Factual claims.

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Factual claims.

 

I want to hear peoples opinions regarding the justification/evidence for factual claims.

 

When should factual claims be justified?

 

a) All the time, because they are factual claims, and therefore claims about reality.

 

or

 

b) Only certain times, based on the use of the factual claim. i.e. the factual claim that Jesus rose from the dead is not treated by theists in the same way they would treat the claim "the breaks on my car cause it to stop"; it isn't used for the same purpose, so the Jesus resurrection claim really doesn't need to be accurately describing reality, and it would be wrong to insist it should.

 

I hold that A is correct. To say something is factual is to say it is objectively true, and therefore applies to everyone, so it must be justified. We should seek to hold true information about reality as apposed to false information, and that alone is enough reason for why all claims about reality should be assessed to ensure they are accurate.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Without evidence to justify

Without evidence to justify the claim, it isn't a factual claim, and is instead just an assertion.

So, really, (A) is not only correct but the only possible way to really make a "factual claim".

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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JillSwift wrote:Without

JillSwift wrote:

Without evidence to justify the claim, it isn't a factual claim, and is instead just an assertion.

So, really, (A) is not only correct but the only possible way to really make a "factual claim".

Well I mean to claim something is factual.

e.g. to claim X is factually true. X could be "Jesus rose from the dead" or "a miracle happened" or "light travels at 300,00 km/sec."

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:Well I mean to

Topher wrote:
Well I mean to claim something is factual.

e.g. to claim X is factually true. X could be "Jesus rose from the dead" or "a miracle happened" or "light travels at 300,00 km/sec."

Really, I do too. Any claim, even if asserted as a fact, isn't more than an assertion until it is justified with evidence.

I'm stumbling on the word "fact", I think. An idea being a fact is separate from the communication of the idea. Facts are real things, without respect to the beliefs of the claimant. Thus it's not possible to make a factual claim without an actual fact... I hope that doesn't sound circular. Smiling


Maybe I'm just not understanding your question.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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JillSwift wrote:Topher

JillSwift wrote:

Topher wrote:
Well I mean to claim something is factual.

e.g. to claim X is factually true. X could be "Jesus rose from the dead" or "a miracle happened" or "light travels at 300,00 km/sec."

Really, I do too. Any claim, even if asserted as a fact, isn't more than an assertion until it is justified with evidence.

I'm stumbling on the word "fact", I think. An idea being a fact is separate from the communication of the idea. Facts are real things, without respect to the beliefs of the claimant. Thus it's not possible to make a factual claim without an actual fact... I hope that doesn't sound circular. Smiling

 

Maybe I'm just not understanding your question.

What I mean by 'factual claim' is quite simple. It is any claim that is asserted to be fact. It doesn't matter whether the claim is actually a fact, only that is it is being asserted as one. For example, the assertion "the Earth is a sphere" and the assertion "the Earth is flat" are both factual claims.

 

So my question is: should all factual claims be justified, or is there any situation where they do not need to be justified. For example, should religious claims about the nature of reality be held to the same critical scrutiny as any other factual assertions.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:   What I mean

Topher wrote:

 

What I mean by 'factual claim' is quite simple. It is any claim that is asserted to be fact. It doesn't matter whether the claim is actually a fact, only that is it is being asserted as one. For example, the assertion "the Earth is a sphere" and the assertion "the Earth is flat" are both factual claims.

 

So my question is: should all factual claims be justified, or is there any situation where they do not need to be justified. For example, should religious claims about the nature of reality be held to the same critical scrutiny as any other factual assertions.

 

Ok, then: Yes, any factual claim must be held to a similar standard of evidence and held to critical scrutiny. For the reasons I state above.

 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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 Good. We're in

 Good. We're in agreement.

 

I'd like to hear what other think...


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 bump

 bump


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Topher wrote: I hold that A

Topher wrote:

 

I hold that A is correct. To say something is factual is to say it is objectively true, and therefore applies to everyone, so it must be justified. We should seek to hold true information about reality as apposed to false information, and that alone is enough reason for why all claims about reality should be assessed to ensure they are accurate.

Philosophically, this one's easy to answer. Being a fan of Popper, I think all claims should go through the falsification machine. On a practical level, however, a human being only has so much time to be alive, so s/he can only allocate a certain amount of resources to each claim.

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A. can be the only

A. can be the only answer

Part of the reason I named my blog Empirical Infidel was because Xians with whom I argued kept referring to things like the resurrection as facts, but could never give any empirical evidence to support their claims. If something cannot be demonstrated to be factual, you shouldn't call it a fact. In my experience, creationists demand huge amounts of empirical evidence from supporters of evolution, but insist they need to provide none to support their views. (I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record.)


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 Quote:When should factual

 

Quote:
When should factual claims be justified?

It seems to me that if you're talking about facts epistemologically, we have to say that facts are statements of knowledge.  Knowledge, so far as I know, is pretty much universally accepted as justified true belief, so... I don't know what possible reason one could come up with for calling anything short of knowledge a fact.

 

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
When should factual claims be justified?

It seems to me that if you're talking about facts epistemologically, we have to say that facts are statements of knowledge.  Knowledge, so far as I know, is pretty much universally accepted as justified true belief, so... I don't know what possible reason one could come up with for calling anything short of knowledge a fact.

 

True, nevertheless, theists make claims to fact, which is the point of my question: should we insist that CLAIMS to fact be justified.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:I want to hear

Topher wrote:
I want to hear peoples opinions regarding the justification/evidence for factual claims.

 

When should factual claims be justified?

 

a) All the time, because they are factual claims, and therefore claims about reality.

 

or

 

b) Only certain times, based on the use of the factual claim. i.e. the factual claim that Jesus rose from the dead is not treated by theists in the same way they would treat the claim "the breaks on my car cause it to stop"; it isn't used for the same purpose, so the Jesus resurrection claim really doesn't need to be accurately describing reality, and it would be wrong to insist it should.

 

I would also contend that A is correct. To assert that something is factual is to claim that it is true; it is objective reality. Considering this definition, there are no characteristics distinguishing Claim X - "that Jesus rose from the dead" from Claim Y - "the breaks on my caused it to stop," except that Claim X is a religious belief. If a theist or theists want to impose their beliefs on others, they need to submit evidence for these beliefs, regardless of how "sacred" or "self-evident" their beliefs are.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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 Quote:True, nevertheless,

 

Quote:
True, nevertheless, theists make claims to fact, which is the point of my question: should we insist that CLAIMS to fact be justified.

We should give theist claims to fact the same treatment that we give any other claim to fact.  First, cross your arms.  If you have a beard, stroke it thoughtfully for a second.  After maybe thirty seconds of looking thoughtful, say in a loud, confident voice, "Very good sir.  And where, pray, is your justification?"

 

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
True, nevertheless, theists make claims to fact, which is the point of my question: should we insist that CLAIMS to fact be justified.

We should give theist claims to fact the same treatment that we give any other claim to fact.  First, cross your arms.  If you have a beard, stroke it thoughtfully for a second.  After maybe thirty seconds of looking thoughtful, say in a loud, confident voice, "Very good sir.  And where, pray, is your justification?"

 

We're in agreement then.

I'm currently debating this with Strafio. He thinks the claims of moderate/liberal theists should be judged according to how they are treated by them. So, because theists don't always treat their religious beliefs/claims to fact like they treat real scientific facts, it obviously means, according to Strafio, that they don't hold them with certainty, also so we shouldn't press them for evidence. WTF?

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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I think many theists

I think many theists actually believe their claims to be fact based in reality, and I'm not just talking about evangelical claims.  I'm also talking about less absurd claims.  The fact they can't prove or defend those claims is merely a test by god of their belief.  I also agree there are those who don't hold their beliefs with certainty. 

I don't, however, see how their lack of confidence translates to "we shouldn't press them for evidence."  My ass! I don't care what they believe as long as they keep it to themselves.  They come to my door they're intruding on my time.  They want to intrude on my time I'm taking them to task for it.  The same goes for any situation where they want to push their agenda on anyone else.  They should be pressed to defend their delusional claims. 

Whether they come to your door, broadcast on the radio/tv, write a column in the newspaper or a letter to the editor, any form of communication of their ideas aimed at infecting a non-believer (of their way), they should always be pressed to prove their claim to fact.

Sorry, feeling a bit militant tonight.

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 Quote:I'm currently

 

Quote:
I'm currently debating this with Strafio. He thinks the claims of moderate/liberal theists should be judged according to how they are treated by them. So, because theists don't always treat their religious beliefs/claims to fact like they treat real scientific facts, it obviously means, according to Strafio, that they don't hold them with certainty, also so we shouldn't press them for evidence. WTF?

I have always found this approach absurd.  Justifying epistemological relativism with special pleading?  Really?  

No... there's no reason to change the definition of "fact" just because a particular group gets some kind of pragmatic use out of an unjustified belief.

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I don't like the

I don't like the philosophical definition of knowledge as 'justified true belief'. The word 'true' doesn't belong there - it is too much like question-begging. What we see as clearly true today could well be shown later to be false - having 'true' in there strictly limits the application of the definition to a ridiculously small subset of what the word 'knowledge' is reasonably applied to.

