Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 87 (8927 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 08-24-2019 2:40 AM
24 online now:
AZPaul3, Faith, Tanypteryx, Thugpreacha (AdminPhat), WookieeB (5 members, 19 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: Jedothek
Post Volume:
Total: 860,354 Year: 15,390/19,786 Month: 2,113/3,058 Week: 487/404 Day: 2/89 Hour: 0/2


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
RewPrev1
...
33343536
37
38Next
Author Topic:   Pseudoskepticism and logic
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20063
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 541 of 562 (529291)
10-08-2009 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 526 by onifre
10-07-2009 5:06 PM


Hi Onifre, I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread, as no new debate points are being made.

Please provide your summary of how you have answered the OP.

If you want to discuss other issues, please start a new thread.

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 526 by onifre, posted 10-07-2009 5:06 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 547 by onifre, posted 10-08-2009 7:31 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

RAZD
Member
Posts: 20063
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 542 of 562 (529292)
10-08-2009 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 512 by kjsimons
10-06-2009 8:55 PM


Re: For all pratical purposes
Hi kisimons, sorry that you are coming in at the end here, but I don't see your argument as significantly different from others here. The issue is NOT about the relative validity of various views, it is about the fact that when you make a claim it needs to be supported by evidence and valid logic. This is well accepted for positive claims, and thus this thread explores the same burden of proof\substantiation for negative claims. Atheism is just one example of such a negative claim (eg - there are no god/s), but belief/nonbelief is not what the thread is about.

I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread, as no new debate points are being made.

Please provide your summary of how you have answered the OP.

If you want to discuss other issues, please start a new thread.

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 512 by kjsimons, posted 10-06-2009 8:55 PM kjsimons has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 20063
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 543 of 562 (529293)
10-08-2009 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 469 by Kitsune
10-05-2009 8:10 AM


Re: probability problems
Hi LindaLou, I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread, as no new debate points are being made.

Please provide your summary of how you have answered the OP.

If you want to discuss other issues, please start a new thread.

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 469 by Kitsune, posted 10-05-2009 8:10 AM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 549 by Kitsune, posted 10-09-2009 3:02 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

RAZD
Member
Posts: 20063
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 544 of 562 (529294)
10-08-2009 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 378 by New Cat's Eye
09-30-2009 11:25 PM


Re: The "Null Hypothesis" Argument
Hi Catholic Scientist, I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread, as no new debate points are being made.

Please provide your summary of how you have answered the OP.

If you want to discuss other issues, please start a new thread.

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 378 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-30-2009 11:25 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 20063
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 545 of 562 (529296)
10-08-2009 6:53 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminNosy
09-19-2009 5:00 PM


Summary Time (and the livin is easy)
Hi AdminNosy, I'll use this for a general call to post summaries for this topic, asking that each person only post one summary and make no further replies.

I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread, as no new debate points are being made.

I am asking people to provide their summary of how they have answered the OP.

Any other issues need to be taken to a new thread.

The topic was repeated in Message 232:

quote:
Message 1
quote:
Taking these three statements:
  • The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything.
  • But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis --saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.
  • There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion . . .

People have no trouble addressing this issue when creationists try to claim that evolution is not a true science etc etc - to provide evidence that disproves evolution, and the same should hold for any philosophical or logical position.


Message 199

quote:
Curiously THE TOPIC is providing evidence for any negative hypothesis is just as much of a burden as providing evidence for a positive hypothesis.

  • strong atheists - predominantly atheist, with little or no doubt (formerly 6&7), has a negative hypothesis based on evidence. Bears burden to show evidence.

  • agnostic atheists - predominantly agnostic leaning to atheist (formerly 5), has a neutral hypothesis with a belief that a negative hypothesis MAY be true based on subjective opinion.

  • agnostics - pure agnostic, no need to lean either way (formerly 4), has a neutral hypothesis, that more evidence is needed before a rational decision can be made.

  • agnostic theist - predominantly agnostic, leaning to theist (formerly 3), has a neutral hypothesiswith a belief that a positive hypothesis MAY be true based on subjective opinion.

  • strong theist - predominantly theist, with no or little doubt (formerly 1&2), has a positive hypothesis based on evidence. Bears burden to show evidence.

Negative claim = burden to show evidence or proof of the claim.

Positive claim = burden to show evidence or proof of the claim.

Neutral claim = no burden, and no assertion that pro or con is necessarily truer than the other.


This isn't about positive claims, but about the burden of proof\substantiation for negative claims.

A pseudoskeptic claims something is true (pro or con) that is not supported by the evidence.


Atheism is one example of a negative claim. Other examples have been provided, such as the claim that the earth is not less than 400,000 years old Message 427:

quote:
It is possible to have a negative hypothesis that is not a response to a particular positive claim. For example I can claim that the earth is not younger than 400,000 years. I am not aware of anyone claiming that the age is anywhere close to this number, and what we have is X is NOT less than 400,000 years as the negative claim that now needs to stand alone on it's own merits.

To be a valid claim, I need to provide evidence or a logical proof to show why the earth cannot be less than 400,000 years, or this claim rates as a pseudoskeptic claim.

The evidence I can show is on Age Correlations and An Old Earth, Version 2 No 1, Message 2, Message 3, Message 4, Message 5, Message 6, Message 7, Message 8, Message 20, and Message 21. The evidence doesn't stop there, but that is sufficient to establish that the earth is not less than 400,000 years.

Thus evidence is provided that does establish reasonable grounds for accepting the argument that the earth is not less than 400,000 years old.


Thus each summary should provide a similar example of evidence and logic to support other negative claims.

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 2 by AdminNosy, posted 09-19-2009 5:00 PM AdminNosy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 551 by bluegenes, posted 10-09-2009 8:47 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 708 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 546 of 562 (529298)
10-08-2009 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 536 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:13 PM


The O.P.
Hi, RAZD.

Yes, I'll provide a summary tomorrow if I've got time, so I hope the mods will keep this open for a day or two. There are a few things about the quotes in the O.P. and the controversial and inconsistent uses that the word "pseudoskeptic" have been put to in its short history (elsewhere, not here, although the problems are reflected here) that I've touched on, but which need to be explained in more detail.

(The O.P. has examples of it being used by both sides in a dispute to describe each other, and I'll explain this).

Cheers.

{ABE}This was posted before seeing RAZD's post above, so one post more coming!

Edited by bluegenes, : {ABE} addition

Edited by bluegenes, : mistake


This message is a reply to:
 Message 536 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:13 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

onifre
Member (Idle past 1182 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


(1)
Message 547 of 562 (529301)
10-08-2009 7:31 PM
Reply to: Message 541 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:35 PM


Summation
Hi Onifre, I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread, as no new debate points are being made.

All debate points in this thread were said to be Off-Topic, so why continue in that direction......

Please provide your summary of how you have answered the OP.

The OP says that people hold to a negative position even though they haven't investigated something. However, musings about vague, nondescript forces are uninvestigatable, and the OP falls apart in regards to supernatural claims.

If the question were, do you believe in vibrating strings? And I said no. Then that would be a negative position, because the method to investigate, no matter how hard it may be, is available. I am agnostic in regards to strings.

But supernatural concepts lack even the most basic of methods to investigate it; our senses. And an unknown, undetectable force is beyond investigating, therefore the OP does not apply to supernatural claims.

It should then follow that atheism is not a negative claim, the kind that the OP is talking about. Can't investigate it, don't even know what it is, how can anyone be required to provide evidence to support not believing in nonsense like that?

Final conclusion:
The OP applies to things for which a method to investigate exists.

It is commented on even in the OP: "They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims..."

We'd love to investigate the claim, if anyone could just point to the proper method. If you can't point to ANY method at all, then your claim is not relevant. We are all interested in "weighing alternatives and investigating strange claims," but how an earth can that be done to things that can't even be define?

IMO, atheism is not a negative claim, the OP and RAZD's entire thread never explain why it is.

- Oni

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 541 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:35 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 548 of 562 (529312)
10-08-2009 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 537 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:18 PM


The Ignominy of Agnosticism - Tuck Your Shirt In!!
Ah yes the old "Off Topic" and refuse to engage tactic when things are not going your way in a debate. Very familiar. Very familiar indeed. Was it Bluegenes excellent uncovering of your acceptance of Young Earth Creationist omphalism that was the final straw in this thread? Any evidence FOR the proposition "fairies are unlikely"? ANY AT ALL? (Message 520)

Straggler writes:

You are in denial of the objective evidence that favours human invention over the actual existence of gods. You are in denial of the ever diminishing role of the god of the gaps. You are in denial over the full range of possibilities that could be presented as unevidenced explanations for religious experiences. You are in denial of the circularity of citing belief as evidence upon which to justify belief. You are in denial every single time you cite "absence of evidence" because no claim operates in a total vacuum of all objective evidence.

