Pessimistic metainduction

The argument against scientific realism originating from Laudan goes something like the following:

i. All past scientific theories have been deemed false
ii. If all scientific theories have been deemed false, then our most current scientific theory T should be expected to be superceded by a superior T’
iii. We have no reason to believe in the entities of a current theory T

This seems to me true but trivial, I would agree to some extent, but we may still have a scientific realism.

What if, however, we found that from an inductive inference, that we do not believe in a whole gamut of religions (lets say the set of all religions minus 1 or 2); if we have reasons (although unique to those religions themselves) to be convinced of the falsity of a religion or spiritual philosophy, can we judge it rational to dismiss religion in general from the inductive inference that all other religions are false?

Dawkins often puts it in an interesting way: we hardly believe in the deities of Thor or Zeus, and most Westerns hardly would believe in the Hindu Gods; we might dismiss it to the confine of culture to our belief in religion, corollorary to that, we may say that the cultural appeal gives us reason less to believe in the truth of that religion but more a testament to factors such as ethnic and cultural identity. Could pessimistic metainduction be made for an argument against religious belief? It seems almost as convincing as it is for the argument against scientific realism…



One thought on “Pessimistic metainduction

  1. How compelling is the argument that “most Westerns hardly would believe in the Hindu Gods”, though? I would argue that this claim rests on not understanding Hindu beliefs. Can an argument for any kind of realism be built on ignorance?

    Best wishes!

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