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Zach Blaesi

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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2009, 07:56:59 pm »
 

Firstly, I do consider God as an hypothesis and any particular god as a particular hypothesis. Without full proof it must be considered this way since it's not necessary to believe in it. How do you consider the other gods you don't happen to believe in, hypothesis or true belief?

 

 

 

Well most Christians do not take God as a hypothesis - neither does Alvin Plantinga. Plantinga's contention in God and Other Minds is that it is deontologically justified and rational to believe God exists in the basic way; in other words, belief in God is properly basic if and only if belief in other minds is properly basic. However, if a person P holds a belief B in the basic way, it makes no sense to say, "You should accept C instead: it's simpler, and Occam's Razor says such and such." Your objection should be something like, "You are unjustified/unwarranted/irrational in believing B - it is not properly basic, and you have a duty to reject it." Plantinga's goal is to show that the atheologian cannot object to the warrant and rationality of the theist's beliefs without showing that God does not exist. On this note, The Cambrige Companion to Atheism writes, "Perhaps reformed epistemology has at least succeeded in shifting some of the burden of proof from theists to atheists. If theistic belief is defended in the context of an externalist epistemology, atheists cannot blithely invoke foundationalist criteria and defy theists to justify their beliefs in God on that basis. Plantinga might argue that the tables are now turned and that anyone wanting to convict theists of irrationality must first show that God does not exist, since if God exists, theistic beliefs very likely have warrant" (p. 111).

 


Secondly, the natural evidence Platinga appeals to is 'religious belief'.


Plantinga doesn't really appeal t
   o any evidence at all. You don't hold a basic belief on the basis of evidence: that's the point. Plantinga's point about the basic beliefs of Christians is that they are often not groundless: they are formed in response to certain experiences. At least, therefore, Christianity is internally rational. Of course, schizophrenics are internally rational as well: they form the right beliefs in response to their experiences, though their experiences result from cognitive malfunction. However, Plantinga argues that the atheologian cannot show that Christianity is externally irrational without showing that Christianity is false.

 

 

Imagine a world W in which the majority of people suffer from mild schizophrenia. They hear voices and come to believe, for example, that there are spirits that wander the earth. Those few people who are not schizophrenics cannot say the majority of people are unjustified, since those people are internally rational, and form the right beliefs on the basis of their experiences. But maybe the minority contends that the majority suffers from irrationality. Perhaps they show some scientific data that indicates significant cognitive differences between the minority and majority. The majority should shrug their shoulders. After all, why should they believe they suffer from cognitive malfunction? Maybe schizophrenia is the result of proper function, and the minority is actually the irrational group. The only way I can see that the minority could show that the majority is irrational would be to show that the majority holds false beliefs: for example, there are no spirits wandering the earth.

 

 


This is, a 'behaviour' which has a naturalist proposition for an answer and with supporting arguments appealing to further natural evidence. God just happens to fall by the wayside when you consider the possibility that this behaviour has no bearing on whether the object of belief is real or not.



   Come to think of it, your contention looks very similar to an argument that Plantinga discusses in Warranted Christian Belief. It goes: (Q4) If S can give an explanation of a certain range of her beliefs without assuming the existence of the entities whose existence those beliefs affirm, then S has an undercutting defeater for those beliefs. Here's Plantinga's response:

 

Still, is (Q4) really true? There are at least two versions of (Q4). On the one hand, (Q4) could require that the proposed explanation must involve only entities whose existence S already accepts; on the other, the explanation could involve either entities whose existence she already accepts or entities whose existence she does not already accept. Because the first version is the weaker and hence more plausible, suppose we confine our attention to it. So imagine that I can give an explanation of a certain range of my beliefs without assuming the existence of the entities E those beliefs affirm; suppose further I can give the explanation in terms of entities I already do accept. Does that give me a defeater for belief in the existence of those entities E? I don't think so. Consider my belief in the external objects of perception (trees, houses, horses, other people): perhaps I could explain these beliefs as implanted in me by God, for reasons of his own. This explanation does not presuppose the existence of those objects, and it is in terms of entities (God) whose existence I already accept. Would the availability of this explanation give me a defeater for those perceptual beliefs? I doubt it. Another possibility: perhaps I could also explain them (in accordance with the projection theories we are considering) as projections I myself unconsciously make: I am appeared to in various ways and, as a result, project beliefs to the effect that there are material objects that persist even when I am not having any experience. Would that explanation of such beliefs give me a defeater for them? Again, I doubt it. (WCB p. 372-373).

