Re: belief, faith, truth

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 17:06:38 +0100

Le 03-févr.-06, à 00:56, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

> I would like to think there is a qualitative difference between
> scientific belief and religious belief: scientific belief is adjusted
> in the light of contradictory evidence, while religious belief is not.

The problem is that we are biased by about 1600 years of authoritative
arguments in the "theology" field. We have been drilled for not
questioning religious beliefs, and even Pope Jean-Paul II still
presented doubt in the matter as a product of the Evil.
And then the christians and atheists alike always present Aristotle
naturalism, and the existence of a primitive physical universe as a
truth only a foolish can doubt.
For me, all questioning is amenable to science, or put in another way,
we can kept a scientific attitude, in all fields, including those
asking for faith.

> At the very least, there is a quantitative difference: religious
> belief is adhered to more obstinately in the light of contradictory
> evidence than is scientific belief.

I agree, but I think this is just due to unfortunate historical

> In addition, there is a difference in attitude: even the most
> obstinate scientist will claim that his position is consistent with
> the available evidence, while the religious believer holds that he has
> ultimately tapped into to a truth that transcends mere human reason.

Correct machines can tapped into a truth that transcends machines
reason, but not into a truth that "contradicts" machines reason.
Unless the machine suffers from some bad faith. The same for humans;
scientist or believer alike. In the (ex) Soviet Union, Lyssenko has
defended a crazy biology contradicting more and more the evidences,
leading to one of the worst famine.

The problem is that as long as we discourage rationalist to study
theology and doing research in theology, we are abandoning it to the
"irrationalists" or to the dishonest people, like those who will use
some natural human fears to manipulate people and get power.

Some centuries ago, the question of the shape of Earth was belonging to
theology, as many other question which we put today in "science". From
this some people tend to think that science will develop itself on the
entire inquiry field. The comp. hyp (or weaker) + the incompleteness
phenomena justify a place for a genuine theology which you can see as a
study of a truth which extends properly reason (Cf G* minus G).
The point is not that science can answer all question it can tackle,
but on the contrary science can tackle, at least through some
hypothesis or axioms (like comp) the structure of its own boundaries.
Godel's incompleteness theorem, which is already provable by a simple
machine like "Peano-Arithmetic" does at least illustrate that a machine
can tackle the mathematical structure of its own incompleteness or of
its own ignorance.
There is no contradiction in the existence of a 100% scientific
theology, still letting the religious attitudes to any personal
individual choice (example the yes/no doctor attitude in the comp

Received on Fri Feb 03 2006 - 11:15:08 PST

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