Are Faith and Reason Compatible?

The Big Questions is a BBC show that tackles you-know-what. The most recent episode asked “Is faith compatible with reason?

You can watch the show below:

I haven’t seen it yet, so if you hear anything interesting, please leave the timestamp and summary below!

(via Atheist Media Blog)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • McFidget

    As soon as the “past life regression” lady mentioned quantum mechanics I facepalmed so damn hard … my head hurts now :(

    • McFidget

      The stupidity … it keeps coming … every time she opens her mouth it gets worse …

      • machintelligence

        She seems to be channeling Deepak Chopra. I can understand individual words, but the way she strings them together makes no sense. You might like the Deepak Chopra quote generator: http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/

    • Quintin van Zuijlen

      Within a second from her saying that I just couldn’t bear it anymore.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      You’d be amazed what they can do qumtumly. They can use a quauntum computer to send quantum transmissions to quantumly cure your cat. Of course, it’s not cheap.

      No, it’s not the onion.

      http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/02/treating-my-cats-barfiness-with-alien-tech-and-a-hidden-swiss-quantum-computer/

      • Blacksheep

        Schrodinger’s cat?

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          At least Schrodinger’s had 50% chance.

          • Blacksheep

            Good one!

            I looked at that link – freak show. …but somehow compelling.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    We definitely need shows like this here in the United States!

  • Greg G.

    Faith in general is not necessarily incompatible with reason. But there are some faiths that are. Some religions believe that Jesus’ death would be meaningless if there was no Original Sin. If Adam and Eve aren’t real, there is no Original Sin and Jesus died for a metaphor. They reject any science simply because it suggests the earth is more than 6000 years old or that humans evolved. One political party relies on a substantial portion of the US population for their support so we end up with people who reject science on congressional science committees.

    • Octoberfurst

      Excellent point. That is one of the reasons I rejected Christianity. I realized without the Adam and Eve story of original sin that Jesus’ death on the cross was meaningless. But for the Adam and Eve story to be true the earth must be 6,000 years old like the Bible implies. I realized that was absurd. Since humans, in one form or another, have been around for 100,000+ years there could be no Adam and Eve.

      And yes the “faithful” have made the GOP the party of religious fanatics. The GOP base is full of Bible thumping cretins who are pushing their moronic anti-science agenda. Sad but true.

      • Blacksheep

        Earth age doesn’t seem (to me) to reject Christianity, since the basis of Christianity is Christ’s Gospel and testimony 2000 years ago. The first Christians followed Christ because what he said moved them, not because of how old the earth supposedly is. I’m also thinking about:

        - “Day” may have meant “period of time” (even considering other verses that seem to imply a 24 hour period), so the Adam and Eve story being true is not dependent upon the earth being 6000 years old.

        - If God is all powerful, he could have indeed created a world that appears to be much older than it is. This is more of a discussion about the nature of God, and whether or not there is one.

        - The Adam and Eve story could be metaphorical, but that doesn’t mean that the concept of man having a sinful nature is false. One can be true without the other.

        • Nox

          How much of the bible are you willing to disbelieve in order to preserve belief in the bible.

          The issue here isn’t “days”. It’s “years”.

          Well, the issue with the age of the earth is partly about “days”, but that is a minor part of where the 6,000 year figure comes from. And the issue with how long humans have been here is about whether there was an Adam.

          The 6,000 year figure is derived from the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11. So even if you do read “day” as “period of time” (which there is no biblical support for beyond wanting the bible to not be wrong) the Adam and Eve story doesn’t work with humans being here more than 6,000 years ago.

          According to the story Adam was created at the end of those 6 days. And then he lived for 130 years, begat Seth, lived for another 800 years and died at the age of 930. And Seth (born 130 years after Day 6, whenever that was in day-age time) lived 105 years and begat Enos. And so on.

          These genealogies take us up to Abraham who lived 100 years and begat Isaac. Which leads to the stories of the patriarchs, which ends with the death of Joseph signaling the beginning of 400 years of captivity in Egypt. Which leads into yhvh and Moses freeing the jews from Egypt, the 40 (or 80) year trip from Egypt to Israel, the settlement of Israel, the establishment of the jewish monarchy, the division of the jewish monarchy, the fall of the kingdom of Israel, the exile (which is the point where the biblical narrative finally gets close enough to real events for us to start counting backward), the return from exile, and the rebuilding of the temple.

          Which leads us to Jesus.

          The bible explicitly tells us how long the events in it are supposed to have taken. There’s no one verse that says it was only 4,000 years from Adam to Jesus, but if there were significantly more than 4,000 years between Adam and Jesus, that would be something the bible is wrong about.

          Even without the time issue, the Adam and Eve story needs all of humanity to actually be descended from Adam and Eve for the Adam and Eve story to actually be true (since that is exactly what the story says happened). Anything can be a metaphor for anything. But if we are not all descended from those two people, then it is certainly not a true story in the sense of describing things that actually happened.

          There’s nowhere in the gospels where Jesus mentions original sin or the age of the Earth (they do seem to portray him as thinking Noah was a literal person). Paul does not directly mention the age of the Earth. So it would be technically accurate to say the early christians were not thinking much about that.

          But Paul does not merely claim we have a sinful nature. According to the epistles of Paul (which are just as much the basis of christianity as the gospels) (the gospels describe a very fuzzy biography, some platitudes and some miracles, Paul describes a belief system), man has a sinful nature because one man ate a piece of fruit.

          Original sin already relies on the idea that we could inherit the guilt of actions committed before we were born. So even with a real Adam it would be unjust and incoherent. But without a real Adam, there’s no one to do the original sin. There’s no one for us to inherit that guilt from.

          Whether man has “a sinful nature” (a term which would need to be clearly defined before this could ever be a meaningful proposition) isn’t the only question. Assuming we do, did that sinful nature enter man through one literal man who ate a piece of fruit (how the f*ck should that even qualify as sin)

          It is true that some christians deny Adam and Eve were real people. Since they weren’t, those christians are sort of right to do so. But in denying Adam, they are calling themselves christian while denying what the bible says and what the christian church has always claimed as a true story (and denying something which is logically necessary to the salvation scheme).

          • Blacksheep

            Long question – and no time to be thorough – but I’ll try:

            - Earth age and how long humans have been here are twi different things. The timeline and geneology of Adam to jesus can be correct, while the formation of the universe could have taken much longer prior to that time.

