I would say yes. We take all kinds of things on faith because we have to. Things that seem obvious but are essentially unprovable. Just to take one example, I believe in a world external to my mind, populated by real people, not figments of my imagination. I can't prove it, but I take it on faith. ''

Another thing I take on faith is that I can trust causality to be regular. To be sure, there are occasions when causality seems to fail, but I assume that there are explanations vindicating causality. If I assume causality is really irregular, then there's no reason to be logical, is there?

The difference between that kind of faith is that it doesn't form the basis for baseless toxic activities. It doesn't lead me to discriminate against or kill people who don't share my beliefs. In fact, it has no real consequences at all other than to help me live day-to-day.

Believing on faith that there is an all knowing, all powerful, very judgmental, king-like being looming above everything can be used to discriminate falsely between good and bad people with punishments ranging from shunning to eternal hellfire.

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I believe I've stated a few things we take on faith. And by that, I mean acting as if they are true whereas it is at least possible, however remotely, that we are wrong about them. I don't entertain the idea that my day to day reality might be an elaborate dream. I believe that on faith. I can't prove that there are other minds beside my own. I take that on faith. There are just some things there's no point to questioning, and so we take them on faith. They become the unquestioned presuppositions of our lives, much as every mathematical system has some ideas so fundamental that they are not proven but are rather assumed or taken for granted. The difference is that the underlying assumptions of a mathematical system are explicitly assumed, whereas when it comes to a belief in the reality of other minds, for example, we take them on faith.

The web form took a dive when I posted this and deleted all my formatting and comments. Meh!

So, you are quoting me as your reply to me...or what?

So, you are quoting me as your reply to me...or what?

Yes, TA has its quirks. The more you post, the more you'll run into.

Yes, TA has its quirks. The more you post, the more you'll run into.

I believe I've stated a few things we take on faith. And by that, I mean acting as if they are true whereas it is at least possible, however remotely, that we are wrong about them. 

I am acting based on probability. You mentioned the "act of faith" involved in using a stove and expecting it to produce heat (as opposed to cold). I accept it's possible that a flame could produce cold one day, but I discount that expectation based on my past experience and that of all human history. My lack of concern for the extremely improbable, not faith, is the reason I don't fret when I put the kettle on the burner.  

I don't entertain the idea that my day to day reality might be an elaborate dream. I believe that on faith.

I don't entertain that either, but that is based on lack of any evidence which suggests it could be true, not faith. 

I can't prove that there are other minds beside my own. I take that on faith.

When I read a book I understand the words and concepts therein are products of a thinking mind that is not my own. That is evidence that minds besides my own exist.

There are just some things there's no point to questioning, and so we take them on faith. They become the unquestioned presuppositions of our lives.

So far in this conversation none of the examples provided have held up as such. 

, much as every mathematical system has some ideas so fundamental that they are not proven but are rather assumed or taken for granted.

How does this apply to arithmetic?

The difference is that the underlying assumptions of a mathematical system are explicitly assumed, whereas when it comes to a belief in the reality of other minds, for example, we take them on faith.

You keep calling it faith-- belief without evidence-- which requires ignoring that probability itself is a form of evidence.

** “Faith” has no more place in science than do ‘causality’ or ‘external world’


Excuse my being brief -- 1) "Faith" in the xian context means 'trust'. 2) Neither the so-called "external" world nor so-called universal (deterministic) causality have anything to do with scientific inquiry, theory creation, experimentation, or theory testing.... 3) "Causality" and logical implication are not related -- they belong to different conceptual categories.


1) The Latin bible uses ‘fides’ to translate the Greek ‘pistis’ -- trust. In God we trust -- says the dollar bill but that’s not true -- the believer trusts some god-proxy, an “authoritative” text or an “authoritative” person who in the first instance may be a parent indulging in indoctrination.


Greeks held pistis to be the lowest form of knowledge -- trusting someone who says that ‘X is true’ is vouching for the truth of X. ‘Jesus arose from the dead’ is a true statement because eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus said so; and their testimony has been handed down to us. >> Xians inverting the Greek epistemological scale put “faith” forward as superior to “knowledge”.


2) Kant taught that he needed to make room for faith (Glaube) by showing the limits of reason. Since reason acting upon sense information can never guarantee a Law of science -- there must be a context which allows for universal determinism required by law likeness.


Thus Kant opined that without a context providing for spatial relations and without a context for a universal time -- no infinite space or infinite time (in a newtonian interpretation) could arise just from the action of reason upon empirical information.