Something like 'justified certain belief' would be an improvement, IMHO.

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Simple

When should factual claims be justified?

A. When you want to find out if the claim actually is factual.

B. Perhaps in debate if a factual claim is not agreed.

C. If he is carrying an axe and is covered in blood.

D. If I can smell it on them, hear it in their voice, or see it in their eyes. *Spoken like Clint Eastwood*

E. Potatoes

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


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A. Fact claims without

A.

Fact claims without justification are just worthless noisemaking, so A, unless ultimately you intend nothing except to make a noise, in which case you may as well just say "booger bugs" Sticking out tongue

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This somewhat ties into the

This somewhat ties into the essay I wrote comparing and contrasting Evidentialism and Pragmatism (pragmatism as presented by William James).  With the goal of putting together a workable framework for belief.

 

Pragmatic Evidentialism

 

Here is the summary, as it looks like all my paragraphs have now been removed from the above post and it would be quite a chore for people to read!:

THE FRAMEWORK IN A NUTSHELL

 

Thus ends my analysis of evidentialism vs. pragmatism, I have found that neither in its purest form strikes me as entirely rational. I did originally think that what I ended up with would be closer to Evidentialism than to Pragmatism, but what it really seems like is that on some different levels, each must bow to the wisdom of the other. The self imposed limitations of Pragmatism go a long way towards making it a functional framework for belief, but I have found that in the vast majority of cases, it seems that inserting more requirements for evidence into the various limitations of Pragmatism not only assists in the endeavour of avoiding error, but also doesn't hinder our efforts to acquire true knowledge, nor is our capacity for imagination held back at all. What follows is a concise summary of the framework for belief that I have detailed above, more focussed on the formation of beliefs, rather than on all actions.

 

 

1.       In all cases, where the balance of evidence is compelling enough, believe the option that the evidence indicates.

 

2.       There is no belief that is not momentous due to the fact that even the most seemingly harmless of beliefs is the product of a belief-forming method and an unsupported belief is symptomatic of an inadequate belief-forming method. With the exception of:

 

3.       It is rational to believe that the universe in which we find ourselves is reality. It is the only way we are able to learn or know anything to any degree. To assert the opposite is usually to self-refute.

 

 

4.       To take an action in regards to an unforced momentous option has the highest requirement of evidence for anybody that cares about the goals of avoiding error and maximising the knowledge of truth.

 

5.       Argument from infinite absurdity: The amount of things we could take an action in regards to are effectively infinite. We are finite in time, intelligence, and observations available to us. Therefore it would be an exercise in infinite absurdity to attempt to form beliefs about absolutely everything. We require rational mechanisms of narrowing our beliefs to the finite.

 

 

6.       The process of determining that an option is live for a person tells us that the person doesn't have evidence disconfirming it, it is a real candidate for belief, is built on a solid base of confirmed reason/logic/evidence, the option is falsifiable and is thus formed to increase knowledge.  In this case one would be justified in forming a low level of belief necessary for forming a hypothesis that is more likely to yield the desired results, gathering evidence and attempting to falsify in regards to the option. I regard it as debatable that such a low level of belief is a belief at all. An option that is not live is a product of the imagination. While an option that is a figment of the imagination may be a starting point for the formation of a hypothesis, and could potentially be true, it is an irrational thing to believe and is less likely to yield the desired results, as it's methodology for arriving at truth and avoiding error can be summed up as a unfathomably lucky guess with statistically unfavourable implications for future belief-forming processes. All options that a person has not heard of are not live options. The most rational thing to do in regards to an unforced 'dead' option is to lack belief.

 

7.       Under circumstances when there is no time to consider evidence, the option is forced and a rational person is free to form a belief immediately in order to avoid consequences or attain benefits. Possibly the most common set of examples are those of self-preservation in the face of immediate danger. Such situations are rare, and those that exploit this in order to force a belief upon a person or persons may be accurately regarded as using scare tactics or be labelled as con men.

 

 

8.       If we can infer, by whatever means, that the consequences of suspending belief are not so immediate as to make it impossible to gather and examine evidence then the option is unforced, and the rational thing to do is to lack belief, until you do gather and examine the evidence, should you decide to do so. Those that would have you believe under these circumstances have a burden of proof.

 

9.       In regards to personal experience, while we are rational to believe that what we are observing is usually a good representation of reality, we are capable of mistakes, in the face of disbelief it is important to ask oneself "Might you be mistaken?" Was the option live for you before you had the experience?

 

 

10.   Questions of honesty aside, we are sometimes forced to believe the testimony of others when we can infer that they have acquired their knowledge in an acceptable way and that their expertise relative to ours in regards to an option or a particular aspect of an option is likely to be higher. Note that in regards to many options, there will be dissent amongst the 'experts'. Obviously, according to this rule, disregard the experts that acquired their knowledge in an unacceptable fashion, and of the experts that are left that did acquire their knowledge in an acceptable fashion believe in line with the consensus, with a strength of conviction relative to the strength of the consensus of experts. If you are unaware of what the consensus is, and the option is otherwise unforced, the rational thing to do is to suspend belief until you gather the evidence regarding the level of that consensus, should you decide to do so. If there is no real consensus of the experts, the rational thing to do is to suspend belief. If the option presented is not live to you and the option is otherwise unforced then the option presented by the expert is not forced for you.

 


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Topher wrote:I'm currently

Topher wrote:

I'm currently debating this with Strafio. He thinks the claims of moderate/liberal theists should be judged according to how they are treated by them.

I would say that holding a claim as fact is inherently a way of treating it, and that requires justification to be meaningful so clearly beyond that any difference would really seem superficial. An unjustified claim lacks substance, how to properly handle it is like how to properly handle "nothing".

Topher wrote:

So, because theists don't always treat their religious beliefs/claims to fact like they treat real scientific facts, it obviously means, according to Strafio, that they don't hold them with certainty, also so we shouldn't press them for evidence. WTF?

In a similar vein to Bob's answer I tend to think of fact and uncertainty as being mutually exclusive. If you're uncertain about a fact then it's just not a fact, it's a likelhood or a possibility, or even just a curiosity, but it's not a fact. At the point which we discern that we have a fact is when we begin to treat it.

That all said, it seems possible to me that Strafio may be speaking from the standpoint that "facts" in real life aren't the simple neatly isolated epistemic units we'd like them to be, they come with frameworks and details. And, for example, moderate Christians treat the frameworks and details of their claims in a way different to that of fundamentalists.

Using your example - the resurrection - a moderate Christian could say -- "it's fact, a man made a great sacrifice and was rewarded... this act demonstrated that god rewards selflessness" while a fundie Christian might alternately say " it's fact, a man made a great sacrifice because we are depraved and the only redemption for us was to thrash and torture this bloke to death" -- so these theists are treating their factual claim differently in the details and the framework, while they have the same certainty.

 

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Topher wrote: I want to

Topher wrote:

 

I want to hear peoples opinions regarding the justification/evidence for factual claims.

 

When should factual claims be justified?

 

a) All the time, because they are factual claims, and therefore claims about reality.

 

or

 

b) Only certain times, based on the use of the factual claim. i.e. the factual claim that Jesus rose from the dead is not treated by theists in the same way they would treat the claim "the breaks on my car cause it to stop"; it isn't used for the same purpose, so the Jesus resurrection claim really doesn't need to be accurately describing reality, and it would be wrong to insist it should.

 

I hold that A is correct. To say something is factual is to say it is objectively true, and therefore applies to everyone, so it must be justified. We should seek to hold true information about reality as apposed to false information, and that alone is enough reason for why all claims about reality should be assessed to ensure they are accurate.

What about factual claims about things which aren't really important?  Like if I said I play tennis, or if I told you I went to 7-11 today to buy a big gulp.  Both of these things are factual claims, which must objectively be true or not true, but if no one really cares do they still need justification? 


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Eloise wrote:Topher

Eloise wrote:
Topher wrote:

I'm currently debating this with Strafio. He thinks the claims of moderate/liberal theists should be judged according to how they are treated by them.

I would say that holding a claim as fact is inherently a way of treating it, and that requires justification to be meaningful so clearly beyond that any difference would really seem superficial.

Yes, I agree. While there may be differences the fundamental essence of the claim is the same.

Quote:
An unjustified claim lacks substance, how to properly handle it is like how to properly handle "nothing".

What do you mean here? If a claim is unjustified (and could technically be likened to 'nothing') we should handle it by pressing them to either justify it or to concede it is unjustified and therefore to drop it.

Eloise wrote:
Topher wrote:

So, because theists don't always treat their religious beliefs/claims to fact like they treat real scientific facts, it obviously means, according to Strafio, that they don't hold them with certainty, also so we shouldn't press them for evidence. WTF?

[In a similar vein to Bob's answer I tend to think of fact and uncertainty as being mutually exclusive. If you're uncertain about a fact then it's just not a fact, it's a likelhood or a possibility, or even just a curiosity, but it's not a fact. At the point which we discern that we have a fact is when we begin to treat it.