 

So it is to this 'behaviour' that Occam's Razor can be applied.


If you take God as a hypothesis.



To me, Platinga implies that because we are naturally inclined to believe in god-models, it is a basic belief or behaviour, actualised by the existence of God.


 

What do you mean naturally? Plantinga doesn't contend man in fact has a cognitive faculty like the sensus divinitatis that produces warranted beliefs about God. Rather, he contends it's possible. But, of course, if it's possible, then that means belief in God could be rational even if there are no successful arguments for theism. This, Plantinga claims, rules out this type of reasoning: "Maybe God exists or maybe he doesn't. Who could know such a thing like that? But in any case, it is certainly unreasonable, or unwarranted, to believe God exists."

 


Whereas I say, we believe in god-models due to a basic behavioural trait unconnected to gods and also evidenced in many other aspects of human nature.



See above. Also note my previous contention that God could use such "behavioral traits" as mechanisms for the formation of God-beliefs; that is, if God exists, such behavioral traits could be functioning properly for the purpose of God-beliefs.

I'm curious, though. Let's assume for the sake of argument God does not exist. This means God-beliefs are produced by mechanisms that were not designed by God. So where did these mechanisms come from? Presumably, evolution: the same shop that gave us reason, perception, and memory. However, if evolution is aimed at survival, then is it not likely that belief in God has survival value? It'd be tough to argue that evolution is the result of cognitive malfunction similar to mental illness, since the majority of people throughout history have held - and even today most people do hold - religious beliefs of some sort; apparently, forming religious beliefs is natural. If so, then ought we not to continue holding God-beliefs? It seems that if God does not exist, then belief in God is still a good thing. We could put God, then, in the category a Humean skeptic would put, for example, memory beliefs. In other words, belief in God would be pragmatically rational. But even more strongly, if ethics are determined by evolution, then it is ethical to believe God exists (if it has survival value).



The clear distinction is 'functional necessity' or 'necessary acceptance' which applies to all those beliefs we consider basic but not to belief in god.

 

But maybe theism does have "functional necessity"! For example, if Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism - or something like it - is cogent, or if Plantinga's criticisms of the main epistemological systems are successful, then belief in God (or an alternative that is similar) is necessary for the belief that we do or could know a great deal of things.

 

   

pap:-  

Religious belief is not irrational as a behaviour but belief in the 'object of belief' being real is (i.e. when without supporting evidence) as it represents a different category.



What do you mean "irrational as a behaviour"?

PS: Even basic beliefs have evidence, it's why we are able to believe in them. Basic beliefs can be evaluated but the conclusion for one must be that they are necessarily accepted.

 

Basic beliefs are not held on the basis of other propositions (i.e. evidence), by definition. You might argue that a belief is properly basic if and only if it meets the criteria for proper basicality. But Plantinga destroys classical foundationalism's criteria for proper basicality.

 


 

 

 If a belief can only be held by a cognitively matured human then it is not a basic belief. A basic belief must surely be a belief held by a basic human i.e. a basic cognitively functioning human eg babies.  

 

If a belief can only be held by a cognitively matured human then it is not a basic belief? What? That's obviously false. Maybe I hold the basic belief that there is an external world. Maybe, however, I bump into a man on the street and he tells me that there is no external world. I later find out that this individual is mentally ill: his cognitive faculties function much differently than mine. Is my belief therefore not basic? Of course not. I do not hold the belief on the basis of other propositions. What about properly basic? I don't see why not.

