Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Create a topic and discuss! No subject is off limits, but moderators have the right to remove asshat posts. What's an asshat post? Selling stuff, trolling, harassing--the usual stuff you don't want to see either. Happy posting!
Post Reply
User avatar
Claire
Posts: 1372
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 am

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:44 am

SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:
SEG wrote:I'm not making any claims, I don't believe your claim that God exists. If I said "God doesn't exist" you may have a point.
You don't only disbelieve God exists, but other gods too, and have claimed none exist:
...all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary...
*sigh* Cite or retract! You are telling fibs again about what you claim I have said.
Your claim was made here.

Image
"He that keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from distress" -- Prov. 21:23

User avatar
SEG
Posts: 2143
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:59 pm

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:18 pm

Claire wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:44 am
SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:
You don't only disbelieve God exists, but other gods too, and have claimed none exist:
*sigh* Cite or retract! You are telling fibs again about what you claim I have said.
Your claim was made here.

Image
Please quote me in full with all qualifying remarks. This is what I have told you previously and you have ignored me. I said,
People are tangible and material. Ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are not. Which are real and which are imaginary? I would say that all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary, as all do not have any proof of their existence.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

User avatar
Claire
Posts: 1372
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 am

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:03 pm

.
Last edited by Claire on Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"He that keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from distress" -- Prov. 21:23

User avatar
Moonwood the Hare
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:59 pm

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Moonwood the Hare » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:46 pm

SEG wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:40 am
Faith to me is what you fall back on when you have insufficient reasons and demonstrable evidence to determine a pathway to the truth.
See: https://www.learnreligions.com/faith-is ... ble-248231
Faith Is Unreliable: Faith Is Not a Source of Knowledge
Anything can be justified by faith, so faith ultimately justifies nothing

It's far too common to see religious theists trying to defend their beliefs by relying on faith, claiming both that faith justifies their position and that their beliefs are based on faith. Skeptics and freethinkers are justified in regarding this as little more than a cop-out because faith isn't really any kind of standard that can be tested for reliability. Even if religious theists don't intend it in this manner, it seems that in practice "faith" is simply pulled out whenever attempted arguments based on reason and evidence fail.

Problems With Justifying a Belief
There are numerous problems with trying to justify any belief, philosophy, or religion on faith. The most significant may be the fact that there is no good reason for only allowing a single religious group to use it. If one person can offer it as a defense of a religious tradition, why can't a second person use it to defend an entirely different and incompatible religious tradition? Why can't a third person use it to defend an incompatible, secular philosophy?

Justified by Faith
So now we have three people, each defending completely different and completely incompatible beliefs systems by claiming that they are justified by faith. They can't all be right, so at best only one is right while the other two are wrong (and it may be that all three are wrong). How do we determine which, if any, is correct? Can we construct some sort of Faith-o-Meter to measure which one has the True Faith? Of course not.

How Do We Decide Whose Faith Is Strongest?
Do we decide based on whose faith is the strongest, assuming we can measure that? No, the strength of a belief is irrelevant to its truth or falsehood. Do we decide based on whose faith has changed their lives the most? No, that's no indication of something being true. Do we decide based on how popular their belief is? No, the popularity of a belief has no bearing on whether it's true or not.

We seem to be stuck. If three different people each make the same "faith" argument on behalf of their beliefs, we have no way to evaluate their claims to determine which is more likely correct than the others. This problem becomes more acute, at least for religious believers themselves, if we imagine that one of them is using faith to defend an especially heinous belief system — like, for example, one that teaches racism and anti-Semitism.

Claims about faith can be used to justify and defend absolutely anything on an equal — and equally unreasonable — basis. This means that faith ultimately justifies and defends absolutely nothing because after we're done with all the faith claims, we're left precisely where we were when we started: faced with a set of religions that all appear to be about equally plausible or implausible. Since our position has not changed, faith obviously added nothing to our deliberations. If faith added nothing, then it has no value when it comes to evaluating whether a religion is likely true or not.

