"In my walk with God, I thought I found him but I was wrong. If he were there I would have found him, unless he were hiding."
I present this diagram and explanation because I have seen several times Believers lamenting that they just want to see how an atheist thinks. While I don't consider myself an Atheist, I definitely have properties of one, so the label fits well enough for practical purposes. I can't speak for everyone but this is how I think. Johns Book review and follow on Article gave me the impetus I needed to come to grips with an idea that had been bubbling on my back burner for a while. I had alluded to it several times in articles and comments but had never made it coherent. It was an internal thought process that I had never tried to put into words or explain before. Hopefully this will show, contrary to claims from believers, that I do not want god to be a trick pony, and that there is evidence that would convince me of his existence and why it is not reasonable for me to commit to the Idea of a god.
If we say that the Bible represents a domain of Knowledge (A) and it contains knowledge that we can perceive (B) as well as knowledge that we can't perceive, then there is a portion of the knowledge of A and B that we can validate. If we set about a process of validation then the parts that we cannot validate or are shown to be false will fall outside our sphere of commitment (C). As we validate, invalidate or find inconclusive, our sphere of commitment will move either inside or outside the Domain of A. There will come a time when the sphere or commitment falls far enough outside the Domain of A that the person cannot reasonably commit to the domain of A. This depends on the acceptance of the types of evidence that the person is willing to commit to. In my case, the kind of evidence that I require prevents my sphere from moving towards A. I think my requirement for evidence is pretty simple. I want a god to be non-ambiguous and/or irrefutable. Not that I want it to make me a robot, but I do want it to present its case or evidence so that it would be unreasonable for me not to accept it. I have to say that my walk with god was a lot like a walk with chance. That idea occurred to me while I was praying one day.
Now this raises the question, if I am wrong, is god justified in sending me to hell. He has the burden of proof. Compared to a god I am stupid, worthless and weak. I should be easy to convince.
Here is how to say it in a more nerdy way. It is a reprint from a comment I made in Johns follow on article.
In an inquiry, when an argument from ignorance has investigated a domain looking for a true proposition and does not find one, then the argument from ignorance turns into an argument from knowledge.
The more you search through a knowledge base, the more you know about it until you know enough about it to say whether a given proposition is true or not.
- If I had an older brother I would know about it. Robert C. Moore calls this type of reasoning Autoepistemic Reasoning.
- I did not find my dog in my house, if he were in my house, I would have found him.
Another way to say it is as follows.
D is a domain of knowledge, K is a knowledge base in D.
It has not been established that all true propositions in D are contained in K.
A is a special type of proposition such that if A were true, A would normally or usually be expected to be in K.
A is in D.
A is not in K.
For all A in D, A is either true or false.
Therefore it is plausible to presume that A is false (subject to further investigations in D).
Walton, Douglas N. 1996. Arguments from Ignorance. Pennsylvania State University Press. P.149.