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Galt's Gulch and the Producer Revolution

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Heh, just for the Record, I am not TCF (The Free Capitalist)

Some of you have ask for some examples of where faith is employed.

Let me think a moment..

Ok..

The other day I was driving across town in my van. While I was driving I noticed a white vapor coming out of the engine compartment. I also noticed a smell that seemed similar to engine coolant. Thirdly, I noticed the engine temperature rising.

From these observations I concluded that the engine cooling system in my van had sprung a leak.

Not wanting to damage my engine, I found a place to pull off the road. I then opened the hood and took a closer look at the engine.

After looking at the engine, I was able to verify that it was in fact spewing steam, rather than some other white vapor.

I didn't really want to leave it where it was, and I was fairly close to my home. Knowing now what the problem was, and considering the weather I hypothesized that I could drive the van the rest of the way home after letting it cool off some without it becoming hot enough to cause engine damage.

I then used my faith in my reasoning by getting in the van and driving the rest of the way home.

I didn't know prior to driving it home if my hypothesis was accurate. Thus it was not knowledge.

It did not become knowledge until after I acted upon my faith, and my faith was validated by the van making it home without becoming dangerously hot. ( It did get to the high end of normal. )

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But you had reason to believe that your car would make it home...from previous experience, etc. And you could predict about the weather...again, from previous experience.

That isn't faith. It's concluding from reason. Just like when scientists had reason to believe that atoms were comprised of three different componenets: electrons, protons, and neutrons. But they couldn't see them.

You still have not answered my question. What reason can you use to prove the existence of a superior being? And if you take it on faith first, then what reason do you come up with to validify your belief?

Edited by Mimpy

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Heh, just for the Record, I am not TCF (The Free Capitalist)

Some of you have ask for some examples of where faith is employed.

Ok..

The other day I was driving across town in my van. While I was driving I noticed a white vapor coming out of the engine compartment. I also noticed a smell that seemed similar to engine coolant. Thirdly, I noticed the engine temperature rising.

From these observations I concluded that the engine cooling system in my van had sprung a leak.

....

It did not become knowledge until after I acted upon my faith, and my faith was validated by the van making it home without becoming dangerously hot. ( It did get to the high end of normal. )

In this circumstance you made an educated guess based on quite a bit of evidence. Can you show how that is the same concept as faith when used in reference to in a supreme being? It seems like the same word applied to two different concepts.

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...Rearden had faith that he would be able to create Rearden Metal. Because he did create it, he must have acted on faith because the metal didn't exist before he created it. ...
Very often different concepts use the same word. It's really important not to confuse two concepts just because they use the same word, particularly when the concepts are not obviously different.

Let's say I place a book on my desk and go to work, leaving nobody else at home. One might say that I have faith that the book will still be on the desk when I return. However, that's a colloquial use of the word "faith" and really means something close to "reasonable expectation based on facts".

As a second example, suppose I removed all the items from my desk before I left for work, and nobody else is home. Now, imagine that I say a little prayer: "Dear Santa, Please let there be a book on my desk when I get home." If, doing something like this, I have faith that a desk will be present when I reach home, then that's the concept that most people mean when they speak of faith as contrasted to reason or observation.

So, if one were to use the term faith in the broad sense in which you want to use it, that doies not change the facts that we're discussing. It just means that we have to qualify each use ofthe term and use a phrase instead of a single word to communicate what we're speaking of.

If one were to use your terms, then one would say: faith which is expectation based on observation and reason" could well be valid in various circumstances, while faith that is not based on observation and reason is not. Since the idea of God is not based on reason or observation, it falls within the invalid idea of faith, and is to be rejected.

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You are using one definition of faith to validate the definition of faith we are questioning. Faith in regards to your belief that you can drive your car home is a belief based on calculated evidence: You've driven a car before, and you calculated that you think you can make it home with the leak. This was a rationally calculated belief.

This this type of "faith" cannot be equated to "faith" in a higher power.

It's only fair, then, for you to properly present an example or proper definition of faith in the context of "faith in a higher power," and to demonstrate how said belief can be rationally concluded from premises within reality.

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Come on guys, we aren't being fair... I mean, perhaps these guys do have evidence that Jesus graced this fine continent with his presence, wrote his teachings on metal tablets that no one found for thousands of years, and turned the American Indians dark for sinning. Give them the benefit of the doubt here.

