Re: The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)

David McFadzean (
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 15:43:50 -0600

At 04:07 PM 10/21/97 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:

>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.

The point wasn't to redefine "faith", the point was to
give a name to the concept of <belief without/despite
evidence>. I thought calling it "faith" was reasonably
accurate, given popular usage. I don't recall anyone
coming up with a better name.

>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.

I was hoping to get readers to question their assumptions
and engage their interest. If I only make them angry,
then I will have to change it.

>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 agree but that is not how I envisioned the T-grid would
be used. I would get you to plot the point according to
your own ideas of truth and evidence. If the point is
off the skeptical line, then you are essentially admitting
that you don't have a rational reason for believing as
you do (and maybe we can leave it at that). If it is
on the line, but the evidence-value is different, then
that is a starting point for discussion. We can start
comparing evidence.

>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.

I don't understand. You say you agree that "belief despite
evidence" is insane, but my construction "To hold an idea as
true despite all evidence to the contrary is an abdication of
reason." is not true or useful. I'm afraid that doesn't make
much sense.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus