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Author Topic:   Faith vs Skepticism - Why faith?
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 481 of 533 (537469)
11-28-2009 9:01 PM
Reply to: Message 479 by RAZD
11-28-2009 6:32 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
RAZD states:
What is pointed out, by evaluating the structure of the arguments, is that as soon as you say that X is more likely than notX, that you have created a situation that is contradicted by the form of the statements. We can replace X with Y = notX and end up with the contradictory conclusion that notX is more likely than X, and this cannot be true if X is more likely than notX. This inherent contradiction shows that the logical structure is invalid when probability\likelihood statements are included.

Whoops! I didnt follow that.

Y = notX

given:
p(X) > p(notX)

substituting:
p(X) > p(Y)

reordering:
p(Y) < p(X)
p(notX) < p(X) no contradiction

Where did you get "notX is more likely than X"?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 479 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 6:32 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 482 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 9:51 PM xongsmith has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 482 of 533 (537475)
11-28-2009 9:51 PM
Reply to: Message 481 by xongsmith
11-28-2009 9:01 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
Hi xongsmith

Whoops! I didnt follow that.
Y = notX
given: p(X) > p(notX)
substituting: p(X) > p(Y)

ABE: see Message 487 /ABE

Substitute in both sides after parallel construction.

Looking at the form of the argument, not the content, means that
• p(X) > p(notX) is the same form as
• p(Y) > p(notY) in terms of the claim being made
which becomes
• p(notX) > p(X) when the substitution is made

In other words it is just as logical to claim p(notX) > p(X) as it is to claim p(X) > p(notX) - which is the contradiction because both cannot be true -- unless you have actual empirical evidence that one probability is known to be greater than the other, which is where the necessity for actual empirical objective evidence enters the picture.

Because the form causes the contradiction, not the content, the form is logically invalid, and the conclusion does not follow.


(rest of previous reply hidden)

See Message 409, Message 462 and Message 467 for fuller discussion.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : abe\hide


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 481 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 9:01 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 483 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 10:17 PM RAZD has responded

xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 483 of 533 (537477)
11-28-2009 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 482 by RAZD
11-28-2009 9:51 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
RAZD explains:
Looking at the form of the argument, not the content, means that
p(X) > p(notX) is the same form as
p(Y) > p(notY) in terms of the claim being made

Then I would have to question the usefulness of using form to evaluate a claim of the kind Bluegenes is making.

Perhaps, in the case of evaluating form, you should use a different symbol than ">", pregnant with improper implications. In your formal symbology ">" or "<" cannot be allowed, since X > Y cannot be reversed into Y > X, like "=" can, or Union or Intersection (large sans serif "u" and "n" symbols).

Maybe @ for "formal reversible operator of some kind":

p(X) @ p(notX)
p(Y) @ p(notY)

Then we are home clear.

For example "NE" for "not equal to":

p(X) NE p(notX)
p(Y) NE p(notY)

No problem there.

What about "is contained in", C:

X C Y
cannot be reversed into
Y C X


This message is a reply to:
 Message 482 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 9:51 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 484 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 10:44 PM xongsmith has responded
 Message 485 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 11:18 PM xongsmith has not yet responded
 Message 487 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 11:33 PM xongsmith has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 484 of 533 (537479)
11-28-2009 10:44 PM
Reply to: Message 483 by xongsmith
11-28-2009 10:17 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
Hi xongsmith,

Then I would have to question the usefulness of using form to evaluate a claim ...

ABE: see Message 487 re the forms involved. /ABE

The argument can contain logical fallacies as premises (see hasty generalization), or the form can be invalid so that a proper conclusion is not reached.

http://theautonomist.com/aaphp/permanent/fallacies.php

quote:
Logic, which provides the principles of correct reason, does not ensure we will use those principles correctly, and it is easy to suppose we are being logical, while making subtle mistakes in our reasoning that are not easy to detect. Explanations are necessary and important, but examples frequently make obvious what explanations fail to make clear. This list of fallacies can help sharpen our mind's eye in detecting logical errors in our own and other's reasoning.

