Forum    Search    FAQ

Board index » Chat Forums » Political Opinions and Opinionated Posts




Post new topic  This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 150 posts ] 
 
Author Message
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:40 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2669
Website: http://kitoba.com
Location: Televising the revolution
drachefly wrote:
Kitoba - When a scientist says a theory is true, that means 'This theory has been tested strongly enough that withholding provisional assent would be perverse.' i.e. very very low faith required in the sense given above. This generally kicks in somewhere around 1 in a billion for medium-scale results - less stringent for smaller results, more for larger. Evolution easily easily surpasses this threshold.


Thus, as waffle indicated, the importance of defining terms. When a philosopher says a statement is "true", she means something along the lines of "2 + 2 = 4", not something that has been established empirically. Since this conversation straddles the worlds of science and philosophy, it's important to establish in which context we mean our claims to be taken.

This may seem like hair-splitting, but it's actually of key importance. Some thinkers are in the habit of interpreting philosophical statements as though they were scientific statements --but only when it serves their purposes.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:15 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:00 am
Posts: 5215
Location: Awaiting the Waffle Signal
kitoba wrote:
@waffle

I agree with you that we're using these terms in incompatible ways. So I'll offer some definitions as a starting point, with the understanding that we won't argue about whether the definitions themselves are correct or not. Since I may not have been consistent with these definitions prior to this point, these definitions should be referred to only moving forward.

Fact: I will use the term "factual" to mean a statement that has a definite truth value, regardless of whether that truth value is true or false.
Belief: A statement assumed to be true.
Proof: A logical structure used to establish the relationship between the truth values of various statements.
Proven: A statement incapable of being false given the accepted assumptions.
Statement of faith: An unproven belief (not to be confused with capital F "Faith", which I will not be discussing in this post)


I still do not like this definition as it implies a black and white universe and automatically assigns any uncertainty to faith. Let's use these definitions in relation to starting my car in the morning. My car will most likely start. It's a brand new Forester. But there's a chance it froze overnight. Because I cannot state with certainty that the car will start, starting my car is an act of faith.

This is absurd.

Let's take another example. In poker, an inside straight draw occurs when a player has four cards to a sequential arrangement (a straight), but the missing card is one of the middle three cards of the straight. That is, a player might have a ten, jack, king and ace. He needs only a queen to get a straight. The bet is to him. Should he fold, call or raise? A smart player knows the odds of filling his inside straight are 11 to one against. So, if there are eleven bets in the pot, it make sense for him to call. If there are less than eleven bets in the pot, he should not.

It is impossible to say before hand whether the bet pays off or not. It is impossible, given kitoba's definition, of proving the bet good or not good because the knowledge of the deck is imperfect. BUT, it is possible to quantify the uncertainty and make computations and decisions based on this. It is possible to assign probabilities of success and make an informed decision on whether or not to call the bet. And this is not an act of faith.

Let's expand this out further. In science, observations have uncertainties. There are always uncertainties in any measurement. But, like poker, it is possible to quantify these uncertainties. Every scientific statement contains within it a statement of uncertainty, a plus or minus at the end of the value. And that goes for constants such as the speed of light in a vacuum, the gravitational constant or the fine structure constant. We know the speed of light to four parts in a billion, but there is still uncertainty. And these numbers are real numbers. That is, they always have more digits after the decimal point. We can continue to refine our observations further and further, but we will not eliminate that uncertainty.

Does this mean that the speed of light in a vacuum is a statement of faith? It isn't certain. It cannot be proven absolutely true to the last digit (because there isn't one). I cannot state the speed of light with infinite precision. I cannot advance an exact value that cannot be falsified later by observations. Granted, my stated value will agree with any observed value to four parts in a billion. But beyond that, all bets are off. Therefore, according to kitoba's definition, the speed of light is a statement of faith. And this is absurd.

Quote:
OK, then:

I think we agree that evolution is factual --it is in the realm of things that have a definite truth value. We both also share the belief that the truth-value of evolution is "true". However, it's simply incorrect to refer to evolution as "proven." At best you can call it "supported beyond all reasonable doubt" --a solid, secure belief.

