Faith is Not Pseudoscience

“The humble cherishing of hope, is not a deceptive act.” – TES

Daily Diceascope Reading:  Simply roll two dice and observe your daily forecast by the numerical total you roll.  You will find it uncanny how accurate are the forecasts for your day.

As ridiculous as this contrivance of personal folly is, its belief set does not necessarily constitute a pseudoscience.

SSkeptics commonly deride a personal faith by relegating such beliefs to holding the status of a pseudoscience.  This stems from their malicious mis-definition of pseudoscience as being a ‘set of beliefs’ (see What is Pseudoscience?) and not the ethical definition of pseudoscience being ‘an errant action.’  Science is a method, foremost, and while the footprint of what constitutes ‘science’ may certainly encompass those tenets which have been vetted by the scientific method, this does not mean that those tenets which are not vetted by the scientific method now then default to the status of anti-science or pseudoscience; as these constructs may have simply not been tested.  SSkeptics thrive in a culture of shades-of-gray context and definition dancing. This particular sleight-of-hand shift is a core teaching of SSkepticisim.

Faith – the personal choice to cherish an unproven construct as inspiring hope. Faith is the portrait one paints inside the frame of reason, a canvass upon which we are free to aspire, and hopefully also therein have the portrait come into consistency with one’s life (integrity). Faith has little to do with belief, mythology, or religion – as such things act as distractions/obstacles to the incumbent work to begin with.

Pseudoscience – The deceptive act of claiming to use or represent the Scientific Method or Science in attaining conclusions, when in fact such contentions are false.

This targeting of Faith, as being a pseudoscience originates from an inner anger towards people of faith; often stemming from a past hurt or deception.  This hurt and deception is a set of offense of which I am totally familiar.  I understand the reaction, the crafting of words so that one can condemn practitioners of Faith onto the dust-pile of those who practice the deception of pseudoscience.  But in the immortal words of Nietzsche, ones which The Ethical Skeptic heeds, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster himself. And if you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”  Take care ethical skeptic that you do not over-reach with the arrogance of personal bias nor the false presumption that you do not hold personal religious beliefs. In doing so you might just impart a negative net gain on the world, in your fervent desire to correct a wrong.

If you encounter a person pretending to represent science, or promoting a certain set of tenets as proved by the scientific method or pretending to conduct science, when in fact none of this is true; by all means – declare pseudoscience.  But if you extend your reach to include people humbly cherishing hope, fully cognizant of its ironic and potential irrationality, you have undertaken an unethical activity.  If you tell people who have made an observation which you do not like, that they are undertaking pseudoscience, when they are claiming nothing – only relating a personal account, then YOU have had the abyss gaze back into you and have become the monster.  The ethical skeptic first examines himself (see A New Ethic).

Above I have cited a faith called Diceascope Reading.  One which I personally do not hold.  As ridiculous as this faith is, it is NOT pseudoscience, unless the practitioners begin to claim that the elemental methods of statistics, research, analysis, predictive and falsification hierarchies have proved or underpinned their personal belief set as valid.  In other words, what SSkeptics do with THEIR belief set, in an effort to pass off their religion as proved by science, is indeed to practice pseudoscience. One can be skeptical here, but remain ethical nonetheless – even in the face of credulous ridiculousness.