            - All humanity might be descended from Adam and Eve, if the “Mitochondrial Eve” evidence is correct. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

            - I agree, Jesus did not speak about the age of the earth

            - “Inheriting” original sin is one way to look at it, a more honest view is that everyone is sinful by nature, and the fall would have happened no matter who was in Eden. The “sin” that Genesis speaks of is not “eating an apple” but rather going against God.

            - I agree; I believe that Adam and Eve were real.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Did you just type in ‘mitochondrial eve’ to get a link, and copy the wiki link? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve#Common_misconceptions doesn’t say all humanity descended from a single pair. In fact, it says quite the opposite.

              And if you think Adam and Eve were real, then does that mean they were created in present form, a la literal Genesis, or that God picked a pair of representative humans to give souls? (Which I think is generally the biologos/Fraincis Collins approach).

              I honestly don’t see how someone who has a little knowledge of genomics and human evolution could see Adam and Eve as anything other than pure metaphor. Whether God directed the mutations or the selection (making it not so random)- humans were not created separately from everything else. (Loki/Raven notwithstanding).

              Although the Bible is also rather brief on ‘Nod’.

              • Blacksheep

                Today I just typed it in – yes – but I’ve read more deeply about it in the past when the idea was introduced.

                however – my understanding lines up with the first paragraph, which you correctly identified as “a little” knowledge. (…can be a dangerous thing):

                “In the field of human genetics, Mitochondrial Eve refers to the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of modern humans. In other words, she was the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend, on their mother’s side, and through the mothers of those mothers and so on, back until all lines converge on one person.”

                I don’t entirely disagree with you either. Humans could have been created in the same fashion as everything else, with the concept of a soul being the unique attribute.

                But it still always goes back to the concept of God for me – is he actually all powerfu, etc. Because if so, Adam and Eve does not have to be a metaphor. I honestly dwell on it as much as Jesus did in the Gospels, though.

              • Blacksheep

                This is interesting too – although I know nothing about it (yet):

                “The Human MRCA – All humans alive today share a surprisingly recent common ancestor, perhaps even within the last 5,000 years, even for people born on different continents…”

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  When I first read that I assumed a ’0′ had dropped somewhere. I was pretty sure the Bering land bridge was much older than that, and I’m seeing 20K years on google. Reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most_recent_common_ancestor#TMRCA_of_all_living_humans the 5K mark is based on the assumption that there’s enough recent influx to all isolated genetic ‘islands’ that even if we’re all ‘Africans’, we also all have a recent (probably European) ancestor. Considering there still exist a few ‘un-contacted’ tribes in the world, it seems a stretch. In any case, it’s a measure of recent (last 500 years) genetic mixing, not a measure of the age of the human species.

        • Octoberfurst

          You are correct that earth age does not mean that Christianity is false. However the Bible does strongly imply that the earth is around 6,000 yrs old. (Check out the genealogy “record” in the New Testament from Jesus back to Adam.)

          “Day” could mean long periods of time. But since earth is 4 billion years old how does one break the “day” segments down?
          For what purpose would God create a world that “appears” to be old? Wouldn’t that make God deceitful? Why trick humanity?

          I agree that the Adam and Eve story is metaphor. But then what caused humans to have a sinful nature. (Mind you I don’t believe humans have a “sin nature” but I would like your perspective.)

          • Blacksheep

            The word “Day” (“yom” in Hebrew) can mean a 24 hour period, or “long age”. The context in Genesis, however, implies a 24 hour period. I’m fine either way – scientific evidence supports 4 Billion years, so I fully accept that that is probably how old the earth is. But I am equally fine believing that God could have made it in 6 days. What matters here is what the nature of God is. Is he all powerful, or not.

            Breaking it doen into segments is a non issue, the word can simply mean “long age”, so it could simply apply to phases of creation.

            I didn’t say I thought it was a metaphor, I said it could be.

            But the main point is about something else: People who choose to follow Christ don’t do so because of anything other than that they are moved by the Gospel.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          If God is all powerful, he could have indeed created a world that appears to be much older than it is. This is more of a discussion about the nature of God, and whether or not there is one.

          I call that god ‘Loki’ (or Raven). I mean really, dumping a bunch of marsupial fossils in Antarctica that look like they’re 35-40 MYO, which is when GPS measurements of continental drift state that Gondwana separated into Australia, Antarctica and South America? That’s a heck of a lot of back story to make sure we have the free will to reject him :-)

          • Blacksheep

            I hear you, I envision it to be less about “dumping” fossils and more about massive, dynamic forces that cause things to happen much faster than we can imagine.

            With DNA, I agree that we’re all made out of the same stuff – Animals come in all shapes and sizes, chimps happen to be more similar to us than others. I don’t have the answe to that. I’ve heard one Catholic explaination that Adam and Eve were the first higher animals that God gave a soul to, In Michner’s “The Source” (I recollect) he imagines a stone age semi-neanderthal race that is enlightened with knowledge of the divine.

    • C Peterson

      No, faith itself is incompatible with reason. As many have pointed out, as was pointed out in this discussion, faith begins with the conclusion while reason begins with a premise. At the most fundamental level, the two are different ways of constructing a world view, with faith leading to random beliefs uncorrelated with reality, and reason allowing belief and reality to converge.

      • Steven

        If by faith, we mean “belief without evidence” then it is not only compatible but also an indispensible part of our epistemic framework.

        • C Peterson

          “Belief without evidence” is certainly a key component of “faith” (although not a complete definition).

          Belief without evidence is completely incompatible with reason, and plays no part in the epistemic framework of a completely rational person (not that there is any such thing, of course).

          • Steven

            I believe that my observations shows the world as it truly exists, this is a belief that rational people have, I would love to see evidence for that belief.

            • Jasper

              Your observations of the world is evidence that it exists, and therefore, not faith.

              • Steven

                Oh, it definetly exists, but there is not evidence that it is an illusion or that we are not in the matrix, we believe the world truly exists as we observe it without evidence.

                • C Peterson

                  But it doesn’t matter if the world is some kind of illusion. Within that illusion, reason functions. Reason allows us to to follow evidence in such a way that we can construct a working model of nature. We can understand the way things work, and we can make accurate predictions. Faith is utterly useless in this regard, even counterproductive.

                • Steven

                  Your statement is irrelevant. Sure, you may not care about the true nature of our observations but instead care about the model that these observations build. That is fine. But this doesn’t change the fact that there are people who DO care about what the observations really are, and based on your strict evidenciary epistemology, sucha belief is unwarranted since it cannot be supported by evidence.

