[extropy-chat] Re: Faith-based thought vs thinkers

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 30 17:45:59 UTC 2006

--- Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> Perhaps you are right that "faith-based thinkers"
> should not be regarded as the enemy. Perhaps it is
> 'faith-based thought', not the 'thinker' that is the
> root danger. But the thinker or non-thinker is the
> agent or vector. 

Faith-based thought is a tool and can be either a
friend or an enemy. It all depends on your
relationship to the believer and what is believed.

> 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. 

The majority of people hate to think. They want the
answers right there at their finger tips. Why do you
think calculators exist? People need to believe in
SOMETHING. You tell them the ugly truth and their
minds rail against it and reject it. Too honest people
have few friends. Nature's most powerful computer,
designed to look for meaning, structure, and PATTERN
in all things is incapable of assigning a null value
to their own existense. Because they do not have the
will to bootstrap their own purpose, they seek meaning
and purpose from without. Religion, however unlikely
the details thereof, gives them that purpose. It gives
meaning to their metabolism and a sense of worth
beyond the primal yearning of their gonads. 

> 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.   

Faith-based thinking is simply a self-contained
algorithm of social software capable of propagating
itself and executing itself on millions of minds down
through the ages. It is an algorithm simple enough to
run on the slowest of processors with a minimum of
storage space. That it may be irrational, usually
reflects little upon its own success as a meme,
although it may negatively affect the success of its
> 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?

Faith-based thinking is less useful than faith-based
action. Faith is the basis of every gamble ever
undertaken. In a world where little is certain, to
believe that the cards will fall your way is the whole
essense of faith. Nobody would ever take a chance at
anything, if they did not believe. This is the essence
of the Proactionary Principle. That SOME risks are
worth the taking. 

Thus the most rational reason to believe in God is as
a role model. You can tear him down with rationality
as Neitsche did but then you are left adrift in
Darwin's stormy seas with no star to guide you. Thus,
like Nietzsche, More, and Yudkowski you must set up a
Superman/Posthuman/SIAI in his place. This is fine for
all those who have the rational tools and will to use
them. But what of the rest? Would you leave them
behind? Would you wait and hope for their biological
evolution to catch up? Would you forcefully awaken
them? Or would you give them a dream in accordance
with what is inevitable?  

I have heard the siren song of both the Divine and the
Superman. And while their melodies are different, they
have the same underlying beat, and they beckon to the
same place from behind the stars. Actions speak
volumes more than words. That humanity grasps at
perfection. That we explore the beauty of our temporal
existense while maintaining right thought, right word,
and right action - this is the essence of all religion
and philosophy. And it will require faith of one sort
or another: faith in God, faith in ones self, faith in
ones fellow man, and faith in truth, and faith in
reason. The mind makes reality. Those that believe in
destiny have one. Those that believe in souls have
one. What do non-believers have? A disconcerted
ubermonkey with delusions of grandeur.      

Thus spake Zoroaster, thus spake Zarathustra, and thus
speak I.

Stuart Park La Forge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"Thereupon, the Soul of Mother Earth bewailed, Should I accept the support of a feeble man and listen to his words? In fact I desired the aid of a strong and mighty king. When shall such a person arise and bring strong-handed succor to me?" -Yasna 29, verse 9 

"Now I am light, now I am flying, now I see myself beneath myself, now a God dances through me." - St. Nietzsche

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