Is Knowledge Better Than Belief?

Here’s a snippet of a recent forum discussion with theists.

A.C: Is a knowledge position better than a belief position?

Mike: It depends upon what you mean by those terms.

Tentatively holding an idea as according better with the available data than any known alternative, is better than uncritically taking an idea about something as true regardless of data and being unwilling to modify your position in light of new data.

If that’s what you’re asking, then: yes.

V.B.N: You’re assuming the belief is an idea. Belief usually comes from some kind of revelation. Knowledge is only as good as the the current idea of it whereas belief becomes who you are.

Mike: Agreed. Belief may not always rise to the level of a coherent idea. Belief often comes from personal revelation. Knowledge always remains subject to error-correcting revision while true belief can become an ingrained part of who you are.

Beliefs and knowledge are the impetuses for our actions.

As such, knowledge helps enable us to enact our desired goals. The closer our models of reality correspond with actual reality, the more effectively we can take action.

When beliefs don’t even form coherent ideas, they have no informative content to use. When they’re based in revelation devoid of observation, they’re more error prone, less likely to correspond with any external reality. When they’re not kept current with new data, and instead become an ineradicable part of you, they no longer have accuracy checks to help maintain conformance with reality. So, beliefs which aren’t developed ideas, which come from revelation, which become a part of you, serve poorly as impetus for effective action.

Your points make my case well that a knowledge position is superior to a belief position.

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