 

   

Moreover, even though babies' cognitive faculties might be functioning properly, it is not evident that those faculties are yet fully developed.

 

 

 

pap:-

 

That's ujnustified in the usual manner which begins with an inappropriate starting point i.e. an unsound basis.


Can you clarify some more?


 

Please can you post some of his ideas as I can't see it myself. He has to address the issue of whether god belief can be seen as basic i.e. show that it 'is' rather than appealing to an incomplete or mis-categorised definition and then challenging people to show that it isn't. I don't like the theist methodology of foregoing positive proof 'for' and instead requesting positive proof 'against' to show that it isn't so.


I'm not sure if Plantinga contends that Christianity is properly basic. He contends in God and Other Minds - which was written early in his career - that belief in God is properly basic. His point about Christianity is that it could be warranted and proper-function-rational if God exists. And since there are - he argues - no defeaters for Christian belief, and since one is within his epistemic rights in accepting Christianity, then there's no problem. This is because Plantinga is an externalist: which means, I'm pretty sure, he believes that one does not need to be aware of the processes by which he arrives at knowledge. In other words, one doesn't have to "know he knows to know."

 

 



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Allan

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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2009, 12:48:24 pm »

enarchay:
Well most Christians do not take God as a hypothesis - neither does Alvin Plantinga. Plantinga's contention in God and Other Minds is that it is deontologically justified and rational to believe God exists in the basic way; in other words, belief in God is properly basic if and only if belief in other minds is properly basic.


Pap:-

Well there's a definition for a hypothesis which fits the bill so we'll just have to disagree on that.

Anyhow, the direct inference here (not withstanding belief in other minds being properly basic) is that belief in god represents the same as belief in other minds but I don’t see that as being the case, certainly with regard to the methodology. For example, which of our faculties are engaged in determining belief in other minds and which ones are engaged in determining belief in god i.e. are they the same and thus qualified by the same measure? I would say there is a fundamental difference. For me, the main bone of contention would be knowledge or information transfer which is what we use to evaluate the existence of other minds i.e. new knowledge or new information received is an important way in which we can discern whether we are communicating with a new entity as opposed to communicating with ourselves. I’ve had discussions with Christians about their alleged ‘encounters’ with God yet when I ask what new knowledge or information was received as a result, they can’t give any meaningful answer which basically means there was none. The best they have come up with is re-interpretation of existing knowledge e.g. ‘It made me realise what the message in the bible meant, one which I didn’t fully understand before’. Well this simply represents a re-hashing of old knowledge so how does Platinga propose that these two beliefs are equal in respect to their nature and are thus equal in merit? There must surely exist, a simple qualifying procedure so accordingly, how is the basicality of God belief qualified in an independent and meaningful way?  

Now according to a definition of Deontological Justification I found on the web:-

S is justified in believing that p if and only if S believes that p while it is not the case that S is obliged to refrain from believing that p.

(Where p is that God exists, in this case)

Well I will contend that S is obliged to refrain from believing that p due to available alternatives for the nature and purpose of those perceptions which are the very, if not sole basis and justification for believing that p in the first place. Without this being the particular application for those perceptive tools, there is no basis for believing in God even under RE.

      The alternative, as I’ve expressed before, is that we naturally hierarchalise for material benefits. That is to say, in this situation our perceptual mechanisms are involved in a process of functional worth (hierarchalising as an aid to survivability i.e. forming groups) and not one of spiritual worth (seeking out a higher power). So to me, it’s not a reliability issue regarding perceptual tools per se, it’s an application issue whereby the tools function correctly as they should. Hierarchalising doesn’t entail any particular object of belief or ‘alpha entity’so one would predict widespread variatons which is evidenced in the real world. God belief should, within all reason, tend the actual God that is being perceived but this is not evidenced in the real world as a monotheistic god should be universally perceived (subject to cognitive malfunction) which it most certainly isn’t .