I think this would only apply to confirmed facts rather than claims to fact. I would say there is a difference between knowing the [confirmed] fact that my pen will fall when I drop it, and claiming it is a fact that Jesus walked on water. I would suggest that the difference even remains for those fundamentalists that are completely confident/certain in their belief that Jesus walked on water, because it still doesn't meet the level of knowledge. So I am making a distinction between 'certainty in belief' and 'certainty through knowledge'.

In any case, it's not really the level of certainty behind the fact that I think requires it to be justified, it is the mere assertion that it is a fact.

 

Quote:
That all said, it seems possible to me that Strafio may be speaking from the standpoint that "facts" in real life aren't the simple neatly isolated epistemic units we'd like them to be, they come with frameworks and details. And, for example, moderate Christians treat the frameworks and details of their claims in a way different to that of fundamentalists.

Using your example - the resurrection - a moderate Christian could say -- "it's fact, a man made a great sacrifice and was rewarded... this act demonstrated that god rewards selflessness" while a fundie Christian might alternately say " it's fact, a man made a great sacrifice because we are depraved and the only redemption for us was to thrash and torture this bloke to death" -- so these theists are treating their factual claim differently in the details and the framework, while they have the same certainty.

I agree that there are differences, although I think there are certain things that both moderates and fundamentalists share, particularly regarding the elementary aspects of their religion. For instance, both consider it a fact that god exists, that Jesus existed, that he was crucified, and that he rose from the dead. So here the beliefs/claims are identical. I agree with Strafio however that there is clearly a difference in behaviour despite the similarities of the belief. (One of the problems with his argument was the suggestion that a difference in behaviour implies a difference in belief, although it obviously isn't as simple as that, since two or more theists can share the same beliefs but behave differently, due to other influences/variables, conversely two or more theists can hold different beliefs yet behave the same. Although we can make generalities about belief and behaviour, behaviour is not the best indicator of belief.) Hopefully Strafio will respond to your post.


On another issue... do you (or anyone else here) see a distinction between truth and fact? Theists will tend to say their beliefs are both true and factual. I'm not sure I see a distinction. All facts are obviously by definition true, although maybe it cannot be said that all truths are facts?

 

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RatDog wrote:Topher

RatDog wrote:

Topher wrote:

 

I want to hear peoples opinions regarding the justification/evidence for factual claims.

 

When should factual claims be justified?

 

a) All the time, because they are factual claims, and therefore claims about reality.

 

or

 

b) Only certain times, based on the use of the factual claim. i.e. the factual claim that Jesus rose from the dead is not treated by theists in the same way they would treat the claim "the breaks on my car cause it to stop"; it isn't used for the same purpose, so the Jesus resurrection claim really doesn't need to be accurately describing reality, and it would be wrong to insist it should.

 

I hold that A is correct. To say something is factual is to say it is objectively true, and therefore applies to everyone, so it must be justified. We should seek to hold true information about reality as apposed to false information, and that alone is enough reason for why all claims about reality should be assessed to ensure they are accurate.

What about factual claims about things which aren't really important?  Like if I said I play tennis, or if I told you I went to 7-11 today to buy a big gulp.  Both of these things are factual claims, which must objectively be true or not true, but if no one really cares do they still need justification? 

Good point. Technically yes, but in practice since there is no reason to doubt such a claim, nor is it likely to impact anyones life, I don't see why it would be necessary.

However once you start to make more extraordinary claims, claims that affects others, and/or claims that directly affect the nature of reality (such as supernatural claims) then the need for justification is more demanding.

 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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 BobSpence1 wrote:I don't

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
I don't like the philosophical definition of knowledge as 'justified true belief'. The word 'true' doesn't belong there - it is too much like question-begging. What we see as clearly true today could well be shown later to be false - having 'true' in there strictly limits the application of the definition to a ridiculously small subset of what the word 'knowledge' is reasonably applied to.

Well, my conceptualization of "true" in this context has always been "true to the highest degree of certainty currently available."  When scientists talk about the fact that there is an asteroid belt in our solar system, they are technically vaguely cognisant of the fact that tomorrow we could discover that there is no asteroid belt, and we have been deceived by a race of incredibly powerful aliens.  Still, to the best of all scientific observation, testing, falsification, and within the bounds of parsimony, it is a truth that there is an asteroid belt in our solar system.

I suppose I should have been more clear on the definition of truth, as I did not mean to imply that only that which is deductively true would be included.  Honestly, if we were to say "justified certain belief," we'd run into the same problem within some philosophical circles.  The point remains, that which is so certain, either through deduction or probability, that it is beyond all reasonable questioning, can be called "true" for the sake of defining knowledge.

Is that a better explanation?

 

 

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Topher wrote:Quote:An

Topher wrote:

Quote:
An unjustified claim lacks substance, how to properly handle it is like how to properly handle "nothing".

What do you mean here? If a claim is unjustified (and could technically be likened to 'nothing') we should handle it by pressing them to either justify it or to concede it is unjustified and therefore to drop it.

Actually what I meant was to refer to how the person making the claim handles it. So in the topical case how the theist handles his own claim to knowledge that Jesus walked on water is technically redundant, that he claims knowledge is to say he can justify the claim or if not then it's just to make a vacant noise; thus why it's called talking out of your arse -- It doesn't matter what you do with a fart, it remains that you farted.

 

Topher wrote:



On another issue... do you (or anyone else here) see a distinction between truth and fact?

To me, truth is a measure of how faithfully something is reproduced by a human effort, and a fact, is much of muchness there, I would define as a most faithful reproduction of something by human effort.  Truth and facts are simply human ideas of measuring reproduction either in abstract or facsimile so I would essentially only apply them to a human effort toward that purpose.

Topher wrote:

Theists will tend to say their beliefs are both true and factual. I'm not sure I see a distinction. All facts are obviously by definition true, although maybe it cannot be said that all truths are facts?

 

The only distinction I'm seeing reason to make is the sense in which something is reproduced by the human effort.

I think some people see truth as abstract only and fact as literal only and therein make a distinction between truth and fact; this may be where you find people claiming that their beliefs are both. I don't agree with it, obviously, for a start literal truth aka honesty is just essential to life and secondly I couldn't be who I am because I wouldn't understand science, in science most of the purest and most brilliant facts (as in faithful reproductions) are completely abstract.

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Okay so Strafio's argument

Okay so Strafio's argument is that the need for justifying factual claims must itself be justified with practical reasons. For example, a 'practical reason' for why we should insist factual claims be justified is that we need an accurate understanding about reality for things like technology and medicine. But then Strafio tries to 'escape' this practical reason for why we need to justify factual claims by claiming moderate/liberal theists do not use their faith in a way that [negatively] influences behaviour, nor do they use it for claims like technology or medicine, hence their claims do not need to be justified.


In short, I say that truth/factual/historical claims need to justified in of themselves, for no other reason than the fact they are objective claims about reality. Strafio requires a "practical justification" for why evidence must be demanded for truth/factual/historical claims. Then, whatever practical justification that is given, he invents a type of theist that does not treat their faith according to that practical justification, and is therefore exempt from the demand for evidence.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Lol! You don't exactly word

Lol! You don't exactly word my arguments in the most flattering way, do you?

Anyway, my debate with Topher has been long and complex.
At some point I'll type up a condensed version of it here.
The gist of it is, "X must justify belief Y" is a practical claim.
If you are persuading someone rationally rather than making a dogmatic demand, surely there's a reason to justify it.

The usual reason is that we do things in life where we require accurate information.
E.g. in the courts require an accurate view of what happened for justice, in medicine we need to know how the body works and how to fix it... etc.
So I took a hypothetical of an "ideal faith" that would not clash with our practical needs for information and asked if there would still be a problem.
The believer has different categories of belief.
"Faith beliefs" have a religious significant.
"Proved beliefs" have been proved/justified and can be relied upon to be accurate.
The believer follows a rule where only proved beliefs can be used in rational arguments, rational decisions and other situations where accurate information is required.

If the believer followed the rule of only using "proved beliefs" for this situations, but still have "faith beliefs" on the side that did not affect their rational decision making, what would the problem be?
That's more or less the question I put to Topher.
So far he hasn't given an answer to it.
I think he intuitively feels there's a problem with it but cannot spot exactly what it is, which is why I think he's asked you guys to lend him a hand.
Personally, I don't think there is a problem with it.
I think his demand for scientific evidence goes beyond what is rationally necessary for a person and is more a reflection for his own personal taste than an objective 'ought'.
That said, I might yet be proved wrong.

Let's see what you've all got.


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 I think we should demand

 I think we should demand evidence for the following reasons:


1. People desire to hold true, not false beliefs about the world. No one will knowingly hold false information (unless they have an mental disorder). People of course do hold false information, but they think it is true; they don't think it is false and still believe it. In any case, if they want to hold true beliefs then scientific methods are the only methods that can determine whether they are true.


2. Claiming something is objectively true by definition applies to everyone, therefore the implication of such a claim is that everyone should accept it. To claim X is true is to say everyone should accept that X is true. If you are going to say that then you must validate it. 


3. Morals require accurate knowledge; they require facts, so even if the theist only use their faith-based beliefs for moral and value issues (and Strafio agrees they do), then they still require accurate information. Richard Carrier argues this here in his excellent talk: Why science is better than religion and ways has been (His talk is parts 1 to 6, the PZ Myers speaks).


