Friday, August 21, 2009

The Faith Debate, Pt. 3

Justin's just posted his second response. Here is a recap of the debate:

1. Justin's opening statement. A defense of properly basic beliefs.
2. AIG Busted's opening statement. Based on Bayesian decision theory.
3. AIG Busted's rebuttal to Justin's opening.
4. Justin's rebuttal to AIG Busted's opening.


Rabbitpirate said...

This is aimed at Justin but for some reason it won't let me post on his site, keeps erroring. So I thought I would post it here instead.

I'm realy enjoying this little debate between you and AIG Busted. I think you have both made some interesting arguments but I think your logic falls down a little in this post.

For example in this post your say "In the ground rules for this debate we are including personal religious experience as a basis for faith. That is itself a type of evidence." You then use this personal religious experience, which you have just stated is a type of evidence, and use it to reach the conclusion "Faith is rational without evidence." I'm sure you can see the contradiction in this.

I also think you may be misunderstanding Bayesian decision theory. This talks about the probability of something being true before any evidence is presented, and this includes personal religious experiences. AIG Busted's point, at least how I read it, seems to be that the odds of Christianity being true without any evidence, including personal religious experience, are the same as those for any of the other billions of possible religions.

Once you include the evidence from personal religious experience you are no longer talking about the Bayesian pre-evidence probability of Christianity being true.

So if we have no evidence at all for Christianity being true, including evidence from personal religious experience, then the starting probability that it is in fact true is the same as that of any other religion.

You're "arguing that faith is rational without evidence" and yet the first thing you do is produce the evidence of personal religious experience to back up this claim, which of course instantly invalidates your argument.

With your example of what you had for breakfast Bayesian decision theory is really talking about the odds of you having a specific type of breakfast BEFORE you have it. Once you have eaten that bagel then you enter the post evidence stage of the argument. You now have some evidence for what kind of breakfast you had and so you are looking at a different set of probabilities than you were before you had breakfast.

Hope that makes sense. Keep up the posts. I look forward to seeing where this goes.

scienceminded of youtube said...

I would like to add that given personal religious experience as rational reason for faith, that it still does not constitute objective truth and when compared with 'religious experiences' from all other faiths, given all are equal BUT often mutually exclusive ideas that personal experience does not have a very strong or rational case to present by itself.