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← Faith: A Barrier to Rational Thought (Podcast)

Faith: A Barrier to Rational Thought (Podcast) - Comments

alf1200's Avatar Comment 1 by alf1200

I've always thought religion is a display of arrogance.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 00:29:29 UTC | #936150

Neil5150's Avatar Comment 2 by Neil5150

          [Comment 1]

I've always thought religion is a display of arrogance.

Ignorance masquarading as arrogance perhaps

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 01:24:12 UTC | #936161

Martin_C's Avatar Comment 3 by Martin_C

Great to hear about this Matt Thornton guy. I love watching mma and boxing but it makes me sick when athletes, who devote their lives to training to superhuman levels, win a fight and thank their god on international television. Was the guy you beat to a pulp not praying hard enough? I'm very glad to hear someone is finally countering that rubbish. If I won a martial arts fight (not likely!) I would make sure I said,live, that I did it with no faith at all and did it all by MYSELF!!!

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 01:38:59 UTC | #936162

Quine's Avatar Comment 4 by Quine

I would recommend to Peter Boghossian the simple answer I give the religious when they accuse me of having "faith" in science or other areas: "I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence."

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 02:44:50 UTC | #936170

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 5 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Ah, an Armenian huh?

Anyway good interview!

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 03:06:38 UTC | #936176

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 6 by Zeuglodon

Peter Boghossian says so much I can agree with, and hearing him speak so straightforwardly is like a breath of fresh air. I particularly liked the way he handled the "faith in spouse" and "grandma's hat" points, but it was all enjoyable and fascinating. I'd probably disagree with him on the point that "everyone could be de-deluded", but some data on this point would be great.

I also liked his point about faith being self-defeating.

I have faith in X. (No evidence comes for X). I still have faith in X.

OR

I have faith in X. X turns out to be true based on observation and evidence. See, faith was right!

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 11:42:42 UTC | #936244

Nordic11's Avatar Comment 7 by Nordic11

Just for fun I thought I would help you guys out and provide you with a list of other men of faith whose ignorance was masquerading as arrogance:

Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Gregor Mendel, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, William Thomson Kelvin, Max Planck, Francis Collins.

With a history of such ignorance, theism is doomed.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 11:51:18 UTC | #936247

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 8 by Zeuglodon

Comment 7 by Nordic11

Of those listed, how many provided proof, never mind good proof, for theism's claims? Assuming, of course, that the heavily pro-Christian, anti-not-Christian culture most of them grew up and lived in didn't have anything to do with it.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:46:25 UTC | #936253

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 9 by Stafford Gordon

Fascinating. I feel emboldened to speak my mind more openly, but when I do, people can get so angry or sometimes even rude, it becomes counter productive.

I think that perhaps some individuals aren't quite as secure in their faith as they would have others believe; either that, or they aren't even prepared to entertain the notion that they might be wrong, or that other, non religious views are legitimate.

But I have every right to speak my mind, and I'll continue to do so.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:53:47 UTC | #936255

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 10 by Stafford Gordon

Fascinating. I feel emboldened to speak my mind more openly, but when I do, people can get so angry or sometimes even rude, it becomes counter productive.

I think that perhaps some individuals aren't quite as secure in their faith as they would have others believe; either that, or they aren't even prepared to entertain the notion that they might be wrong, or that other, non religious views are legitimate.

But I have every right to speak my mind, and I'll continue to do so.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 13:17:24 UTC | #936261

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 11 by Mark Jones

Comment 7 by Nordic11

Just for fun I thought I would help you guys out and provide you with a list of other men of faith whose ignorance was masquerading as arrogance:

Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Gregor Mendel, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, William Thomson Kelvin, Max Planck, Francis Collins.

With a history of such ignorance, theism is doomed.

Which of their activities do we celebrate; their scientific, evidence-based work, or their faith-based lucubrations?

People are complicated, so it's a shame to see such simplistic arguments applied to such great minds. For example, despite Faraday's Sandemanianism (a now defunct sect, far too conciliatory, I think), Faraday expert Geoffrey Cantor says of him:

...Faraday nailed his flag firmly to the empiricist mast. He believed that facts, and only facts, are the basic signs of nature and the foundation on which the whole edifice of science has to be constructed. As he told the audience at his lecture on mental education, a ‘fundamental fact ... never fails us, its evidence is always true’, and he portrayed science as dependent ‘upon carefully observed facts’.

[...]

