Belief: Why it’s irrational

There are allegedly two types of belief. One is rational belief that’s based on evidence, but no proof, and the other is irrational belief in which there’s no evidence. I personally think that there’s one type of belief, and it’s without facts. It’s speculation, and acceptance that something is true, even if it isn’t. To me, belief is completely irrational, and illogical, and something either is, it isn’t, or you’re without knowledge. I’ve just been accused of being a liar on Twitter as I made the claim that I don’t accept belief as a logical conclusion, and I expect evidence that I can scrutinise before I accept something. I write lots of articles about various subjects, and if I’m unsure about something I spend time cross examining evidence to reach a common consensus before I accept its legitimacy, whereas many people will go on Google, click the first link which is usually Wikipedia, and accept what’s written is the truth. This is why there’s are so many misconceptions, inconsistencies and wilful ignorance throughout the world, as gullibility and confirmation bias is rife.

Imagine being in a court of law, and the defendant is accused of murder. Upon being cross examined he claims that he’s innocent, and the judge, jury and prosecution simply believe him, and he’s free to go. This isn’t the way law works. A client is innocent until proven guilty, and whilst mistakes do happen, and people get wrongly convicted, or get acquitted despite being guilty, as a rule the art of presenting sufficient evidence is paramount to justice being served. Belief and opinion doesn’t come into it. Only after a decision has been reached does opinion come into it, and this is the severity of the crime and what the judge considers a suitable punishment.

Another area is the scientific method, which is about asking a question, creating an hypothesis from an observation, experimenting so that it’s repeatable, and sharing your conclusion so that other scientists can test the findings and come to a decision on its validity. There’s no bias, belief or opinion here, it’s impartial study, doubt and scepticism to reach a conclusion to form a scientific theory.

So let’s look at belief. Some may say that I would just believe that the Sun will rise in the morning. The first issue I have with this is the Sun doesn’t rise, the Earth is rotating and it gives the illusion of a Sun rise. The Universe is heliocentric, and the laws of relativity are in play. What this means is we are orbiting our star, the Sun, and the Earth is rotating on its axis, because of the gravity of external sources like the Sun and the Moon. Because the Earth is within a practical vacuum, there’s no friction, so the Earth will continue to spin indefinitely. So the only way the Sun wouldn’t rise in the morning was if it wasn’t there anymore, but that won’t happen for billions of years until there’s no hydrogen left to create nuclear fusion. So with this is mind, and the fact that there are several laws of physics in motion, there’s no need to believe the Sun will rise, as it will. Every day, for billions of years. The only thing that could prevent life from witnessing the Sun was if a catastrophic event like a giant meteor collided with the Earth and annihilated it. Whilst this is always a possibility, and there’s strong evidence in craters of vast proportions that this has potentially been responsible for the extinction of many species, there’s no direct proof, as of yet that this is true.

Occam’s razor is a way to teach a conclusion where the simplest explanation is often the correct one, and the more something is over complicated, the bigger the margin of error. Falsifiability is still in play here, as an observation can be proven wrong. I will give an example. You walk into your garden and everything is wet. The logical analysis is it’s been raining, and Occam’s Razor comes into play, but there’s always other possibilities. Do I believe it’s been raining? No, I don’t, unless I’ve witnessed it’s rained. I’m just presuming because it’s a logical decision. That doesn’t mean it’s a fact though, it’s just a case of probable cause, and it’s unrelated to belief. So the next time you claim to believe something, remember that belief is an assumption, and there’s a saying that suggests that assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.

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