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If one were to use your terms, then one would say: faith which is expectation based on observation and reason" could well be valid in various circumstances, while faith that is not based on observation and reason is not. Since the idea of God is not based on reason or observation, it falls within the invalid idea of faith, and is to be rejected.

I completely agree. I was attempting to wrap my head around TFC's definition by throwing out a possible example. His definition dillutes the practical meaning of the word and confuses the discussion.

I don't define faith that way. Growing up in a religious home, I saw it used in terms of a blind faith. "I have faith that I'll go to heaven." or whatever. Very destructive.

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Acting on my conclusions required faith.

Assuming I accept your definition, do you see why the "faith" I hold that pressing the "Add Reply" button will allow you to view this post is different from the "faith" some hold that if they blow themselves up, they will get 70 virgins?

[Edit below]

Hey look, my faith was well founded!

Edited by Cogito

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Yes, Faith can be blind. I would agree with Ayn Rand that Blind Faith can lead to deception, and is something we should avoid.

This should include any Blind Faith, regardless of if that blind faith is in the words of another, or in our own imagining.

It's not what faith is that is the problem however, it is how it is applied.

Faith is when we act upon a belief. Regardless of if that belief is Rational or not.

Can you have Act upon a belief without applying your Rational Mind? Certainly.. Not a good idea..

Since I only have my own Rational Mind to work with, I have to judge for myself if my reasoning is in fact rational, based upon my own observation. This is why it is so important to challenge your assumptions. Make sure that your reason is based upon accurate data.

I used a concrete example because I wanted first to communicate how I used the term Faith. Hopefully you can see how my useage can be applied to any time you base action upon a belief. ( regardless of how well that belief represents reality )

Now if you will excuse me, ( or even if I don't ) I have some other things I deem in my self-interest to apply my rational mind, and faith upon.

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But you had reason to believe that your car would make it home...from previous experience, etc. And you could predict about the weather...again, from previous experience.

That isn't faith. It's concluding from reason. Just like when scientists had reason to believe that atoms were comprised of three different componenets: electrons, protons, and neutrons. But they couldn't see them.

I think there is another definition that hasn't been mentioned yet, so here it is: the Greek word, "Apistos", which means "with knowledge and courage, to act". This is the type of faith that the Stoics believed in and when the term 'faith' was used, it was 'apistos' that was their definition.

Therefore, to use an example, one boards a commercial aircraft and has faith that the craft will get them to their destination safely. This is because they have the KNOWLEDGE that many aircraft routinely reach their destinations safely. This knowledge enables them to have COURAGE to ACT (board the aircraft). It is not a mystical faith, in the Greek definition.

This of course differs from Christian faith, which is the blind belief in miracles.

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Ah so we have the distinction between, "Faith", and err... "Blind Faith".

Great. So you would agree then that belief in any God would be an example of Blind Faith?

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Ah so we have the distinction between, "Faith", and err... "Blind Faith".

No, Faith is belief leading to action. Blind Faith is when those beliefs have no evidence. It is still faith.

The fellow who declared his faith in the "Add Reply" button earlier had it right, despite the sarcasm.

Great. So you would agree then that belief in any God would be an example of Blind Faith?

In a word, no..

Blind Faith = Faith without evidence.

There are also two other possibilities to explain Faith in God, other than the possible irrationality of the believer..

One, they have evidence that has been faked. Their Belief is Rational, given the evidence.

Two, they do have real ( not faked ) evidence, and their Belief based upon that evidence is Rational.

These two possibilities are ignored when you assume that a believer's Faith is either blind or irrational.

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Hi Cap'n Regex,

I do not find your line of argument here to be wholly genuine. Those here who have argued against God belief because it requires faith are arguing against the acceptance of a conclusion without adequate premises to support it or in the face of premises which support an alternative conclusion.

You have then responded by arguing that the definition of faith they have offered you is inadequate because it does not include an alternative definition for faith, that being the one for which the word can be used to describe confidence in one's own actions. or choices.

But these are two separate definitions, they may be the same word but they are being used with two distinct meanings. Your tactic has been to shift between meanings; while your opponents argued against the defintion of faith you would use to describe belief in God, you have responded by trying to defend confidence in one's actions. This is known as equivocation.

However no one I've seen respond to you has been fooled, it has quickly been pointed out that the definitions are different and yet your immediate response to such posts has been to evade the point raised against you.