Moreover, [...] his appeal to facts possessed clear psychological overtones. Thus, writing to Whewell in 1835 he admitted that ‘I feel that my safety consists in facts; and even these I am but too anxious [not] to pervert through the influence of preconceived notions’. [...] His fears of losing control and of being carried away by flights of imagination (or by prejudice) were overcome by the safe shelter that firmly based facts could provide. His persona, and with it his science, could be saved by facts and facts alone. As he wrote to Schoenbein in 1858, ‘without experiments [which produce facts] I am nothing’!

One could hardly fault his empiricism, then, so he did good science, and we have ways to measure how good. It's interesting that his feelings led him to embrace facts, when for some it just leads them to embrace.. their feelings. Things are rarely as simple as they seem at first glance.

As for faith being a barrier: well, it can, occasionally, be helpful, I think, as for Faraday, but when it is helpful, it's accidentally helpful. This is because faith allows one to be arbitrary in one's foundations, so one could just as easily develop nonsensical theories, like Gosse's Omphalos hypothesis, in which he allows his theism to infect his science, and thus render facts meaningless.

So is it best to promote ways of thinking that might promote rationality, or those that will? I think the answer is clear.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 13:48:33 UTC | #936268

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 12 by Peter Grant

http://c3415323.r23.cf0.rackcdn.com/120420Malcontent.mp3 Interview with Philosopher Peter Boghossian malcontentsgambit.com

This should be good, I really enjoyed his last one.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 14:31:39 UTC | #936280

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 13 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 11 by Mark Jones

Also, Faraday's Sandemanianism was a result of childhood indoctrination...his father was a church elder.

His adherence to the Sandemanian sect, which taught Christian values and doctrine but emphasized the love rather than the judgment of a divine creator, was a source of strength for him. But he separated his faith from his scientific investigations.

"I do not think it at all necessary to tie the study of the natural sciences and religion together, and in my intercourse with my fellow creatures, that which is religious, and that which is philosophical, have ever been two distinct things," Faraday said in a letter to an acquaintance. Faraday was sacrificial in that he turned down many opportunities to make money from his knowledge and inventions, believing that, of the roads to wealth and truth, he must apply himself to the later at the sacrifice of the former.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 15:06:28 UTC | #936283

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 14 by strangebrew

Comment 7 by Nordic11

Own goal...kidda well scored!.

Their scientific integrity overcame the cultural pressure to conform and support the wholly religious view point, because the conclusions of their various endeavours certainly offers no succour to religious claims.

These were intelligent and cogent folk...are you suggesting the dichotomy in their studies did not occur to them at all...to the point that they published treatise & papers that can be said actually diminishes the religious meme.

They might well have a religiously inspired background, fostered no doubt by a strict and overbearing upbringing and a cultural society dominated by peer pressure, much more so then we can possibly imagine today, but unfortunately for the religiously deluded they were one thing above all...Truthful...the one thing that can and does destroy the religious nonsense and displays it for what it actually is.

Your list is more a testament to reality and rationality then you hoped to demonstrate.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 15:24:57 UTC | #936286

Tony d's Avatar Comment 15 by Tony d

If i was religious and i listened to Peter Boghossian.I think i would have to start rethinking my position.

Peter is very plainly saying that faith is a worthless childish delusion.Now a religious person who believes that faith is valuable has to start thinking about why he is right and Peter is wrong.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 15:33:38 UTC | #936288

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 16 by Peter Grant

I did enjoy that, especially the bit about being bluntly honest.

What was that global warming part about though, I'm not sure I heard it correctly?

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 18:15:55 UTC | #936318

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 17 by kaiserkriss

Comment #15: "Now a religious person who believes that faith is valuable has to start thinking about why he is right and Peter is wrong."

I hate to burst your bubble, but you are making the big assumption people of faith are rational and think rationally- which because they are people of faith, they obviously don't. Besides they also think they don't have to supply evidence for their position since their position is 'self evident' to anyone but those atheist nutters. jcw

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 18:48:25 UTC | #936323

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 18 by Mr DArcy

Nordic 11:

Just for fun I thought I would help you guys out and provide you with a list of other men of faith whose ignorance was masquerading as arrogance:

Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Gregor Mendel, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, William Thomson Kelvin, Max Planck, Francis Collins.

With a history of such ignorance, theism is doomed.

Ah! Men of science who also happened to have been brought up in Christianity! I must let the "true" Christians decide whether or not Newton was a "true" Christian. I notice the most modern Christian scientist named by Nordic 11 is Francis Collins, - yes he of the trinitarian waterfall! All the rest are long dead, even Max Planck. I would have thought Nordic 11 might have mentioned Lemaitre, Belgian priest who is credited with first postulating, what has become known as the "big bang" idea. (Hoyle gave it that name). Lemaitre only died in 1966, that would make him almost as up to date as Collins!

