Belief by Default Instead of Disbelief by Default | Clint – SC | Atheist Experience 23.24

Posted By on June 12, 2019



I'll try not to hang up on this one either let's go with Clint Clint I think I can help but in South Carolina you're all magenta and Matt hey Jenna hey Matt hi I don't I'm really I'm really happy I got through to you so I've been watching a lot of your podcasts this is the first time I've I'm calling in or thought about calling in on this if you don't mind I just like to quickly try and steal me in your position on skepticism okay your objective basically is to believe as many true things as possible and believe as many false things there is as few false things as possible right hard for me to deny that when I put it on a t-shirt so yes that's accurate okay and and to that end you think the best way to go about that is skepticism skepticism are the principles behind how I would go about investigating a claim but the it's not like skepticism that convinces me of something it is the weight of the evidence that convinces me of something okay okay skepticism is the method by which we go about figuring out what evidence should be necessary what evidence is good whether or not an argument is valid or sound whether or not the evidence is that we're reviewing is reliable that sort of thing it's kind of like a it is the it is the position of having the goal to be more right than wrong and finding the best methods to do that it's not that skepticism itself is necessarily the method it includes scientific methods etc exactly yeah obviously I would agree that you know starting at logic than mathematics and science building up you know from one to the other is the tools in which we use to you know discover truth well you just I I agree with you again Clint this is going to be the easiest thing ever because we just keep it green my my question is the method you go about or during your your logical arguments you would define of skepticism right so you're skeptical if there's a fallacy leading to a conclusion you're you be skeptical of that conclusion oh of course but that's not the only a fallacious argument is not the only well I'm skeptical of everything this exercise of doubt of not being convinced of thinking that something perhaps doesn't warrant being convinced that is certainly heightened when we identify a fallacy in the argument and or a flaw and the evidence for it those aren't the only reasons that I would not be convinced of something right I actually took your your challenge pretty seriously when you encourage people at I think it was the last if he is convention to investigate logic reason mmm and when I did I came away thinking there than ever actually that belief is the best way not skepticism and I think I can I think I can try and explain why okay before you before you explain why could could you explain what when you say believe it is a better way than skepticism I that that's that's to me like saying conclusions are a better way than methods well okay I will I will right now personally 100% agree that there is no deductive way of getting from evidence to God okay however I don't think there's a lot of things that I mean if there's if there's things that are material you can definitely get from deductive evidence you know a be big I got you BC equals he anyway you can definitely get there that but when it comes to things like abstract things like personal freedoms and and in concepts like God or spiritual you know entities or anything along those lines you can't necessarily rely I would say I don't believe that we have reached a technological point to where we have we can we can definitively say that those things don't exist oh why would you go with saying those things don't exist instead of saying I don't think we can say they do exist because first of all abstract things don't exist they are mental constructs so they don't exist in the absence of minds as far as we can tell it's not like hope is something that exists out there that we're tapping into hope is something we have and we do okay so so I would agree with you that when it comes to material things you can create deductive arguments supported by evidence boom that these glasses exist this phone exists whatever for abstract things why would you presume that there is an attainable truth value for them at all well why would you not isn't that isn't that appeal the logic well no see one of the things is that you have to begin with some kind of default position and you can either for example and that that's kind of where I'm going with this the default position should be believed because you're gonna date so then your default position then your default position according would mean that you would have to believe in Jesus Muhammad Scientology Jainism or Jainism pick them all you'd have to believe all of them until you could prove that one of them wrong or more than one right absolutely so do do you believe all of them need to investigate no he'll know because I've investigated several of them and I found them to be fallacious so so you but here's the thing I can't rule out the others yet because I have an investigator make one up tomorrow no ball believe that – and fiddle I can prove it okay cool this is this is nuts Clint and this is not son I'm gonna I'm gonna fix this real quick nobody's saying you have to be able to rule things out I'm saying if the default position is not to believe things until there's evidential warrant for it now I'm in a position where I don't believe any of the world's religions and as soon as one of them demonstrates that it is real I can now accept it you are in a position where you have to accept every religion and then start picking them off well the fact that you haven't yet picked off these eight already doesn't tell you which if any of them are true they could all be false and second it puts you in a position where you are forced to believe things that are contradictory Jesus can't be God as well as somebody else being God well I agree with that and I would also argue that the Bible doesn't support that but are we talking about the Bible I don't I don't know what you know okay so well I'm assuming I'm assuming you're talking about the Trinity and you know the doctrine of you know the three-in-one you know no I wasn't thinking about the Trinity at all I'm pointing out that it's like I'm not a sports ball guy but there are sports that I like so let's say you're watching the top ten curling teams and you're sitting there trying to figure out which one is the best and you watch it you watch a couple of games and you find out some of the teams that lost and you can say yep they're not the best but what you're telling me is you're going to believe all the rest of them are the best until such time as you're shown to be wrong yeah but that'll take about 30 seconds once you compare scores so that's kind of where I'm going like you can rule some of these things out really quickly up until the moment where you ruled things out where you had scores you started the tournament thinking that all teams were the best and all teams were going to win that tournament and that position is demonstrably false so you started before any data with a position that necessarily must be false how can that possibly be a reasonable way to proceed through the world okay let me let me make an analogy I just did maybe I'm maybe find out is because okay so in a syllogistic form right you can have premise troupe wrinkles all stick with just true premises because there's really like nine categories if we go true and false premises but you can have a true premise true premises with fallacious reasoning leading to a false conclusion no well that would be an invalid structure syllogism I don't know why we're glad you were gonna come with an analogy and now we're back to the same logic 101 thing we were talking about with the last column what's wrong with just addressing the analogy that I've given and showing how your position that believing all of the teams are the best and are going to win at the beginning of the tournament is the right position it can't be right okay if your if your question is that they are gonna win then my position is know the rules of the game say only one can win yeah immediately Thanks pre pre reason right yeah the rules of the game automatically stipulate that yeah okay so your your question is already trap no oh well it is a trap and and I'm it's unfortunate for you because it's a trap that you laid you laid this trap of saying that belief is preferable to the investigation you laid this trap in yes you did because you that's why I objected to to prioritizing conclusions over the methods okay I didn't I didn't I didn't communicate my position on this but here's the thing it's still true for the various God claims okay there's a whole bunch of God claims out there some of them you have found problems with so you disregard those but you're sitting there saying that you're going to believe all the rest of them until such time as you can exclude those which means you're starting with a position that I'm using evidence to exclude things do you let me let me just ask this wouldn't it be better wouldn't it be better to not believe that any of them are real until the evidence suggests in fact one of them is well no because then you're leaving out the your you're presupposing that the premise can only no you're not also until it's perfect no you're saying you don't know yet okay but when you're talking about something that either is or isn't you don't know yet you don't know there's either a diamond shaped like my head on Mars or there's not a Jew is it if we're playing tic-tac-toe after the show there is a winner and a loser which is it you just don't know yet if Matt and I are going to play a game after this show that has not happened yet and there is going to be a winner and there's going to be a loser but it hasn't happened yet is there a winner and a wizard most likely to but I don't know I'm not that good at tic-tac-toe but but also Jenna's talking about something in future because it makes it clarify but this works in the past as well let's say somebody was murdered we don't know who it is but we have 10 suspects are you going to start by believing all 10 of them did it and then start ruling them out or are you going to begin with the presumption or did you just advocated for the exact opposite position from what you were advocating before this is why skepticism is yes it is absolutely this is why skepticism is so important and so critical because it establishes a burden of proof at a default position that ensures that you are not engaged in cognitive dissonance so that you're not simultaneously believing two things that are mutually exclusive it sounds to me like you're saying I'm gonna pick the one that I want to believe first and then I'm gonna figure out which is true later and we're saying I'd rather know what's true and then decide what to believe that's all that's the only difference here's here's my yeah here's here's here's my take on why I think belief is better I prefer knowing more true things than not knowing false things you don't know anything your position does not own either I don't either your position does not get you first of all my statement was I'd rather I want to believe as believe as many true things and as few false things as possible okay I don't know why you switched it to knowledge but the second you do now it seems that usually absolutely right belief is definitely my position sure so do you want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible absolutely then you cannot simultaneously than you cannot you cannot simultaneously believe in multiple gods and I favor no favor believing more true things than less false facts okay so you don't care for it no see that's the thing you're you're making a simple math error if you say so like I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible and you say the same thing except that you want to err on believing as many true things as possible so that puts you in a position where you're going to believe things you are going to believe that something is true when it is actually false so you're not actually believing more true things you are infact believing more false things are true okay okay I guess that makes sense to to a point well when you find the point where it stops making sense that's where I'd like to have a conversation because I see no point at which that stops making sense okay so I guess my my initial starting point was maybe incorrect I want to avoid the appeal to the appeal to logic fallacy the the fallacy fallacy that even even if you have true statements with a with a with with a fallacy you can still arrive at a true conclusion yes but that okay here's the thing when you have a syllogism if it's valid true premises necessarily lead to true conclusions if it's invalid whether your premises are true or not true is completely independent your conclusion could be true or not true that's why we don't use invalid syllogisms they have to be valid in structure and then it's all about whether or not the premises are reasonable and true all right but you can't ignore the possibility of who's doing that oh my god you're calling the Atheist experience a show I've hosted for 15 years where I have encouraged theist callers over atheist callers to call in and present evidence for their God who the is ignoring this this has been my entire life to call in and suggest you I mean I know that's not what you meant and I know it's kind of something you fell into but we're definitely not ignoring this all I want all I want is good arguments supported by good evidence to show that any claim is true or likely true to where it I would accept anything that is supported by good argument and good evidence same okay so that's that's probably where I was misunderstanding you then yeah just it says here is a quick note or it says here's a quick note from the from the caller the little side note says it's better to believe in something rather than nothing and we didn't actually get to that but I think genican can solve this real quick yeah that was gonna be that's why I picked you no offense but I think that so when you say it's better to believe in something than nothing well I think it first depends on what the something is that you believe you know it I believe in kindness I believe in honesty I believe in so many things like I don't understand why I have to believe in a fairy tale – yeah and so this thing about it's better to believe in something rather than nothing I don't know anybody who believes in nothing yeah I mean that's his big of a straw man as suggesting you know we're dismissing the notion of God so right yeah and I would never I would never assert that that anybody believes nothing yeah it may be the case you've been a nihilistic hold it if you believe yeah and maybe the case that what you're kind of leaning towards which we've heard a lot is that when it comes to the God thing it may in fact be better to pick one than to sit on the sidelines and wait until there's good evidence and I would point out that what if you picked the wrong one what what if you decide that Mohammed is you know the true prophet of God and then Jesus sends you to hell or vice versa or you missed out on Buddhist reincarnation Hercules is pretty cool yeah so so the thing is and this is yet just another example it's not that first of all belief isn't a choice you are either convinced or you're not but you can make some choices about how you're going to evaluate evidence and what you're going to favor and things like that so you can kind of pollute the process of thinking skepticism has as his primary goal the removal of that pollution to make things as unbiased as possible will never to be truly unbiased and even computers won't because by the time we get AI that works like us they'll probably have biases and and potentially be conscious but will say that for another call but if if the thing is get it for the people who are operating on some sort of Pascal's wager if I'd rather believe this or I feels like I should believe this or I can't just sit by and wait I need to make a choice I need to make a choice now those choices and those decisions in what you believe have conflict consequences for all of us and so if you pick if you are convinced of a religious belief that then encourages you to I don't know spend your money in a certain way vote in a certain way treat people and certainly those are potential consequences from this and to say that it's better for you to just take a position because it hasn't been shown to be false and ignore all the potential harm from that not the least of which is absolutely not I would never advocate that I would you wouldn't but you did you did you did Clinton and here's how you didn't do it in the sense of advocating for bad positions or policies or anything else I'm not that's not what I'm talking about the process by which you come to a decision about any claim is not exclusive to that claim and so if you become convinced that you have lucky socks and a lucky rabbit's foot for bad reasons that same flawed reasoning still exists in your head and you have now amplified it as if it's a good thing and so you are encouraging yourself to continue to believe more things that are probably false can I ask you a question Clint absolutely do you believe in prayer do you believe that prayer works which is a simple thing almost never almost never do you think that it would matter if there's a large portion of our planet who do believe that prayer works again I don't think so much that what people I mean only only so far is what they only so far as the actions they take in relation to it like praying like like okay so they say they let's say they they pray and say ask for you know a really at work well if they work real hard or something like that and they get a raise well I mean it's pretty self-evident you know that either either the Manoa fend of proof that prayers are answered so the reason or sorry the reason that I asked I guess what I'm saying mm-hmm I guess what I'm saying is only so far as your agency allows you to work toward that goal so sometimes I mean well I think I think I forgot I think I got sidetracked off of your original question your original question was something about this do you think prayer works I think prayer works okay yes well no I guess my answer wasn't that far off only so far as your actions you work towards that goal so