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

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at
Mon Jan 30 08:10:25 UTC 2006

Russell Wallace wrote:
  On 1/30/06, Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at> wrote:

    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. 

  Science yes; I did say outside technical areas. 

Reasoning is even more important and fundamental than science because science can't take place without it.  I don't think reasoning is just dismissable as being a technical area. Reasoning applies to law and philosophy not just science.  Law matters profoundly in my view but law seems to be an area of significant 
disagreement between you and I. 
    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 ?

  Usually by being taught it as a child.

Okay, but taught not intellectually using reason but rather conditioned or indoctrinated.  I'd normally use persuasion to mean intellectual persuasion not persuasion by threat of pain or threat of withdrawal of essential parental support.

But people of various religion groupings are often described as being of various persuasion.  I wouldn't see much point in say Attila the Huns' dog is of the 
Attila is right "persuasion". 

    Okay. For me faith (or belief) and reasoning are almost opposites.   For you is faith (or belief) ever reasoning?

  No, faith is belief in the absence of a reason.

Okay.  I know what you mean by faith.   I agree with that as a minimum.  

    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.

  Okay, fair point. 

    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?

  To the extent that people in today's world believe in doing good rather than harm (however you define these things), and act on those beliefs, why do you think they do so? 

Not fair. You are answering (or rather not answering) a question with a question.   

You haven't answered my question which I asked first, then re-asked.  

  Because they've studied history, philosophy, ethics, economics, game theory and evolutionary psychology in great depth and derived theories that lead them to the conclusion that this or that is the best way to behave?

No.  Though some of them have.      [Aside: To varying degrees - I have]

  Of course not. It's not remotely practical for everyone to go through that process before they can start acting in the real world; 

True.  No argument.   But are you saying that they do that on faith?  If so I wish you'd be direct.   
  and the inherent complexity and fuzziness of the subject matter combines with the nature of human psychology to largely eliminate reason as a driving force in human affairs anyway. 

Reason can only be eliminated as a driving force in human affairs if it has first gotten to *be* a driving force in human affairs.  

  Put simply: intellectual study won't convince you to do good or evil, it will merely give you the tools to justify what you were going to do anyway.

Not merely.  

By not answering the question I asked you are making it difficult to communicate with you. 

  Nor would civilization work if people would cheat, betray, steal and kill whenever there wasn't a policeman watching them.

  In practice, civilization works because - and only when - most of the citizens have faith in it and its associated moral standards.

Now you seem to be using faith as a synonym for confidence.  

  That is, if you are using "faith" in the general sense of belief in the absence of evidence. Or do you mean it to refer specifically to belief in God or the supernatural? (Not commenting on which definition is better, just checking which one you're using.)

I was trying to find out what *you* meant by "faith" remember?  

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

It was your comment that "the same is true among atheists; to indiscriminately tag all "faith-based thinkers" as the enemy is both untrue and unproductive." that I entered the thread after. 

I wondered if you were defending some right of religious people to be "faith-based thinkers" perhaps because you were yourself a religious person or if instead your objection was coming from a different place.  

Brett Paatsch


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