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25 October 2002 @ 12:17 am
I want you to hit me as hard as you can.  
Faith: is believing in that which we cannot see, sense, or prove. Faith gives us axioms - faith gives us proof without proof. Faith is immune to logic. All systems of Thought are based on Faith.
Opinions: Beliefs that are subject to Change, are more likely to be fluid, unless they are long-lasting
Knowledge: That which Logic and the Senses have verified through induction and deduction, and Instincts which an Individual was born with.
Belief: That which can not be Known, but is True for the Individual. See also Knowledge; contrast with Opinion.
Logic: is a consistent, complete system of determining the validity of an argument.

Useful definitions can (and may) include: data, meme, God(dess), god(dess), church, state, information, senses, the Individual, consistent, complete, proof, religion, epistemology, instinct, nature, nurture, truth, falsity, dualism, force, object, reality, change, and Fnord.
 
 
Current Mood: Fnord.
 
 
 
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on October 25th, 2002 04:33 am (UTC)
Doc. Many systems of thought are based on lack of faith: Solipsism, nihilism, and the scientific method--as practiced by many if not the majority--all come to mind off the top of my head. So there.
Oυτιςerragal on October 25th, 2002 10:53 am (UTC)
Perhaps a lack of some kinds of faith... but not an absence of faith. Depends on what you have faith in. I believe a working definition for faith without religious conotations could be, "firm belief in something for which there is no proof."

The scientific method is based on faith. There are axioms that have to be accepted on faith for the whole system to work.

Solipsism is based on the assumption that everything exists in your mind. You can't prove that, you have to decide that based on faith.

Nihilism does try to reject faith. Which is a tricky thing to do. Goedel's Incompletness theorem shows that any logical system has to have an axiom from something that can't be proven within the system. Hence faith... mathematicians have it in abundance.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?: noltemalcubed on October 25th, 2002 07:54 pm (UTC)
I disagree. The scientific method--when it's done right (at least in my opinion)--specifically involves a lack of faith. Because the scientific method exists precisely because those axioms are unprovable. The system works best when you approach a system saying, "To the best of my knowledge, this is the case. But it's entirely possible that that's completely wrong." You have to be open to the possibility that the very firmament on which the system rests is inaccurate. When scientists take concepts on faith, you end up with things like the "planet" Vulcan and pseudo-inquisitions set up to crucify those who are violating modern dogmas. Examples include: Wilhelm Reich, anyone who thought meteorites existed before the mid-19th century, Timothy Leary, etc. You have to have a complete absence of faith for the system to work.

By "solipsism", I really mean neo-solipsism, a term I have frequently found utilized to R.A.Wilsonian frames of thought. Which is to say, "I cannot take anything for certain. There are certain things that seem to be the case, and I can operate in a system in which I pretend they are the case. But again, I can't take it on faith that they are the case, because that could be wrong. I have to be open to the possibility that everything I know is a lie, and be capable of accepting that proposition if evidence appears suggesting that is the case." Similar, I suppose, to my opinions on the scientific method appearing above.

As for nihilism, it's really just a system of thought extrapolated from one of the great geniuses of our time: The sergeant from Hogan's Heroes. "I know nussink! NUSSINK!"

Also: General Semantics & E-Prime. An entire system of linguistics and derivative of English predicated on the idea that basic aspects of most languages influence how people think on a primal level, and force them to think things about the universe that are simply inaccurate. "Ism is an Illness."

Faith is like belief: If you started doing it, you turn off your critical thinking, which makes you vulnerable to memetic viruses that can corrupt your faculties. Best to have faith in nothing, and believe in even less.

imho (oc)
Oυτιςerragal on October 25th, 2002 11:01 pm (UTC)
What I kind of alluded to is that because of Goedel Incompleteness anything that can call itself a system has to have some facet of itself hinge on something that cannot be proven within the system... an act of faith. This of course makes the most sense in formal systems... but of course their business is to make sense in general as their goals are more objective rather than subjective.

You can't have a complete absence of faith. You can just be very choosy and have very little faith but there is always something you put your faith in.

the scientific method exists precisely because those axioms are unprovable. Which is to say, "I cannot take anything for certain...
Remember I'm operating under the definition of faith as, "firm belief in something for which there is no proof." If you believe in axioms that can't be proven you are exhibiting faith.
If you believe in your axioms... or your methods for finding axioms... or your system in general. You have to have faith in them because ultimately you run out of proof.

You can hedge your bet with skepticism but in the end you've got to rely on a little faith. You have faith in your senses, your instruments, your calculations, your predictions, your colleagues, the rules about how to conduct your experiments, and faith the system itself. You can't prove the scientific method can explain all physical phenomena.

"I cannot take anything for certain. There are certain things that seem to be the case, and I can operate in a system in which I pretend they are the case..."

How does one decide to be a neo-solipsist? Can you prove their reasoning? To say "I cannot take anything for certain" is to have faith in that assertion. You can't prove that "you cannot take anything for certain."

Best to have faith in nothing, and believe in even less.
Do you have faith in that?
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on October 26th, 2002 09:15 am (UTC)
Apparently, I'm too verbose. Part one:

You seem to be sidestepping my reply entirely here. I must have faith in my assertion that I have faith in nothing? I am also operating under the definition as a "firm belief in something for which there is no proof." Which is why, as an extension of my lack of a belief system, I take faith in nothing.

You cannot have faith in your senses. Because if you're a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, and you see a flying saucer land with green men coming out of it, it's not the best idea to run around saying, "Oh my God! There are aliens on the planet Earth!" There is always an alternative explanation, another model. In terms of that specific incident, history is on my side. Those scientists who have said, "I've seen aliens!" very quickly fall out of favor. Those who say, "I have seen something I cannot explain which has the surface appearance of a saucer-shaped object with jade-skinned inhabitants," can maintain their standing in the community somewhat longer. Any dogma stands in the way of the possibility that that dogma is false, preventing you from acknowledging what's really occuring.

As previously stated in that conversation, certain concepts are unprobable. In fact, on a primal level: all concepts are unprovable. I cannot prove that nothing can be taken for certain. But I can act as though I exist within a reality tunnel in which nothing can be proven. Simultaneously, I can act as though I exist within a reality tunnel with basic axioms about the functioning of the universe, and specific, provable physical laws. I can act within whichever of a variety of reality tunnel is most appropriate for a given situation--as long as I remember that they are, by default equally viable since they are equally provable/unprovable. It's just that some will generally appear to deliver better results.

"Do you know the Pope?"
"No, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it."

And no, I do not have faith in "Best to have..." I consider the possibility that I am horribly wrong. The Christians may be right: and there is a specific, real universe, which was created by a specific God, whose name is YHWH, and he has a penis so he can rape and impregnate teenage girls, and he will send me to Hell for not sucking his metaphysical cock every day of his existence. But I don't think it highly likely: that is my opinion, based on the evidence which I seem to have at hand. Perhaps someday, I will find a persuasive piece of evidence to the contrary.

The central conception of Wilsonian neo-solipsism is the idea of finding multiple models to explain any circumstance. In the circumstance of the LGMs above, consider the following possibilities:
1. Earth has been invaded by extraterrestrial invaders.
2. Steven Spielberg is filming a film in your back yard, and you somehow never got the memo.
3. Someone slipped Ayahuasca into your coffee at work this morning. You're going to start puking your guts out at any moment.
4. You are receiving transmissions from a future civilization, based on Earth, attempting to contact you. Your infantile mammalian brain is translating these transmissions into something that easily fits into your popular culture-molded reality tunnel.
5. Reality, on a primal level, is broken.

If you say faith is so fundamental a concept that it applies to everything and every situation, then you need a fucking new word to refer to what faith is supposed to refer to. It's a bit like saying that when you leave the house, you're still inside Earth's atmosphere. When you leave Earth, you're still in the solar system. Etc., etc., so you can never be outside of anything ever. What, then, is the purpose of the words outside and inside in this scenario?
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on October 26th, 2002 09:16 am (UTC)
Part two:

Socrates, the progenitor of the Western Philosophical movement: "If I am declared the wisest man in the land, it can only be because I among all men know that I know nothing."

The Buddha, progenitor of the first great quantum leap in Western Philosophy: "All appears to be maya, illusion. Nothing is as it appears."

Of course, these are expressions with implied dogmas in themselves. But they acknowledge their own need to constantly question even the foundation on which the conceptions are standing. Logic is unprovable. But you can pretend that you exist in a system in which logic is provable, and it works out the same as if it were, as long as you don't forget your pretending. Because then if something better comes along, like say fuzzy logic, you can stand apart from both of them and say, "which seems to have the best results if I pretend that it works?"

You dig, daddy-o?
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?: noltemalcubed on October 26th, 2002 09:58 am (UTC)
Appendix A:
Crowley, revivalist of the Western Mystical tradition:
"We place no reliance
on virgin or pigeon.
Our method is science,
Our aim is religion!"
Also:
"I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning."

Tim Skold, bassist/co-producer of Marilyn Manson:
"The truth is based on misinformation.
Reality is only a hallucination."

