Science and Other Drugs

….maybe a little less wrong….

Tag Archives: logic

Faith and falsifiability

“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

Mark Twain.

We see this and similar quotes thrown around quite often, usually in attempts to vilify religious belief. As such, it’s rather laughable; pretending that Christians secretly disbelieve in God is as ridiculous as pretending that atheists secretly know God exists. It’s not an argument or assertion that has any place in rational discourse.

But blind faith does exist; we see it all the time. When confronted with difficult evidence, certain small-minded people like to handwave it by declaring “Well, I have faith!” This sort of idiocy deserves all the ridicule it can get.

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Precisely simple

Definitions can be tricky things. Words have wildly divergent meanings depending on who is using them and why. So nailing down concrete definitions is a good thing to do any time you get the chance.

sunset

I’m sure I’m appropriating this from somewhere, but oh well.

Atheist: a person who finds it improbable that an agent cause brought about our reality.

Theist: a person who finds it probable that an agent cause brought about our reality.

Agnostic: anybody else.

This is the bottom line. All other definitions are just rhetorical posturing.

Logical Fallacies: The argument from silence

One of the principal reasons I moved away from fundamentalism was the overwhelming presence of fallacies. As a good Fundamentalist Homeschooler, I was taught to hunt down and identify fallacies as efficiently and ruthlessly as the heat-seeking missile shown below.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile uses an infrared heat-seeking module and a warhead that expands into a jagged spinning ring of metal death on impact. Image courtesy USAF.

Unfortunately, fundamentalism is home to some pretty egregious fallacies in its own right, ones that became rapidly apparent as I turned my abilities back on my own indoctrinated beliefs. Wait, why do we believe such-and-such? No good reason at all? Interesting.

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