This, by the way, is not a strange or controversial statement, or something only a religious nut could come up with --it's a fundamental feature of empirical science.


First, you are again confusing Evolution with the Theory of Evolution. Evolution, the change of allele frequency over time, is a fact. It is as much of a fact as the speed of light. Second, by ignoring the fact of evolution, you ignore the limits placed on any sort of replacement theory. That is, in those areas where the Theory of Evolution has been shown to conform strongly with reality, any replacement must therefore conform to the Theory of Evolution.

Again, going back to gravity. GR overthrew Newton's gravity. It replaced it with a new structure for spacetime. But in any region without a strongly deformed spacetime, it reduces to Newton's gravity. Every single observation made that conformed and informed Newton's gravity is still valid. Newton's gravity is still valid. All GR did was inform us where reality does not match Netwon's gravity.

Likewise, the observed facts of Evolution will inform any replacement theory. Gene flow happens. Mutation happens. Genetic drift happens. Survival of the fittest happens. Whales evolved from a land based, four legged wolf like ancestor. Man evolved from an Australopithecus like ancestor. These are the facts of evolution. Any new theory will not upset or replace these observations. It will merely offer a more complete interpretation of the how.

And this is a fundamental feature of empirical science.

Quote:
If you say "evolution is true" or "evolution is a fact" or "evolution is not a belief", and if by that you explicitly mean "evolution has been proven incapable of being false", then you have gone beyond the bounds of science and have made a statement of faith (small "f"). You may have good solid reasons for making that leap of faith --but then, I would say the same about my statements of faith as well.


No. I am making the important and accurate distinction between Evolution, the observed scientific fact and the Theory of Evolution, the theoretical framework explaining the how of that fact.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:18 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:00 am
Posts: 5215
Location: Awaiting the Waffle Signal
kitoba wrote:
drachefly wrote:
Thus, as waffle indicated, the importance of defining terms. When a philosopher says a statement is "true", she means something along the lines of "2 + 2 = 4", not something that has been established empirically.


Gödel's incompleteness theorem. Philosophers may say this. And mathematicians will continue to make fun of them for doing so.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:40 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2669
Website: http://kitoba.com
Location: Televising the revolution
Your examples are not in accordance with my usage of the term "statement of faith". Your statement that your car will start tomorrow or that your poker hand will win would only be classified as statements of faith under my definition if you were unwilling to admit any possibility that they might be otherwise. If you are willing to describe these statements as "strongly justified beliefs" or even "overwhelmingly justified beliefs" then presumably we would be in agreement on their classification.

To be frank, I'm not sure what the point of asking me to define my terms was if you are going to substitute your intuition of what these terms mean anyway. Would you prefer a term other than "faith"? Pick a term with less baggage, and we'll agree together to use it instead.

In addition, you aren't being as careful with your language as you are demanding from me. You are using the word "fact" as a shorthand for "overwhelmingly supported by the evidence of carefully controlled observations." That's fine, as long as you are clear about your usage. However, you seem to want to use the word "fact" to mean "utterly incapable of being otherwise." Those are two different usages, and I stand by my contention that the second usage of the term moves the debate from the realm of science into the realm of philosophy.

Quote:
Gödel's incompleteness theorem. Philosophers may say this. And mathematicians will continue to make fun of them for doing so.

A little less condescension, please. In the not-so-distant past, I completed a Master's level course during which we proved Gödel's theorem from first principles (please note the proper usage of the term "prove" here). I'm confident I understand it and its implications at least as well as you do, especially given the context within which you cited it.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:54 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:00 am
Posts: 5215
Location: Awaiting the Waffle Signal
*sigh* I'm not being clear.

There are two closely related entities under discussion. One is a fact, one is a scientific theory. Or rather, one is a pile of such facts and the other is a scientific framework explaining how the facts fit together. One is a collection of puzzle pieces, the other is a map of where the pieces go. One of these is Evolution. The other is the Theory of Evolution.