Appendix B:
We're getting bogged down in dogmatic details here. My fundamental claim here, is that the statement "All systems of thought are based on Faith" is inherently false. As evidence, I still claim that the systems I described are instead intentionally predicated on a lack of faith. You will never convince me of the contrary, otherwise all scientists would be Christians. Except for the moslem ones.

I would also point out that the statement "All systems of thought are based on Faith" is a fungible claim, and thus logic itself, due to the rule of logical arguments that all fungible claims are false, tells us that this claim is false. Similarly, in the system of General Semantics, in which any use of the "be" verb or the word "all" are considered verboten and by their very existence make statements that contain them inaccurate, this claim seems, once again, to have a high quotient of inaccuracy.

You cannot prove a fungible concept. If you want to think that you can take it on faith, then feel free to do so. However, I will not. However, that means that just as high reliance must be placed on "All systems of thought are based on faith" as "God wants you to felch every woman you meet." Neither can be proven or disproven at this point in time.

I will acknowledge at this point in time that I have made seemingly fungible arguments here, if you will acknowledge that even if in language I say "all," it is primarily due to the low utility of standard English; in my heart, I said "sumbunal" every time.
Oυτιςerragal on October 26th, 2002 12:44 pm (UTC)
All systems of thought are based on faith
I suppose I have to expect a religious studies major to start throwing dogma around. You even threw in some quotes from your relevant books. It is amusing to see someone dogmatically argue that something has no faith.

As evidence, I still claim that the systems I described are instead intentionally predicated on a lack of faith. You will never convince me of the contrary, otherwise all scientists would be Christians. Except for the moslem ones.

Heh... way to keep an open mind.
Scientists have faith. Take gravity. You can prove that things fall, that planets orbit, you can construct formulas to model this effect but the force is yet unproven. It is taken largely on faith. Scientists who are searching for the GUT have faith that their efforts will be rewarded.

"All systems of thought are based on Faith" is a fungible claim, and thus logic itself, due to the rule of logical arguments that all fungible claims are false, tells us that this claim is false.

How about "A system of thought is based on faith. This is true for all systems." Sumbunal? Now you're just making shit up. ;) Well if you meant it I'm sure Doc did too.

Logic is unprovable. But you can pretend that you exist in a system in which logic is provable, and it works out the same as if it were, as long as you don't forget your pretending.

Which is really all I've been saying. Here's some info on Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. I've been calling "pretending" faith. You may have reason to suspect your foundations... but if no one can disprove them you'll accept them. Not very strong faith, but I didn't mean to state anywhere that this faith had to be strong. It is just a belief in something that cannot be proven logically. You may allow yourself rules to slip into another system if you desire but you still have to build on some foundation and work as if something were true. When you make that decision it is a small act of faith.

If you say faith is so fundamental a concept that it applies to everything and every situation, then you need a fucking new word to refer to what faith is supposed to refer to. It's a bit like saying that when you leave the house, you're still inside Earth's atmosphere. When you leave Earth, you're still in the solar system. Etc., etc., so you can never be outside of anything ever. What, then, is the purpose of the words outside and inside in this scenario?

It depends on the context. You can use inside in those ways and you don't need another word to use them in that fashion. Granted the word has its commonly accepted uses but if you indicate that there is a change of context then you can still use the word in a new way. I've been pretty clear that "faith is belief in something that cannot be proven" is the geas that I am operating under. That doesn't mean that faith is religious doctrine (although it can be that also). I'm sticking solely to definition #2 here. I'm also not using it to refer to a dogma or religious belief (the Christian faith). I'm just using it as that definition pared down to its barest. Perhaps you truly believe in nothing... but I'm a bit of a pragmatist so if you operate as if you believe in something and in all other ways functions as if you believe in something than you have a belief. Of course if you've prepared yourself to change beliefs that's fine, I'm not addressing that. You still choose to believe in something for a time. If it is unproveable then it is faith from the definition I gave.

Gah... now I must go to work.
Oυτιςerragal on October 26th, 2002 12:48 pm (UTC)
Re: All systems of thought are based on faith
sorry bad link... will fix.
until then
http://www.miskatonic.org/godel.html
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on October 27th, 2002 01:25 am (UTC)
Re: All systems of thought are based on faith
I am so pleased when exactly what I want to happen happens. You two have officially made my weekend :)
XCorvisxcorvis on October 25th, 2002 09:30 am (UTC)
Time to read the Principia Discordia again...
atelierlune on October 25th, 2002 10:37 am (UTC)
Don't listen to them. You're right.