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#30812 - 06/15/01 10:39 AM Re: faith without works
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
concrete, scientific faith

This is an oxymoron. Faith is defined as belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. In this case you don't have faith that rock will fall to the ground, you have knowledge based on logic and reasoning. Faith would be the belief that God is going to save your soul from the devil, not that a scientifically consistent occurrence will happen yet again.


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#30813 - 06/15/01 11:19 AM Re: faith
Bobyoungbalt Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
Right you are, JazzO. However, I'm afraid this is turning into a YART. I seem to recall the discussion some months ago, when I contributed the orthodox view of faith, "Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen."


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#30814 - 06/15/01 11:21 AM "concrete" faith vs. "abstract"
Bryan Hayward Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 69
Loc: IL
I think you misunderstood me. I don't have "faith" that a rock will fall out of my hand when I let go. I have confidence in that - since it has happened every time I've done that. My "faith," such as it is, is indeed in the abstract notion that the basic governing principles of the universe will not change arbitrarily in space-time. It is known in scientific philosophy as the Non-Locality Axiom (IIRC). When you quoted me as having faith there are objective facts, I should clarify that I do not have faith in a *given* objective fact, but that I have faith in the *existence* of objective facts. That is, I am not a solipsist.

The discussions I've had on this board have been mightily interesting - and *continue* to point up the confusion sown when people talk about "faith" when they mean "evidence" and vice versa. In your post, Mr. O'Neill, you bring up a different application of faith (still consistent with my differentiation, though). You talk about faith in the possibility that something magical will happen. Maybe not in any given instance, but that it can and will happen, someday - for some reason. Essentially, you're faith rests on a "Locality" (or perhaps "Arbitrary") Axiom - that there are regions of space/time that will alter the laws of physics and chemistry as we know them. Perhaps only briefly, but the faith in the existence of such places/times/circumstances is there. That is very much within my definition of faith. Note that the things I have faith in are equally abstract, but of a much different character.

I think that the usage of "faith" in the concrete sense only confuses matters. I know it does for me. I'd rather have faith in as few things as possible, and deduce the rest from observation and experiment. When people talk about "faith" in things that are basically observations and predictions made from analysis, it dilutes the terms "faith" and "confidence" equally. I believe (based on observations) ;-) that such a dichotomy is important, and that blurring the line is unproductive. I'm not naive enough to believe that faith is unnecessary. I realize that faith in some basic principles is necessary to go forward, otherwise you're just navel-contemplating. However, the fewer articles of faith, the less chance of running into contradictory conclusions in your analyses. Therefore, when one talks about faith - it is the most important thing you can discuss, and deserves the clearest possible definitions. The things you have faith in make a difference between being a functional person (e.g. a person who has faith that all people deserve not to suffer unnecessarily) and a dysfunctional person (e.g. someone who has faith that they are *always* right). This is one of the reasons why I take issue with "faith" that is really "confidence" and vice versa.

Cheers,
Bryan

_________________________
Cheers,
Bryan

You are only wretched and unworthy if you choose to be.

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#30815 - 06/15/01 11:34 AM Agreed
Bryan Hayward Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 69
Loc: IL
Right on, Jazz & Bob.

I'm glad I'm not a lone wolf, howling at the indifferent moon. :-)

Cheers,
Bryan

_________________________
Cheers,
Bryan

You are only wretched and unworthy if you choose to be.

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#30816 - 06/15/01 12:03 PM Re: Americans
Hyla Offline
addict

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 544
Loc: San Francisco, CA
As to what citizens of the United States of America call ourselves - I wish it weren't so, but I feel that the term American has come to mean quite clearly someone from the USA.

I have lived and travelled a lot in Latin America, and there's no question that many people from many countries in this hemisphere take some umbrage at the USA claiming the name for themselves, but it's typically quite clear what is meant.

I think perhaps this hasn't been cleared up easily because there hasn't been an obvious alternative, and we've got "America" in the name of our land, and none of the other countries on the two continents in question do. There are words used to describe us in Latin America (I'll only mention the ones used politely ), but these aren't really perfect either.

"Norteamericano" isn't precise enough, and if you assume it means a person from the USA, it slights Canada.

"Estadounidense" (as in "United States," which is estados unidos) would fit, except Mexico's full, formal name is "Los Estados Unidos de Mexico," and we've slighted Mexico enough by now, I think.

All of that said, I still tend to use one of the two options presented, so as not to offend, even though I don't feel that there would be any ambiguity in "americano."


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#30817 - 06/15/01 12:15 PM Re: Speech/Pronunciation
rodward Offline
addict

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 609
Loc: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Brits living abroad in the days of the British Empire

Whitman - let me explain one thing quietly before the Welsh, Scots, Irish, and others start throwing stones. English is not synonymous with British. Britain comprises Wales, Scotland, and England. Add Northern Ireland in and you get the United Kingdom (of which we are citizens). The Welsh, Scots, and English are British (though some may rather not be) as the US citizens, Mexicans, and Canadians are North American.

I am still confused on your point about Brits/English (whatever) living abroad, but lets take it off line with a PM if you want to discuss futher.

Rod




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#30818 - 06/15/01 06:27 PM Re: Americans
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Well, we've separated church and state now. Half of this thread is talking about faith and the other half America. Good job, folks!

Now I'm gonna talk about us Merikuns.

I think American is a legitimate title for citizens of the US if for no more reason than there's no other simple one-word denomination. (Outside of derogatory ones, of course. ) I've heard that the founders originally wanted to call the USA Columbia, but it was already taken by the South American country. I can't find out when Columbia was founded because a search for it on both Atomica and britannica.com came up with references to Columbia University, Washington DC, British Columbia and Columbia, SC. The initial result on Atomica defines Columbia as The United States! Neither source said anything about Columbia the drug-lord country of South America. Since both of these reputable sources disavow any knowledge of any other country named Columbia, I guess we could call ourselves Columbians, right?


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#30819 - 06/15/01 08:03 PM Re: "concrete" faith vs. "abstract"
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
concrete, scientific faith...this is an oxymoron

I agree, Jazzoctopus!...I put that image out there because I wasn't sure what Bryan was driving at, and I thought at times he was saying he could only have faith in things that were empirically evidenced...as it turned out that was just my confusion at interpreting his statements. As Bryan says, these faithful discussions can become pretty confusing! But Bryan cleared that up for me in his next response.

You talk about faith in the possibility that something magical will happen.

I concur with this part of your discussion, Bryan...so we've finally arrived at some common ground!




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#30820 - 06/15/01 08:26 PM Re: Speech/Pronunciation
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
English is not synonymous with British

Yes, I know Rod...obviously, now, I've confused myself and everybody else with a weak analogy. I was just trying to find something to highlight the awkwardness, especially in this day and age, of drawing on continental or geographical references as the guideline for naming a country's citizens...as per the suggestions earlier in this thread that U.S. Citizens are arrogant to call themselves Americans because everyone who lives in North or South America is an American. By that token of thought, in the days of Empire, wouldn't it be arrogant for an Englishman or any British Subject born and bred in, say, Australia, NOT to call themselves an Australian?

Finally, let me say that I believe the passions of nationalism, and super-nationalism, are traps of prejudice, greed, and hatred that have taken us down many hard paths...see WWI and WWII. Better we should look forward to the day when our boundaries are light and our humanity is strong. That's why I support the space program 100%...I think, ultimately, it alone affords us the chance to break free of these shackles of human nature and grant us the perspective that we are, indeed, one human race. We're all in this together, folks! Will we ever learn? We are all citizens of the world.






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#30821 - 06/18/01 05:04 AM Re: Speech/Pronunciation
rodward Offline
addict

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 609
Loc: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Whitman states That's why I support the space program 100%...I it affords us the chance to break free of these shackles of human nature and grant us the perspective that we are, indeed, one human race.

Any endeavour which binds races and nations closer together is worthwhile and the space programme may do that. There is some useful technical and emotional fallout into general society, but I think we'd do better to focus closer to home.

Rod


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