Fideism and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

D33PPURPLE
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Fideism and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The belief that faith overrides logic had been, until recently, one of those annoying things which Theists did; a logical cop-out under the guise of dignity. It always bothered me that the same people who were trying to find some logical justification for God, and claimed that "it takes more faith to believe in atheism than it does to believe in God" (often saying junk like, "the chances of life developing are so small...&quotEye-wink, would, when cornered, resort to saying, "well, I believe because of faith. Faith is belief without evidence" and then they'd go on to talk about how faith is important to their religion. Many instances in the Bible also seem to hint that a part of faith involves belief with a lack of evidence. Jesus himself, when he supposedly came back to life says that those who believe without seeing are fortunate, and the apostle Paul also defines faith as belief without evidence.

 

Now, this sort of thought had always bothered me and until recently, I hadn't noticed exactly how paradoxical this position is. I had tried to express the paradox in my own words, until it was brought to my attention that the book cited in the title had also lashed out against such thought. It is known as the "Babel Fish" argument.

 

It goes as follows:

 

" The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with the nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
  Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen it to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
  The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
  "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
  "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic."

 

Now, granted, this is meant to be comedic, but there's much truth to it. If you believe that faith is the basis of your religion (and resort to "faith" when logic challenges your religious beliefs), then any statement or observation that makes the idea of God much more credible than a belief without God automatically undermines your own religious beliefs (this is why taking such illogical stances is a bad idea).

 

Take the following argument: "It is so improbable that the universe could have developed just by itself. The chance is too great. It takes much more faith to believe that God doesn't exist than that the universe came into being by pure chance." Well, if we accept this as true, this is not an act of faith, but of logical deduction. It is the same kind of reasoning that is used in science, which tries to find the most probable answer based on observation, testing, etc. It would be no different than believing that Gravity must exist because all other explanations for what happens are much less likely to be true. This means that you base your belief in God out of LOGIC, and you CANNOT logically resort to the position of "faith=belief without proof=foundation of my religion" because you HAVE proof of God's existence. On the other hand, someone who claims that there is no logical reason for their beliefs or any evidence, has just openly admitted that their position is no less lurid than belief in a Pink Unicorn from Dimension X or the Dragon in my Garage.

 

In one case, you must provide logical evidence for your beliefs (and must accept the consequences of having none as resulting in no reason to believe in God), or in the other, you must resort to a position that logically refutes itself. Either way, it seems as if the two current forms of Theism are bogus.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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hmm

At the beginning, it was very negative and sacrilegious, but one of the last paragraphs, beginning "Take the following argument:", did make a good point. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this or not, but, because of that paragraph, I don't regret reading it.


Thunderios
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I loved that passage from

I loved that passage from the Guide. Your take on it, too!
Some time ago I thought something similar, but I didn't formulate it so nicely.
1. I only 'believe' things that are reasonable or that have evidence.
2. There can't be evidence for god, since that would make belief obsolete, and salvation impossible.
3. Therefore I can't believe in god.


Ktulu
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Thunderios wrote:I loved

Thunderios wrote:

I loved that passage from the Guide. Your take on it, too!
Some time ago I thought something similar, but I didn't formulate it so nicely.
1. I only 'believe' things that are reasonable or that have evidence.
2. There can't be evidence for god, since that would make belief obsolete, and salvation impossible.
3. Therefore I can't believe in god.

cute, I like that Smiling also great OP.  Douglas Adams was a genius at showing us the absurd through comedy. 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Ktulu
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Anonymousity wrote:At the

Anonymousity wrote:

At the beginning, it was very negative and sacrilegious, but one of the last paragraphs, beginning "Take the following argument:", did make a good point. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this or not, but, because of that paragraph, I don't regret reading it.

so long as we have your approval, all is well... we were so close to offending you that I feel like apologizing anyways.... "I'm sorry!"

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Thunderios
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Ktulu wrote:Anonymousity

Ktulu wrote:

Anonymousity wrote:

At the beginning, it was very negative and sacrilegious, but one of the last paragraphs, beginning "Take the following argument:", did make a good point. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this or not, but, because of that paragraph, I don't regret reading it.

so long as we have your approval, all is well... we were so close to offending you that I feel like apologizing anyways.... "I'm sorry!"

It offends me when people apologize! It's a sign of weakness.
(And thanks for the comment Smiling)


Wonderist
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Thunderios wrote:Ktulu

Thunderios wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Anonymousity wrote:

At the beginning, it was very negative and sacrilegious, but one of the last paragraphs, beginning "Take the following argument:", did make a good point. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this or not, but, because of that paragraph, I don't regret reading it.

so long as we have your approval, all is well... we were so close to offending you that I feel like apologizing anyways.... "I'm sorry!"

It offends me when people apologize! It's a sign of weakness.
(And thanks for the comment Smiling)

The fact that you are offended is incredibly, terribly offensive to me. Apologize immediately! Eye-wink

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