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Published 14 June 2011 by lordgriggs

The presumption of rationalism

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The presumption of rationalism

Post #1  Postby skeptic griggsy » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:43 am

 We rationalists have the presumption that reason is our tool to find the truth and that faith does not. Reason can move the mountains of ignorance while faith rests on the argument from ignorance. Science,argues naturalist Sydney Hook is acquired knowledge while faith begs the question of being knowledge. Faith begs the question of its subject [Articulett], which it cannot instantiate. It is the we just say so of credullity. :lol:
      We endorse W.K. Clifford’s admonition to   provide sufficient evidence. Now advanced theologian Keith Wardd takes us to task, arguing that our demand for evidence would impede us from ever doing  much of anything. That is hyperbole! The amount of evidence depends on the subject matter. If your wife says she’ll do something, you do not demand evidence as she always does what she says or you just presume so unless shown  otherwise. We know that evidence comes not only from the microscope, the telescope or the Buntsen burner but also  from other  factors. My evidence of  my parents’ love for me comes from their actions.
    What Ward evidently wants is to fool-proof his dogmas about God. :oops:  :cry:
    Faith, thus cannot complete reason but goes against it , so it is no false dilemma in opposing the two! :idea:
    So, fideism and at root, even natural theology rest :wink:  on  just say so.
   Clifford Richard Dawkins rightlly notes that one does not have to study theology  as it bases itself on false premisses, but I dare take on those advance theologians like haughty John Haught, Keith Ward, John Hick, Alvin Platinga, Alister McGrath , Willliam Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne.
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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #2  Postby Flash » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:48 am

skeptic griggsy wrote:
Clifford Richard Dawkins rightlly notes that one does not have to study theology as it bases itself on false premisses,

To me theology is first of all unnecessary and secondly self-contradictory..
It is unnecessary because religious faith does not rely on theology for it’s existence but on unconditional belief. After all, such is the fundamental nature of a religious belief that it does not need rational arguments which theology attempts to find.  In fact, rationality has nothing to do with true religious faith which relies on nothing but the inner certitude, intrinsic feeling and conviction in the existence of supernatural.

Theology therefore, is like a building without foundations built on a swamp. It’s floors above the swamp are logically designed only for show but what it rests on is this bottomless abyss of irrationality where all logic does no good. The logical and structural appearance of the building is designed to convince us that it’s basement is also like that and that religion as a whole rests therefore  on rational ideas as well. But there is no structure or a logical thought, so to speak,  below the ground where logic and rationality disappear and what remains is the swamp of the frail human irrationality. Kierkegaard, a Christian himself, knew that and called it a "jump into abyss" the abyss of human unreason.

It’s also for this reason that I would call theology dishonest. It demands from an atheist and with the help of  it’s logical arguments however frail and invalid a rational affirmation of it’s basic demand for suspension of this rationality and a leap of faith into the intellectual chaotic free for all..

And the second point very much  related to the first  is that, theology is self-contradictory because it tries to assert through a rational argument what basically is wholly irrational and  already exists through faith.

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #3  Postby JO 753 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:09 am

skeptic griggsy wrote:We rationalists have the presumption that reason is our tool to find the truth and that faith does not…..

i xink yr ovrsimplufiing xu sicyqasn. most pepl i no hav u lot uv fax in siins, evn if xa klam tq be kriscinz. xa wont disbelev sum nyq siintifik diskuvure, evin if it semz for fect. xe onle tim xa go intq defens mod iz wen sumwun kumz up wix sumxing xat ufeks wut xav bin tot ubowt xer relijn. remembr xu ‘jezusiz famle tqm’ xing u fyq yirz ugo?

yq find xu sam xing her. enexing xat semz tq kast dowt on xu komun belefs uv xe supozidle rasunl skeptiks gets ignord or utakt.

iv sed it mene timz her: pepl dont lik tq canj wuts in xer hedz. xa or skeptikl uv enexing xat duznt fit wix wut xa xink xa no. skeptisizm iz yqzd az u defens raxr xan a tql for strengxining or restruksrring.

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #4  Postby Gawdzilla » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:52 pm

To be religious requires that you have "faith".

To be skeptical requires that you have "rationality".

Obviously, you can fake both, and you can delude yourself into thinking you have either.

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #5  Postby landrew » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:50 pm

All scientists have some bias, but their unbiased work is what counts as science.

All religious people have some objectivity, but their biases are what count as religion.

It’s no surprise that science makes progress and religion tries to freeze it.

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #6  Postby Ratjaws » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:16 am

skeptic griggsy wrote:by skeptic griggsy » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:43 am
We rationalists have the presumption that reason is our tool to find the truth and that faith does not. Reason can move the mountains of ignorance while faith rests on the argument from ignorance. Science,argues naturalist Sydney Hook is acquired knowledge while faith begs the question of being knowledge. Faith begs the question of its subject [Articulett], which it cannot instantiate. It is the we just say so of credullity.

We endorse W.K. Clifford’s admonition to provide sufficient evidence. Now advanced theologian Keith Wardd takes us to task, arguing that our demand for evidence would impede us from ever doing much of anything. That is hyperbole! The amount of evidence depends on the subject matter. If your wife says she’ll do something, you do not demand evidence as she always does what she says or you just presume so unless shown otherwise. We know that evidence comes not only from the microscope, the telescope or the Buntsen burner but also from other factors. My evidence of my parents’ love for me comes from their actions.

What Ward evidently wants is to fool-proof his dogmas about God.  

Faith, thus cannot complete reason but goes against it , so it is no false dilemma in opposing the two!  

So, fideism and at root, even natural theology rest  on just say so.

Clifford Richard Dawkins rightlly notes that one does not have to study theology as it bases itself on false premisses, but I dare take on those advance theologians like haughty John Haught, Keith Ward, John Hick, Alvin Platinga, Alister McGrath , Willliam Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne.

Griggsy,
I’m afraid if you need a means to instaniate then science will not do any more for you than faith. The word itself means to "to represent an abstraction by a concrete instance." (Merriman Webster Dictionary) Whatever degree of "concrete" science can give, reason or not, faith can also provide. But more importantly, to represent an abstraction is not the same as having it. Nor is it the same as knowing what it is. As I’ve argued in other forums on this board the scientific method cannot give us direct insight into what is abstract in nature. The best it can do is point somewhere, point to a model or symbol as you have just said here. Faith does the same thing although faith’s object is not the same. This is what you fail to grasp concering the relationship between religion and science, between faith and reason.

My question to you is why the presumption? And also why, if a person of faith must accept your presumption, why don’t you do the same for them? We both have the same object… reality. We both want to arrive at the same destination… truth. We both have presumptions, namely that either reason or faith allow us to arrive at truth. In fact from my position as a "believer" I consider, as I have said many times before, that both are a means to truth. And I not only admit they both start with presumptions but I am willing to expose those presumptions to scrutiny. Both faith and reason lead to truth. Both provide us knowledge of their objects and while at times those objects are different there is also overlap. For instance, while reason alone cannot tell me about God’s nature, it does provide me with the evidence of God’s existence. Reason alone can tell me about man’s nature to a point and after that another kind of insight is necessary. Faith provides me with the "matter" lacking in reason’s apprehension of God’s nature. Once received, reason can then look at that nature in order to understand. This you reject nevertheless it remains a reality. Likewise, man’s nature can only be seen accidentally (from the Greek sense of the word), that is in it’s changeable characteristics. Any further understanding requires philosophical insight. That is essence can only be reasoned upon once it is abstracted from it’s object. Which brings me back around to what I started with in that once faith acquires it’s object, reason can work to understand it’s mutable characteristics while philosophy is again required to further reason to essences. Although faith to some degree must already provide the "matter" abstraction and reason work with.

From this understanding I consider comments like "Reason can move the mountains of ignorance while faith rests on the argument from ignorance" to be name calling. Likewise for "Science is acquired knowledge while faith begs the question of being knowledge." It seems to me then that your insistence that faith "is the we just say so of credullity" is based on your belief that it is just say so!

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #7  Postby Ratjaws » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:59 pm

Gawdzilla wrote:To be religious requires that you have "faith".

To be skeptical requires that you have "rationality".

Obviously, you can fake both, and you can delude yourself into thinking you have either.

Gawdzilla,
Love that song… love that name!

I concur with you that in order to be religious there is the requirement of faith on the person’s part. But I also see that even the scientist must make use of faith, granted of a different type, nevertheless an authentic faith to be sure. If you doubt this then you must ask yourself …during the formation of a scientist in school what is going on? Surely a scientist does not immediately experience every idea they are taught in their formal training? In other words they don’t exercise the scientific method on every concept they are taught to "prove" it true… rather they accept in faith the word of their teacher, the author of the text book, and the one who did the original experiment. Futhermore, once a scientist graduates and enters the work field they don’t test every single concept they hold to be true. No, in fact they hold to the trustworthiness of what they believe on the basis of a natural faith, a type all men use even in day-to-day life. For instance, the majority of scientists may have dropped a pencil and picked it back up but they have never formally tested the law of gravity. A law I might add that affects much of what a scientist does and underpins how they think. Thus faith is as necessary for the scientific enterprise as it is for religious belief… albeit a different kind. Likewise for trust and belief. Unfortunately these three very human acts seem to have been relegated to the status of sin by those who consider rationalism a valid basis for obtaining knowledge.

Now in relation to rationalism, the idea that skepticism is a good basis for coming to the truth of a proposition is also troubling for me. Descartes was probably the greatest advocate of this radical idea that we must start with doubt of everything in order to arrive at truth. Simply put… I don’t buy it! I base this on the simple fact that we must all start somewhere in our thought process and this means we all assume reality. If we start by doubting reality we by definition have nothing to work with. We cannot "prove" reality in any formal scientific manner so we are stuck in our skeptical abyss. We cannot escape from this abyss because once reality is lost, and it is lost if we doubt it’s existence to begin with, because there is nothing real to hold on to in order to pull ourselves out of the doubt. On the other hand when reality is our starting point it is our standard. It is what we measure all other presumptions with. Reality is the final determinent and ends all doubt (or at least has the capacity to do so given a lot of mental work). Skepticism ends in a withholding of judgment while Realism, as the Thomists call it, enables us to use our mind to come to a conclusion. The key for me seems to be in properly discerning all the facets of reality as I believe has been done to varying degrees in the numerous threads of thought of the classical Greek thinkers. Properly discerned one can then order and categorize the multiple facets of reality and then work within each facet to come up with ideas that are coincident with that particular aspect of reality.

My point? Rationalism, which has it’s basis in Skepticism (radical doubt that is), and vice versa,  leads to principles such as "we cannot know anything for sure." And I come across this kind of thinking often in forums like this. To me it is unfortunate because nothing can be learned and nothing is solved if we can never come to a conclusion as to what is the truth of a subject and what is false. Unfortunately I see seeds of this thinking in quotes like your above from Darwin in that "you can delude yourself into thinking you have either." If I am wrong then please enlighten me as to how one gets out of the vicious circular reasoning of never coming to know what the truth is?

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #8  Postby landrew » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:56 pm

To be skeptical requires doubt.  Of course rationality can follow, but the essence of skepticism is to be uncertain of a conclusion.  This is the definition of skepticism to which I subscribe.
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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #9  Postby decreptitate777 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:15 pm

landrew wrote:To be skeptical requires doubt.  Of course rationality can follow, but the essence of skepticism is to be uncertain of a conclusion.  This is the definition of skepticism to which I subscribe.

OK…but how much evidence do you need to make a fairly certain conclusion?  We are fairly certain of the process of evolution like we are gravity…the only uncertainties lie within the tiny details.

…and many times there are things we can not see directly like atoms–electrons, protons, quarks, etc.  However, we have molded and shaped theories and models that are consistent with our observations that are quantifiable.  Thus, we must rest on the model as evidence until we find phenomena that indicate otherwise.

I don’t understand how ratjaws can say this line of reasoning is the same as faith.  We observe and then have a hypothesis or have a hypothesis then observe…with the necessary self correction.  Faith does not work like that…come on…

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #10  Postby landrew » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:44 pm

decreptitate777 wrote:
landrew wrote:To be skeptical requires doubt.  Of course rationality can follow, but the essence of skepticism is to be uncertain of a conclusion.  This is the definition of skepticism to which I subscribe.

OK…but how much evidence do you need to make a fairly certain conclusion?  We are fairly certain of the process of evolution like we are gravity…the only uncertainties lie within the tiny details.

…and many times there are things we can not see directly like atoms–electrons, protons, quarks, etc.  However, we have molded and shaped theories and models that are consistent with our observations that are quantifiable.  Thus, we must rest on the model as evidence until we find phenomena that indicate otherwise.

I don’t understand how ratjaws can say this line of reasoning is the same as faith.  We observe and then have a hypothesis or have a hypothesis then observe…with the necessary self correction.  Faith does not work like that…come on…

Where did I say that I am skeptical and uncertain of everything? I do however, believe that you can’t learn much when you think you already know everything.  That’s why I say the quality or your conclusions is directly affected by the amount of time you have spent being skeptical before you reached them.

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Re: The presumption of rationalism

Post #11  Postby decreptitate777 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:15 pm

landrew wrote:
decreptitate777 wrote:
landrew wrote:To be skeptical requires doubt.  Of course rationality can follow, but the essence of skepticism is to be uncertain of a conclusion.  This is the definition of skepticism to which I subscribe.

OK…but how much evidence do you need to make a fairly certain conclusion?  We are fairly certain of the process of evolution like we are gravity…the only uncertainties lie within the tiny details.

…and many times there are things we can not see directly like atoms–electrons, protons, quarks, etc.  However, we have molded and shaped theories and models that are consistent with our observations that are quantifiable.  Thus, we must rest on the model as evidence until we find phenomena that indicate otherwise.

I don’t understand how ratjaws can say this line of reasoning is the same as faith.  We observe and then have a hypothesis or have a hypothesis then observe…with the necessary self correction.  Faith does not work like that…come on…

Where did I say that I am skeptical and uncertain of everything? I do however, believe that you can’t learn much when you think you already know everything.  That’s why I say the quality or your conclusions is directly affected by the amount of time you have spent being skeptical before you reached them.

Fair enough…but I don’t think anyone on here or with a brain for that matter thinks that they know everything…perhaps the smarter you are, the more you realize there is much you do not know…they may come across this way for the sake of argument however in a rigid counterattack to your arguments…

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