Hello Fellow Heathens,

Long time no see. I haven't post anything in ages, but I'm back.

So, guys this is going to be a somewhat long post bear with me please. I REALLY want your inputs. From a theist friend I have gotten several complains that when he goes to atheist forums and he's curious about any question he gets insulted and banned from the forum and called a troll. I tried to explained to him that the problem is that we do get lots of trolls and it's a problem to differentiate who has a legitimate question, specially in this medium. He still defended his position saying that it was not fair, he honestly has legit. questions, and I can't deny that he does. In my opinion, this behavior gives us bad reputation, and I believe we are better than that. One thing I can fully grant is that sometimes we get carried away and we insult people needlessly. There are more eloquent, elegant, and productive manners to tell a person something along the lines "please go do some research first," than just calling him/her ignorant and some other unnecessary slang. Now this is where the long part of the post starts, because I got the chance to do just what I stated in Facebook. This whole post started because an acquaintance of mine said, "(my name goes here) does not buy into the whole god thing and not because she knows little, but, because regardless of who was pulling her strings, she found science suited her better… remember even science requires faith as what is still unseen, remains just a calculated theory while the search continues..." So, in response I went in length to explain that there's not such thing a faith based science, and I deconstructed the way the words faith, believe, etc. are used, and the semantics of it. Ok so far so good, nothing related to God just yet. But, this guy jumped into the conversation and geez here we go again.

First: One can see that there are several holes in his argument.Second: My first answer to his post. Bear in mind that I have been talking about faith based science for some time and I'm exhausted and this point. It's quite late. But, again, no insulting.

Third: Next day. His response:

As you can see, I underlined two particular phrases out of his response. The first one: "faith-based," because in my view, and I'm sure in many of you, the moment a person says "faith-based" there's no longer a conversation. The second underline is about educating him. And, this is where I feel where the problem lies when it comes to differentiate 'trollers' and people with legitimate questions.

Lastly my answer,

So far I have not received an answer. I might get one. I might not. Going back to my first point, the legitimate questions, I think this guy really don't know and he is trying to defend his view with the information he has. I have no idea if he's a Christian, I just made an assumption. By the way, if by any chance the blog I spoke of goes through I hope I can get some fellows from TA to back me up. Furthermore, as an agnostic atheist I get frustrated too with repeating the same information over and over and over again. It's tedious, time consuming, and I understand and feel our overall mentality and view, which goes something like that, "the research, and information is already there, if you don't want to read and take the time to educate yourself why on earth I have to do it for you. I'm a person, just like you, and I have other things to do than just sit down in front of my PC for hours on end educating you regarding something that's already been debated over and over again." But, could you we do this in a more civil manner? I know we have had some somewhat similar discussions, but I look forward to your inputs. Feel free to constructively criticize my responses too. If you think I could have used some other arguments or words, please let us all know. I'm sure we can all benefit from brain-storming here together. Feel free to talk of your own experiences also.

Thanks Everyone,


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Nah, just a terrible fist fight. The rest of us would watch wondering who would come out on top?

That fist fight would be very amusing though. Imagine if we had it set up like a sports event with commentators. We could use Dawkins as our commentator, too bad Hitchens is gone.

Paper-view event?

Well said!

I fear that the fellow wants 'you' to convince him.

At some level, 'faith' lets us off the hook for an education and knowledge. It is unclear if a happy life depends upon a deep understanding of the world, but I would like to suggest that a humble appreciation and working knowledge of this world and universe is atleast deepened by study and experience. Ignorance can be the death of us. In some way, I have aspired to a near Saint Francis understanding and connection with the world, as a still surviving residual from my catholic upbringing.

During a few classes in propositional calculus, I worked on some of the classical proofs for the existence of 'God/god', as an attempt to settle my own concerns about 'certainty', and 'limits to knowing/knowledge'. All of the classical proofs were found to be false.

Getting to 'God' via the classical proofs seemed to be a fools gambit. An evidence based attempt, seems frot with completeness, and decidability issues. A cultural history based attempt seems deeply bound to local ideologies, culturally confined 'questions' and 'assertions/answers', and oral history restraints.

