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Author Topic:   The Nature of Scepticism
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 47 of 271 (690972)
02-18-2013 3:18 PM



Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by Straggler, posted 02-18-2013 7:41 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 196 of 271 (716777)
01-21-2014 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 192 by RAZD
01-20-2014 8:10 PM


Re: same old same old, surely you know that
As I said: without information to support a valid conclusion you make up your mind according you your worldview.

I think I understand where you're coming from, in that you're making certain assumptions and staying within them to address the questions...

But in this case, why can't you admit that you know the elephants don't exists because Straggler just made them up to make a point in a debate?

Is one of your assumptions that you are without that knowledge, or something?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 192 by RAZD, posted 01-20-2014 8:10 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 201 of 271 (716797)
01-21-2014 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 198 by RAZD
01-21-2014 1:27 PM


Re: same old same old, surely you know that
I would think that since this elephant scenario is so similar to our past experiences of "somebody just making things up," we can confidently, and logically, conclude that such a phrase is also "just made up" by someone

So you make a decision based on opinion rather than objective evidence.

The objective evidence is in Message 37, where Straggler used the elephant scenario as a made-up example to make a point in this debate.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 198 by RAZD, posted 01-21-2014 1:27 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 205 by Straggler, posted 01-21-2014 3:39 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 211 by RAZD, posted 01-22-2014 3:25 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 210 of 271 (716826)
01-21-2014 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by Straggler
01-21-2014 3:39 PM


Re: same old same old, surely you know that
You and me both.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 205 by Straggler, posted 01-21-2014 3:39 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 212 of 271 (716925)
01-22-2014 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by RAZD
01-22-2014 3:25 PM


Re: same old same old, surely you know that
The objective evidence is in Message 37, where Straggler used the elephant scenario as a made-up example to make a point in this debate.

It was presented as a hypothetical scenario. All hypothetical scenarios are by definition made up, but the purpose is to consider how decisions would be made.

Okay, that's what I was getting at in Message 196.

You seemed to know that it was a hypothetical, and therefore made-up, but were replying as though you were under the assumption that you didn't know that it was, in fact, made-up.

And in that sense you were making sense. Otherwise, you weren't.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by RAZD, posted 01-22-2014 3:25 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 243 of 271 (717115)
01-24-2014 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 241 by ringo
01-24-2014 10:45 AM


Re: mad genius
The numeric value of the probability is irrelevant. What matters is the risk of being wrong.

Yeah, sometimes our water pressure drops here at work, and that causes the fire alarm to go off. We have lots of false positives, but we all still grudgingly evacuate the building every time it goes off, even though we're all pretty sure there is no fire.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 241 by ringo, posted 01-24-2014 10:45 AM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 257 of 271 (717490)
01-28-2014 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 255 by Stile
01-27-2014 2:30 PM


Re: "Wrong" does not equal "opinion"
I think I've found your guys' disconnect.

However, if we did conclude that when the boy cries wolf again, then there will be no wolf... this is not "based on opinion/bias/belief."
It is based on objective evidence... the one observation.
It's highly likely to be wrong... and there's a very low level of confidence in the conclusion.

Accepting a low-confidence, and highly likely to be wrong, conclusion doesn't sound like skepticism to me, even if it is based on objective evidence.

And for that, I agree with RAZD that you might as well just wait to accept a conclusion and get more data instead.

But it's absolutely wrong to say it's "based on opionion/bias belief" because it's not. It's based on the one objective, verified observation.
This makes it an objective conclusion.
Not a very confident (good) one... but one all the same.

In this case, you've defined your conclusion into being an objective one.

RAZD's claim of opinion/bias stems from:

quote:
the assumption that the evidence you have is indicative of reality.

Now, in your scenario you've got:

quote:
The boy cries wolf... the village expert wolf-hunters checked and concluded that there was no wolf.

...

that's what the village experts are for... to corroborate and validate the observation that there is no wolf.


You've set up your scenario so that the expert are 100% correct and that we know that there was no wolf there when the boy cried.

In that particular scenario, sure, I agree you have an objective conclusion (you've defined into being one).

But in the real world, we don't ever have that 100% confidence.

So in that sense, your "objective" conclusion is still based on the assumption that the evidence you have is indicative of reality.

In real life, how do you know the experts were right? Would you really call the boy a liar based on just one data point?

Wouldn't a skeptical approach wait until there was more confidence in the conclusion?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 255 by Stile, posted 01-27-2014 2:30 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 259 by Stile, posted 01-28-2014 11:18 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 261 of 271 (717531)
01-28-2014 3:45 PM
Reply to: Message 259 by Stile
01-28-2014 11:18 AM


Re: "Wrong" does not equal "opinion"
My point is to show the separation between "the objective conclusion" and "the choice to accept the objective conclusion."

Well, you're making sense.

Not quite.
I've set up my scenario such that the experts are 100% objective...
There is a difference between being objective and being correct.

Oh, I thought validating that there is no wolf means that we know, for a fact, that there was no wolf there.

This doesn't make it correct in any way. They all could have missed the wolf for one reason or another.

Then why even have the experts? You could maintain the same thing by just having the villagers see that there's no wolf.

I thought the experts offered us enough confidence to say that there was, in fact, no wolf there when the boy cried it.

That what gives us our objective data point; we know for a fact that there wasn't a wolf when the boy cried.

Not that we can predict the future, but for the instance that occurred, we know there wasn't a wolf when he cried.

"Objective" does not equal "correct." Regardless of there being 1 objective observation or a zillion-kajillion.

Sure, but if we don't know if the experts were correct or not, then we're no better off than just having the villagers.

In that particular scenario, sure, I agree you have an objective conclusion (you've defined into being one).

The only reason it's an objective conclusion is because it is derived from the objective observations.
This is not "defining it into one." This is simply "agreeing with what the word objective actually means in the first place."

Well I thought you were bringing in the wolf experts, as opposed to relying on just the villagers, to eliminate the possibility that there actually was a wolf there but it just wasn't observed. That's why you went so far as the experts sitting there and making the observation immediately after the boy cries.

And with having the experts, that gives us an objective as possible data point that lets us know for a fact that the boy cried wolf when there was not a wolf there.

Given that objective data point, we are allowed to make an objective conclusion that the boy lied (or whatever).

That's what I meant by defining it into objectivity; removing the possibility that the observation was in error.

But in the real world, we don't ever have that 100% confidence.

So in that sense, your "objective" conclusion is still based on the assumption that the evidence you have is indicative of reality.

This is the issue.

You are correct that we don't ever have 100% confidence.
The objective conclusion is not based on the assumption that the evidence we have is indicative of reality.

The objectivity of your observation relies on assuming that the evidence you have is indicative of reality.

That is, when the experts say that there wasn't a wolf there, then there really wasn't a wolf there.

The objective conclusion exists as long as objective evidence exists (no matter how much).

It is, however, personal opinion that the objective conclusion (whatever it is) is a confident one and one we should choose to accept.

This personal opinion is generally (logically?) based on the number of objective observations.

Right. And that's where we get into skepticism.

Just because a conclusion is based on objective evidence, doesn't mean that its worth accepting.

We can never, ever know that any observation or any amount of observations is "indicative of reality" (future tense) because we can't observe the future.

But we can know that for the past tense. In your scenario, we know that when the boy cried wolf there really wasn't a wolf there because the experts were there to validate that there was no wolf.

We then take that objective data point and apply it to the future to come to a conclusion that when the boy cries wolf next time, then there won't be a wolf then either.

As you said, basing that on one data point offers us a very weak conclusion. One that wouldn't be accepted under a skeptical approach.

My point is that this doesn't mean it's "an opinion" that the objective conclusion is that when the boy cries wolf... then there is no wolf.
That is not an opinion.... that's the objective conclusion.
We are choosing (an opinion in itself) not to accept the objective conclusion because there is only 1 objective observation... and therefore there's not much confidence in it. However... none of this turns the objective conclusion into an opinion itself... that's a bit insane.

The opinion comes in when determining whether or not the objective conclusion is true.

And it gets a little blurry, because the word "conclusion" implies that you have actually came to a decision as to whether or not its true. If you didn't think it was true, then you wouldn't have concluded.

Just for fun, lets look at the definition from Merriam Webster (eliminating the definitions that are about coming to an end):

quote:
con·clude verb \kən-ˈklüd\

: to form or state (an opinion) : to decide (something) after a period of thought or research
con·clud·edcon·clud·ing

Full Definition of CONCLUDE

transitive verb
3
a : to reach as a logically necessary end by reasoning : infer on the basis of evidence
b : to make a decision about : decide
c : to come to an agreement on : effect


I find it interesting that they explicitly state that its an opinion. And it seems to suggest that once a conclusion is reached, then you're done with your investigation.

that's the objective conclusion.

Maybe it would be phrased better if said: That what the objective conclusion would be.

That is, if you stopped there and had to decide, then that is a conclusion that you could come to.

But given that were not deciding yet, and were waiting for more data, is it really proper to say that we have a conclusion?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 259 by Stile, posted 01-28-2014 11:18 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 263 by Stile, posted 01-29-2014 9:46 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 264 of 271 (717584)
01-29-2014 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 263 by Stile
01-29-2014 9:46 AM


Re: "Wrong" does not equal "opinion"
Because we don't know enough about reality in order to judge if anything actually is "correct."

That where validation comes into play.

A guy shot a basketball, it fell through the hoop, shook the net, and some points came up on the board.

It is actually correct, in reality, to say that he made the shot. It has been validated by our observations. It has been demonstrated to have occured.

Unfortuantely, "objective" has never meant "correct about reality." All it means is we have a bunch of people agreeing on the observation... so we think this gives us confidence that we are onto something. But there's nothing concrete about any of it.

I think we need to get to the point, in this discussion, where we can say that, yes, this actually exists in reality for real.

That guy hands me his basketball. I take a tape measure and measure its circumference. It comes out to 29.6 inches. I go: "hey Stile, this basketball has a circumference of 29.6 inches." That is objective.

Then I throw you the ball and you measure it with another tape and get the same number. We throw it to a third guy and he does the same. We have validated my observation and we now know that it is correct. I think its fair to say that it really is the correct size of the ball in reality.

Maybe it would be phrased better if said: That what the objective conclusion would be.

I don't like this... because it can imply that the objective conclusion isn't there anymore, or is no longer objective or something like that.
I was thinking of it more like this:

I feel like there needs to be, for the sake of this discussion, some distinction between an objective "conclusion" that nobody has taken yet, and one that has actually been concluded.

But then again, maybe not. Perhaps we should just dilute the definition of objective down to just not being subjective.

An in that case, there's really nothing all that great about being objective, in and of itself.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 263 by Stile, posted 01-29-2014 9:46 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by Stile, posted 01-29-2014 12:01 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
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