Monday, December 16, 2013

A distillate from Boghossian's Manual

A friendly reminder, this being a distillation of a general premise I think underlies Peter Boghossian's new book.

The believer is the one relying on a faulty epistemology (way of knowing),  so that can be used to press him where he belongs: on the defensive. Apologists love to reverse this to create an illusion of burden of proof, but they're the ones owing all the explanations. Don't let them. Keep asking them genuine questions, and if they answer with a counter-query, work to keep the focus on what you asked, using Boghossian's line "it's not about what I think; it's about what you think," or "reset to wonder."

In general, if you feel like you have to be on the defensive, the one constantly answering questions from a religious apologist or other believer, then you're doing it wrong and likely to be reinforcing their belief structure. It's not about how many questions of theirs you can answer--they don't care about that--it's about how many of your questions they can't answer. Therein lies "doxastic openness" and hence the opportunity to change minds.

Note that they use a method very much like what Boghossian recommends already, and they do it because it works, even without believable beliefs or a reliable epistemology.

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