To me, it seems that once the theist 'hypothesis' about the existence of 'God/god' was 'created', we are now unable to 'deside it' out of our cognition. A few of us, maybe prematurely, have desided that the hypothesis is an emthy one, and others that there exist some residual datum that must be accounted for. I play in both camps, finding the 'hypothesis' unconvencing, but due to maybe an excessive commitment to certainty, not able to deside it out of my congnition. I am teased at times, waiting for the chesthire cat 'grin to fad. 

At some level, any demand for certainty, should be tempered by evidence, but which evidence? Must all of us have the same metaphysical commitments? How much of 'God/god' will remain after all our searching and explorations? Will the cup remain emthy, left on some moon of Jupiter? Or be filled with the answer of one more question, we have yet to ask? I await that question, but half expect to die before that moment of clarity, surrounded by flowers.        


I think what we should do is have a repository of essays somewhere where we can just point to it or copy and paste so we can save ourselves some time and effort. They are always asking the same damn questions! (Maybe I'll start doing that? Probably not though.) I don't blame you for giving a short response. I feel like I spend too much time on here educating the unknowing that I should have a degree in education. Sometimes, I think it is the best that we can do to point people in the right direction. There's nothing wrong with that especially considering the amount of personal time and effort it takes to really explain these things.

At the same time, you can take a horse to water, but you can't get it to drink.

That's why I sent little Anna Silva back to the books - I may have seemed a bit harsh on her, but the truth was, she didn't know enough about the discussion subject to even discuss it intelligently, and I don't believe any of us have the time (and likely not the inclination) to educate someone on the subject matter they should already have mastered before even coming to the board.

Your suggestion has merit. It does get tedious rehashing the same points with theists. But on the other hand the process becomes more impersonal to the extent that we no longer have the time or interest to type in an answer that deals specifically with their current issues. Kind of like getting those  obnoxious Press 1 for this or 2 for that on the phone.  Perhaps there is already a site that addresses common questions, I do not know. 

Science isn't based on faith, but it is based on a few necessary assumptions, which is different from faith. Why? Because without these assumptions knowledge is impossible. I won't claim to list them all, but we do need to assume that there is a world external to our mind. A world which is shared by all minds. We have to assume that the world is knowable. We have to assume that the world, properly described, is consistent, because if it isn't, then knowledge is impossible.

I'm sure you get my drift. We do as a practical matter have faith in things like that, but only because we must in order to get off the dime.

Once facts become established through scientific research and experimentation, we stop questioning them. One can argue that there's some faith there. Of course, unlike religion, if we started seeing exceptions to things we had been accepting as rules, we would lose our faith in those "facts" and try to discover what it is we don't know.

What the public doesn't understand but scientists do is the role of theory in their work. In science, unfortunately, the word "theory" is used in two distinct ways. First, you have the kind of "theory" which is a sort of tentative hypothesis which is then tested in experiments or rigorous studies to confirm or disconfirm. On the other hand you have the grand theory, which is an overarching explanation which organizes facts in such a way that understanding is advanced and predictions are generated. Evolution and string theory are examples of this latter sort of theory, and they are popular and "true" because they explain things and generate predictions (hypotheses) that can be tested or verified.

The problem is the word faith itself, since it has such a deep religious connotation. I personally avoid using it altogether. Yes, there are assumptions, but in my view, at least in science they are not necessarily faith based. I'm using the word faith as in the definition: "belief that is not based on proof." Since, from the moment an assumption is proven wrong has to be immediately discarded, at least in good science. Though, I see your point from a philosophical stand, and agree with it.

There are different kinds of faith. Certain presuppositions must be made to engage in math or science. They are necessarily assumed, because they cannot be proven. Faith in a deity is never necessary and requires proof.

This is what MB intended to say, before the HTML decided to blacken his fonts against a nearly black background:

The problem is the word faith itself, since it has such a deep religious connotation. I personally avoid using it altogether. Yes, there are assumptions, but in my view, at least in science they are not necessarily faith based. I'm using the word faith as in the definition: "belief that is not based on proof." Since, from the moment an assumption is proven wrong has to be immediately discarded, at least in good science. Though, I see your point from a philosophical stand, and agree with it.


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