John: I am quite frankly prepared to admit that, given your definition of faith, I have no faith. Damaging admission? Not. Link.I know what he's saying so don't think I'm claiming otherwise. My definition of faith is that it's a leap over the probabilities. It fills in the gap between what is improbable to make something more probable than not without faith. As such, faith is an irrational leap over the probabilities. What Reppert is saying is that he doesn't have faith that leaps over any probabilities. He doesn't have faith, the only kind that exists among believers of all stripes and sects. He just doesn't have it. There are no gaps in the probabilities that need to be filled in. His is a reasoned conclusion that all reasonable people should accept. His is a reasoned religion, just like deism, but he concludes much more than any deist could ever do. He thinks with me that faith in my sense is indeed superfluous, irrational, unnecessary, and even dangerous. He thinks that in the end, when pressed, he should think exclusively in terms of probabilities after all! He's claiming this is what he does when embracing the Christian faith. *cough*
Once again folks, this is the kind of intellectual gerrymandering we expect from believers. When pressed against the wall they will say anything to get out of any problem that calls into question their faith. Stephen Law is right: “Anything based on faith, no matter how ludicrous, can be made to be consistent with the available evidence, given a little patience and ingenuity.” (Believing Bullshit, p. 75). It reminds me of a story:
Consider the story of the man who thought he was dead. He went to his doctor, who tried to reason with the man that he was really still alive. Finally the doctor asked the man, "Do dead men bleed? If you cut a dead man, does he bleed?" The man replied, "No. The heart is not beating, there is no blood pressure, so if you cut a dead man, he does not bleed." The doctor then took a scalpel and nicked the man on his finger, and he proceeded to bleed. As the blood continued to come forth, the doctor said to the man, "See, you are bleeding. What does that tell you?" And the man answered, "Well, I guess dead men do bleed after all."
This story illustrates what skeptics see over and over again, and why faith is irrational. Believers will either deny the evidence or they will reinterpret their faith to adjust to the evidence. Only a very rare few of them will ever seriously question faith itself.