Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tidal Forces

The Sea is always receding. It was Matthew Arnold who moaned about the Sea of Faith that once was full and isn't anymore. But I've realised that it's not a closed system. The tide is moving out, as it always is. But other things are coming in, and faith is always there.

It's literally true that humans need faith in order to believe in anything. In fact, the harder the forces of reason push, the more logic tells us faith should thrive.


It's simple. Faith is belief in the absence of sufficient evidence. Since the level of evidence required is getting more stringent, it is harder to obtain 'sufficient' evidence. The evidentiary requirements for discovering a new element, for example, were never met when establishing the nature of 'ancient' elements such as iron and tin. In fact, quite a lot of things we have come to believe based on past evidence would no longer meet modern standards.

This means that the number of things justified by modern standards of evidence is actually falling. The tide is going out, but that's because the Sea of Reason is drying up, trying desperately to reduce itself to Grand Unified Theories and suchlike.

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