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#45439 - 12/22/10 09:43 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Jason King]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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A good response, and one worth pondering. Evidence can, of course, as you suggest, be seen as a deus ex machina, or as some kind of epiphany. However, scientific evidence is gathered severally, and by double blind tests, from several sources, establishing a common reference among the proponents of a certain hypothesis.

Also, evidence is often used to *disprove* a hypothesis, and when the evidence fails to accumulate, the theory is strengthened.

The only thing that keeps evidence from being some mystic entity foisted on the unsuspecting observer by means of MEGO overload is the simple fact that everyone can test the experiment, everyone can try to disprove the theory and everyone is free to set forth new hypotheses under clinical conditions.

My main bone of contention with this procedure, however, lies with the bad rep hypotheses receive, since they are basically dreams with zero evidence to substantiate them. Hence we accumulate evidence by the method mentioned above.

You must be able to imagine in order to do science, in other words. But my support for the somewhat protean concept of evidence lies firmly rooted with the notion that everyone can replicate an experiment, checking to see if their findings support or weaken an already existing proposition.
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#45440 - 12/22/10 10:08 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Diavolo Offline
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What might be interesting in connection to evidence, reason and science being resistant to faith are the answers to Thaler's question at Edge.

The link starts at the first contribution. If you scroll up, you'll find Thaler's question and intro.
Especially Lakoff's part upon reason is quite interesting.

D.

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#45443 - 12/22/10 11:16 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
Diavolo Offline
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What I want to add is that words have a certain value and in our context, the word faith is linked to a negative emotion. It's because of that link we Satanists struggle with the very word faith and all it calls forth. It is also why we prefer reason, logic and evidence. They not only seem better, they feel better too.

I do understand your reasoning about double blind testing or evidence being verifiable by different sources, but when we'd be completely honest, we'd have to admit that we close to never test something ourselves, or are incapable in doing so.
We rely upon the validity of the evidence in the same manner as we rely upon the validity of the hypothesis or theory. We trust the scientists, even when, as shown many times, they might manipulate or disregard data. What we do have is faith in our scientists and faith in what they say. They are our priests explaining us how the world is.

Of course our trust and faith doesn't degenerate to the same depths many religious allow it to, but nevertheless, we haven't liberated ourselves from it either.

D.


Edited by Diavolo (12/22/10 11:18 AM)

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#45444 - 12/22/10 11:19 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
Jason King Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
What I want to add is that words have a certain value and in our context, the word faith is linked to a negative emotion. It's because of that link we Satanists struggle with the very word faith and all it calls forth. It is also why we prefer reason, logic and evidence. They not only seem better, they feel better too.

I do understand your reasoning about double blind testing or evidence being verifiable by different sources, but when we'd be completely honest, we'd have to admit that we close to never test something ourselves, or are incapable in doing so.
We rely upon the validity of the evidence in the same manner as we rely upon the validity of the hypothesis or theory. We trust the scientists, even when, as shown many times, they might manipulate or disregard data. What we do have is faith in our scientists and faith in what they say. They are our priests explaining us how the world is.

Of course our trust and faith doesn't degenerate to the same depths many religious allow it to, but nevertheless, we haven't liberated from it either.

D.


Awesome post. Utterly on point (as I see it, lol).

JK
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#45479 - 12/23/10 05:46 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Jason King]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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While I agree that the onus for establishing certainty lies with the individual, I would question the reason for ascribing 'faith' as the qualifier. There exists a scientific community. The competition for funding and research project priority is fierce. If there's something you can cut your teeth on, it's disproving a previously accepted theory and substituting your own. It gets you quoted and builds respect in the community. You get more funding to research all the hot topics.

In short, for anything other than objective truth to be researched, it would require a world-wide conspiracy to keep all the researchers from outing the scientific community to the world.

If there is some conviction in me regarding the scientific community's trustworthiness, it is that they can be relied upon to cut each other to shreds over any inaccuracy or fallibility. Much like bad ideas in here. People can establish credibility by tearing down other members' lines of reasoning, all in the interest of establishing a more perfect understanding of the topics.

