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Faith Versus Reason

Posted by Herb7734 7 months, 1 week ago to Philosophy
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Many persons who consider themselves to be intellectual conservatives do so from a religious or faith based attitude. They tie capitalism to faith.

Even though they seem to be on the side of reason,they are not. It is an illusion."The faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the evidence of reality as provided by man's senses, is reason.To base one's convictions on reason is to base them on the facts of reality.Faith is the acceptance of an idea without evidence or proof, or in spite of evidence to the contrary."

To rest one's advocacy of capitalism on faith , is to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies, which to an Objectivist would be intolorable.

Nathaniel Branden, Objectivist Newsletter, March 1962


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  • Posted by  $  Dobrien 7 months, 1 week ago
    Great topic Herb7734 ! Thanks for posting. Why would anyone tie their support of capitalism To faith? Maybe they are lazy and can't see the obvious. The most successful country in the history of man (that we know of) was built on capitalism. Innovations driven by the desire to succeed. Competition unfettered by cronyism
    Has raised the standard of living for the average Joe to live as well as royalty or even better from 150 yrs ago. Having FAITH that the government will meddle with progress and make improvements to a self fixing system is ignoring evidence to the contrary. Hence faith is the only way to support Government controls i.e. minimum wage ,price controls ,affirmative action and many more failed actions because reality tells a far different result. Have a great day.
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    • Posted by coaldigger 7 months, 1 week ago
      Religious faith has been the means by which anointed men can rule others by fear. I think it is mostly possible due to our fear of death but being too weak in mind and body to reason as individuals has made it easy to manipulate. Once a society accepts religious doctrines, they impose their rules on everyone. Altruism and the accumulation of wealth are difficult to reconcile but the belief that God rewards those that work hard and apply their superior intelligence to business matters was a means of doing so. This became known as the Protestant Ethic and the Capitalists justified their wealth in this manner. Like all reasoning based on false premises, there are unintended consequences and those that have opposing views can use the theory against you. Government and Capitalism can only co-exist efficiently when one has little to do with the other. Faith forms a bridge between two opposing forces that is healthy for neither.
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      • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
        I seem to keep repeating the obvious.Man recognized that he needed rules in order to survive. Loaded with unasnswered questions, he made up stories in order to explain the universe and why we need to act in certain ways in order to survive. The only thing that will enforce the rules is fear of death. They promise paradise to those who obey and horrendous torture to those who don't. So, ask yourself this; If a good person who obeys the rules lives in fear of death, why does he? Because he knows that fairy tales don't make it so.But would never consciously say out loud these most buried thoughts. Yes, there are true believers. There is no end to the variations of heavenly afterlife.
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      • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
        Now thatwe know that our place in the universe is rather incosequential we find it difficult to imagine a God being interested in entities so tiny as to be microscopic on a planet just a bit bigger than a moon, orbiting a mid-sized galaxiy with biliions of other stars in billions of other galaxies which causes light traveling at 186 (or 7) miles per second years to move from one outpost to another.
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    • Posted by  $  exceller 7 months, 1 week ago
      "Why would anyone tie their support of capitalism To faith"

      Many reasons Dobrien. One is upbringing. Religious faith may be running in the family and the individual is not making the conscious connection and decide for himself that the two are not related.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 7 months, 1 week ago
    Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. Ambrose Bierce
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    • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 7 months, 1 week ago
      So progressive liberalism...is actually a Faith and not a valid provable idea...ya, ya...that's the ticket.
      Agreed in spades!...oops...can we say that these days?

      Can't wait to turn that around on them...laughing
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      • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
        Family tradition is always a big factor.In my father's case, he was surrounded by Democrats not only in family, but religious figures, neighbors, and current political leaders. It was just the way it was, no room for any other way. Not a good excuse, but independent thinking was a rare phenomenon.
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        • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 7 months, 1 week ago
          So how did you get so integrated, Herb?

          My dad was always a republican, he got most of his important open minded news from from the Christian Science publishing house inwhich his older sister worked for 50 plus years.
          Actually the political articles were quite good and non biased.

          When ever my brain slowed down enough and I had a deep question or idea...he would always say: Write it down...He never got to see the day I actually "wrote it down" Nor did he get to see the Red Soxs win the pennant either but I did... in his honor.
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          • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
            My communication with my father never went that deep.He feared words that he didn't understand. However, he memorized the Jewish prayer book -- in Hebrew no less.
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            • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 7 months, 1 week ago
              Wow...that is quite a feat.
              Foreign languages confound me but I did try to remember a few Swedish words...don't even ask me to spell them...have enough trouble with English...laughing
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              • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                He was amazed that when he visited Israel he could understand and converse with the locals. Only his version was the 14th century syntax and accent.
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                • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 7 months, 1 week ago
                  Something to be said of the 'Good Books'.

                  Once people gained the ability to have a christian or Jewish bible of their own, reading it actually gave them an education not just in, language, daily behavior but in a host of other subjects.
                  For many during those times, that's all they needed to be successful.
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  • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
    Since this has led to a somewhat contentious debate, let me ad the following: "Man's value judgements are not inate. Having no inate knowledge of what is true and what is false, man can have no knowledge of what is good and what is evil,his values and his emotions are the product of conclusions he has drawn or accepted that is:of his basic premises.
    Reason and emotion - thinking and feeling - are not contradictory or mutually inimical faculties but their functions are not interchangeable emotions are not tools of cognition.What one feels feels in regard to any fact or issue is irrelevant..It is not by means of one's feelings that one perceives reality. whether one's judgement of it is true or false."
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    • Posted by giallopudding 7 months, 1 week ago
      Feelings, or intuitions are more often right than wrong, because if they were not, we wouldn't have evolved as we have. Most of our thinking is done by informed intuition rather than with critical reasoning. Homo sapiens is woefully deficient in reasoning skills. There simply isn't enough time to apply critical thinking to all or even most of our decisions. A man would be paralyzed (and probably dead) to attempt it. All we can really argue is that reason yields a higher percentage of truthful conclusions versus intuition/emotional thinking. But the two thinking systems work in tandem much of the time.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 1 week ago
      The part in quotes is how I always saw the world: Values are arbitrary and the purview of feelings. Feelings set the axioms, the propositions we start from that don't rest on other propositions. From that starting point, we use reason and observation, but the values originate in feelings, and are passed down from our parents.

      People on this site went ape condemning this. They say if you study Ayn Rand's writings, you'll learn that values need not come from arbitrary axioms or emotion. I love this idea. I wish people put the effort they devote to enjoying watching politicos make one another look bad to actually digging into the rational origin of values. They say it's in Virtue of Selfishness, but I did find not the answer there.

      I hope the people who went ape are right. I don't like the notion that values are arbitrary or given to us by a benevolent creator who we have no evidence for.
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  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 7 months, 1 week ago
    I'm a Conservative. I have faith, not as much as most would like but I do believe there is more to existence than what our senses allow for. However, I do not tie my conservatism to Faith. My conservatism is bound the US Constitution which derives its foundation on the principles of Faith. Capitalism is not aligned with Faith as I see it except that, if done properly, should should provide an environment where everyone is treated as equals(consumers) and provides everyone an opportunity to participate while striving to make the most of their innate(profitable) abilities so they can fend for themselves (and enjoy liberty). For the origin of these innate abilities I again differ to Faith since some people just CAN in certain areas (born with a natural ability, predisposed, etc.) where most people cannot without a ton of work (eg. my son and guitar vs me with guitar).

    My 2 bits.
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    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
      I agree 100%.
      The discoveries of what the universe is, is yet to occur. It may come as a cooperative venture or as a flash of insight ala Einsteinian thought experiments.It might require either or both physical and mental abilities that we don't have at present, but may acquire them in an altogether different way than we can imagine today..
      "VE shall see" -- Gandpa Sherman..
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 7 months, 1 week ago
    I would hope a conservative, (one whom embraces time tested principles) could Not be an "intellectual" but instead an, intra-lectual...meaning integrated and not compartmentalized.

    Yes, "religion" (a more often than not, faux way of organizing the teachings) is based upon a confidence that the organization is correct. That faux "confidence" being faith.

