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Is faith healing unscientific?

 
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Originally posted by kayal cox:


I find that to be an unusual statement, because then, where would one draw the line?



I guess I would draw the line somewhere but it would mean less for her and more for the needy.

Basically I do not always see treats for a lady as an act of kindness but just a way to sucker up to her and vice versa. True kindness is finding a way to help those unfortunately then yourself.
[ February 16, 2005: Message edited by: Gerald Davis ]
 
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Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
Race is not a vague at all if you are into the theory of evolution.



"Race" has to be one of the most misunderstood terms in human history. There is only one race and that is the Human Race. We are all part of the same race, a fact that a lot of people overlook. Statistically there's probably as much genetic difference between a two randomly picked people from a small village in the depths of Texas as there are between a random person from Harare and one from Shanghai. Even if we were all categorised in the same way as dogs we would count as the same breed. "Race" is therefore a bit of a misused term. Maybe a better one would be "cultural group", but even that has little meaning in the bigger picture.
 
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Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:

Picking of woldflowers is frowned upon in many areas of the world (and illegal in some). Where natural habitats are shrinking the wear and tear from human visitation on forests, wetlands, heathland etc is increasingly a problem. Most natural areas encourage a "Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos" approach.



Com'on and relax! Nothing is absolute, don't always be that nervous In really over populated places like Shanghai, even footprints are _great_ harm to greeneries Here the forests are ample, wild flowers are everywhere if you enter the forests; There are already few people in the city how many can you expect to appear in the forests. And I'm not senseless, I wouldn't rob the forests to bare In fact I'm not able to, wild flowers are too many there and they grow really fast...
 
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Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:


Actually not, now - except perhaps for mathematics. Science still has not come up with the true model of the world - if there even can be such a thing. Scientist instead are working with incomplete models of the world, that are known to work reasonably well for many cases, and known to have problems for others.

What distinguishes science from faith is that a scientific model needs to be falsifiable - that is, you need to be able to think up an experiment that would prove that the model is false, if it is false. That's why the existance of god is outside the scope of science - you cannot design an experiment that disproves the existance of god.

So what happens in science is that a scientist comes up with a new model, a new hypothesis or theory that seems to work better than the previous one. Then other scientists all over the world start to come up with experiments that would fail if the theory wasn't true - they actively try to disprove it. If after enough experiments the new theory still didn't show up any significantly stronger problems than the old one, it gets slowly accepted as "the new truth".



Faith evolves on the foundations of empirically tested, tried and established practices, in that order. Thus it has a sound scientific empirical base. However, stagnant, dogmatic and irrelevant approaches exist even in best of the scientifc epistemologies, needing regular filtering.
 
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To presume that math is the highest level of knowledge and that science is the end of understanding is to place man at the pinnacle of the universe and make the extremely bold assumption that there is none greater in knowledge, wisdom and power.

If God created man, he can certainly heal man. He could create one from dust if He so chooses. Whether some human that whoops and hollers and carries on with all sorts of shenanigans is a channel for God's power... let's just say that is a different question entirely.
 
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Faith evolves on the foundations of empirically tested, tried and established practices, in that order. Thus it has a sound scientific empirical base. However, stagnant, dogmatic and irrelevant approaches exist even in best of the scientifc epistemologies, needing regular filtering


Hmm. Examples?
 
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Originally posted by Paul Sturrock:

Hmm. Examples?



I fully agree with the fact that faith is built upon time tested empirically arrived conclusions. It is another thing that with the passage of time, some corrections may be required, but it is a dynamic process. Even cars need new models with time.
 
Paul Sturrock
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You may fully agree. But I am still lacking examples.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Marianne Robinson:

I fully agree with the fact that faith is built upon time tested empirically arrived conclusions. It is another thing that with the passage of time, some corrections may be required, but it is a dynamic process. Even cars need new models with time.



Quite a large number of people hold certain things to be true even though they have not been, are not, and probably never will be proven true. These things are held true on faith alone, no proof involved.

Take Father Christmas, for example. There's no proof that Father Christmas doesn't exist, but many people have faith that he doesn't
 
Marianne Robinson
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:


Quite a large number of people hold certain things to be true even though they have not been, are not, and probably never will be proven true. These things are held true on faith alone, no proof involved.

Take Father Christmas, for example. There's no proof that Father Christmas doesn't exist, but many people have faith that he doesn't



This is a misplaced generalization of faith. Faith is that Father Christmas, fully knowing is an enactment, gives happiness to children. No scientific proof has ever been sought for it. Faith is that father would save the child from drowning, and faith is that times would change from bad to good. It does happen even though there is no E=mc2 established for it.
 
Neeru Misra
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Originally posted by Marianne Robinson:


This is a misplaced generalization of faith. Faith is that Father Christmas, fully knowing is an enactment, gives happiness to children. No scientific proof has ever been sought for it. Faith is that father would save the child from drowning, and faith is that times would change from bad to good. It does happen even though there is no E=mc2 established for it.



Very well said.
 
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Faith cannot be explained by logic. It is beyond logic.
 
Neeru Misra
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Originally posted by Kapila Vatsyayana:
Faith cannot be explained by logic. It is beyond logic.


Rather faith is supra rational, a state beyond the realms of rational and irrational.
[ February 22, 2005: Message edited by: Neeru Misra ]
 
Gerald Davis
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Originally posted by Kapila Vatsyayana:
Faith cannot be explained by logic. It is beyond logic.



Maybe much about faith is beyond the scope if your logic, my old chap. However, there are those who can understand the logic behind those faiths.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Marianne Robinson:
This is a misplaced generalization of faith.


Sorry, I didn't really get my point across in a proper way - most discussions about faith tend to end up discussing religion, so I was attempting to keep things both meaningless and drivelly

Faith is that Father Christmas, fully knowing is an enactment, gives happiness to children. No scientific proof has ever been sought for it. Faith is that father would save the child from drowning, and faith is that times would change from bad to good. It does happen even though there is no E=mc2 established for it.



There seem to be two different kinds of way of believing something - belief through perceived proof, and belief through faith. An example of the former is the belief that many people have that the world is roughly ball shaped. These people have seen something they see as proof, and now believe in a particular shape of the world.

On the other side is belief through faith. An example of this is belief in a deity. No deity has ever been proven, and most likely never will be (quite possibly can't be proven for one reason or another). Despite this lack of proof, a great many people believe in deities.

To me faith is therefore the position holding something to be true when there is no proof that it is true.

There is no real dividing line between the ideas of belief through proof and belief through faith - they tend to blur into each other a bit. The person that believes in the ball shaped planet has to have a pinch of faith that the evidence they are seeing is correct.

Both positions have the same inherent flaw though, in that they hold something to be entirely true. There is very little that can be comprehensively proven to be true. Some basic tautologies such as "2=2" are always true - there is no way in which they can't be true. Another true statement is "there is something". The universe/multiverse/reality/etc must contain something, even if its just the idea that "there is something".

As a percentage of the things we normally hold as true, the above are very small. A great many other things that we normal assume to be true are not proven. We don't know that the earth is a ball. Unlikely though it is, it is possible that its not - we could all be having a mass hallucination. Now this is unlikely in the extreme, but it is possible. Because of this possibility that our statement "the earth is roughly ball shaped" could be wrong, it is a fallacy to hold it entirely true.

This means it is a fallacy to hold almost any point of view as being entirely true. Such a person, be they a scientist holding that a formula is 100% true, a theist saying a deity undoubtedly exists, or an atheist saying a deity 100% cannot exist, are making a fallacious statement. When we say "X is true", it would be logically better to say a probabilistic statement such as "I hold that its is highly likely that X is true" or a relative statement such as "I believe in X about as much as I believe in Y".

.. now if that's not meaningless drivel, nothing is


----------

Faith is that Father Christmas... gives happiness to children.


I recently saw a discussion on another forum about the good and bad sides of telling children about Father Christmas. On the pro side the argument was that it makes children happy. On the anti side people argued that the disappointment when children find out he's not real is not a good thing. Some people also argued that it was morally wrong to lie to the children.
[ February 23, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
Gerald Davis
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So is the notion of believing in a lie illogical, even if that lie brings bring happiness to a child and save his life.

Would you prefer the truth, that us humans in the universe are insignificant like a grain of sand on south-end beach and that even great people like Einstein, Leonardo and Jesus will not even get an honorable mention when the universe comes to an end.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Kapila Vatsyayana:
Faith cannot be explained by logic. It is beyond logic.



Maybe it can be explained by logic. Psychologists sometimes give reasons why people have faith based beliefs - there are some logical factors which make a person more likely to hold a particular belief. One example is a person's upbringing. A person who is raised in a religious environment is far more likely to be religious themselves then a person raised in a secular environment.

Similarly people who are in stressful and desperate situations often have more faith - they believe things will get better despite any proof of this. They have faith that a particular deity will help them, again with little proof. This isn't entirely unexpected though - this kind of behaviour has been observed often and some psychologists may explain it as kind of survival tactic by the brain - to hold on to an idea that may alleviate the stress and help the situation.

The examples I gave aren't the whole story, but there are other similar logical pointers that can help to give a logical basis for why a person has faith in something. They may or may not be true, but its possible that the understanding of faith isn't entirely beyond logical reasoning.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
So is the notion of believing in a lie illogical, even if that lie brings bring happiness to a child and save his life.


Yes, believing that something is true while also believing that it is a lie is a bit of a paradox.

While I can't think of many reasons off the top of my head why believing in a lie may save a child's life, but for the sake of the argument lets assume there is a situation. In this kind of situation a person must make a cost-benefit analysis. The cost is a moral one - lying could be considered morally wrong. The benefit is the saving of the life of the child. Most people would consider that in this case the benefits outweigh the costs, and would tell the lie.

If in a different situation the benefits of the lie may be less - perhaps just for the entertainment of the child. In this case some people may consider the benefits not to outweigh the moral cost.


Would you prefer the truth, that us humans in the universe are insignificant like a grain of sand on south-end beach and that even great people like Einstein, Leonardo and Jesus will not even get an honorable mention when the universe comes to an end.



While I think that it is broadly true that we are fairly tiny in comparison with the rest of the universe, this sense of perspective does not mean that we have to ignore the achievements that we have made. The stuff that Einstein, Leonardo and Jesus did are fairly interesting and useful to learn about regardless of our relative or perceived importance in the universe. Whether the earth is the sole focus of a super-deity, or if we are just an evolutionary accident on a small bit of orbital crud, Einstein's theories are still just as correct/incorrect, Leonardo's art is just as inspiring and Jesus' musings on peaceful coexistence are just as worthy of reflection.
 
Kapila Vatsyayana
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Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
So is the notion of believing in a lie illogical, even if that lie brings bring happiness to a child and save his life.

Would you prefer the truth, that us humans in the universe are insignificant like a grain of sand on south-end beach and that even great people like Einstein, Leonardo and Jesus will not even get an honorable mention when the universe comes to an end.


The phenomenology of revelation and the epistemology of faith are interdependent. Invisible the faith is, manifested its acts are. It is the faith in the outcome of the results that drives the deeds, and thus cannot be isolated.
 
Marianne Robinson
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The rationale of faith is well understood and is an essential element in all healings, the debate is peripheral.
 
Neeru Misra
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Do we agree generally that faith is an important element in healing?
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Neeru Misra:
Do we agree generally that faith is an important element in healing?



Like everything else in life it has good and bad points. On the positive side, if people have a positive mental state then their health may in some cases be improved as a consequence of it.

On the negative side, if some people have a faith that they will have an improvement in their health when it is extremely unlikely, then that person may face a lot of disappointment when their health does not improve. In the most extreme cases there are some people who refuse medical aid because they have faith that they will get better without it.
 
Neeru Misra
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

Like everything else in life it has good and bad points. On the positive side, if people have a positive mental state then their health may in some cases be improved as a consequence of it.


A positive mental state is a a cornerstone of faith. Negative minds usaully though not always are flickering and devoid of faith.
 
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Originally posted by Neeru Misra:

A positive mental state is a a cornerstone of faith. Negative minds usaully though not always are flickering and devoid of faith.



Neeru,

You state this as if it were a fact, when I'm under the impression that it's you opinion. What information do you have that can help me understand how this transcends opinion and becomes fact?

M
 
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Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is much more than a positive mental attitude. I have heard many times, from critics of faith and religion, that it is just an emotional crutch for weak people.

Faith is not a crutch although it does support me. It is much more substantial than a crutch... it is my foundation.
[ February 24, 2005: Message edited by: Ray Marsh ]
 
Paul Sturrock
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If you are going to use quotes from the bible your arguement becomes an a priori reasoning.

I'm glad you derive something positive from faith. And I don't suppose to deny anyone the right to believe in something. However, it doesn't change the fact that faith is irrational by definition, and I take exception when people try to leverage faith into the realm of science.
 
Neeru Misra
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Originally posted by Paul Sturrock:
If you are going to use quotes from the bible your arguement becomes an a priori reasoning.

I'm glad you derive something positive from faith. And I don't suppose to deny anyone the right to believe in something. However, it doesn't change the fact that faith is irrational by definition, and I take exception when people try to leverage faith into the realm of science.


I would still suggest that "irrational" in contradistinction to "rational" may not be appropriate expression for faith. It could be better comprehended by the term "supra-rational", one that is beyond the realms of rationality and irrationality.
 
Marianne Robinson
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Originally posted by Neeru Misra:

I would still suggest that "irrational" in contradistinction to "rational" may not be appropriate expression for faith. It could be better comprehended by the term "supra-rational", one that is beyond the realms of rationality and irrationality.


Faith can move mountains, and drive oceans. One only needs adequate levels of patience.
 
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supra-rational sounds like not rational to me.
 
Marianne Robinson
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Originally posted by Marcus Green:
supra-rational sounds like not rational to me.


Supra rational is very well well understood and used terminology in logic and philosophy meaning beyond the realms of rational and irrational. It also refers to certain axiomatic propositions, not requiring any proof.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Marianne Robinson:

Supra rational is very well well understood and used terminology in logic and philosophy meaning beyond the realms of rational and irrational. It also refers to certain axiomatic propositions, not requiring any proof.



It seems to be, in my most humble and most likely uninformed of opinions, a word that people use to try and get away from the stigma that the word "irrational" has. Its fairly clear that "faith" is something that, by definition, is not rational. Those people that think they hold an item to be true by faith alone will often believe that that item is quite an important thing, and would not like to be told that their belief in this item is irrational. Instead they come up with a new term to make it sound more grounded in sensibility.

The thing is that irrationality is not much to be ashamed of. We all think irrational things at some point, so it would be good if people said "Hey, I know its irrational, but I like the idea all the same", instead of trying to hide behind a kind of pseudo-scientific reasoning. Why not celebrate the irrationality of it?
 
Marcus Green
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"meaning beyond the realms of rational and irrational"

Beyond the realms of rational sounds like not rational to me.
 
Paul Sturrock
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Originally posted by Marianne Robinson:

Supra rational is very well well understood and used terminology in logic and philosophy meaning beyond the realms of rational and irrational. It also refers to certain axiomatic propositions, not requiring any proof.



Hmm. Its not well understood by any of the dictionaries I have to hand. Again though - "rational" is a Boolean concept: if something is anything other than rational it becomes by definition irrational.
 
Max Habibi
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I think Marianne's point is that there are things which happen to be true, but cannot be rationally proven. That does not make them less true. For example, the guilty status of someone who commits the perfect murder.

In my opinion, this does not mean that faith, is, or is not, one of these things. However, I believe that Marianne iis asserting that faith is such thing. Did I read that correctly?

M
 
Kapila Vatsyayana
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I think Marianne's point is that there are things which happen to be true, but cannot be rationally proven. That does not make them less true. For example, the guilty status of someone who commits the perfect murder.

In my opinion, this does not mean that faith, is, or is not, one of these things. However, I believe that Marianne iis asserting that faith is such thing. Did I read that correctly?

M


I would be curious to know Marianne's response.
 
Marianne Robinson
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I think Marianne's point is that there are things which happen to be true, but cannot be rationally proven. That does not make them less true. For example, the guilty status of someone who commits the perfect murder.



It would be more apt first to recognise an element like faith discernible from "rationality" and equally desirable does exit.
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Marianne Robinson:


It would be more apt first to recognise an element like faith discernible from "rationality" and equally desirable does exit.



I'm not sure what you're saying here, Marianne. Are you asserting that faith is as objectivly valid as rationality?
 
Neeru Misra
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:


I'm not sure what you're saying here, Marianne. Are you asserting that faith is as objectivly valid as rationality?


Not exactly but in a way yes.
 
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I think everyone has faith in someone or something. I have faith in the chair I'm sitting in that it won't collapse while I'm sitting in it. I have less faith in email, that when I send it the recipient will actually receive it.

Some people have faith in a god that promises that they will live forever (either in heaven or hell or purgatory). Others have faith in a god or gods that promote belief in reincarnation (Do they actually promise/say that or is it just an understanding?). Some people have faith that the human race will improve itself with no help from any "god". Most people have faith in their employer enough to believe that they will be paid for their efforts.

Whether a visit to a "faith healer" will have the desired effect on the ill is another question. I think it depends on more than just "faith". I think it depends on what/who the faith is placed in as well as the capability of the thing that the faith is placed in to produce the desired result and, in the case of God, whether healing of that particular person is something He wants to do. Lots of "if"-s there.

Getting back to the original question of liberty, freedom of speech, and Constitutional validity for faith healing, I'm not quite sure what "Constitutional validity" means. If it means that an Insurance Company will pay/reimburse for a ticket to go see a "faith healer", I think that will probably never happen. I also think that if a person wants to go to a meeting where a "faith healer" is speaking, that they should be allowed to do so.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:
I think everyone has faith in someone or something. I have faith in the chair I'm sitting in that it won't collapse while I'm sitting in it. I have less faith in email, that when I send it the recipient will actually receive it.



I'm not sure everyone has this kind of faith. A person who takes the faith based route is effectively saying "I will act as if X is 100% true". An alternative view point is to take a statistical approach. This view can say "I think its 99% likely that the chair will not collapse", and "I think its 99% likely that my email will get through". By this view a person takes risks according to the highest probability (by sitting on the chair without using a safety harness), but always holds in the back of their mind the idea that things may not work out quite as planned.

In every day situations there isn't much practical difference between the views - both the faith based dualistic true-or-false and the statistical probability positions will probably result in the same actions being taken, but perhaps the latter view will allow for more flexibility in situations where the unexpected happens. When a person has faith that something will happen and it doesn't, the entire faith system can be shaken, possibly leading to considerable upset by that person. "Its not fair - that chair has never collapsed before. I can't believe it, what have I done to deserve this?". The person taking the statistical approach may with to reconsider his/her process of assigning odds, but are perhaps more likely to think "Oh well, my chair has just collapsed, but that's the way it goes - at some point the one-in-a-hundred chance thing is going to happen to me".
 
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