Sorry, background knowledge as Im using it has a technical definition under Bayes' Theorem. I provided it early on, although. Background knowledge is knowledge we already have so it doesn't have to be established for a claim that is based on that background knowledge. Like knowledge that swans exist is background knowledge for the claim that a black swan exists, and we don't have background knowledge that interstellar spaceships exist for the claim that I have an invisible interstellar spaceship.I'm afraid I don't see the distinction between knowledge and background knowledge here. My quick look-up says "background knowledge" is "knowledge essential to understanding some situation." The only such knowledge I can picture being relevant to this situation is "I am not given to vivid, daytime hallucinations, or mistaking white for black." Even the knowledge I possess that "it is quite common for a bird genus to come in different species with different colors" doesn't strike me as strictly necessary. I saw a swan; I saw that it was black; therefore I saw a black swan, even if nobody has ever seen a black swan before. It's possible that there are far-fetched alternative explanations for what I saw (it's an unrelated bird which perfectly mimics the shape of the swan; it's an elaborate hoax using dye; etc.), but those would also be possibilities even if it were well established that black swans exist.
Can you explain exactly how one would reasonably believe they experience God's presence having examined one's perception, critically looked at it, and through what method one would confirm that?I'm also not clear what you mean by X-100. Assuming you mean something like "less than 99.9% sure," I disagree for the reasons I just gave. But even if I agreed, the point at issue was whether someone could reasonably believe they had experienced God's presence, or anything else for which background knowledge wasn't there; not whether they could believe it with total certainty or something near to that.
But I'm not arguing that it's impossible for a God to exist, so there's no need to put X at 0.We reduce X to zero, because the relevant piece of knowledge in this case isn't "dragons would belong to as-yet-unknown clade," but "dragons are impossible beings; no animal can breathe fire, and no animal of that size can fly." So unless you think it's clear to all reasonable people that God is also an impossible being (and I don't think that's the case), I still don't see the basis for the claim that it's always unreasonable for somebody to believe he experienced God's presence.
I agree (assuming I calculated all the negatives in your sentence correctly, but the God claim isn't just about an internal experience like being sad. It's making a claim about objective reality, that God actually exists. That's why you can't just rely on your internal experience when making a claim about something external to your consciousness.Well, I can also say "I felt sad because my team lost," without being able to provide evidence to others. So, again, I don't think "any claim about the cause of your state of mind, which could not be supported by evidence available to others, can not be reasonably held by the person relating that claim and its supposed cause."
That's shifting the burden of proof. Harrison has to establish to a 50.1% certainty that it was a case of answered prayer. One of the things Harrison would have to account for is all the other mundane, human-psychology type explanations that don't require the background knowledge that a god exists to answer prayers, which makes it the better explanation under Occam's razor. Note that rejecting the prayer explanation because of not accounting for a human-psychology explanation is not claiming that the explanation is human psychology. There might be only a 10% likelihood or certainty for a psychological explanation, but if the God explanation is 1%, then we just say, "We don't know."But maybe it would help to use an example closer to the issue. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, who wrote mostly about politics, was a lapsed believer who said in her memoir that she'd had a terrible breakup with a longtime lover, and spent hour after hour in a state of bitter rage. One night she prayed that this rage be taken away, and when she woke up the next morning it was suddenly and completely gone. Stipulate that neither of us believe this was a case of answered prayer; why would it be unreasonable for Harrison to believe it was?