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.