Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

TGGP4 comments on Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points - Less Wrong

50 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 October 2007 01:59AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (205)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: TGGP4 05 October 2007 05:34:48PM 3 points [-]

I suppose in some sense I had not been a believer for some time, but my history of being a Christian had put in me a desire to be one whether or not I actually thought it was true. Like many youngsters I had started out with a primitive God-concept of the kindly old man in the sky variety who watches over us and occasionally intervenes sometimes. As I grew older and wiser I made omniscience, predeterminism and so on a more important part, so that God was now the inactive clock-maker (which seemed logical to me). The nature of God came to be shaped by what I knew about the world rather than my view of the nature of the world being affected by my concept of God. God was essentially out of the picture and the only justification I had for including him was the prime-mover argument (which I would now say brings in a conclusion inferior to maximum entropy). It wasn't that long ago I first announced to anyone else I had stopped believing, and still haven't told those I know personally. As I mention in the link, it was reading people like the folks at gnxp that pushed me over the edge. I was able to read them and take what they said seriously because, as I mentioned, I didn't feel my faith was threatened. There were occasional mentions of Bayesianism, but it was mostly the notion of belief as a probabilistic guess based on evidence that got through to me. I wanted to have a more accurate view of the world and tried to adopt that standard of belief. I also knew about how most people's religious beliefs (I did not initially think to include my own in that category) were not grounded in evidence, but group membership/arguments from authority and flawed intuition/heuristics. Eventually those concepts collided and I decided to consciously evaluate whether the evidence really suggested the existence of the judeochristian God. My conclusion was no and I had not really thought the evidence suggested it for some time but had a "preference over belief". Once I admitted I didn't actually believe I couldn't make myself believe anymore whether or not I had that preference. Can anyone honestly say "I believe this even though it isn't actually the case"? I can't really think of any killer argument against God I hadn't considered though.