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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • They're trying to say that if you use duck typing atheism is a faith :)

    I resent even having to refer to myself as an atheist; it's such a stark reminder that the normal state (statistically at least) is to be theist. Why can't the believers be called irrationalists instead?

    • Because then the atheists would claim rationality. And most self-claiming atheists I met had more of a "There is no god. Period." attitude.

      I'd rather have the word spread that knowing and believing are two absolute different pair of shoes. And that goes for both camps, since I personally actually see science as faith or belief. At least with those people that say that a proven theory must be how reality is. But this would become a rather large discussion :)

      --
      Ordinary morality is for ordinary people. -- Aleister Crowley
      • Because he said it better than most of us could… a transcript of Richard Feynman from The Pleasure of Finding Things Out [google.com]:

        If you expected science to give all the answers to the wonderful questions about what we are or where we are going or what the meaning of the universe is and so on, then I think you can easily become disillusioned and then look for some mystic answer to these problems. How a scientist can take a mystic answer I don’t know because the whole spirit is to understand…

        • He also once captured it this way: “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.”

          He must not have known very many religious people. Nearly all of the great Christians in history have had tremendous doubt, from the Apostle Peter himself down through C.S. Lewis.

          Faith is not in opposition to doubt; faith expects doubt. That is why, for some of us, the practice of apologetics is so important: because we prove to ourselves the logical consistency of belief, so we have something solid to fall back on when we doubt our faith. As Steve Taylor sang (borrowing from Flannery O'Connor): "Shiver

          • I had to sit on this comment for a couple of days to choose my words, even though it felt wrong right away.

            You don’t give Feynman enough credit. He said religion is a culture of faith; he did not say religion is a culture of blind faith. This is the crux of the entire issue: the doubt you describe is a means, not an end. It is a stepstone to faith (whether it be stronger faith or negative faith).

            In contrast, doubt is not a state to be resolved for a skeptic. The basic tenet is acknowledgement that

            • You don’t give Feynman enough credit. He said religion is a culture of faith; he did not say religion is a culture of blind faith.

              But I am not saying he is saying that. I am saying, rather, that he implies that it is a faith that is without doubt (since he contrasts it to doubt). He completely misunderstands and misrepresents religious faith.

              This is the crux of the entire issue: the doubt you describe is a means, not an end.

              Neither is doubt with science an end, but a means ... as you describe well through the rest of your post. It is what drives you to attempt to come up with answers, to learn more, and to become more certain.

              In contrast, doubt is not a state to be resolved for a skeptic.

              A skeptic attempts to resolve questions as much as a religious person, and he acknowle

              • His theory said the universe was constantly expanding. Other prominent scientists said Einstein’s theory must be wrong, because we “know” the universe is NOT expanding. So Einstein invented the cosmological constant, because he refused to abandon his theory, even in light of strong evidence against it. […] The theory was so good he refused to abandon it in light of evidence against it, which is much like common religious faith.

                But the theory was not “good” just becaus

                • But the theory was not “good” just because it sounded rationally convincing. It was good because it rested on special relativity, which rested on the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment and the many variations on its theme, which had shown beyond reasonable doubt that prior theories which were in contradiction with special relativity were wrong. Einstein didn’t incorporate an artificial fix just because he fancied his theory a lot.
                  And how is that different from religious belief? I believe in Jesus for many solid reasons too. It is not just that it "sounded rationally convicing," although that is true too.

                  Along the same lines, I’m rather skeptical of much of the accepted model of contemporary mainstream cosmology, because so much of it relies on so much less observation than, say, electromagnetism.
                  Sure, and you should be skeptical. Just like I am skeptical of global warming, which has similar observational difficulties.

                  PS.: it just occured to me, after writing the above, that you chose to accentuate your argument by pointing to a belief of yours (that Jesus was real (which I believe as well; and hey, Einstein did too, despite his stated disbelief in a personal god)), whereas I chose to accentuate mine by pointing to how much I have no confidence in. Surely Mr. Feynman must have been joking…
                  Actually, I had some other beliefs that I have less confidence in (like the evolution of man), but excluded it since I didn't want to stray too far from the point.