So, for the sake of not wasting your time further- No one here is arguing against having confidence in one's actions or choices. No one here is arguing against taking calculated risks such as you did when you drove your damaged vehicle home. So your defence of faith based on a definition that would cover confidence in one's actions or taking calculated risks is entirely moot.

What is being argued by the objectivists here is that faith when used to describe the acceptance of a conclusion with inadequite premises to support it is the contradistinction to reason. Belief in God, belief that you can flab your arms and fly, belief that your first born son will be entirely made of gold are all examples of this kind of faith. Less extreame examples of this kind of faith would include believing you can get to work on time when you know it takes you half an hour to get there and you know you only have ten minutes, or belief that you can bench press a weight you know to be twice that of the maximum weight you could lift the week before.

I think the debate here will proceed far more productively if you limit your defence of faith to that definition which applies to a belief in God such as that held by a Mormon rather than arguing against a straw man as you are by defending faith in your actions.

There are also two other possibilities to explain Faith in God, other than the possible irrationality of the believer..

One, they have evidence that has been faked. Their Belief is Rational, given the evidence.

Two, they do have real ( not faked ) evidence, and their Belief based upon that evidence is Rational.

These two possibilities are ignored when you assume that a believer's Faith is either blind or irrational.

I do not think they have been ignored, but it is typically safe to assume that the believer does not have rational belief, because I (and I think most here) have never encountered one who does. If you have evidence, then it's time for you to share it.

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Ok, so you are agreeing that the definition of faith as courage to act is rational? Well, I'll stop beating the dead horse then.

As for Faith being a belief without sufficient evidence or rational thought..

I'll also not argue in defense of those who have beliefs without sufficient evidence or rational thought. There are certainly enough of them on both sides of the Athiest vs Thiest scale.

Ok, let's see..

Let's start with a hypothetical..

Suppose for a moment that a person did have a direct one on one, face to face conversation with God.

Let's also suppose for a moment that he wasn't deceived, and God showed him sufficient compelling evidence that he was convinced.

How would he then convince yall that his belief in God was in fact Rational?

Note, I'm not talking about him convincing yall that God exists.. I'd not ask yall to take his word for it on Faith..

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Well Cap'n Regex, hypothetically if you have a one on one with God and God presents suffiecient evidence to you that he is in fact God then all you would have to do to convince others is show them the evidence which was shown to you.

However this is hypothetical, you personally believe in God and appear to be contending that this belief is rational. So, what is it that actually leads you to believe in God.

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The problem with that solution is that he was *shown* not given. He observed the evidence for himself, but he does not have the ability to show that evidence to another. He simply has the ability to describe his observations.

Remember the question is what it would take to convince you of his belief in God being Rational, not in him convincing you that God exists.

In other words, the question is not If God Exists or not. But is his conclusion that God Exists a rational conclusion based upon the evidence he observed.

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Remember the question is what it would take to convince you of his belief in God being Rational, not in him convincing you that God exists.

You would have to show us the evidence you are using to get to your conclusion (as well as define what you mean by god, because most definitions are logically impossible). If you don't show us your evidence or your reasoning, you'll have a hard time convincing us that god exists. Oh, and to save you some time looking, it doesn't.

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But is his conclusion that God Exists a rational conclusion based upon the evidence he observed.
That depends on the nature of the evidence. Dream-like revelations and hallucinations obviously would not qualify. Frankly it would be trivial for God to make herself evident. The fact that she doesn't is extremely suspicious. Typically, believers assume that God does not want to make herself known to a large number of people. The argument looks as non-evidence and treats it as if it were evidence. This is like the guy standing outside his detroyed house who does not say: "God has harmed me because destroyed my house", but rather says "God has helped me because he saved me from the storm that he created, even though he destroyed my house".

I know Cap'n Regex is going to come say that Mohammed was right to believe in God and write down everything in the Koran. I don;t know enough about Mohammed's trustworthiness, but if he turned religious after something like that, well...that's up to him. However, I don't think that's nearly enough evidence upon which people like Cap'n Regex should base their own adherence to the Koran.

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The problem with that solution is that he was *shown* not given. He observed the evidence for himself, but he does not have the ability to show that evidence to another. He simply has the ability to describe his observations.

Remember the question is what it would take to convince you of his belief in God being Rational, not in him convincing you that God exists.

In other words, the question is not If God Exists or not. But is his conclusion that God Exists a rational conclusion based upon the evidence he observed.