You are in denial.

All of which remain as true and unchallenged as they did several posts ago.

But let’s consider your stated position in this thread in a little more detail:

RAZD writes:

I'd say I'm a 3 - "agnostic deist."

Dawkins writes:

3.00: Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. 'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.'

RAZD writes:

Curiously, I can be agnostic leaning to atheist on the issue of the IPU because of the actual documentation of it being made up. The fact that I can be a 5 on this issue means that no evidence is required as I am open to the possibility that they exist.

Dawkins writes:

5.00: Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. 'I don't know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be sceptical.'

Straggler writes:

Immaterial toilet goblins, the fifty two and a half pixies that set the universe in motion, the Immaterial Pink Unicorn, the Ethereal Yellow Squirrel, Vishnu, Allah, The Christian God, Mookoo, Wagwah, the incorporeal god chewed bubble-gum that holds the universe in place on the back of the immaterial green turtle as it wades through the invisible aether, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, your deity, Catholic Scientist's concept of god, the tooth fairy, the garage dragon and every single other imaginable irrefutable concept anyone can pull out of their arse.

RAZD writes:

Nope, for the same reason I have not been a 6 for a single hypothetical scenario that has been posted since the beginning of this thread. I have to wonder when this information will actually sink in.

It has sunk in. The entire (misinterpretation of the original source) premise of your thread is that anything that cannot actually be outright refuted is worthy of agnosticism. And you look patently and abjectly ridiculous as a result of this.

By your own admission as our resident self proclaimed Rebel American Zen Deist you have as little agnostic positive belief in deism as you do agnostic non-belief in Immaterial Toilet goblins. Or Santa. Or the fifty two and a half pixies that set the universe in motion. Or the ethereal Yellow Squirrel. Or YEC notions of omphalism. Etc. etc. etc. ad-infinitum (or at least to the limit of human imagination). You are the very definition of a fence sitting bedwetter.

If only I could be as rational as you RAZ. But (flawed as I am) I just find the notion of incorporeal god chewed bubble-gum holding the universe in place on the back of the immaterial green turtle as it wades through the invisible aether of the turtle-verse a step too far. I just cannot get past the "irrational" and "pseudoskeptic" conclusion that this is just bullshit that I pulled out of my arse. The product of my mind. Using my highly objectively evidenced human ability and proclivity to invent false concepts given the right context and need. Whether consciously or otherwise. The same sort of ability that has almost certainly resulted in numerous other such false god concepts. Indeed quite possibly the very concept of god(s) itself. The same evidence, indeed the very fact, that your position necessarily denies.

Anyway......given the above, if you are as much a “Rebel” as you are a “Deist” then I guess that wearing odd socks and not tucking your shirt in on Fridays is about as radical and rebellious as things get.

Your position in this thread is truly untenable.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 537 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:18 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2531 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


(1)
Message 549 of 562 (529344)
10-09-2009 3:02 AM
Reply to: Message 543 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:39 PM


Re: probability problems
Hi RAZD,

Thanks for the heads up. I dropped out of the thread a while back because I'd had enough -- it was a long one -- and it seems to me that there's a fundamental difference of views here that isn't going to be resolved. You can make your point so many times, and then people will listen or they won't.

The very basic point here is that negative claims require evidence just like positive claims do. I believe I can understand the "not likely because there's no evidence for its existence" argument but this closes a person's mind to a number of possibilities. I don't believe that anyone has shown "absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence" to be wrong, so there should always be healthy room for doubt before one becomes too certain that they understand how reality works.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 543 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:39 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 335 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(4)
Message 550 of 562 (529355)
10-09-2009 5:06 AM


Pseudoepistemology and the brain's tendency to create meaning
There are significant problems in this thread that require significant work to get around. Unfortunately, even the basic fundamental issues were difficult to even explain. So let's summarize as best as I can where things went.

Definitional problems

If we are trying to decide whether something exists, before an agreement can reasonably be expected to be reached - all parties in question should agree on what it is they are speaking about. Agnosticism isn't the rational position to take on an undefined object - ignosticism is the correct response.

It seems RAZD wants us to talk about an entity whose key defining feature is that it unknowable. Which leads us to the question - how can we know that the entity in question has this property?

Possibility

Many times during this thread the fact that a god might exist has been described as 'a possibility'. This is a positive claim, for which no evidence has been presented.

Just because we are not able to rule out the mostly undefined entity in question, this does not necessarily equate to it being 'possible'. By RAZD's own rules we should remain agnostic on the subject of whether God's existence is even possible.

Evidence lacking

But let's assume we know what we are talking about. And let's assume it's existence is possible. It seems, as a matter of convenience, we are all happy to accept that there is no evidence that supports the claim that god exists.

But why is evidence of any import?

I asked RAZD, but he did not answer - instead focussing on debating a question which we both already knew his answer to (and his final post to me in this thread was him answering the question in the way I had already anticipated (almost)), but not answering the core question crouching behind this question.

Why do we care about evidence?

As RAZD admits, one unfalsifiable and unverified 'possibility' is as likely as any other (that is: one possiblity is not 'more likely' than any other (Message 430):

the 'god did it' hypothesis is more likely than CIA agents or moon beams then explain how you have made this determination.

As I said, it is a possibility that is not demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, not that it is "more likely"

I will return to this point.

Preponderance of the evidence

Another issue is that there are some explanations for some phenomena attributed to god (eg religious experiences) that are entirely mundane.

There exists no evidence that any of these experiences have actually occurred as a result of god.

If I see people playing a ball game in the street, then I see damage to my greenhouse, then I see that the people have all stopped playing their ball game. One possible explanation is that the ball caused the damage to my greenhouse and the ball players retrieved their ball and scarpered.

Another possibility is malicious greenhouse orcs came along and scared the ball players away, broke a pane of glass in my greenhouse and then left no other evidence of their existence.

There is no evidence against the orcs - but there is evidence in favour of a ball game mishap. Indeed - even without seeing the ball game I would suggest that a ball game mishap is a more likely explanation for greenhouse damage than marauding orcs.

RAZD's epistemology would have us remain agnostic with regards to what happened. Indeed - no matter how much evidence piled up in favour of the ball damage hypothesis, even if the evidence in favour of it was beyond reasonable doubt...RAZD would still consider any unfalsifiable hypothesis as equally reasonable and since it cannot be ruled out beyond a reasonable doubt (by definition) RAZD finds himself unable to know anything.

Of course, this isn't the case since RAZD doesn't take this position as seriously as he seems to indicate (hence why he is inclined to believe in god (and omphalism)).

Beyond reasonable doubt

Now we know RAZD's epistemology renders him strictly unable to say that he knows anything - I'm comfortable in rejecting it as useless.

So - to answer the question: Why do we like evidence so much?

Let us say that two people have been arrested for breaking my greenhouse. And let us say that there is equal amounts of evidence to support the claim that either one of them is guilty. Let us say that two police officers are talking. One of them says: I reckon A did it.

He might be right. It is certainly possible.

But he can't know if he is right. He can't verify his claim. In reality it could be either one so he has a 50% chance of having got it right.

Now let us consider what happens when we have three suspects. The chances of being right are about 33%. With four suspects the chances are 25%. I'd say already that with a mere four equally evidenced suspects the chances of us correctly identifying the suspect is getting 'low'.

It is my view that when it comes to unfalsifiable unverifiable claims - there are potentially infinite equally evidenced suspects.

So the chances of correctly identifying which one is correct is quite low. And this assumes that one of them did it.

Evidence allows us to increase our confidence in a hypothesis from a base line of essentially 'highly unlikely' to 'a little more likely' all the way to 'very likely'.

An argument that wasn't being made

If we return to the two suspects situation. RAZD seemed to want to raise some points against an argument that wasn't being made.

He suggests that it could be one or both of the suspects and marauding orcs. OR maybe, the marauding orcs' modus operandi is to influence ball game players to aim their ball at the greenhouse without even knowing it!

This is a clever attempt to distract from the point, and RAZD managed to confuse the issue with his x=y+b talk, using his own personal meanings for the letters which took some time to establish.

Yes - the orcs could have influenced the ballplayers to have done it. But so could CIA poisoning, god or any other unfalsifiable/unverifiable entity/process.

We have evidence that ball players can cause the damage.
We have evidence that one of these particular ball players might have been involved in some of the damgae.
There may be other ballplayers responsible (and there does exist evidence that other ballplayers exist)
We have no evidence for god/undetectable CIA plots/unfalsifiable orcs/moon rays etc etc.

So we stand in front of the gods, the plots, the orcs and the rays. They all have an equal amount of evidence. Before we can add them to the 'things which we think were involved in the greenhouse damage' pile we need to have evidence to elevate them to at least the same kind of level as we have for the ballplayers.

Until then - they're all 'equally likely' and without any evidence, that likelihood is pretty low.

Illusions

The fact is that we have no direct access to reality. We have only our brain. Our brain takes meaningless information and gives is meaning. The purpose of the brain is to create meaning from information. It is not only very good at this, it is excellent at it. It is eager to create meaning from just about any information.

When light hits our eyes - it is a tumble of meaningless information. The brain sorts through this information and literally makes sense out of it - using context as a vital clue. It expects that objects in shadow will be duller than they are so we perceived such objects as being brighter than reality (hence why optical illusions with shadows are possible). Indeed - what we see from the size of the moon to motion to colours is highly dependent on context.

What we see - is not what is but what our brain has interpreted as being the case.

As such - our default position should be that anything that we perceive which cannot be verified independly of our brain - should be treated as highly suspect. To hearken back to the OP, as a possible 'artefact' of the brain's 'eagerness' to create meaning from inputs.

Claims of artefacts

I am not claiming that any given religious experience can be defninitely claimed to have been the result of an over eager brain - or a brain hiccup or whatever. If I was to say that - the burden of evidence as Truzzi says, is on me.

I can however, claim that the measuring equipment is problematic and that as such we shouldn't rely on it without independent confirmation. There is evidence for this claim.

There is evidence that we can imagine as many hypotheses' as we like - we seem very good at it. There are probably numerous hypothesis that we can't imagine but which we cannot rule out.

The preponderance of the evidence is that the brain is making meaning out of stimuli for which it cannot otherwise make sense.

Nobody here is claming that any specified religious experience was as a result of x or y. Or Not x or not y. So Truzzi's negative claims require evidence doesn't apply - despite RAZD's insistence that it does.

I do make an epistemological claim about why we don't believe claims that are evidentially identical to the most ludicrous made up unfalsifiable nonsense one can dream up and that is because of the unlikelihood of any specified hypothesis being true as described by myself in this thread ad nauseum.

The only get around for this is if one picks the most general unspecified 'thingy' to discuss.

Omphalism redux

As RAZD has come to realize that his epistemology means that he cannot know anything. That has (surprisingly) left him pondering Omphalism in a serious tone:

quote:
The breakpoint could be the formation of the universe (results in deism), it could be 6000 years ago (results in YEC earth, but still with flood problems) or it could be last thursday. We don't know....you could put me down as a weak "3" - weak theistic agnostic - at most. Certainly not a 2.

For clarity, position 3 is, "I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe".

I think that sums it up on its own, really.


bluegenes
Member (Idle past 708 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


(1)
Message 551 of 562 (529391)
10-09-2009 8:47 AM
Reply to: Message 545 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:53 PM


Summary, and problems in the O.P.
From RAZD's O.P.

RAZD writes:

I ran across this today, and for some reason it reminds me of a certain person (or two) here.

http://en.wikipedia.org.../Pseudoskepticism#Pseudoskepticism

quote:

Pseudoskepticism
The term pseudoskepticism was popularized and characterized by Marcello Truzzi in response to skeptics who, in his opinion, made negative claims without bearing the burden of proof of those claims.[9]



The term "pseudoskeptic" has become a term used by both sides on a number of questions to claim that the opposition is not being properly skeptical in examining certain phenomena. The mainstream science side tends to use it for people like evolution skeptics, global warming skeptics, and investigators of "paranormal" phenomena who are too ready to accept paranormal or supernatural explanations for those phenomena. On the other hand, enthusiasts for the paranormal or supernatural use it against naturalists, claiming that they ignore results that support the supernatural, and/or exclude supernatural possibilities a priori.

It's just a way of saying "I'm being objective in my investigations, and you're not".

A common example comes from some members of the I.D. movement, who complain about the a priori exclusion of the possibility of the inteference of a supernatural being or beings in our life system. Having no positive evidence for such beings, they frequently try to shift the burden onto naturalists to prove that natural phenomena have natural origins.

