The skeptical Turn of mind

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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KR Wordgazer
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by KR Wordgazer » Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:52 pm

LA Canuck, I agree with this Plantinga quote; however, I am not sure why it seems to him to be so "interesting," as if Christians somehow were not interested in the truth or falsehood of their beliefs, but only whether they are rationally warranted.

Why would anyone choose to believe something they didn't think was true? And how could they do so? Do you think we Christians just say to ourselves, "Gee, it would be nice if there were a God. I think I'll believe there is"?

I will quote C.S. Lewis, from his essay "On Obstinacy in Belief":

"As far as I know it is not expected that a man should assent to these propositions in the first place without any evidence or in the teeth of the evidence. . . [and the] evidence cannot be so weak as to warrant the view that all whom it convinces are indifferent to evidence. The history of thought seems to make this quite plain. We know, in fact, that believers are not cut off from unbelievers by any portentious inferiority of intelligence or any perverse refusal to think. Many of them have been people of powerful minds. Many of them have been scientists. We may suppose them to have been mistaken, but we must suppose that their error was at least plausible. . . All these [theistic and atheistic] beliefs, weak or strong, are based upon what appears to the holders to be evidence; but the strong believers or disbelievers of course think they have very strong evidence. There is no need to suppose stark unreason on either side. We need only suppose error. One side has estimated the evidence wrongly. And even so, the mistake cannot be supposed to be of a flagrant nature; otherwise the debate would not continue."

No, a Christian's rational warrant is a rational warrant just like that of the atheist-- it is based on what the Christian believes to be true. So I still don't think Plantinga is really saying anything so particularly "interesting." It's not like the person who comes to believe in God just starts with the inference that God is real and then finds it rationally warranted. If you read Metacrock's personal testimony on his website, you will see that was not the case for him; nor was it for me, or any believer I know. I know that I started only with an openness of mind-- this might be true, and if it were, certain actions on my part in response would be necessary.
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Metacrock
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:06 am

LACanuck wrote:From Warranted Christian Belief, Plantinga, 2000 pg 191
And this dependence of the question on warrant or rationality on the truth or falsehood of theism leads to a very interesting conclusion. If the warrant enjoyed by belief in God is related in this way to the truth of belief, then the question whether theistic belief has warrant is not, after all, independent of the question of whether theistic belief is true
I believe this is the quote you were asking about. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not misunderstanding the point, which is that belief in theism is only rationally warranted if theism is true. And if Plantinga is correct, then the conclusions that I made regarding the circularity of belief would hold.

I think you misunderstood the quote in a way. He appears to just be saying what I am saying, not that the truth content must be proven to be warranted, but that a warrant is a reason to believe, so a priori a warrant is linked to reasons to believe. and to truth content, that doesn't mean it has to be proven conclusively.
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LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:04 am

Metacrock wrote:I think you misunderstood the quote in a way. He appears to just be saying what I am saying, not that the truth content must be proven to be warranted, but that a warrant is a reason to believe, so a priori a warrant is linked to reasons to believe. and to truth content, that doesn't mean it has to be proven conclusively.
I'm not sure how you're coming to that conclusion. Plantinga says, quite explicitly
...whether theistic belief has warrant is not, after all, independent of the question of whether theistic belief is true
This lack of independence means that theistic belief is warranted only if the belief is true. In other words, there is a rational warrant only if God exists. If God doesn' exist, then the warrant is not rational.

Of course, the same thing flips in the other direction. Atheism is warranted only if God doesn't exist. The existance of God would mean that atheism is not rationally warranted.

This all comes back to your idea that rational warrant provides a prima facie case. If Plantinga is correct, then it doesn't because the foundation for the rational warrant is the existance of God.

LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:19 am

KR, my interest in the quote has to do with the contention by Meta that rational warraent for belief provides a prima facie case, shifting the burden of proof to the atheist to demonstrate the non-existance of God. If Plantinga is right, then the lack of independence between the rational warrant and the question of God's existance means that a rational warrant for belief does not, by itself, provide a prima facie case. I believe the term Meta used was 'good enough for government work". ;) While you're correct that both Christians and atheists hold their beliefs based on what they perceive as evidence, I'm solely talking about the idea that a rational warrant for belief provides any sort of indication as to the existance of God.

ZAROVE
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by ZAROVE » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:50 pm

Rational Warrent can never be used to Indicate the existance of anything, or lack thereofe.

Rational Warrnt must be based upon evidence, and thus doesn't serve as evidence itself.

Plantegna may be brilliant, but that doesn't make the statement made correct.

Rational Warrent for beelif in God exists, based upon given evidence. ( We've noted evidence before elswhere, for the sake here of this argument I'm not gettign into it)

THus, it can eb said that people who beleive in God do so base dupon evidence that is convincing enough for them to accept this. That is why we say they have Raitonal Warrent for their belifs. Just as Ahtiests can have Raitonal Warrent for their own.

LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:42 pm

Zarove, I believe that Plantinga's point is the belief in God is rationally warranted only if God exists. Just as atheism is only rationally warranted if God does not exist. And if you go back far enough in this thread, the impetus for my quoting Plantinga was this quote from Meta.
Metacrock wrote:No I infur that God's existence is rationally warranted and that is close enough for proof to make a leap of faith, not that they do prove it.
My entire point is that God's existance is not rationally warranted. The best you can get is that belief in God is rationally warranted if and only if God exists. And if God doesn't exist, then it is not rationally warranted. But in no case is this "close enough for proof".

ZAROVE
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by ZAROVE » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:49 pm

I see your poitn but mut disagree.

Rational Warrent is not the ame thing as proof, and it is not true that only things that are true can be raitonally beelived.

Rational warrent is, after all, only a term meangn that there is valid reason to beelive soemthing, and that someone wo is raitonal can therefore beelive it to be true. It doesn't ensur the truthfulness of a position.

Therefore, if God does not eixst, but this is not known to the beeliver, who has seen evidenc indicative or consistant wiht a beelif that God does exist, then it is rational for the person to beelive, even if wrong, that God does exist. He has Rational Warrent, even if he is mislead.

The same is said of the Atjeist. If God exists, but the evidence for God's existance is inconclusive in what has been presentes to the Atheist, and the Ahteist has seen alternate explanations, he woudl be raitoally justified in his Atheism. Nis Atheism has Raitonal Warrent even though he is wrong.

LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:47 am

It seems, then, then your disagreement is with Plantinga. Whew. For a second, I was taking it personally ;)

I would suggest reading through Rational Christian Warrant for he argument on why his viewpoint is correct. But, as a warning, it is dense reading.

ZAROVE
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by ZAROVE » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:21 am

I am familiar with it. But, as a Psycocology student, who is also entergn this as a second career, I know for a fact that rational warrent is not limited to that which is true.

I am not saying that which is true is unimportant, nor am I taking the position of a relitavist. Truth is true rather we beelive it or not.

But when disucussing Rational Warrent, we are discussin that which is capable of being held rationally by a sane mind, without any logical contradiction.


uch a beleif can be mistaken, but provided that there is sufficient eidence and sufficient reason to interpret said evidence in a given way, you have Rational Warrent for what you beleive to be true.

Rational Warrent doesn't make things right, and doesn't hinge on them beign true. Rational Warrent does, however, mean that there is sufficient reason, from the vantage point of the person who holds the beleif, to hold it, without being irrational.

The only thing that we are measuring then is rational reason to hold a beleif in light of given evidence, not the ultimate truth of the matter in which the stated beelifs are in regard to.

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