I Could Conceivably Be Wrong. So?

Randal Rauser repeatedly tells us that, "Faith consists of assent to a proposition that is conceivably false." I have repeatedly said that faith is an irrational leap over the probabilities, and as such, we should think exclusively in terms of probabilities. He claims I'm ignorant. I cannot hope to convince the deluded mind, but maybe more reasonable people can see what seems obvious to non-believers.

Let's take just one example, the fact that the sun will rise this morning over the horizon where I live in Indiana. It's hard for me to calculate how many mornings the sun has risen but let me take a good guess. Given that the earth has existed for about 4.5 billion years multiplied by 365 days per year or so, the odds that it will rise today are about 1,642.5 billion to one (or something like that). So when I say I know the sun will rise today I can say this with a great deal of certainty. The odds are virtually certain the sun will rise over the horizon (even if clouds might hide it from view).

The question is whether I need to be certain the sun will rise this morning and if faith is required to fill in this gap so I can know that it will. I think not, obviously so. I don't need this gap to be filled. I don't need to be certain the sun will rise today. I can be quite comfortable to go with the odds, the probabilities. Probabilities are all that matter. We should think exclusively in terms of them.

This goes for everything else I think is probably true. It doesn't change anything if the odds become different for other things I think are probably true, so long as I conclude they are probably true.

But wait!

Is faith used to calculate the very probabilities I use to conclude the sun will rise today? How so? That a great deal of background knowledge from personal experience is used to calculate the probabilities is granted, and most all of it could conceivably be false too. So? This background knowledge has the weight of probability to it, at least, we accept it as more probable than not over-all. We cannot do otherwise. What else do we have to judge our background knowledge by except in terms of the probabilities? The reason I trust my background knowledge is not because of faith but rather because it is built up based on the probabilities of personal experience one layer at a time from birth. Trust is based on the probabilities, that's why faith is not trust. If it were the same thing then Rauser would be found equivocating on the word "faith." For "faith" would become equivalent to trusting the probabilities which is the very thing I argue for leaving faith undefined. Given this fact, it's no wonder Christians cannot even agree on how to define faith, because it cannot reasonably be done apart from the probabilities.

Could we be wrong? Yes. So what? What's faith got to do with this process?

Therefore, to say we need faith to think the sun will rise today, at best, is superfluous, completely unnecessary, utterly irrelevant, and at worst irrational.

There is more!

Steven Garmon said, "Faith is what is required to uphold the things we believe are most probable."

How does faith do that?

Picture flipping a quarter. The odds are about equal that you'll get a heads or a tails. Where is faith? What does it do here? How does having it change the odds?

Picture a lottery where you have a one in 80 million chance of winning. Where is faith? What does it do here? How does having it change the odds?

Picture a sports contest, say a boxing match. Gamblers place their bets on who will win based on the odds. Where is faith? What does it do here? How does having it change the odds?

Ahhhh, morning has broken! Whew, that was a lucky guess, right? ;-)