if as far as an as far as again I can't prove that God exists so I'm not saying that he does are you saying I think I can't are you saying if you do other things in addition to prayer than prayer works cleaner on its own I would say is unlikely toward okay do you think then act in harmony with your prayers right so so if I have a headache and said a prayer and took an aspirin is that when prayer works well the reason the reason that I'm asking this is the serious thing is because there are a lot of reasons but sure right there are a lot of people out there that think that prayer works and not only does it work but it is the solution for problems okay I'll a lot of my life believing that if I had a problem all I had to do was close my eyes and pray so there were a lot of problems that I didn't get fixed until much later because I didn't think that there was a way to find those problems outside of in my head talking to Jesus so I think that that is just one of the huge problems with flawed thinking people live their lives this way can you prove prayer doesn't work again I can't okay then wouldn't wouldn't you be forced to believe prayer prayer works based on your own methodology of believing something until it's proved to not be true I mean trust me I don't want to convince you to believe that prayer works but I'm to pointing pointing out a problem with your methodology my own reasoning I would have to say that until until I can rule out that okay so okay let me let me make this even more difficult let me let me make this even more difficult claim I'm gonna make this even more difficult can you prove prayer doesn't work can I prove prayer does not work again / necessarily requires the deities so no I don't know how we got there yeah I didn't the point is you can't prove prayer does not work so you would have to believe that it does under your methodology you also can't prove prayer does work which means by your methodology would have to believe that it doesn't and so now you're in a position because your methodology where you would have to both simultaneously believe it does work and it doesn't work that is the problem it's called cognitive dissonance and this is the thing that skepticism is trying to avoid Jenna and I can sit here and say we are not convinced that prayer works and as soon as you present sufficient evidence that prayer works we'll accept that and until such time there's no reason to think that it does work does that mean we're saying prayer doesn't work no but that's that's taking tooth to opposite ends of an argument and working against each other right and that isn't that already and you just isn't that a definition of argument you have two two possibilities and you pose the two against each other and I argue both sides myself all the time that's how I got to be able to do this it's it's all right that's not a joke being able to consider both sigh both prongs of a dilemma and address them both fairly and determine do I have reason to believe one or the other or if I'm in a position where I don't have reason to believe either all of those have to be options that is the process of skepticism that tries to remove the bias that we all feel because I'm sure at some point both of us would have loved it if prayer worked both of us would have loved it if the God that we believed in was real but we were as far as we can tell wrong not necessarily wrong about the fact but wrong in our reasoning that led to that conclusion and so we scrubbed our brains as best we could of the flawed reasoning and if there's a god or a supernatural thing that is true and real it has nothing to fear from inquiry questioning doubt the truth has nothing to fear from investigation and so Ethel if there's a God and you've already acknowledged you can't get from evidence to a deduction about God why is that the case because if I were God there would be evidence if I was a God who wanted people to know that I existed wanted to have people have sound evidentiary warrant for their beliefs there would be mountains of evidence I mean he's not God in those mountains of evidence yeah I'm more powerful than guy and so are you [Applause] I mean there there are yeah I I really hate to get into actual theological discussion oh I love it seriously that's why that's actually why I'm here because I realized my final D conversion point I had realized that I had never heard the atheist side of the debate I had only heard the Catholic side I had only heard what my family and my friends and everybody that I knew had told me about atheists and atheists don't have morals and atheists don't know what to date theists or this an atheist for that but I had never asked an atheist hey what do you think and that's the difference between the position that I'm in today and the position that I used to be in and I'm trying to talk to the people in my family about is that I know where you I know where you are I've been there I've thought the things that you do you've never actually been an atheist well this is just me in my personal situation right now is that they they don't know what my side of this argument is and they're still arguing but if you can understand both sides then you can decide logically which one is more likely to be real or neither or kudos to you for calling in because you're at least engaging in part and you know having the discussion which is more than a lot of people will do right no I'm interested in like you in believing as many true things as possible and as many full things as possible and you said you said many false things again when you really meant a few yes I'm sorry it's all right I do that a lot I'm Dyslexic so it sometimes my thoughts get anyway now that's not you go down the Dyslexic I'm really bothered by the fact that I ended up using a double negative which in the you know ended up being more confusing I tell you what their plan we got like 25 minutes or so left and a bunch of callers once she calls back another time I'm sure I'll be around I'll be around a lot more but I'm sure general here around more – we'd love to talk to you some more but I want to get to the other callers – just keep asking questions thank you sir