    That organization and resulting faith in it, absolutely destroys the teachings that actually resulted in the idea of capitalism, morality, ethics and how a free conscious being would act in a free market, not to mention, society itself.

    The latter, being the product of reason, observation and duplication of the results of those observations.

    (don't mind me, just working out my understanding of the language and concepts being used here.)
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  • Posted by TheOriginalBadBob 7 months, 1 week ago
    I base my support for capitalism on anecdotal historical observations. Capitalism is the economic system that has provided the opportunity to raise more people out of poverty and dependence than any other in our history, As it is also the system that seems to provide the individual more influence in his own financial success there is an inherent bonus. Y'all can all pile on if my assumptions are incorrect or my conclusions or if somehow this is based on faith not observation and research.
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  • Posted by chad 7 months, 1 week ago
    Religion sells a product that cannot be proven to exist provided you relinquish tangible current goods and your right to take care of yourself by sacrificing your noblest characteristics to those who are the most worthless. If God does exist and he is anything like he is described in religious texts I want to live in a different neighborhood. Often their most honored leaders are admitted (by their own texts) murderous thieves demanding obsequious servants. Their highest saints accomplish nothing of value existing only to demand payment and patronage for their chosen causes of caring for those who will not learn to care for themselves. Faith is one of two of the most destructive words in the language.
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    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
      Check out how well an intangible food satisfies your hunger.
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      • Posted by chad 7 months, 1 week ago
        I read an article recently by a woman who claimed to be living on the energy of the universe and only an occasional burger every six months. I so want to believe, do you know how drastically this could reduce my grocery bill?
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        • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
          Food is a major item as far as cost goes. However, Won't it take away the please of eating? Of tasting a delicious thing?Physical pleasure is incentive enough in many cases of the desire to create better better physical sensation.It's hard to imgine how someone tasting a very sweet thing for the first time. It might be as addictive as poppies.
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  • Posted by wiggys 7 months, 1 week ago
    HERB7734,
    Why the debate. you are either a person who has religious beliefs or not. If one has religious beliefs why would you want to discuss "reason" in this context with them. N.B. is correct!
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    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
      I'm just curious (nosey). I had noticed a fairly large contingent f Gulchers coming from a position of religious belief and was wondering how it was possible for them to do so when one of the very foundations of Objectivism is reason not religion as a basic premise.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Thank you. I adhere to principles until they have been shown to be false. Without a solid defense of Branden's definition, however, I have no reason to change my opinion.

    As for my background, I have read a variety of non-fiction works, including Piekoff's Objectivism, as well as some of Rand's shorter essays. I've also read Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom, Thomas Sowell's The Quest for Cosmic Justice, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Hayek's Road to Serfdom, The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers, Plato's Republic, C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain, and others. I just completed Winston Churchill's voluminous history of WW II (4000+ pages). I also enjoy science fiction and fantasy, among which several of my favorites include R.A. Salvatore's "Dark Elf" trilogy, Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and John Ringo's Troy Rising series. If there are other titles you would recommend, please suggest them as I enjoy reading and am always on the lookout for good books.
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  • Posted by  $  Radio_Randy 7 months, 1 week ago
    Here's another one...

    I've noticed an interesting coincidence, when it comes to "disposable income".

    For instance...if I have $5 in my pocket, I never seem to come up with any more (excluding payday). That five dollars just sits there.

    On the other hand, if I spend my last $5, more money appears...either I get an unexpected refund, or someone remembers to pay me the $20 they owed me. This isn't consistent, but it's happened enough times that it's caused me to take notice of the effect.

