Customer Discussions > religion discussion forum

Religion and Science: Vastly Overlapping Magisteriums as Far as Truth-Detection is Concerned


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Apr 2013 18:28:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2013 18:47:38 BDT
Henry James says:
The cliche is that religion and science are NON-overlapping "magisteriums"/domains.
On the contrary: when we are in the realm of assessing the
Truth Claims (e.g. There is a God. Heaven awaits us. Jesus was resurrected. Allah is the only God, praying brings people peace)
the process of assessing those claims SHOULD be pretty much the same.

Take the most basic claim: "there is a God."
Both a scientist and a theologian would want to define our terms. Specify that this God has certain qualities that have, or had, an effect in the world. The process of determining the truth-value of that proposition would be pretty clear, and invariant whether you were a scientist or a spiritualist.
Even the process of explaining why some people believe in a god is/should be a process where finding the truth is the same.
Summary: it is a cop-out to say the process of determining truth is different, just as it would be if you claimed that the process is completely different when you consider biology and archeology.

(btw, I AM well aware that traditionalists and pedants use "magisteria" rather than "magisteriums." Can't they speak English?)

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 19:43:33 BDT
Bellatori says:
Does anything else swim in this pond other than 'traditionalists and pedants'?

"The process of determining the truth-value of that proposition would be pretty clear, and invariant whether you were a scientist or a spiritualist." You are not accounting for faith. Were we all concerned with truth in the way you described then we would all be atheists. Faith provides an alternative path to 'truth' as theists would see it.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 20:30:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2013 20:37:50 BDT
Bellatori is right. I have quoted this before, but Levinas says for example:

"Faith is not a question of the existence or non-existence of God. It is believing that love without reward is valuable."

The 'truth' of such a belief is not, I assume, able to be ascertained on the basis of empirical examination of the world. Nor is it a truth of reason or a hypothesis about 'love without reward.'

It is a belief about the importance of a certain attitude toward the world, or more specifically other people, which in the general economy of beliefs should, I think, be called religious. Levinas was certainly content to call this attitude religious.

Is it true? It may well reflect a truth about what it is to be human. This truth might be put something like this: human beings do not only stand in an epistemic relation to their world and (emphatically) other people. More specifically they do not primarily stand in such a relation to them and it is not the most important relation we can have to the world and, a fortiori, to other people. The most important relation we can have toward them is to love them.

Posted on 27 Apr 2013 21:08:33 BDT
Bellatori says:
"Faith is not a question of the existence or non-existence of God. It is believing that love without reward is valuable." No it isn't. That is a complete non seq.

Faith is belief without needing proof which is why I put the word truth in apostrophes.

The second part of the proposition is also a bit suspect because love requiring a reward is not love.

Emmanuel Levinas may be a clever chappy but this wasn't one of his masterpieces of philosophy. Pithy quotes should not need context but this one does in order to make sense.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 22:04:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2013 22:09:30 BDT
Henry James says:
Bella says: "You are not accounting for faith. Were we all concerned with truth in the way you described then we would all be atheists. Faith provides an alternative path to 'truth' as theists would see it."

Faith is believing in things you can't prove, because there is NO evidence (see the famous quote).
Determining Truth without evidence is an absurd concept. It is equivalent to saying "it is True because I believe it."
Hence, any spiritual claim can be *believed* by anyone, but if it is to be shown to be true, it must go through the same hoops as the statement that "humans evolved from neanderthals."
I think even a fair and intelligent theist would, or should, see it this way.
(btw, I was just being insecure about my inability to remember Latin plurals. I am sure, Bella, that you are neither a traditionalist nor a pedant, but deserve a category all your own).

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 22:07:09 BDT
Henry James says:
Anthony says "It is a belief about the importance of a certain attitude toward the world, or more specifically other people, which in the general economy of beliefs should, I think, be called religious. Levinas was certainly content to call this attitude religious."

I too call it religious. I just think that the question of whether or not this belief is "true" should be determined in the same way by a believer or an atheist.
Again to state the obvious: beliefs are not equivalent to truths.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 10:29:31 BDT
Bellatori,
With respect, I don't think you've paid much attention.

'"Faith is not a question of the existence or non-existence of God. It is believing that love without reward is valuable." No it isn't. That is a complete non seq.'

It is certainly a non sequitur as it stands, but it is not meant as a an attempt at an inference. Rather it is an understanding of faith which Levinas would call non-ontological. By this he means that faith represents the kind of belief that is not about the existence or non-existence of a being but about valuing certain attitudes above others. It is not a definition of 'faith' but an a attempt to understand it in non-epistemic terms.

'Faith is belief without needing proof which is why I put the word truth in apostrophes.'

I also put the word 'truth' in apostrophes, but not because it was a dubious kind of truth, but because it was not truth understood as correspondence to the facts.

I am sure you don't actually mean what you say here: Surely not all beliefs which we do not need to prove are to be called faith? Otherwise we would hold the vast majority of our beliefs on faith. An odd conclusion. Strict proof, as you no doubt know very well, is applicable to very restricted area of human knowledge: mathematics, logic, geometry etc. Of course we might extend the notion of 'proof' to highly plausible empirical statements, but I'm not sure we are being very true to the notion any more.

I think what you must mean is that faith is a belief that does not require evidence.

This is certainly true and Levinas would, I think, agree. But not because it is the belief in something which is such that ideally we could have evidence for and yet simply don't. Rather it is belief in something that it makes no sense to ask for evidence for. What might constitute evidence for the belief that 'love without reward is valuable'? It is not a claim about facts but about the adoption of a certain absolute moral stance.

'The second part of the proposition is also a bit suspect because love requiring a reward is not love.'

I don't see why you think that this is suspect. Are you trying to say that it is somehow definitional of love that it does not require reward? Is it supposed to be an analytic statement? It is certainly not an obvious contradiction to talk about wanting to be rewarded for ones love, though it does seem odd.
I think that Levinas would agree with you that it is somehow definitional of love (if that's what you mean) but I think that it is worth stating anyway for at least 2 reasons:

1. In concrete cases of love it is not always the case that it is what he would call 'pure love,' but is intermingled with other desires and hopes etc. Not all love is pure giving. We might say that this isn't really love, but we might say it is love but....The most pure form is probably found in parental love.

2. Not everybody would agree that it is definitional of love. Particularly other philosophers who Levinas is responding to.

But most importantly he is not SIMPLY saying this: what he is saying is that such love is VALUABLE, or rather he is saying that faith is the belief that it is. It is certainly true that not everyone agrees that such extreme self-sacrifice is valuable. Indeed it is completely contrary to a certain way of understanding human nature.

It is not the case that he thinks that it is valuable FOR something else, not a hypothetical value, but an absolute or categorical value. And if that is true it is not a truth that can be ascertained on the basis of evidence.

'Emmanuel Levinas may be a clever chappy but this wasn't one of his masterpieces of philosophy. Pithy quotes should not need context but this one does in order to make sense.'

You have certainly got a point here. But he can hardly be blamed for this. Rather it was me who plucked the quote out of context. I took it off the internet (one of those daft brainy quotes things) and don't actually know where it comes from (probably from one of his many late interviews, I will try and locate it if you want). I did so because it is illustrative not only of his view, but of a view of faith which is not the belief in an entity called 'God' (for Levinas God is not an entity but such love without Eros) but remains a belief not based on evidence.

Also to be absolutely fair to Levinas (who was indeed a clever chappy) it is very hard to garner pithy sayings from his work. He was extremely suspicious of oracular aphorisms in philosophy, being completely contrary to the complex nature of his work.

On the other hand I'm not sure that this requires much more context in order to make sense. Although it makes a lot more sense if you have spent a good deal of time on his difficult work.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 10:38:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 10:39:54 BDT
Hi Henry,
I must confess that I don't really understand your point. How are we to investigate whether or not 'love without reward is valuable'? In the way that science investigates empirical theories?
It could be me being a bit dim, I am at times. But if we could somehow determine the truth of this belief then I'm not sure what the difference between a believer and an atheist would be. The point is that a believer (one who has faith) is someone who holds this to be true, whether in the conventional sense he or she is an atheist or not. [edit: In Levinas's view.]
Of course beliefs are not equivalent to truths but to believe is to hold that something is true. The reasons for believing it true are the crucial factors here. For what reason do we believe that killing children is morally wrong? Do we have some kind of evidence for this?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 10:52:42 BDT
Bellatori says:
Basically fair enough...

"You have certainly got a point here. But he can hardly be blamed for this. Rather it was me who plucked the quote out of context." I am a repeat offender on this. Even worse when I get a quote I like I reuse until complaints start coming in !!

"I am sure you don't actually mean what you say here: Surely not all beliefs which we do not need to prove are to be called faith?" Well, actually, yes... it is why we have an expression 'I'll take that on faith for the time being'

"I think what you must mean is that faith is a belief that does not require evidence. " No, I meant what I wrote... you cannot have proof without evidence. In my view evidence comes first then analysis and from which proof arises.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 11:13:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 11:21:30 BDT
Bellatori,
Sorry I misunderstood you. My own point was that you can't really even prove that the world exists outside of your mind (pardon the cod philosophy), and you can't prove any empirical statement beyond possible falsification. It may well be the case that sufficient evidence of an empirical proposition's truth may not require absolute certainty for it to be considered proven, and I would be happy with that.

But we certainly hold beliefs (and hold them with absolute conviction) which we would have no idea how to prove, and I think this refers to most of them. Would you be happy to say that most of our beliefs are based on faith? (Perhaps what Santayana called 'animal faith').

If so then I think that there is here a slight ambiguity in the word 'faith.' Many would invest it with a religious significance which the kind of ordinary beliefs we hold don't really seem to fit.

Anyway my point (and Levinas's) was not to determine what the word 'faith' means (Kierkegaard defined it as 'belief on the strength of the absurd'), but one way to understood the religious attitude of faith. On this reading it is something like what Wittgenstein called seeing things from 'a religious point of view', rather than accepting the existence of some supreme being without proof or evidence.

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 19:22:11 BDT
Spin says:
Descriptive Cognitive Pluralism, Normative Cognitive pluralism, Epistemic Relativism, Evaluative-concept Pluralism etc all challenge the analytic epistemology which is used to arbitrate between different systems of reasoning and a conclusion can only be reached by a determination of which system comports with ones own epistemic evaluations. In order to determine which mode of reasoning is correct, one must establish, a priori, a means by which reasoning can be judged. But since this involves the establishment of a pre-determined mode of reasoning about reasoning, we end up in an infinite regress. The question as to the reasoning behind "reasoning" is a question that cannot be answered by reference to "reasoning" of any kind.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 20:22:22 BDT
Spin, Could you give examples of just two of the 'different systems of reasoning' to which you refer, and specify in what way their modes of reasoning differ. Preferably by showing how these modes of reasonong move from the same premises to different conclusions. I presume they are also incompatible or the notion of pluralism and relativism would be somewhat redundant.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 20:37:54 BDT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 20:44:21 BDT
Must one? Then do so, since you are the one making the comparison.

And none of the 'systems' you have named are different systems of reasoning. They are different philosophical positions or different types of logic. The latter being no more incompatible than mathematics and biology.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 20:45:55 BDT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 20:49:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 20:50:30 BDT
What is why you asked me to? I am referring to reasoning.

If you define 'define' for me I will try to do so.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 20:52:41 BDT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 21:02:51 BDT
Perhaps you should read the posts, then you will see that I have done nothing of the sort.

And I did read your post, very carefully. It depended on the idea of different modes of reasoning, an idea which you have been unable or unwilling to clarify.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 21:36:40 BDT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 21:41:41 BDT
Did reach this conclusion using your reason or were you conditioned to believe it?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 21:47:31 BDT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 21:57:15 BDT
I don't recall anybody saying reason was infallible.

So your views are not a result of conditioning, just everybody else's. Yours are the to product of some 'existential' and 'experiential' insight?

And reason is based solely on my life. In what way is it 'based' on my life?

I knew already that my life was one many.

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 22:02:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 22:04:04 BDT
Spin always falls back on guff - the more pretentious the better - when someone gets the better of him. The more unintelligible he becomes, the worse he's done.

Judging by his last post, you should feel rather proud.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 22:02:32 BDT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 22:06:06 BDT
Ryan, there's no need to be proud of exposing blatant nonsense. But thanks anyway.
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


More Customer Discussions

Most active community forums
Most active product forums

Amazon forums
 

This discussion

Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  5
Total posts:  27
Initial post:  27 Apr 2013
Latest post:  28 Apr 2013

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 1 customer

Search Customer Discussions