4. People indirectly value scientific principles, usually in the form of their output, i.e. they value their mobile phone, their television, their medication, their car, etc. We should ensure people realise just how important scientific knowledge is, and ensure that we maintain a culture which always encourages it. If they realise the link then maybe they will value the scientific methods in of themselves.


5. Faith-based beliefs will affect behaviour. Even if we could ensure it only produces positive behaviour, the fact it can influence behaviour at all means we must assess the beliefs/claims, because the potential for negative behaviour is always possible. We must also acknowledge that positive and negative behaviour can be subjective.


6. In reality, theists of all types will use their beliefs in decision making. They don't hold their religious beliefs in a vacuum. 


7. Even if we could ensure only positive outcomes from faith-based beliefs, there is still the issue that theists propagate the idea that the method of faith is a virtue; that it is a virtue to believe things without or contrary to evidence, which is a big problem, but worse still, it could be applied in ways more negative ways, indeed, that is exactly what happens. The moderate holding faith to be a virtue essentially shields it from serious criticism, so it essentially becomes socially unacceptable to criticise it. The problem with faith is not what people do with it, rather it is the very method itself! Thus any serious criticism must attack the method itself as unjustified, not what people do with it, and especially not just singling out the 'wrong' use of faith, which entails that there even is a 'right' way to use it. There isn't.


Fundamentally, there is no epistemological, nor any rational basis for why faith-based claims to truth/fact/history should be distinct from any other claim to truth/fact/history. Everyone accepts that scientific methods/values and critical inquiry must be applied to the latter, and they have no reason why they should be applied to the former. 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Quote:"faith beliefs" on the

Quote:
"faith beliefs" on the side that did not affect their rational decision making,

How does a belief not affect decision making?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Topher wrote:1. People

Topher wrote:

1. People desire to hold true, not false beliefs about the world. No one will knowingly hold false information (unless they have an mental disorder). People of course do hold false information, but they think it is true; they don't think it is false and still believe it.


You're right that people don't usually believe something that has been proved wrong.
It's a reason why faith belief tends to inhabit gaps.
That said, you haven't shown a line of reason from "People don't believe something that has been proved wrong" to "People must always ensure that their beliefs are scientifically justified"


Your first point is not yet a valid argument.
It's not yet been ruled out but it's not yet a valid argument.

Topher wrote:

In any case, if they want to hold true beliefs then scientific methods are the only methods that can determine whether they are true.


Fine. If they want certainty then scientific methods are the only way to ensure certainty.
Is there an argument here that they should want all of their beliefs to be certain?


Topher wrote:
2. Claiming something is objectively true by definition applies to everyone, therefore the implication of such a claim is that everyone should accept it.

No it's not. Claiming something is true has nothing to do with what people should and shouldn't accept.
What you should and shouldn't accept is down to reason.

Topher wrote:
3. Morals require accurate knowledge; they require facts, so even if the theist only use their faith-based beliefs for moral and value issues (and Strafio agrees they do), then they still require accurate information. Richard Carrier argues this here in his excellent talk: Why science is better than religion and ways has been (His talk is parts 1 to 6, the PZ Myers speaks).

Easy there. Get my position right.
I agree that moral and value issues require accuracy and should only have "proved beliefs" in their premises.
I said that "faith beliefs" can have a positive psychological effect which helps a person live up to the ideals/value/morals that they have rationally determined to be correct.

(Come on, I've explained this to you about 7 times now. Why are you repeating this "Moral need accuracy" argument when I've told you time and time over that I agree and that it doesn't contradict the Ideal Theist's position)


Topher wrote:
4. People indirectly value scientific principles, usually in the form of their output, i.e. they value their mobile phone, their television, their medication, their car, etc. We should ensure people realise just how important scientific knowledge is, and ensure that we maintain a culture which always encourages it. If they realise the link then maybe they will value the scientific methods in of themselves.

Fine. People should value scientific methods and principles. I have no argument against that.

But what does it have to do with your claim that "all[i] beliefs [i]must be scientifically justified"?
There's a difference between valuing science and thinking about about nothing but science.
 


Topher wrote:
5. Faith-based beliefs will affect behaviour. Even if we could ensure it only produces positive behaviour, the fact it can influence behaviour at all means we must assess the beliefs/claims, because the potential for negative behaviour is always possible. We must also acknowledge that positive and negative behaviour can be subjective.

Okay. So we have to use psychological investigation to ensure that the effects of Faith are positive.
That's not an argument that the "Faith belief" needs to be true, that's an argument that we need to investigate its psychological effects.

An argument I have no issue with.


Topher wrote:
6. In reality, theists of all types will use their beliefs in decision making. They don't hold their religious beliefs in a vacuum.

Yes, but that's not answering the question at hand.
I said that if only "proved belief" was used in rational decision making then would there be a problem with them having other beliefs as well that were unjustified.
Is this your way of saying, "In that hypothetically scenario there would be nothing wrong with faith, but since that hypothetical scenario isn't real..."
If you don't want to concede that my hypothetical scenario is fine then stick your arguments against it rather than trying to bring in different issues.


Topher wrote:
7. Even if we could ensure only positive outcomes from faith-based beliefs, there is still the issue that theists propagate the idea that the method of faith is a virtue; that it is a virtue to believe things without or contrary to evidence, which is a big problem, but worse still, it could be applied in ways more negative ways

Did you see what you did there?
The bold bits contradicted themselves.
If we can ensure only positive outcomes from faith-based beliefs then it can't be applied in more negative ways. By the definition of "ensure".

The bit in italics begged the question.

That it's necessarily a "big problem" for people to "believe things without evidence" is something you're supposed to be arguing for, not assuming as a premise.


Topher wrote:
Fundamentally, there is no epistemological, nor any rational basis for why faith-based claims to truth/fact/history should be distinct from any other claim to truth/fact/history.

Yes there is.
If the former aren't used in activities where accurate information is required (e.g. medicine, technology) and the latter are used in that way then [i]that's[/i] your distinction right there.

 

 

 

You're yet to produce valid argument in favour of your position.
To be fair, even if there is a valid argument it would still be difficult to work out and word right - absence of proof isn't proof of absence.
But as it stands, you do not yet have anything of substance in your claim.


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Strafio wrote:"faith

Strafio wrote:
"faith beliefs" on the side that did not affect their rational decision making,

butterbattle wrote:
How does a belief not affect decision making?

Here's an example.
Have you have had a debate with a friend where you believed you were right, but when he demanded you put money on it you decided that was a bad idea.
If your belief had certainly been true then it wouldn't have been a bad idea - it would have been safe bet that secured you easy money.
Truth is, many things we believe to be true we don't have the certainty to rely on them as being certain.
Therefore, when making a rational decision we do not rely on them as secure/certain.

That's why I made the distinction between "proved beliefs" (which is perhaps synonymous with "knowledge&quotEye-wink where we have justified our belief to the point where we are certain enough to rely on it in a rational decision, and other beliefs that we cannot rely upon in the same way.


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 Strafio wrote:No it's not.

 

Strafio wrote:
No it's not. Claiming something is true has nothing to do with what people should and shouldn't accept.

What you should and shouldn't accept is down to reason.

Yes it is. It is implicit within the claim. If I say the earth is flat, I am making an objective truth claim that applies to everyone, and am in essence saying it should be accepted as true by all. The person does not have to actually say people should accept it, but it is implicit within the objective truth claim.

 

Strafio wrote:
I agree that moral and value issues require accuracy and should only have "proved beliefs" in their premises.

Give me an example of a RELIGIOUS-based moral/value claim that theists ACTUALLY make that is based on valid, accurate information. i.e. I don't want any of this ideal-faith-that-doesn't-exist-stuff. I want real world examples.

 

Strafio wrote:
(Come on, I've explained this to you about 7 times now. Why are you repeating this "Moral need accuracy" argument when I've told you time and time over that I agree and that it doesn't contradict the Ideal Theist's position)

Because you have said that faith is not a problem providing it is used for things that DO NOT require accurate information. And you have said that we can scientifically assess the faith-based beliefs/claims whenever they ARE used for the things that require accurate information. Well, morality requires accurate information, so if theists use their beliefs for moral reasoning then we must scientifically assess the validity of their claims.

 

Later in your post you prove my point!

 

Strafio wrote:
But what does it have to do with your claim that "all beliefs [i]must be scientifically justified"?

Not all beliefs, only those regarding objective reality; truths, factual and historical claims.

 

Strafio wrote:
There's a difference between valuing science and thinking about about nothing but science.

You cannot say you value science but then fail to put into practice its principles. Science is about examining claims about reality, so ANY claim about reality must meet the burden of scientific inquiry. You're trying to escape this burden with type of theism THAT DOES NOT EXIST!! If you look at real world theism, then all theists do and say things which must meet this burden.

 

Strafio wrote:
Okay. So we have to use psychological investigation to ensure that the effects of Faith are positive.

That's not an argument that the "Faith belief" needs to be true, that's an argument that we need to investigate its psychological effects.

This simply ignores what I wrote.