    It's really weird how this happens, and may just be coincidence. I was just wondering if anyone else ever has this happen to them?
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 7 months, 1 week ago
    I do not approach Capitalism (laissez-faire, of course), primarily as an economic system. I approach it as the necessary result of respect for individual rights. I base that idea on the fact that the individual is the entity which literally exists, as evidenced by the physical senses, which are man's means of perceiving reality, and on the use of reason, which interprets and organizes the material thus provided. Not on faith or on supernaturalism.
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    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
      And the alternative is...? To date there is none. When humans encounter something that is inelegant and messy, but works (capitalism) we go,with it. But in such cases, the alternative is that there may be something about ourselves that we can change that will make us better able to construct a better system.
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 7 months, 1 week ago
    Faith vs reason is much like the dichotomy between belief and understanding. You can believe that two plus two equals four or you can understand the mathematics so you know WHY two plus two equals four. The first is a blind alley and the second opens a path to a larger world.
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    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
      I was taught the ist way. In those days, it was considered to fill the little heads full of rice pudding with memorizations, and fill in the reasons why later. when the intellect was more advanced. It seemed to work.
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  • Posted by 7 months ago
    AN OPEN RESPONSE TO BLARMAN
    AS TO DEFINITION
    I made a near fatal error by trying to squeeze the definitions into the subject. My responses are always cool, polite, and sometimes humorous. On rare occasions, I may get steamed but rarely vitupretive.. Here are the Objectivists definitions to which I adhere.
    REASON: Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses.

    FAITH: faith designates blind acceptance of certain idea content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.

    If religion is the basis of the faith, the addendum is: Faith in the supernatural begins as superiority of others.
    Further:Faith and force are corollaries: Every period of history dominated by mysticism was a period of statism, of dictatorship, of tyranny.
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  • Posted by  $  Radio_Randy 7 months, 1 week ago
    Aside from capitalism...

    Years ago, I was a bullied youngster. During that period, there was one particular bully that I could count on to make my life nearly unbearable.

    One night, I basically "prayed" that this bully would leave me alone. I didn't pray to God (I didn't believe in Him any more then, than I do, now), but to whatever power there might be, in the universe.

    The next day, this kid virtually ignored me, which was as near to a miracle as I could ever imagine. Of course, it only lasted for a time, but I never forgot that particular instance.

    What made the kid leave me alone on that particular day? Almost 50 years later and I still ask myself that question. I still don't believe in God, but I do wonder, at times, if there IS something out there.

    Any ideas?
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    • Posted by TomSwift 7 months, 1 week ago
      You were looking for that response from the bully. Not being flippant but after you hoped that he would ignore you and he did for a short period of time was a validation of your belief. He probably ignored you in the past but since you were not actively looking for such a situation, you didn't actively remember it.
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    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
      I'm a pretty good actor. I determined to pretend to be a tough guy. I acted as if I could beat the tar out of anyone who challenged me. It worked. My friend Joe, a quiet intellect type, always being bullied started walking home with me and was not bullied again even when in middle school. Just look them in the eye, scowl and growl a bit..
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      • Posted by  $  Radio_Randy 7 months, 1 week ago
        In high school, I chummed around with a guy who looked mean and was several inches taller than me, thinking that would help.

        One night, a group of 3 local bullies approached us and I resolved to duke it out with my buddy by my side. Unfortunately, when I looked behind me, my buddy was high-tailing it, in the opposite direction. I figured 3 against 1 was going to end badly, so I followed suit...

        A couple years later, I joined the Marine Corps and haven't had any problems, since.
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        • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
          My best defence was false bravado. I'd stand right up to them even if I was trembling with fear. Somehow, they almost always backed down. In one case, as the years passed, one of the bullies, not wanting to put up with my mouth met me after class. A few years later he became a lawyer on the Detroit police force. After quitting the police, he became my lawyer and a world-class joker.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
    So let me pose the following question: by what conclusive reasoning does an entrepreneur go into business for themselves? They have no guarantee of success - only the hope (or faith) that their ideas will garner enough business to allow them to make a living. Thus, they act out of faith - only confirming what they believe to be true (that their products or services are worthy of consumption) afterwards.
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    • Posted by  $  Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
      I’d rather jump into business with a reasoned out plan then having faith that everything will work out.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
        I completely agree, but what motivation leads one to put all that time into a business proposal in the first place? I've built them before and they take a lot of work and you have no reasonable expectation that anything in that document will actually pan out as you predict. Market factors (competitors, customers, alternatives, distance considerations, etc.) are all educated guesses. Budgets vs actual sales? More guesswork.

