When we request each other to provide evidence in an argument, should we be referring to source papers that contain original data, or is referring to authorities good enough?
Well that would depend in the first instance on how obscure and how contentious the issue is. Would anyone bother to give a reference for (let's say) the claim that granite is an igneous rock? First one would just assert it, if challenged one would point out that it's in all the textbooks and everyone believes it, finally one might actually start marshaling data.
After all, a real scientific paper wouldn't give references or arguments for that, so unless someone is inclined to doubt it, why should I?
If it's good enough, when and why is that the case?
I guess it's good enough when the other person thinks it's good enough.
Is scientific knowledge the set of all source data in the literature, or is it the set of inferences and conclusions that have been generally agreed upon by the scientific community, based on those data?
It's mainly the inferences.
Consider for example the law that "like charges repel". This is an inductive inference that goes beyond the data points that support it. And the same can be said of any general law. If this wasn't scientific knowledge, if we confined the concept to data points about past events, then apart from anything else scientific knowledge would have no practical value.
If and when I get concrete answers about that, I can ask more concrete questions like: if I'm not a nerdy book-worm whose primary interest is learning about the natural world, how do I participate in your democracy?
Well maybe you don't. I have never studied Japanese, so I don't take part in discussions of what the Japanese word for "watermelon" is.
Or more generally, how do you expect a general public who is not necessarily compelled by knowledge to interact with you?
Well, no-one is obliged to. But people who want to express an opinion should either study the subject, or defer to the people who have, or ask them questions and learn from them.
Well, I'm trying to talk more generally about decision-making as a community. I'm hoping for a bit deeper analysis and thought on what is satisfactory for the communities we live and interact with.
Any thoughts on standards that you think best apply to communities you're familiar with?
I'll think about it. After all, I don't usually interact with communities as such, just collections of individuals.
Thanks! OK, so... which are the inferences to believe, and which are the inferences to doubt? Where's the place that does a nice job summarizing all the relevant inferences, tracing them back to other inferences, that ultimately get back to the data?
I really need that, so I can *not* spend hours and hours of my life investigating and verifying stuff I don't know.
Well, if you want to check the chain of inference and its relationship with the data, then you do in fact have hours of work ahead of you, all scientists have done in that case is do the experiments for you (hey, it's a start). If you just want to know that this has been done, that there is a reasonable relationship between the data and the inferences, then you're going to have to take someone's word for it (scientists) which is quick and easy. I don't see that there's something that combines the merits of both approaches.
Are you suggesting that only those well-educated in democracy (or political science more generally) should participate in democracy?
It would seem like a good idea. I'm not suggesting that this should be law, I'm suggesting that it would be nice if occasionally people said to themselves: "I know that I have never studied this subject. Maybe I shouldn't confidently opine on it in public. Maybe I shouldn't allocate my vote based on guessing what the answer is". This is particularly desirable when the person in question is a member of Congress.
And, as someone who's looking for practical answers to current situations... how would I ever apply this?
Or, to say it another way: responding to illogic with logic seems to me itself illogical and missing the point. You've assumed a logical proponent when every indication is that they're not. So, as a logical person, it may be worthwhile to explore other approaches. What other approaches might accomplish the same goal (bringing someone else to your same conclusion) without using logic as the method?
Brainwashing and the salutary application of electricity to the tender parts ...
... seriously, at that point we may have reached an impasse. Apart from anything else, I don't particularly want people to agree with me for bad reasons.
If they come to agree with me for bad reasons, what happens when someone shows them that the reasons are bad? Won't they come to regards me as a liar and a fool? Won't they think that if I could have given good reasons, I would have done so? Won't they conclude that there are no good reasons? Won't this cause them to react against my idea and the lying liar who deceitfully foisted it on them?
And then not only have I not convinced them, but I'm going to have a lot of trouble convincing them of anything else.
When I have a rock, it seems to me improvident to build my house upon the sand.
Again, it's not a lie. It's just a different way to present materials. It's all the same conclusions, packaged in very different ways.
Hmm, I see what you mean.
For example, I seem to remember that if you want conservatives to worry about pollution, don't talk to them about saving the precious trees and the adorable animals and so forth. They don't care. Tell them that pollution is dirty. Conservatives are fastidious, and this way of putting it affects them emotionally.
But that's just one particular case. In general, I guess you have to study the psychology of your audience.