I believe that you should not believe anything without insufficient evidence. If you do not question everything you believe in what is the point? In order to know something is true one must be able to back it up with evidence. If you do not question your beliefs then you are just following others.
I believe that you should go about believing something"s without sufficient evidence. [mp]Believing without actually knowing gives you space for hopeful thinking and room to grow.[re] Most people don"t go beyond their limits because they don"t believe in themselves because they have never pushed themselves to that point before.[s] Lets take for example; I ran a marathon last year and I had never ran the distance before and my training was not complete so I did not know what was in stores for me.[ec] Regardless of the fact, I ran anyways and had an amazing time because I stood positive and assume my outcome.[re] I would like to back up my argument using one of William James famous quotes; "There are beliefs that must be assumed true to make something happen."[s] I made myself believe I could complete the race without actually knowing if that was true.[re] Doing this I was able to inspire myself, body and mind. James also said "If you could change your mind, you can change your life."[re] Which is exactly what I did. Having a new mindset, even though it may not be true can help you succeed because it acts as motivation.[i]
While it is true that believing in your ability to do something, when there's no evidence, may help you do that thing, what about when you believe in that thing and fail. For example, James gives us the example of a man stuck while climbing a mountain and seemingly his only option, if he wants to live, is to jump to a surface. Now if he believes he can do it, without evidence, and it works then that's great but if he believes he can do it, and he fails, then he's dead. If you go through life beveling you can do things that you can't, you will constantly fail and therefore the quality of your life is going to suck. Your life will not turn out the way you want it to because you will think that if you do A you will get B but because your failing, when you do A you'll get C. When this scenario is constantly played out in your life the effects can and probably will be catastrophic. Since there is no guarantee of success when you do something without evidence, it's best not to live life in that way and to only believe when you have sufficient evidence.
Just because we believe in something that fails it doesn't mean that it wasn't true at all and we can't depend on evidence all the time for positive outcomes [mp]. When we go after the truth and try to find evidence we may encounter errors [ec]. We can't be sure that all evidence that we encounter are the only relevant evidence there is [s]. Also, avoiding any errors may also lead to a negative outcome [re]. When the option between gaining and losing the truth is genuine then we should pursue the truth even if by doing so we are risking encountering errors [s]. We have to have faith and the will to believe that what we believe in will turn out to be true even if it may lead to failure. Having what you think to be the right evidence may not lead to the right outcome. Like you stated about the rock climber example, if the man had faith that he'll jump and fail then he needed evidence, but what if he had the evidence that proved that he could make the jump but missed the landing by just an inch? [s]. Sufficient evidence isn't the only factor needed when trying to prove whether something is true or not, you need to also have faith.
When you do not question whether something is true or not you not only become gullible but you also start to follow what others believe to be true and lose your own forms of belief.(MP) You start to become a part of a bandwagon. To be honest I like to question everything especially as Philosophy Major.(RE) I want to know why X led to Z. I don't want to depend on faith or what others tell me is the reason.(EM) I want to see the facts. If there is no sufficient evidence to why X led to Z how would we understand why such events occurred or how would we know what is true and what is false?(Q) If there is no sufficient evidence for what happens the same mistake will be committed each time.(EP) Many believed that the world was not round because of faith. It took a person to question that belief to actually prove everyone wrong with evidence that the world indeed is round.(S)
I see where you're going with this and I agree and give you credit for some, but as I refer to your first line when you say that believing without sufficient evidence will make you gullible and thus leading you to believe what others believe and even join a bandwagon thought, Mills explicitly states that to promote individualism we must go on believing out own thoughts. [Mp] Our own beliefs will make our characters stronger and allow us to derive and become one for our own and cancel out the thought of a central idea.[re] You also argue that without sufficient evidence, we will be committing the same mistakes. [Re]As the promoting individuals we should be, statistic show that people understand much better when they have their own personal experience to go by. [S] If ten individuals take on a particular project and all ten fail. What are the chance that each individual failed the exact same way?[S] Slim to none. When there's nothing holding back a person, as previous evidence, we act to our full potential because we have thoughts of hope and faith involved in the process. [ec]
The whole reason why this all matters is because what you choose to believe will lead to what kind of character you have. Being gullible would be a part of bad character. It's not extreme to say being gullible can lead to harm of one's self or of others. For example, if a scam artist comes up to you on the street and purposes an idea to you where you can make a lot of money but first you need to give them money, and you believe them (in which case you would also be following mills idea) ,then you could lose a lot of money which can affect your family therefore harming yourself and harming others. If you were to listen to Clifford,then you wouldn't have given the scam artist anything. If everyone followed mills idea then scam artist and even retail companies would have a field day because it would lead you to believe whatever they say and spend your money on their product or idea. To live life happily, which it would be reasonable to say is generally a common goal, you need to have good character. Listening to Clifford and only believing when you have sufficient evidence will lead to succeeding and success will lead to happiness.
Yes, being gullible would be part of a bad character, but being faithful to what you believe in is also a characteristic of good character [mp]. Take your scam artist example for example: there wouldn't just be people who believe them, but also those who listen to their gut and don't [s]. There's also the possibility that the scam artist might have evidence that is so convincing that a person who decides decisions based on evidence might believe him, while there may be those who trust in what they believe in and go against the evidence, which in this case would be the right decision [re]. You explain that only by believing when you have sufficient evidence will you have a good character, but that's not true. There are situations where evidence may point out that we can't do something or be something good, but having faith in ourselves can sometimes prove that we can do what we want to achieve in order to have good character [ec]. William James states in his essay "The Will To Believe" that we need to have faith in our abilities [s]. Having faith in our abilities is a sign of a good character and shows that we listen to ourselves and not others' opinions [s]. One other thing James mentions is how friendship is based on faith [s]. Now, does that sound like someone who has a bad character? I don't think it does.