On 5/10/2013 2:49 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
On 5/10/2013 12:11 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On May 10, 2013, at 1:24 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
On 5/10/2013 10:58 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com
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
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
one might arrive on such a set of beliefs. Life requires making decisions
science never provides 100% certainty on any idea, science can never tell
course of action is correct. For that we must fall back to our beliefs and
our decision was right.
That's a very strange formulation? Yes, science is a means of arriving at
of propositions that cannot be proved, but so is astrology and numerology
just making stuff up. But science is right much more consistently than
methods and that's what distinguishes it - not the fact that it's not
My point is that even with good methods of arriving at beliefs (such as
never get certainty.
Sure. It's even true in mathematics and logic, which unlike science do
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
You're creating a false equivalence between science and religion (maybe so
tell John Clark he's really religious; he likes to hear that. :-) ).
They are not equivalent, but there is a relationship between the two. It is like Bruno
says, science is the tool and religion the goal. Or what Einstein said, where religion
sets the goals and science helps realize them:
"Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked
off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal
relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal,
it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will
contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created
by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding.
This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also
belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of
existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a
genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an
image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
This an old rhetorical move, made most nakedly by Paul Tillich who defined "God" as
whatever you value and "religion" as the pursuit of that value. So Tillich converted
everyone to belief in God much more easily than Billy Graham every hoped. The trouble is
that neither you nor Einstein get to redefine words - they are defined by commons usage.
It doesn't take "profound faith" to bet that the world is explicable. It only takes the
observation that a lot has been well explained (by science, not religion) and the
curiosity to want to explain more.
This wrong in two respects. First, it is not necessary to assume some
is true in order to act. If I bet on a poker hand I'm betting it's better
opponents hand - but I'm not assuming or believing or depending on that
that. I know
I may lose.
You decision to bet is based on the belief that maximizing winnings (at the expense of
others) is good (and that the move has an expected value greater than zero).
That I want to win is not a belief about the world, it's a personal value. Something I can
perceive directly by introspection.
Someone relying only on science could never be certain playing poker was the correct
course of action to make, for that you had to rely on some (possibly wrong) belief that
it is good.
Sure every decision must be informed by some values, factual propositions are not enough
even if they were certain.
Second, basing a decision on some belief doesn't make it either religious
scientific. What makes it scientific is that it is supported by the
of the evidence. What makes it religious is that it is based on the dogma
religion, i.e. is based on faith in some supernatural revelation.
Here you are defining religion circularly as the dogma of some religion.
I gave a non-circular explication of that "... based on faith in some supernatural
I prefer my definition of religion as a set of beliefs, as it is non-circular, it can be
applied to non-dogmatic, and non-revealed religions, and it follows more closely with
the definitions of Einstein and Bruno.
Except it makes beliefs like "McDonald hamburgers are cheap, but they're easy to find."
into religions. But I guess that's a small price to pay for converting everyone to religion.
Of course, you and John Clark may not like this definition, because it shows how every
rational thinker operates according to some belief and value system, which cannot be
justified by science.
E.g., if a doctor asks you if you want a digital brain prosthesis, you must
yes or no. Science may lead you to believe CTM is true and the
us right, but you cannot know. Making the decision involves a leap of
No necessarily. I can bet CTM is more likely true than an alternative,
leaping to faith in either one. If I said "yes" to the doctor I wouldn't
A bet being the result of a belief + some decision theory.
But the "belief" doesn't have to be a set of beliefs forming a religion. It is only an
estimate of the relative of probability of some propositions relevant to the decision. It
is tentative and subject to test and revision. Decision theory is primarily about making
decisions under uncertainty. And you left out values, which are needed as an input to the
decision theory too.
In any case, the "act" is unscientific because either choice represents a presumption of
knowledge, which we know we never have. Of course, the practical considerations of life
in this universe compell us to make such decisions all the time.
So to summarize, according to you, no choice can be scientific because science doesn't
provide certainty and hence every choice must be religious because it requires a certain
belief and every certain belief constitutes a religion.
I'm not sure what you mean by religion provides beliefs which cannot be
I did not say that it provides them. I said a religion is those set of
How you got them is another matter.
Of course they are not part of an axiomatic system, so they cannot be
disproved in that sense. But they can certainly tested in the ordinary
"preponderance of the evidence". For example many religions include a
pious and sincere prayers will be answered. Double blind tests of this
show it is not true. So maybe the reason they can't be proved is that they
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
implicitly assume that we need certainty in order to act - which is
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
the decision, we assume/hope to be true.
No, we don't assume they are true. In fact we make many decisions
so to say we believe some proposition is true in order to act is stretching
meaning of "believe".
As much as "unconscious decisions" stretch the meaning of "decide".
But if you assume all decisions are conscious, you concede that many acts are
"Once you have backed into the faith corner, you have no
recourse against terror and repression in the name of religion,
no recourse against bigotry, demagoguery, misogyny, or abuse
posing as religion. You have no basis for criticism of cruel
religions. This is precisely because faith is not a matter of
evidence and analysis, not a matter of argument and criticism."
--- Patricia Churchland
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.