Evolution is a fact. It is an empirically measured fact. Evolution is, and I'll quote the definition from my anthropology days, "A change in allele frequencies in a breeding population over time". That's evolution. It is an observed fact. Allele frequencies in breeding populations change with time. There are other facts demonstrating shifting allele patterns. Fossils, of course, though those are relating phenotypes rather than genotypes. Mutation studies, demonstrating the introduction of new alleles. Studies of gene frequencies in populations. Studies of those same populations at later times. Speciation experiments in short lived species. Observations of genetic bottlenecking leading to speciation. Gene sequencing of closely related but non-cross-fertile species to determine the degree of genetic difference. All of these things are facts. All of them are instances of evolution. All of them are instances of allele frequencies in breeding populations shifting over time.

That is Evolution.

The Theory of Evolution is an overarching framework to demonstrate the mechanisms for the observed facts of Evolution. In its simplest form, here it is. Evolution, the change in allele frequencies in a breeding population over time, occurs by means of four mechanisms. Those mechanisms are as follows.

1) Mutation. Mutation is the spontaneous generation of new alleles. This can occur in a number of ways. Point transcription errors are the most well know, but seldom result in anything viable or beneficial. Gene hopping, whole gene duplication and other more esoteric observed mechanisms show up here.

2) Survival of the Fittest. Heavily modified and expanded from Darwin's day. This mechanism incorporates sexual selection, efficiency in food gathering and other more traditional evolutionary mechanisms.

3) Gene Flow. This mechanism incorporates the ways in which populations move and interact. Bottlenecking shows up here, along with migrations and geographical limitations.

4) Genetic Drift. This is the change in allele frequency over time due to random sampling. An offspring's genetic makeup is a subset of its parents'. But because it is a random sample of that subset, there is the opportunity for drift from expected probabilities.

A fifth mechanism has been proposed by Stephen Gould, among others:

5) Punctuated Equilibrium. This is a hypothesis that states that the rate of evolution, that is, the rate at which allele frequencies shift, is inversely proportional to the population size. That is, rapid evolution, even speciation, occurs when a subset of a population becomes isolated from the rest of the population (due to geography, shifts in migration patterns, or as I once showed as an undergrad, nonlinear population growth falling into a strange attractor - chaos theory FTW!)

While the hypothesis appears sound, it has not yet been accepted as one of the mechanisms for the Theory of Evolution and there is an active discussion about whether it is not simply a specialization of Gene Flow.

That is the Theory of Evolution.

The Theory of Evolution is separate from the facts of Evolution. That is, the overarching framework uniting and explaining the observations is not the same thing as the observations. The observations are what they are, and are not likely to change. No, that's too weak. The observations are facts. They are not going to change. Australopithecus is an extinct hominid. That is not going to change. It is a hominid that lived between four and two million years ago. That is not going to change. It and humanity share an ancestor. That is a cold, hard fact and is not going to change. Ever.

There may be a replacement Theory of Evolution. Hell, we can see it happening right now with the debate over punctuated equilibrium. But all that will change are the mechanisms of evolution and how they fit together. It will not change any of the facts of evolution. It will not change the fact that mutations happen. It will not change the fact that allele frequencies shift over time. It will not change the fact that genes occasionally jump from one chromosome to another. It will not change the fact that all whales have an ancestor that was a vaguely wolf-like four legged land mammals. It will not change the fact that humans are a type of great ape most closely related to bonobo chimpanzees among the living hominids. It will not change the fact that humans and Australopithecus share a common ancestor, making them one of our older hominid relatives. These are facts.

Also, whatever may replace the Theory of Evolution, it will, it must, look exactly like the present Theory of Evolution in every instance where we know the present Theory of Evolution is in concordance with the facts of Evolution. That is, if there is a replacement theory, it will change not one of the above Evolutionary facts a whit. And, so constrained, it must equate or reduce to the present Theory of Evolution in every area we now know.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:34 pm 
Gatekeeper of Niftiness
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 5104
Location: Australia
kitoba wrote:
Steave wrote:
The point is that, as an atheist, I have seen no convincing evidence either directly or indirectly to support the existence of a Devine being. This means that either there is no Devine being or that whatever Devine being there is has no effect on my existence. Both of these conclusions leads me to act as if there is no Devine being.