And the ground breaking Christian scientists of today's age are?

........William Lane Craig?

(Okay, only joking!)

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 19:25:31 UTC | #936331

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 19 by chawinwords

Quine said: "I would recommend to Peter Boghossian the simple answer I give the religious when they accuse me of having "faith" in science or other areas: "'I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence."'

I have always used in argument with the addicted to religion: I have a rational expectations based upon my research and the reality record. For instance, when I had cataract surgery, it was argued that you must have faith in the doctor and the hospital.

To which I answered, are you nuts? I did my research; the doctor is 53 years old and has over a 98 percent success rate on over 10,000 cataract surgeries, along with the hospital and surgery staff assisting. Then, I say, I would need faith, however, to let you do the operation, being a fundamentalist minister and all.

Perhaps there is a better phrase than "rational expectation" based upon sanity, but I haven't found it yet!

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 21:58:45 UTC | #936362

Sample's Avatar Comment 20 by Sample

To which I answered, are you nuts? I did my research; the doctor is 53 years old and has over a 98 percent success rate on over 10,000 cataract surgeries, along with the hospital and surgery staff assisting. Then, I say, I would need faith, however, to let you do the operation, being a fundamentalist minister and all. chawinwords

The religious are not immune from making mistakes with their own words. Perhaps your friend really did mean faith, but I think in the scenario you described, many religious really mean trust, not faith. Good reply though!

Mike

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 22:18:33 UTC | #936367

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 21 by chawinwords

Mike, I suppose it possible that when they always say "faith" and never say "trust," they might never-the- less mean trust -- that, word confusion is possible for some, 100 percent of the time. However, that is what dictionaries are for, and English classes, and reason.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 01:19:29 UTC | #936391

GoldenRule rules!'s Avatar Comment 22 by GoldenRule rules!

I am just getting so very much from this fantastic interview! I have replayed it at least 5x now, and keep getting more.

Many thanks to Mr Litchfield, Mr Boghossian for all of this great stuff.

Your 'offense " is not to be mistaken as a cogent argument", ouch!

"Every person is reachable",..(yesssss!) Now we're talking!

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 04:28:44 UTC | #936407

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 23 by Border Collie

Faith, more like a symptom of irrational thought.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 18:33:11 UTC | #936487

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 24 by Border Collie

alf1200 ... very astute comment. Along with all the other garbage, it's all about arrogance, control, ego, sanctimony, agression, etc. Symbollically, it's little more than just a big tree limb in the hands of a dominant male chimp.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 19:00:57 UTC | #936489

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 25 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 23 by Border Collie :

Faith, more like a symptom of irrational thought.

And sometimes the other way around.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:55:02 UTC | #936533

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 26 by Alternative Carpark

A very enjoyable interview indeed.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 04:33:49 UTC | #937129

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 27 by ZenDruid

Comment 19 by chawinwords :

Quine said: "I would recommend to Peter Boghossian the simple answer I give the religious when they accuse me of having "faith" in science or other areas: "'I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence."'

I have always used in argument with the addicted to religion: I have a rational expectations based upon my research and the reality record. For instance, when I had cataract surgery, it was argued that you must have faith in the doctor and the hospital.

To which I answered, are you nuts? I did my research; the doctor is 53 years old and has over a 98 percent success rate on over 10,000 cataract surgeries, along with the hospital and surgery staff assisting. Then, I say, I would need faith, however, to let you do the operation, being a fundamentalist minister and all.

Perhaps there is a better phrase than "rational expectation" based upon sanity, but I haven't found it yet!

"Trust". You may trust the reliability of of your surgeon based on pretty good stats. You may also trust that the sun will rise tomorrow, based on 100% success rate in the past.

Trust is to evidence as faith is to storytelling.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 05:35:38 UTC | #937131

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 28 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 07:31:25 UTC | #937404

mmurray's Avatar Comment 29 by mmurray

Comment 28 by JeezisTheTruth :

Welcome to RDnet.

There are a number of kinds of faith. Faith that tomorrow printed money or money in an account will still be exchangeable for goods and services is quite different to religious faith. Faith in money is based on past experience and an understanding of how the economy works. We can investigate and reasonably estimate the circumstances under which the faith is justified and under which it is not.

Religious faith is not like this.

Michael

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 07:53:37 UTC | #937409

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 30 by Tyler Durden

Comment 28 by JeezisTheTruth :

Faith is quite adequate and necessary, and - in fact - NONE of you live without faith...and to suggest that Faith is irrational is, itself, irrational.

Religion, and its nescient acolytes, deal in blind-faith. There is nothing wrong with faith, per se.

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 09:33:32 UTC | #937423