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

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Jan 31 00:07:42 UTC 2006

At 11:30 PM 1/30/2006 +0000, Russell W wrote:

>The definition I said I was using is "belief in the absence of evidence", 
>which my comments fit by the normal use of the English word "belief".

Well, no. That's a preposterously partisan definition. The normal use of 
the English word is something like "that which I hold to be the case", 
generally something held with less absolute conviction than if it was said 
to be "known"; while "faith" is the state or condition of believing 
something. People who say for example that they believe in God therefore 
would generally deny that they are holding this conviction *in the absence 
of evidence*. Christians and Muslims, for example, will point to sacred 
Scriptures that they regard as historical documents supporting their 
beliefs. What's more, many will refer to experiences of a powerful kind 
linked to states of prayer, contemplation, even desperation, etc. Other 
believers will nod in recognition at the descriptions provided. So to that 
extent there is even a quasi-public character to belief. What is at issue 
is surely the general acceptability of the proffered evidence, not its absence.

Damien Broderick 

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