Re: BIO: Help wanted explaining evolution to students

Max More (
Fri, 19 Sep 1997 00:41:49 -0700

At 08:37 PM 9/18/97 -0500, Eliezer wrote:
>> If you are using "faith" simply to mean the content of a belief system,
>> Eleizer, then your response is correct. However, I take faith to more
>> usually refer to the *way* in which a belief is held, i.e, not in
>> accordance with or sensitive to evidence and reasons. In that sense,
>> pancritical rationalism is *not* compatible with religious faith.
>> Max
>Although there are undoubtedly fundamentalists who would shriek that Faith
>must reign supreme over Reason, there are also sane people, some of them with
>doctorates in physics, who would insist that every word of the Old Testament
>is unvarnished and unmetaphorical fact. Many would take offense if you
>suggested that their belief is not "in accordance with or sensitive to
>evidence and reasons".

They make take offense, but I would stand by my view that their belief is
not in accordance with the evidence. Surely you are not suggesting that a
Ph.D. in physics can rationally hold that "every word of the Old Testament
is unvarnished and unmetaphorical fact"? The Earth is only a few thousand
years old? God created Adam and Eve and there was no evolution. Such a
physics Ph.D. would have a faith in both senses of the term -- a belief in
a doctrine, and a belief insensitive to evidence.

>While it is not my intention to intervene in religious disputes at this
time -
>I feel we'll all know who was right soon enough - I do feel it necessary to
>remind everyone that there are sincerely and unapologetically religious
>people, who are often involved with charitable issues and generally spread a
>little Light around, even if it is in the name of God.

Eliezer, I'm not sure why you make this comment. Certainly I didn't say
that all religious people are despicable! Not only did I not say that, I
don't believe that. I don't event think that religions are entirely bad
things, though I *do* think that faith in the sense of anti-rationalism is

I don't for a moment despise religious people even when I get email like
this from Christians in response to my In Praise of the Devil:

>you are a shit man.fuck you
(That one came today. A few days ago I got this one:)

>Hey Pee-brain!!!!!!!!!!
>Read the Bible again, and use your fucking "critical thinking"!!!!
>Let me make an analogy for your sorry sucker's ass.
>God did not tell us to drive slowly and take no risks for joy!!!He simply
>warned us to drive safely and wear your fucking seat belt!!!!!! The Bible
>never said to not be happy!!! It says not to let lucifer lead you by a
>fucking leash!!!!! Get your head out of your pathetic shit-infested ass and
>realize the truth, you so-called SCHOLAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Although I get a lot of mail like that I do not take the view of religion
or religious people that you seem to imply I hold. While some people
seriously abuse their religion to take out their personal pathologies on
others, many people try to be as decent as they can within their religious
framework. And most of these religious framewords contain something of
value. I do find more of value in Hinduism and Buddhism than in
Christianity, but even the latter can have a good effect by encouraging a
loving attitude -- something that some of us could do with more of.

I'm not sure that you meant to imply that I have these views and attitudes,
Eliezer, but since you made these comments in response to my message it did
seem that way.


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute:,