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Mark4 comments on Fake Justification - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 November 2007 03:57AM

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Comment author: Mark4 01 November 2007 03:13:22PM 2 points [-]

Why do, "Many Christians who've stopped really believing now insist that they revere the Bible as a source of ethical advice?"

I frame the stated arguments as proxy arguments rather than "fake."

As an atheist in a Christian cultural mileau, I found use in reading the Bible as a background info about Christians and the powerful Christian aspect of our culture. Jews too, and to a lesser extent Islam. I've seen how Christians who used to believe do not become like me simply because they no longer really believe. Upbringing sets many moral/ethical defaults, and these defaults are not systematically changed by rejecting Christian theistic epistemology.

Messing with defaults is dangerous.

Also of course carrying a Bible around is good camophlage. If you disturb the thinking of your neighbors too much, they'll crucify you. I learned that in the Bible.

Many people know these things without being able to articulate them accurately. Less often, they aren't willing. So they latch on to proxy arguments. Insofar as they keep you from messing with their defaults, the proxies may serve a useful purpose.