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Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith'
#1
Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith'
I will not single the person out specifically but in another thread something was said that tweaked a huge pet peeve of mine. "Your usage of the word 'believe' is inappropriate," he said to his Christian opponent. "Scientists do not have beliefs. They make conclusions based on evidence. 'Beliefs' are what YOU have."

This stems from a grossly unfair mischaracterization of what belief is and what it means. "Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term 'belief' to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true," Schwitzgebel explains (2006). "Many of the things we believe, in the relevant sense, are quite mundane: that we have heads, that it's the 21st century, that a coffee mug is on the desk." Insofar as belief is characterized by contemporary philosophers as a 'propositional attitude', he writes, it constitutes "the mental state of having some attitude, stance, take, or opinion about a proposition or about the potential state of affairs in which that proposition is true."

There are various types and degrees of belief (e.g., dispositional belief, Audi 1994:419-434), but it is simply erroneous to equate belief and faith, as our example above did by suggesting that Christians have beliefs but scientists do not. What is a conclusion if not a mental state of intellectual assent, or some propositional attitude about a fact or proposition represented? Scientists most certainly do have beliefs—countless beliefs, from occurrent to dispositional, from reasoned to axiomatic—without which they could not even function, much less engage in scientific enterprise.


References
  • Belief. (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved 3 January 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belief

  • Schwitzgebel, E. (2006). Belief. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Zalta, E. (Ed.). Stanford, CA: The Metaphysics Research Lab. Retrieved 3 January 2010 from http://plato.stanford.edu.

  • Audi, R. (1994, December). Dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe. Noûs 28(4). See also Bell, V., Halligan, P., & Ellis, H. (2006). A cognitive neuroscience of belief. The Power of Belief: Psychological Influence on Illness, Disability, and Medicine. Halligan, P., & Aylward, M. (Eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 3-20.
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when
called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
(Oscar Wilde)
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#2
RE: Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith'
That's OK. Your thought process is still inferior to mine. Tongue
Quote:"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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#3
RE: Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith'
Ryft Wrote:There are various types and degrees of belief (e.g., dispositional belief, Audi 1994:419-434), but it is simply erroneous to equate belief and faith, as our example above did by suggesting that Christians have beliefs but scientists do not. What is a conclusion if not a mental state of intellectual assent, or some propositional attitude about a fact or proposition represented? Scientists most certainly do have beliefs—countless beliefs, from occurrent to dispositional, from reasoned to axiomatic—without which they could not even function, much less engage in scientific enterprise.

I do equate the two terms, but I apply them to all parties when I do so: the scientist and his faith in the world having a rational explanation. Unless one necessitates that the object to which one has faith in be God, I really don't see how belief and faith are any different. :S

HeyItsZeus Wrote:That's OK. Your thought process is still inferior to mine.

Ryft's thought process is inferior to you? What are you, a quantum computer from the year 26 SD?
Please give me a home where cloud buffalo roam
Where the dear and the strangers can play
Where sometimes is heard a discouraging word
But the skies are not stormy all day
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#4
RE: Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith'
(January 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm)Ryft Wrote: I will not single the person out specifically but in another thread something was said that tweaked a huge pet peeve of mine. "Your usage of the word 'believe' is inappropriate," he said to his Christian opponent. "Scientists do not have beliefs. They make conclusions based on evidence. 'Beliefs' are what YOU have."

I completely agree that is absurd.

If I don't believe proposition P that means I don't think that proposition P is true or false. If I am not to believe "2+2=4" that would mean I don't think that the proposition "2+2=4" is true or false. I do think that 2+2 is true, therefore I do believe it's true, therefore I do believe something.
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