We Need Standards
What this means is that we need some standard independent of these religions themselves. If we're going to evaluate a group of religions, we can't rely on something internal to just one of them; instead, we must use something independent of them all: something like the standards of reason, logic, and evidence. These standards have been amazingly successful in the realm of science for separating the theories which are likely true from those which turn out to be useless. If religions have any connection to reality, then we should be able to compare and weigh them against each other in at least a similar manner.

None of this means, of course, that no gods can or do exist or even that no religions can be or are true. The existence of gods and the truth of some religion are compatible with the truth of everything written above. What it does mean is that claims about the truth of religion or the existence of some god cannot be defended to a skeptical nonbeliever or freethinker on the basis of faith. It means that faith is not an adequate or reasonable defense of any belief or belief system which purports to have any empirical connection to the reality which we all share. Faith is also an unreliable and irrational basis for singling out one religion and claiming that it is true while all other religions, as well as any competing secular philosophies, are false.
The argument here does not work as an argument. The argument is that faith as a means of knowing is not valid because people relying on faith reach different conclusions. The writer then advocates the use of the standards of reason, logic, and evidence as an alternative. He then claims that 'these standards have been amazingly successful in the realm of science for separating the theories which are likely true from those which turn out to be useless.' This argument could be valid if and only if it could be shown that people using reason, logic and evidence do not reach different conclusions but we surely know this is not the case. Three people can use reason and apply logic and reach three different conclusions; this seems to be because logic is not always a very good fit with reality. Similarly, three people can look at the same evidence and reach different conclusions. As an example, recently SEG and Captain Howdy both looked at some evidence presented by Frans de Waal and concluded that he had shown that morality is an evolved trait I looked at the same evidence and could not see he had shown anything of the kind. Of course you can say that some of the people involved are not using evidence, reason and logic correctly but does that not have the same problems as saying some people have misplaced their faith: mine counts; your doesn’t.

Furthermore, the writer makes no attempt to demonstrate that it is the standards of reason, logic and evidence that have led to the success of science. He simply ignores Poppers very valid point that according to the standards of logic no general theory can be shown to be true or likely to be true. And he seems to be completely unaware of the work of Michael Polanyi in showing the vital role faith plays in the scientific enterprise.
Last edited by Moonwood the Hare on Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Claire
Posts: 1372
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 am

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:15 pm

SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:
SEG wrote:I'm not making any claims, I don't believe your claim that God exists. If I said "God doesn't exist" you may have a point.
You don't only disbelieve God exists, but other gods too, and have claimed none exist:
...all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary...
*sigh* Cite or retract! You are telling fibs again about what you claim I have said.
SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:Your claim was made here.

Image
Please quote me in full with all qualifying remarks. This is what I have told you previously and you have ignored me. I said,
People are tangible and material. Ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are not. Which are real and which are imaginary? I would say that all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary, as all do not have any proof of their existence.
I posted a screenshot of your post in full, and highlighted the part where you claimed God/gods are imaginary, as in they don't exist.
So, I didn't lie about you making such a claim as you accused.
"He that keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from distress" -- Prov. 21:23

User avatar
SEG
Posts: 2143
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:59 pm

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:54 pm

Claire wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:15 pm
SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:
You don't only disbelieve God exists, but other gods too, and have claimed none exist:
*sigh* Cite or retract! You are telling fibs again about what you claim I have said.
SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:Your claim was made here.

