Glad you bring this up. Let me explain with an example.
If you asked me if I believe in aliens, I would say, yes I believe that aliens probably exist. If you asked if I had any evidence that they existed, I’d say nope. I believe it’s possible only because the universe has more stars than all the grains of sand on every beach in the world (that’s like 1 with 70 zeros after it), which increases the probability and, more importantly, I’ve seen nothing that would falsify it.
Now if you asked me if Unicorns exist (on this planet), I’d say no (at least outside our imaginations). As evidence I’d offer that we’ve explored most of the world and an animal like that would have a pretty hard time not being discovered at this point, so no, I don’t believe Unicorns exist (we could do this all day).
Having said that, I don’t claim to know that aliens exist, thus I am agnostic with respect to that belief.
The real question is, how do my beliefs affect my behavior?
In the case of aliens, there are no consequences that I’m aware of in holding that belief, so that’s an easy one. If that changes then I will re-evaluate that belief in light of the consequences.
As far as Moore and Franken, I’ve already said that my belief as to what they did is secondary to my beliefs that accusers should be taken seriously. What is required at that point is, and this is the most important part, the accused deserve due process because I know that is most important.
See I said I believed it was “probable” and I said Moore was “alleged” to have committed crimes. I never claimed to know.
In Franken’s case, I believe it’s probable that he was inappropriate. The question for me with respect to Franken is, did it rise to the level of criminal? Can it be proven within a reasonable doubt? That’ I’m not sure of, though based on the allegations, I’d claim to know that the accusations against Franken are much less serious than those accusations against Trump and Moore, I’m willing to hear the evidence and change my mind in the event I learn something.
See, it’s possible to entertain a thought without internalizing it. What I mean by that is, if it turns out that new credible evidence comes to light and we find out Franken really is a sexual predator, then I will say, “wow, I didn’t know that”, but because I didn’t internalize it like Papadave, I can freely change my mind and all I have to do is say, “based on new evidence, I know believe (whatever)”.
Same can be said of Moore. If it’s uncovered that some left-wing group paid all those women to say that stuff, then I’ll say, “wow, I didn’t know that when I said that stuff about Moore, guess I was wrong”. Then I’d support prosecution of ANYONE who was involved in it, the DNC, the Clintons, Chuck Schumer or Obama himself if that’s where the evidence led.
But as far as Moore, if I’m wrong, no big deal…Because I never claimed to know, I just said that I believed it “probable”.
Can you see the distinction?
The members of this forum make claims all the time about things they can’t possibly know. The problem is that people internalize _beliefs _ as part of their identity and when they are proven wrong, they defend them (as Papadave has done with Trump) because the real issue isn’t admitting he was wrong about Trump being self-admitted sexual predator, rather it’s admitting to himself he was wrong because he conflated his beliefs with his identity. If Trump is guilty Papa has to come to terms with the fact that he claimed to KNOW something he was wrong about. See there is the distinction? I freely admit I don’t know, I haven’t drawn a conclusion, I’m simply sharing my beliefs, beliefs I reserve the right to change in the face of new evidence. My beliefs are separate from my conclusions, even if you think that I have drawn conclusions based on my statements, I assure you I have not.
Now as a footnote, I should add that the word belief is in itself a terrible word as it can be rather ambigious in its use and relies on the reader to understand the context in hhich it’s being used. This is because we can have both justified and unjustified beliefs.
For example, if I look at the radar and see clouds coming, if I say I believe it’s going to rain, that is a belief justified on the evidence (radar). If I say I believe Jesus will return to earth on New Year’s day, that belief is unjustified as there is no evidence that Jesus will return this New Years day.
When I’m using the term “belief” I am using it in the unjustified sense as I’ve said I don’t know if these things are true.