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Thursday, December 30. 2010
Faith and Reason
All about monotheism, Abraham, and a mental experiment creating religion amnesia: How Did God Get Started?
One quote from the lengthy essay by Colin Wells:
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Since my first philosophy course, I have always felt the controversy between faith and reason arises from the misuse and misunderstanding of the two terms by a vast number of people (including theologians and scientists). I don’t see a dichotomy between the two, but a two-part intellectual tool: at times, one arrives at faith through reasoning (sometimes the reasoning is bad, but some scientific ideas have failed because of bad reasoning), and reasoning itself is based on faith (it doesn’t always work). Faith may be the only reason one has to believe something is true or to act in a certain way--without that faith to nudge us, we may never find ourselves taking action. On the other hand, to believe that there is this thing called “Reasoning”, something that is in-it-of-itself always reliable and informative, and if only we were to know it correctly and apply it always, stems from faith.
It would be better for us all if the pseudo-theologians and the pseudo-scientists would shut up and allow us intellectuals to speak among ourselves and argue over issues of substance.
Faith happens beyond the boundary where all reason is lost.
As that boundary expands the faithful look increasingly silly.
As a person of faith, which I would argue, you most certainly are as well, I'd like to say your position on this issue is absolute horseshit.
At the end of the day, epistemologically speaking, we don't know very much at all. Faith is a huge part of our daily perspective. Reason can only investigate the faith we possess...it cannot answer for it. If we were to try to reason our way through a day, the sheer magnitude of our not knowing would preclude action...a fact often referred to as 'paralysis of analysis'.
The very basis of the scientific process is faith - faith that a hypothesis can be proven correct. Remember, many hypotheses are NOT proven....in fact, some are still out there waiting for proof. As a result, there are some who take these hypotheses as "fact" because it is reasonable to assume they will be proven someday. But perhaps they won't be....they're just really good, well thought out hypotheses.
What I found astounding about this article is how well it ties in with Bastiat. What is seen and what is not seen. Much of economics today is driven by what is seen - along the lines of the atheistic decree that reason drives all belief. We can measure money, jobs, and even economic activity to some large degree. So we have to focus on those things as the real "goals" of economics, which means we tend to rely on things that we KNOW and SEE create some level of these things (government).
Bastiat, however, pointed out that what we see is only a portion of what is important, that what we don't see is EQUALLY important, even if we can't measure it or prove it was impacted. Having faith in this part of the economic equation - this part we know is there, but can't fully fathom - is what drives economics and growth. The free market (the invisible hand, if you will, even though this isn't how Adam Smith intended it) creates value, wealth, and drives us to produce more and better products. How does it do this? We're not entirely sure - but it does.
Sadly, this faith is lost over time, and we revert to pure reason - misplaced reason. The government prints money, so that is where wealth comes from. Ergo, the government can produce jobs, wealth, and value.
But it can't, never has been able to and never will be able to. Because people have lost the faith in the market which really creates value. Losing faith is the most dangerous thing of all, even when you have completely mastered reason.
The false dichotomy between faith and reason is part of the statist agenda to box off faith from the public square, and substitute secular rulers (kings, democracies, politburos).
Its roots go back to the Protestant Reformation.
Read this latest by David Warren:
Here I am thinking, today, of the myths engendered by the Protestant Reformation, now nearly half a millennium ago. Across northern Europe, and in North America, the very legitimacy of the state, and of the secular social order, depends upon certain received notions from the history of those times....
it requires that we worship a god, called progress, which has stalked through all the intervening centuries, making hecatombs in its wake -- while appropriating to its own prestige every technical advance that would have happened anyway. For without this plausible idea that there is "a way forward, and no way back," the State could never have secured its power.
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The forces of secular statism claimed scientific inquiry and reason to themselves, as they attempted to discredit - and depose - the religious/communal hierarchies that gave life meaning.
Read it all:
What science found most easy to demolish were the things taught in false religion. The Bible never claimed that the sun went around the earth, but some falsely claimed it to be so in the name of God. Astronomy, having acquired modern methodology, quickly eradicated that view.
Today the spectacle is more or less reversed. Now we are treated to pseudo-scientists claiming, on the basis of unprovable assertions, circular reasoning, and other fallacies, to have disproven any number of statements made by true religion.