virus: Faith

Reed Konsler (
Sat, 1 Nov 1997 02:15:21 +0100

>Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 09:08:03 -0700
>From: David McFadzean <>

>There is no definitional correlation other than the fact the
>reasonable beliefs are logically consistent with one's goals.
>I am not saying that only rational beliefs are reasonable.
>I suspect that only rationalizable beliefs are reasonable, but
>I'm willing to be corrected with a counterexample.

And I admit that I can't think of a good one off hand. :-)

But I have a different kind of question:

>reasonable - consistent with one's goals and intentions

It seems to me that this is a subjective defintion, correct?

Second..."only rationalizable beliefs are reasonable"...
is there a test for rationalizability? What I mean to
say is, can you sort unrational statements into two
categories ("unrationalizable" and "rationalizable")
PRIOR to the process of rationalization? If you are
unsuccessful in rationalizing an unrational statement
is that an indication of it's INTRINSIC nature, or
the limitations of your system of analysis?

Here is a restatement of Godel's Theorm:

Within any system there are unrational statements
which are reasonable but which it is impossible for
the system to rationalize.

Which would tend to contradict your suspicion, if
you accept the analogy.

>>So, according to this worldview there are three methods of pursuasion:
>>1) Violence
>>2) Fraud
>>3) Rationalization
>>I think I understand what 1) means, could you define 2)?
>How about everything that doesn't fit in the other two categories?

In that case, I claim there are only two methods:
1) Physical Force (chains, fences, bullets)
2) Non-physical Force (threats, promises, double-talk)

>I know that "fraud" has legal connotations, so I'd be willing to
>use another word.

I just want to get at the difference between a fraud and a rationalization.
In common context, a "rationalization" is considered a kind of
intellectual fraud...the claiming of rational support for an action which
was unrational or emotionally motivated. I know this isn't what you I was looking for some clarification.

I'm interested in the process of "rationalization".

>unrational - if it is not based on logical reasoning
>rationalized - when an unrational belief is turned into a rational belief
>rational - if it is based on logical reasoning with true premises
> *and* valid inferences

Are there rational beliefs which were not once unrational?

>>1) Who (or what) defines the category "logic" and of what is it comprised?
>>2) Who (or what) is the source of "true premises"?
>>3) Who (or what) is the arbiter of "valid inferences"?
>Given that entire books have been written to answer each of these questions
>what kind of answer do you want me to give?

A clear one based upon your best understanding.

>Do you doubt it is possible to be rational?

I'm not sure what you mean. I know what a "rational" belief is,
for purposes of this discussion...but not what a rational person
is. Is a rational person a someone who believes all rational
things, only rational things, all and only rational things...

If you mean:

>Do you doubt it is possible [for a belief] to be rational?

Then, no. I have no doubt beliefs can be rational. It is the
connection between rational beliefs and reasonable beliefs
which is the core of the discussion. You are asserting that
there is some close connection. I am asking you to rationalize
that assertion.

>If you want me to say it is necessarily intersubjective, I have no
>problem with that. No belief is objectively rational. It is only rational
>given a specific context. Or, more precisely, there exists a set of contexts
>in which a specific belief is rational.

Is there a context in which a belief in God is rational?
Is there a context in which a belief in God is reasonable?

Could you define "context" for purposes of this discussion?

I have to say, David, that this is much better...your defintions
have really helped me to clarify my statements. I think our
respective positions are becoming much clearer.


Reed Konsler