 

Once you accept that faith-based thinking can affect behaviour at all, then you MUST accept that it can lead to negative behaviour. You say we can ensure it is positive with "psychological investigation" however this isn't sufficient. How do you determine whether a behaviour IS positive? Surely you agree that a positive behaviour for one can be a negative behaviour for someone else? See the flaw in your argument? You're always going to end up with both positive and negative outcomes. Furthermore, once you present faith as a virtue and you unleash it to society it will be used in all sorts of ways, which is why treating it as a virtue to begin with is a problem.

 

Strafio wrote:
I said that if only "proved belief" was used in rational decision making then would there be a problem with them having other beliefs as well that were unjustified.

1. The fact is may be "proved belief" does not mean it will be applied correctly, because how you should use your "proved belief" is contextual.

 

2. In reality, an important concept missing from your argument, people will not just use proved beliefs, or if they do, will not always apply it correctly. Yes yes I know you talking about an 'ideal faith' but this is just like someone talking about a hypothetical type of food that does not give you calories. i.e. it is irrelevant to what is important here: real life. If you argument has no basis in real life them you're wasting peoples time.

 

3. Back in reality, you cannot ensure people will only use their "proved beliefs" in their claims.

 

Strafio wrote:
Is this your way of saying, "In that hypothetically scenario there would be nothing wrong with faith, but since that hypothetical scenario isn't real..."

No, because you would still be making faith (belief without evidence/contrary to evidence) a virtue. THAT is the problem. THAT is what you're not comprehending. No matter how you spin faith, at the end of the day you still left with the very problem you began with!

 

Strafio wrote:
Did you see what you did there?

The bold bits contradicted themselves.

If we can ensure only positive outcomes from faith-based beliefs then it can't be applied in more negative ways. By the definition of "ensure".

No, I was talking about how it would be used in real life, which is all that matters here. I don't give a shit about a theoretical non-existent "ideal" faith. Even if hypothetically your "ideal" faith only resulted in positive behaviour, once this ideal faith is subjected to the complexities of reality, it WILL be used in all sorts of different ways. And as I said above, even if we could ensure it is only positive behaviour, we still face the problem that to others it will not be positive behaviour, so essentially ensuring it is positive is an impossible task!

 

Again, I am only interesting in how faith-based thinking and religion is used by theists in real life, not some hypothetical non-exist faith in a hypothetical non-exist reality.

 

The fact you can only attempt to justify faith being a virtue hypothetically is revealing. If you cannot do this with real world faith then you do not have an argument.

 

Strafio wrote:
The bit in italics begged the question.

That it's necessarily a "big problem" for people to "believe things without evidence" is something you're supposed to be arguing for, not assuming as a premise.

 

No, it doesn't. It wasn't my premise. The problem is it allows people to use their beliefs and assert claims without evidence; without justification. This mean in the real world people will use unjustified beliefs/claims to justify their behaviour, which may be negative, but either way is unjustified.

 

Strafio wrote:
Yes there is.

If the former aren't used in activities where accurate information is required (e.g. medicine, technology) and the latter are used in that way then [i]that's your distinction right there.

Faith-based claims to truth/fact/history ARE used for things that require accurate information: morality.

 

And again, in REALITY, that distinction you just made does not exist. Sure, you can invent a faith that contain this distinction, but it's like me inventing a hypothetical food that does not give people calories. Nice idea, but is totally irrelevant to real life.

 

Strafio wrote:
You're yet to produce valid argument in favour of your position.

I have provided many. In fact I have refuted you here (and you have refuted yourself):

 

P1) Theists use their faith for moral issues.

P2) We can scientifically assess the validity of faith-based claims/belief if and when they are used for things which require accurate information.

P3) Morality requires accurate information.

C) Therefore we must scientifically assess the validity of faith-based claims/belief.

 

You have agreed with all of these premises.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Strafio wrote:Strafio

Strafio wrote:
Strafio wrote:
"faith beliefs" on the side that did not affect their rational decision making,

butterbattle wrote:
How does a belief not affect decision making?

Here's an example.
Have you have had a debate with a friend where you believed you were right, but when he demanded you put money on it you decided that was a bad idea.
If your belief had certainly been true then it wouldn't have been a bad idea - it would have been safe bet that secured you easy money.
Truth is, many things we believe to be true we don't have the certainty to rely on them as being certain.
Therefore, when making a rational decision we do not rely on them as secure/certain.

That's why I made the distinction between "proved beliefs" (which is perhaps synonymous with "knowledge&quotEye-wink where we have justified our belief to the point where we are certain enough to rely on it in a rational decision, and other beliefs that we cannot rely upon in the same way.

Does this example adequately cover the issue? Could the individual have been influenced by the belief in a different scenario?

So, your position is actually discussing an individual's level of certainly of his/her beliefs? Also, your argument is about the actions we should take, not the philosophical implications? 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:Strafio

butterbattle wrote:

Strafio wrote:
"faith beliefs" on the side that did not affect their rational decision making,

butterbattle wrote:
How does a belief not affect decision making?

Here's an example.
Have you have had a debate with a friend where you believed you were right, but when he demanded you put money on it you decided that was a bad idea.
If your belief had certainly been true then it wouldn't have been a bad idea - it would have been safe bet that secured you easy money.
Truth is, many things we believe to be true we don't have the certainty to rely on them as being certain.
Therefore, when making a rational decision we do not rely on them as secure/certain.

That's why I made the distinction between "proved beliefs" (which is perhaps synonymous with "knowledge" ) where we have justified our belief to the point where we are certain enough to rely on it in a rational decision, and other beliefs that we cannot rely upon in the same way.

butterbattle wrote:
Does this example adequately cover the issue? Could the individual have been influenced by the belief in a different scenario?

No doubt that the belief will still have some kind of influence over them in another way.
My point is, when they made a rational decision, they didn't consider the belief certain enough to rely on as a premise.
The reason we usually give as to why beliefs need to be justified is that we need accurate knowledge in order to make these rational decisions.
If "uncertain beliefs" aren't used in these rational decisions then this reason doesn't apply.

You're right that they still have psychological influence, but a different kind of influence to "certain beliefs" and should be treated accordingly.

butterbattle wrote:
So, your position is actually discussing an individual's level of certainly of his/her beliefs?
Also, your argument is about the actions we should take, not the philosophical implications?

Demanding that someone justify their beliefs is a claim about what they should 'do', so it's a claim about practical reason.
Justification is necessary for accuracy and there's a clear practical reason why people need to be accurate about beliefs they are certain in.
But for other beliefs, do we have a reason to apply the same standards?
A different belief will have a different psychological effect, a different role to play in our lives, so how we treat it should reflect that.

My question to Topher was that so long as they made sure that their "certain beliefs", i.e. the ones they use in rational decision making, were justified then what would be wrong with other beliefs lack this justification?


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Topher wrote:The fact you

Topher wrote:
The fact you can only attempt to justify faith being a virtue hypothetically is revealing.
If you cannot do this with real world faith then you do not have an argument.

Looks like you've gotten all riled and angsty.
You know that the argument goes further and that defending a hypothetical faith was just the first step.
I've even presented you with further arguments in the MAP thread that lead on.
You're coming across as being in a panic.
Take a deep breath, count to 10, and remember that it's just a debate.

Once I again, you prove to me that I do need to break down these arguments in order to have them addressed properly.
Remember how you criticise creationist debate tactics - throwing in as many baseless accusations in as possible and then claim victory when the biologist is unable to deal with them all within the time limit?
Intentionally or not you're doing the exact same thing here.
Rather than addressing my argument you're throwing in as many random attacks as you can, and you're not even focused on what you're attacking.
One moment you're debating against the Ideal Faith, then out of nowhere you start bringing in real world concerns, and then you start saying you don't care about the concept of Ideal Faith, even though you felt the need to attack it earlier and despite my giving further arguments based on it at MAP.


You keep changing your aims through the post.
One moment you throw out arguments to try and refute my defence of the Ideal Theist, then you start saying you don't give a shit about it,
i.e. you say you don't care in a way so stressed and riled it makes it obvious that you do actually care!!
The post reads like a string of desperate attempts to answer back, saying "I don't care" in the middle and then declaring yourself the winner at refuting me in the end.
You seem to care more about having some kind of answer than actually comprehending and addressing the argument at hand.
It that's not what your intentions are then you need to organise your posts a bit better.
Make it a bit more clear what you're trying to attack and make sure you're addressing my actual argument rather than go off on some blind rant about something irrelevant.

My argument defends that "Ideal Theism" can be a virtue, and then makes further arguments using that premise.
Attack whichever part of my argument you like, but make it clear which part you're attacking, and make sure you're actually addressing the argument.
Focusing on just one part of the argument might seem slow, but it's the only way anything will actually get resolved.
Otherwise it just goes through the same old cycle where the post is broken down into quotes and half-arsed criticisms are bounced back and forth.
From now on, make it clear what your aims are, otherwise your attempts to debate will be a bit meaningless.
I'll watch this space.


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 Strafio

 

Strafio wrote:
Justification is necessary for accuracy and there's a clear practical reason why people need to be accurate about beliefs they are certain in.

But for other beliefs, do we have a reason to apply the same standards?

