On January 27th, 2012, Dr. Peter Boghossian of Portland State University presented a controversial thesis to a packed crowd : faith is a belief-producing process that does not lead one to the truth.
In this talk, sponsored by The Freethinkers of Portland State University and published by philosophynews.com, Dr. Boghossian argues that faith-based processes are unreliable and unlikely to lead one to the truth. Since our goal as knowers is to have more true beliefs than false ones, faith, as a process for getting to the truth, should be abandoned in favor of other, more reliable processes. The talk was followed by a question and answer session from the audience.
There are many bad ways of discovering truth about the way the world works like divination, dowsing, sacrificing animals, and lucky guesses. And most people—even people of faith—would agree that these are poor and unreliable. Faith, says Dr. Boghossian, is like these other methods and should be discarded on the same grounds. He shows how the practices of various religious traditions have been shown using the methods of science to be ineffective and lead their practitioners to false conclusions. When confronted with the discomforting evidence, people of faith tend to shift their claim from, “my faith is true” to “my faith is useful.” But this isn’t a valid move argues Boghossian.
In this powerful presentation, professor Boghossian is not interested merely in tearing down faith but in demonstrating how a life guided by reason and evidence can be so much richer and more fulfilling.
Copyright © 2012 by Peter Boghossian and Philosophy News
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Peter’s faculty webpage at Portland State University
Philosophy News interviewed Peter recently on his views. You can hear that interview here.
Follow Peter on Twitter.
Pick up some cool gear based on imagery from the talk here.