People may claim to have a faculty (faith) that transcends reason, but how would they demonstrate that it exists without committing the fallacy of special pleading?
Knowing the level of logic being employed I chose my words very carefully, though I was in a hurry and they were a little bit hasty. I never said "assert" I said "demonstrably"; the difference?
Objectively I can verify the assumption using the placebo effect. I can do so not a believer in any specific proposition of "faith” but from a qualitative analysis of the effects of faith upon specific believers, under specifically controlled (scientific) conditions.
To believe in someone beyond the grave who cares what happens to them when or if they suffer or die ~ to comprehend evil, to reassure them selves that death is a transition
Again we are addressing this at cross purposes because I certainly am not making any such assertion. I still ask the initial question of; "Why belief? Toward what purpose?"
This time I will split the question in order to establish that I do think there exists a "purpose” to belief (as a process of cognition) not requisite of a specific belief such as in the question of "here after". It’s a separate analysis to question the quality of any given belief and "belief itself", despite the Politically Correct notion to the contrary, beliefs are subject to judgment for BOTH validity and consistency, perhaps even for an analysis of the character of the believer.
How is that possible? How can you reasonably or logically demonstrate something that transcends the very means of demonstration?
I just did and objectively so. You overlooked our ability to test belief in a pragmatic fashion. Not to test the "truth” of the belief but to test the effects of truly believing. Logic cuts like Occams Razor and I was very specific. I am not trying to prove whether or not a given belief is true at all, I said I could prove demonstrably the first part (at least) .
Do people have faith that transcends their reasoning processes?
The placebo effect shows a relationship to the immune system and stress related illness that "demonstrates" that faith" transcends the reasoning process. As in denial of all evidence to the contrary some things will still be effected and Medical science is rife with examples.
The why of this is more subtle and may be decipherable and this is a question I am interested in because along with the memetic power of belief to influence large group mass behavior there appears to be a subtler and more important characteristic that does bear some importance with our endeavor here in this forum.
Alright let's move on. I will grant the first part was intentionally ambiguous to create a logical trap but now comes the second part and Sophianic says:
First, we do not analyze facts; we analyze arguments (i.e., premises in relation to claims) and comprehend facts in support of those arguments. The comfort of faith is really just the comfort of a claim that brings solace in the face of evil, pain, suffering and death.
Here I can disagree. I analyze fact; I analyze arguments for BOTH consistency and validity of their factual claims. But I (re)create (in response) my own arguments for whether or not any given assertion is valid and rarely rely on someone else’s argument. I seek comprehension, not agreement a priori, and that influences my thought processing in this respect, but I do not think I am particularly unique.
I happen to agree with the second part of the statement as this is also demonstrably true that many people find solace in shared belief, but it is insufficient to explain all the qualities of belief.
Yes, "misery loves company" and "birds of a feather flock together" but there is still an aspect of belief in "self" that grants significant empowerment to transcend all assumed limitation and assumptions that allows individuals to become much more than they at first imagined themselves to be. This is related often to accepting and confronting "successfully" unforeseen environmental challenges so this behavior could have a survival aspect related to Natural Selection.
So I ask again: How can faith and reason be integrated constructively?
That depends on how you define faith: faith as attitude within the bounds of reason or faith as faculty beyond the bounds of reason? The former can be integrated easily enough with reason.
Actually this is more complex than you are crediting because as most pure logicians do, you overlook the importance of emotion in the reasoning process, and it is emotion not objectivity that determines attitude. Integrating them is not an idle question.
We feel with our hearts (not the organ
) and think with our minds. This is a parallel to the brain/body dilemma, or the classical concept of a balanced Mind/Body relationship.
I think faith is a powerful "sociopsychological force" but not easily integrated with pure logic because logic of a truly analytical and objective nature DEMANDS (skepticism) a constant questioning of ALL assumptions and this behavior is antithetical to belief.
Again you are addressing the primary question of this thread but I am examining the process by which faith functions, socially, individually behaviorally, psychologically, and memetically as it effects adaptive evolutionary characteristics for our species.
Example: "Faith" caused literacy to become sufficiently commonplace to create both history and science. Was this intentional? I have my doubts too but the effect is clear and the issue is actually an aspect of "faith" among many religions not the least of which is Judaism.
I ask this because it is obvious from numerous studies of cognitive psychology that "faith based” reasoning is a critical aspect of developmental "attitude/motivation" organization for each individual.
Faith-based reasoning? Or an attitude of faith in harmony with reason? Let us not be deliberately obtuse about the difference.
No, I said "faith based reasoning". Seductive logic for example is "faith based". It isn't interested in truth, it is a communicative process aimed at the determination of conviction.
I will also point out that much of social endeavor (common cause) and individual aspiration stems from a "faith based reasoning" structure that is NON-rational, not irrational, and this is what drives cognitive psychologists crazy trying to limit their understanding to purely rational models. You can also examine surrogate mating behavior for humans and see various aspects of common primate behavior that have been subsumed into novel exp
ressions like clothes, cars, and personal wealth.
I am not being intentional obtuse I am pointing out aspects of the logical assumptions that don't fit the facts Quite apparantly more is going on then we possess "reason" to have faith in pure logic, and more iportantly the "logical assumptions being touted as "proven".
As I said I am the last person to come in here preaching, so I didn't intend to attempt to substitute my "faith" for your lack of it (or as opposed to it) I came in to analyze "faith" as a function of memetics for primate behavior. Religion is not relevant for its conclusions; its relevancy is in its effects.
I will add however that "faith in logic" is an example of "seductive reasoning," logic to remain pure must be forever treated skeptically, like statistics. " Statistics don't lie but people lie all the time with statistics". This is basically a modern varient of the Socratic lament against the "sophistries of the Sophists".
To say that "faith based reasoning” does not influence behavior is simply wrong. Belief in one's own "self" is a determinant factor in whether any given test of one's ability will in fact be willingly challenged or willfully ignored, with concurrent self determinant effects on the outcome.
This is still great fun but I will not answer anymore for now because I want to continue reading what transpires between the rest of you and prefer to not further influence the argument. At least for a while.
Edited by Lazarus Long, 19 April 2003 - 01:40 PM.