Unfortunately for Kant, his contexts -- “categories” to structure reason are meaningless since quantum mechanics offers only a probabilistic causality and newtonianism is false as Einstein’s General Relativity demonstrates. That is, there are in fact no laws of science -- only probable uniformities.


Philosophy can comment on science only when its practitioners learn science -- the other way round through armchair metaphysics (or worse theology) finally died when newtonianism failed account for radioactivity, black body radiation, photoelectric effect, gravitation, and the large-scale structure of the universe.


3) Obviously, indeterminism does not make a mockery of logic. Probable uniformities bring events into relationship with one another in spacetime. Logic, on the other hand, is an axiomatic system of statements from which can be derived theorems -- the ancient plane geometry is but one of many logics characterized by logical (not causal) necessity linking its theorems.

1) "Faith" in the xian context means 'trust'. 2) Neither the so-called "external" world nor so-called universal (deterministic) causality have anything to do with scientific inquiry, theory creation, experimentation, or theory testing.... 3) "Causality" and logical implication are not related -- they belong to different conceptual categories.

1) Religious people don't trust that God exists, they hold it as an unassailable, unexamined belief.

2) And yet, how many scientists would take the position of philosophical idealism, which is the notion that the world is mental, composed of ideas, not concrete things bandied about by various forces. Most, if not all, would choose the side of materialism, which holds that there is a world outside the mind, not controlled by mind (this would be the observable world, not the world of quantum events). Science has a materialistic bias.

3) True, because causality is believed to be factually true (on faith) whereas logical implication carries with it only the necessity of an internally consistent system based on a set of basic principles which form the basic constructs of the system. (Now, of course, Goedel showed us that even a seemingly self-consistent system of math or logic results in

Philosophy can comment on science only when its practitioners learn science -- the other way round through armchair metaphysics (or worse theology) finally died when newtonianism failed account for radioactivity, black body radiation, photoelectric effect, gravitation, and the large-scale structure of the universe.

I see that as a rule you'd like to see observed, but not much more than that. 

It's absurd to think that only a geologically-trained philosopher or logician can criticize geology's methods. I can't think of an instance where philosophers have criticized results in any other way than by criticizing its methodologies. Methodologies involve mathematics of logic.


There is an old "chicken and egg" argument as to whether math is a subset of logic or vice versa. My view is that they are largely indistinguishable from each other. When doing math, you are always depending on logic of some sort. Mathematics without logic is hard to imagine, so indistinguishable are they from each other.

Scientists can only practice science when they learn logic, which is a product of philosophy. Science, logic, and philosophy exist as a kind of three-ringed Venn diagram, with plenty of overlap and plenty of feeding off each other.

Hypothetically, I would say no. There is probably a methodology to verify almost anything given enough time and resources. Agnosticism is also an option.

In practical terms? I don't see how we could get by without it. Sometimes 'faith' is taken to mean belief with no evidence or even against evidence. Some people treat it as virtuous to maintain faith against all odds, evidence and reason. I'd say that's pretty f'd up for the most part.

In less dramatic terms, however, 'faith' is just a degree of confidence in the face of an unknown. There are hundreds, if not thousands of unknowns in my daily life.

For example, the psychological states of the numerous people I pass on the street, or at the grocery store, or interact with at work all represent unknowns. I can look for some signs of distress or abnormalities, but for the most part I cannot verify everyone's mental condition. I lack the time and resources to do so. Yet I can't stay locked up at home hiding from everyone because someone might behave in a potentially harmful and extremely difficult to predict manner. I have faith that pretty much everyone will behave within a certain set of average behaviour, and that the exceptions are not likely to be overly harmful. This sort of faith is an expedient for navigating life. I think it is pretty much a necessity.

We also take on a kind of faith things we feel no need to question or which, if questioned, would call everything in question. Just as systems of mathematics are based on some set of assumed principles, so does any method of examining the world.

Suppose I live in the world of the Matrix movies. Despite the plot of the movie, if all of my perceptions are unreal and are fed to me by a super reality, where could I possibly go from there? If all of my perceptions are false, I'm insane in a sense. 

So, I assume on faith some basic trust in my ability to perceive the world.

There was a discussion during a Philosophy of Science class several years ago. We were discussing the scientific method as a logic model of how the 'sciences' progress. We came to the question of falsefication, and started considering if the method was testable.

It was unclear if the method could satisfy even its own demands with a metatest. The method in recursion, a self referencing, can it survive? It might be that the 'scientific method', is more like a heuristic than an algorithm. Albeit, a very good one so far...;p).

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