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Author Topic:   The persistent question of evidence (RAZD and subbie only)
RAZD
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Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 1 of 42 (604395)
02-03-2011 2:57 AM


Who needs to supply evidence, when, and why.
From Message 774 on the Peanut Gallery thread, Coyote:

What they cannot tell is whether or not any of these communications come indirectly from supernatural sources. Thus they can experience communication of supernatural beings without knowing the source, without imagination and without direct experience of the supernatural.

Is there any evidence for the supernatural?

You keep ducking this question, yet your answers all seem to be based on your belief that there is a supernatural.

What's your evidence? Is it anything but belief and wishful thinking?

First, this questioning has no bearing on the great debate issue that should be the topic for the Peanut Gallery, so I have started this topic.

Is there any evidence for the supernatural?

Curiously, I have not made any claims that supernatural entities do exist, so why you keep asking me this is rather amusing.

However, I personally am not aware of an objective empirical valid evidence that would be likely sufficient to show that supernatural entities exist.

In addition I personally am not aware of an objective empirical valid evidence that would be likely sufficient to show that supernatural entities do not exist.

Nor am I aware of any subjective evidence that would likely be sufficient for you (Coyote) to accept, based on my observation of your attitude displayed to theists in this regard.

This would include all the world's religious literature, beliefs, myths, legends, etc., as well as instances like religious experiences and dreamtime visions, etc. These evidences are sufficient, imho, to suggest that god/s may possibly exist, but they are not definitive.

Nor am I aware of any subjective evidence that can show anything more than the possibility that god/s do not exist.

This would include the absence of objective empirical evidence that god/s do exist

If you have any additional evidence that god/s do not exist then please supply us with it, as this alone is a very weak argument, imho, because it involves a logical fallacy.

You keep ducking this question, yet your answers all seem to be based on your belief that there is a supernatural.

My answers in regard to unsupported assertions that god/s do not exist or related arguments (ie the stuff that straggler first and bluegenes second try to pass off as logical) is to recognize and show the existing support for the possibility that god/s exist and to expose the logical fallacies of the various arguments.

My personal belief is irrelevant to discussing arguments based on poor logic and ignoring the possibilities, or assuming that they do not exist.

There is insufficient evidence, imho, to support a logical conclusion that god/s exist.

There is also insufficient evidence, imho, to support a logical conclusion that god/s do not exist.

Logically the only supported conclusion is no conclusion, that the evidence pro and con is insufficient to form a logical conclusion at this time.

Being open-minded, I consider both existence and non-existence positions possibilities.

Being skeptical, I see no reason to accept that either position is sufficiently demonstrated, however I do consider the possible non-existing position to be weaker than the possible existing position.

The proper logical conclusion based on evidence and the "rules" of logic is agnostic. I have discussed this previously on several threads, including

quote:
Message 91: As a result of the logical analysis (see Message 508 of the Faith vs Skepticism - Why faith? thread) we have:

  1. Absolute Theist: knows god/s exist. (logically invalid position)
  2. Strong Theist: the existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  3. Weak Theist: the existence of god/s is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  4. Agnostic: god/s may exist or they may not, there is insufficient evidence to know one way or the other. (logically valid position)
  5. Weak Atheist: the non-existence of gods is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  6. Strong Atheist: the non-existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  7. Absolute Atheist: knows that god/s do not exist. (logically invalid position)

(4) is the position that logic supports: the default position when there is a lack of validated evidence is that no conclusion can be reached -- we don't know, can't know, which is true.

(3) is the position of someone that recognizes that (4) is the logical position, but is of the opinion that god/s may exist.

(5) is the position of someone that recognizes that (4) is the logical position, but is of the opinion that god/s may NOT exist.

(2) & (6) are people that think their position is based on something more than their opinion, and they need to provide evidence to substantiate that claim.

(1) & (7) are people that think their position is fact, not opinion, and they need to provide evidence to substantiate that claim.

I am a (3) - weak theist, or agnostic theist.

Enjoy.

Note to admins: this will likely need to be in Great Debates due to the probability of one against many participants.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty

Edited by RAZD, : format, subtitle

Edited by RAZD, : changed title

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add the "(RAZD and subbie only)" to the topic title.

