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Author Topic:   Non-scientific evidence
Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1453 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 1 of 98 (559546)
05-10-2010 7:33 AM


In a current thread in the Faith and Belief forum, http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&t=14218 , a poster claimed that the existence and properties of what he termed the supernatural could be determined without use of the scientific method. He claimed that there was what he called "non-scientific evidence" that could be used for the purpose.

I took the term "non-scientific evidence" to be some kind of evidence that is not based on observation. However, that was not explicitly stated.

I would like to offer this thread as an opportunity for anyone who wishes to show what "non-scientific evidence" might be, to offer examples, and to demonstrate how it can be shown to be reliable.

Of course, others may discuss what is presented.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by RAZD, posted 05-10-2010 7:02 PM Woodsy has not yet responded
 Message 5 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-10-2010 8:50 PM Woodsy has not yet responded

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Message 2 of 98 (559550)
05-10-2010 8:46 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Non-scientific evidence thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
RAZD
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Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 3 of 98 (559622)
05-10-2010 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
05-10-2010 7:33 AM


What is "scientific evidence"?
Hi Woodsy,

He claimed that there was what he called "non-scientific evidence" that could be used for the purpose.

I took the term "non-scientific evidence" to be some kind of evidence that is not based on observation. However, that was not explicitly stated.

I would like to offer this thread as an opportunity for anyone who wishes to show what "non-scientific evidence" might be, to offer examples, ...

What is "scientific evidence"?

If we define that, then "non-scientific evidence" would be anything left. This can cover a lot of ground. Anecdotal evidence, hearsay, any experience that has not been duplicated ...

Once we determine that, then we can talk about how much it can (or can't) be used for making coherent conclusions that have some chance of relating to reality.

... and to demonstrate how it can be shown to be reliable.

Reliable is a tall order. I'm not sure the scientific method with validated evidence necessarily results in reliable conclusions.

But as far as "non-scientific evidence" goes, personally, I think the best you could do would be to develop an untested hypothesis of a possibility.

... a poster claimed ...

Could you link the post so we can see the context?

Use the gray number after "message N of P" in this code:
[mid=559542]

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty

Edited by RAZD, : more


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 1 by Woodsy, posted 05-10-2010 7:33 AM Woodsy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-10-2010 8:35 PM RAZD has responded

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 98 (559629)
05-10-2010 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by RAZD
05-10-2010 7:02 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
Hey RAZD,

How's the health? Good I hope.

What is "scientific evidence"?

If we define that, then "non-scientific evidence" would be anything left. This can cover a lot of ground. Anecdotal evidence, hearsay, any experience that has not been duplicated ...

Once we determine that, then we can talk about how much it can (or can't) be used for making coherent conclusions that have some chance of relating to reality.

At first, I was thinking along the same lines, as in there being plenty of "non-scientific" evidence to speak of. But I don't think that's what Woodsy is talking about.

In the OP he wrote:

I took the term "non-scientific evidence" to be some kind of evidence that is not based on observation.

Judging from what he's posted leading up to this proposal, he's talking about the "un-observed" stuff people still refer to as subjective, or immaterial, evidence.

"Non-scientific" is a bad phraseology, imao

But yes, let's allow him to define it for himself, and then we can move on.

Reliable is a tall order. I'm not sure the scientific method with validated evidence necessarily results in reliable conclusions.

I disagree. Every time we dropped that weight in the physics lab (as a random example), it fell at 9.8 m/s2... reliably. Nobody really observed it at any other acceleration. Interestingly some people might have miscalculated and thought they observed 9.7 (or whatever).

Not quite sure where I was going with that... *burp*

But as far as "non-scientific evidence" goes, personally, I think the best you could do would be to develop an untested hypothesis of a possibility.

This is where you get into the whole 'agnostic or not towards that possibility' funnel that we should not let each other fall into once again.

Could you link the post so we can see the context?

I think he's referring to Dr. Sing... check here Message 215 and up plus here Message 226.

I took a look at his last 5 messages posted, or so, and he seems to be another positivist bent against religion, no offense Woodsy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by RAZD, posted 05-10-2010 7:02 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by RAZD, posted 05-10-2010 8:54 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 7 by Woodsy, posted 05-10-2010 9:16 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 8 by Phage0070, posted 05-11-2010 3:27 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 98 (559632)
05-10-2010 8:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
05-10-2010 7:33 AM


I would like to offer this thread as an opportunity for anyone who wishes to show what "non-scientific evidence" might be, to offer examples, and to demonstrate how it can be shown to be reliable.

I not sure they can be shown to be reliable. Especially since being "scientific" relies on the reliability... so its seems paradoxical right up front.

But yeah, a better definition would help.

