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Posted by Mario Dovalina on May 3, 2002 03:41:46 UTC

It is like going before a jury in court to convict a criminal of a crime and saying to the jury "if we assume this man is guilty, then we can convict him, and since we assume this man is guilty, therefore you should convict him". But, this is exactly what you wish to prove, that the man is guilty.

Nonsense. We're not "convicting" anyone here. Science makes NO absolute statements. All that's said is "given this amount of evidence, we suspect that he's guilty." There's NEVER any need to make an absolute verdict.

If you assume that with your core beliefs that you are providing approximate truths, then why isn't the theist allowed to assume that their core beliefs that they are providing truth? Is it only because science assumes it is providing approximate truth instead of absolute truth? But, why can you assume approximate truth in the first place?

It's all about approximations as opposed to absolute statements. Why can we suppose approximate truth in the first place? Because of the connected use statements. As I said, we must be at least in the ballpark with atomic theory, or we'd have to nuclear reactors. We must be aiming in the right direction in our understanding of waves, or we'd have no television. Now, you can tell me that these observations have no bearing on the underlying truth statements, or that we don't know exactly what is being described (i.e. if we're all part of the Matrix then we have no nuclear reactors anyway) but I disagree. With regard to the first statement (about truth statements) use statements can influence, change, or eliminate truth statements. When the theory of relativity came about, people discarded the assumption that there was no universal speed limit, or that time was a constant. The underlying assumptions are constantly evolving. With regard to the second, it doesn't matter if we're describing what we think we are, or if it's part of something bigger, or more complex. Whether or not we're describing actual atomic theory or describing a small subroutine in the coding of the Matrix, we're describing SOMETHING with genuine bearing in the outside world. The observed validity of the use statements derived from the underlying truth statements is a good test to find out how valid those underlying truth statements are. With science's multitudes of evidence and usefulness with regard to the outside world, I postulate that we're headed in the right direction. Religious faith has no such external bearing.

Faith is that which takes us over the hurdle of justification and simply takes it for granted that our core assumptions are just

Yep. Which is why I avoid faith. You bypass the problem and forget about it, while using faith's own flaws to try and attack reason. That strikes me as suspiciously convenient.

It [faith] wants to make the world as meaningful

If the only way to accomplish that is to believe you're right from the get-go, I want to part of it. And I don't understand why you do.

We could quite easily limit our assumptions by denying an external world, but that would be sacrificing a great deal of meaning in terms of our interaction of the world.

Fry my hide. NOT deny an external world, just admit that we don't know whether or not one exists. That doesn't harm anything: on the contrary, it assists you by avoiding any absolute statements.

At this point you often see them scrape the dust off their feet as they leave your property. Oh well, life goes on. I guess they will just go to the neighbor's house across the way.

Doubtful. I'm willing to pursue this line of thought as long as you are.

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