Science is part of the process people do when they require evidence. Whereas faith is part of the process, people do when they do not require evidence. Some may feel comparing science against religion is like comparing the value of intuition against reason. Both are said to have their place. While I would challenge the religion part, I have little issue with intuition. In fact, intuition is a great motivation to go investigate a concept that should not be completely believed without evidence. However, even if you deem it worthy to believe in, an aspect of intuition, do not let it keep you from accepting the facts the way they are, even if to do so would show your intuition to be wrong. Never stop staying with the facts.

Your intuitive feelings would say the earth is standing still and all of your surroundings would validate this feeling. However, these intuitive feelings would be completely wrong as the earth is spinning or rotating. I project that the core of religion is superstitionism and it is not special nor something we cannot avoid all together. Superstitionism is a phenomenon that, even as atheists, we may have to fight. Think of it this way: do objects have special properties? As an atheist, I would rationally like to say no.

However, could I comfortably drive Hitler’s car? Have a restful sleep in a bed used by a child sex offender? Enjoy a dinner served on the plate that a cannibal ate human flesh? Perhaps wear a sweater worn by a serial killer while he killed? Why do these objects and ideas affect us? They are just objects and do not hold any essence but our superstition prone mind does not use reason. Our minds hijack us and make the innate seem more than it really is. This happens, it seems, and to some extent or another no matter if we tell ourselves it does not. We should not believe everything we think.

However, in saying we should not believe everything we think, a question could arise, how does one know? Alternatively, isn’t the “not believe everything we think” statement not expressing a kind of rational imperative to ones thinking? If so, there could be a challenge, what if one does not place a value on the “rational imperative” in thinking? Well, then it would seem they simply are removing themselves from a reason discourses, thus, their argument can be ignored, as they seem to be forfeiting their own criticism abilities in the possess.

Questions seem to presupposes answers, and it would seem answers presuppose words and words likewise presuppose understanding and understanding also must presuppose thoughts and thoughts as well are presupposing the mental processes of mind and then one must wonder without minds with some guided conceptions where cometh questions.

If we still doubt the authenticity or qualities of minds, one must ask by what method or standard is being used and how do we know that this is right or most likely to be right method or standard. Some say minds are fallible but is not this proposal hinging on the idea that a clear mind is assessing that minds are fallible, but how can one holding to that prove “minds are fallible” if they think that even their mind is not clear to make such an assessment.

Some say we cannot be sure of anything, because science or reason demonstrates otherwise, but how is that not also presupposing the sureness of both science and reason? Thus, how can we say we can know this for sure when we are sure we cannot know things? That to me is a contradiction is it not.

My point is, to me we can know things and it is science and reason that are most relevant in this endeavor, and this understanding that there is valid and reliable methods helps is confirming what is warranted to call truth, as we can know it.

To me truth is a value judgment we place on what we think or believe is evidence. Therefore, the rational imperative (on us) is to demonstrate that the proposed evidence, or reasoned assumption, is actually of a high epistemic standard with as much valid and reliable reason and evidence as possible, from as credible a source as possible, which then makes some believed “Truth” actually worthy to be seen as Epistemologically True, thus a “justified true belief.”

Broadly speaking, epistemic means, “relating to knowledge itself, or to the degree of its validation,” and epistemological means, “critical study of knowledge validity, methods, as well as limits to knowledge, and the study or theory of various aspects of, or involved in knowledge”.

There is much philosophical debate about knowledge. However, for the sake of most arguments, I’m fine working from the definition of “justified true beliefs”. But I always do so tentatively as problems could come up (the Gettier problem, etc.).

Therefore, I follow the standard in philosophy Justified True Beliefs = knowledge and when such knowledge reaches a high or the highest epistemic standard it can be dubbed epistemically certain.

To established justification I use the philosophy called Reliabilism.

Reliabilism is a general approach to epistemology that emphasizes the truth-conduciveness of a belief-forming process, method, or other epistemologically relevant factor. The reliability theme appears both in theories of knowledge and theories of justification.

For the true part I use the philosophy called The Correspondence Theory of Truth.

The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world.

For the beliefs part I use what philosophy calls The Ethics of Belief.

The “ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central question in the debate is whether there are norms of some sort governing our habits of belief-formation, belief-maintenance, and belief-relinquishment. Is it ever or always morally wrong (or epistemically irrational, or imprudent) to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? Is it ever or always morally right (or epistemically rational, or prudent) to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in the perceived absence of it? Is it ever or always obligatory to seek out all available epistemic evidence for a belief? Are there some ways of obtaining evidence that are themselves immoral or imprudent? 

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By Damien Marie AtHope