Anyways, to throw some examples out there to get started with:

A few guys out together who all see the same ghost... If they all saw it, them they probably saw something actual. What it actaully was is unknown. Not "scientific", but "observed". Is that in any way "evidence"? How much can they rely on the similarities in what they saw to draw some kind of edjucated guess as to what it could not have been and what it might have been?

A college student tripping his balls off wandering around in the amusement park of a subjective experience... Is that in any way "observed"? He's actually learned things from himself that have changed his life from that night on. How much can he rely on what he learned?

The opinion of an Autralian Aborogine on how he feels about the European influences... Observed. Reliable?

Lets go from there.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Woodsy, posted 05-10-2010 7:33 AM Woodsy has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 6 of 98 (559634)
05-10-2010 8:54 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by New Cat's Eye
05-10-2010 8:35 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
Hi Catholic Scientist

How's the health? Good I hope.

Pretty good -- see The Bicycle Team Challenge

I disagree. Every time we dropped that weight in the physics lab ...

That some (highly tested and heavily validated concepts) seem reliable does not mean that all are.

This is where you get into the whole 'agnostic or not towards that possibility' funnel that we should not let each other fall into once again.

Curiously, avoiding the issue won't make it go away. There are lots of little bits and pieces of evidence floating around, and some of it may coalesce into a new concept, but until the concept is tested and validated it is just a possibility.

I think he's referring to Dr. Sing... check here Message 215 and up plus here Message 226.

Ah, thanks. Not much to go on there, we may be dealing more with assertions based on confirmation bias than evidence.

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:
 Message 4 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-10-2010 8:35 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-11-2010 11:07 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1453 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 7 of 98 (559637)
05-10-2010 9:16 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by New Cat's Eye
05-10-2010 8:35 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
I think he's referring to Dr. Sing... check here Message 215 and up plus here Message 226.

That's right. I have seen references to ways of investigating the supernatural that do not use the scientific method a number of times. What I have not encountered is a convincing explanation of just what these methods might be. I'd rather like to know. Maybe I have missed something it would be good to know about.

A message by dwise1 expanded on my request for information quite nicely. Message 271

"Non-scientific" is a bad phraseology, imao

That's quite possible. Dr Sing stated that scientific methods could not be used, so "non-scientific" seemed to suit.

I took a look at his last 5 messages posted, or so, and he seems to be another positivist bent against religion, no offense Woodsy.

No problem!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-10-2010 8:35 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-11-2010 11:09 AM Woodsy has not yet responded

Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 98 (559680)
05-11-2010 3:27 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by New Cat's Eye
05-10-2010 8:35 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
Catholic Scientist writes:

Every time we dropped that weight in the physics lab (as a random example), it fell at 9.8 m/s2... reliably.

Perhaps I could give another way of looking at things; what you described is still data. Reliable data does not guarantee reliable conclusions, in the sense that we could conclude the weights are falling at 9.8 m/s2 because that is how hard the invisible gnomes pull things toward their underground burrows.

This would of course be an unreliable conclusion, as from it we might infer that if the moon also has invisible gnomes they would pull with similar vigor.

In a more broad sense however, it isn't particularly important that scientific theories are correct strictly speaking. If we adapted the hoarding gnome theory of gravitation to reliably match observations by positing weaker and stronger gnomes based on the amount of material in the particular body (or perhaps just more gnomes can live in larger celestial bodies), then the ridiculousness of the gnomes is largely irrelevant.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-10-2010 8:35 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-11-2010 11:10 AM Phage0070 has responded

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 98 (559737)
05-11-2010 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by RAZD
05-10-2010 8:54 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
Pretty good -- see The Bicycle Team Challenge

Excellent! Congradulations.

That some (highly tested and heavily validated concepts) seem reliable does not mean that all are.

Ah, you did say necessarily. I agree that its not necessary, but its still reliable nonetheless. I mean, science put a man on the moon. It IS reliable, no?

Although, the Principle of Parsimony does cause some issues with myself. Assuming the simplest explanation is the most accurate seems to be a way to miss stuff.

Curiously, avoiding the issue won't make it go away.

I don't care if the issue goes away or not, I'd just rather type about something else within these topics for a change.

There are lots of little bits and pieces of evidence floating around, and some of it may coalesce into a new concept, but until the concept is tested and validated it is just a possibility.

Well then, out of all those many pieces, share some of the "non-scientific" ones and lets discuss thier reliability as per the topic...

Ah, thanks. Not much to go on there, we may be dealing more with assertions based on confirmation bias than evidence.

yeah, I'm not exactly sure what Dr. Sing is talking about. He said there's other ways to investigate the supernatural that are not the scientific method. He listed this stuff in Message 264:

quote:
Philosophy! Metaphysics, Ethics, Logic, Philosophy of religion. If you want to categorize my argument into one of these, that's ethics. Dealing with morality!

