Saturday, December 5, 2009

That offensive F-word

There's a word that I'm finding increasingly offensive, because people use it for dramatic effect rather than conveying meaning.

The F-word.

The F-bomb, if you will.

No, I don't mean "fuck". Fuck's a very useful word, as noun, verb and expletive.

I mean "faith".

You see, the problem is I see more and more two very different meanings of the word being conflated, using faith to refer to both making progress in the absence of complete, absolute knowledge and to refer to belief-in-the-absence-of-any-evidence-whatever.

That conflation, in turn, is used to equate the magnificent enterprise of extracting understanding out of the universe, and fuzzy-headed theological obscurantism.

These mythomaniacal word-games are designed to mislead, to paper over the oxymoron.

That's what's offensive.

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