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W.K Clifford does well to explain his point through his analogy of the ship owner and his damaged ship. It was indeed the ship owner’s fault for allowing the ship to sail in the condition it was in. As a result of this analogy, Clifford concludes that all beliefs must be founded upon sufficient evidence, and if a person’s beliefs are not backed by this evidence, then that person is in the wrong for believing or even entertaining the belief that was not foundationally sound. It is in this regard that I find fault with Clifford’s conclusion. Although it is true that the search for truth is important, the absence of truth should not prohibit a belief from being held. This is not to say that it is right to hold beliefs and ignore the important evidence to support it, it is just to say that it is more natural and acceptable to first believe and then find evidence rather than to live in fear of forming any beliefs whatsoever. In many cases a belief is first formed, and then the search for truth begins. However, there are some beliefs that may never be verifiable by man, and in Clifford’s view these beliefs would ideally never come to surface. William James even agrees that to find the truth in one’s beliefs is of utmost importance; however, he states that there are beliefs that require first a decision to believe followed by a search for the possible truth to support it. This is where the idea of religion comes into play, because the existence of God is what James classifies as a momentous decision, a person must first believe and then, if at all possible, find proof for the belief. While Clifford’s view is more applicable in the scientific world of thought, James’ view accounts for more of life’s many options and uncertainties.

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