        Why does the entrepreneur invest so much time and effort when two out of three go out of business within two years? The evidence should point people away from entrepreneurship, yet people still continue to do it at the same rates as ever (taking into consideration taxation laws, etc.). Logical conclusion works against the entrepreneur - not for.
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        • Posted by  $  Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
          What percentage of those businesses that failed started with a sound business plan? Those require a thinking mind, not faith, to create.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
            I've never seen a business plan materialize out of thin air, either - though there have been times when I wish they had! But I think you mistake what faith really is: it is the motivation to act - nothing more, nothing less. The person still has to act, to be sure, but the motivation for doing so does not come because the entrepreneur knows the end from the beginning! He hopes and believes that by putting in the work, he (or she) will confirm the hypothesis built within the business model.

            The success of a business does not lie within the model itself, but in the willingness of the entrepreneur to commit to act based on nothing more than a belief in success. And business models don't guarantee success - they only give you a guide as to where to best focus your resources.

            Logic can only confirm from observation - a passive event. That is its limitation. Logic does not cause things to happen in the first place, however. That requires action and action requires motivation. Motivation stems from belief that if one takes a proposed action, that the desired consequences will occur. But until the steps are taken, no events are set in motion and no outcome is possible.
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            • Posted by  $  Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
              “faith really is: it is the motivation to act”
              I can not agree with your definition.

              Faith is mostly:
              confidence or trust in a person or thing
              belief that is not based on proof

              You don’t need faith to start thinking. You don’t need faith to start doing. Before I begin the work required to start a business I use reason above faith. I think, “Will this work? Why or why not?” Later, I may be confident that it will work. I’m not saying everyone does this.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                "I can not agree with your definition."

                And therein lies the dilemma. The definition of faith used by this author necessarily leads to a foregone conclusion - the epitome of the straw man argument. The problem is that even people of faith don't use such a flawed definition such as "belief that is not based on proof". The proof is in the doing: the proof can not precede the action!

                I agree: one does not require faith to think. I propose that one of the reasons so many people get hung up on this is that they adopt the notion that thought and faith are mutually exclusive. I challenge this misbegotten preconception with all vigor. Thought is how the mind determines what to do. Faith gives him the reason to proceed. There is no better example in support of this proposition than that of the business entrepreneur - except perhaps the scientist - as a demonstration of what happens when careful thought and preparation are married with conviction-based action. Contrary to what some may choose to believe, rational thought is a partner to faith - rather than an antagonist.

                Take the example of Hank Reardon's bridge. He had done the calculations. He was confident enough that he put his conviction on the line by being the first passenger on the train across the bridge. But up until the point that the train passed safely over, there was no evidence of success; no logical conclusion to be made. His faith played out in confirmation as the bridge held. He then knew with certainty that his actions up to that point had not been in vain.

                Another example: Dagny Taggart. It was faith that led her to pursue Galt through the barrier into the Gulch. There is simply no other way to characterize it. She acted because the answer to her question was so important that she was motivated to test what can only be characterized as a wild guess. And - fortunately for her - she, too, found out that her faith was not in vain (which is good because its hard to continue a story without the main protagonist). ;)

                One last caution: do not confuse the principle of faith itself with any foregone conclusion that what one has faith in is necessary correct. Once one has found by experience that something is not true, to continue to abide by that belief is folly - not faith. It is a willful act of defiance. Faith lasts only until the principle is proven - or not.
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                • Posted by term2 7 months, 1 week ago
                  I think there is a difference in the way the word FAITH is used. A real person who bases his life on faith is essentially saying- "no matter whether what I am believing is true or not, I will believe it anyway". That view I would characterize as irrational.

                  But others use the word to indicate that they currently believe something to be true, but that view is subject to change if the facts prove otherwise. They shouldnt really use the word "faith" then, as they arent actually being irrational
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                    "But others use the word to indicate that they currently believe something to be true, but that view is subject to change if the facts prove otherwise."

                    I agree.