Edited by RAZD, : title adjustment

Edited by RAZD, : better


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 02-03-2011 8:41 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 3 by Adminnemooseus, posted 02-03-2011 6:14 PM RAZD has responded

  
Admin
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Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 2 of 42 (604396)
02-03-2011 8:41 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
02-03-2011 2:57 AM


I haven't been following the discussion this proposal developed from, and so I feel like I'm walking into the middle of a play in the 2nd act. Could you please add some introductory information to set the stage?


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RAZD, posted 02-03-2011 2:57 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

    
Adminnemooseus
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Posts: 3825
Joined: 09-26-2002
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Message 3 of 42 (604397)
02-03-2011 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
02-03-2011 2:57 AM


Coyote says no
Coyote writes:

No, not interested.

That proposed post is nothing more than has been posted many times before, a meaningless word salad that demonstrates once again that philosophy is nothing more than naval gazing.

I have better things to do than to go around in philosophical circles.

Source

Adminnemooseus

Added by edit (from my "Peanut Gallery" message, prior to the above cited:

Adminnemooseus writes:

Admittedly, I haven't followed it closely, but I wasn't impressed with your performance in the current "Great Debate". Bluejeans seemed to be trying to do a dialog and you seemed to be doing some sort of stonewall, refusing to respond to his content. But it seemed to be some sort of prove/disprove God sort of a thing, doomed to wallow in some sort of abstract fuzziness - A wallow you seem to like. Bottom line - It was outside of my comprehension and I really didn't care.

That said, for better or worse, I don't foresee you offering up anything more than what you already said in the PNT message 1. I don't see any point in again going through the same routine as the current "Great Debate".

So, I'm leaning "No". If Coyote really wants to make a go of it, I'll leave it up to another admin to deal with the promotion.

Or something like that (aka - You have me boggled and apathetic).

Adminnemooseus

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : See above.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RAZD, posted 02-03-2011 2:57 AM RAZD has responded

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 4 of 42 (604398)
02-05-2011 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Adminnemooseus
02-03-2011 6:14 PM


Re: Coyote says no, so let's move on to ... evidence/
Hi moose,

Since Coyote backed out, petrophysics has put in a new request = PNT Evidence.

This appeals to me for three reasons: (1) bluegenes seems stalled on the presentation of evidence, and wants to continue to argue his "mutually exclusive" test etc that have been refuted (instead of moving on to a new test, etc, as one would do in science), (2) the peanut crowd can't help him yet attack me, and finally (3) it will be refreshing to defend the logic and open-minded skepticism approach from the other side of agnosticism.

This may actually help to move the debate forward on the bluegenes thread.

Yes I agree with petrophysics on a lot of issues, but the one he claims here:

RAZD, I am a #1 absolute deist. God does exist.
I have looked for months here where the atheists could present no evidence.
As an absolute deist lets see if I can do better.

Indeed, lets.

Perhaps bluegenes will agree to put our thread on hold to see how this new one works out?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 5 of 42 (604399)
02-10-2011 9:24 PM


the absence of evidence is not by itself (negative) evidence (of absence), rather it
It amazes me that I need to spell this out.

For those who think I have changed my mind (Rahvin Peanut Gallery Message 1002, etc), I suggest that perhaps you are actually understanding the position I have had for a long time. What I have said before is that:

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, rather it is evidence of the absence of evidence.

Recently I have expanded this for better understanding. These quotes from recent posts are the gist of it:

From Peanut Gallery Message 980:

quote:
Properly speaking, the absence of evidence is not by itself (negative) evidence (of absence), rather it is evidence of the absence of (positive) evidence - in the areas where evidence has been sought, and with the methodology\technology used to look for (positive) evidence.

If you only look in area {A} and do not find positive evidence, that means that positive evidence is currently not available within area {A}, it says nothing about positive or negative evidence in area {B} ≠ {A} nor about positive or negative evidence in area {A} at different times or with different methodology\technology/s.

Likewise you can only calculate the probability of the absence from the lack of positive evidence within area {A} when you know the relative sizes of {A} and {B} ...
... with the probability becoming higher as {A} approaches {B}, however until the point that {A} = {B} is reached there is still a possibility that positive evidence exists within {B}, and the relative improbability is inconsequential if the truth is that positive evidence does lie in area {B} ≠ {A} no matter how large {A} is, ...
... as probability calculations, like opinions, are strangely incapable of controlling reality, they are based on properly knowing reality to be accurate, and can be highly inaccurate when reality is not known.


