It seems fair to say that any statement is entitled to at least some increment of credibility from the mere circumstance that it would, if true, explain something for which we have no other explanation.

The Web of Belief by W. V. Quine and J. S. Ullian

Not a lot of people outside of academic philosophy know the name W. V. Quine, but he is a very well respected analytic philosopher of the 20th century, and by one poll the fifth most influential philosopher of the past two hundred years. I highly recommend his book The Web of Belief as a good non-technical introduction to his work.

According to the coherence theory of truth, a proposition (a thought or idea) is more likely to be true if it coheres with all of the other related propositions known (or believed to be) true. What this means in practice is that if a person has a stable, consistent set of beliefs then, when a new potential belief comes along, it is accepted or rejected based on how well it fits together with the stable set of beliefs.

We see therefore that there can be mutual reinforcements between an explanation and what it explains. Not only does a supposed truth gain credibility if we can think of something that would explain it, but also conversely: an explanation gains credibility if it accounts for something we suppose to be true. Sometimes an explanation has no evidence at all to support it apart from the fact that it would, if true, explain something we want explained; and it can draw high credibility from this source alone.

The Web of Belief by W. V. Quine and J. S. Ullian

Given a new fact in front of your face (so to speak) that doesn’t hook together with your existing belief set, you have two choices: Reject the new fact or reorganize your entire belief set. Changing your entire belief set incurs what is called a high cognitive load and thus people are disinclined to do it. So, it will matter how important it is to you as to whether or not you’ll be willing to reshuffle major portions of your beliefs in order to incorporate this new fact.

A good example of this happens with folks who believe that the Bible is infallible. When presented with example after example of flat out contradictions within the Bible, a fundamentalist can either ignore the new data or change his or her beliefs.

Another good example is someone who has been brainwashed by scientism and/or postmodernism into dismissing their own spiritual needs as mere “epiphenomenon.”

So, what does this mean for us? It means being willing to challenge the beliefs you were brought up on, or acquired during the public re-education camps you were forced to attend. If you are after the truth, you have to look at the facts in front of you. These can be found in Christianity.

Changing your beliefs is hard. Ignoring the facts is easier. It depends on how important it is to you.

 Martin Grandjean [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]