                    "They shouldn't really use the word "faith" then, as they aren't actually being irrational"

                    Again, this goes back to the authoritative definition of faith. If a religionist is using the definition aforementioned in Hebrews rather than Branden's definition, it seems to me that the religionist is being entirely rational. It is only if Branden's definition is applied that the religionist is now acting on the absurd. Given that the definition of faith has been defined by religionists for thousands of years compared to a few decades by Branden, I have to question why some view Branden's definition as authoritative. To me, since his definition is substantially different than what conventional use has been for thousands of years, his is the burden of proof - not the religionist for using his/her own construct.
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                    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                      Blarman:
                      you give me headaches. Have pity on this old man and allow me to be your censor. I promise to do it in a cool and rational way. The doctors only allow me Tylenol (acetomenephen).
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months ago
                        If you wish to offer a defense of Branden's definition, please do so. And to do it in a cool and rational way is the only way such should be done! ;)
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                        • Posted by 7 months ago
                          I'm always either cool, rational, or humorous. Sometimes all three at once.
                          Objectivism advocates the moral principal that man should be guided exclusively by reason. So what about the emotional side (faith)?
                          First we must give definitions to the concepts Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the evidence of reality as presented by his senses. Reason is man's tool of cognition.
                          Faith designates blind acceptance of certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months ago
                            "First we must give definitions to the concepts. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies, and integrates the evidence of reality as presented by his senses. Reason is man's tool of cognition."

                            Agreed. However there is a major caveat to all of this: Logic and perception deal with things that have already happened - they are not absolute predictors of the future nor do they impel one to act. I can sit and think about things all day, using my logic. I will be absolutely correct, but not accomplish anything. There must be motivation to act.

                            "Faith designates blind acceptance of certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof."

                            Here I'm going to stop you. There is no such thing as "blind faith". Blind necessarily implies a lack of perception - a lack of cognition or idea formation. No one can form a hypothesis on which to act - even irrationally - without some informational basis. Humans do not deal with the "unknown". They can not, for it is unknown - non-perceived! They may speculate and invent for themselves all kinds of reasons to try to explain what they perceive but do not understand, but this speculation is part of the process of logic based on what they have perceived while in pursuit of what they have not! (This assumes of course that one is pursuing new information and not rebelling against prior knowledge and/or experience.)

                            What you are really getting at is in actuality the establishment of some arbitrary threshold of probability upon which every decision "should" be based: if it meets the threshold it may be deemed "rational" while if it does not it is "irrational". If we think about that, however, we realize that no one has the right to enforce upon another person one's personal probability threshold for "rationality". Such an act constitutes coercion.
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                            • Posted by 7 months ago
                              While I have a number of replies to this, I think I'll stop here. We are getting to the point where we are going to argue as to how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.I'm pretty sure you'll have a reply to every pronouncement. Actually the differences are such that in the end they become compatable.
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                              • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months ago
                                "We are getting to the point where we are going to argue as to how many angels could dance on the head of a pin."

                                Answer: Zero. The real question is what kind of dance would it be if they could? ;)

                                "I'm pretty sure you'll have a reply to every pronouncement."

                                Ultimately, it isn't having a reply, it is having a reply which can be logically defended. To be completely frank, I've been underwhelmed by the defense of Branden's definition for "faith". If it was accurate and logical in the first place, it should have been much harder to dispute.

                                I thank you for that time which you have seen fit to use on my behalf - even if my responses frustrated you. Hopefully I haven't caused you to exceed your daily limit on acetaminophen. ;)
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                • Posted by Riftsrunner 7 months, 1 week ago
                  You are confusing trust with religious faith. Hank trusted his metal would support the load because he understood its capabilities. When he created it, he tested it. Now it may have been he miscalculated and the bridge would collapse, but that isn't because he had a belief without evidence.

                  Now let's say the metal was just created by mixing iron and copper in a mixture in an undetermined ratio and formed into girders to build the bridge to an untested design. Going over that bridge would be an act of faith because you have no evidence that that bridge could withstand the load.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                    Again, it is the reliance on Branden's definition of faith that creates the confusion. If one uses the definition I have proffered - or the one found by cursory search from the Bible - one finds that faith and trust are nearly identical. Again - my contention is that the definition being used by Branden is a straw man and fundamentally flawed. Thus ANY and ALL conclusions based on such a definition are (by extension) fatally flawed.

