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Thread: Faith vs. Logic

  1. #81
    Senior Member nemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I would disagree with that, and say that your conclusion is illogical. Absence of evidence is exactly what it means; when there is no evidence, there are no affirmative conclusions to draw. Does the fact that short-tailed albatross haven't been seen in California in 20 years mean they've gone extinct? Absolutely not. It just means what it says: that no one has seen them yet. Will they ever see them? Who knows. Should you believe that they are really there now? No.
    Uh, no. Well, sort of.

    I was speaking probabilistically, because science only knows things with relative accuracy.

    What you're describing is technically correct if you're dealing with known truth values. It's just the denying the antecedent fallacy.

    However, real life is more complex than that, and it's a statistically viable argument if you don't know precisely the truth one way or the other.

    In fact, the quote "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" can be proven using Bayes Theorem, as long as you interpret "evidence" as increasing the likelihood of something being true and "not-evidence" as doing nothing.

    But the point is that it's just what's probably true, not what's necessarily true.

    You're right in that, strictly speaking, it's a non-sequitur; but probability theory tells us "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" is right more often than not.

    Yes, your albatrosses are probably extinct. It's a mathematical fact. That's all "evidence of absence" means.

    I think we're on the same page here, just thinking of it from different lenses.
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  2. #82
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    Little kids have absolute faith in their parents, ie they trust them confidently and completely. Do you still have faith in your parents?
    Well thanks for proving my point.

    If their opinion changes, it wasn't really faithful. There was wiggle room, so it wasn't faith. It was trust. Or something else. Not faith.
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  3. #83
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Oh I see. In that case, why would it prove that "there's something to your perception" ? If it rain, I get wet. If I'm wet, does that mean it rained? Maybe I was in the shower. (With a girl!)
    As I said: it augments the probability that my first hypothesis (God exists) is true. It doesn't prove it, I already admitted that.

    If you're wet, maybe you were in the shower.
    If you're outside and you're wet, the chances that you were in a shower are already smaller (but you could be on the beach).
    If you're outside, fully clothed, and you and some other fully clothed people are wet, the probability that it's because it's raining is starting to become really significant.

    See what I mean?

    Until you actually directly observe the rain falling from the clouds in the sky, you cannot prove that the reason you're wet is because it's raining. But you can conduct experiments that make this hypothesis more and more valid.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocapszy View Post
    If their opinion changes, it wasn't really faithful. There was wiggle room, so it wasn't faith. It was trust. Or something else. Not faith.
    You yourself quoted the dictionary definition of faith being "complete trust or confidence in someone or something". Little kids have "complete trust or confidence in" their parents, thus faith. Are you now ditching the definition you yourself gave?

  5. #85
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo
    Faith doesn't have to be this way. It can be based off personal revelation, etc.
    Do you mean that there is such a thing as faith that one does not come to through logical reasoning? Can you give me an example of this?
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  6. #86
    Senior Member nemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    Do you mean that there is such a thing as faith that one does not come to through logical reasoning? Can you give me an example of this?
    Not really, no. Because I've never had such experiences or subjective reasons to have faith. I can only offer my speculations.

    What I meant was something along the lines of this:

    I know some people that, after seeing the rampant human suffering in, say, East Africa, cannot emotionally accept a reality in which bad things happen to good people for no reason at all. They're just not emotionally capable of dealing with the meaningless, aching, broken world we wake up to everyday without being comforted that it's all apart of some "grand design".

    If you have to believe that "God has a plan" to get through your day and justify the existence of the grotesque, utterly meaningless forms of human suffering, so be it. I think that's a shit reason, but whatever.

    But that's a "subjective reason" to have faith. (This thread was originally apart of the atheist thread, so hence all the god-talk.) If that's an emotional need for you, I can't really argue against it; but at the same time, I wouldn't call it inherently "logical" either -- more like it's fulfilling some sort of personal need, which is legitimate on some level, but objectively speaking, it's not. Reality doesn't objectively change if you need to interpret it some way to feel good about yourself.

