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February 17, 2006

Faith and Knowledge -- Complications

Here's one way this discussion gets complicated. It comes from that great complicator Jacques Derrida, to whom I am, I admit, susceptible.

Had occasion once (in my role of ace reporter) to ask Monsieur Derrida whether atheism is where we begin. He looked at me uncomfortably. He said something about complexity or the difficulty of "improvising" on such a matter. We moved to a different subject.
derrida horizontal.JPG
Here's one way the subject gets difficult for Derrida: He sees (and others have certainly stumbled upon this) all our utterances resting, at bottom, on a certain, primordial "faith" -- faith that an attempt to communicate is being made and will be acknowledged. Reason, Derrida argues, is impossible without this "trust."derrida upsidedown.JPG
(The "text" from which this mixmaster of a line is extracted can be found in a collection of Derrida's writings on religion.)

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at February 17, 2006 10:01 AM


Consciousness is a construct of the brain. It begins with input from our senses, which are in the form of electrical/chemical signals. These signals themselves are symbols representing what we perceive. It only gets more complicated and more translated from input symbols to pattern matching and memory matching and finally "the binding" which is not understood much at all yet.
It happens so fast that just electrical/chemical signals cannot account for the speed.

Long story short (too late) believing what we perceive (see) is the primal "leap of faith". We are all believers and hardwired religious. I believe this is what accounts for the easy jump to internally constructed religious beliefs about everything and anything. The Horror!!!

Posted by: Jay at April 12, 2006 2:36 PM

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