Author Topic: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...  (Read 2530 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2012, 02:50:45 PM »
I think that's a silly standard to use.  You do not.  Hence, you are in conflict:  You deride agnosticism while espousing an epistemology in which no claim can ever meet the standards of knowledge.  Mega contradiction.

I was arguing from the "agnostic about everything since there's no proof of anything" perspective. I do not share it.

"I think therefore I am" - what does "I" mean in that claim?

Your consciousness. If something is being experienced, there must be something else to be experiencing it.

On what basis do we decide what "thinking" is?  Can we observe it and make non-circular conclusions about it?  Not so much.

Replace thinking with "experiencing".

What about "am"?  What is existence?  Can we conclusively define it in the context of Descarte's argument, in which all other data about the universe is being put into doubt?  Not so much.

Seriously? "What is existence"? (This is not rhetorical.)

You're good at misrepresenting atheists.  You should join 'ol MagicMiles/Vantartok.

Then explain it to me.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline pianodwarf

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 4362
  • Darwins +208/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Je bois ton lait frappé
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2012, 02:52:12 PM »
So, can we rule aliens out, then?  We have no proof that any alien life actually exists, only speculation based on probabilities that we can't accurately calculate in the first place.  Or, perhaps, should we simply conclude that there might be aliens out there, but that we can't predict anything about them without more information.

Actually, based on what we know about cosmology, biology, and related disciplines, it's a pretty safe bet that aliens do exist.  Note, though, that this is not a case where evidence is absent.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2012, 02:54:07 PM »
So, can we rule aliens out, then?  We have no proof that any alien life actually exists, only speculation based on probabilities that we can't accurately calculate in the first place.  Or, perhaps, should we simply conclude that there might be aliens out there, but that we can't predict anything about them without more information.

Considering that the first life form in the universe must have started without interference from other life forms (since they didn't exist), and that the universe is enormous, we can safely conclude that aliens must exist.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2012, 03:00:31 PM »
I was arguing from the "agnostic about everything since there's no proof of anything" perspective. I do not share it.

"Proof" is your standard, not mine.  It's a mind-blowingly stupid standard to use.  But there it is.

Your consciousness.

Hmm.  Is that what it is?  On what basis is this claim made, in the context of Descartes' argument in which all data is being deliberately omitted as "doubtful"?

If something is being experienced,

Is that what's going on?  Hmm.  Big assumption there, in the context of Descartes' argument.

there must be something else to be experiencing it.

Sure.  But a syllogism is only as good as its premises.  In this case, the premises are reasonable, but can still be doubted, and still carry assumptions.  Hence, Descartes' argument fails at what it's supposed to accomplish.  Utterly.

Replace thinking with "experiencing".

Why?  The original argument's not good enough?  Not that this alteration really helps it...

Seriously? "What is existence"? (This is not rhetorical.)

You first.  It's your argument that references it directly.[1]  Are you saying that you didn't know what the word "am" meant when you used the word "am" in your argument?  Usually it doesn't merit an explanation, but in this sort of argument, it does.

Are you even familiar with Descartes' line of reasoning?

Then explain it to me.

Agnosticism can merely mean the position that real-world proof is impossible, and that a less stringent standard must be used to justify knowledge - but that this less stringent standard does contain uncertainties, and "known" facts are subject to re-interpretation or revision in light of new evidence.

That's agnosticism, also known as intellectual honesty.  What've you got against it?



Considering that the first life form in the universe must have started without interference from other life forms (since they didn't exist), and that the universe is enormous, we can safely conclude that aliens must exist.

"Can safely conclude"...?  I agree.  Why are you so quick to abandon your own standards, though?  Where's your proof?
 1. Or rather, Descartes' argument, re-tooled.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2012, 03:11:19 PM »
"Proof" is your standard, not mine.  It's a mind-blowingly stupid standard to use.  But there it is.

How the hell is it my standard?

Hmm.  Is that what it is?  On what basis is this claim made, in the context of Descartes' argument in which all data is being deliberately omitted as "doubtful"?

All input is being classified as doubtful, but not the fact that there is some input.

Is that what's going on?  Hmm.  Big assumption there, in the context of Descartes' argument.

See above.

Sure.  But a syllogism is only as good as its premises.  In this case, the premises are reasonable, but can still be doubted, and still carry assumptions.  Hence, Descartes' argument fails at what it's supposed to accomplish.  Utterly.

See above.

Why?  The original argument's not good enough?

Apparently not.

You first.  It's your argument that references it directly.[1]  Are you saying that you didn't know what the word "am" meant when you used the word "am" in your argument?  Usually it doesn't merit an explanation, but in this sort of argument, it does.
 1. Or rather, Descartes' argument, re-tooled.

Am=Exist
I really have no way of explaining what existence is to you, although I think you're asking just because you felt like it.

Are you even familiar with Descartes' line of reasoning?

I was taught that he doubted that any input was a representation of what was actually there, but he didn't doubt that there was some input (hence the conclusion that at least he existed).

Agnosticism can merely mean the position that real-world proof is impossible, and that a less stringent standard must be used to justify knowledge - but that this less stringent standard does contain uncertainties, and "known" facts are subject to re-interpretation or revision in light of new evidence.

I didn't ask what it COULD mean, I asked what it DID mean. Since you're an agnostic atheist, surely you must be able to tell me.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6608
  • Darwins +523/-19
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2012, 03:18:58 PM »
I have posted this before:
Quote
The proof that there are no gods, never have been and never will be.
The only thing that separates mankind from gods is that gods are capable of the supernatural.

Preface:
Thought experiment:
You get a cat and transmute it into a dog. When it is transmuted, it is identical with a dog in all respects, physical and mental. It IS a dog. It is NOT a cat.

Part 1
It is many years in the future, space travel over millions of lightyears is commonplace. You are told of a distant galaxy upon which there are 4 gods. You go there.

The first god’s main supernatural power can turn water into wine. You ask how he does it, he explains to you a method, virtually undetectable, in which Carbon atoms are introduced to the Hydrogen and Oxygen of water in such a way that that they combine change 10% of the water into C2H5OH; wine flavouring is already in the bottle.

This god is no longer a god. As his supernatural quality is explained, even if you cannot perform the trick yourself, He is like you.

The second god’s main supernatural power can cause food to multiply so as to be able to feed 5000. He steadfastly refuses to tell you how it is done.

You go back to the first god and say, “Is the other god really a god? He seems to be able to do something I can’t understand.”

God#1 says, “But until recently, you did not understand what I did. He is every inch the god I am. I can do what he does too but I’m not telling you how.”

God 2 is obviously like you.

You journey on to gods 3 and 4.

God 3’s supernatural power is to forgive sins. You ask, “How do I know my sins have been forgiven?”
God 3 replied, “I said so.”
“But couldn’t anyone say that? How would I know.”
God 3 replies, “You don’t. You have to take my word for it.” and leaves.

God 4 tells you that when you die you will in fact have another life but be unable to contact anyone from the world you knew or remember anything of it.

You ask how you will know if this is true. He replies, “You don’t and cannot.” and leaves.

Back on earth, you attend a Festival of Magic.

You see 4 magicians. The first two perform separate tricks that you do not understand. You ask the first how he did it, and he tells you. “Oh, you say, I thought you were a magician.”
“That’s what it says on the poster, but,” he replies, “I am an illusionist. It is magic until you understand that it is an illusion.”

You ask the second how he did his trick, He refuses to tell you.

You return to the first and ask “Is magician 2 really a magician? He seems to be able to do something I can’t understand.”

Magician 1 replies, “He is every inch the magician I am. I can do that too but I’m not telling you how.”

You say, “But you are not a magician, you are an illusionist.”

You watch magicians 3 and 4. Magician 3 says, “I need everyone in the audience to think of a playing card.”
You and the rest of the audience do so.
“OK, I now know what each of you is thinking but unfortunately there is not enough time for me to do this magic, I see my time has run out. Thank you and goodnight!”

You watch magician 4, who says, “I’m sorry about magician 3. Do you remember which card you thought of?”
The audience signals they do.
“Good, I will tell each and every one of you your card and I will be right.”
The audience cheer.
“…in 200 years.”

You go to magician / illusionist  #1, “Are 3 and 4 really magicians?”
“You are asking because you cannot understand how they did what they did or even if they did anything. But you will never know.”
You say, “So they could be magicians?”
“Can you say the same as they said?”
“Yes.”
“Are you a magician?”
“No.”
“Do you have your answer?”

Back to the thought experiment.
An illusionist is a magician if, and only if, you do not know how the trick is done.

You and a god are distinguishable only by your not understanding something. A god is a theoretical and imaginary human who does know how to do something that you do not.

You have, by knowledge, transmuted a god into a human and a magician into an illusionist. When gods and magicians are transmuted, they are identical with humans and illusionists in all respects, physical and mental. They ARE humans; they ARE illusionists . They are NOT gods or magicians.
 
There are no gods, merely, maybe, civilisations that can do things we, presently, cannot.

The problem lies with the definition of a god and the definition must refer to a temporary state.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2012, 03:19:28 PM »
How the hell is it my standard?

Observe:
Quote from: Lucifer
We have proof of evolution, for example. The proof is the fact that living beings change over time. We also have proof of gravity.

You seem to think that we have proof of things, and that that's what justifies belief in them.  Which is plainly stupid.

All input is being classified as doubtful, but not the fact that there is some input.

And that's an assumption.  It's something that's doubtable, but which Descartes refused to doubt.  Which is why his argument fails at what it's supposed to prove.

Am=Exist
I really have no way of explaining what existence is to you, although I think you're asking just because you felt like it.

I'm asking because doing so reveals another set of assumptions buried in Descartes' argument - assumptions about what the universe, about what existence, is really like.  What does it even mean to say that something exists?  We have an intuitive idea, but in such an absolute argument, our intuition is not submissible as a premise.  So the argument fails before it even gets off the ground.

I was taught that he doubted that any input was a representation of what was actually there, but he didn't doubt that there was some input (hence the conclusion that at least he existed).

Basically.  Which is most of why his argument fails so hard.

I didn't ask what it COULD mean, I asked what it DID mean. Since you're an agnostic atheist, surely you must be able to tell me.

Your question makes no sense, then, because labels are subjective.  I am stating what it means to me, as I have understood it to mean to others, and as I apply it to myself.  Hence, "what it could mean".  There is no objectively true language.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2012, 03:29:15 PM »
Observe:
Quote from: Lucifer
We have proof of evolution, for example. The proof is the fact that living beings change over time. We also have proof of gravity.

You seem to think that we have proof of things, and that that's what justifies belief in them.  Which is plainly stupid.

Observe:
We could be, but it's very unlikely.  Because of the evidence we possess.  A requirement for proof, rather than for evidence, is stupid when applied to physical systems.  We will never have the perfect knowledge necessary for a proof.

Won't we? We have proof of evolution, for example. The proof is the fact that living beings change over time. We also have proof of gravity.

I was trying to point out that we DID have proof of some things. That's what started the argument below, btw.

And that's an assumption.  It's something that's doubtable, but which Descartes refused to doubt.  Which is why his argument fails at what it's supposed to prove.

How is it an assumption?

I'm asking because doing so reveals another set of assumptions buried in Descartes' argument - assumptions about what the universe, about what existence, is really like.

It doesn't assume anything about that. It states that the universe might not be as we perceive it, but states that we do perceive it.

What does it even mean to say that something exists?  We have an intuitive idea, but in such an absolute argument, our intuition is not submissible as a premise.  So the argument fails before it even gets off the ground.

I lack the language to explain it, but it most certainly can be defined.

Your question makes no sense, then, because labels are subjective.  I am stating what it means to me, as I have understood it to mean to others, and as I apply it to myself.  Hence, "what it could mean".  There is no objectively true language.

Then why did you say that I misunderstood agnosticism, when the definition I provided was what it meant to me when I was an agnostic atheist?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2012, 03:33:09 PM »
<snip>
The problem lies with the definition of a god and the definition must refer to a temporary state.

If the definition refers to a temporary state, then we might as well consider every life form to be a god.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2012, 04:12:33 PM »
I was trying to point out that we DID have proof of some things. That's what started the argument below, btw.

And you were 100% wrong.  We don't have proof for anything outside of math & abstract philosophy.  Yet, here you are clinging to this idea of absolutely logically proving things about reality - thus demonstrating my point that "proof" is your standard for knowledge.

How is it an assumption?

He doesn't know that a mind is receiving input.  He doesn't know that he has a mind.  The sensation could exist on its own, mindless, a floating entity in the Platonic world of forms.  Or something.  Anything.  When your goal is to doubt anything, you are forced to lose all of your grip on reality.  Your own understanding of the universe - every bit of it - has to be cast into doubt as well.  Keep hold of the validity of logic itself, since that's the framework under which the argument is being made in the first place, but nothing about the universe is submissible.  Including the idea that there are such things as minds that receive input.  Where does that claim come from?  There's no data to work with.  Data is being deliberately avoided as "doubtful".  Thus, it's an assumption.

It doesn't assume anything about that. It states that the universe might not be as we perceive it, but states that we do perceive it.

That's awfully circular.  What are "we"?  I mean, if you're going to assume at the outset of the argument that we exist to perceive the universe, then it's neither informative nor impressive that your argument ends with the conclusion that we exist to perceive the universe.  Yawn.

I lack the language to explain it, but it most certainly can be defined.

I agree, it can.  Just not in the context of that argument.  Not without violating the argument's premise, and/or making it circular.

Then why did you say that I misunderstood agnosticism, when the definition I provided was what it meant to me when I was an agnostic atheist?

I never said you misunderstood agnosticism.  It does mean different things to different people.  I said you misrepresented atheists.  You did this by misrepresenting a subset of them:  agnostic atheists.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2012, 04:34:27 PM »
And you were 100% wrong.  We don't have proof for anything outside of math & abstract philosophy.  Yet, here you are clinging to this idea of absolutely logically proving things about reality - thus demonstrating my point that "proof" is your standard for knowledge.

If I am clinging to any idea it's that we have proof of some things.

He doesn't know that a mind is receiving input.  He doesn't know that he has a mind.

The fact that he is aware and knows anything proves that he has a mind[1].

The sensation could exist on its own, mindless, a floating entity in the Platonic world of forms.  Or something.  Anything.

What the hell does that even mean, and how would that even be possible? A sensation cannot exist without something to experience it, because that's what a sensation is.

When your goal

It's not a goal, but rather a process by which you find out if you have proof of anything.

is to doubt anything,

That's not how it works. Such a methodology would be retarded. I snipped the rest since it's based on the two bits above.

That's awfully circular.  What are "we"?  I mean, if you're going to assume at the outset of the argument that we exist to perceive the universe, then it's neither informative nor impressive that your argument ends with the conclusion that we exist to perceive the universe.  Yawn.

That's awfully wrong and strawman-like. The only assumption there was that other people besides me existed. Even if we discard that assumption, the fact that I am able to[2] perceive something proves that I exist. Yawn.

I agree, it can.  Just not in the context of that argument.  Not without violating the argument's premise, and/or making it circular.

How would you define existence and how does it violate the premise that there is some form of input but we have no way of knowing if the input comes from what we perceive as reality?

I never said you misunderstood agnosticism.  It does mean different things to different people.  I said you misrepresented atheists.  You did this by misrepresenting a subset of them:  agnostic atheists.

Without the "subset" qualifier, you were referring to the whole group, so I dismissed it as a simple mistake.
 1. "Mind" here being defined as himself; something that is sentient.
 2. Not "exist to".
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6608
  • Darwins +523/-19
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2012, 04:34:52 PM »
<snip>
The problem lies with the definition of a god and the definition must refer to a temporary state.

If the definition refers to a temporary state, then we might as well consider every life form to be a god.
That's somewhat over generous. It may be that you read that as gods are mortal - it is not what it means. It means that a god can be a god only until his "trick/superpower" is explained.

We might consider life forms that have some means of doing something that is counter to all we know and cannot even take a wild guess at, to be gods in that respect. Once we understand most of how it is done, the magic goes and they are just like us  and no longer gods.

One of the problems is saying what a god is. I suspect that if you can't give a reasonable description of something, and if, despite having spoken of it for 40,000 years, you still can't, then it doesn't exist.

Apologists say, "God is ineffable." and then they start effing him... They say he is invisible, but then have to explain how he can walk through walls. They say he is just, wise and powerful, then they have to explain why he does nothing.... They say he is outside "time and space" and then have to explain how he can interact with we humans who are in a completely different dimension.

I am with you. There are no gods, there never have been and there never will be. You will get people who say, "Ooo we can never know everything..." This is theoretical rubbish. It implies that even our own existence is in question. If this is the case, what is holding our conscious in one place?

No. We can prove there is no god beyond all reasonable doubt. We can prove there is no god to within 99.99999...999% certainty and that, in our universe and for us humans is as good as 2+2=4*.

* because in some universe, that might not be true! Or so the intellectual will tell you. ;)
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2012, 04:47:04 PM »
That's somewhat over generous. It may be that you read that as gods are mortal - it is not what it means. It means that a god can be a god only until his "tirck/superpower" is explained.

