Friday, June 23, 2017

Quote Of The Day: Gotta Have Faith!

I'm still super busy and have little time to write good detailed blog posts, so here's a quickie. Many theists love to point to god-believing scientists as a way to validate their faith. "Look, here's a super smart scientist who believes in god, this proves religion is compatible with science."

Um, no it doesn't. Case in point: Aron Wall. He's a physicist that many theists have cited before because he is critical of some cosmological models that do not have an absolute beginning. But if you look into the guy, you can see that his belief is really grounded not good science or evidence—but in faith. Read it from his own blog:

Our belief that God is the Creator does not depend on the vicissitudes of scientific progress, the swinging back and forth of the tire swing (or is it accelerating?) It doesn't matter, because in this case we have a more certain source of knowledge than Science.

By faith!

He goes onto define faith as "confidence about what we hope for, but do not see."

That's usually what it comes down to. William Lane Craig comes to the same ultimate conclusion. All this talk of evidence is really just to reinforce his faith, that is to say what he hopes is true. And in case you want to test your faith in the decency of humanity, watch Limp Bizkit cover the George Michael original:

1 comment:

  1. Your quotation of my blog post seems very---how shall I put this?---selective.  If you had included even a few more words, it would become clear that this is not at all what I was trying to say.  The rest of the paragraph reads:

    "By faith!  The skeptic may scoff here, and say that faith is belief without evidence, but that is not the definition used in the passage above.  It says that faith is confidence about what we hope for, but do not see.  Unless we identify sight (conceived broadly as anything which can be directly experienced in terms of our 5+ senses) with evidence (things which allow us to conclude something about the world)--an identification which would incidentally also make Science impossible--the passage does not say that the ancients were commended for believing without evidence.  But the example of the biblical heroes does give some pointers about what type of evidence was relevant to them."

    In this paragraph I quite explicitly denied that faith means belief without evidence.  Rather, it is belief without "sight".  For example, nobody has ever directly seen a neutrino (since they are invisible) but we still have good evidence of their existence, coming from events in particle accelerators.  That is why I said that Science also involves belief in things we cannot see.

    As for the sentence "It says that faith is confidence about what we hope for, but do not see", I can understand grammatically why you might have misinterpreted the phrase about hope, but to clarify: I did not mean:  "It's okay to believe whatever you like, as long as you wish it is true."  Rather, I meant: "There is good reason to think that certain theological propositions [which, as it happens, Christians put their hope in] are true, even though they are not directly visible".  In other words, I wasn't saying that our emotion of hope is itself the justification for the belief.  Rather, the hope is a response to whatever evidence a given individual has (whether historical or personal) that God exists and is reliable.

    Even if you don't agree with me that the objective historical evidence for the Resurrection is compelling (as is your right, since each person has to decide this for themselves) you can at least acknowledge that I think it is. And---speaking as the most credible authority for what I personally think----I don't at all agree with the fideistic proposition that you have attributed to me.  So I think a retraction is called for. Thanks!



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