Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lecture on motivated reasoning by Matt McCormick

It seems as if this cries out for a tu quoque response, given the fact that McCormick runs what is essentially an atheist apologetics website.


David Duffy said...

Some people take in information, review the data, have a number of life experiences, then in conversation with others come to a conclusion on particular question or topic. After the conclusion they find there is a vast network of social and financial support for the conclusion. Another group of people look at the best bet for social and financial support and then choose the one with the best odds.

I’m not sure there is a detector that will sort thinkers from gamblers. Politicians, government workers (including philosophy professors who work for the state of California), and businessmen are all human—noble and ignoble. A great mystery.

Anonymous said...

Good Day to All,

For anyone that is interested, I responded to Matt McCormick here:

Sorry for the link, but my response is too long to post in the Comments Section.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Jayman said...

How about this for some motivated reasoning from McCormick?

im-skeptical said...

"It seems as if this cries out for a tu quoque response, given the fact that McCormick runs what is essentially an atheist apologetics website."

It seems that Victor didn't bother to listen to what McCormick had to say, then wants to use a logical fallacy to refute it (whatever it is). Don't you think that's a rather emotional response - not to what he's saying in this lecture, but to atheism in general?

Victor Reppert said...

I listened to the whole thing. It's not a response to atheism in general, by any stretch of the imagination. What it is a reaction to the idea that we can find "motivations" on the side of the believer, but only the dispassionate search for truth on the part of the skeptic.

If I became an atheist tomorrow, I would never go anywhere near believing that sort of thing.

Was Thomas Nagel just making it up when he said this:

"It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that."

To the idea that motivated reasoning is what my opponents, and only my opponents, do, I can only echo the words of George Strait.

I got some ocean front property in Arizona

From my front porch you can see the sea

I got some ocean front property in Arizona

If you'll buy that I'll throw the golden gate in free

im-skeptical said...

Thomas Nagel helps make McCormick's point: motivated thinking is something we all do. It is not restricted to theists or atheists only. Anyone who thinks their thought processes are free of error and bias is seriously deluded. But we can try to recognize it, and use rational methods to guard against it. McCormick's lecture was worth listening to, regardless of your persuasions. As a philosopher, I'd think that you would be the first to agree, despite the fact that he's an atheist.

Victor Reppert said...

I don't think the lecture was worthless, by any stretch of the imagination. However, there is a tricky feature to this, which is that it is easy to see the "motivated" aspects of our opponents' arguments and have a hard time seeing them our own side. I didn't like the way he took the entire field of Christian apologetics, and says that it was an example of motivated reasoning. I sketched out in "On being an apologist" how apologetics might be done without what is being called motivated reasoning.

I thought his lecture got close to Bulverism on a couple of occasions.

My rule is to constantly check my own thoughts for motives, but not try to speak with any authority about the motives of others. However, if opponents think there are no non-rational motives for what they think, and that all the non-rational motives are on my side, I have no trouble pointing out at least possible non-rational motives that they might have. Since they can't read my mind, all the can come up with

Victor Reppert said...

(contd.) possible motivations I might have for believing as I do.