I should've said "sentient" life forms. After all, every life form is capable of doing something that at least one other life form will not understand, creating a sort of escalating level of godhood, similar to how the first deities were organized. At the top we have the most advanced beings in the universe. At the bottom we have the most simplistic of sentient life forms. For example, snakes can "taste" the air to find their prey. A frog does not understand this. To the frog, the snake might be a god. Likewise, we can split atoms. I don't think there's a single creature on Earth that can understand this (besides humans, obviously). To them, we might be gods.

I am with you. There are no gods, there never have been and there never will be. You will get people who say, "Ooo we can never know everything..." This is theoretical rubbish. It implies that even our own existence is in question. If this is the case, what is holding our conscious in one place?

Agreed.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2012, 05:03:08 PM »
If I am clinging to any idea it's that we have proof of some things.

Everyone's gotta have a religion of some kind, eh... &)

The fact that he is aware and knows anything proves that he has a mind[1].
 1. "Mind" here being defined as himself; something that is sentient.

Circular reasoning at its finest.

What the hell does that even mean, and how would that even be possible? A sensation cannot exist without something to experience it, because that's what a sensation is.

It means that the sensation is not an aspect of a mind, contrary to our assumption that it is.  And I don't know how it'd be possible.  I don't believe it is.  But I've never seen it disproven.  That's only a problem for people who find "proof" to be an acceptable standard for knowledge, of course.

That's not how it works. Such a methodology would be retarded. I snipped the rest since it's based on the two bits above.

Well, that's Descartes' methodology, and that's what you're citing.  If you're using a different methodology, then it's your responsibility to explain it, after so misleadingly citing Descartes.

That's awfully wrong and strawman-like. The only assumption there was that other people besides me existed. Even if we discard that assumption, the fact that I am able to[2] perceive something proves that I exist. Yawn.
 2. Not "exist to".

Not a strawman at all.  You directly used your conclusion as a premise.  Boom.  Fail.

Anyway, is a perception necessarily something that conscious minds experience?  We can assume the answer is "yes", certainly, but then the argument has failed because we had to assume it.  Or we can define "perception" as being something that only conscious minds engage in, but then we face the problem of proving that what's being discussed is really a "perception".

There's really no way around this problem with Descartes' argument, Luci.

How would you define existence and how does it violate the premise that there is some form of input but we have no way of knowing if the input comes from what we perceive as reality?

How I would describe it, or how you would describe it, is utterly irrelevant.[3]  It violates the premise that we are starting from a state of zero knowledge.  That's the necessary starting-point of Descartes' argument, for it to work.  Of course, he doesn't start there, which is the main reason why it doesn't work.

Without the "subset" qualifier, you were referring to the whole group, so I dismissed it as a simple mistake.

If someone says "Hitler killed Jews", that does not mean that he exterminated the entire ethnic group.  Ditto for you misrepresenting atheists.
 3. And I'll note that you were the one who brought up our definitions of it in the first place.  So you first, or just abandon the red herring, k?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #43 on: January 25, 2012, 05:30:46 PM »
Everyone's gotta have a religion of some kind, eh... &)

Yours is apparently based on creating strawmen.

Circular reasoning at its finest.

It's not circular reasoning. A mind is required to be capable of thought. Since he was capable of thought, he has a mind.

Well, that's Descartes' methodology, and that's what you're citing.  If you're using a different methodology, then it's your responsibility to explain it, after so misleadingly citing Descartes.

If I was citing him, I'd have written the Latin phrase with quotes. Even so, you agreed that it was NOT his methodology here:
I was taught that he doubted that any input was a representation of what was actually there, but he didn't doubt that there was some input (hence the conclusion that at least he existed).

Basically.  Which is most of why his argument fails so hard.

Bold mine for emphasis
However, assuming that I am wrong about that, I clearly stated that it was what I was taught, hence being the methodology I was referring to.

Not a strawman at all.  You directly used your conclusion as a premise.

My conclusion: I exist.
My premise: I perceive things.

Try again.

Anyway, is a perception necessarily something that conscious minds experience?  We can assume the answer is "yes", certainly, but then the argument has failed because we had to assume it.

Perception is not something we can experience, it is a function, if you will, of the mind. We perceive things. This in itself does not require a mind, but awareness of this fact does.