The word fallacy is sometime used to mean "untrue," but every untrue statement is not a fallacy.

Fallacies pertain specifically to "arguments," or that form of reasoning we use when attempting to lay the ground or rational basis for a view or opinion. If our arguments are correct, they will conform to the principles of sound reason, for which logic provides the formal rules. If our arguments are logically incorrect, either because we violate a formal rule of logic, or include false ideas, our arguing is fallacious, and our conclusions will be false.

Formal logic defines, in rigid terms, the exact form in which statements must be made and arranged to lead to conclusions which are true.

The formal logic fallacies indicate those forms that always or sometimes lead to wrong conclusions, and therefore, can never be depended on to produce correct conclusions, even if they sometimes do.

Over time, logicians and philosophers have identified many informal fallacies. No list of such fallacies, however, is exhaustive. We have attempt to include as many as possible of those any of us are likely to encounter.


Formal logic is concerned with the form of the argument reaching valid conclusions. Informal fallacies are more common and generally better known.

An interesting article, and a useful resource for most logical fallacies, such as these common ones:

Hasty Generalization
Red Herring
Straw Man
Begging the Question

Being a logical fallacy does not mean that the conclusion is false, just that it does not follow from the premises.

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

quote:
Example

Consider the following argument which claims to prove that pie is delicious:

1. Pie is food.
2. Food is delicious.
3. Therefore, pie is delicious.

This particular argument has the form of a categorical syllogism. In this case "Pie is food" and "Food is delicious" act as premises. The first assumption is almost true by definition: pie is a foodstuff edible by humans. The second assumption is less clear; it could mean any one of the following:

* All food is delicious.
* One particular type of food is delicious.
* Most food is delicious.
* To me, all food is delicious.
* Some food is delicious.
* Anything not delicious can not be considered food (equivalent to the first statement under formal logic)

Only the first interpretation validates the second premise. If the interlocutor grants this interpretation then the argument is valid; the interlocutor is essentially conceding the point. However, the interlocutor is more likely to believe that some food is not delicious. In this case, the speaker must prove the assertion that pie is a unique type of universally delicious food. This is a disguised form of the original thesis. In this case, the speaker commits the logical fallacy of begging the question.


Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : form

Edited by RAZD, : added common fallacies

Edited by RAZD, : added wiki

Edited by RAZD, : abe


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 483 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 10:17 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 486 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 11:26 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 485 of 533 (537482)
11-28-2009 11:18 PM
Reply to: Message 483 by xongsmith
11-28-2009 10:17 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
Maybe we should proceed with the Dawkins Scale and some actual probabilities?

1.0 +-----------+ 1.00
|\ /|
2.0 + \p(G) / + 0.83
| \ / |
3.0 + \ / + 0.67
| \ /p(notG)
4.0 + X + 0.50
| / \ |
5.0 + / \ + 0.33
| / \ |
6.0 + / \ + 0.17
|/ \|
7.0 +-----------+ 0.00
| | | | | | |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7 6 5 4 3 2 1

In this first cut, straight line approximation, a person
at level 1.0 has p(G) = 1.00 and p(notG) = 0.0.

This feel innaccurate because a 6.0d yields p(G) = 1/6.
I am fairly certain the 6.0's here would not think the was as much as a 1 out of 6 probability that god(s) exist. They are more likely to estimate something like 1 in 1000.

We could then move on to the next cut, sinusoidal curves crossing at 4.0d and .50,.50 with the sum = 1.00.

Using the right side Y-axis values,

p(G) = .5cos(wx)+.5

and p(notG) = 1 - p(g) = -.5cos(wx) + .5

We can then derive a scale (w) from p(G) for a 6.0 =~ .001



| | | | | | | <-- this is where to look down
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 for p(G)

1.0 +--===..---------..===--+ 1.00
3.0 | `. .' |
3.5 + \ / + 0.83
| \ / |
3.9 + V + 0.67
| | |
4.0 + x + 0.50
| | |
4.1 + A + 0.33
| / \ |
4.5 + / \ + 0.17
5.0 | .' `. |
7.0 +--===''---------``===--+ 0.00
| | | | | | |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <-- this is where to look up
for p(notG)

Looks like my 5.7 corresponds to p(G) ~= 0.03 and p(notG) ~= .97.
Maybe I can live with that, as they say in the recording business.

Edited by xongsmith, : No reason given.

Edited by xongsmith, : Fix left axis scale.

Edited by xongsmith, : My 5.7 reading fixed.


- xongsmith, 5.7d
This message is a reply to:
 Message 483 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 10:17 PM xongsmith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 489 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 11:57 PM xongsmith has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 486 of 533 (537483)
11-28-2009 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 484 by RAZD
11-28-2009 10:44 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
Example

Consider the following argument which claims to prove that pie is delicious:

1. Pie is food.
2. Food is delicious.
3. Therefore, pie is delicious.

This particular argument has the form of a categorical syllogism. In this case "Pie is food" and "Food is delicious" act as premises. The first assumption is almost true by definition: pie is a foodstuff edible by humans. The second assumption is less clear; it could mean any one of the following:

* All food is delicious.
* One particular type of food is delicious.
* Most food is delicious.
* To me, all food is delicious.
* Some food is delicious.
* Anything not delicious can not be considered food (equivalent to the first statement under formal logic)

NO GOOD.

the word "is" is equivalent to an equals sign "=" and thus is reversible.

Find another example, so I can be enlightened.

THanks.


- xongsmith, 5.7d
This message is a reply to:
 Message 484 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 10:44 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 487 of 533 (537484)
11-28-2009 11:33 PM
Reply to: Message 483 by xongsmith
11-28-2009 10:17 PM


logic of the form needs to be valid for valid conclusions
Sorry, xongsmith, you caught me at a tired moment.

p(X) @ p(notX)
p(Y) @ p(notY)

This is not what the argument is about, rather it is that:

Message 409
  • person A: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is not true, therefore it is logical to believe that X is true,
  • person B: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is true, therefore it is logical to believe that X is not true, or
  • person C: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is true or that X is not true, therefore it is logical to say that we don't know.

Message 462
  • person D: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is not true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that X is true, and
  • person E: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that X is not true,

Message 467
  • person F: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is not true, therefore it is logical to consider it is highly probable that X is true, and
  • person G: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is true, therefore it is logical to consider it is highly probable that X is not true,

Here you replace all X's with Y's, where Y = notX and the arguments are not contradictory if the form is valid, but they are contradictory where the form is invalid.

Message 409 again:
Now let Y = notX to see if the same conclusions are reached:
  • person A: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows Y is not true, therefore it is logical to believe that Y is true,
  • person B: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows Y is true, therefore it is logical to believe that Y is not true, or
  • person C: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows Y is true or that Y is not true, therefore it is logical to say that we don't know.

...
Curiously, A(X) = B(Y) = theistic position, B(X) = A(Y) = atheistic position, and C(X) = C(Y) = agnostic position.
Message 462 again:
So, once again we substitute Y = notX into these statements:
  • person D: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows Y is not true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that Y is true,

    Becomes: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows notX is not true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that notX is true,

    Or: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows notX is not true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that notX is notnot true,

    = person E: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that X is not true,

    and

  • person E: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows Y is true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that Y is not true,

    Becomes: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows notX is true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that notX is not true,

    Or: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows notX is notnot true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that notX is not true,

    = person D: there is no objective empirical evidence that shows X is not true, therefore it is logical to consider the possibility that X is true.

Here we have the same inherent problem with the "A" and "B" positions, except that the possibility that X is not true implies the possibility that X is true without any measurement of one being more or less likely than the other:

The possibility that X is true = the possibility that X is not true.

Thus there is no contradiction between "D" and "E" positions, as one does not rule out the other,
...

Going through the little exercise of analyzing the logical structure of the argument should bring us to a final conclusion regarding what positions are logical, and what positions are not logical, based on an absence of contradictory empirical or objective evidence.

