This is one of those mindlessly stupid arguments made by the faith junkies in an attempt to both make their addiction appear rational AND discredit those who, rightly so, label them irrational. It’s the old science didn’t see that coming argument. It goes something like this…
According to science, the ancient Greeks were irrational for believing in atoms because there was no evidence to support the belief, but they were right, weren’t they? There ARE atoms! Science didn’t see that coming. Still say they were irrational?
Short answer, yes. Wonderful stab in the dark that was close to the mark, but to believe such a thing at that time would have been irrational. Why? Because the ends don’t justify the means. Let me give you an example….
Billy just knew in his bones that school would be cancelled the next day, so he didn’t bother doing his homework. Sure enough, when he awoke he heard that the school’s furnace had broken, causing school to be closed. Was Billy’s decision to not do his homework rational? Afterall, he didn’t have school just like he “knew in his bones”. Like the ancient Greeks, Billy was acting irrationally. It’s not the end result, but the means. What if there was school? Then everyone would say he was being irrational, but again, it’s not whether there was school or not, it’s the means by which he formed his belief.
Faith junkies use this argument as a way of saying, “the Greeks were right when everyone said they were wrong, so I could be right, too.” Yeah you could be, but there’s no credible reason to believe you are. Even if you are right, you’re still irrational for believing now. How’s that for a kick in the pants? That’s because, again, it’s not about the ends but the means. Your means are irrational. The girl who correctly guesses how many gumballs are in a jar isn’t necessarily a math whiz, either. Get it? So be it atomism, asteroids, or whatever else that someone believed on faith and later was found (to some degree) right, it doesn’t matter. Faith based beliefs are inherently irrational, and holding them prior to credible supporting evidence is irrational. I don’t know how many other ways I could put it. Spending your lottery winnings before the winning number is drawn is irrational, whether you end up with the winning number or not.