RAZD quotes this from wiki, in an attempt to give us a definition of "pseudoskeptic".

quote:

While a Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University in 1987, Truzzi gave the following description of pseudoskeptics in the journal Zetetic Scholar which he founded:
In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of "conventional science" as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis --saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.

– Marcello Truzzi, On Pseudo-Skepticism, Zetetic Scholar, 12/13, pp3-4, 1987

There are some problems with this. One is the use of "negative hypothesis", which Truzzi briefly defines with this phrase:

"saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact".

The problem is that the "artifact" claim is actually positive, and it and the opposing claim are only negative in relation to each other, and to any other possible hypothesis.

However, I agree with Truzzi that the skeptic would then have a burden of proof, as those supporting the original claim still do.

RAZD then quotes wiki quoting skeptic atheist Susan Blackmore describing those who refuse to investigate any paranormal claims, and I agree here that there are people like this, and I'm personally in favour of thorough investigations into claimed paranormal phenomena.

I will mention here that Blackmore was an enthusiastic paranormal believer and investigator for thirty years until she became skeptical due to the fact that she'd found absolutely no evidence for anything supernatural/paranormal at all.

quote:

The term pseudoskepticism has found occasional use in fringe fields where opposition from those within the scientific mainstream or from scientific skeptics is strong. In 1994, Susan Blackmore, a parapsychologist who became more skeptical and eventually became a CSICOP fellow in 1991, described what she termed the "worst kind of pseudoskepticism":

"There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion . . . I have to say it—most of these people are men. Indeed, I have not met a single woman of this type."[10]


Then RAZD quotes wiki quoting skeptic Robert Todd Carroll accusing enthusiastic paranormalist Rupert Sheldrake and his supporters of pseudoskepticism:

quote:

Commenting on the labels "dogmatic" and "pathological" that the "Association for Skeptical Investigation"[11] puts on critics of paranormal investigations, Robert Todd Carroll of the Skeptic's Dictionary[12] argues that that association "is a group of pseudo-skeptical paranormal investigators and supporters who do not appreciate criticism of paranormal studies by truly genuine skeptics and critical thinkers. The only skepticism this group promotes is skepticism of critics and [their] criticisms of paranormal studies."[13]

This helps illustrate the point I made above about two sides using the word pseudoskeptic as a description of each other. Rupert Sheldrake also acccuses Richard Dawkins and other critics of his paranormal claims of pseudoskepticism.

RAZD then sets up his stall:

RAZD writes:

The issue of providing evidence for a positive assertion is well known, and what I would like to discuss is the issue of providing evidence for a negative assertion.
Taking these three statements:

  • The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything.
  • But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis --saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.
  • There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion . . .

I know of at least one such individual on this board, and there may be a few more, but the point is not to make any personal attack, but rather to provide a discussion of this side of the equation: if you claim a negative position, the burden of proof is on you to show evidence for it.

People have no trouble addressing this issue when creationists try to claim that evolution is not a true science etc etc - to provide evidence that disproves evolution, and the same should hold for any philosophical or logical position.

Enjoy.

Now one thing has to be said here is that there's an elephant in the room, because regulars on EvC know that the "at least one individual on this board" refers to a person or people who are skeptical about RAZD's deity. So, in reality we're in atheism/theism debate here.

That's useful to know, because we can give an example of what would be a straight negative assertion in relation to the existence of a god/s. The strong atheist assertion that "there are no gods", or that he, the atheist "knows there are no gods".

Such claims would not appear to be easily supported, and some here would agree that the pseudoskeptic label might fit that atheist, although the strong atheist could counter that there is no phenomenon to be investigated, and that he is not offering an alternative hypothesis like the "artifact" in Truzzi's description.

He would have a good point, and it appears that RAZD may have misunderstood the language in his O.P. Pseudoskeptic is being used for the investigation of phenomena, and "god" is not a known phenomenon, but an idea put forward to explain phenomena such as the universe, or the "god" experiences that so many believers have.

But this is not where RAZD's problems stop, because the "god" skeptics he's referring to tend to be agnostic atheists, usually of a "6" on the Dawkins scale which is this:

quote:

6.00: Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'

Rather than a "7", which is this:

quote:

7:00: Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung 'knows' there is one.'