The astute observer will have already figured out that there is a contradiction between "F" and "G" positions, as one rules out the other in the same way that "A" rules out "B" and vice versa:

A high probability that X is true ≠ a high probability that X is not true.

Thus we end up with:

"A" = "1" = logically invalid argument
"B" = "7" = logically invalid argument
"C" = "4" = logically valid argument
"D" = "3" = logically valid argument
"E" = "5" = logically valid argument
"F" = "2" = logically invalid argument
"G" = "6" = logically invalid argument

You missed the first part of the arguments in your look at probability, and I missed that it was missed.

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 483 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 10:17 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 488 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 11:46 PM RAZD has responded

xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 488 of 533 (537485)
11-28-2009 11:46 PM
Reply to: Message 487 by RAZD
11-28-2009 11:33 PM


Re: logic of the form needs to be valid for valid conclusions
RAZD writes:

Here you replace all X's with Y's, where Y = notX and the arguments are not contradictory if the form is valid, but they are contradictory where the form is invalid.

Yeah, I saw all that and kinda shrugged.
By that method the 50-50 option is the only one that works, so this is a sneaky form of begging the question.
It doesnt do anything for me.
Sorry.

My sine curves probably wont do anything for you then.
Ah well.

Why havent you asked me how it is that I think I know how many cards are in the deck? I gave you a wide-open target there. ;-)


- xongsmith, 5.7d
This message is a reply to:
 Message 487 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 11:33 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 491 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2009 12:19 AM xongsmith has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 489 of 533 (537486)
11-28-2009 11:57 PM
Reply to: Message 485 by xongsmith
11-28-2009 11:18 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
Hi xongsmith, you're right that this does nothing for me.

Maybe we should proceed with the Dawkins Scale and some actual probabilities?

Except there are NO actual probabilities - that is the flaw in the scale - they are all assumptions, and not based on fact.

Assuming they are valid only adds assumption on top of assumption.

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 485 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 11:18 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 490 by xongsmith, posted 11-29-2009 12:16 AM RAZD has responded

xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 490 of 533 (537490)
11-29-2009 12:16 AM
Reply to: Message 489 by RAZD
11-28-2009 11:57 PM


Re: The third level of logical evaluations of the positions
RAZD writes:

Except there are NO actual probabilities - that is the flaw in the scale - they are all assumptions, and not based on fact.

Well, what do you think the Dawkins numbers are? Facts? No.

You say a 6.0 has to show evidence, but a 5.0 does not. This is an assumption on your part. If you say that, I say anything EXCEPT a 4.00000000000000000000000000000 has to show evidence.

My probability scale was an alternate form of the Dawkins scale - a personal feeling about what the individual thinks they are. If I say I think there's a 0.03 probability god(s) exist, i'm not talking about facts. Now, to answer your evidence requirement, I use 2 things: (1) the fact that the Model has worked all along on everything it has been brought to bear on with close scrutiny, modifying and expanding itself as needed without once having to resort to a single Chocolate Sprinkle, and (2) the Mean Time Between Chocolate Sprinkles maximum likelihood calculation, based on my general vague experience of seeing the world of science. I consider the current situation to be more than half way through the relevant cards in question. But I reserve the right to change my position if new evidence comes to light - especially any new evidence that might indicate that there are lot more cards than I thought.

Edited by xongsmith, : added missing word, "be"


- xongsmith, 5.7d
This message is a reply to:
 Message 489 by RAZD, posted 11-28-2009 11:57 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 492 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2009 8:29 AM xongsmith has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 491 of 533 (537491)
11-29-2009 12:19 AM
Reply to: Message 488 by xongsmith
11-28-2009 11:46 PM


Re: logic of the form needs to be valid for valid conclusions
Hi xongsmith,

Yeah, I saw all that and kinda shrugged.
By that method the 50-50 option is the only one that works, so this is a sneaky form of begging the question.
It doesnt do anything for me.

You need to let go of the flawed concept of any of the probabilities being known, what you have are two possibilities, and beyond that there is no information on whether one is more likely than the other.

