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View Diary: Schrödinger's Church, or Wait Wait, don't Convert Me! (153 comments)

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  •  Wasn't it Witgenstein who inveighed against (0+ / 0-)

    even speaking about things beyond our understanding?  In the first place, we don't know what the limits of our understanding are.  Extrapolate the scientific progress of the last 400 years to the next, say, 2000 (assuming that we survive).  Obviously, the limits of our understanding will look much different then.  

    Of course, there are things that are in principle beyond our knowledge, like what happens to our consciousness after we die.  But, if they're beyond our knowledge, what sense does it make to believe in or, as Witgenstein observed, even talk about -- much less kill about -- things that we can never know for certain even exist.  

    •  Well, because we cannot know for certian that ... (0+ / 0-)

      they don't?  And they might be important?

      I'll presume that Witgenstein is a well regarded philosopher because I don't read this sort of philosophy and my own training is limited to a single undergrad course years ago (which was singularly frustrating). So be gentle with me.

      But really, you let this Witgenstein person dictate for you what is proper to think/talk about?  There have been scores of learned people over the eons who have been apologists for religion.  Is it rational to say that they were all wrong?  Similarly there have been scores of people who have experienced things that were outside of a rational explanation at the time.  The rationalist would presumably say that there are rational explanations for these phenomena if only we had better information.  Isn't that a statement of faith?  And even if 99.9% of all these supernatural experiences have rational explanations, we cannot allow that some in fact do not?  

      I would say that humans get glimpses of things that perhaps are outside of a strict rationalist framing from time to time and that the collective wisdom about such things is passed down through religion.  I think that's a valuable thing.

      •  Hm.... (0+ / 0-)

        There have been scores of learned people over the eons who have been apologists for [insert virtually any disgusting practice here]. Is it rational to say that they were all wrong?

        And you're consistently mixing up inference and faith. Inference is the best possible guess, but never an absolute statement of fact about the future. The weatherman may state that it will rain tomorrow, but if it doesn't, he won't have a crisis of faith (though he might examine his data and methods). Faith is an arrogant claim that statements of absolute fact can be made, where a more humble person would either venture an inference or remain entirely silent.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:04:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. Inference is more than guesswork. (0+ / 0-)

          Inference is making a prediction or explanation in the basis of experience, observation, and logic.  How one decides what is and  isn't acceptable within the scope of your inference is faith.

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