So yes, not much to go on there indeed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by RAZD, posted 05-10-2010 8:54 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 98 (559738)
05-11-2010 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Woodsy
05-10-2010 9:16 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
That's right. I have seen references to ways of investigating the supernatural that do not use the scientific method a number of times. What I have not encountered is a convincing explanation of just what these methods might be. I'd rather like to know. Maybe I have missed something it would be good to know about.

It depends on what you're talking about. The assertions from Dr. Sing are a little "out there", if you know what I mean.

But what parts of the scientific method can be ignored but you'd still consider the investigation "scientific". Presumably, folliowing every step except peer review wouldn't cut it out for you. What about the stuff from those ghost hunting TV shows where they're using EMF meters and gathering data and trying conclude hypotheses n'stuff? It looks to be somewhat 'scientifical', but would you call that "non-scientific"?

I brought up some other examples in Message 5, did you not see that one?

A message by dwise1 expanded on my request for information quite nicely. Message 271

Did you want to limit this thread to the hoohah that Dr Sing is talking about? Or something else?

"Non-scientific" is a bad phraseology, imao

That's quite possible. Dr Sing stated that scientific methods could not be used, so "non-scientific" seemed to suit.

Well, what kinds of things would prevent the scientific method from being use?

If you lack the ability to set proper controls for an experiment, then you're not investigating scientifically, but that wouldn't mean the phenomenon is supernatural. I think when people talk about supernatural things not being able to be studied scientifically, I don't think they're just talking about difficulties in the process preventing it (although sometimes they are), but that there's something inherent to the phenomenon that is preventing investigative observation. Like a ghost hunt, if its an intellegent spirit that can decide when it reveals itself, then a controlled experiment isn't going to yield data if they don't want it to. Or if their manifestations are erratic then that would muck it up too.

I guess it depends on what you wanted to discuss... So?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Woodsy, posted 05-10-2010 9:16 PM Woodsy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by dwise1, posted 05-11-2010 11:22 AM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 98 (559739)
05-11-2010 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phage0070
05-11-2010 3:27 AM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
Catholic Scientist writes:

Every time we dropped that weight in the physics lab (as a random example), it fell at 9.8 m/s2... reliably.


Perhaps I could give another way of looking at things; what you described is still data. Reliable data does not guarantee reliable conclusions,

But the evidence is the data. The conclusion is not the evidence.

Does science even say anything about the reliability of its own conclusions?

From the OP:

quote:
I would like to offer this thread as an opportunity for anyone who wishes to show what "non-scientific evidence" might be, to offer examples, and to demonstrate how it can be shown to be reliable.

I took that to mean we were talking about the data and not the conclusions.

in the sense that we could conclude the weights are falling at 9.8 m/s2 because that is how hard the invisible gnomes pull things toward their underground burrows.

This would of course be an unreliable conclusion,

How can that be shown?

as from it we might infer that if the moon also has invisible gnomes they would pull with similar vigor.

How does that inference show the previous conclusion to be unreliable?

In a more broad sense however, it isn't particularly important that scientific theories are correct strictly speaking. If we adapted the hoarding gnome theory of gravitation to reliably match observations by positing weaker and stronger gnomes based on the amount of material in the particular body (or perhaps just more gnomes can live in larger celestial bodies), then the ridiculousness of the gnomes is largely irrelevant.

Why? What about that further inference reduces the ridiculousness? Is that shown in any way?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Phage0070, posted 05-11-2010 3:27 AM Phage0070 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Phage0070, posted 05-11-2010 12:01 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 12 of 98 (559741)
05-11-2010 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by New Cat's Eye
05-11-2010 11:09 AM


So Where is Dr. Sing? This Thread is for Him.
Did you want to limit this thread to the hoohah that Dr Sing is talking about? Or something else?

Actually, this thread was created specifically for Dr. Sing. In Topic: Straightforward, hard-to-answer-questions about the Bible/Christianity, Message 307 (my emphasis added):

dwise1 writes:

But did you answer Woodsy's simple, direct, and utterly necessary question? No, you did not. You did not even start to answer it. Made absolutely no attempt to answer it. Instead, you redirected our attention away from that question with an entirely unrelated argument. Why didn't you just answer his question? Or at the very least acknowledge it and offer some kind of explanation why you can't answer it ... or explicitly refuse to answer it with some semblance of an explanation as to why?
No, you stated flat-out that you had something, "other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize {the supernatural}", and then you completely avoided presenting any further information about those "ways". Like far too many other Christians before you have repeatedly done far too many times. Like creationists will go on and on about all this evidence they have for creation and yet they consistently refuse to present it, making it glaringly obvious that they have no such evidence and that they know it yet persist in falsely claiming that such evidence does exist.