Image
Please quote me in full with all qualifying remarks. This is what I have told you previously and you have ignored me. I said,
People are tangible and material. Ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are not. Which are real and which are imaginary? I would say that all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary, as all do not have any proof of their existence.
I posted a screenshot of your post in full, and highlighted the part where you claimed God/gods are imaginary, as in they don't exist.
So, I didn't lie about you making such a claim as you accused.
You still didn't quote me in full. I couldn't read the screen capture and didn't even realise it was a linked screen capture until you just informed me and I clicked on it. You have a history of not quoting me in full or cherrypicking my posts, so it was an assumption that you were doing it again!
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

User avatar
Claire
Posts: 1372
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 am

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:07 pm

.
Last edited by Claire on Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"He that keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from distress" -- Prov. 21:23

User avatar
SEG
Posts: 2143
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:59 pm

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:42 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:46 pm
SEG wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:40 am
Faith to me is what you fall back on when you have insufficient reasons and demonstrable evidence to determine a pathway to the truth.
See: https://www.learnreligions.com/faith-is ... ble-248231
Faith Is Unreliable: Faith Is Not a Source of Knowledge
Anything can be justified by faith, so faith ultimately justifies nothing

It's far too common to see religious theists trying to defend their beliefs by relying on faith, claiming both that faith justifies their position and that their beliefs are based on faith. Skeptics and freethinkers are justified in regarding this as little more than a cop-out because faith isn't really any kind of standard that can be tested for reliability. Even if religious theists don't intend it in this manner, it seems that in practice "faith" is simply pulled out whenever attempted arguments based on reason and evidence fail.

Problems With Justifying a Belief
There are numerous problems with trying to justify any belief, philosophy, or religion on faith. The most significant may be the fact that there is no good reason for only allowing a single religious group to use it. If one person can offer it as a defense of a religious tradition, why can't a second person use it to defend an entirely different and incompatible religious tradition? Why can't a third person use it to defend an incompatible, secular philosophy?

Justified by Faith
So now we have three people, each defending completely different and completely incompatible beliefs systems by claiming that they are justified by faith. They can't all be right, so at best only one is right while the other two are wrong (and it may be that all three are wrong). How do we determine which, if any, is correct? Can we construct some sort of Faith-o-Meter to measure which one has the True Faith? Of course not.

How Do We Decide Whose Faith Is Strongest?
Do we decide based on whose faith is the strongest, assuming we can measure that? No, the strength of a belief is irrelevant to its truth or falsehood. Do we decide based on whose faith has changed their lives the most? No, that's no indication of something being true. Do we decide based on how popular their belief is? No, the popularity of a belief has no bearing on whether it's true or not.

We seem to be stuck. If three different people each make the same "faith" argument on behalf of their beliefs, we have no way to evaluate their claims to determine which is more likely correct than the others. This problem becomes more acute, at least for religious believers themselves, if we imagine that one of them is using faith to defend an especially heinous belief system — like, for example, one that teaches racism and anti-Semitism.

Claims about faith can be used to justify and defend absolutely anything on an equal — and equally unreasonable — basis. This means that faith ultimately justifies and defends absolutely nothing because after we're done with all the faith claims, we're left precisely where we were when we started: faced with a set of religions that all appear to be about equally plausible or implausible. Since our position has not changed, faith obviously added nothing to our deliberations. If faith added nothing, then it has no value when it comes to evaluating whether a religion is likely true or not.

We Need Standards
What this means is that we need some standard independent of these religions themselves. If we're going to evaluate a group of religions, we can't rely on something internal to just one of them; instead, we must use something independent of them all: something like the standards of reason, logic, and evidence. These standards have been amazingly successful in the realm of science for separating the theories which are likely true from those which turn out to be useless. If religions have any connection to reality, then we should be able to compare and weigh them against each other in at least a similar manner.