I understand what the question is, and we need not even relate your hypothetical situation to God. You are asking me what one person can do to convince another of his claim without providing any evidence. Assuming the person to be convinced is a rational individual then your convincer will fail.

But I don't see the point of this hypothetical, I asked you why it was that you believed in God. If you believe in God and your belief is rational then why not just tell us why rather than construct hypotheticals.

If someone came to me not believing that I had hair on my head, nor that such a belief was rational I wouldn't bother giving them hypotheticals and trying to make the case for the rationality of believing that I had hair on my head, I'd just take off my hat. I have to wonder why, if you are so sure your belief is rational, you have not yet told us the details of your belief- surely when one has a case to make one simply makes it. So, why don't you tell us what it is that has you convinced?

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Suppose for a moment that a person did have a direct one on one, face to face conversation with God.
Huh? What? Are you seriously asking us to accept the premise that god exists??! That is very clever.
Let's also suppose for a moment that he wasn't deceived, and God showed him sufficient compelling evidence that he was convinced.
Another one of those clever invalid assumptions! Ask your opponent to "just accept" your conclusion, then see what might follow from it: man, I have the idea that there might even be a Latin name for that.
How would he then convince yall that his belief in God was in fact Rational?
This is, philosophically, the wrong question to be asking, because it depends on having an answer to a logically prior question (you know which one I mean, naturally). And this is a good example of the difference in perspectives of the primacy of consciousness school vs. primacy of existence. Why should rational men put their primary interest in techniques for persuading others that they are right? Rational men should instead be concerned with being right. So the questions ought to be: what exactly should a man conclude based on the evidence? what alternatives should a man consider that appear to also be compatible with that evidence? what principle should a man appeal to in choosing between different conclusions about the evidence? If his evidence is strong enough and his reasoning is sound, the part about persuading other rational men follows almost trivially.

Although there is always peril in summarizing millenia of chit-chat on the god topic, the bottom line is that failure to consider these three questions -- which are really the fundamental questions of epistemology -- and answer them correctly has led men to massive errors, such as concluding that god exists.

Edited by DavidOdden

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I understand what the question is, and we need not even relate your hypothetical situation to God. You are asking me what one person can do to convince another of his claim without providing any evidence. Assuming the person to be convinced is a rational individual then your convincer will fail.

Ah, almost you understood me.. The exercise is to determine if you can differentiate between someone having a rational conclusion based upon evidence, and having everyone else agree on the conclusion without having experienced the evidence. Another angle is the understanding that rational and truth may not be the same depending on the evidence observed.

The key point is if you can logically say to yourself.. "I can see where he would rationally make that conclusion based upon his evidence." even if you also say "I disagree with his conclusion based upon this other evidence which he didn't have available to him." or "I question the validity of his evidence"

I agree that without some sort of evidence, other than the word of another we can't know for ourself the truth of something. To pretend otherwise would be mysticism and the abuse of faith that Ayn Rand had a legitimate complaint about.

So, why don't you tell us what it is that has you convinced?

Because my hypothetical was a test to determine if yall were capable of considering things rationally. From your response to y hypothetical I can tell that you are unable to differentiate between determining if my conclusions based upon the evidence were rational for me and if you coming to the same conclusions for yourself based upon my description of my observations.

To put it differently, Even if I were to take off my hat, you still wouldn't be able to see my hair, since I am not physically adjacent to you.

To describe my evidence, since you cannot observe it yourself, and you are unwilling to differentiate from my rational and yours, would be to ask you to accept my word on Faith.. I can't see how that would be a benefit to you, and I can't see how that would be in my self-interest to do so. Suffice it to say that my belief in God is as much based upon direct personal observation and reasoning upon those observation as the persons whoom I based my hypothetical example.

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You give me too little credit Cap'n Regex.

I summized your hypothetical as "...what one person can do to convince another of his claim without providing any evidence." The claim you want to convince others of is that your conclusion follows your premises. However you have told me that these premises cannot be shared; "He observed the evidence for himself, but he does not have the ability to show that evidence to another."

So you are asking what can you do to show that your acceptance of a conclusion is rational without being able to share the premises by which you reached the conclusion. The answer is still that you cannot do anything to prove to a rational person that your conclusion follows your premises if you do not share your premises.

Your reluctance to show your hand indicates to me that you have been bluffing. What are the premises that lead you to conclude that God exists? Time to show your hand.

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