RE: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

Robin Faichney (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 14:23:04 -0000

> From: David McFadzean[]
> At 09:18 PM 11/13/97 -0000, Robin Faichney wrote:
> >> From: David McFadzean[]
> >>
> >> I have no problem with "working hypotheses" so long
> >> as there is a good reason to believe them if they
> >> are ever called into question.
> >>
> >But who decides what's a good reason? Do you
> >think anyone would cling to a belief for what *they*
> >considered to be bad reasons? Isn't the problem
> Of course not. But that doesn't mean they have
> good reasons. Do you think all reasons are equally
> good?
Of course not. Did I suggest they were?

> >As so often, eventually you just have to face the
> >need to get your hands dirty, by descending
> >from generalisation to specifics...
> >Get specific!
> If they have faith in something there is nothing
> I can say that would influence them, by (my) definition.
> The only recourse I can see is to attack faith itself.
Wouldn't you be better off looking at what people
actually believe, say and do, rather than spend
your time playing logical games with definitions?
You decide that faith is absolute, and then
conclude that there's no point in talking to
people who have faith. You just defeated
yourself! And even if you were right (which
you're not), how is attacking faith going to
affect the faithful? Don't forget this is an
abstraction -- which is why I keep saying things
like "get specific". To attack the concept of
faith is not to attack the actual beliefs of
individual people. It's all in your mind, David!

> >> What do you call
> >> the category of assumptions for which there is no
> >> good reason?
> >>
> >A matter of opinion.
> Are all opinions OK with you no matter what effect
> they have? If not, how do you decide? What do you do?
A major consideration is whether the opinion in
question is mine or someone else's. I.e., is it
necessarily my business? (Of course others'
opinions can affect me, but not nearly as directly
as my own opinions, or (a very small proportion
of) others' actions, which therefore are my
business.) Beyond that, I think the question is
too vague to be answered. But remember,
because you seem to be confusing two issues
here: to say that, in general, the opinions of
others are as good as mine and vice versa,
is not to say that any specific opinion is as
good as any other specific opinion. Far from it.
But that doesn't mean you can tell people what
to believe.