Direct attack on the notion of faitk

Sept 21, 2011 — More like this please:

What is interesting here actually is we’ve got people from different faiths, and they all believe in some kind of heaven in different sense [sic], and every single one of them believes in this heaven on the basis of faith, and faith by definition is believing in things without evidence, and personally I don’t do that because I’m not an idiot.

I could not have said it better myself as my mouth and brain don’t move that fast.

Now there will be those who say that she has called these people idiots, and insulting people is not a good way to argue a point.

To that I would say, she hasn’t called them idiots, she has simply pointed out what faith is — believing in things without evidence (or as I would have (tried to) put it: deliberately attempting to believe in things to a degree of certainty which exceeds the available evidence) — and then said that she doesn’t do that because she’s not an idiot. They have simply made the obvious inference that she thinks they are being idiots for using faith — for believing in things to an excessive degree of certainty given the available evidence.

And, are they not being idiots for doing that, and thinking it’s a great idea, and being proud of it? Of course they’re being idiots. This is an unavoidable fact.

You can’t directly attack the very general notion of faith — as opposed to attacking a specific conclusion reached by means of faith — without rather obviously implying that those who use faith are being idiots. Faith is so obviously idiotic that you can scarcely describe the notion accurately without insulting its addicts.

So, fuck all this excessive decorum. Let’s enthusiastically give faith the reputation which it so richly deserves instead of the unearned respect which it currently enjoys among most people.

Edit to add: I also think her eloquent little spiel was, not completely, but to some extent precalculated, or even somewhat rehearsed. Not for this situation specifically, but just that these kinds of things must have come up enough that she has this semi-canned response at the ready that she can tailor to the specific case. I say that because of the way the word “idiot” is, by virtue of the sentence structure, kind of saved up and only sprung at the last possible moment. Arranging sentences in such a way as to get a specific word that really pops, or suddenly alters the meaning of a sentence to come only at the very end is something you see comedians do quite often if you pay attention to those sorts of things. I have my own similar canned response with a sort of surprise kicker at the end for the cases when some believer says something like “You’re not an atheist, are you?” and I say “An atheist? What do you think I’m some kind of idiot??? — wait a beat — Of course I’m an atheist.”

~ by scaryreasoner on September 22, 2011.

8 Responses to “Direct attack on the notion of faitk”

  1. I have faith in some things. I have faith that the Sun will appear to rise tomorrow, I have faith in the laws of nature, I have faith that the sorts of things that Jesus proposed like forgiveness and compassion lead to a better society if practiced. I even believe in gravity so I dont jump off high places yet even after studying gravity at University I never understood how it could be a tensor force.
    In fact there are many things I have faith in that I dont understand. I am sorry you find this to be idiotic and am intrigued that you have survived this long without some vestige of any faith at all.

    • So you believe that the sun will appear to rise tomorow to a degree of certainty which exceeds what is warranted by the available evidence? I doubt that you do (esp. since the available evidence warrants nearly 100% certainty — there’s almost no room to exercise faith here.)

      You’re equivocating in an attempt to save the notion of faith from its apparent and obvious stupidity.

  2. You are being very selective. There may be virtually 100% chance of the Sun rising but I can assure you that my faith that forgiveness and compassion are good for society has much shakier evidence. Many put their faith in a belligerent military instead – which may fit a Christianity free
    society rather better. Or alternately since according to Jesus concepts like compassion are key to what is ideal (eg the golden rule) does your implication that this too is 100% certain mean you trust his teaching.

    • You are being very selective

      I am selecting the weak points of your argument. Nothing wrong with that. Stop making weak arguments if you don’t like it. 🙂

      here may be virtually 100% chance of the Sun rising but I can assure you that my faith that forgiveness and compassion are good for society has much shakier evidence.

      If you are excessively certain of this, then you’re being an idiot. Why not simply be only as certain as the evidence warrants?

      Deliberately being excessively certain about something only prevents you from learning that you’re wrong — if it turns out that you are wrong.

      Faith is deliberate idiocy, pure and simple.

  3. “I have faith that the Sun will appear to rise tomorrow,”

    No you don’t. You have reasonable expectations, based on observation and evidence and experience, that the planet on which you live will continue to rotate, creating the illusion of the Sun rising.

    That is not faith.

  4. You are still rabbiting on about the Sun. As an answer to the point I made about compassion and forgiveness this is not only weak argument – it is also deliberately evasive.

    • No, you’ve missed the point. I’m not arguing against any specific conclusion reached by means of faith, I am arguing first, and most importantly, against the very notion of faith itself as a means of arriving at any conclusion, and secondly, against disingenuous claims which try to equivocate the meaning of faith and make it seem reasonable by invoking faith in the belief of conclusions which were not arrived at nor held witth aid (handicap) of faith.

      It doesn’t matter whether or not your conclusions about compassion and forgiveness which you’ve reached by faith are true or not — whether they are true ore not has no bearing on whether faith is worth a damn.

      The Muslim in the video who believes by means of faith that heaven exists, and every man has two women, is he correct? Let’s say for the sake of argument that he is correct. Does this vindicate his faith? No, it doesn’t because without reason, his faith amounts to a wild, lucky guess.

      The point is that faith is an empty placeholder which stands in as a sham “reason” for believing something is true. If you believe something by means of faith, you are by definition, deliberately being more certain of that thing — irrespective of whether it’s actually true or not — than you have any reason to be. And that is plain idiotic.

      So for you to complain that I don’t address this one conclusion that you reach by faith means you utterly miss the point, which is that this thing called faith is clearly idiotic.

      As someone who bothers to mention Jesus, I’m tempted to suppose that you believe a lot of other indefensible horseshit as well, but since you haven’t claimed to believe it, I will assume you’re not so dumb as to believe in, e.g. the virgin birth, the resurrection, that Jesus is the son of the supreme creator of the universe, and all that load of obvious nonsense.

    • So another thing occurs to me.

      You are still rabbiting on about the Sun. As an answer to the point I made about compassion and forgiveness this is not only weak argument – it is also deliberately evasive.

      Ok, so let’s look at this “point” you made regarding compassion and forgiveness. You have already conceded that:

      … I can assure you that my faith that forgiveness and compassion are good for society has much shakier evidence.

      So what is this point you were making? That you believe “forgiveness and comppasion are good for society” to an excessive degree of certainty? Alright. And how are you going to argue that this is the correct and sane and non-idiotic thing to do? The second you start giving reasons for your certainty, you abandon faith, and undermine faith. Remember, my quarrel here is with faith itself, not with some specific conclusion you’ve reached by faith. So what is this “point” that you’ve made? It seems more like an own goal than a point.

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