                • C Peterson

                  Scientists (at least, in their role as scientists) don’t care about the true nature of observations. In the end, it is a question of what works. Science and reason provide actual answers. Faith does not, and cannot.

                • Steven

                  You keep dodging my questions, and yes, there are people who happen to be scientists who do care about the nature of their observations. And there are also people who are not scientists who care about that as well, and in your self refuting world view, those beliefs are unwarranted, Trying to solve this problem by saying “scientists dont care about such things” is a huge cop out.

                • C Peterson

                  I didn’t say scientists couldn’t be interested in philosophical questions about the nature of their observations. I said that they are not interested in that in their role as scientists, because those are not scientific questions.

                  In fact, such questions are irrelevant to how we use reason (which in no way depends on faith) to elucidate the workings of nature.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  The phrase “truly exists” is a misnomer here. The universe you observe really exists, you couldn’t observe it if it didn’t. Whether it is true that this universe is comprised of atoms and empty space or is a subroutine of a great Matrix-like computer is irrelevant to the original question. The world exists independent of our understanding of its substrate.
                  The quest for what “really” exists is nothing but human angst against our ignorance and the knowledge that we can be deceived.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Evans/100000619020207 David Evans

              If you were given such evidence, would you believe that your senses were showing you that evidence correctly? What evidence could you have for that belief?

              There is an obvious infinite regress here. I prefer to avoid it by asking, what is my best strategy for understanding the world? Surely it is to start by trusting my observations, while accepting the possibility that they may be wrong in particular cases. Distrusting them all will get me nowhere.

            • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

              @Steven
              Solipsism is irrelevant to this conversation.

              I think you are trolling.

              We can only make do with the information we can obtain. There is no way for us to tell whether or not our observations are accurate. We must accept that we see what we think we see. We can confirm it by asking others and using video, sound, etc to verify.

              Does the world exist if you do not believe it exists? That is an unanswerable question. Seems irrelevant to me.

        • DisThoughts

          Steven, as I understand faith from my discussions with its proponents and my reading of the Bible, faith isn’t simply belief without evidence, but full certainty in what one hopes is true despite a lack of evidence. You can reasonably argue that in certain circumstances and contexts believing something without evidence is in order. However, elevating such presumptions to the status of certainty is hardly compatible with reason. Reason, to me, means that what is held true is held true for better reasons than that one would wish it so and that all opinions and beliefs are up for revision pending new information. Faith is the denial of that very principle.

        • Pseudonym

          If by faith, we mean “belief without evidence” [...]

          …and that’s a big “if”.

      • Greg G.

        Perhaps we are using “compatible” in a different sense. You seem to think that the two things are not identical, they are not compatible. The concept of compatibility is about how different things relate to each other. If the things are not antagonistic, they’re compatible no matter how great the differences.

        • C Peterson

          I recognize different meanings for “compatible”, and am simple stating my interpretation of the usage in this particular case.

          In a sense, reason and faith are antagonistic, however, since they arrive at different answers to the same questions, where both cannot be correct (and in all cases where we can clearly define what correct is, reason is the only one that works). They are antagonistic because people who depend on faith arrive at answers which are not only wrong, but damaging to society.

    • ortcutt

      Religions that only require ritual but not beliefs could be consistent with reason, but there really aren’t any. Every real world religion requires adherents to believe some tenets about the world and if those tenets have no evidentiary basis then they aren’t consistent with reason.

    • Blacksheep

      I am a man of faith of the type that you say is incompatible with reason. yet I have a deep and continuing love of science. Scientific exploration and discovery give me a deeper understanding and wonder of the world that God created.

      I agree that one can indeed have faith without reason, but one can also have faith with reason. We live in a world rich with discoveries by men of reason who believed in The Gospel.

      • C Peterson

        What you describe is called compartmentalization. People are capable of applying reason in one part of their life while accepting faith in another. That is not an argument that faith and reason are not incompatible.

        • Blacksheep

          I disagree. I see faith and reason, within myself, as inextricably linked. My observations of humanity, the universe, good and evil, and science are woven together quite compatibly. If Christianity is true, then they are compatible – by default.

          Simply making definitive statements to the contrary does not make it so.

          • C Peterson

            See it as you will, where you apply faith you are not applying reason. You have simply found a way to allow two approaches to defining a world view to coexist. That doesn’t mean that the two aren’t completely different things, which is what “compatible” means in the context of this discussion.

            • Blacksheep

              We still disagree, C. I believe that I apply reason to my faith, and it’s one of my reasons for faith.

              Pascal said it better:

              “Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.”

              • C Peterson

                Pascal is a great example of how somebody can be very rational about some things, and an absolute idiot about others- in his case, matters of faith, about which he never said anything intelligent.

                • Blacksheep

                  that’s compartmentalizing in reverse – the assumption that his brilliance somehow shuts off the minute he thinks about matters of faith. The fact is, he said very intelligent things about faith.

                • C Peterson

                  No, it’s just evidence of compartmentalization. He was able to produce the most monumentally irrational of views in discussing faith and religion, and somehow the rational part of his brain completely ignored that fact.

                  It is difficult to imagine any intelligent statement in support of faith, of course. I’m can’t recall ever hearing one. I’m curious what Pascal said about the subject that you find intelligent.

                • Blacksheep

                  The rational part of his brain is one of the reasons that he had faith. You’re still compartmentalizing on your own personal terms based on your own personal opinion. I think Pascal would disagree with your analysis, too.

                  Pascal said many things about faith that I find intelligent, however I feel that you will disagree. You can google it – I tend to avoid doing “homework on demand” in online forms.

                  But here’s one:

                  “Atheism shows strength of mind, but only to a certain degree.”

                • C Peterson

                  If you think faith can be produced by the rational part of the brain, I’d say you understand neither faith nor reason.

                  Rational thought can only eliminate faith, and faith can only damage rational thought. In that sense, the two truly are antagonistic and incompatible.

                  (The statement you quote is reasonable, but it has nothing to do with faith.)

                • Nox

                  One should never underestimate the ability of intelligent people who want to believe unintelligent things, to come up with intelligent sounding rationalizations for believing unintelligent things.

                  Pascal didn’t have faith because he was a rational person. Pascal had faith because he lived in France in the 1600′s. Even if god weren’t the best explanation available at the time, it was still a catholic theocracy. If he didn’t have faith he would have been killed for not having faith. So he pretty much would have been catholic no matter what. Choosing to be so devoted to his religion was his great act of faith.

