McGrew & Gilson Miss The Point Of Street Epistemology
For context, I am responding to the following video:
The reason why The Devil's Dictionary entry for faith is so humorous is that it is so accurate. In fact all the humour in that book is based on the principle of saying what things actually are instead of what we believe they are. Here is the full definition of faith from The Devil's Dictionary:
n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. - The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce
The fact about faith is that regardless of how it is defined, it is used to bridge justification gaps in someone's theory of knowledge. So whenever someone is liberal in a belief where they would usually apply more scepticism to similar beliefs faith has been employed. Whenever we want to engage in some serious confirmation bias, we humans apply a little bit of faith (or in the case of religion, boatloads) to ensure that our usual standards of knowledge don't stand in the way of beliefs that serve our own selfish or egotistical desires.
That is why someone who laughs at a Muslim kneeling at midday prayer has no more justification for how they kneel at the edge of their beds before going to sleep is applying faith, the primary ingredient in the bubblegum and sticky tape epistemology of apologists and sidewalk believers alike.
The purpose of street epistemology is not to instil atheism, but rather to move people into a contemplative stage where they seek to build a reliable epistemic system, based on the realisation that theirs is poorly developed. Apologists also use socratic dialogue, but in the moment of cognitive dissonance, sell a quick solution (or answers) in order to relieve the person's discomfort. The purpose of SE is to leave someone to deal with that discomfort in any way they wish. If they run to apologetics websites and books that is their choice, if they immediately renounce faith: their choice. If they engage with philosophy, knowledge and metacognition that is the ideal, but in no way is the purpose to coerce someone to change their mind.
If Christianity is true then there should be nothing to fear, and no need to attack Boghossian with such fervour. The purpose of SE is to get people to ask questions, not to furnish them with a new worldview complete with an answer starter pack. The co-evolving tradition of scepticism with modern atheism is antithetical to telling people what to believe and why, and emphasises how to think about the world in a manner that is more likely to produce reliable results.
The series seems like an attempt to save face thus far. It seems clear that according to Gilson and McGrew that Christians should be introduced to apologetics in the form of a lesson on what they should say, rather than an honest question of whether all the stuff they believe is actually true. When people peel back the layers themselves they just see the poor answers of apologetics to serious challenges to faith, and these answers are worthless if there isn't some apologetics salesmen coming around first to convince the hapless christian (Gilson and McGrew's disrespectful term for their own fellow believers) of how good their underwater hair driers actually are. Once the product has been sold to the believer, they will just fire off these answers to challenges instead of thinking through them, because thinking is the greatest enemy of faith.