A conclusion that allows both possibilities to exist is valid, but any conclusion that tries to add a measure of likelihood of one over the other, means that an additional term has been added to the argument, a term that is not part of the original information - a logical fallacy of a hidden assumption - and it results in the formal error in composition.

• any X with no contradictory evidence can be true
• Yetis have no contradictory evidence
∴ Yetis can be true

3D, 4C and 5E fit this pattern.

versus:

• any X with no contradictory evidence can be true
• Yetis have no contradictory evidence
∴ Yetis are absolutely true

can be true ≠ are absolutely true

1A and 7B fit this pattern and are logically invalid

or

• any X with no contradictory evidence can be true
• Yetis have no contradictory evidence
∴ Yetis are probably true

can be true ≠ are probably true

2F and 6G fit this pattern and are logically invalid

How is this begging the question rather than proving the question?

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 488 by xongsmith, posted 11-28-2009 11:46 PM xongsmith has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 492 of 533 (537532)
11-29-2009 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 490 by xongsmith
11-29-2009 12:16 AM


possibilities yes, probabilities no.
Hi xongsmith,

You say a 6.0 has to show evidence, but a 5.0 does not. This is an assumption on your part. If you say that, I say anything EXCEPT a 4.00000000000000000000000000000 has to show evidence.

How do you show evidence for a possibility that may or may not be true?

You have the lack of contradictory empirical objective evidence, which indicates that it is not impossible. 3D, 4C and 5E fit this pattern.

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 490 by xongsmith, posted 11-29-2009 12:16 AM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 493 by xongsmith, posted 11-29-2009 11:00 AM RAZD has responded
 Message 494 by xongsmith, posted 11-29-2009 11:25 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 495 by bluegenes, posted 11-29-2009 12:24 PM RAZD has responded

xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 493 of 533 (537561)
11-29-2009 11:00 AM
Reply to: Message 492 by RAZD
11-29-2009 8:29 AM


Re: possibilities yes, probabilities YES.
hi RAZD,

Let's look at the wording of the Dawkins scale -

For reference on definitions, we can use the (flawed) "Dawkins scale" as a reference to some general positions:

1.00: Strong theist. 100 percent possibility of God. In the words of C.G. Jung, 'I do not believe, I know.'

2.00: Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. 'I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there

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.'

4.00: Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.'

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 skeptical.'

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.'

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

I see "probability" used a lot in there. The 3.0 and 5.0 levels use it in manner that most people would expect to mean the way I was using it.

Ignoring the inherent mathematical problem/s of calculating probabilities when the number of possibilities is unknown, we can refer to this scale as a reference of relative atheistic, agnostic and theistic beliefs.

I guess what I'm saying is people are going to look at this and pick their number based on their worldview, including, among other things, their own estimate of what the probability is, problems or not. You cant stop people from doing that when they look at this scale.

Notice that the 1.0 and 2.0 positions both refer to "living their lives assuming s/he/it is there" and the 6.0 and 7.0 to "living their lives assuming s/he/it is not there". The central positions have no corresponding lifestyle references. We can imagine someone at the 3.0-4.0-5.0 levels living their lives assuming they dont know, but what would this look like? Sometimes they behave like a 2.0 and sometimes like a 6.0, depending on what the situation is? I think it was Style who was pointing out that there were 2 levels, the Internal Mindset and the External Behavior - I may have the wrong person as my brain dont work so good this morning.


- xongsmith, 5.7d
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 Message 492 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2009 8:29 AM RAZD has responded

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 Message 496 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2009 12:30 PM xongsmith has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1884
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 494 of 533 (537567)
11-29-2009 11:25 AM
Reply to: Message 492 by RAZD
11-29-2009 8:29 AM


Re: possibility evidence
How do you show evidence for a possibility that may or may not be true?

You have the lack of contradictory empirical objective evidence, which indicates that it is not impossible. 3D, 4C and 5E fit this pattern.

The 3.0 position says the person is inclined to believe s/he/it exists.