                  Under the influence of his faith, this brilliant mind managed to conceive some of the most profoundly stupid words ever put to paper. There’s not really any nice way around that. Anyone who could come up with Pascal’s Wager has had their brain poisoned. That is not the same thing as being an unintelligent person. However many unintelligent things Blaise Pascal may have said, the inventor of the hydraulic press, the roulette wheel and probability theory was certainly not an unintelligent person.

                  He was however an unreasonable person. This is not a slur. After a near death experience involving a runaway carriage and a fiery vision, Pascal literally renounced reason and dedicated the rest of his life to faith. This is why all his contributions to math and science come from before 1654. And all his contributions to apologetics come from after 1654.

                  We don’t need to assume his brilliance shut down when he started talking about faith. He actually documented the process.

              • Nox

                If faith does tell us the contrary of what our senses see, then Pascal’s statement is wrong (regardless of whether it sounds like an intelligent statement).

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Do you mean that your observations of humanity, the universe, good and evil don’t conflict with your understanding of God, or perhaps even confirm your understanding of God? I wouldn’t call that faith. I’d call that maybe confirmation bias, and maybe incorrect evaluation of the evidence, depending on your exact understanding of God.

            I can certainly imagine a Spinoza God that is not incompatible with my observations. I see no actual evidence for it, but nothing can deny it either.

            The real question comes if you are presented with evidence that contradicts your understanding of God. Does God change? Or the evidence?

            Kurt Wise has said that no matter what evidence he is presented, he will always believe the earth is 6K years old, because that’s what the bible says. That’s faith.

            Thinking about God giving you warm fuzzy feelings, or finding a penny just as you’ve thought about a friend who has died, and the penny date is the date your friend was born, or died, is improper evaluation of the evidence, but it’s not the same thing as faith- at least based on my understanding of the world.

            p.s. I get more auto-down-votes over on WND then you get there, which makes me happy. Evidence that my people are a little less irrational than those people :-)

            • Blacksheep

              Great question about evidence. I think for me, neither changes in the face of evidence, since there is enough mystery in the concept of God to allow for infinite “new information” without needing to change my concept of God. I have the same degree of faith I suppose as Kurt Wise, although my interest and “faith” in science makes it easy for me to accept what science says, generally speaking. (For example I can’t accept that we’re here by accident / millions of consecutive accidents).

              On the warm fuzzy front, since faith has so much power to heal and inspire I do put that into the mix of reasons to believe, although I know that’s not scientific process.

              More than me?? Well, I can accept from experience that “those people” might be less rational in the face of questioning their faith.

          • Randay

            You forgot the kitchen sink.

            • Blacksheep

              I guess I did… but you made me think about kitchen sinks, and it occurred to me that one could throw together clay, glass, fire, and steel billions of times without ever creating a working sink, even if you wish really hard that it will happen.

      • vaikuntha

        The beauty of scientific discoveries illuminates and glorifies the nature of Lord Krishna, the transcendent and Supreme Being in whom the universe and all of existence is constituted. I am glad to see someone else combine a sensible, reasonable view of the world, and an appreciation for the achievements of science, with devotion for Lord Krishna. Perhaps this could be an opportunity for us to share how our faith and love for Krishna coexists with a rational approach to life.

        It is unfortunate that some people conceive of us as having a dismal, depressive view of life and of believing humanity to be inherently sinful. This is obviously false, as Lord Krishna himself states in the Gita that each of us emanates from Him and that our true essence in Him. We may have shortcomings and commit errors arising from misperception, but we are not inherently sinful. This is made clear in the Bhagavad Gita, in Lord Krishna’s own words. Isn’t it sad that you and I are tarnished by the misguided doctrines of Christian orthodoxy?

        I am glad to see a fellow man of faith and a worshipper of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Being, in this community. I hope Krishna brings you the kind of love and solace which he instills within me and in others since time immemorial.

        • Blacksheep

          If you were sincere (which I don’t think you are based on the tone) then we agree on the most basic premise, which is that scientific discovery illuminates and glorifies a creator and God.

          Some Christians (Quakers included) believe that everyone worships God in their own way, so no matter what you call him, it’s still God – we have both recognized the divine. To me, that’s the sensible part – considering that a creator is behind the universe.

          As far as Christianity goes vs the others, for me the Gospel speaks for itself. I have read the other holy books, and to me they all offer systems of faith, not “Good News”.

          • Vaikuntha

            Ah, this is truly unfortunate. When you spoke of God, I assumed you too were a devotee of the Supreme Being, Lord Krishna, who was incarnated more than five thousand years ago to deliver to mankind the words of the Bhagavad Gita (translated as ‘The Song of the Lord’). I believe that God’s grace, his glory, and his transcendence are made clear in the Gita.

            It is unfortunate that you have fallen for a false gospel, for false doctrines that deny the true nature of man, falsely condemning him as inherently sinful. I hope that you have the opportunity to read the Bhagavad Gita in your lifetime and to come to understand the nature of the soul and how it attains liberation through the paths set forth by Lord Krishna. Each of us, and indeed, every living being, emanates from the eternal, transcendental source embodied in Lord Krishna. We might fall prey to false gospels and doctrines, to misperceptions of reality, and recede from the path to salvation, but no human being is ever lost to the grace of Lord Krishna. Each and every one of us will be united to Him – in this life or the next. What can be more of “Good News” than that, my dear friend?

            So, perhaps you deny the Supreme Being, his supreme incarnation on Earth, and his divine revelation, but you will attain liberation, my friend. You will feel the ecstasy of his divine love for you, I hope in this life, but perhaps in the next.

            You may deny Lord Krishna’s divinity, but his grace extends to you as well. It doesn’t matter whether you mistakenly pray to Jesus or Poseidon, you are never abandoned. Your prayers and devotion, if you are sincere, will be heard by Krishna, as he promises us in the Gita:

            “Whosoever comes to me, though whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.”

            “Even those who lovingly devote themselves to other gods and sacrifice to them, full of faith, do really worship me though the rite may differ from the norm. For it is I who am the recipient of all sacrifices and Lord.”

            You are not forsaken. Tonight, when you pray, take courage and chant His name. Do not be mislead by your frail, but beguiling ego, which leads you to cling to false dogmas. There is no ritual, no complexity, no dogmatic requirements to revel in Lord Krishna’s love. Overcome your ego and utter His name once, and you are as beloved as the most faithful devotees of Lord Krishna.

            I pray that Lord Krishna grants you the courage and strength to read his revealed wisdom in the Gita and to meditate upon His glory through the chanting of His name. If you have any questions through this journey, whether it relates to the Gita itself or Vaishnava philosophy, please contact me at vaikuntha.anandam@gmail.com

            • Blacksheep

              “You may deny Lord Krishna’s divinity, but his grace extends to you as well. It doesn’t matter whether you mistakenly pray to Jesus or Poseidon, you are never abandoned. Your prayers and devotion, if you are sincere, will be heard by Krishna, as he promises us in the Gita:

              “Whosoever comes to me, though whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.”

              OK – so I’m cool with Jesus then, right?

              • vaikuntha

                Absolutely. You are free to worship Zeus, Thor, or Jesus, as long as your worship is sincere and carried in the spirit of love and compassion. By developing such states of mind and equanimity in your sense of self, you work towards realizing the Supreme Being in its true form, embodied in Lord Krishna. I pray that Lord Krishna draws you to Him in this life, but ultimately each and every one of us will be reconciled with Him through his grace. So be glad, your soul will experience the ecstasy and inexpressible wonder of his love. Be selfless, be caring to others, and chant His name.

              • vaikuntha

                I would only request, if I may be so forthright, that you read and contemplate Lord Krishna’s words in the Gita with an open mind, if only for the sake of gaining a better understanding of the world’s most ancient religion. I would be not be here today if a dear friend hadn’t introduced me to that text when I was still a Christian.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I can’t tell if you’re serious, but I did find the Gita an enjoyable read. And on the upside, it only took an evening, not the several months months of intense effort that the bible took.

  • C Peterson

    The moderator seemed very knowledgeable. All three of the presenters supporting reason were logical, coherent, and persuasive. All three of the presenters supporting faith were appalling. The past-life dingbat was a complete joke. The scientist totally failed to understand “faith”, conflating it with “hope” and other ideas. The Christian apologist didn’t say much, just a bit of what we’ve all heard before.

    Certainly, this discussion very strongly supports the conclusion that faith and reason are absolutely incompatible. They are diametrically opposed.

    • 3lemenope

      WARNING: Conclusion does NOT follow from premises!

      Run logic debug now?

      • C Peterson

        I see no problem with the logic. Those who used reason were able to create a case that reason was superior. Those who believed in faith were unable to produce any coherent arguments. The two sides might as well have been speaking different languages.

        The observation of their performance supports the premise that faith and reason are different, incompatible things.

        • 3lemenope

          If you think that if someone grabs three people on one side of an argument and three people on the other, and not really knowing much more, you put them in an informal debate, you’re telling me that you take one side’s performance in that debate as “certainly…very strongly support[ing] the conclusion…” about the underlying issues under discussion, then I’d suggest your standards of what should count as strong support should perhaps be tightened a bit.

          What it really supports, if anything, is a conclusion or two about the debate acumen of the people participating. It tells you about as much about the soundness of the underlying arguments as it would if you were just to stare contemplatively at Hempel’s ravens for an equal amount of time.

          I’d also suggest that your perception of the criteria of winning (or even successfully participating in) the argument is massively biased by your pre-existing proclivities and opinions on the matter at issue, to the point where you actually forward a tautology as an argument of the approximate form that the people who believe in reason used reason, thus showing they are more reasonable than their opponents. And because they were better at reason, they prevailed at the task of presenting a reasonable case. In an argument where one of the very matters at issue is reason, this, to you, is an appropriate winning criteria?

          • C Peterson

            These weren’t three random people. Each had a reasonable degree of expertise in the views they were defending.

            The fact that I can find support for the premise in the results of this discussion does not mean that many more premises are not supported as well, such as ideas about the relative debating skills of the participants.

            I did not claim any absolute conclusion or proof from this discussion. All I said was that it supported the premise that faith and reason are incompatible, and I think that statement is accurate and follows from a reasonable application of logic.

          • Nox

            A good point, and one it is too easy to forget.

            But in this case we are dealing with a conclusion that does follow from the definition of the words “faith” and “reason”.

            Thanks to the miracle of compartmentalization, a person can engage in both faith and reason. Arguments which attempt to establish compatibility tend to focus completely on this and ignore that they are inherently conflicting methods.

            • Pseudonym

              What definition of “faith” and what definition of “reason”, exactly? Which definitions you cherry-pick largely determines your answer.

              • Nox

                I’m using Paul’s definition of faith. Commitment to belief in a premise regardless of whether it is true.

                • Pseudonym

                  Paul never defined “faith”. Not even in Heb 11 (which almost certainly wasn’t written by Paul anyway, but this is irrelevant).

    • Rain

      Are Faith and Reason Compatible? Well, I wish they would not have asked such a vague question as that, because someone could point out that Issac Newton’s reason co-existed with his faith, and we would have no idea if that answers the question or not. Nobody knows what the hell the question is, let alone the answer.

      • C Peterson

        I do not take the question as whether or not faith and reason can coexist in a person. Clearly they can. People have proven themselves perfectly capable of believing in utter bullshit like God while at the same time constructing reasoned arguments in other areas.

        I read the question of compatibility as being whether faith can inform reason, reason inform faith, or whether one can reach equivalent world views using either faith or reason. To that, I’d say the answer is a resounding “no”. Reason and faith are intrinsically incompatible in the sense that they represent diametrical approaches to constructing a world view.

        • Rain

          Your question is a lot better when put that way. Maybe you should try out for writer or producer of The Big Questions, or possibly even for host of the show.

        • Pseudonym

          I read the question of compatibility as being whether faith can inform reason, reason inform faith, or whether one can reach equivalent world views using either faith or reason.

          That seems like an equally unhelpful question to me. Can music can inform cosmology or cosmology can inform music, or can you reach equivalent world views using either cosmology or music? The only valid answer is “mu”.

          This is good, though. For philosophical problems, exploring the question is usually more productive and enlightening than getting an answer.

          • 3lemenope

            Goedel Escher Bach fan?

            I don’t think the question is quite as useless as the one you propose. At the very least, both reason and faith purport to be ways of knowing true things (and, importantly, true things within shared domains). Music and cosmology can’t really be said to share enough of an overlapping domain of concern to expect that they could inform one another’s processes. It is a reasonable expectation, or at least a more reasonable expectation, to expect that ways of knowing which operate over the same domain would make mutually comprehensible claims about objects in that domain.

            For my part, anyway, I tend to think that at least in principle the processes of faith and those of reason could be made partially commensurate, or at least formalized using the same language. My suspicion stems from the fact that they are both the results of computation (the human brain uses, or at least can use, both methods to produce discrete and consistent outputs).