  So I maintain that with the issue being one of  application of perceptive tools and not reliability, one must refrain from believing that p until the true application is determined, as the very justification for believing that p, is contingent on the application being one for seeking God. Or another way of looking at it is to say that the environment is not conducive to support those perceptions as being reliable such that
    they can act as justification for belief that
p.

   


enarchay:
However, if a person P holds a belief B in the basic way, it makes no sense to say, "You should accept C instead: it's simpler, and Occam's Razor says such and such." Your objection should be something like, "You are unjustified/unwarranted/irrational in believing B - it is not properly basic, and you have a duty to reject it."


Pap:-

I agree with the latter (and await qualification of god-belief as being a basic belief) but disagree with the former for reasons I’ve already expressed i.e. it deals with a scenario existing in the real and natural world whereby appropriate and relevant evidence is available for investigating the validity and integrity of two competing hypotheses.



enarchay:

Plantinga's goal is to show that the atheologian cannot object to the warrant and rationality of the theist's beliefs without showing that God does not exist. On this note, The Cambrige Companion to Atheism writes, "Perhaps reformed epistemology has at least succeeded in shifting some of the burden of proof from theists to atheists. If theistic belief is defended in the context of an externalist epistemology, atheists cannot blithely invoke foundationalist criteria and defy theists to justify their beliefs in God on that basis. Plantinga might argue that the tables are now turned and that anyone wanting to convict theists of irrationality must first show that God does not exist, since if God exists, theistic beliefs very likely have warrant" (p. 111).




Pap:-

I’m a cynic so for my piece of conjecture, I would say his convoluted exercise originated as an attempt to show that a widespread natural behaviour is rational and not irrational since it represents evidence which is open to investigation and qualification and this is how theists behave (that is even though most widespread natural behaviours are irrational i.e. like falling in love etc). However, I would suggest that as no objective truth could be found through following a logical path he ended up twisting the argument to make the challenge ‘Show that it isn’t rational’ i.e. no positive proof from his side to act as support but yet again, a request is made for proof of a negative. Well in all fairness, if you ask a hundred theists to show how their beliefs are rational, only those who’ve painstakingly gone through the debates will be able to offer anything up. The rest will most likely admit to being irrational but ask; so what?

 Actually, I’m a bit curious as to why the intelligentia see it as being important that god-belief is justified, rational and warranted. I wonder if it’s a survival issue for theistic belief itself in a world full of people asking questions as if he does exist, God certainly didn’t seem to make belief in his existence an exercise whereby the positive outcome is determinable using logic and rational thought. I look forward to being proved wrong on that one (actually maybe not...)



 

Also, justified true belief can’t be a case of possibilities as anything logically possible could be possible (reference to agnosticism) but I think you would be allowed probabilification, so have you come up with anything better yet to probabilify the trueness of god belief other than through tossing a coin which seems as far as RE will allow you to go?


PS: Sorry it's taken a while to respond but I had to go and look up some of the terms to get a better understanding of the topics under discussion. Anyway, this post is long enough so I'll have to respond to the rest of your post later.



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Allan

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« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2009, 01:52:03 pm »

enarchay:-

Plantinga doesn't really appeal to any evidence at all. You don't hold a basic belief on the basis of evidence: that's the point. Plantinga's point about the basic beliefs of Christians is that they are often not groundless: they are formed in response to certain experiences. At least, therefore, Christianity is internally rational. Of course, schizophrenics are internally rational as well: they form the right beliefs in response to their experiences, though their experiences result from cognitive malfunction. However, Plantinga argues that the atheologian cannot show that Christianity is externally irrational without showing that Christianity is false.