    I think that, ultimately, the reason most people have faith approaches something along these lines. They're willing to interpret reality in such a way as to satisfy some personal/emotional need.

    I can't really argue with those reasons, since they're personal. And I think that, if you have to have a reason to believe in something, that's probably the best one. But at the same time, I'm slightly insulted when they're paraded around as truth.

    So yes, I would define having faith for emotional comfort to be one way in which faith doesn't come through logical reasoning, even though they might use this faith in some cosmic-grand-design to logically justify whatever it is that makes them happy.

    That's sorta what I meant. I'm sorry if I didn't answer you're question -- like I said earlier, a lot of this discussion hinges on how you define "logic" and "faith".

    Oh, and I just thought: this might be a nice T vs. F thing. Some people (Fs?) might interpret those emotional needs to believe in some higher-design as "logical" -- I, personally, don't think reality cares about what we think of it, and I'm not willing to make the concession that it operates in such a way just because it's comforting, even though I find the vulgar disparity in life just as horrifying.

    Edit: I decided last paragraph was wrong.
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  7. #87
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    You yourself quoted the dictionary definition of faith being "complete trust or confidence in someone or something". Little kids have "complete trust or confidence in" their parents, thus faith. Are you now ditching the definition you yourself gave?
    If they don't have faith in their parents forever, then they didn't have faith to begin with. What they had was something else.

    What I'm ditching is the absurd notion that little kids have complete confidence in their parents.

    It's pretty goddamned easy to understand.
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  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocapszy View Post
    If they don't have faith in their parents forever, then they didn't have faith to begin with. What they had was something else.
    This is a circular argument. You want faith to be forever, so you argue that whoever changes their faith didn't have faith to begin with. Logical, but wrong nonetheless.

  9. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocapszy View Post
    If they don't have faith in their parents forever, then they didn't have faith to begin with. What they had was something else.

    What I'm ditching is the absurd notion that little kids have complete confidence in their parents.

    It's pretty goddamned easy to understand.
    I think if one were to accept your stringent view of what faith is, then it could be argued that no one in the history of the world has had "faith". No one has faith that they do not doubt on occasion or modify as they mature and change. Don't you think that if your definition cannot reasonably be applied to anyone, it must be re-evaluated?

    For example, Spike Lee once famously argued that black people were incapable of racism because he defined racism not as an attitude or belief, but as the active use of political and economic power to discriminate on the basis of race. The word "racism" was not free for him to redefine, and he did himself no favors in terms of being understood because his conception of racism did not align with the accepted definition.
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  10. #90
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo
    I can only offer my speculations.
    Same here.

    The point I was trying to make was that humans' brains only work one way: logically. We make errors in logic, but basically if logic is simply the process of inferring one thing from another, and another thing from that thing, and so on and so forth,. in such a way, everything we believe comes about, even what we call "faith." I do not think anyone believes in God without logical reason for doing so. Faith is built on logic just as science is, because both are a mental process of inference.

    I still really like how you depicted that four can equal five in various different, equally logical ways. I think "faith," or the belief in something without logical reason for doing so, actually doesn't exist. If logic is simply the process of inferring B from A, and C from B, and so on and so forth, I think science and faith are both derived from logic. I'm not much of a science geek and do not dabble in science much, so my brain starts to hurt when I try to think whether there are certain sciences that exist and operate in absence of empirical evidence. If I could, I would compare faith to those sciences in relation to empiricism, but I can't.

    I'm going to continue talking about how logic is used in faith. Using your example, if a person sees people suffering horribly in the world, he may think, "There must be a reason." Is it an accurate inference? Maybe not, but it is an inference nonetheless, derived from the suffering he sees. From his last statement, he may think, "What is the reason?" "Well, maybe it's that someone is testing us; testing us to see if we are worthy of a reward in the afterlife. Maybe this suffering I see is something I need to help cure, so that I may ensure my place in a happier afterlife."

    It is logic, without necessarily empirical evidence. It's just inference at work.
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