            Everything else aside, I agree at least that exploring the question is the worthier part. Unfortunately, most people find that tedious and denigrate it as “navel-gazing”.

            • Pseudonym

              Goedel Escher Bach fan?

              Why do you think I go by a self-referential nickname?

              I disagree that this is what “faith purport[s]“. The word “faith” means (and has always meant) “trust” or “loyalty”. When we speak of someone acting “in good faith’, or speak of a relationship being “faithful”, we are not talking about “ways of knowing true things”. And I’m not sure that there even is such a thing as “processes of faith”.

              • 3lemenope

                I think what is meant by faith in the context of “faith vs. reason” is a faith in a metaphysical system or assertion that does not require independent confirmation to be sustained. So, for a theist, perhaps we could call their faith more specifically a commitment to trust the proposition that a being preceding the universe and independent of it has purposely created the universe and everything in it, especially humans who that being purportedly cares about and reveals some true information to directly. The alleged contents of this communication is generally what is meant by faith as a means of knowing; if you have faith in the entity which purportedly provided the information as being well-informed, powerful, and benevolent, then it follows that one should trust the information itself and its implications as true.

                The act of having faith (using one’s belief in that metaphysical conjecture to sort out the world around you, your place in it, etc.) is procedural, because it requires confronting inputs and processing them so as to respond with appropriate outputs.

                • Pseudonym

                  I think what is meant by faith in the context of “faith vs. reason” is a
                  faith in a metaphysical system or assertion that does not require
                  independent confirmation to be sustained.

                  I think that’s what more or less what most debater-atheists mean by it, and pretty close to what most debater-apologists mean by it. For everyone else, that’s an if-by-whiskey definition.

          • C Peterson

            Music and cosmology don’t claim to seek the same thing. Faith and reason do.

            • Pseudonym

              Neither “faith” nor “reason” claim anything. People claim things about them, and different people claim different things.

  • revengeismine

    ….
    what’s the harm of little idiots?

    http://www.skepticfriends.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15587

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      Go away, Mabus.

      • ortcutt

        I wonder whether the Montreal Police have been contacted again. Someone isn’t supposed to be on the internet.

        • dmarx

          i really wonder who survives and who does not!

          my bet 80% fail rate

  • revengeismine

    what’s the harm of little idi*ts?

    skepticfriends.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15587

  • revengeismine

    what’s the harm of little idi*ts?

    skepticfriends.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15587

  • dmarx
  • Steven

    “belief without evidence” is not at all incompatible with reason, it is actually the way that we form our foundational beliefs to build our epistemic framework. Ironically, if we believe science helps us explain the world as it truly is, we need to start with some basic beliefs that we take on fsith.

    • ortcutt

      What do scientists need to take on faith? Let’s be clear as well, don’t give me examples where any ampliative inference at all amounts to faith, because that’s bullshit.

      • 3lemenope

        Science institutionally assumes the principle of the uniformity of nature. It assumes the integrity of deductive logic, and of many higher maths. Scientists must rely, ultimately, upon unattested and untestable assumptions about perception in order to make observations both unaided and with instrumentation.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          i don’t think you truly understand science.

          • 3lemenope

            ROFL

            • ortcutt

              You need to stop reading the Kuhn/Feyerabend science studies junk and read real philosophy of science.

          • Olreans

            He understands it perfectly, it seems you are the one that lacks understanding.

            • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

              hey man, it is the interwebs. and i’ve got 16 windows open and often skim stuff.
              and i lack the humor bone.

              it’s damn easy to misunderstand comments on the interweb. ;-)

        • ortcutt

          Does it assume the uniformity of nature? That is up for testing as much as anything. Also, perception isn’t immune to scientific study either. We have been studying our perceptual systems in detail for the last 200 years. You really need to get up to date on naturalized epistemology. Your understanding of scientific epistemology seems to be stuck in the 1940s.

          • 3lemenope

            How would one go about testing the uniformity of nature (especially temporally, which is both the most important and most difficult part)? The whole notion of experimentation is one of repetitive testing. If you have no confidence in the rules of reality being the same from the experiment conducted one moment to an identical one conducted the next, how could you extract any meaningful conclusion from the resulting data?

            How do you know how your senses work? Would it, perhaps, be due to information provided to you by your senses? When you use instrumentation, how do you read the results?

            • ortcutt

              You want a standpoint outside reality from which we can study reality. It doesn’t exist. You really need to get up to date on scientific epistemology and philosophy of science. You’re hopelessly stuck in 70 year old conceptions of the subject and attacking straw-man positions that no one holds anymore.

              • 3lemenope

                What I want is irrelevant. What matters is the fact that there is no standpoint-outside-reality places some limits on the ability of science (or any other justification procedure, for that matter) to assert that it has found true statements about the universe, and some limits on how confident we should be in the statements it does produce. Those limits are comprehensible and explicable and really rather important to know about if one seeks to understand what science is and how it does what it does.

                Pointing out those limits and how they manifest in the actual practice of science is a perfectly legitimate line of thought. That you don’t like it (and thus illegitimately dismissed it) is more an impediment to this discussion proceeding than me not understanding it. As for that, when chicago_dyke accused me of being ignorant, I was annoyed but I apologized for the way I expressed it. Now I’m regretting my chagrin (I’m Quining regret!) if the theme of this discussion is going to be people who disagree immediately assuming that their interlocutor simply doesn’t get it. I’m pretty fucking tired of having to prove, over and over again, that I am competent to talk about topics such as this one where I have sufficient background. I’m also pretty sick of that attitude leveled at others who happen to disagree, as it does here quite often. Since it generally occurs long before a person could reasonably come to any conclusion about competence, It amounts to nothing more or less than a dickish conversational power-play. If you think me ignorant of the relevant developments in the field to properly discuss, then fine, say it and then fuck off or even better don’t engage at all. But considering you are recklessly naming long outstanding problems in the PoS as solved and/or irrelevant, I’d submit that you should not be getting into a subject competence slap-fight on this particular topic.

                • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

                  Friend, i don’t take anything personally and i enjoy reading other people’s thoughts and opinions. no need to apologize. i try my best to keep the debate civilized and reasonable. i hope my comment was not hurtful to you.

                • 3lemenope

                  No, not as such. It has been a thing that has been bothering me in general more lately, of people reaching for the “you obviously just don’t get it!” as a way to shut down conversations and the people having them, so that’s why I reacted. I took it personally when it happened again in the same conversation, but it wasn’t by you so that’s hardly your fault. :)

                • 3lemenope

                  No, not as such. It has been a thing that has been bothering me in general more lately, of people reaching for the “you obviously just don’t get it!” as a way to shut down conversations and the people having them, so that’s why I reacted. I took it personally when it happened again in the same conversation, but it wasn’t by you so that’s hardly your fault. :)

            • The Captain

              “How would one go about testing the uniformity of nature ” Do you have any examples of the uniformity of nature failing? If every time and everywhere you look nature conforms to the uniformity principle then I would say it’s you that is basing things on assumptions and not the evidence.

              • 3lemenope

                How could you possibly know if nature is conforming to the uniformity principle or not if it is not uniform? How would you test for uniformity in a nature that is not uniform? How would you test for anything in a nature that is not uniform? Even your objections are based upon the assumption, and the means by which one might starting to test it rely on that assumption.

                Asking for an example is missing the point a bit. The point is not there is a non-uniform universe. The point is there is absolutely no way to know, even conceivably, that the universe’s rules are uniform. The methodology of science (if you’re on the Induction track) depends utterly on the assumption that the rules don’t change, because this assumption is what leads to the intermediate assumption that repeated observations can help us partially surmount the immediacy of our existence by drawing an explanation for phenomena that does not depend on spatial or temporal contingency.

                Hume pointed out that we depend upon the principle of uniformity *only because we must* and not because we have a non-circular reason for believing it to be a good idea. PUN is a foundational, unjustified, axiomatic belief that science demands be held in order to do science.

            • The Captain

              “If you have no confidence in the rules of reality being the same from the experiment conducted one moment to an identical one conducted the next, how could you extract any meaningful conclusion from the resulting data”

              Please give any example of the rules of reality ever changing from one moment to the next?

        • C Peterson

          Science (and reason in general) depends on assumptions and premises. But assumptions and premises are not beliefs. They are chosen because they appear to be correct, because they lead to what appear to be accurate descriptions of nature. They can be changed if necessary.

          A scientist says that much of what we understand about the Universe depends on the premise of the uniformity of natural law. A scientist also admits the premise could be false. Indeed, some observations are examined in the light of just that possibility.

          To equate belief based on faith with belief based on deductive reasoning resting on a foundation of premises is to misunderstand both faith and reason.

          • Steven

            No, you are absolutely wrong. There is a huge difference between assumptions and foundational beliefs. Like you said, assumptions can change but foundational beliefs cannot. In other words, there are ways to dissprove an assumption based on evidence, but there is no way to dissprove a foundational belief and yet, we are completely justified in believing it.

            For example the law of non-contradiction says that a statement cant be true and false at the same time. This is a belief that is basic to any type of scientific or empirical conclusion, without this belief, science falls apart, and yet, it is a belief that we hold without evidence (faith) and it cannot be proven or disproven through evidence. If you think you are up to the challenge, explain to me how such a belief can be disproved.

            • C Peterson

              I don’t know any scientists who have “foundational beliefs” as you describe them. They certainly aren’t a part of my operating system (as a professional science), and they aren’t a part of any philosophy of science that I consider reasonable.

              As I pointed out elsewhere, the ultimate underlying “reality” of things doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have a system, resting on strong, but unproven and potentially changeable foundations, which actually succeeds in describing the Universe as we perceive it. It allows us to explain what we see, and predict what we haven’t seen. To call the premises used to make this system work “faith” is to grossly misunderstand the nature of science and reasoned analysis.

              • Steven

                Once again, I ask, if the law of noncontradiction is just an assumption that we hold, a potentially changeable foundation that we have, how would someone go about changing it? Surely, even if we don’t have enough evidence now to change an assumption, we can think of ways to disrpove said assumption. Please, humor me…

          • Blacksheep

            I can attempt to define faith using your own words. “Appear” is a lovely word:

            “Faith is chosen because it appears to be correct, because it leads to what appears to be accurate descriptions of the human condition.

            • C Peterson

              Faith doesn’t “appear” to be correct to anybody who is rational, who applies reason, who lives in reality.

              Certainly, the ubiquity of faith in humans explains the dismal state of the human condition, however. If we choose a world view not based on reality, we can expect negative consequences.

              • Blacksheep

                Faith has “appeared” to be correct by millions of rational people throughout history – (no need for a list, but it would be a long one). I believe that you are truly imposing your personal construct on others.

                Your assertation needs a little testing – I suppose one could compare societies based upon state-sponsored atheism to Judeo-Christian societies. I would not choose to live in any of the former – but YMMV.

                • C Peterson

                  No, faith has appeared to be correct to millions of irrational people. It is impossible to rationally believe in faith. That does not mean these people were irrational in all aspects of their thinking- that describes only the most profoundly mentally ill. But it does mean that they did not, or could not, apply reason to their thinking about faith. Had they done so, they would not have faith. Of course, like you, they can delude themselves into believing their faith arises from rational thinking, but that is quite impossible.

        • Blacksheep

          Terrific evidence of an intelligent creator!

          • 3lemenope

            What is?

            • Blacksheep

              “…the principle of the uniformity of nature. It assumes the integrity of deductive logic, and of many higher maths. Scientists must rely, ultimately, upon unattested and untestable assumptions about perception…”

              • 3lemenope

                Connect the dots for me, because I’m not seeing it.

                • Blacksheep

                  The fact that there is uniformity in nature, that scientists must rely on the integrity of something outside of themselves. (A related conversation would be that the “laws” of nature, the cosmological constant, gravity, etc. are among the things necessary for “a universe from nothing” to occur.)

                • 3lemenope

                  There is no a priori reason to believe that a hypothetical creator would prefer a universe with homogeneous rules to one with heterogeneous ones (a God could just as easily prize diversity as prize consistency). And that scientists depend upon tools and consistencies that do not originate with themselves really only lends weight to the notion that reality is functionally objective in nature, not so much any given cosmogonic hypothesis.