                    To make it simple: one acts on faith UNTIL conclusive evidence is found - one way or the other. I don't disagree that Hank Reardon's understanding of his metal's capabilities made him more confident of success, it does not change the fact that until the train passed over the bridge, he had no proof - only conjecture supported by his calculations.

                    Now, if one wants to contend that Dagny's plunge through the barrier required significantly more faith than Reardon's bridge, I would completely agree because the degree of uncertainty was higher. It doesn't change the fact that in neither instance was the outcome guaranteed before the test was taken. The proof was obtained in the testing and not a moment before. As logic requires proof or confirmation, one can not logically conclude the bridge would hold or that there was an invisible barrier until after the trial of faith.
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                • Posted by  $  Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
                  A word has to have an agreed upon meaning to be useful. I simply used two non-religious definitions of “faith” on dictionary. com. Does dictionary. com use a straw man argument?

                  I could not find your definition.
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                  • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                    We have reached a position that will convince neither of us as to the other. From this point forward I'm wasting time. At my age, I don't have all that much time left to wast. so From this point on, I'll just say ditto .
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                    Does "my" definition - even though it challenges conventional thought - make sense? Do the examples which I have given or the reasoning I have supplied contain fallacy? If not, they bear consideration. As I said, the entire dilemma lies solely in how one defines faith. If one defines it as being inherently contradictory to thought, then the conclusion is foregone. Given the implications, however, I think it worthy to challenge the premise as false.

                    I, too, reject the notion of blind faith, but I reject it because it has no meaning - no substance. One does not believe in the existence of extraterrestrial beings without having some concept of this Earth being separate and distinct in the cosmos from other planets and a supposition about intelligent life. One does not believe in "god" or the flying spaghetti monster without having formed some kind of notion of just what the attributes of such a being would be. It is impossible. We can not believe in an idea formed from cognitive dissonance or lack of cognition in the first place. There must be thought involved. Faith is simply the desire to act on a little knowledge in order to gain more.
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                    • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                      Rearden knew the component part, of his steel, how it was created and tested so he was operating with undisputed facts. No faith involved.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                        He knew the processes, but until one has applied them, it is hypothesis - not conclusion. Until he actually built the bridge and crossed it, there was no fact involved as to whether or not it would bear the weight. His study and familiarity concluded that it was likely, but only the actual test provided proof.
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                        • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                          Hair splitting. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, etc.a long time of the "duck proof" . I think it would be safe to use the duck hypothesis in order to take the next step of actually proving duck-ness.
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                          • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                            The ultimate proof is : when working a scientific equation or physical experiment, you use faith, and I'll use reason.I say that 1+1=2, you say 1+1=? the result difference would be stymied in your case and usable in mine.
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                            • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                              It's a ridiculous hypothetical. Again, you are using faith in the way you want to use it, which I contend is a straw man. Used in its proper form as "motivation to find an answer", faith and logic work hand in hand - not at odds with each other.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                            Actually, according to any standard of objectivity - especially the creed of the Objectivist - there MUST be proof. Without proof, all you have is belief. The scientific method does not stop at hypothesis and then declare that they can skip the testing portion and just make it a theory or law! It demands the proof of the actual test and can not be satisfied without it. It is not splitting hairs at all.

                            For example, by using your very same argument, one can absolutely argue for a belief in the giant floating spaghetti monster (an actual religion) because you are not requiring any proof.
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                    • Posted by  $  Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
                      I don’t agree with the definition or concept that, “faith is the motivation to act.” Maybe someone else will.

                      When debating, the terms used need to be generally agreed upon.
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                        In a debate, one must be willing to challenge even fundamental premises like definitions. To me, the definition of faith as used by the author is a straw man - a glaring fallacy - and I have supported such with extensive examples. (I can also look up several other dictionary websites to see a host of other definitions, so I think it of paramount importance to apply the correct definition to the idea the author is attempting to express.) The entirety of the author's argument lies upon his use of definition, so the notion that there is anything to debate here other than whether or not he has his definition correct seems to me to be moot.