Faith? I prefer to think of it as a conviction that the people who attempt to reach truth through the scientific method can be relied on to fight each other, tooth and bloody nail, over who has the more perfect understanding of objective truth. Since this will, by necessity, always be an approximation, the struggle will go on for ever and ever.

I don't need to research black holes through government-funded satellites and hi-tech microscopes to establish a good approximation of certainty that the research results are reliable. All it takes is the knowledge that competition will remain fierce.
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#45480 - 12/23/10 06:03 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Diavolo Offline
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I do not necessarily agree. No offense but I think you are trying to dodge the use of the word faith while actually replacing it with synonyms. If you'd browse the history of science, you will find too many examples of groundbreaking work or theories which got ridiculed or their funding withdrawn.

Overall I do not think scientists will lie to us but even that, I take on faith.

D.

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#45481 - 12/23/10 06:21 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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This very discussion is evidence that scientific progress, and the pursuit of knowledge will always win out over faith-based convictions.

Any faith-based arguments can be co-opted into the contention that 'I have been divinely vouchsafed this information by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and as such I hold an intrinsically superior position to any supported by your silly 'evidence''.

While I support and even appreciate the arguments that you and Jason King supply here - I do recognize the inherent weaknesses in the scientific process - I still maintain that evidence-based research is superior to faith.

The ridicule of past theories that you mention is an example of these weaknesses. There are several others, far more condemning. But even so, they will be called out and ridiculed. And if there's one thing they will not stand for, it's ridicule.

As for my wilful dodging of the so-called 'synonyms', I have long maintained a strict separation of faith and evidence-based belief/conviction. If this makes me 'protest too much', then so be it.

Surrendering to faith sets a lethal precedent for your mind, and restrainst it. There is no escaping faith, but it can be isolated and recognized for its harmful influence.

With all of this said, I'll reiterate my opening statement that your input is vitally important for me to hold my convictions, since it challenges and refines them. Eventually, I may be convinced you're right, or vice versa, or we'll remain at a stalemate, but either way we'll have learned from the process. Which is sort of the point.
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#45484 - 12/23/10 06:28 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Diavolo Offline
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Oh but I fully agree that there is a difference between evidence-based faith and let's call it, mythology-based faith, even more when we are able to check the evidence ourselves. I'm certainly not going to argue that. The main thing I argue is that, no matter if we like it or not, both are, fundamentally, faith. And this is what seems to trouble many.

D.

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#45485 - 12/23/10 06:29 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
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 Quote:
Surrendering to faith sets a lethal precedent for your mind, and restrainst it. There is no escaping faith, but it can be isolated and recognized for its harmful influence.


Referring to a word with a christian undertone also restrains you. I can see how letting 'faith' in the context of laughing in the face of the skeptics and using it as an excuse for believing in shadows as being a restraint as well though.

 Quote:
but either way we'll have learned from the process. Which is sort of the point.


YES.

Note: I know that this was aimed at JK and D and not me but you hit the nail on the head.
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#45487 - 12/23/10 06:42 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
TV is God Moderator Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
Oh but I fully agree that there is a difference between evidence-based faith and let's call it, mythology-based faith, even more when we are able to check the evidence ourselves. I'm certainly not going to argue that. The main thing I argue is that, no matter if we like it or not, both are, fundamentally, faith. And this is what seems to trouble many.

D.

"Faith" can mean either of those things but I would argue that they are fundamental different things. One is the process of drawing probable conclusions from evidence, the other is believing in a conclusion and sometimes seeing evidence to support it. I would say it's an error of language to call these the same. Semantics and no more.

Now I suppose you could say that based on evidence there is a certain level of "faith" because you are often taking a conclusion from a probability. But as I said before I think the process for probability estimation faith and conclusion validation faith justify separate definitions.

In English and I assume probably all latin based languages we have one word for what we see as the color blue. If the blue is lighter or darker we use an adjective to describe this. In Japanese they see the lighter area ranges and darker ranges as two separate colors so they have two different words for them.

