Posts Tagged «big picture»

I learned a new word today ‘Evidentialism’

Evidentialism in epistemology is defined by the following thesis about epistemic justification: Person S is justified in believing proposition p at time t if and only if S’s evidence for p at t supports believing p.

Sounds pretty plausible – no? That in the end is the core argument of the atheist movement: You can not prove the existence of God – therefore you must reject the existence of God.

Technically one would actually have to be an agnostic based on the logic that the existance of a God is unprovable, not an atheist – but that is of course a minor point. Now I have to admit that I am not believing in any religious sense. However, I do believe that carrying particular forms of beliefs can increase an individual’s as well as said individual’s group’s fitness – even if from a purely evidentialist point of view there would be no justification to hold said believe – yes – even when there is clear cut evidence contradicting said belief.

Now that I have learned this new word I shall use it to respond to sentences such as:

“You should not believe in XYZ – you lack the evidence!”

“That is evidentialist thinking. Have you considered that there might be other reasons believing XYZ beside evidence alone?”

Looking at it this way it makes sense that evolution has allowed for humans to hold beliefs not only in the absence of evidence but in the presence of contradicting evidence. Being ignorant of an existing term for this capability I shall call it: irrationalst’s edge.

Irrationalist’s edge is the ability to hold a fitness increasing belief in the presence of contradicting evidence.