Because they do use their certain or uncertain faith-based beliefs for accuracy, and yet they do not turn to the scientific values and methods which are required. They use their faith for matters of morality, and morality necessarily requires accuracy. You talk about positive consequences, what people desire and what is virtuous being what is most important, what the goal is, but to know what is positive, and to know what people desire, and to know what it virtuous, and to know what behaviour can produce these requires scientific values and methods: it requires empiricism, for that is the only way we can reach conclusions about these things, and it requires progress, the ability to change based on new evidence.

Here's another talk by Carrier, this time only about morality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dce8mE0q4zA (part one of six)

Here his hypothesis of morality:

You ought to do what you would most want to do, if you were reasoning correctly and aware of all the facts.

A) There is nothing you ought to do more than this.

B) You only ever fail to do this for either of two reasons:

1) You are reasoning fallaciously or incoherently.

2) You are ignorant of some of the relevant facts.

 

Thus, all immoral behaviour is down to ignorance; ignorance of some fact, or ignorance of the fact your reasoning is invalid/fallacious.

In order to claim any moral knowledge, you must be aware of two facts:

1) What desires do people want more than anything?

2) What behaviour will produce that desired outcome?

Only scientific inquiry can know this. So any legitimate moral theory must rely on solid empirical evidence.

 

Now lets look at the Christian view of morality:

You ought to do X, because doing that will get you an eternal life in 'heaven' (some blissful condition), and not doing that will get you an eternal life in 'hell' (some miserable condition).

That applies to all Christians, and indeed all theists. What separates theists and religions is X, the behaviour they claim you must follow to get to heaven and avoid hell. Other than that, this is their hypothesis. Furthermore, Christian theology by its very nature applies to all, i.e. it is not the claim that only some has to do X, it is the claim that all have to do X, which is based on the assumption that all people desire 'heaven'.

In order for this hypothesis to be true, and in order for others to adhere to it, they must present the following factual empirical evidence:

1) demonstrating that one (heaven or hell) is desirable and the other is not.

2) that people who do X (whatever that is) will go to heaven and other go to hell

You cannot just declare that heaven is actually more desirable, and you cannot just declare that doing X will get you there. You have to demonstrate it.

You might say your 'ideal theist' does not have a strict definition of X, which maybe so, however they still hold that doing X (whatever it happens to be) will result in Y (whatever that happened to be), so the same burden applies to your ideal theists also.

Since EVERY theist, include by your own admission this 'ideal theist', uses their faith-based religious beliefs for moral and value purpose, we MUST apply scientific values and methods to their claims.

 

Strafio wrote:
My question to Topher was that so long as they made sure that their "certain beliefs", i.e. the ones they use in rational decision making, were justified then what would be wrong with other beliefs lack this justification?

Because they also use uncertain beliefs in their rational decision making. The biggest example of this is pascals wager... they might not really be certain of god or something in their religion, but they following along 'just in case'. That is proof that theists do not always rely on 'certain beliefs'.

Here some more proof: as explained above, they also use their faith-based religious beliefs for moral claims (and morality is certainly a basis for how people reason and act), and these moral claims cannot be 'certain' or 'justified' until the required factual empirical evidence is presented, and yet even without that evidence they STILL use their beliefs in a way which even you say they shouldn't. That is proof that they use uncertain/unjustified beliefs for matters which require accuracy and justification.

Strafio wrote:
Looks like you've gotten all riled and angsty.

You know that the argument goes further and that defending a hypothetical faith was just the first step.

I've even presented you with further arguments in the MAP thread that lead on.

You're coming across as being in a panic.

Take a deep breath, count to 10, and remember that it's just a debate.

No panic here. I just want real world examples, that is all I care about. If you cannot do this then you do not have an argument. Period. You even admitted that your not going to try and argue that this ideal theists is real. If this hypothetical faith is not real then why not just skip straight to the actual defence of real-world religious faith. This ideal theist has no relevance to the real world, and therefore has no relevance to any defence of real-world faith.

 

Strafio wrote:
You keep changing your aims through the post.

One moment you throw out arguments to try and refute my defence of the Ideal Theist, then you start saying you don't give a shit about it,

i.e. you say you don't care in a way so stressed and riled it makes it obvious that you do actually care!!

The post reads like a string of desperate attempts to answer back, saying "I don't care" in the middle and then declaring yourself the winner at refuting me in the end.

You seem to care more about having some kind of answer than actually comprehending and addressing the argument at hand.

No, I've not been changing my aims. I've shown many problems with your 'ideal faith', such as those above. The problem is you don't actually seem to realise the ramifications of what you are saying, for example: you say they can use their unjustified, non-accurate religious faith for moral and value issues, however such issues necessarily require justified, accurate, empirical evidence. Next, you say positive consequences are what are important, but you don't seem to realise that to some people a positive consequence is a negative consequence, so you're always going to end up with both, so the claim that you will ensure only positive consequences is impossible. You agree the beliefs will produce behavioural outcomes , but once you realise that these results will necessarily be either positive or negative, not just one, you will see why I've insistent the beliefs should always be assessed.

 

I've said I don't care about this hypothetical faith because it has no relevance at all to the real world. I think this ideal faith has many issues with it, and I have demonstrated some of them, but even if this ideal faith were a completely good thing, it STILL wouldn't help your argument that real-world faith is good.

 

Strafio wrote:
It that's not what your intentions are then you need to organise your posts a bit better.

 

Otherwise it just goes through the same old cycle where the post is broken down into quotes and half-arsed criticisms are bounced back and forth.

That kinds ironic consider it was be you who continued with the 'broken down quotes' while I was building more concise  responses.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Strafio
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My argument require the

My argument require the premise "Ideal Faith is a virtue" to be true.
If you want to see where the premise fits in to the rest of the argument then it's still waiting for you back at MAP.
Maybe it would help you if I explained my aims better.
You seem to think that I'm trying to make a blanket defence for moderate religion.
That's not my intention. The aim of my argument is that religion isn't necessarily irrational so doesn't need to be attacked altogether.
My argument is that it's better to attack specific irrational "misuses" of religion rather than religion as a whole.
That sweeping attacks on religion and faith are not only flawed but counter productive.

My argument depends upon the premise that "Ideal Faith" is a good thing which is why we're debating it here.
To refute my argument you either have to refute that premise or refute the arguments that follow from it.
Trying to attack anything else is a strawman.

 

Now to answer your objections to Ideal Faith.
1) We require accuracy in moral judgements
2) Beliefs will have different psychological effects on different people.
The effects will be positive/negative depending on the individual.
 

1) We require accuracy in moral judgements
You've used this argument about 10 times now.
I've responded 10 times. Then you repeat the exact same argument again without regard for the response.
I hope you'll be paying attention this time.

Yes, moral judgements require accuracy. Richard Carrier is right.
I've agreed with this from day one. Look back through the posts and you'll see,
The Ideal Theist therefore uses only "Proved Beliefs" as premises in moral arguments/decisions.
Where the practical justification of faith comes into it is a matter of motivation.
We use reason to work out what we should and shouldn't do, but human psychology isn't always motivated to do what's rational.
Most people have rational reason to believe that they should eat healthy food and exercise a lot.
Nonetheless, it still takes tremendous will power to follow this through - to keep up a difficult exercise regime and to resist tempting snacks.
So even when a person has a perfect knowledge of what they should and shouldn't do, there's still the issue of motivation.
Of manipulating their psychology to give them the best state of mind in order to achieve these aims they've rationally decided to do.

If certain beliefs have a psychological motivating effect, they can therefore help put a person in the right state of mind where they'll achieve these moral aims.
e.g.
Premise 1) It is irrational to get into an argument over something stupid because [insert rational justification here]
Premise 2) Although I know it is irrational, I have a short temper and volatile nature, so end up getting into arguments anyway
Premise 3) The set of religious beliefs X alter my world view in a way makes me calmer and less prone to flaring up
Conclusion) These religious beliefs are beneficial to helping me achieve my rational aim.

 

So you've got to stop using "Morality requires accuracy" as an argument against Ideal Faith.
It's a straw man because the Ideal Theist applies reason to their morality in the same way the secular humanist does.
They justify their faith because it enhances their ability to achieve the moral aims of secular humanist.

 


2) Beliefs will have different psychological effects on different people.
The effects will be positive/negative depending on the individual.

So we can't making sweeping absolute statements like "Belief in X will always be positive"
You're right on that point. But does that really constitute a criticism on Ideal Faith?
The Ideal Theist would say that religion/faith/spirituality is a journey.
You learn through experience what effects particular beliefs have on you, or what particular beliefs have on your friends.
When things are fine you keep going and when things are going wrong you make changes.
It's the same attitude of curiosity and empiricism that you say we ought to value.
Compare this to your strict demand of only looking beliefs from a perspective of accuracy.

Your argument also seems to involve a crazy amount of scepticism in the work of psychology.
While it is too complex to nail down the exact consequences of single beliefs, there are general trends that can be observed and used as a general guide.
It's not a complete jungle out there.

Lastly, you seem to think that only having scientifically proved beliefs would be a solution, but what would that do?
What does the truth of a proposition tell us about the effect that it has on a person's mind?
The accuracy of the belief is irrelevant when investigating the psychological effects on the mind.



What part of my argument you choose to address is up to you.
There's whether "Ideal Faith is a good thing" is true, or there's the arguments back at MAP that follow from it.
The entire argument is up for your inspection.
I don't mind which part you choose to deal with, so long you actually address the argument and that the counter arguments are followed up on.


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 Strafio wrote:That's not

 

Strafio wrote:
That's not my intention. The aim of my argument is that religion isn't necessarily irrational so doesn't need to be attacked altogether.

My argument is that it's better to attack specific irrational "misuses" of religion rather than religion as a whole.

I don't think religion is necessarily irrational. I think back in history religious beliefs were the rational position. Belief in god, creationism, etc were all the rational, scientific view to take. My argument is that based on all we know today, all forms of religion are irrational, since you can only arrive at religious views, such as god exists, by ignoring reason, logic and scientific values.

 

This obviously mean that in todays society the 'correct' uses of religion are by definition irrational, because they do not adhere to reason, logic and scientific values.

 

Strafio wrote:
That sweeping attacks on religion and faith are not only flawed but counter productive.

Why is it counter productive?

 

Strafio wrote:
My argument depends upon the premise that "Ideal Faith" is a good thing which is why we're debating it here.

But ideal faith has no relevance to real life. So when it comes to defending real-life faith you cannot rely on ideal faith, unless you can demonstrate how ideal faith relates to real-life faith.

 

Strafio wrote:
Yes, moral judgements require accuracy. Richard Carrier is right.
I've agreed with this from day one. Look back through the posts and you'll see,
The Ideal Theist therefore uses only "Proved Beliefs" as premises in moral arguments/decisions.

Strafio, you're really not paying attention to what you're saying! You say the ideal theists will only use proved beliefs in moral matters. Well the very problem is the theistic moral hypothesis is UNPROVEN.

 

Their hypothesis is:

 

Doing X will achieve Z.

Where X is a given behaviour/lifestyle, and where Z is heaven.

 

They have to empirically demonstrate that:

 

a) people really do desire Z more than anything else.

b) doing X really does result in Z, and not doing X doesn't result in Z.

 

Obviously we have no proof that heaven exist, much less what you can do to get there, nor whether that is what really want above all else, hence the theistic moral hypothesis is based on an UNPROVEN premise. That is why I keep bringing up this argument, because all you are doing it declaring, not demonstrating, that their morality is based on proved, justified, claim. If you disagree and think their moral hypothesis is based on proved justified claims then you must:

 

a) outline their moral hypothesis. (e.g. what it is they want most of all [Z] and what they have to do to achieve that [X])

b) present the empirical evidence of that moral hypothesis. (e.g. empirically demonstrate that [Z] is what they really want, and empirically demonstrate that [X] will get them that desire.) 

 

Until you do this you cannot say their reality is based on proved beliefs.

 

Strafio wrote:
Where the practical justification of faith comes into it is a matter of motivation.
We use reason to work out what we should and shouldn't do, but human psychology isn't always motivated to do what's rational.
Most people have rational reason to believe that they should eat healthy food and exercise a lot.
Nonetheless, it still takes tremendous will power to follow this through - to keep up a difficult exercise regime and to resist tempting snacks.
So even when a person has a perfect knowledge of what they should and shouldn't do, there's still the issue of motivation.
Of manipulating their psychology to give them the best state of mind in order to achieve these aims they've rationally decided to do.

I don't see how this relates, since I don't see what this example has to do with morality. Morality is about what humans ought to do more than anything else.

 

Anyway, regarding what you said above, I reject that it is a matter of motivation. I would contend that it is down to competing desires: "I desire to be healthy, but at the same time I also desire this unhealthy good."

 

Strafio wrote:
If certain beliefs have a psychological motivating effect, they can therefore help put a person in the right state of mind where they'll achieve these moral aims.
e.g.
Premise 1) It is irrational to get into an argument over something stupid because [insert rational justification here]
Premise 2) Although I know it is irrational, I have a short temper and volatile nature, so end up getting into arguments anyway
Premise 3) The set of religious beliefs X alter my world view in a way makes me calmer and less prone to flaring up
Conclusion) These religious beliefs are beneficial to helping me achieve my rational aim.

Yes, agreed. Religious belief may have pragmatic benefits. I agree. Unfortunately, I am not talking about any pragmatic benefits to religious beliefs. I am talking about whether they are true.

 

Strafio wrote:
So you've got to stop using "Morality requires accuracy" as an argument against Ideal Faith.
It's a straw man because the Ideal Theist applies reason to their morality in the same way the secular humanist does.
They justify their faith because it enhances their ability to achieve the moral aims of secular humanist.

I disagree that it enhances their ability.

 

Scientific methods and values are the only thing that will tell us what people desire most, and also what behaviours will statistically most likely achieve those desire outcomes. Religion and god have nothing to do with it.

 

While I agree that the liberal theists will most likely reach the same conclusions as the secular humanist about what is moral, because they essentially live by the same moral system, the issues is their reasoning. If they include faith-based unjustified reasoning then their moral hypothesis, then they cannot say their morality is based on a proven premise.

 

For example, take the moral hypothesis:

 

Doing X will achieve Z.

 

The secular humanist and the theists might both agree about what X is, but disagree about what Z is. The fact they may agree to what X is (such as behave in a given way), the truth of their moral hypothesis will depend on whether Z is true, and whether doing X will result in Z. I think you are failing to see this. You seem to think that sharing the same morality means there is no conflict in each persons moral hypothesis. Two people can have the same moral outcomes, while only one of them having the true moral hypothesis., and the other having a false moral hypothesis.

 

Strafio wrote:
So we can't making sweeping absolute statements like "Belief in X will always be positive"
You're right on that point. But does that really constitute a criticism on Ideal Faith?

Yes, because if you agree that negative consequences can take place, and you agree that we should try to minimise such consequences, then we must scientifically assess the beliefs because only scientifically and empirically assessing them can tell us what sort of behaviour they may result in. For example, belief A may cause behaviour B and result in consequence C. Whether C is a positive or negative consequence will depend on whether what humans desire, and whether C achieves or negates that desire can only be know through empiricism.

 

Strafio wrote:
Your argument also seems to involve a crazy amount of scepticism in the work of psychology.
While it is too complex to nail down the exact consequences of single beliefs, there are general trends that can be observed and used as a general guide.
It's not a complete jungle out there.

Yes, I made this point a long time ago.

 

Strafio wrote:
Lastly, you seem to think that only having scientifically proved beliefs would be a solution, but what would that do?
What does the truth of a proposition tell us about the effect that it has on a person's mind?
The accuracy of the belief is irrelevant when investigating the psychological effects on the mind.

I think accuracy is important here because people will tend to behave in a given way because they *think* the belief which the behaviour is based on is true. However what if the belief is false? Would demonstrating that it is false make them alter their belief, and therefore their behaviour? Maybe it would, or maybe it wouldn't. If the belief causes negative behaviour then we should hope greater knowledge may causes them to think about their beliefs and behaviour.

 

 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Strafio wrote:That sweeping

Strafio wrote:
That sweeping attacks on religion and faith are not only flawed but counter productive.

Topher wrote:
Why is it counter productive?

Why don't you go back to that topic in MAP and read the argument?

 

Strafio wrote:
My argument depends upon the premise that "Ideal Faith" is a good thing which is why we're debating it here.

Topher wrote:
But ideal faith has no relevance to real life. So when it comes to defending real-life faith you cannot rely on ideal faith, unless you can demonstrate how ideal faith relates to real-life faith.

Really? Maybe that's why I've mentioned in the last 5 posts or so that in MAP there's a whole post full of arguments that make use of "Ideal Faith is good" premise and relates it to real life religion.
Maybe I should refrain from posting for about a week so you can get your concentration back.
It would perhaps be more efficient than having to repeat the same points over and over...

 

Strafio wrote:
Yes, moral judgements require accuracy. Richard Carrier is right.
I've agreed with this from day one. Look back through the posts and you'll see,
The Ideal Theist therefore uses only "Proved Beliefs" as premises in moral arguments/decisions.

Topher wrote:
Strafio, you're really not paying attention to what you're saying! You say the ideal theists will only use proved beliefs in moral matters. Well the very problem is the theistic moral hypothesis is UNPROVEN.

 

Their hypothesis is:

 

Doing X will achieve Z.

Where X is a given behaviour/lifestyle, and where Z is heaven.


Um... what makes you think that the Ideal Theist would reason like this?
Didn't I describe my position about a billion times to you explaining that Ideal Theists reason their morality the same way Secular Humanists do?
The only difference is that they have "faith beliefs" as well that are justified by their psychological effect.
 

 

Will this be the last time you use this "Morality needs accuracy?" to attack a straw man?
I'm not counting on it...

 

 

Strafio wrote:
Where the practical justification of faith comes into it is a matter of motivation.
We use reason to work out what we should and shouldn't do, but human psychology isn't always motivated to do what's rational.
Most people have rational reason to believe that they should eat healthy food and exercise a lot.
Nonetheless, it still takes tremendous will power to follow this through - to keep up a difficult exercise regime and to resist tempting snacks.
So even when a person has a perfect knowledge of what they should and shouldn't do, there's still the issue of motivation.
Of manipulating their psychology to give them the best state of mind in order to achieve these aims they've rationally decided to do.