Pap:-

Surely the evidence is ‘that which is before our eyes’ so to speak? i.e. That which happens to us which we must acknowledge as having happened to us i.e. these experiences you talk of. Now I contend even basic god belief to be externally irrational as RE is based on an unsupported assumption regarding the functional application of those perceptual tools or in other words an assumption that the environment is conducive to having reliable perceptions. Since that assumption has been challenged belief must be withheld until the assumption is shown to be valid in non-circular terms, or other forms of justification are submitted. There is no reason that I know of which would prevent God from divulging suitable information or providing evidence for his existence which one would expect him to do as there is no logical path to follow without such parameters.

enarchay:-

Imagine a world W in which the majority of people suffer from mild schizophrenia. They hear voices and come to believe, for example, that there are spirits that wander the earth. Those few people who are not schizophrenics cannot say the majority of people are unjustified, since those people are internally rational, and form the right beliefs on the basis of their experiences. But maybe the minority contends that the majority suffers from irrationality. Perhaps they show some scientific data that indicates significant cognitive differences between the minority and majority. The majority should shrug their shoulders. After all, why should they believe they suffer from cognitive malfunction? Maybe schizophrenia is the result of proper function, and the minority is actually the irrational group. The only way I can see that the minority could show that the majority is irrational would be to show that the majority holds false beliefs: for example, there are no spirits wandering the earth.

Pap:-

If the process which promotes schizophrenia is able to be broken down and analysed and shown to have an alternative purpose which is realized and evidenced, then the minority can show the majority that their belief is irrational in the face of this if there is no further support for believing in spirits walking the earth. However, this scenario differs from the theistic belief scenario because there is no identified purpose for the schizophrenic episodes you’ve mentioned but there is for theistic belief.  

Quote:

This is, a 'behaviour' which has a naturalist proposition for an answer and with supporting arguments appealing to further natural evidence. God just happens to fall by the wayside when you consider the possibility that this behaviour has no bearing on whether the object of belief is real or not.

enarchay:-

Come to think of it, your contention looks very similar to an argument that Plantinga discusses in Warranted Christian Belief. It goes: (Q4) If S can give an explanation of a certain range of her beliefs without assuming the existence of the entities whose existence those beliefs affirm, then S has an undercutting defeater for those beliefs. Here's Plantinga's response:

Still, is (Q4) really true? There are at least two versions of (Q4). On the one hand, (Q4) could require that the proposed explanation must involve only entities whose existence S already accepts; on the other, the explanation could involve either entities whose existence she already accepts or entities whose existence she does not already accept. Because the first version is the weaker and hence more plausible, suppose we confine our attention to it. So imagine that I can give an explanation of a certain range of my beliefs without assuming the existence of the entities E those beliefs affirm; suppose further I can give the explanation in terms of entities I already do accept. Does that give me a defeater for belief in the existence of those entities E? I don't think so. Consider my belief in the external objects of perception (trees, houses, horses, other people): perhaps I could explain these beliefs as implanted in me by God, for reasons of his own. This explanation does not presuppose the existence of those objects, and it is in terms of entities (God) whose existence I already accept. Would the availability of this explanation give me a defeater for those perceptual beliefs? I doubt it. Another possibility: perhaps I could also explain them (in accordance with the projection theories we are considering) as projections I myself unconsciously make: I am appeared to in various ways and, as a result, project beliefs to the effect that there are material objects that persist even when I am not having any experience. Would that explanation of such beliefs give me a defeater for them? Again, I doubt it. (WCB p. 372-373).

Pap:-

I disagree with Platinga. I can’t accept his use of God as and entity whose existence he already accepts as its objective existence is anything but proven. It’s also an explanation whereby the significant constituent part (God) makes it one of enormous complexity not simplicity. How does one explain Gods relationship to anything let alone to ones own perceptive thoughts i.e. the cause and effect scenario is about as complex as you’ll likely to find so there is nothing simple about that as an answer and thus is easy to reject.

