On 5/10/2013 12:11 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

On May 10, 2013, at 1:24 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

On 5/10/2013 10:58 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com <mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com>> wrote:

    On Fri, May 10, 2013  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be 

        > How could a pseudo-religion, fake by definition, be superior to 

    Well, I'd rather be a fake moron that a real moron, wouldn't you?

        > And why should a religion be illogical?

    Because if it deals with big issues as religion does and it is not 
illogical then
    the word for that is not "religion" but "science".

Religion is a set of beliefs which cannot be proved. Science is a means by which one might arrive on such a set of beliefs. Life requires making decisions but as science never provides 100% certainty on any idea, science can never tell us what course of action is correct. For that we must fall back to our beliefs and hope our decision was right.

That's a very strange formulation? Yes, science is a means of arriving at a set of propositions that cannot be proved, but so is astrology and numerology and even just making stuff up. But science is right much more consistently than other methods and that's what distinguishes it - not the fact that it's not certain.

My point is that even with good methods of arriving at beliefs (such as science) we never get certainty.

Sure. It's even true in mathematics and logic, which unlike science do purport to prove things:


Yet any time we make a decision we must base that decision on some belief as if it were true, which is not scientific (but religious), as it depends on unprovable beliefs.

You're creating a false equivalence between science and religion (maybe so you can tell John Clark he's really religious; he likes to hear that. :-) ). This wrong in two respects. First, it is not necessary to assume some proposition is true in order to act. If I bet on a poker hand I'm betting it's better than my opponents hand - but I'm not assuming or believing or depending on that that. I know I may lose. Second, basing a decision on some belief doesn't make it either religious or scientific. What makes it scientific is that it is supported by the preponderance of the evidence. What makes it religious is that it is based on the dogma of some religion, i.e. is based on faith in some supernatural revelation.

E.g., if a doctor asks you if you want a digital brain prosthesis, you must answer yes or no. Science may lead you to believe CTM is true and the substitution level us right, but you cannot know. Making the decision involves a leap of faith.

No necessarily. I can bet CTM is more likely true than an alternative, without leaping to faith in either one. If I said "yes" to the doctor I wouldn't cancel my life insurance.

I'm not sure what you mean by religion provides beliefs which cannot be proved.

I did not say that it provides them. I said a religion is those set of beliefs. How you got them is another matter.

Of course they are not part of an axiomatic system, so they cannot be proved or disproved in that sense. But they can certainly tested in the ordinary sense of "preponderance of the evidence". For example many religions include a belief that pious and sincere prayers will be answered. Double blind tests of this belief show it is not true. So maybe the reason they can't be proved is that they are false.

Another reason is that nothing can be proved.

I don't think believing is just an act of will that can be applied to any proposition though, at least that's not what I'd call believing. You seem to implicitly assume that we need certainty in order to act - which is obviously not the case.

No, we never have certainty, so certainty is not required to act. But all decisions we make (consciously or not) are based on beliefs, which for the sake of the decision, we assume/hope to be true.

No, we don't assume they are true. In fact we make many decisions subconsciously; so to say we believe some proposition is true in order to act is stretching the meaning of "believe".

It ain't so much what you don't know that gets you into trouble, as what you know that ain't so.
      --- Josh Billings

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