There is a massive and significant difference in the phrases "I cannot know" and "I know".

So, what underlies the O.P. is that RAZD wants people with the "6" position to present evidence that supports the view that his deity is "very improbable", and some of us have generously done this, often extending the argument to include all propositions of supernatural beings and creatures. "Generously" because atheism does not actually propose an alternative hypothesis for the origins of the universe, like Truzzi's "artifact".

Otherwise, he would like to describe us as pseudo-skeptics in spite of the fact that the "god hypothesis" is a proposition to explain phenomena, rather than a phenomenon itself, as the Truzzi definition seems to require.

But still, it is a reasonable question to anyone anywhere on the Dawkins scale on god to explain why, aside from all this talk of what is and isn't pseudoskepticism.

So, in defense of the "6" position, I've pointed out that people believe in many different mutually exclusive "one true gods", demonstrating that, on the one hand we have evidence that believing in false gods must be the norm, and on the other hand, we have zero evidence for any of the god propositions being true. This would indicate that any god proposed by any human who cannot look outside the universe and cannot present evidence for his or her god can be described as "very improbable"

Another point is that any proposition about an area in which we have no knowledge, the ultimate origin of the phenomenon that we call the universe for example, would have to be considered very improbable as it competes with an effectively infinite field of equally evidenceless propositions. The universe was formed by a universe making machine, or by the farts of celestial cows, for example.

The natural default position for any specific proposition on the ultimate origins of the universe would be a six: "I cannot know for certain, but I think "x" is very improbable."

A third point is the general one that whenever we have confirmed causes for anything, those causes have been natural, and human experience of this means that we can safely consider the "natural" as a cause of any phenomenon much more likely than the supernatural.

"Natural" is the evidence supported default, with infinitely more evidence for its existence than "supernatural".

Others have made similar arguments, and will probably cover them in more detail in their summaries, but I want to cover one important claim that I've touched on in this thread.

That is that everyone is a Dawkins "6" on lots of supernatural propositions, whether they like it or not. This is because there are so many supernatural beliefs in the world that if we did not dismiss the overwhelming majority with a "6", we would all start behaving like lunatics.

For example, if we hear of a culture that has the sincere belief that humans will have their souls stolen and tortured for eternity by demons if they do not perform certain rituals, and wear certain charms to ward of the demons, how do we react? The proposition cannot be disproved, but if we are not a "6" or a "7" on the Dawkins scale, then, considering how high the stakes are, we would be wise to follow a Pascal's wager type attitude, and perform the rituals whenever necessary and wear the charms.

Now, there are thousands of such beliefs around the world, and we can all declare ourselves agnostic on them, with the theoretical recognition that we cannot be certain that any of them are false. But if anyone is really giving them a "5" or below on the Dawkins scale, all of that individual's spare time (and probably a lot more) would be taken up doing the necessary rituals to keep all manner of demons, devils and evil spirits at bay, and that's before the person considered what should be done against vampires, and what should be done to please the many gods, so that he could be sure of not being reincarnated as a worm or an untouchable, or of burning for eternity, and be sure of having a pleasant place in a number of paradises when he dies. (sorry about that sentence!).

And everyone else around would be saying: "look at that crazy bugger; should we lock him up before he starts doing human sacrifice, or killing and eating his enemies so that he can absorb their souls, just because it's an unfalsifiable belief of some cannabilistic cultures?".

RAZD claims he is never a "6"; that one cannot make probability estimates in areas where nothing can be conclusively known. But we can, and he does, and that's why I caught him out on omphalism in the thread. Evidenceless supernatural propositions have to be dismissed as "very improbable" if we don't want to end up in psychiatric hospitals, and there's no reason to make a special exception for gods.

I don't hang up garlic in my house and keep a stock of crosses and sharp wooden stakes merely because I cannot conclusively disprove supernatural propositions.

I'm sane.

Good fun thread, anyway, wherever we stand.

Edited by bluegenes, : clarity


This message is a reply to:
 Message 545 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:53 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Stile
Member
Posts: 3789
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


(1)
Message 552 of 562 (529424)
10-09-2009 9:52 AM
Reply to: Message 538 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:24 PM


Short 'cause I'm Lazy
As RAZD implied, my views aren't signifcantly different from others' here. Which is why I attempted to show how all here are providing evidence for whatever claims are being made.

I think everyone in the thread (yes, everyone) agrees with the OP in the sense that positive and negative claims must be followed with evidence. The idea that all claims must be followed with evidence is not anything that any rational person would disagree with.

The confusion grew as all those views that didn't differ significantly from my own continued to state that no one is making a negative claim (eg - there are no god/s), we are only making positive claims of probability (god/s are highly unlikely) and giving evidence for such a claim (see Re: Dawkins's scale - a needed clarification (Message 509) by Modulous).

I am befuddled as to why this thread wasn't less than 10 posts.

I am pleased that something good came from this thread after over 500 posts. Specifically, that I got to use the word "befuddled."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 538 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:24 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Rrhain
Member (Idle past 103 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


(1)
Message 553 of 562 (529511)
10-09-2009 5:25 PM
Reply to: Message 539 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:27 PM


RAZD responds to me:

quote:
the issue is NOT about the relative validity of various views, it is about the fact that when you make a claim it needs to be supported by evidence and valid logic.

Of course. That's why I keep coming back to the same question you refuse to answer:

The model works. So why do you demand chocolate sprinkles? Where is your evidence that something is missing?

You keep trying to claim that there is no evidence while we keep trying to point out to you that the evidence is all around: The model works. And it works without the action of your chocolate sprinkles. So why do you demand that there is something missing and we need to be "agnostic" about their existence when all the evidence indicates that they aren't there?

quote:
Atheism is just one example of such a negative claim

But that's just it. As I've explained to you already in this thread: Atheism is not a negative claim. It is acceptance of the null hypothesis. The model works. Why do you demand chocolate sprinkles? Where is your evidence that something is missing?

quote:
I've decided that the time is past to close down this thread

What's the under/over for how long it will be before you bring up this topic again?

quote:
no new debate points are being made.

That's because you keep refusing to answer direct questions put to you.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 539 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:27 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 554 of 562 (529751)
10-10-2009 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 537 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:18 PM


Past Predictions And The Wider Debate
Double post. See below.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 537 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:18 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 555 of 562 (529752)
10-10-2009 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 537 by RAZD
10-08-2009 6:18 PM


Past Predictions And The Wider Debate
Any regular EvC member or reader will know that this thread is but one in a long line of related topics. This post is about that wider debate.

Back in March I said in Message 207

Percy way back in March 2009 writes:

while RAZD probably cannot step back from his own mind and provide us a roadmap

Straggler way back in March 2009 writes:

The normal theistic arguments go something like this:

1) Your position requires just as much faith and reliance on subjective interpretation as does mine.
2) My evidence is just as valid as yours.
3) Whatever evidence does or does not exist you cannot prove that my god does not exist so I win anyway.

RAZD's "world view" assertion is a relatively sophisticated version of 1) above. I guess it remains to be seen if any of the other strategies from the theists standard playbook will be employed.

I would say that the wider debate has exactly followed the path predicted above. Albeit with some complexities and intricacies worthy of RAZD's superior debating skills thrown in. We started with the whole "world view" debate in the original deism thread Percy is a Deist - Now what's the difference between a deist and an atheist?.

Then we had the "subjective evidence" fiasco that spanned multiple threads but eventually culminated in Immaterial "Evidence". And now finally we reach the "I challenge you to disprove" position effectively advocated in this thread. In this thread that final position has been shown to be deeply inadequate.

In prior threads it has been shown that immaterial "subjective evidence" is indistinguishable from biased guesswork. Or more accurately guesswork that is derived from common cultural influences and very human desires shared by those who have had, or believe in the validity of, similar convincing but wholly subjective experiences.

In this thread it has also become clear that further claims of "evidence" in favour of "the divine" amount to nothing more than circular confirmation bias of believing that if enough other people believe in similar unevidenced nonsense that it must be true. No different to the reasoning put forward by every religion or theistic contingent large or small the world over. Past present and, almost certainly, future.

So having run the full gamut of the standard theistic playbook and been refuted at every point where else is there left to go? I don't doubt RAZD's ingenuity and debating skill and have little doubt that he will come up with another angle from which to approach this subject. But surely we are close to concluding this elongated and bitterly disputed multi-thread debate? Or am I just being an optimistic fool?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 537 by RAZD, posted 10-08-2009 6:18 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

RewPrev1
...
33343536
37
38Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019