Posted by: rudyruddell | August 13, 2010

Belief is not the same as probability establishing

Facebook dialog which received a lot of “like” clicks

Preston Beam Of course belief is necessary, belief and faith are unavoidable for all.
Me: ‎@Preston, belief based on evidence is rational. Belief based on no evidence is faith. I do not have faith in anything except doubt. When a claim is made, I examine the evidence and estimate a probability of truth for the claim based on that evidence and subsequently act accordingly. That is not called faith. That is called critical thinking. Based on the evidence, your assertion that belief and faith are unavoidable have about a 5% probability of truth.
I believe the sun will rise tomorrow because the sun reliably does that every morning. There is no evidence of god. In fact, the evidence points to no god. There are natural scientific explanations for religion, the apparent perfection of factors that allow life to exist, and many other seemingly supernatural phenomena.
Preston:Dwight, you rely on ‘faith’, either more than you realize or more than you’re willing to admit.
We all don’t have the time and or expertise to re-conduct every experiment previously conducted to personally authenticate their veracity. We accept their accuracy by/on faith (ie, confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing). How do we ‘know’ everything in the Encyclopedia Britannica is factual? We certainly don’t have firsthand knowledge of it’s validity, though I suppose one could commit their life to validating it.
Do you subscribe to the belief ‘nothing exists beyond the physical, natural world’, if so what evidence do you have to verify your belief? Indeed, there is (arguable) no evidence for other hypothesis’, but lack of evidence for my hypothesis is not evidence for your hypothesis. You have no evidence for this belief (if you hold this belief). You have no evidence… you have “FAITH”.

Me: I am not saying that I do a scientific experiment before I take any action. Most actions are habit based on past successful experience, which is the evidence. I don’t have faith that my feet will land on the floor when I roll out of bed every morning, I ascertained that there is a very good probability that I will get out of bed without a mishap because I have done that deed so many times before.
I do not “know” that Britannical is factual, but I know that I probably would have read about its inaccuracy if it was so. If I were going to make a life altering decision, I would not rely only on Brittanica. I would seek out corroborating sources, but for the every day inconsequential activities, I base my probabilities on past experience.
I am shopping for a car right now, so I am collecting as much information I can so I can make as informed of a decision as possible, but I realize I will never have 100% correct information and buy a warranty and take a gamble, which is what much of life is.



  1. […] I think it is important to know what is true, not just what is comfortable or makes common sense. We should not succumb to our evolutionary acquired tendencies to accept unsubstantiated claims. This is how How people come to believe in claims with no evidence: We can never be 100% certain of anything but we can evaluate the probability of the truth of a claim. […]

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