It is only when you have established that {A} == {B}, and the absence of evidence becomes an observed mundane tautological fact , that this can be used as {negative evidence of absence. This has been said before. This is the problem with proving a negative. This should also be evident from my previous post.

and again Peanut Gallery Message 1000

quote:
Modulous writes:

Properly speaking, the absence of evidence is not by itself (negative) evidence (of absence), rather it is evidence of the absence of (positive) evidence - in the areas where evidence has been sought, and with the methodology\technology used to look for (positive) evidence.

If you only look in area {A} and do not find positive evidence, that means that positive evidence is currently not available within area {A}

And we're talking about area {A} only. When we look there are two hypothesis

1. The pen is on the desk (evidence: I can see a pen)
2. The pen is not on the desk (evidence: I can not seen a pen on the desk, and I have reason to suppose it is likely that if a pen was present I'd see it).

The absence of the evidence for 1 just happens to be the evidence for 2.

It's really basic logic.

In other words: ... the absence of evidence is not by itself (negative) evidence (of absence), rather it is evidence of the absence of (positive) evidence - in the areas where evidence has been sought, and with the methodology\technology used to look for (positive) evidence" -- curiously, it really is basic logic.


Here we see that {A} = {B} by the definition of {B} as being =={A}, and the absence of evidence then becomes a mundane tautological fact ... within the area defined as the limits of the search. Of course if you only consider the places where you have found an absence of evidence, then you will reach a (false) conclusion that it is evidence of absence. Even then you have only shown that the evidence applies to the times when the search was made and to the technology with which the search was made.

I see absolutely no reason to make the assumption that all areas are searched in every case, or even in a high proportion of cases, and in those cases where this assumption is not, or cannot be, made, then the absence of (positive) evidence is not (negative) evidence (of absence), rather it is evidence of the absence of (positive) evidence - only in those areas where evidence has been sought, and only with the methodology\technology used to look for (positive) evidence.

Rahvin Peanut Gallery Message 1002:All of the components are important. But it's very clear that the adage "an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is not a universal, general rule.

This is what I've said in every instance where I used the example of a pen on a desk, RAZD. Are you now, finally, saying that you agree?

Yes, conditionally: when you absolutely limit the question to where {A} == {B}, and set observation time to only include those times an actual search was made, and where the object of the search is defined to be something that can be observed with current technology (ie the pen is not microscopic) as you have done with "All of the components" (or Modulus does by only considering {A}), then you have an observation of fact, not a probability, but a mundane truth that only applies when {A} = {B}. To apply this to any other cases you need to show that these qualifications apply.

Amusingly, as soon as you move away from those few instances where you can observe fact, then the logic (and any attempt to calculate probability) fails to provide you with answers that are necessarily true or even likely to be true. As I said about the Coelacanths

quote:
One thinks of the Coelacanth in the days before the modern species were found: the evidence only existed in the fossil record of shallow sea beds until ~60 million years ago. The evidence from trawling the seas of the world, and taking oceanographic samples with the then latest technology, did not show any positive evidence of extant Coelacanths, although there was evidence of other aquatic life from pre-60 million years ago (sharks etc). The actual probability of finding the modern Coelacanth was very small - using crashfrogs outcome space and probability calculations - the area currently occupied by the current species is a very small fraction of a percentage of the available space in the oceans of the world ... and yet the truth was that Coelacanths did exist === the absence of (positive) evidence was not (negative) evidence (of absence). There are many cases where this is found to be the case.

This, of course, is much more representative of the real world than artificial straw man hypothetical examples where you eliminate all other possibilities a priori, which then becomes meaningless jabberwocky.

Of course, one positive result is all that is necessary for the (negative) assumption (of absence) to be totally and irrevocably falsified, so any calculations (however made) of high probability odds against it provide a false impression of security in the calculations. This is like the difference in a lottery between a specific ticket winning and the lottery being won by at least one ticket: it takes incredible luck or prescience to pick a single winning ticket, and yet time and again the lottery is won. Mathematical calculations, like opinions, are strangely incapable of altering reality in any way, and they only reflect truth/s to the degree that they are based on truth/s.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by AdminModulous, posted 02-10-2011 9:47 PM RAZD has responded

  
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Message 6 of 42 (604400)
02-10-2011 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
02-10-2011 9:24 PM


Hi RAZD,
did you mean to post that in this thread? It doesn't seem to be related to the OP. I'm not sure posting a response to criticism in another thread in a PNT will be viewed as entirely good form, especially a PNT that has stalled and is likely to not be promoted. Is there some good reason to be here? This PNT doesn't appear to be going to be promoted since it was for a GD where the other person declined.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by RAZD, posted 02-10-2011 9:56 PM AdminModulous has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 7 of 42 (604401)
02-10-2011 9:56 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by AdminModulous
02-10-2011 9:47 PM


just more definition of the basic argument.
Hi AdminModulous,

Is there some good reason to be here? This PNT doesn't appear to be going to be promoted since it was for a GD where the other person declined.

The GD was turned down by Coyote, that doesn't mean that someone else will not take it up. Of course they would need to ask.

It doesn't seem to be related to the OP.

Message 1:

quote:
Nor am I aware of any subjective evidence that can show anything more than the possibility that god/s do not exist.

This would include the absence of objective empirical evidence that god/s do exist

So Message 5 is some additional information on that issue.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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 Message 8 by AdminModulous, posted 02-10-2011 11:27 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
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Message 8 of 42 (604402)
02-10-2011 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by RAZD
02-10-2011 9:56 PM


Re: just more definition of the basic argument.
Could you concisely sum up the basic argument this debate would be about?

Is it about who has the burden of the evidence under what circumstances in general. Is it about the specific question of god? Is it about the quality of the evidence or lack thereof it either way? Your extra definition was longer than your OP it would seem - and rather than being about whether you are required to provide evidence is about you not being persuaded by a certain argument.

Subbie expressed an interest in a debate with you where he would support ' the proposition that gods do not exist.' - so if that's the kind of thing you want to do here, and Subbie is still interested, you can have at it. Subbie, let us know.


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 Message 7 by RAZD, posted 02-10-2011 9:56 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

    
AdminModulous
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Message 9 of 42 (604403)
02-11-2011 6:21 PM


subbie and RAZD only
subbie has confirmed his interest so I'm promoting this.
    
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Message 10 of 42 (604405)
02-11-2011 6:25 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The persistent question of evidence ... thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
subbie
Member (Idle past 237 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 11 of 42 (604408)
02-11-2011 6:54 PM


Definitions
It seems to me that the first place to start is to define some terms. I have thoughts in mind that I will supply when I have a bit more time than I do now, but I'd like to see what you have in mind as well.

Evidence: what does it mean for something to be evidence for or against a particular proposition?

God: what do you mean when you talk about god?

We won't get anywhere productive without agreeing when something is or is not evidence of a particular fact, nor will we unless we agree about what we are talking about when we talk about god.

Also, as I mentioned in my post in the Topic Proposal thread, I'd like this to be a stand alone debate. Feel free to quote from anything else you said in any other conversation (with or without quotation notation), but please don't simply refer to another conversation and ask me to read that for purposes of this discussion.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by RAZD, posted 02-13-2011 7:30 PM subbie has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 12 of 42 (604645)
02-13-2011 7:30 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by subbie
02-11-2011 6:54 PM


Re: Definitions
subbie and RAZD only

Hi subbie, I thought you would take this up.

I can't guarantee rapid response as (a) I am busy with personal matters now, more than ever, due to some changes (non-health related), and (b) I am now involved in (3) great debates.

Evidence: what does it mean for something to be evidence for or against a particular proposition?

In previous discussions on similar topics I have listed what I call RAZD's Concept Scale

Now I have been thinking of revising II and making it four levels with III above becoming IV:

RAZD's Concept Scale (revised)
  1. Zero Confidence Concepts
    1. No evidence, subjective or objective, hypothetical arguments,
    2. No logical conclusions possible, but opinion possible

  2. Low Confidence Concepts
    1. Unconfirmed or subjective supporting evidence, opinion also involved, but no known objective empirical evidence pro or con, nothing shows the concept per se to be invalid
    2. Conclusions regarding possibilities for further investigation, and opinions can be based on this level of evidence,

  3. Medium Confidence Concepts
    1. Based on some objective empirical evidence, but may also have contradictory or anomalous (unreconciled) evidence, a scientific hypothesis that has not (yet) been tested, that has not (yet) provided any new predicted evidence or information, or that is still in development
    2. Conclusions regarding possible reality can be made tentatively, methods to test and falsify such concepts can be developed to better measure the possibility of their being true\false.