Or we can define "perception" as being something that only conscious minds engage in, but then we face the problem of proving that what's being discussed is really a "perception".

I'm not sure if you're trolling/stupid or if this part of your post actually serves to disprove anything.

How I would describe it, or how you would describe it, is utterly irrelevant.  It violates the premise that we are starting from a state of zero knowledge.  That's the necessary starting-point of Descartes' argument, for it to work.  Of course, he doesn't start there, which is the main reason why it doesn't work.

We are not starting from a state of zero knowledge. We know that we are capable of perception. That is the most basic of truths (in this argument).

And I'll note that you were the one who brought up our definitions of it in the first place.  So you first, or just abandon the red herring, k?

You're the one who requested a concrete definition for existence. I explained that I lacked the language to define it, but that it was definable. You agreed, so I asked what you would define it as to see if we could agree on that. How is that a red herring?

If someone says "Hitler killed Jews", that does not mean that he exterminated the entire ethnic group.  Ditto for you misrepresenting atheists.

"Hitler killed (some) Jews". Past.
"You are misrepresenting (the) atheists". Present.

See the difference?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #44 on: January 25, 2012, 06:01:03 PM »
Yours is apparently based on creating strawmen.

Metaphysical belief based on lack of evidence...not quite a religion, hence my smiley, but fairly close to it, Luci.  I see it hit a nerve, hence the -1.  It's easier to do that, than to reason things through.

It's not circular reasoning. A mind is required to be capable of thought. Since he was capable of thought, he has a mind.

"He (a mind) was capable of thought" is premised on his being a mind, capable of thought.  Utterly circular.  Feel free to -1 me for pointing it out.

If I was citing him, I'd have written the Latin phrase with quotes.

I never said you were formally citing him using MLA or something.  You're referring to his argument.  That's "citing".

Even so, you agreed that it was NOT his methodology here:

It's his stated methodology.  That he fails to follow it is another matter.

My conclusion: I exist.
My premise: I perceive things.

Try again.

Are you being deliberately dense or something?  Is it because you still have a fever?  What is it?  You're smarter than this, Luci.  Look at what you just wrote:
Quote
I perceive things.

This sentence includes the premise that you exist.  Just like if I say, "Joe delivered the mail", that includes the premise that Joe exists.  Or, "I am typing on a forum" includes the premise that I exist.

What's so hard to understand about this?

Perception is not something we can experience, it is a function, if you will, of the mind. We perceive things. This in itself does not require a mind, but awareness of this fact does.

Is it awareness, or is it something else that we don't understand?  Boom.  Descartes-fail.  Just like before.  Unless we assume things about the way the universe works, like that perceptions are things that minds do and become aware of.

I'm not sure if you're trolling/stupid or if this part of your post actually serves to disprove anything.

I am demonstrating the problem with "proofs" as applied to reality.  I don't actually doubt this stuff, but then I'm not the one whose world-view includes this stupid, ridiculous idea of real-world proofs.  That's you.  This is your problem, not mine.  And you're hand-waving it away instead of dealin with it or adjusting your world-view to be more rational.

We are not starting from a state of zero knowledge. We know that we are capable of perception. That is the most basic of truths (in this argument).

Yeah, he failed to see his own assumptions.  A common failing in a lot of arguments.  What he thought of as "knowledge" was just another assumption.  His goal was to remove assumptions, to doubt everything he could, but he lacked the imagination to go all the way.  His proof rests entirely on the failure of his imagination.  And now on yours.

You're the one who requested a concrete definition for existence. I explained that I lacked the language to define it, but that it was definable. You agreed, so I asked what you would define it as to see if we could agree on that. How is that a red herring?

I was asking it rhetorically, to point out that our concept of "existence" is itself a buried premise in the argument.  Is it accurate?  Can we prove that it's accurate?  Can we doubt that it's accurate?  Yes?  Then let's remove it, and see where the argument goes once we do.  And where it goes is nowhere, once it's done properly, comprehensively, and honestly.

"Hitler killed (some) Jews". Past.
"You are misrepresenting (the) atheists". Present.

See the difference?

Yes, the difference is in the word you decided to read into each sentence.  In our case, you chose the one that made the least sense.  What was your motive for doing so?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2012, 06:43:09 PM »
Metaphysical belief based on lack of evidence...not quite a religion, hence my smiley, but fairly close to it, Luci.

You: X is a religion. Here's why.
Me: No it's not. Here's why.

