Demonstrations, tenability, reasons

So now we’re disputing whether or not goddy claims can be untenable even if they’re not, technically, demonstrably false.

I think they can. It’s true that it’s not possible to demonstrate that goddy claims are false. (When Russell first met Wittgenstein, the latter drove the former crazy by refusing to agree that there couldn’t be [or that he couldn’t know that there wasn’t?] an invisible rhinoceros in the middle of Russell’s study, or some such thing.)

But that doesn’t make goddy claims tenable. It doesn’t make them plausible, either. There are myriad reasons that are short of demonstration but are still good reasons not to believe “God” exists.

To repeat the bit I quoted from Georges Rey:

Now, it doesn’t seem to me even a remotely serious possibility that such a God exists: his non-existence is, in the words of the American jury system, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” I am, of course, well aware that plenty of arguments and appeals to experience have been produced to the contrary, but they seem to me obviously fallacious, and would be readily seen to be so were it not for the social protections religious claims regularly enjoy.

It doesn’t seem even a remotely serious possibility that such a God exists. That’s not a demonstration that it doesn’t, but it’s a very compelling reason not to believe that it does. And this is no small thing. It rests on the idea that one should have good reasons to believe things (where possible, other things being equal, etc). It has traction.

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