I would ask "Why?" Now if they answer "Is just feels better for me, it gives me a cozier feeling", then I call that a pseudo-3. Most people would probably say something like "I had a personal experience" and thus we are looking at Straggler's dreaded Subjective Evidence.

The 5.0 position says the person is inclined to believe s/he/it does not exist.

Again, I would ask "Why?" Now if they answer "Is just feels better for me, it gives me a cozier feeling", then I call that a pseudo-5. But, unlike the other case, I doubt if anyone has had a personal experience equivalent to the 3. Maybe this person considers the Absence of Evidence being enough of an indicator to incline towards Absence - and when you take apart their worldview in detail, you find they are basing it on loosely drawn together opinions of respected others like their parents, professors, friends, college textbooks, professional journals and witty songwriters - appeals to authority if you will. Again, all ultimately subjective evidence.

Now, are you saying that subjective evidence cannot be used?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 492 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2009 8:29 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

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 Message 501 by Straggler, posted 11-30-2009 10:16 AM xongsmith has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 650 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 495 of 533 (537573)
11-29-2009 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 492 by RAZD
11-29-2009 8:29 AM


Re: possibilities yes, probabilities no.
RAZD writes:

How do you show evidence for a possibility that may or may not be true?

Easy.

Possibility: There's a treasure worth more than 1 million dollars buried 10ft under the middle of my/your backyard.

Why aren't we digging up our backyards? Because we take the "6" position that, although we cannot know whether or not this possibility is an actuality, we think it very improbable that it is an actuality.

This is because there's zero positive evidence to support the proposition, and because we have evidence that ten foot holes dug at random very rarely uncover valuable treasures.

Possibility: RAZD is going to be struck dead by lightning in 20 days time.

Look at your phrase above. We know this to be a possibility, but we have evidence that such a thing happening is a rare occurrence even without knowledge of the likely weather patterns in your area in December; so once again, it's a "6".

Substitute these (or yetis) for your "X", and we find that they do not actually exist in complete evidential voids. Now:

Possibility: The multiverse was drawn by nine dimensional magic pencils. Once again, this is a "6". There is zero positive evidence to support the proposition, so it is a random guess, and any random guess at the origins of something will be very unlikely to hit the nail on the head, a bit like random holes in a treasure hunt.

Possibility: The ultimate origin and nature of the universe is explained by "theory" X, when "X" has no positive evidential support. "X", then, is not really a theory in the scientific sense of the word, but just a random idea. As such, like the nine dimensional pencils, it is very unlikely to hit the nail on the head by chance alone. So all individual "X" ideas are "6" propositions.

The evidence for the random explanatory guesses that humans make being far more likely to be wrong than right is in our history. Most ideas never gain the hypothesis level, let alone the not very strong, 50/50 theory level, let alone the position of being a strong theory. No ideas involving supernatural beings have ever achieved the level of support required of a serious scientific hypothesis, let alone a theory.

It's a mistake to think that we can discover reality by mathematical logic alone. That's why we do science. Maths and logic are useful tools in science. Your "X" in mathematical logic can exist in a theoretical evidential void. But in reality, no proposition that human beings make does exist in such a void.

Multi-dimensional pencils, god/s, universe making machines, or Douglas Adams' "42" as ultimate explanations of the "universe and everything" do not earn a "5" on the Dawkins scale, let alone a "4", "3", "2" or "1". The scientific skeptic will place all of these on the "6" level. "I cannot know, but I think it very improbable". Personal "faith" may lead people to promote one or another of such propositions to a 5,4,3,2 or 1.

Such faith is often clearly cultural. People from monotheistic cultures, including some non believers, often have a mistaken and culturally subjective habit of discussing the existence of "God" from a starting point of 50/50, when it would not occur to them to promote "universe making machines" or "42" to that level. There are, of course, only two 50s in 100, and a proposition about the ultimate origins/nature of the universe would require considerable evidential support in order to reach the 50/50 level.


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 Message 498 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2009 8:33 PM bluegenes has responded

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