As with all matters like this there's no correct answer because language is something that is defined as it is naturally used. Language can be quite an obstacle when debating something open to interpretation. All I can say is I believe we would be better off if our language had different words for these different ideas.


Edited by TV is God (12/23/10 06:49 AM)

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#45489 - 12/23/10 06:47 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: TV is God]
Diavolo Offline
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 Originally Posted By: TV is God

"Faith" can mean either of those things but I would argue that they are fundamental different things. One is the process of drawing probable conclusions from evidence, the other is believing in a conclusion and sometimes seeing evidence to support it. I would say it's an error of language to call these the same. Semantics and no more.


Of course, when you are the scientist in question. But what I am getting to, and what you would have to admit to, is that you, in all too many cases, haven't made up the theory or hypotheses, nor the evidence supporting or disproving it, and that as a result of that, for us personally, it all ends back at faith.

D.

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#45490 - 12/23/10 07:04 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
TV is God Moderator Offline
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I would disagree. You draw your conclusions based on the probability of the theory or hypothesis. You choose whether or not to believe in these based on where you discover them and/or how you've seen them used. You base how much belief you put in that source based on the whether it has been credible to you before or is regarded as credible and so on and so on. Zoomed out it may look like something you believe because of faith but take a close look and it's a long chain of logical conclusions based on probabilities.

It's critical when working with probabilities to acknowledge there is a margin of error big or small every step of the way. I don't think that makes something "faith."

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#45491 - 12/23/10 07:25 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: TV is God]
Diavolo Offline
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I don't draw my conclusion upon the probability of a theory or on the probability of evidence. I draw my conclusion on the fact that I don't even know the probability.

I draw my conclusion on the fact that I believe something someone told me, or which I read somewhere. You do the same. The only difference is that I admit it.

D.

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#45492 - 12/23/10 07:49 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
Jake999 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
I don't draw my conclusion upon the probability of a theory or on the probability of evidence. I draw my conclusion on the fact that I don't even know the probability.

I draw my conclusion on the fact that I believe something someone told me, or which I read somewhere. You do the same. The only difference is that I admit it.

D.


Kind of throws me back into the words of The Satanic Bible, which is pretty much where the almost expected cynicism and distrust of faith arises.

"13 The most dangerous of all enthroned lies is the holy, the sanctified, the 
privileged lie the lie everyone believes to be a model truth. It is the fruitful 
mother of all other popular errors and delusions. It is a hydra-headed tree of 
unreason with a thousand roots. It is a social cancer!  

14 The lie that is known to be a lie is half eradicated, but the lie that even 
intelligent persons accept as fact—the lie that has been inculcated in a little 
child at its mother’s knee—is more dangerous to contend against than a 
creeping pestilence!"

The Satanic Bible (Book of Satan - page 32)

The sun rising in the morning, the everyday things we take for granted are only loosely associated with faith, based on rational expectation, based on statistical probabilities. The sun NOT rising in the morning is simply a statistical anomaly of the highest order OR the catastrophic failure of a physical system. We really do ourselves a severe injustice when we allow our minds to somehow bring them under some divine control of a being or spirit.
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#45493 - 12/23/10 07:50 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Diavolo]
TV is God Moderator Offline
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If you think I'm not admitting it then I think you are misinterpreting my post. Probability is somewhat of an abstraction until you can study it more scientifically and pop out some exact numbers. But I think the impressions of probability are only "faith" if you believe in them undeniably or outside what probability seems to dictate. If you're wrong then you're wrong, counting your rights and your wrongs are how probability becomes better understood.

I think rounding your probabilities is only logical. If not you can go into the shallow "anything is possible so you don't know what's true!" mindset. Yes it's technically possible this website is a hallucination in your own head but just because you don't know the exact probabilities it's safe to say they're too minuscule to conciser. If you don't adopt this opinion you end up with that old faith-defense theory that the belief in science is a faith like any other.

It would be faith to take a theory for proven if the probabilities are still uncertain, but to take it as a "probably" until you have a better understanding in detail of the probability.

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