None of this means, of course, that no gods can or do exist or even that no religions can be or are true. The existence of gods and the truth of some religion are compatible with the truth of everything written above. What it does mean is that claims about the truth of religion or the existence of some god cannot be defended to a skeptical nonbeliever or freethinker on the basis of faith. It means that faith is not an adequate or reasonable defense of any belief or belief system which purports to have any empirical connection to the reality which we all share. Faith is also an unreliable and irrational basis for singling out one religion and claiming that it is true while all other religions, as well as any competing secular philosophies, are false.
The argument here does not work as an argument. The argument is that faith as a means of knowing is not valid because people relying on faith reach different conclusions. The writer then advocates the use of the standards of reason, logic, and evidence as an alternative. He then claims that 'these standards have been amazingly successful in the realm of science for separating the theories which are likely true from those which turn out to be useless.' This argument could be valid if and only if it could be shown that people using reason, logic and evidence do not reach different conclusions but we surely know this is not the case. Three people can use reason and apply logic and reach three different conclusions; this seems to be because logic is not always a very good fit with reality. Similarly, three people can look at the same evidence and reach different conclusions. As an example, recently SEG and Captain Howdy both looked at some evidence presented by Frans de Waal and concluded that he had shown that morality is an evolved trait I looked at the same evidence and could not see he had shown anything of the kind. Of course you can say that some of the people involved are not using evidence, reason and logic correctly but does that not have the same problems as saying some people have misplaced their faith: mine counts; your doesn’t.

Furthermore, the writer makes no attempt to demonstrate that it is the standards of reason, logic and evidence that have led to the success of science. He simply ignores Poppers very valid point that according to the standards of logic no general theory can be shown to be true or likely to be true. And he seems to be completely unaware of the work of Michael Polanyi in showing the vital role faith plays in the scientific enterprise.
Is faith a reliable pathway to the truth? Polanyi (the former Jew converted to a Roman Cathlolic) thought so, is this your belief too? Is there ANY belief that can't be justified by faith?

If scientists come to different conclusions using reason, logic, and evidence, then these conclusions are tested under the peer review process to filter out faulty conclusions.

If different faiths disagree on what is true, nothing comes of it. They are all stuck in the cement of ignorance.

Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Lakatos don't agree with Popper's views according to a critical paper on how he deals with theories in scientific method.
Last edited by SEG on Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

User avatar
Claire
Posts: 1372
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 am

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:50 pm

SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:
SEG wrote:I'm not making any claims, I don't believe your claim that God exists. If I said "God doesn't exist" you may have a point.
You don't only disbelieve God exists, but other gods too, and have claimed none exist:
...all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary...
*sigh* Cite or retract! You are telling fibs again about what you claim I have said.
Claire wrote:
SEG wrote:
Claire wrote:Your claim was made here.

Image
Please quote me in full with all qualifying remarks. This is what I have told you previously and you have ignored me. I said,
People are tangible and material. Ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are not. Which are real and which are imaginary? I would say that all ghosts, spirits, fairies, devils, angels, elves and gods are imaginary, as all do not have any proof of their existence.
I posted a screenshot of your post in full, and highlighted the part where you claimed God/gods are imaginary, as in they don't exist.
So, I didn't lie about you making such a claim as you accused.
SEG wrote:You still didn't quote me in full. I couldn't read the screen capture and didn't even realise it was a linked screen capture until you just informed me and I clicked on it. You have a history of not quoting me in full or cherrypicking my posts, so it was an assumption that you were doing it again!
I didn't quote you in full? I posted a linked screen shot of your post in full, and linked to the thread your post is in! The reason I initially didn't quote, or highlight your entire post in the screenshot, was because the only part of it that's relevant is where you claimed God/gods don't exist, since that's what you denied having claimed.

Now, you've claimed God doesn't exist. Next:

Step 2. Follow up with evidence
Step 3. Provide reasoning
"He that keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from distress" -- Prov. 21:23

User avatar
SEG
Posts: 2143
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:59 pm

Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:55 am

Claire wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:50 pm
Now, you've claimed God doesn't exist. Next:

Step 2. Follow up with evidence
Step 3. Provide reasoning
OK, from an anti-theist POV: You can prove a negative even if it is something like a Russell's Teapot. If someone claimed the teapot was made of 100% stainless steel and at the same time 100% porcelain, that teapot can't exist because it has contradictory properties. Just like your god with all its omnis. Could he create a rock so big he can't lift it? Or could he build a prison so secure he can't escape from it?

Such a god does not only not exist, it cannot exist.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

Post Reply