Philosophy 11 Oct 2006 06:07 pm

Up, Up and Away in my … thump.. Oops

In If atheists could fly, Kevin quotes Brad Billy-Bob Mill:

If I concentrate very, very hard I can levitate several hundred feet in the air. I have never actually levitated because I have not yet concentrated hard enough but I am sure I will one day. Even if it’s not true and I will never actually be able to prove it one way or another, the belief that I will makes me happy. It contributes to the happiness of my friends. Therefore I am justified in believing that I can fly.

This comparison to the acceptability of belief from J.S. Mill is not analogous, and thus not a refutation, on a couple of points (Though 3B Mill’s effort to increase the amount of good in the world is laudable, however misguided). Here’s one:

  • J.S. Mill benefits from the Weak Evidentiary standard where 3B Mill does not.

    For all persons S and propositions p and times t, if believing p fits S’s evidence at t, then S ought to believe that p at t.

    While not strong, this works, because there is no evidence against the belief in God.
    3B Mill does not get the same benefit because there is strong evidence against the claim of flying. Namely, people try to fly and fail, presumably with much concentration. As further proof, wasn’t it the claim of levitation that contributed to the downfall of the Transcendental Meditation movement in the 80’s.

One Response to “Up, Up and Away in my … thump.. Oops”

  1. on 12 Oct 2006 at 7:10 am 1.Jeffrey Fredrick said …

    Well, technically, people do fly all the time, so all that 3B is suggesting is an alternative mode of flying, no?

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