RE: MD On Faith

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Sun Oct 10 2004 - 00:40:05 BST

  • Next message: Scott Roberts: "RE: MD On Faith"

    On 9 Oct 2004 at 16:27, Platt Holden wrote:

    > msh says:
    > Yes, I guess if you get a big enough dictionary, and read far enough
    > down the list of less and less common uses of the word, you'll find
    > a definition far enough out of phase with popular usage to match
    > your obfuscatory needs.

    So, we're are supposed to take what msh says is a proper definition
    of a word rather than a widely used online dictionary. Like I said in
    comparing msh to Godel, if I have to choose between msh and
    Merriam-Webster, I'm inclined to go with Merriam-Webster.

    msh says:
    You're missing the point. If one is interested in communication, not
    obfuscation, then one will use words as they are commonly understood,
    not turn to a fourth or fifth level definition bordering on the

    msh said:
    > Even this definition won't quite work for you, however, since good
    > scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers accept their first
    > principle(s) not out of ardor or faith, but utility. You are
    > bending over backward to blur what is a very clear distinction
    > between religious faith and scientific assumption.

    ... those who believe in a higher power also accept their first
    principles out of utility because their beliefs, (just as those
    accepted by scientists) serve to explain experience.

    msh says:
    This is highly doubtful. Religious beliefs contradict experience way
    more often than not. As for utility, there's nothing useful about
    explaining one mystery by positing another. There are perhaps
    psychological and emotional benefits to mystery substitution, but the
    explanatory power of saying, for example, that mind derives from God,
    rather than matter or Quality, is nil.

    Besides, if we use your definition of religion, then your statement
    that religious people accept their principles for utilitarian reasons
    must be false; otherwise it follows that people who have religious
    beliefs don't have religious beliefs.

    The first principles of science are limited to exterior
    manifestations of matter and energy at the lower levels. There's a
    helluva lot more to the world than that, like the entire world of the
    arts, for example, about which science as nothing to say.

    msh says:
    I agree. Who's arguing otherwise?

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

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