                        As I see it, there are three paths:

                        1. We can continue to disagree about the definition being used and leave the matter unresolved.
                        2. You can offer a rebuttal to my arguments, expose any flaws in my reasoning, and continue the debate.
                        3. You can seriously consider my arguments.

                        Regardless, I appreciate your cordiality and consideration.
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                        • Posted by  $  Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
                          When you push to deconstruct and reconstruct words and their basic concepts that have been used for the last hundreds of years, you lose the original meaning. Words begin to mean what ever you want them to mean. You lose the ability to learn from the documented lessons of history. You create anti-concepts. This is doubleplus ungood! Very 1984ish.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                            If one is going to use a definition of faith that has been accepted for "hundreds of years", here's one from the Bible (quick search so may not be the best one) found in Hebrews 11 (New Testament) "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." That seems to say that faith is a hope in things yet to be proved. That's a far cry from the use by the author here, but very much in line with what I conjecture and fully in line with the examples I have provided. If you want to offer another authoritative source for a definition, please do.

                            I can't accept the definition as used by Branden because in my view it is inherently flawed as a straw man. If one accepts it, one accepts everything that follows.
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                            • Posted by  $  BeenThere 7 months, 1 week ago
                              "...the evidence of things not seen." Seen being things for which no evidence exists, thus circuitous.
                              Non-A is A.
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                              • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                                There is more to perception than seeing. Your argument doesn't hold true for a blind person any more than it holds true for a deaf person, etc. Do not make the mistake of artificially constraining the test mechanism to confirm a bias.

                                Put another way:
                                If I - as a parent - tell my three-year-old not to stick a knife in the power outlet because it will hurt him, does my son have to stick the knife in the power outlet just to find out what I tell him is true? Just because one person has not personally perceived something does not mean that someone else has not. Does that make the principle any less true simply because I have not personally tested it? No.

                                Did the planets exist before they were observed and identified by astronomers? Yes. But how many people take it for granted that Neptune exists even though they have never personally observed it through a telescope? You can apply that principle ad infinitum. We believe what other people say all the time. Do we take the time to question and confirm every single little thing? No. Does that mean that we are fools for acting on the belief that what others' say or do is not actually fallacy? Surely not.
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                        • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                          The definition, as indicated cme from the Objectivist Newsletter from Ayn Rand herself via Nathaniel Branden, being contributors to this forum, I would think that you are in accord with it. Can either of you provide a better definition so we can view them side by side?.
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                          • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                            Here's my first shot at a better definition for faith. Take it for what it is worth - even if it's nothing. ;)

                            Faith is the principle by which I act in anticipation of a desired result without knowing beforehand the outcome. (Knowing in this case being used to indicate a positive knowledge based on past experience or evidence.)

                            Example: it is not faith to expect the sun to rise every morning because past experience tells us it will. It would be faith to conduct an experiment to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson just as it would be faith to enter an entrepreneurial business venture.
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                            • Posted by 7 months, 1 week ago
                              The Higgs Boson is a good example of faith. However, there's a good deal of speculation involved which makes the existence of the bosun uselessas as reality in terms of repeatable experiments. The fact that you require such esoteric examples causes me to suspect the reality of the "god" particle.
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                              • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 1 week ago
                                No, the existence of the Higgs' boson is a hypothesis - not faith. Faith would be the scientist postulating the existence and then going to all the work to obtain the funding and set up the experiment. Whether or not the experiment confirmed or denied the existence, the sheer fact that the test was conducted was the "faith" portion of the experiment.

                                Again, you are using "faith" as if it is a competitor to logic - not a motivational force, which is why to you this argument appears absurd. Until you are willing to look at the argument without basing your reasoning on the Branden definition, you are caught in the very logical procession I have already admitted is a completely rational exposition based on that definition. If you look at things from the perspective of a substantially different definition of faith, the entire chain of reasoning changes and so do the rational conclusions. That is the entire crux of my argument.
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    Posted by jtrikakis 7 months, 1 week ago
    A true Christian believer sees the clear understanding of faith. Because the Holy Spirit provides that understanding and knowledge. The unbeliever, no matter how smart, educated, or whatever, will never gain that understanding.
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