RE: virus: Faith, Logic and Purpose

David McFadzean (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 10:22:28 -0700

At 02:23 PM 11/14/97 -0000, Robin Faichney wrote:

>> 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?

That is one interpretation of your apparent objections.
What are you actually trying to say?

>> >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?

As if I haven't. Check out <>
to see a typical discussion with someone of faith.

Another example is from e-mail I got this morning from
Ryan Davis, an evangelical minister who is trying to
convince me I'm going to Hell because I have a
address. I politely asked him where in the Bible it says
that Lucifer is Satan. Of course he can't find it because
it doesn't exist, it wasn't until the 16th century that
John Milton linked the two names in "Paradise Lost".
This makes his vituperation that much worse. He has one
answer for everything: "Your the one that needs to open
his know what? God is still the same......
Praise Jesus."

Yes, I made some generalizations about faith from
my experience. Yes, I could be wrong. But currently
I have no good reason to believe I'm wrong. My theory
not only fits the facts, it explains the facts.
Richard Dawkins and Susan Blackmore have also thought
about this issue and came to the same conclusions.

>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

Or maybe I have experience in discussing these matters
with people that have faith in them. Maybe you can tell
me how to defend myself against someone who has faith
that my beliefs are wrong.

>you're not), how is attacking faith going to
>affect the faithful? Don't forget this is an

Because people don't necessarily have faith in faith,
even if they have faith in something else. If they
don't have faith in faith, there is still hope.

If you don't believe me, maybe you will believe
Dan Barker, author of "Losing Faith In Faith:
>From Preacher To Atheist". You can read a related
article at:

As a fellow member of the Internet Infidels, I may be
able to get Dan to join us in this discussion. Of course
if you have faith in your own ideas, Dan's testimony will
be meaningless, and *that* is the problem, see?

>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!

People have actual, specific beliefs about such
matters as faith, skepticism, rationality and
evidence. You can't sweep them under a metaphysical
rug and hope it all goes away.

>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.

Obviously you can tell people what to believe, but it
won't work without some subtlety.

If you are suggesting that you shouldn't tell people
what to believe, aren't you telling me what to believe?
Dig your way out of that one! :-)

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus