Re: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

David McFadzean (
Tue, 04 Nov 1997 12:45:56 -0700

At 02:09 AM 11/5/97 +0100, Reed Konsler wrote:

>>I'm not sure. What do you mean by "subjective" in this context?
>Derived internally. Arbitrary. Based upon historical accident.

I think it is more like the value of money, neither objective
nor arbitrary.

>>True, but it should be obvious why you might want to
>>avoid goals that are inconsistent with each other.
>If only life were so simple. Are we being prescriptive
>or descriptive here?

Prescriptive. If your goals are mutually inconsistent then
I think it is obvious that any attempt to attain one
will thwart another. Maybe I'm going out on a limb here
but I think it is not very intelligent to set inconsistent
goals for oneself.

>Interesting. What is the test for determining if the
>context has been infered correctly?

Experiment, discussion, interrogation :).

>>I thought we covered this already. Faith is unrational.
>>A belief based on faith may be reasonable. A rational belief
>>may be unreasonable. Where is the false dichotomy?
>On the CoV homepage under "Virion Virtues and Sins".

Obviously you are still projecting your own definition of "faith"
onto my statement.

>>>How can I differentiate
>>>beliefs that were derived from conscious reasoning from those which
>>>were once unrational and then rationalized? Do beliefs have a history...
>>>that is, if a belief is rational does it matter what it's origin was?
>Really? I don't think so...but it isn't central.

It doesn't matter whether a belief is rational or rationalized
because all rationalized beliefs become rational in the process.

>>>If I were more belligerent, I'd accuse you of refusing to answer questions
>>>that you know will lead to the demise of your position...
>>OK, I will answer your questions as soon as you tell us the nature of truth. :)
>The medium is the message.

OK, the answer to your 3 questions is: rational agents.

>Is it possible for two real humans to have "identical relevant parts
>of their respective contexts"?

Of course. For example, I bet almost everyone on this planet shares the
context that makes "other people exist" a rational belief.

>>Nobody said that any belief can be changed by a rational argument.
>What kind of beliefs are immutable in this respect?

I was thinking that it would not be possible to logically demonstrate
that logic itself is invalid, or to prove a contradiction.

> implies that there is at least one context in which one
>both is and appears to be MORE rational by being LESS
>critical of something (in this case, one's own ability to reason).
>If you will accept that one instance of self-fullfilling prophesy
>we can establish the reasonableness of unrational (and
>unrationalizable) beliefs.

How does your conclusion follow from the premise?

>>If I can get you to agree that there is a correlation between
>>irrational beliefs and unreasonable beliefs, then that is the
>>first step to demonstrating that there is a correlation between
>>rational beliefs and reasonable beliefs.
>That isn't much of a challenge considering that the fiat I
>would grant you is the logical equivalent of the conclusion
>you are trying to make. :-)

Right. So why won't you admit that there is a strong correlation
between irrational beliefs and unreasonable beliefs? Because it
is not true in your view or because it undermines your position?

>What is the test for rationalizability? I though we already
>agreed there wasn't any a priori way of determining that
>without actually going through the process.

Right, you have to go through the process. That is why faith is
a sin, because it is an unwillingness to go through the process.

>>No, it is mutually dependence, not infinite regress.
>Could you explain that?

I'll dig up the original post.

>>Everyone except maybe a few insane people. Those who believe
>>statement #2 above (the creationists) have a less consistent
>>belief system then those who believe #1.
>Here again you are introducing a new element: consistency.
>Could you relate consistent to rational and reasonable?

It is not a new element. Rational means consistent with a given
context. Reasonable means consistent with a given set of goals
and intentions.

>Dennett convncingly argues that consciousness is a user-illusion of
>the brain. Does that change your you "feel"
>different knowing this? Do you believe it?

Arguing that the self is a user-illusion or a meme or whatever
doesn't mean the self doesn't exist.

>>To demonstrate my point I will now declare that I have faith
>>that faith is a sin. Your move, Reed. :-)
>From my perspective, that declaration is the fullfilment of
>my initial premise.
>QED. :-)

OK, so I'll ask you the same question I asked Richard. If I
call it faith is it OK with you? Why were you trying to talk
me out of my belief?

>In an earlier point in the conversation you insisted that
>rational people can be pursuaded without recourse to
>fraud or violence. I disagree. If goals and context
>are inconsistent between people then this hope for
>a universal language of communication is an illusion.

Only if goals and contexts are static. They certainly are not.
You seem to be claiming that rational people cannot be pursuaded
without recourse to fraud or violence which is ludicrous.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus