Re: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

William Roh (
Wed, 12 Nov 1997 10:24:59 -0800

Tim Rhodes wrote:
> On Sun, 9 Nov 1997, David McFadzean wrote:
> > At 12:48 PM 11/8/97 -0800, Tim Rhodes wrote:
> > >But really, I don't think I do understand what you're trying to
> > >accomplish. Could you drop a lil' science on the homeboy here and lay it
> > >out for me?
> >
> > I believe <faith> is a pernicious, deleterious, unnecessary meme.
> I think I see some necessity for it though and some usefulness as well.
> I don't feel like throwing the baby out with the bath. Hence my stance.
> > I believe the best way to combat <faith> is to create and promote
> > a counter-meme
> And this is a worthy goal, but the next part I have some trouble with:
> >that makes sense from a rational perspective.
> I guess my question is, can you combat an emotional appeal with a strictly
> intellectual one? Effectively, that is. If so, how is it done?
> It seems to me that you are placing all decisions made by non-rational
> (emotional/limbic) means in one collumn labled "faith" and dismissing them
> therefore as pernicious and unnecessary. Pernocious, yes. Unnecessary,
> no, not quite.
> > If you think science isn't art then you've fallen into the same kind of
> > trap you're warning me about (how ironic :-).
> Science can't lie to reach its goals, but art is all about useful and
> purposeful deceptions. If you'd like to help me see the art in science,
> however, I'm game.
> But I'd rather see an example of how one can happily live while denying
> that they have an emotional side that acts counter to reason every once in
> a while.
> -Prof. Tim

i have to agree with Tim here. Despite my personal distaste for "faith",
and my lack of insight into the benefits of said "faith", I do not think
that it is possible to combat faith with and anti-faith meme. I think
that the only efective means of eliminating "faith" is with a frontal

On the other hand, i think logic and reason, brought into someone's life
before the concept of "faith" arrives, can act like a vaccination shot
and possibly protect them from it's effects in the future.

I still see no evidence to support the concept that there is ANY benefit
to faith. My analogy would be:

Having faith is like putting your hand INTO the fire to get warm. It may
be ok for a seccond, but it will burn you eventually, probably sooner
than later.

I also like Tim's last comment about emotion acting counter to reason -
anyone who has ever fallen in love knows that emotion can be as powerful
or more powerful than reason at times. Hopefully we can all learn to
recognize that we have, use, and like emotions, but that they are NOT
accurate representations of reality.