I actually posted this as a response to another post a few months ago, but got no response...maybe I'll get a bite if I post it on my own.
Is it possible to "test" whether a belief is genuinely held or not? As an example, I had an argument with one of my friends about whether or not killer whales would EVER eat people as food. I argued that if starving, yes, of course they would, just as people would. She argued the opposite and even cited an example of an overturned fishing vessel in killer-whale-populated-waters during a season when they were particularly short on food. I could not find an example of a killer whale ever eating a person; however, I still believe that under the correct circumstances it would happen.
Her belief that it would NEVER happen could be tested by giving her an opportunity to swim with a starving killer whale.
Could there be a less-than-lethal "litmus" test of this sort for other beliefs, such as religious ones? What would it be?
P.S.: She is actually one of my exes. For a while I kinda liked the thought of feeding her to the killer whales. Lol.
Well sure, my thought about their behavior is just an idea, but it is very genuinely held, based on an educated guess. A hypothesis if you will. I would argue that not only was my friend wrong, but that she also didn't believe her own argument (that a killer whale would never eat a human being, presumably because of empathy or something).