Re: virus: Religion, Zen, post-structuralism, and the failure

David McFadzean (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 14:57:59 -0600

At 01:18 PM 13/06/97 -0700, Tim Rhodes wrote:
>On Fri, 13 Jun 1997, David McFadzean wrote:
>> No, I don't. I consider irrationality to be the antonym of rationality
>> and I consider faith to be irrational. It is not the only way to be
>> irrational so it is not the opposite of rationality.
>Okay, just for me, why is faith irrational, again? Can you, David,
>conceive of a faith that is not irrational?

Sure, you could redefine faith to be belief that something is true
without being able to prove it. Given that definition, I would have
to say I have faith in everything that I believe is true which isn't
tautological (which is just about everything I believe is true).

But you are probably asking if it is ever reasonable to believe something
is true even though evidence suggests that it is not true. In other words,
is it ever reasonable to practice self-delusion? Well, you give a pretty
good example....

>(Let me try: You're told you have a terminal disease without cure. It is
>irrational to believe you will live. Those who believe they will live
>have an increased chance of survival. Is it not the rational choice to
>have *faith* that you will live?)

Let me paraphrase your question to see if I understand:

The doctor gives you a 10% chance of surviving more than 3 months. But
if you can convince yourself that you will definitely survive (barring an
unrelated accident) then your chances will improve to 50% due to placebo
effects or something like that. So what is the rational choice?

Is that right? (he asks, trying to buy some time :-)

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus