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Irrationality

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Posted by Mario Dovalina on August 30, 2001 17:44:08 UTC

The first thing I want to address is your trust in faith when you admit that it's irrational. George Orwell came up with a great term for that: doublethink. Holding two contradictory opinions at the same time. You believe your faith to be somewhat valid [having at least some objective value], or else it would have no value, but you still acknowledge it to be subjective and irrational. How do you deal with what I think is a discrepancy?

"I'm saying that rationality too narrowly defined is a problem. Further, too much emphasis on rationality is not good since too much good comes from the 'irrational' aspects of life and belief."

Maybe you don't totally see what I'm saying. I do enjoy irrationality. I enjoy my emotions, as subjective as they may be. I enjoy Monty Python, irrational as it may seem. I like doing things spontaneously. So, I think I do enjoy some of the more irrational aspects to life. The reason I can do this in the face of my rational mind is because I admit that my irrational acts and feelings have no substance outside of my existence. Faith is different: it is an irrational statement about the nature of the external universe. Irrational statements about our own nature are more defensible, since we are by nature subjective beings. But to make an irrational statement about the world around us and call it "being human" I think is silly.

"I read somewhere in a past post where you said that you were in high school. If so, then that would mean that you still are a kid, right?"

All right, point taken. First semester of college, now, though.

"I'm not against using reasoning and rationality whenever it is prudent. However, to use rationality as a straight jacket in cases where faith is possible."

I don't think rationality is a straight jacket. After all, no one can say what absolute truth is, so there are no definite restrictions. I think of it more as a guideline pointing us in the right direction. Picture a winding path leading towards an ultimate goal. Following the path is the most definite way to reach that goal. It is possible to leave the path and head off wherever you want, but the chances that you're heading in the right direction are less. It's fine to look off the trail and say "Hey, I wonder what's in that direction" or "That looks like a nice place to hike" but if you go wandering off wherever your subjective fickle heart takes you there's a good chance you'll walk off a cliff.

"when faith is criticized for being faith (e.g., comparing faith to a dragon in a garage), then I think this whole rationality thing is totally out of whack."

You haven't satisfactorily explained how faith is DIFFERENT from a dragon in a garage. They both claim extraordinary phenomena, they are both equally provable so they are equally "true" from our perspective...... what is innacurate about that analogy besides its unpleasantness?

"He had good points in terms of his ability to communicate science in an interesting and fun perspective, but honestly I don't think he was that good of a scientist and certainly not a philosopher."

I'll concede you that. Sagan was first and foremost an entertainer (but I think you have to give him credit for all he did to make astronomy appealing to the non-scientific public) and he wasn't a philosopher. But I still think he had several good points with regard to religion. One of my favorite quotes from him is "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, as it would tend to suppress a hereditary prospensity for fanaticism." Or something like that.

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