Is that your case? That you really don't have any "other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize {the supernatural}"? Well then why did you falsely claim that you do? Does this "absolute, universal moral code" of yours, which we know full well prohibits telling falsehoods, not apply in all cases and especially not when a Christian chooses to violate it? How "absolute" is that?

Dr. Sing writes:

Philosophy! Metaphysics, Ethics, Logic, Philosophy of religion. If you want to categorize my argument into one of these, that's ethics. Dealing with morality!

Woodsy writes:

Would you care to show us some examples from these kinds of studies that confirm the existence of the supernatural or, assuming that it does exist, demonstrate its properties?

Start a new thread on it. Or please wait until I have the time to do so...which I'm guessing I would need a couple of days to gather my arguments, sources, and present them to you.

So at Dr. Sing's request, Woodsy started this thread. Which Dr. Sing has yet to visit.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-11-2010 11:09 AM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Phage0070, posted 05-11-2010 12:05 PM dwise1 has responded

  
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 98 (559746)
05-11-2010 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by New Cat's Eye
05-11-2010 11:10 AM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
Catholic Scientist writes:

From the OP:

quote:
I would like to offer this thread as an opportunity for anyone who wishes to show what "non-scientific evidence" might be, to offer examples, and to demonstrate how it can be shown to be reliable.

I took that to mean we were talking about the data and not the conclusions.


RAZD writes:

I'm not sure the scientific method with validated evidence necessarily results in reliable conclusions.

I was referring to what RAZD said, which in retrospect probably wasn't particularly relevant to the OP:

How does that inference show the previous conclusion to be unreliable?

... Because future observations are very likely to contradict the gnome theory? Reliable data about Earth's gravitation does not guarantee that our conclusions about that gravity will also turn out to be reliable. An example of an unreliable prediction of the gnome theory would be the possibility of sifting for gravity gnomes, to collect them for our own use.

Catholic Scientist writes:

Why? What about that further inference reduces the ridiculousness? Is that shown in any way?

I didn't say it reduced the ridiculousness, I said that the ridiculousness was largely irrelevant to its reliability. A theory of invisible greedy gnomes that makes predictions exactly in line with our current understanding of gravitation will be exactly as reliable as that current theory. The point I was making is that the usefulness of scientific theories lies primarily in their reliable predictive power, not in the philosophical explanations behind them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-11-2010 11:10 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-11-2010 12:22 PM Phage0070 has responded

Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 98 (559747)
05-11-2010 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by dwise1
05-11-2010 11:22 AM


Re: So Where is Dr. Sing? This Thread is for Him.
dwise1 writes:

So at Dr. Sing's request, Woodsy started this thread. Which Dr. Sing has yet to visit.

Ehh, give him a break. After all he is trying to prove the existence of God while providing valid reasoning and reliable sources.

Somehow I think "a couple of days" might be a tad optimistic of a time frame.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by dwise1, posted 05-11-2010 11:22 AM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by dwise1, posted 05-11-2010 3:46 PM Phage0070 has responded

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 98 (559750)
05-11-2010 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Phage0070
05-11-2010 12:01 PM


Re: What is "scientific evidence"?
I was referring to what RAZD said,

Ah yes, context

... Because future observations are very likely to contradict the gnome theory?

In what way? Are you going to observe something that shows that the gnomes aren't there?

Reliable data about Earth's gravitation does not guarantee that our conclusions about that gravity will also turn out to be reliable.

I'm confused. Our conclusion from the experiment was that gravity caused the objects to accelerate at 9.8 m/s2. The data was the distance and the time measured from the falling object. What conclusions about gravity are you talking about? And what's the data?

How can those conclusions be shown to be reliable?

An example of an unreliable prediction of the gnome theory would be the possibility of sifting for gravity gnomes, to collect them for our own use.

I'm sorry, but I honestly am not getting the point you are making. How do you show that's unreliable?

I didn't say it reduced the ridiculousness, I said that the ridiculousness was largely irrelevant to its reliability.

Oh, I see. My mistake.

A theory of invisible greedy gnomes that makes predictions exactly in line with our current understanding of gravitation will be exactly as reliable as that current theory. The point I was making is that the usefulness of scientific theories lies primarily in their reliable predictive power, not in the philosophical explanations behind them.

So how does that tie into the OP's request for a demonstration of the reliability of non-scientific evidence and/or conslusions?

Are you saying that it can't be done for scientific evidence either?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Phage0070, posted 05-11-2010 12:01 PM Phage0070 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Straggler, posted 05-11-2010 12:35 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 18 by Phage0070, posted 05-11-2010 12:46 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

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