Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.
What is Street Epistemology?
Street Epistemology is a method and an approach for having meaningful, civil, non-confrontational, respectful, and productive conversations that are orientated toward aligning our beliefs with reality. The termed was coined by author and professor, Peter Boghossian in 2013.
Anthony Magnabosco has taken Street Epistemology to an incredible level and has recorded over 300 interviews with Christians, Muslims, and believers in a variety of superstitions and faiths. You may view these videos on his YouTube channel.
I immediately became attracted to street epistemology because I’m fascinated with why people believe in god(s) and superstitions; more importantly, how believers think about what they believe.
As you will see when you view Magnabosco’s interviews, many people have no idea why they believe what they believe and, in most cases, have never questioned why they believe.
What do you think may happen when people start questioning their beliefs or superstitions?
I’ve been wanting to write about Street Epistemology for a few months, and I finally decided TODAY was the day when I watched Kari explain to Anthony why she believes in a god or higher power.
At around the 9:45 mark, Anthony asks Kari if it’s possible that God or souls may not be true. Kari responds, “I mean anything can be true…I mean it could be wrong! That’s what I’m saying, you don’t know. But I feel, very strongly, in my hearts of hearts, that what I believe is true.” She continues, “You know, having science degrees and everything else…there’s always a chance that you’re wrong.”
Kari continues, “You know, having science degrees and everything else…there’s always a chance that you’re wrong.”
Anthony asked her, “Is there a chance that you’re mistaken in the God belief?”
Wait for it…Kari’s response is a textbook believer response!
Kari: “I don’t think so.”
Anthony: “Is it possible?”
Kari: “No. I don’t think so. I think there’s something beyond. I truly, truly feel that way.”
Holy Shit! Ok, so Kari just finished saying that science and everyone can be wrong…except for her! Because she feels in her heart of hearts.
That is not a rational way of thinking and examining what you believe.
After that conversation, Kari did admit that “there’s always a small chance that there’s nothing.”
BUT she followed that up with “I don’t want to believe that.” And that statement is a huge driving factor in people’s belief. In the end, it’s not providing supports facts and evidence. It’s about belief and faith. Apologists can throw out their usual endless bullshit all day long, but at the end of the conversation, they will say it’s all about your faith.
When asked by Anthony why she doesn’t want to be it, Kari replied, “Because it’s a sad thought for me.”
Anthony then asked Kari, “Do you things we want to believe always mean that the belief is true?”
To Kari’s credit, she replied, “No. Like I said there’s always a small chance…but I think that me not wanting to believe that…I just dismiss that.”
Keep in mind that Kari is an educated woman and is in the field of nursing. Regardless of your level of education and intelligence, people can dismiss or suspend any facts, reason, or evidence in order to cling to their superstitious beliefs.
I appreciate that Kari said that she wishes people would have more conversations about “the biggies”….politics and religions.
I hope that this conversation with Anthony was a starting point for Kari to simply think about the why of her beliefs.