Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hope is Rational

Once upon a time, I went to EFNet's #philosophy to ask "Do you believe a nuclear war will occur in the next 20 years? If no, why not?" One person who answered the question said he didn't expect a nuclear war for 100 years, because "All of the players involved in decisions regarding nuclear war are not interested right now." "But why extend that out for 100 years?", I asked. "Pure hope," was his reply.

Reflecting on this whole thought process, we can see why the thought of nuclear war makes the person unhappy, and we can see how his brain therefore rejects the belief. But, if you imagine a billion worlds - Everett branches, or Tegmark duplicates - this thought process will not systematically correlate optimists to branches in which no nuclear war occurs. Link


For hope to be useless, it requires the premise that God does not exist. If God exists, then the rational thing is to hope and not in just the improbable but the impossible.

As a Catholic, I am willing to abstain from food and sex at times. I even like to think that I would give my life for my faith. But you atheists are fanatical. Sacrificing hope is too hardcore. First you sacrifice faith, then hope, what’s next love?

1 comment:

Cure of Ars said...

(quote)Eliezer argues against wishful thinking, which is not at all the same thing as hope.
(end quote)

You characterize my understanding of hope as “wishful thinking”. I would characterize your understanding of hope as mere placebo. A placebo that does not amount to a hill of beans. If there is no God than you are correct that my understanding of hope is wishful thinking. If there is a God then my understanding of hope is rational. It is also true that if there is a God that your understanding of hope is woefully insufficient.

(quote)Oh, and the idea that "faith, hope and love" are the same kind of thing -- so much the same kind of thing that abandoning two of them would be likely to lead to abandoning the third -- seems to me to have no support at all outside the First Letter to the Corinthians; why should Eliezer fear that abandoning faith and (what you rather bizarrely call) hope should lead to abandoning love?(end quote)

Faith, hope and love are the Christian theological virtues. I would argue that they are at the core of what it is to live a fully human life. It looks like this website has rejected the theistic understanding of faith and hope. I don’t see what is stopping the rejection of love due to it being a strong biasing factor. I don’t know how you can love something without it making you biased towards it. To really be unbiased we should not love humanity and in so doing the logical conclusion is that man is insignificant. What we are does not matter in the scope of time and space. You may not like my conclusion but I don’t see how it does not follow from the atheistic premises that this website holds.