I would describe that as an "agnostic" position, not an atheist one. However, even as an agnostic position, I think your intermediate conclusion is an overreach. I would recast it as "any divine being that might exist has no effect separable from natural causes that I can personally observe in my life." This may still lead you to your final agnostic conclusion, but it's more in line with what you can actually reasonably claim.
i would like to draw attention to this as I think it highlights the difficulty we seem to be having from our differing perspectives. Your description of my position as agnostic seems to stem from an assumption that I see an equal likelihood between a useless Devine being and no Devine being at all. I do not. And why would I? A useless Devine being is as worthy of consideration as the teapot on the other side of the sun*

*I'm sure the Teapot has been discussed before but as a refresher: There is a teapot on the other side of the sun orbiting it at the same speed as the Earth. We cannot see it. The sun is in the road. It's gravity well is much to small to be measured. It changes nothing else that we know of our solar system. It just sits there doing whatever it is that teapots in space do. Why should I ever give it any consideration whatsoever?

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:47 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Tue May 21, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 12022
Location: The things, they hurt
kitoba wrote:
My point is just that the fault is not all on the side of the Biblical fundamentalists. There do exist influential thinkers who approach atheism as a faith, and who have worked hard to tie that faith to a belief in science --which, frankly, both inflames the paranoia of the fundamentalists, and supports their efforts to drive a wedge between believers and science.


Sure, I'll grant you that point. I don't even know if Dawkins does any science any more, he's become a career ideologue who does more to piss people off than to convince people of the value of science. I wish people would stop paying attention to him. Dismissing science because of Dawkins is like kind of like dismissing religion because of Fred Phelps. In other words, you don't even need to talk about the substance of the matter, you just have to know that the other guy is a jerk.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:57 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2669
Website: http://kitoba.com
Location: Televising the revolution
@waffle
Are you a scientist. If so, are you specifically a biologist? I ask for this reason: There are some things you have said about science that I will accept on your say so if you are a scientist working in the field (given that I am not myself a scientist). If you are not a scientist, however, there are some claims of yours I would like to challenge.

Now, to the substance of your statements: I apprehend the difference you are highlighting between the observed "facts", and the theory that attempts to explain those facts. But the examples you gave previously muddied that distinction, rather than clarified it. Allow me to quote:

Quote:
Gene flow happens. Mutation happens. Genetic drift happens. Survival of the fittest happens. Whales evolved from a land based, four legged wolf like ancestor. Man evolved from an Australopithecus like ancestor. These are the facts of evolution.

You can arguably directly observe mutation taking place. But the statement "Whales evolved from a land-based, four-legged wolf-like ancestor" strikes me as a conclusion --presumably drawn indirectly from the evidence of the fossil and genetic record as illuminated by theoretical insights. When you lump these distinctly different kinds of statements together as "facts", you destroy the very distinction you claim to be concerned with preserving.
Steave wrote:
i would like to draw attention to this as I think it highlights the difficulty we seem to be having from our differing perspectives. Your description of my position as agnostic seems to stem from an assumption that I see an equal likelihood between a useless Devine being and no Devine being at all. I do not. And why would I? A useless Devine being is as worthy of consideration as the teapot on the other side of the sun*


I'm sorry, I misspoke. What I meant is that I would call your personal experiences a legitimate justification for agnosticism. If, however, you're willing to extrapolate from your own personal experience and understanding to universal statements, that's fine in my book. I just want to make it clear that it's the same move that adherents of theistic faiths are so often criticized for making.

Kea wrote:
Sure, I'll grant you that point. I don't even know if Dawkins does any science any more, he's become a career ideologue who does more to piss people off than to convince people of the value of science. I wish people would stop paying attention to him. Dismissing science because of Dawkins is like kind of like dismissing religion because of Fred Phelps. In other words, you don't even need to talk about the substance of the matter, you just have to know that the other guy is a jerk.