Repeat ad infinitum. I wouldn't classify this as trolling, if it weren't for the fact that you keep coming back to it, even though you know it will get us nowhere.

"He (a mind) was capable of thought" is premised on his being a mind, capable of thought.  Utterly circular.

In that argument, the premise is not that he is a mind, capable of though, but rather that a mind is a requirement for thought. The fact that he is capable of thought (and that he is a mind) proves that he exists.

I never said you were formally citing him using MLA or something.  You're referring to his argument.  That's "citing".

My apologies.

It's his stated methodology.  That he fails to follow it is another matter.

I see you ignored the bit where I pointed out the methodology I was taught and therefore the one I was referring to.

<snip>
What's so hard to understand about this?

Understood.

Is it awareness, or is it something else that we don't understand?

It's awareness, by its very definition. You are aware that you can see because you see.

Unless we assume things about the way the universe works, like that perceptions are things that minds do and become aware of.

How is that an assumption?

I am demonstrating the problem with "proofs" as applied to reality.  I don't actually doubt this stuff, but then I'm not the one whose world-view includes this stupid, ridiculous idea of real-world proofs.  That's you.  This is your problem, not mine.  And you're hand-waving it away instead of dealin with it or adjusting your world-view to be more rational.

I was arguing from the "agnostic about everything since there's no proof of anything" perspective. I do not share it.

Observe:
Quote from: Lucifer
We have proof of evolution, for example. The proof is the fact that living beings change over time. We also have proof of gravity.

You seem to think that we have proof of things, and that that's what justifies belief in them.  Which is plainly stupid.

Observe:
We could be, but it's very unlikely.  Because of the evidence we possess.  A requirement for proof, rather than for evidence, is stupid when applied to physical systems.  We will never have the perfect knowledge necessary for a proof.

Won't we? We have proof of evolution, for example. The proof is the fact that living beings change over time. We also have proof of gravity.

I was trying to point out that we DID have proof of some things. That's what started the argument below, btw.

And you were 100% wrong.  We don't have proof for anything outside of math & abstract philosophy.  Yet, here you are clinging to this idea of absolutely logically proving things about reality - thus demonstrating my point that "proof" is your standard for knowledge.

If I am clinging to any idea it's that we have proof of some things.

Now you see why I've concluded that you're trolling. I have pointed out repeatedly that I am not of the position that proof is required for belief or disbelief, yet you keep insisting that I am.

Yeah, he failed to see his own assumptions.  A common failing in a lot of arguments.  What he thought of as "knowledge" was just another assumption.  His goal was to remove assumptions, to doubt everything he could, but he lacked the imagination to go all the way.  His proof rests entirely on the failure of his imagination.  And now on yours.

It's not an assumption. We are capable of both perception and awareness. Granted, it's circular, but not circular reasoning. The difference is that the former means that one relies on the other, while the latter is about the conclusion being in the premises.
For example, we can only know that we feel because our brain is there to interpret the electrical impulses sent by the nerves. Without the brain, we wouldn't be aware that we're able to feel. Without the nerves, we wouldn't feel at all. We can only know that we can perceive something if we perceive it, becoming aware of the fact that we perceive it in the process.

I was asking it rhetorically, to point out that our concept of "existence" is itself a buried premise in the argument

You should've explained it earlier then.

Is it accurate?  Can we prove that it's accurate?  Can we doubt that it's accurate?  Yes?  Then let's remove it, and see where the argument goes once we do.  And where it goes is nowhere, once it's done properly, comprehensively, and honestly.

Once again, I will simply state that I lack the language to explain it, but that it is entirely definable.

Yes, the difference is in the word you decided to read into each sentence.  In our case, you chose the one that made the least sense.  What was your motive for doing so?

It was the one that made the most sense due to the way I was taught and from my recent experiences here. On one hand, you have Hitler, whose actions are well known throughout the world. On the other hand, you have me, and your subjective opinion of what I'm doing. After having been accused multiple times of being a "false atheist"[1], it would not be out of the question that someone would simply accuse me of being a theist.
 1. Whatever the hell that means.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 06:49:09 PM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2012, 07:22:30 PM »
You: X is a religion. Here's why.
Me: No it's not. Here's why.

Repeat ad infinitum. I wouldn't classify this as trolling, if it weren't for the fact that you keep coming back to it, even though you know it will get us nowhere.

