PM5317: Self-defeat and self-support as relevant factors in choosing a worldview

I think we can place worldviews on a continuum, in terms of how self-defeating or self-supporting they are. We could express it terms of the likelihood that we will believe in the worldview if it is in fact true. A totally self-defeating worldview would be at one extreme: if it is true, we certainly will not believe it. A totally self-supporting one would be at the other: if it is true, we will certainly believe it. Other worldviews may have this likelihood be somewhere between the two extremes. Now, I'd suggest that considering two worldviews, that if this likelihood is greater for one of them than the other, that is a good reason (but maybe not a totally decisive reason) to prefer the one for which it is greater. And I'd argue that both a theistic worldview, and also non-materialist atheism (e.g. John McTaggart, or some versions of Buddhism or Jainism), would have a higher such likelihood than atheistic materialism. Hence, we should prefer one of those views to atheistic materialism (aka philosophical naturalism).

A justification of this: Theories have predictions. Now, one thing that theories can predict, is whether or not we will believe in them. This is a sort of self-referential prediction a theory may potentially have.  One possible prediction a theory may have, is that if the theory is true, we will certainly not believe it. If a theory predicts we will certainly not believe it, then it is self-defeating - we can never be rationally justified in believing it. For if we believe it is true, then we must believe its predictions are true (assuming we know them); but then, if we believe it is true, we must also believe we don't believe it is true. So, we have justified the following rule: "If a theory implies we will not believe in the very same theory, then that theory is false".  But, we can consider a weaker version of this requirement.  What if the theory did not predict we certainly would not believe it, but merely predicted that our belief in it is extremely unlikely. Suppose a certain theory includes the claim "if this theory is true, then the probability that we will believe in this theory is 10-1000". Such a theory we are always justified in disbelieving also: if we believe it, then we have to believe that something enormously unlikely (our belief in it) has nonetheless happened, or else that it is mistaken. (If it is mistaken, then the probability of us believing in it may be a lot higher.) So, rationally, it would always make more sense to believe it is false.  This I believe justifies a principle - the likelihood of our believing in a theory if it is true is a relevant factor in deciding whether the theory itself is true. If that likelihood is nil, that is conclusive evidence the theory is false. If that likelihood is small, that is evidence against the truth of that theory - how strong evidence depends on how close that likelihood is to zero.  Applying this principle to atheistic materialism vs. theistic non-materialism, I think we will find that this likelihood is higher for theistic non-materialism than for atheistic materialism. Given the above principle, I think that is evidence in favour of theistic non-materialism against atheistic materialism.
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