The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 16:07:07 -0400 (EDT)

>Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 12:53:48 -0600
>From: David McFadzean <>

>At 06:08 PM 10/18/97 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:
>>For these reasons, and others, I claim to live a life "in faith".
>You are right, of course. Your definition of "faith" is
>superior to mine. What was I thinking?

Well, it IS superior in the sense that it allows me to speak
on common ground with the majority of the world's population
that lives in faith. I find that conversations about athiesm,
science, and ethics become much less hostile in circumstances
where we can all agree that the ethical principles we take
as beyond rational criticism are the same, or at least when
it is acknowledged that these are dilemmas which are not
resolved by reason alone.

But, I agree, no defintion is superior to another in
absolute terms. Perhaps what I am saying is more that
I think your construction of faith as a sin is too negative
and confrontational. It seems the invite polemic and
misinterpretation and to alienate otherwise accesible
audiences. This is why I think an understanding of
the purpose of CoV would help. If the purpose is to
spread the ideas of memetics, Darwinism, and rational
thinking I don't think this end is served by such a
directly confrontational stance.

>>whom I do not like and do not trust. I haven't found any
>>correlation with religion or philosophy.
>So for you, philosophy and religion has nothing to do with
>ethics. That's interesting.

Precisely. The confusion of ethics and religion means that
our ethical systems are almost always the result of memetic
evolution ("tradition" or "precedent") and not of creative
intentional construction.

>>I do not consider "faith" to be a sin, vice, or heresy.
>>This does not imply that I do not value reason, logic,
>>rationality, or good old fashioned common sense.
>I wonder if you have given any thought to why I might
>list "faith" (defined as belief without evidence) among
>the sins.

Of course. But you define faith according to the T-grid
in a subtly different way. You assert that "blind faith"
is a "truth value" that is not in proper agreement with
and "evidence value". In this case you would define
faith not as:

belief WITHOUT evidence


belief DESPITE evidence

which, I agree, is I indicated in my modification

I would define faith, however, as

belief WITHOUT RECOURSE TO evidence

In other words, "faith" represents (in my mind) axioms
that are held true or false prior to rational or logical
analysis of the type your T-grid represents. Now, it
is possible for you to mark take a person of faith
and place a mark for their "t-value" of some premise
and assign your own estimate of an "e-value" to
the person of faith is off their rocker.

But the person of faith has judged the premise to be

Thus you shouldn't expect your arguments to have much
of an effect on them.

I have given some though to your construction and
I do not agree with it. I don't think it is an effective
way to communicate the ideas of memetics, Darwinsim,
and rational thinking and I don't, from a philosophical
perspective, believe that it is true or particularly useful.


Reed Konsler