  4. High Confidence Concepts
    1. Validated and confirmed objective supporting evidence, and no known contradictory evidence
    2. Conclusions regarding probable reality can be made, repeated attempts to falsify such concepts can lead to high confidence in their being true.

You will note that this scale relies on the scientific method to reach levels III and IV and both of those require objective empirical evidence. In addition, each level leads to the next higher level as more evidence and information becomes available and stricter standards of testing are applied (ie, are falsifiable).

Levels III and IV start with objective evidence of specific instances where the concept/s are known to be valid (positive test), where IV has been tested and validated. These compare with scientific hypothesis and scientific theory.

In this regard evidence for something needs to be objective empirical evidence that positively supports a scientific hypothesis, and evidence against a particular proposition would be evidence that invalidates it.

Feel free to discuss and suggest modifications and clarifications.

God: what do you mean when you talk about god?

Generally speaking I don't talk about god/s per se, except in general terms that are commonly used. I have several reasons for this, one being that I think it is inconceivable that god/s could be adequately conceived by the human mind - it would logically take a mind equal (or nearly equal) to god/s, capable of understanding how god/s function - so all we could possibly have from any religious experiences would be little snippets of poorly understood information, likely to be contradictory due to misunderstanding, and incomplete due to sampling of different aspects: the blind people feeling an elephant metaphor.

In addition, my personal beliefs tend to be more in the Buddhist tradition/s - no central god/s but a "being that is not being" ... and a focus on personal enlightenment:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm

quote:
  • Who Was the Buddha?

    Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found 'the middle path' and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.

  • Was the Buddha a God?

    He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.

  • Do Buddhists Worship Idols?

    Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.


In this regard I think of a spiritual (5th) dimension to the universe and of personal enlightenment as finding mental access to that dimension. I believe anyone can become enlightened, but that this does not mean they become gods, just spiritual beings. I also realize that this is essentially an unfalsifiable concept, and I note that this is my personal opinion\belief, and that I don't ask anyone else to accept it in any way: everyone needs to find their own path.

We won't get anywhere productive without agreeing when something is or is not evidence of a particular fact, nor will we unless we agree about what we are talking about when we talk about god.

Sorry if I haven't given you much to work with here,

Enjoy.

subbie and RAZD only

Edited by RAZD, : frmt

Edited by RAZD, : color blocks added

Edited by RAZD, : simplified

Edited by RAZD, : honed level III


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by subbie, posted 02-11-2011 6:54 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by subbie, posted 02-13-2011 9:27 PM RAZD has responded

  
subbie
Member (Idle past 237 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 13 of 42 (604649)
02-13-2011 9:27 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by RAZD
02-13-2011 7:30 PM


Re: Definitions
I can't guarantee rapid response as (a) I am busy with personal matters now, more than ever, due to some changes (non-health related), and (b) I am now involved in (3) great debates.

No worries. I can't guarantee a rapid response either, because I'm lazy and want to mull these things over, and probably take them up in a piecemeal fashion.

In this regard evidence for something needs to be objective empirical evidence that positively supports a scientific hypothesis, and evidence against a particular proposition would be evidence that invalidates it.

Well, I agree as far as that goes. But what does it mean to say that something is evidence supporting or invalidating a hypothesis? Perhaps this seems self-evident, something not in need of definition. But I think it's crucial for us to agree on what this word means.

As I imagine you are aware, I'm an attorney. Let me begin with the definition of evidence that the law uses and see where that gets us.

Fact X is evidence is support of hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y more probable than it would be without. The converse, obviously, would be that fact X is evidence against hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y less probable than it would be without. Evidence does not need to conclusively establish or invalidate a hypothesis by itself to be evidence in support of or against a hypothesis.

For example, the genetic similarity between humans and chimps is evidence in support of the ToE, but does not by itself make one conclude that the ToE is valid.

Generally speaking I don't talk about god/s per se, except in general terms that are commonly used.

If we cannot agree on what we mean when we talk about the existence or non existence of gods, I can't conceive of how we can rationally discuss the question.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by RAZD, posted 02-13-2011 7:30 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2011 6:15 PM subbie has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 14 of 42 (605218)
02-17-2011 6:15 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by subbie
02-13-2011 9:27 PM


Definitions and Ground Rules
subbie and RAZD only

Hi subbie,

... because I'm lazy and want to mull these things over, and probably take them up in a piecemeal fashion.

Works for me.

Well, I agree as far as that goes. But what does it mean to say that something is evidence supporting or invalidating a hypothesis? Perhaps this seems self-evident, something not in need of definition. But I think it's crucial for us to agree on what this word means.

Evolution is the change in frequency of hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation in response to ecological opportunities.

The theory of evolution is that this process can explain the diversity of life as we know it from the world around us, from history, from pre-history, from archeology, paleontology and geology, from the fossil record, and from the genetic record.

When we see documentation that this process happens and that it in fact results in greater diversity -- as when speciation occurs -- then we can say that this supports the theory of evolution.

If we saw evidence of diversity occurring without evolution (ie sudden creation) then this would invalidate the theory.

For example, the genetic similarity between humans and chimps is evidence in support of the ToE, but does not by itself make one conclude that the ToE is valid.

The genetic evidence is also objective empirical evidence that supports the theory. If the genetics were entirely different then this would invalidate common ancestry, which is a prediction of the ToE.

As I imagine you are aware, I'm an attorney. Let me begin with the definition of evidence that the law uses and see where that gets us.

Fact X is evidence is support of hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y more probable than it would be without. The converse, obviously, would be that fact X is evidence against hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y less probable than it would be without. Evidence does not need to conclusively establish or invalidate a hypothesis by itself to be evidence in support of or against a hypothesis.

One thing we need to be agreed on, is that the evidence requirements are the same, pro and con.

For instance, bluegenes, in the  Great Debate  the bluegenes Challenge  , argues that he can make up evidence for his hypothesis, or that he can interpret hearsay circumstantial evidence so that it supports his assertions, but that it can only be falsified by objective empirical evidence of the actual existence of an actual supernatural being.

I point out that the same hearsay circumstantial evidence can also be interpreted so that it supports the existence of god/s, and he ignores that, dismisses it without addressing the issue (the issue being that because the conclusion depends on the interpretation, not on the evidence, that it does not support nor invalidate his position, but renders it inadequate for the formation of a logical conclusion).

I point out that there is substantial hearsay and circumstantial evidence that god/s exist, in the religious documents and in the reports of religious experiences. These documents are objective empirical evidence of people that believe god/s exist. These documents do not need interpretation to see that many people believe they have sufficient evidence to believe that god/s exist.

When I point this out to bluegenes and say that he needs to be able to invalidate these as evidence of god/s and communications with god/s in order to claim a sole source explanation, he ignores it because it is not scientifically validated.

This is a double standard.

As yet, I do not have sufficient debate with petrophysics1 in the Evidence (RAZD and Petrophysics only) thread to see where he is going with his claim to have evidence for the existence of god/s sufficient to support a [1] position on the belief scale (given in Who needs to supply evidence, when, and why. (Message 1)).

In any event, my position (as a [3] on the scale) is that there is insufficient evidence pro or con to substantiate a [1], [2], [6] or [7] position, and will be acting in these debates -- as I have on the bluegenes debate -- as a devil's advocate.

This means that I do not need to offer any evidence to support my position, other than to show that the logic in Who needs to supply evidence, when, and why. (Message 1) means that objective empirical evidence needs to be provided to substantiate any position other than [3], [4] and [5]. I can provide you with the logical evaluation that results in these groupings, if you so desire.

As devil's advocate, then, I can provide alternative/s to your argument based on what other people are known to believe - properly documented of course - without doing anything more than say that these are alternative explanations that are just as valid as yours. It is up to you to show that your position is better substantiated.

As I imagine you are aware, I'm an attorney. Let me begin with the definition of evidence that the law uses and see where that gets us.

And that different levels of evidence are used depending on how much doubt is allowed in the decisions, and what is resting on the conclusion (is it the ownership of a car or life and death?).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_%28law%29

quote:
Hearsay

Hearsay is one of the largest and most complex areas of the law of evidence in common-law jurisdictions. The default rule is that hearsay evidence is inadmissible. Hearsay is an out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. A party is offering a statement to prove the truth of the matter asserted if the party is trying to prove that the assertion made by the declarant (the maker of the pretrial statement) is true. For example, prior to trial Bob says, "Jane went to the store." If the party offering this statement as evidence at trial is trying to prove that Jane actually went to the store, the statement is being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. However, at both common law and under evidence codifications such as the Federal Rules of Evidence, there are dozens of exemptions from and exceptions to the hearsay rule.

Circumstantial evidence

Evidence of an indirect nature which implies the existence of the main fact in question but does not in itself prove it. That is, the existence of the main fact is deduced from the indirect or circumstantial evidence by a process of probable reasoning. The introduction of a defendant's fingerprints or DNA sample are examples of circumstantial evidence. The fact that a defendant had a motive to commit a crime is circumstantial evidence. However, in an important sense all evidence is merely circumstantial because on no evidence can prove a fact in the absence of one or more inference.


I would point out that if you want to admit this kind of evidence, then the overwhelming evidence of a majority of people in the world that believe in god/s is evidence that god/s exist and that it is supported by religious documents and reports of religious experiences used by people in substantiating their beliefs. I'm sure you're aware of such people here in this forum, for example.

In Topic Proposal Issues Message 359 you said:

RAZD has proposed a topic that appears to address the question of the existence of gods. His position seems to be that neither the existence nor nonexistence can be supported by evidence, so the only logical position is that of agnosticism. Petrophysics1 has apparently indicated an interest in participating to defend the position that at least one god exists. I would be interested in participating to challenge both positions and in support of the proposition that gods do not exist.

The onus is on you to support your position, if you are a [6] or a [7], or to state the reasons for your opinion if you are a [5].

If you cannot support more than a [5] position - evidence of the type and character that can be used, but doesn't have to be, to form an opinion, then my position is substantiated.

This is where bluegenes is, currently (even though he has claimed to be an "agnostic [6]" ).

Enjoy.

subbie and RAZD only

Note that Great Debate participants have been asked not to participate in the Peanut Gallery threads that are for other people to comment on the Great Debate/s.

I expect that a dedicated Peanut Gallery thread for this debate, similar to the one for the Peanut Gallery for the "Evidence" Great Debate thread thread will be created, or that it will be expanded to include this debate (as both are about evidence, one for and one against, the existence of god/s).

Edited by RAZD, : added banner, end note

Edited by RAZD, : format issues


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by subbie, posted 02-13-2011 9:27 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by subbie, posted 02-19-2011 11:43 PM RAZD has responded

  
subbie
Member (Idle past 237 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 15 of 42 (605461)
02-19-2011 11:43 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by RAZD
02-17-2011 6:15 PM


Mish mash
Well, there's quite a mish mash of stuff in that post. In no particular order....

And that different levels of evidence are used depending on how much doubt is allowed in the decisions, and what is resting on the conclusion (is it the ownership of a car or life and death?).

No, the rules of evidence are pretty much the same regardless of what type of trial it is. The level of proof differs from criminal to civil, and different levels of proof in different types of civil actions as well. I'm not really sure what you're saying here, or what it has to do with this discussion.

One thing we need to be agreed on, is that the evidence requirements are the same, pro and con.

I just sorta skimmed your summation of your discussions with others because they don't really interest me at the moment. I do agree that the standard of evidence has to be the same for both sides. My question still remains: do you agree with my definition of "evidence?"

I would point out that if you want to admit this kind of evidence, then the overwhelming evidence of a majority of people in the world that believe in god/s is evidence that god/s exist and that it is supported by religious documents and reports of religious experiences used by people in substantiating their beliefs. I'm sure you're aware of such people here in this forum, for example.

I'm certainly aware that there are people who believe in different gods. My argument is that the tremendous diversity and lack of consensus suggests that there is not in fact an actual being behind those beliefs. If there were, there would be agreement. If course, this argument would be clearer if we could agree at some level about what constitutes a god for purposes of this discussion. As I said before, without this agreement, it's futile to discuss what constitutes evidence supporting the existence or non-existence of gods. Would you care to take a stab and defining god for purposes of our discussion?


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2011 6:15 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by RAZD, posted 02-20-2011 4:39 PM subbie has responded

  
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