Re: virus: Faith and Reason

David McFadzean (
Wed, 12 Nov 1997 12:32:55 -0700

At 11:00 AM 11/12/97 -0800, Marie L. Foster wrote:

>David... you being the owner of this list, how do you vote? Up down on
>definition 1? Whatever you decide. If it is down, then I will stop
>using the word faith, and use loyalty, etc. instead.

Well, there is no doubt that many people mean "loyalty" when they say
or write "faith". But that is not how we are using it in this discussion
group, so objections based on a "loyalty" interpretation will be
largely misguided (or at least confusing).

>Now if loyalty is wrong thinking... well then I guess I probably am in
>the wrong room.

No, I think we all agree loyalty is a good thing (I hope :).
In fact, recently I was considering adding Betrayal to the list
of Virion sins.

At 11:52 PM 11/11/97 -0800, Marie L. Foster wrote:
>At 12:04 PM 11/11/97 -0700, David responded to Reed and wrote:
>>No, if you have faith, then you cannot be convinced to change your
>>mind by rational argument. If you could, then you wouldn't have
>>faith, see?
>David... I see this as a circular argument without merit.

It isn't an argument, that is the operational definition of "faith"
I'm using in my arguments. It's important to realize that I'm not
saying that is the only or best definition of "faith". I'm just
saying that if you use another then be explicit about it if you
want to avoid confusion.

Actually we haven't decided on an official definition of faith
for this forum. Reed recently proposed "belief without recourse
to evidence" which includes all assumptions. I said that his
definition is a superset of faith-based beliefs and the
difference lies in the reason the beliefs are held without
recourse to evidence. Assumptions have good reasons while
faith-based beliefs have bad reasons (or no reasons). Notice
I'm sort of defining faith to be bad here, but the point isn't
to define faith so that it is bad, the point is too give
a name to this category of bad beliefs and "faith" seems
(still) like the best name proposed so far.

Prof. Tim (and others) objected to what I was doing on the basis
that people are prone to misinterpret my statement and get
upset (which is true, they are for reasons I recently discussed,
namely as a memetic defense mechanism). I don't think that
is a good enough reason to make up a new word (I could be
wrong). Then Tim used the fact that calling faith a sin
pushed people's buttons as a reason to think that is the
whole purpose of calling it a sin and I was being less than
honest if I claimed otherwise. That is simply untrue. I really
believe that people can benefit by critical thinking (which is
the antithesis of faith in my view) and pushing people's buttons
is just a means to end (and good memetic engineering).

So that's where I'm at. Do you have an opinion on where to
proceed on the issue?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus