March 22, 2011
P1 Jesus considered those who believe with less confirmatory evidence more blessed that those who believed with more evidence. (John 20:19-31)
P2 Falsehoods are more likely to have less confirmatory evidence at their disposal than have truths.
P3 Those who believe with less confirmatory evidence are more likely to believe falsehoods.
C Jesus considered those who are more likely to believe falsehoods more blessed. (P1 – P3)
My initial response was that P2 is mere assertion. Phil asked me to state what I believe about evidence and justification, and I answered. I later explained that even if I accept P2 for the sake of argument, Phil’s syllogism remains unsound on account of P1. In between his insults, Phil kept asking me to repeat myself, which I did here, here, here, and here. Now, Phil’s offered a new argument, and I’d like to address it separately from Faith’s Failure 1.0, which–I believe–we are still discussing.
P1 The degree of belief/disbelief in any non-tautological proposition must map to the calculated balance of relevant confirming/disconfirming evidence as assessed by the epistemic agent for that belief/disbelief to be deemed rational.
P2 A human epistemic agent accesses the world subjectively, and therefore is necessarily limited to subjectively obtained relevant confirming/disconfirming evidence when entertaining a non-tautological proposition (rather than having an objective view and understanding of the totality of all the confirming/disconfirming evidence).
P3 For a human epistemic agent, the calculated balance of relevant confirming/disconfirming evidence for a given non-tautological proposition necessarily falls on a continuum inside the poles of absolute confirmation/disconfirmation to qualify as rational. (P1 & P2)
P4 Any rational belief/disbelief of a human epistemic agent in a non-tautological proposition necessarily falls on a continuum inside the binary poles of absolute certainty. (P1 & P3)
P5 Any source that promotes binary and absolute belief/disbelief for human epistemic agents is promoting irrationality. (P3 & P4)
P6 The Bible promotes binary and absolute belief/disbelief for human epistemic agents. (Acts 16:31 / Acts 8:37 / Romans 10:9 / John 3:16 / Mark 11:24)
C The Bible promotes irrationality. (P5 & P6)
My first goal will be to translate Phil’s premises into simple language, because they strike me as unnecessarily verbose, and unnecessary verbosity tends to detract from clarity. Unless one wishes to portray an air of academia, why use 30 clunky words where 5 or 6 simpler ones will suffice? Once I have paraphrased Phil’s argument to his approval, I will then go on to address it’s premises. My interpretation of Phil’s argument follows:
P1 rationally-held beliefs require a preponderance of evidence.
P2 humans have limited access to evidence.
P3 evidence puts one somewhere between absolute confirmation and absolute disconfirmation.
P4 rational beliefs fall somewhere between absolute confirmation and absolute disconfirmation.
P5 promoting certainty is irrational.
P6 the Bible promotes certainty.
C The Bible promotes irrationality.
So, Phil… again the ball is in your court. Which of your premises would you say I’ve accurately paraphrased? Which would you say I have not?