               The second response I don’t quite follow. Is he saying that whenever he looks at spatial position A say, a tree always appears because he subconsciously projects one to occupy that position i.e. whenever he looks at that position he will project a tree there so the tree will always appear in that place to him giving the impression that a tree actually exists there? If so, then I would say that this is a much more complex answer than the tree actually being there.  Also the appearance/realness of the tree is subject to other justification such as your colleague also seeing the tree. If you don’t accept that as independent justification for the tree’s actuality then your argument will have to be that not only are you projecting the tree, you are also projecting your colleague and projecting his response too. This is increasing the complexity of the scenario to such a level that it must be rejected if you have no further support for it.      


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Allan

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« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2009, 06:54:00 am »

Quote:

To me, Platinga implies that because we are naturally inclined to believe in god-models, it is a basic belief or behaviour, actualised by the existence of God.

enarchay:-

What do you mean naturally? Plantinga doesn't contend man in fact has a cognitive faculty like the sensus divinitatis that produces warranted beliefs about God. Rather, he contends it's possible. But, of course, if it's possible, then that means belief in God could be rational even if there are no successful arguments for theism. This, Plantinga claims, rules out this type of reasoning: "Maybe God exists or maybe he doesn't. Who could know such a thing like that? But in any case, it is certainly unreasonable, or unwarranted, to believe God exists."

Pap:-

By ‘naturally inclined’ I refer to widespread and typical human behaviour which would make it justified in the naturalistic sense even if it isn’t justified using some other epistemic qualifier (i.e. with regard to the various epistemes that abound). Of course philosophy has naturalistic drivers (it’s basically case study driven or scenario driven) so there isn’t anything wrong with Platinga’s approach but I still say he assumes to much from the evidence he is using (i.e. this widespread behaviour) which must have been the inspiration for him to propose something like a sensus divinitatis in the first place as there would be no point in him coming up with a hypothesis to explain solely his own actions.

     You say possible, well ok but anything could be possible. So possibility alone can’t be justification for believing in anything per se, other than for believing in the possibility itself. So it’s possible but is it likely i.e. is it probable? If it’s probable then it can be shown to be rational and warranted but RE has no means of ‘probabilifying’ the truth of its claims. In fact as I have mentioned before, there exists under the terms of RE, at least three propositions representing ‘justified, possibly rational and possibly warranted’ belief i.e. Christianity, Judaism and Islamism all coming in at 33.333…% to begin with. The likelihood of any one of these being true is equal at present yet they are mutually exclusive so if one is true then the others must be false. This means the Monty Hall Game Show scenario applies and as soon as one of the false hypotheses is shown to be wrong then the believers in the remaining two must swap beliefs to then claim a 66.6…% probability of likely success. They would be rational and warranted in swapping beliefs but not so in retaining their original beliefs. This is clearly a ridiculous state of affairs showing how inept RE is as an epistemic justification for god belief. It has no more integrity than using ‘anything is possible’ as a foundation for a belief system. As such I say god belief remains unreasonable and unwarranted in epistemic terms.


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Allan

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« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2009, 11:10:40 am »

Quote:

Whereas I say, we believe in god-models due to a basic behavioural trait unconnected to gods and also evidenced in many other aspects of human nature.


enarchay:-
See above. Also note my previous contention that God could use such "behavioral traits" as mechanisms for the formation of God-beliefs; that is, if God exists, such behavioral traits could be functioning properly for the purpose of God-beliefs.

