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Belief without Warrant

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k64

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Warrant in Controversy
« on: August 05, 2018, 06:08:09 pm »
Hello, I submitted this question for the Question of the Week, but am also posting it here, both because I'm sure Dr. Craig is busy and might not have time for my question, and because I think the input of the community would be valuable as well. 

This question has personal significance to me, since it is the reason for my current agnosticism.  The question is, how can we have any warrant to believe a controversial statement? 

Consider a controversial proposition X, upon which people are split evenly.  Half of people are on side A, and half of people on side B.  Both sides believe that the other side is wrong.  The only thing we can be sure of is that at least 50% of people are wrong.  No testimony, evidence, or argument, however persuasive it may seem, provides us with warrant to believe one side over the other, unless it has the property that it would convince both sides if it was presented to them.  If testimony, evidence, or an argument in support of side A is convincing only to those on side A, it does nothing to make A’s beliefs more warranted.  All it does is demonstrate confirmation bias.  Furthermore, any claim that side A can make about a privileged knowledge position for its member only works if it would be accepted by side B.  If A can claim that it’s members all have first-hand experience or expert status with the matter, while B’s do not, this provides support for A, if and only if B would agree that it is both true and relevant.  If B does not belief that the claim is true or relevant, it is the same as if B claimed that all its members were omniscient or enjoyed jazz to support its beliefs. 
So, the only evidence providing real warrant in a controversy is that which would be accepted by both sides.  However, this evidence is rare in practice, since controversies only tend to persist while such conclusive evidence is not found.  If it is found, it tends to be shared, convince everyone, and end the controversy. 
Also, adding a third side C to the above situation only makes things worse.  And the situation we find ourselves in for religion is a many-sided controversy which has persisted for millennia.  Therefore, no-one, except those claiming some sort of miraculous experience or special knowledge can have sufficient warrant to believe that others are wrong about religion, which is required for most religions. 

So, how can we have warrant to believe claims which a considerable portion of honest, good, intelligent people disbelieve?

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HectorVG

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Re: Warrant in Controversy
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 11:49:17 am »
Greetings K64,

You raise a good question, especially when it "seems" to reflect a religious reality. There are many religions that try to validate their creeds through miraculous experiences, or others, of which only they have access. However, I think it is important to point out the following points:

1. The case you present has side A and side B. One of the two is correct and another is wrong. One of them presents accessible evidence for themselves in order to validate their creed and announce that the other creed is in error.

2. I believe that both sides, A and B, must assume a self-critical position to evaluate their statements and how they achieve adequate evidential support. Ravi Zacarías presents 3 areas in which we can evaluate a worldview:

     1) The validity of the logic used: Which evaluates that the validity and the relation of the premises that give place to the conclusion are related correctly, without the rational possibility of a logical error.

     2) The veracity of the premises: Where it is assessed that the premises that make up the argument, or the "controversial statement", are true. All creeds, both A and B, issue statements that must be evaluated. From this perspective, its premises must be logically truthful so that someone "honest, good and intelligent" can rationally realize the "guarantees" to believe.

     3) The use of ambiguous terms: This refers to the concepts that make up the premises do not allow a double interpretation, but are understandable to both parties.

In these three areas a solid argument can be evaluated.

3. Now, it is important that you know that not only do people not believe in not finding guarantees for a controversial statement, but there are a number of reasons that influence a decision. These reasons are not only associated with the intellectual area, but also with the emotional area and the area of ​​the will. Each of them must be treated in a particular way.

4. Both A and B must assume the "burden of proof". His position should not only be focused on trying to validate his "controversial statement", but also, as the case warrants, present reasons why "there are no good reasons to believe that the other party is right". This is the burden of proof. "There are good reasons to believe that A is right", and "There are no good reasons to believe that B is right".

5. As far as Christianity is concerned, I believe that it has assumed both a Passive Apologetics, that is, the defense of attacks, and an Active Apologetics, that is, attacks on the validity of other creeds. There are good books about how some men, from a neutral position and offensive against Christianity, evaluated this worldview and in the end they found themselves professing the Christian faith, such as Nabeel Qureshi, Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel.

I hope that what I wrote will help you in this search.

If you need help, you can contact me. My advice is "let yourself be carried to where the evidence takes you, without religious presuppositions".

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k64

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Re: Warrant in Controversy
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 09:44:12 pm »
Thank you for your reply Hector.  I appreciate how thoughtful and reasoned it is.  I pretty much agree with everything you wrote, and I like Ravi's framework for evaluating claims. 

As far as reading the Case for Christ, or other similar books, the issue is that I find the books reasonably convincing when I read them, but then there are analogous books about men who were Christians and became atheists, which also sound convincing. 

I think the main problem I have is with #2 in Ravi's framework.  I don't have the resources to determine if the premises are true, so I often have to trust the author.  However, when I read different authors, they make different claims, that, if true, make a strong argument for their point.  For instance, a Christian author claims that hundreds of people saw Christ risen from the dead with their own eyes and were willing to die rather than recant this testimony.  An atheist author claims that Jesus of Nazareth wasn't a historical person, but rather an amalgam of stories from other religions that the Catholic Church later claimed was real.  Both claims, if true, make their author's conclusions seem very reasonable, but neither claim is something I feel qualified to verify myself. 

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Paiyada

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Re: Warrant in Controversy
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2018, 11:08:36 pm »
For those who are looking for more information, please ask me.

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jayceeii

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Re: Warrant in Controversy
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 12:02:49 pm »
So, how can we have warrant to believe claims which a considerable portion of honest, good, intelligent people disbelieve?
One of the huge problems in the human domain is native divisiveness. People disagree just to disagree and feel unique, which is why the Bible asserted “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” If this is so, people can be found following fallacious routes of reasoning as they stake out their religious and existential beliefs, and one of the biggest problems here is inflating what is trivial without sound basis. The question of baptism is a case in point, which has been the source of many schisms and new factions. Some say immersion is required and you must wait until you are an adult. Others say a splash of water during childhood is enough to ensure salvation in God’s eyes. Here are your 50% and 50%, and your question is which side has a warrant, and why this does not convince the other side. Intriguingly here too, there are no Christian factions asserting baptism to be meaningless, although it is a logical possibility. In general those who favor adult immersion insist the conscious will must make a decision, but those who favor childhood splashes say man is sinful and cannot redeem himself by choice. Both arguments appear to have weight, and the arguments are generated by amplifying the factors, not explaining them. One says choice is trivial, the other says ceremonies in childhood are trivial. Most importantly the schism forms and we now have different churches, the entities in question merely magnifying the factors and confusing this with knowledge. The immersion people cite the example of Jesus, the splash people cite the mercy of Jesus. To know the truth, you would have to know certainly what God wants, and the real mechanisms of salvation. The Bible, insofar as it supports the idea of an immaterial soul, could be interpreted as implying baptism to be useless in any effect on spirit. This is buttressed by Jesus’ vague assertion “baptism by fire” might be required for true merit, what He intended a mystery.