I am very far from dismissing science because of Dawkins. But I wanted to point out that people like Dawkins are not just a paranoid fantasy in the minds of Bible thumping fundamentalists.

Furthermore, the Fred Phelps analogy is a little misleading, in as much as Dawkins is a figure of far more legitimacy, influence and respect than Phelps. Plenty of people pay attention to what Dawkins says --hopefully the same can't be said of Phelps.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:32 pm 
Gatekeeper of Niftiness
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 5104
Location: Australia
kitoba wrote:
What I meant is that I would call your personal experiences a legitimate justification for agnosticism.
I wouldn't and I'm not entirely sure why you would.
kitoba wrote:
If, however, you're willing to extrapolate from your own personal experience and understanding to universal statements, that's fine in my book. I just want to make it clear that it's the same move that adherents of theistic faiths are so often criticized for making.
I'm not sure that "I'm an atheist and this is why I disagree that atheism is a belief or faith" counts as a universal statement.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:51 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2669
Website: http://kitoba.com
Location: Televising the revolution
Steave wrote:
I wouldn't and I'm not entirely sure why you would.

??? Maybe I'm missing something here. Or do you mean that it isn't a justification for agnosticism BECAUSE it's a justification for atheism? No? Maybe I completely misunderstood your point.

Quote:
I'm not sure that "I'm an atheist and this is why I disagree that atheism is a belief or faith" counts as a universal statement.


The universal statement I meant was "There is no God", which I would characterize as a (universal) atheist statement, as opposed to "I have no reason to believe in any God", which I would call a (personal) agnostic statement.

But I think this is the wrong approach. I'm going to take a page from waffle and ask you to define what you mean by "belief" and "faith" so I can be sure I know what you mean when you say that atheism is neither.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:26 pm 
Member of the Fraternal Order of the Emergency Pants
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:00 am
Posts: 2993
I started a post in this thread, but had to leave and so left it as a saved draft. When I came back, you guys had wandered firmly into the territory that I was going to cover. That said, I'll post it anyway, just in case something I say makes something click for others.


I think where we're being tripped up is on the definition of the word "faith." Most theists who use the word have a very specific meaning, which, if you want to put a lot of words around it, goes something like this: "Faith is when a person, having experienced some amount of evidence that supports a particular concept, but not having personally experienced irrefutable proof of its truth, concludes that the evidence is sufficient for them to operate on the presumption that it is truth." Hebrews 11:1 stated it more eloquently:

KJV Hebrews 11:1 wrote:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

An extreme example: I have read about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, others have told me about it, I've seen photos of it, I've seen a documentary which discussed it. But I have never laid eyes on it, so I cannot say that I have personally experienced irrefutable proof of its existence. It is theoretically possible that I am the victim of an elaborate ruse designed to convince me that there's a tall, crooked Italian building that doesn't actually exist. But the evidence is strong enough that I have accepted its existence. So under the definition given above, I have faith in the existence of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Chichén Itzá is different. I have personally laid eyes on it, and touched the stones of the temple of Kukulkán. My perfect, irrefutable knowledge of its existence leaves no room for faith.

When we say that a person has faith in some scientific principle, it's not to say that he or she blindly trusts in it, any more than we would say that religious faith is blind. It is to say that the person has not personally witnessed irrefutable proof of that principle; he or she is relying to some extent upon knowledge obtained from others.

But science is in the business of disproving its own models. Nearly all significant advances in science overturned what it declared to be "fact" the day before. Equating human scientific knowledge with truth is hubris, because it presumes that our knowledge is a perfect description of reality. Human scientific knowledge is an approximation of truth, one that we continually refine and improve, but which will never be complete nor 100% accurate. This is not a criticism of science; it's a great system and it really couldn't work any other way.

What it means, though, is that we need to be cautious when we say that science has taught us that something is true or a fact. Many times, it would be more accurate, if perhaps somewhat pedantic, to say, "Our current scientific models dictate such-and-such, and we have an extremely high degree of confidence it."