                • Blacksheep

                  I agree – but if we take the idea of us being created “in His image” somewhat literally, homogeneous rules, consistency, and base forces of the universe – like gravity – align with our assumptions… and at the very least align with what most people “like”.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      but faith is not. for many reasons that the faithful ignore, where scientists and reasoners do not ignore information that may force them to change how they understand the world.

      it was a nicely civilized debate and i agree we need some of that on TV over here.

      i was disappointed, however, that none of the atheists brought up the “we’re all atheists, even believers who are except for one or more god(s) of their faith.”

      they needed an archaeologist atheist on that panel. someone who could point out the many problems with the claims of most faiths, which do not match up to what the evidence we know of today proves. someone should’ve talked about the changing nature of most faiths as well. how belief has morphed and changed over the centuries, contradicting not only facts and reality, but itself from ages past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.westley Brian Westley

    I would say they aren’t compatible, for the simple reason that following both “correctly” can result in mutually incompatible conclusions.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    A lot of them (the Christian physicist in particular) are confusing ‘faith’ and ‘trust’.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      frankly, Richard, i chalk a lot of it up to a) laziness and 2) community.

      thinking is Hard Work! to quote GWBush, and some people don’t like to do it when they can just get by, by accepting “truths” and what other people have told them is true. real science can be difficult to understand properly. hell, even PhDs in science will scratch their heads now and again and go, “OK, so that biology stuff…what was that hypothesis all about, again?” and struggle to fully comprehend. in our culture of declining educational standards, it’s no surprise that a lot of people look at hard scientific concepts and just give up trying to understand them with a ‘meh.’

      and i know a lot of people who are in it for the community, religious believers. “this is our way, always has been, always will be. go along to get along. pass the mackerel, please.” people get lonely, bored, tired of sportsball or work or whatever. faith organizations are a fun alternative, sometimes.

      i tell activists all the time, in my causes and orgs, that there is a wonderful feeling when you’re actually meeting up with fellow activists in the flesh. same deal with religion.
      it feels nice to be with nice people and pray to/for nice things, even if you know in your mind that such things may not be real or ever happen.

      imho, there are far fewer believers out there than the official numbers purport. i know so many people who aren’t nutjob professional haters or who only go to religious gatherings a few times a year and if you press them in discussion will say, eventually, “yeah. it’s probably bullshit.”

      these are the people i am trying to convince when i comment on this blog, not the die hards and full on believers willing to entertain any and all fantasies for their faith.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I wasn’t actually thinking religion so much, since that’s usually a majority position, as things like anti-vaccine, and holocaust denial etc. But it might also cause schisms within religious communities. I came across one fascinating person on FB who seemed ripe for it. In particular, he believed in the divinity of Jesus, but insisted he wasn’t a ‘Christian’. He seemed really have a desire to have a position that was opposed to whatever the majority was, and if that meant making up his own little religious category, that’s what he’d do.

        imho, there are far fewer believers out there than the official numbers purport

        I’ve met enough of them myself to agree completely. Or at least, they’re much more deistic, and “Jesus was a cool dude, so that’s good enough for me”.

  • Randay

    OMG, the dipsy blonde at 2:20 brings up quantum mechanics, which I doubt she even knows how to spell. Then she brings in the holographic universe! She seems to choose random words she heard somewhere. Then there is a woman who is described as a Christian Physicist(TM)who give “examples” of faith which make no sense. Why did I waste my time with this? It must have been painful for the reality-based people who participated.

    12:27 another woman of faith brings in probability and quotes a sound bite from Newton. Geez.

    14:23 The best and funniest part where the moderator asks about Jesus’ DNA. The moderator is good.

    15:05 A Muslim nutcase maintains that reality leads to god. My head aches.

    DON’T waste your time, except maybe for the minute at 14:23.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    I think we might as well ask an important underlying question: is a purely materialist perspective compatible with a perspective which actively embraces intuition, emotion, spirituality, and/or religion. That answer, which is demonstrated on blogs like this one and in similar places across the web, is quite often a resounding “no”. The two approaches come from a radically different set of assumptions and have radically different ideas regarding what constitutes valid sources of knowledge. Thus, they are incompatible at their very foundations.

    There’s little room for intelligible conversation to take place between people of such oppositional paradigms, especially when so many people on both sides embrace the end goal of achieving cultural dominance and/or maintaining cultural dominance. People can be quite rational within the framework of their individual paradigms, but will talk right past someone coming from a different framework. It is as though you speak different intellectual languages. Intermingle tribalism with this mismatch of paradigms and the resulting discourse grows even less intelligible. Fighting words form a poor basis for open exchange.

    Given that human beings are very emotional creatures (as is true of many animals), this struggle for dominance between two radically differing ways of understanding the world is going to continue for a very long time.

    I doubt this will ever end, for I believe we are doing battle with our very nature. And assuming an eternity of battle, can we eventually learn to coexist, in spite of our differences? Or will the last group standing, bloodied and beaten, eventually call for victory… Until the battle resumes in a generation?

  • Randay

    OMG, the dipsy blonde at 2:20 brings up quantum mechanics, which I
    doubt she even knows how to spell. Then she brings in the holographic
    universe! She seems to choose random words she heard somewhere. Then
    there is a woman who is described as a Christian Physicist(TM)who give
    “examples” of faith which make no sense. Why did I waste my time with
    this? It must have been painful for the reality-based people who
    participated.

    12:27 another woman of faith brings in probability and quotes a sound bite from Newton. Geez.

    14:23 The best and funniest part where the moderator asks about Jesus’ DNA. The moderator is good.

    15:05 A Muslim nutcase maintains that reality leads to god. My head aches.

    DON’T waste your time, except maybe for the minute at 14:23.

  • Randay

    Why does Disqus reject at least half of my comments?

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      it’s a tool created by Satan, my friend. Evil, evil to the core. ;-)

  • Randay

    OMG, the dipsy blonde at 2:20 brings up quantum mechanics, which I
    doubt she even knows how to spell. Then she brings in the holographic
    universe! She seems to choose random words she heard somewhere. Then
    there is a woman who is described as a Christian Physicist(TM)who give
    “examples” of faith which make no sense. Why did I waste my time with
    this? It must have been painful for the reality-based people who
    participated.
    12:27 another woman of faith brings in probability and quotes a sound bite from Newton. Geez.
    14:23 The best and funniest part where the moderator asks about Jesus’ DNA. The moderator is good.
    15:05 A Muslim nutcase maintains that reality leads to god. My head aches.
    DON’T waste your time, except maybe for the minute at 14:23.

  • http://profiles.google.com/conticreative Marco Conti

    It’s all “Quantum” stuff, proven by science, but you feel it in your hearth and know it’s true.

    Imagine if a rocket designer used that little gem to build the next rocket “I just feel it in my hearth it’s going to work”.

  • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

    No. Faith is the absence of reason.

  • Nope

    If faith were reasonable, it would be called “reason”. To have faith is to believe something without any supporting evidence (solipsism idiots pls go), which is the antithesis of using reasoning.


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