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 36 comments

  1. If you believe everything that's not disproven, then
    Hello I'm a Prince of an African country and I need to move money to your local bank but can't would you please deposit this amount of money on this account? Then I'll pay you 5x as much. Because I'm rich.

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  2. Using a sports team is a bad analogy because it feeds in to his idea that no matter what some religion has to be real because eventually a sports team will win and be deemed the winner whereas a religion can never be a winner no matter how you twist and turn it. If any religion turns out to be real humans are pretty much fucked. Except for maybe hinduism where you are just reborn.

    I would compare them to ideas where you would have to measure different ideas from different types of people against each other, much like politics.
    We can never prove that one political viewpoint is better than another and there is no "correct/winner" when it comes to politics.
    Sure there are ethical issues, but that is up to society as a whole to figure out.

    Edit. The problem with my analogy is that Atheism is the standpoint that until sufficient evidence have been provided there is no reason to believe it and political beliefs are more tangible than religion because it is used efficiently in the world already.
    I guess a political atheist is a nihilist?

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  3. This was one of my favorite segments. Loved it. I bet he’ll listen to this and hear where his flaws are in his logic.

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  4. The 10 suspects are all viewed as guilty until shown to be not guilty, although each of the suspects will not be penalized legally until one or more are proven guilty. That was a bad analogy by Matt, but his point was still there lol

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  5. spit it out. damn. i'll be dead before this moron gets to his point. if belief is the default, then all these different religious morons are all "CORRECT". wrong!

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  6. Lol The religious ads before AE clips is such pathetic last attempt by the church to glean followers. Hey all religions out there! Face it, you got nothing.

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  7. This idiot reminds me of the bible, full of contradictions.There are thousands of religions, only one can be true,(if any), so by logic reasoning he believes more false things than real things which he says he doesn't, er, I think!

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  8. I think part of the confusion may be about what it means to believe something. Matt is coming from the perspective that to believe something is to accept a claim as true, and when it comes to logical argument, that is what it means. However, it seems to me that in everyday life there is a spectrum of openness to/acceptance of an idea. Just as passive lack of belief is different from outright disbelief, so we have a range of 'belief' shades from a willingness to entertain an idea, to accepting that it could possibly be true, to accepting that it probably is true, to believing that it has been confirmed to be true. All of these can be reasonable or not depending on the available evidence.

    In a tabla rasa situation, the default option would always be passive lack of belief. However, we are not in that situation. In everyday life we will decide how likely something is to be true based largely on our experience. This is why we say extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. An extraordinary claim tends to be one that, based on what we have learned so far, seems implausible.

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  9. Am I the only one who liked the caller?
    I mean he started of with a false presupposition, then went length to come up with a complex (and very concoluted) justification for these beliefs.
    So far nothing unordinary. But he's seem to be straight out hostile to question his belief. He's trying to resist, but he is following Matt's logic and giving in, that his position is wrong.
    He's wwilling to go much further than most beliefers and I think he has a fairly decent chance to get out it.

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  10. The part of the universe that is conscious of itself is proof that the universe is conscious of itself, at least. That is us, if you hadn't figured it out. Since the universe is conscious of itself, it might as well be considered an entity, not a thing. A thing is dead, unthinking. An entity moves, grows, feels, thinks and sees. If I know anything it is that I have seen the universe do these things, and nothing else but them.

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  11. Love the idea of bringing in some younger hosts. Nothing wrong with the originals but this will help the young minds a bit more when realising that they may have hope in escaping indoctrination and embracing reason, logic and skepticism.

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  12. 6:47 "What if i make one (a relgion) up tomorrow", great question. "Then i would believe it" VERY BAD ANSWER, this guy is very gullible and openly admits it. The exact mindset to fall into a cult and openly admitting it. Saying that i do like the guy. So many religious people annoy me (sorry but they do) but this guy comes across as quite a sound guy. Not overbearing and NEARLY reasonable but when his brain just misfires sometimes.

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  13. Wishful thinking. That is what is happening here and Mat was right when he said that Christians simply cannot take an atheist point of view, so to speak being a devils advocate.

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  14. Poor guy. His mind is poisoned by religion. I can almost feel his frustration through the screen. Yo Clint: I'm routing for you, buddy! You can do it!

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  15. this guy doesn't understand anything. "I believe everything that can possibly be and can possibly not be, so i believe more true things than you do" Yes, but you also believe an infinite amount of false things, an infinite amount of things that contradict your believe in true things, hence you are utterly useless at separating what is true from what is not. How many people live on this planet at this very moment, you believe it's from 0 to infinite, you can't rule anything out right, whereas i know there's a single number that is true and i don't know exactly what that number is.

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