Monday, January 3, 2011

Faith, Skepticism, and You

One of the most irritating arguments I get against atheism or skepticism is that it's just like religion. It is just as reliant on faith to support its belief system. Firstly, I find it amusing that one of the tactics used by the religious is to assert that we are just as bad as they are. Rather then try to find merit in their own belief system. Secondly, the argument is complete fucking bollocks. If you think about it for twelve seconds without your head up your ass you'd see that.

Apologies for the animosity, but it really raises my ire.

Faith is belief in the absence of evidence. There is absolutely no virtue in it. It is believing something that you'd like to be true, even though it may not be. Someone with faith may even deny legitimate evidence that contradicts their beliefs. And it's true that you can have faith about anything, even scientific theories. But that's not what scepticism promotes.

Scepticism is about withholding belief. It is about always doubting. It is the opposite of faith. A sceptic will not hold a belief until there is scientific evidence to support it. And even then it is only provisional. In the unlikely event that evidence appeared that overturned evolutionary theory, we would be swayed. There would be resistance for sure. An idea like that would need to be challenged and verified. But once it was, evolution would be thrown out.

Science and skepticism is about finding truth. Religion is about inventing truth. And faith is the mechanism used to preserve that invention.

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