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:48 pm 
Gatekeeper of Niftiness
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 5104
Location: Australia
Belief and faith should have a positive integer. There should also be a sufficient amount of uncertainty or lack of evidence to support the notion.

I, for example have faith in the general goodness of humanity. The lack of evidence for this is continued wars, shooting sprees, sexual assaults, ect. The positive integer is people acting upon each other.

To relate this to the subject of atheism, there is no positive integer to place my belief upon. The evidence for a Devine being, being the written words and actions of all people who claim such a belief, is so full of equally plausible inconsistencies and contradictions that it is very poor evidence to begin with. When compared to falsifiable data about the human brain the evidence becomes even more unreliable.

To put it another way. It's not that I believe there is no Devine being. It's that don't believe there is a Devine being.

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:38 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Tue May 21, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 12022
Location: The things, they hurt
kitoba wrote:
I am very far from dismissing science because of Dawkins. But I wanted to point out that people like Dawkins are not just a paranoid fantasy in the minds of Bible thumping fundamentalists.

Furthermore, the Fred Phelps analogy is a little misleading, in as much as Dawkins is a figure of far more legitimacy, influence and respect than Phelps. Plenty of people pay attention to what Dawkins says --hopefully the same can't be said of Phelps.

Sorry, I didn't mean to say you were dismissing science, I was talking about people who want to put disclaimer stickers on biology textbooks. For a better analogy, substitute Phelps for a public figure like Pat Robertson (I don't know who's up in the world of televangelists these days). I'm trying to say that Dawkins is one guy with a microphone, and no matter how much he bangs on about his opinions, that doesn't make the actual practice of science a plot to brainwash people's kids into atheism. And if he makes people think it is, then I wish he'd shut up because he's not helping.

Quote:
Chichén Itzá is different. I have personally laid eyes on it, and touched the stones of the temple of Kukulkán. My perfect, irrefutable knowledge of its existence leaves no room for faith.
To mix philosophical metaphors, doesn't this expose you to a "turtles all the way down" problem? How do you know that the temple of Kulkulkan wasn't an elaborate stage set designed specifically to fool you? How do you know that you're not a brain in a vat hallucinating the whole thing?

I mean, I get what you're saying and all, but I still think a further distinction needs to be made between "faith" in reasonable amounts of convincing evidence (which waffle does not think should be called faith at all), and faith in things that by their very nature lie beyond evidence. A physical artifact could conceivably be proved a hoax (see Crystal Skulls, Piltdown Man, any number of recent alleged cold fusion machines), but could anybody disprove to you the existence of God?

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:42 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2169
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
There is one definition of faith, that is sometimes used and i think that is, what makes is such a loaded term, when applied to science.

You have faith in something, if you believe it, even if there is convincing contrary evidence.

Like you believe, your wife does not commit adultery, and no amount of naked people in her bedroom closet are going to change your opinion on that. And it's a common theme for stories, that the moral is, that if you had that sort of faith, plently of complication could have been avoided, so shame on you for not having it. So that type of faith is no mere strawman either.

And if you use that definition of faith, the central tennet of science is: "Thou shalt not have faith ever."

Top 
   
 
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:12 am 
Member of the Fraternal Order of the Emergency Pants
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 3156
AOL: drachefly
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Kea wrote:
AlternateTorg wrote:
Chichén Itzá is different. I have personally laid eyes on it, and touched the stones of the temple of Kukulkán. My perfect, irrefutable knowledge of its existence leaves no room for faith.
To mix philosophical metaphors, doesn't this expose you to a "turtles all the way down" problem? How do you know that the temple of Kulkulkan wasn't an elaborate stage set designed specifically to fool you? How do you know that you're not a brain in a vat hallucinating the whole thing?


Here's where my notion of it coming in degrees comes in. You'd still need faith for this, but it's been dropped from barely-detectable levels to positively minute.


Steave, I get why faith would need to be positive, but I have no idea why you'd insist that it be an integer.

Top 
   
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic  This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 150 posts ] 

Board index » Chat Forums » Political Opinions and Opinionated Posts


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: