Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Three kinds of Faith and The Scientific Method

reposted from: Thanks to Richard G in HASSERS forum for this link and comments on Faith 1
Chris Street comments are in bright green;
highlights in yellow blockquotes.

Faith -- Quoting James Randi, from his book The Faith Healers page 6-8, "Paul Kurtz, in his book The Transcendental Temptation, defines
three distinctly different kinds of faith, derived from the amount (or total lack) of evidence drawn upon to support it.
Kurtz defines the first kind as 'intransigent faith.' By this is meant faith that will not be affected by any sort of contrary evidence, no matter how strong. My own experience with some few persons who persist in believing in certain paranormal claims that have been conclusively proven false enables me to label their faith as

Type I Faith . . . Gerry Straub, who spent two and a half years as evangelist/healer Pat Robertson's television producer and wrote Salvation for Sale, to describe his experiences there, gave his opinion: "I am convinced that if Pat Robertson or any other of television's faith-healers were proven to be pranksters and frauds, the vast majority of their staff and viewers would not drop their belief in the ministers' healing power or weaken their faith in God.Those people would be exhibiting Type I faith . . .

Type II faith was called by philosopher William James 'the will to believe.' As defined by Professor Kurtz it is "willful belief where there is insufficient or no evidence either way to make a rational choice." It really involves making a decision to believe, even though the reasons for doing so are not compelling. However, there may be reasons for believing that have nothing to do with the logic of the matter; it may be more comforting, more socially advantageous, or simply easier to choose to believe.

One who goes along with a political party only because that party has always been the family party exhibits Type II faith . . . Last,

Type III faith is described as 'hypotheses based upon evidence.'
Here, there is evidence, but not enough evidence or evidence of good enough quality to support total belief.
As I step off a curb to cross with a traffic light that has just turned green, I may safely assume that the light will stay green long enough for me to reach the other side. That assumption is based upon my long experience with traffic lights and the knowledge of the general intent of those who designed, manufactured, installed, and maintain the device. I have exhibited Type III faith.

Science creates a hypothesis based upon observations, then sets out to examine the validity of that hypothesis. After enough observations have been gathered and the idea has been tested thoroughly with positive results, the hypothesis becomes a theory. The beauty of that theory is that it is subject to revision and/or retraction upon the presentation of contrary evidence.
Thus scientists can be said to exhibit Type III faith".

No comments:

Post a Comment