Topher wrote:
I don't see how this relates, since I don't see what this example has to do with morality. Morality is about what humans ought to do more than anything else.

It relates because while it's important to know what you ought to do, unless you then go out and do it this knowledge is pretty much worthless.
Knowing what is right is only halfway towards morality - you actually have to act on it too.

That's why 'motivation' is an important issue.
 

Topher wrote:
Anyway, regarding what you said above, I reject that it is a matter of motivation. I would contend that it is down to competing desires: "I desire to be healthy, but at the same time I also desire this unhealthy good."

Whatever you want to call it, the point is that the person rationally knows what they ought to do but struggles with the psychological side of actually carrying it out. It's with this psychological struggle that religion/"faith beliefs" can aid a person.
It's not the only remedy for this problem, but it is one
 

 

Topher wrote:
While I agree that the liberal theists will most likely reach the same conclusions as the secular humanist about what is moral, because they essentially live by the same moral system, the issues is their reasoning. If they include faith-based unjustified reasoning then their moral hypothesis, then they cannot say their morality is based on a proven premise.

IF they use faith rather than justified belief in their reasoning?
i.e. if they do something that an Ideal Theist doesn't do?
Any more straw men out there that you'd like to attack?

 

 

Topher wrote:
if you agree that negative consequences can take place, and you agree that we should try to minimise such consequences, then we must scientifically assess the beliefs because only scientifically and empirically assessing them can tell us what sort of behaviour they may result in. For example, belief A may cause behaviour B and result in consequence C.

Yes. Well done.
Now look back over the last several pages and you'll see me telling you over and over that this is exactly what the Ideal Theist does!!
Faith may be belief without justification as to whether it's true but not necessarily without justification as to whether it has a positive effect.
 

Strafio wrote:
Lastly, you seem to think that only having scientifically proved beliefs would be a solution, but what would that do?
What does the truth of a proposition tell us about the effect that it has on a person's mind?
The accuracy of the belief is irrelevant when investigating the psychological effects on the mind.

Topher wrote:
I think accuracy is important here because people will tend to behave in a given way because they *think* the belief which the behaviour is based on is true.

Yes. If they use the false belief in a rational decision then the consequence will be negative.
But since the Ideal Theist doesn't do this, isn't this quite irrelevant to the topic at hand?
You haven't attacked yet another straw man, have you? Sad

 


Every single objection you have thrown in this post has attacked a straw man.
I'm thinking of re-writing my description of the Ideal Theist seeing you seem to be confused about what exactly you are supposed to be attacking.
Maybe if I leave it a week and let your mind clear, maybe you'll regain your concentration and I'll only have to write it once!!
Bemused sarcasm aside, I think that Ideal Faith is less controversial than you realise.
I think that when I re-post the description you'll only have one objection.
You'll say that regardless of all the pragmatic sense that Ideal Faith makes, all beliefs must be scientifically justified by the definition of "objective claim" or some weird definition like that and we'll be back to that old chestnut again.
Then I'll accuse you of trying to impose dogmatically impose a conceptual scheme that uses definitions that you favour and demand reason why the the "faith belief"/"proved belief" conceptual scheme couldn't be used.
I'm sure we'll have great fun when we get there.


I'll leave it a week or so and then re-write both arguments for you.
See how well you address them after you've had a break.
In the meantime, if you're still puzzled about what relevance the proposition "Ideal Faith is a virtue" has in the real world and incase you missed it the first 10 times I told you:
There's a whole post in MAP about how "Ideal Faith" relates to "real faith" and arguments based on the premise "Ideal Faith is good"
It's of the last ones in the "Religion not the only Path to Altruism" thread - here's the link!!
You even started the post earlier but didn't like my wording on the definition of faith.
(I tried to correct myself a couple of posts later - see that as an ammendment to the original post)

Catch you later.


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Interesting idea to combine

Interesting idea to combine epistemology and morality. But I think that what you fail to realize is that if in fact what you say is true, then (b) in your original post is true. Why? Well, if what you suggest is true then knowledge claims come and go depending on practical interests and whether one is in high stakes or not. That is to say, what counts as "sufficient evidence" actually raises and lowers depending on practical interests and stakes. I don't think Carrier realizes this, but if epistemic claims are normative and in some sense have moral value, then (b) is true. Still don't believe me? Well, I'll show you. If what you say is true, then the following principle is true:

KO: If S knows that p, then S ought to act as if P is true.

KO can be derived from KB in the following:

KB: If S knows that A is the best action, S ought to do A.

Now if KB is true, then knowledge claims and "sufficient evidence" actually changes in pragmatic contexts as I suggested. Consider the following two cases:

Case 1: John is at the school dorm, he is trying to get home for the summer, but it generally doesn't matter what time he's home. He checked the newspaper before he left the house and it said the train will arrive at 11:00 and leave at 11:30. He considers the possibility that he could be wrong, the newspaper has made mistakes about train schedules in the past but, if he's wrong he could always catch a later train. The stakes are low in this case it doesn't really matter if he's wrong. So he decides to leave at 10:30, it takes approximately half an hour to get to the station so he'll get there in time, but he may get caught in traffic; but really that's no biggy. Besides, leaving too early would mean he has to wait which is particularly boring for him. John is also aware of all the relevent facts in the case.

 

So John's evidence in this case is the newspaper, and that seems sufficient. It seems his best action is to leave at 10:30. Suppose further that the train does get there at 11:00, and the paper was right. The following reasoning obtains if KB is true. The stakes are low, and John isn't particularly interested in getting on the train at 11:00, he just wants to get home eventually.

1. John knows that the best action is to leave at 10:30.

2. If John knows that the best action is to leave at 10:30, then John ought to leave at 10:30. (From KB)

3. Thus, John ought to leave at 10:30. (1, 2 modus ponens)

 

Case 2: John is at the school dorm, he is trying to get home for summer, but this time it does matter what time he's home. His mother has made dinner for him and he has to be home before 1:00! He checked the newspaper, and it said the train will arrive at 11:00 and leave at 11:30, just enough time to be home. He considers the possibility that he could be wrong, the newspaper has made mistakes about train schedules in the past, if he's wrong about this one, he could catch a later train but he'll miss a home cooked meal! So, it seems leaving at 10:30 would be a bad idea, he should leave earlier in case he gets caught in traffic.

John's evidence is the same as the first case, the newspaper is evidence that the train will be there at 11:00 and leave at 11:30. But this time (3) is false, but if (3) is false then (1) can't be true (remember we're assuming KB is true and Carrier is right). But if KB and Carrier are right then something like b in your original post is true and a is false. We can have two cases of the same evidence, and one seems sufficient the other doesn't. So "justification and sufficient evidence" comes and goes as the stakes go up and the practical interests change.

 

 


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Topher wrote: I want to

Topher wrote:

 

I want to hear peoples opinions regarding the justification/evidence for factual claims.

 

When should factual claims be justified?

 

a) All the time, because they are factual claims, and therefore claims about reality.

 

or

 

b) Only certain times, based on the use of the factual claim. i.e. the factual claim that Jesus rose from the dead is not treated by theists in the same way they would treat the claim "the breaks on my car cause it to stop"; it isn't used for the same purpose, so the Jesus resurrection claim really doesn't need to be accurately describing reality, and it would be wrong to insist it should.

 

I hold that A is correct. To say something is factual is to say it is objectively true, and therefore applies to everyone, so it must be justified. We should seek to hold true information about reality as apposed to false information, and that alone is enough reason for why all claims about reality should be assessed to ensure they are accurate.

What do you mean "justified" and what do you mean "should"? There are huge epistemelogical debates on what exactly this is, and most philosophers that I've ran into, including atheists like Richard Feldman thinks that (a) is false. Suppose someone is dying of cancer and they unjustifiably believe that they will get well, in addition if they have that unusually optimistic belief the chances of them surviving increases. It seems this individual ought to unjustifiably believe they will get well, doesn't it? At least it doensn't seem morally wrong to believe this. But suppose you think that (a) is true, and one ought to justify every one of their factual claims, or beliefs, how on earth could one live? Imagine all the beliefs I hold that I am not aware of now, that I won't fall through the bed as a result of some weird quantum event, that the chair I am in is actually there and I'm not in the matrix. According to (a) I should probably justify every one of these claims and beliefs, but what if I can't justify that I'm not in the matrix? If I can't justify my belief that the chair is there and I'm not in the matrix, yet still claim that i'm not in the matrix, and still hold the belief then (a) is false.

So there are four problems with (a). First there are cases where it seems okay, and even better if I believe something unjustifiably. Second there are cases when I have a belief or claim that I can't properly justify empirically yet it still seems okay that I believe them.  Third, it seems particularly unrealistic to hold every individual to (a) for all beleifs and claims, there are just too many beliefs in our doxastic lives that we can't assess scientifically what a tyranny of rationality we would live in if it were true. Fourth if (a) is true (a) should be justified since it is a claim about reality. So (a) needs to be assessed to ensure that it is accurate, but i'm not sure how you would want to do that, or how you could do that so you can apply the second objection here again.