Pap:-

The universe displays efficiency concerning whatever objective topic you want but the above entails inefficiency which doesn't fit in with the normal operation of the universe. It's easy to conceive of a much more efficient way to form god belief. A way already exists actually; he shows up, we believe... how easy and efficient is that? I can't really see any support for your view.


enarchay:-
I'm curious, though. Let's assume for the sake of argument God does not exist. This means God-beliefs are produced by mechanisms that were not designed by God. So where did these mechanisms come from? Presumably, evolution: the same shop that gave us reason, perception, and memory. However, if evolution is aimed at survival, then is it not likely that belief in God has survival value? It'd be tough to argue that evolution is the result of cognitive malfunction similar to mental illness, since the majority of people throughout history have held - and even today most people do hold - religious beliefs of some sort; apparently, forming religious beliefs is natural. If so, then ought we not to continue holding God-beliefs? It seems that if God does not exist, then belief in God is still a good thing. We could put God, then, in the category a Humean skeptic would put, for example, memory beliefs. In other words, belief in God would be pragmatically rational. But even more strongly, if ethics are determined by evolution, then it is ethical to believe God exists (if it has survival value).

Pap:-

From a naturalistic viewpoint only, yes; god belief does indeed have survival value as it is intrinsic to the successful functioning of what is basically an efficient and productive system and so is justified and warranted hence it is rational to believe in it ironically enough but only under certain conditions i.e. where material gains have been realised.

As for its origins, the hypothesis is that it’s all to do with hierarchalising and there are studies going on into the hormones which promote hierarchal bonding in mammals as a foundation for the social structures observed in mammalian societies. The projection of the ‘alpha entity’ from being ‘mother’ to a baby, or the tribal Chieftan to the tribe member, to being a super power outside of but intrinsically linked to the tribe, is a logical inference which can be taken.

   

 The Sun was an early example as evidenced in our anthropological history. It was the ‘bringer of life’ and was worshipped at a time when people had no linguistic structure to enable complex philosophical questions such as ‘why am I here?’ etc to be asked. This is why simple hierarchal projection is a better explanation for the model and also why it was pan global as every race knew about the sun. We can reasonably summise that the person who ‘communicated’ with the sun eg the medicine man/shaman, had great influence on the group ethos as their actions would revolve around appeasing the sun, ensuring its continued benevolence; thus setting the tone for ‘religious belief’ and its influence upon the tribe thereon after.

Quote:

Religious belief is not irrational as a behaviour but belief in the 'object of belief' being real is (i.e. when without supporting evidence) as it represents a different category.

enarchay:
   posttablenutxt1>What do you mean "irrational as a behaviour"?

Pap:-

It’s from a naturalistic viewpoint so I’d better clarify what I meant. Ironically, in naturalistic terms only, theistic behaviour i.e. the act of forming groups entailing god belief is justified because it’s a natural (i.e. typical) human behaviour and warranted due to the evolutionary success of such systems plus there also remains the possibility that the object of belief could be real. Therefore it could be said to be rational and warranted to believe in god if the particular theology yields material benefits since believing in a god is one of the pre-requisites of the group function. However this does not say that the actual belief in a god being real is rational; indeed it is an irrational belief. I hope that made the distinction more clear.        


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Allan

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« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2009, 01:16:01 pm »

I've been pondering over how much of naturalism (if any) or how much of a naturalist approach Platinga has engaged in regarding RE and to me there appears to be almost complete reliance on it up to the point whereby he appears to have simply transposed naturalism onto a theistic epistemology but he has only succeeded in justifying an action not a belief.  

I would argue that Reformed Epistemology is a conflation of naturalism and theological epistemes and thus represents a categorical abomination. Naturalism seeks to identify functional worth as a way to gain understanding whereas theological epistemology (or any general epistemology) seeks understanding through the determination of justified true beliefs and specifically how these are determined. i.e. one seeks worth the other seeks truth.  

          Naturalism doesn’t seek to epistemize justified true beliefs as its sphere of interest concerns actions and interactions in the natural world. So ‘naturalistic justification’ will relate to the appropriateness of actions attempting to bring about success. This has nothing whatsoever to to with the truth qualification of any related and relevent belief about or directly concerning those actions. In naturalism it’s justified if it works which as it happens, is all that RE is basically saying i.e. This is all about justified actions not justified beliefs and therefore RE is wholly unsuitable, dare I say unusable, as a methodology for seeking truth or true beliefs.