Okay. For me faith (or belief) and reasoning are almost opposites.   For you is faith (or belief) ever reasoning? 

    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.

All your above relates to the past as is shown by your last sentence "WAS motivated by and based on faith".  I asked about IS not WAS. 

Can you offer an example where faith per se IS CURRENTLY progressive, humansitic, extropic, or in any way a net benefit to people in its consequences?

If you are a person of faith or with faith (whatever that means to you), perhaps a personal example would be easier.  Perhaps you could point out where you would decide sometime on faith and act on that decision such that you would think that would have been a better thing for you to have done. Better as opposed to deciding on some other basis than faith and then acting. 

I think all decisions based on faith are morally wrong (or rather non decisions, or abrogations of responsibility to intellectually engage, or use one's conscience) but perhaps you can show me I'm wrong with a single example. 

Brett Paatsch


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