Should we have full disbelief in propositions with no evidence or should we have a small amount of belief in them?
The proponents of the camp that says you should have a small amount of belief often comes from the idea of “humility” and the recognition that human beings can always be wrong about anything.
To me, this results in two problems. First, I doubt that one has this attitude for all beliefs that have no evidence. Usually, there are only a few (often widespread) beliefs that people sort of keep a small degree of belief in. And in practice, it’s not usually very small. For example, one may think there is no evidence for god but just from the constant exposure to the idea of god or habits in thinking about the topic, one may doubt their atheism much more than they doubt Big Foot to exist even if they both have no evidence. There are an infinite number of beliefs that people either don’t consider or find to be completely ridiculous to the point of full disbelief. This points to inconsistency.
Secondly, there is no contradiction in feeling sure about something and still changing your mind in the future if evidence comes into fruition. Beliefs don’t have to be fixed during one’s life. Also, if belief is not a choice, then evidence would force you to change your mind anyways.
For example, if one is certain that aliens have not visited earth and an abundant amount of evidence of their visit comes forth tomorrow, I doubt that many wouldn’t change their mind. Even if they wanted to, many would be forced to. This is a case of one feeling certain without being dogmatic.
So, is it better to be certain or still leave a sliver of doubt for beliefs with no evidence behind them? It has been proven that certainty is extremely comforting for one’s mental health which is why the concept of faith or people of faith have been proven to feel less anxiety and depression. Uncertainty fuels anxiety as shown here.
Faith is often considered irrational when one believes in something without evidence. But if one believes that something doesn’t exist if one has found zero evidence for its existence, can that kind of faith be rational and perhaps even useful in a psychological sense?