I will admit that it's not going anywhere.  It was a comment on your approach more than an actual debate point.

In that argument, the premise is not that he is a mind, capable of though, but rather that a mind is a requirement for thought. The fact that he is capable of thought (and that he is a mind) proves that he exists.

How do we know that the mind is a requirement for thought?  Why, because we know that we have minds, and that they are required for thought!

Around and around the circular logic merry-go-round!  Wheeeeeeeeeee!

I see you ignored the bit where I pointed out the methodology I was taught and therefore the one I was referring to.

They are in-sync, as far as I know.

Understood.

FYI, it'll come up later.

It's awareness, by its very definition. You are aware that you can see because you see.

Oh don't start trying to define things into existence, now.  That's Anselm territory.

How is that an assumption?

Can you prove it without relying on the other things you're simultaneously trying to prove?

Now you see why I've concluded that you're trolling. I have pointed out repeatedly that I am not of the position that proof is required for belief or disbelief, yet you keep insisting that I am.

I'm not insisting that.  Obviously we both agree that very little justification of any kind is required for belief or disbelief.  Otherwise, how would we explain theists?  There's a reason why I keep insisting what I do, though:  Your attitude toward agnostic atheists such as myself.  You deride us.  You think that because we don't believe we have 100% proof of no-gods, then that's some sort of mark against us.  That without such a proof, we're somehow unjustified, or that our beliefs are weaker than yours.  That position of yours makes no sense whatsoever unless you believe that proof is necessary in the first place.  Do you?  If so, then I've been right about your position.  If not, then get the hell off my back for being an agnostic atheist (and agnostic everything-else-ist).

It's not an assumption. We are capable of both perception and awareness. Granted, it's circular, but not circular reasoning. The difference is that the former means that one relies on the other, while the latter is about the conclusion being in the premises.

That ends up amounting to precisely the same thing.

For example, we can only know that we feel because our brain is there to interpret the electrical impulses sent by the nerves. Without the brain, we wouldn't be aware that we're able to feel. Without the nerves, we wouldn't feel at all. We can only know that we can perceive something if we perceive it, becoming aware of the fact that we perceive it in the process.

That is so non-analogous to Descartes' reasoning that I'm *almost* shocked that you posted it.

You should've explained it earlier then.

I'd thought it was obvious from the context.

Is it accurate?  Can we prove that it's accurate?  Can we doubt that it's accurate?  Yes?  Then let's remove it, and see where the argument goes once we do.  And where it goes is nowhere, once it's done properly, comprehensively, and honestly.
Once again, I will simply state that I lack the language to explain it, but that it is entirely definable.

I agree.  Never said otherwise.  In fact, I explicitly stated that I agreed with you, and you challenged me for doing so.

But anyway, what does that have to do with the rest of the quote?  You know, the meat of it.

It was the one that made the most sense due to the way I was taught and from my recent experiences here. On one hand, you have Hitler, whose actions are well known throughout the world. On the other hand, you have me, and your subjective opinion of what I'm doing. After having been accused multiple times of being a "false atheist"[1], it would not be out of the question that someone would simply accuse me of being a theist.
 1. Whatever the hell that means.

I...never accused you of being a theist.  Just someone who was, for whatever reason, misrepresenting a large sub-group of atheists.[2]
 2. Which are still "atheists" unless you want to call us agnostics "false atheists".  That'd be nice and hypocritical after this last post of yours.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 07:28:38 PM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2012, 07:55:04 PM »
How do we know that the mind is a requirement for thought?  Why, because we know that we have minds, and that they are required for thought!

What are thoughts? Are they not based in the brain, where the mind is also "located"[1]? Don't brains always result in minds?

They are in-sync, as far as I know.

You stated a few times that Descartes' position was that we needed to question everything, even whether input was actually occurring or not. "Mine" was that input was occurring, as is painfully obvious, and that we should question everything else. Of course, "mine" only exists as an attempt to disprove that we can't prove anything, and thus is only valid under that assumption.

Oh don't start trying to define things into existence, now.  That's Anselm territory.

I'm not defining anything into existence. That's what awareness is.

Can you prove it without relying on the other things you're simultaneously trying to prove?

I will explain this below.

So none of this stuff you're arguing is actually genuine?  You don't believe it to be true/sound/whatever?  I must have misunderstood the full ramifications of that quote.  So, to clarify, you don't actually believe that stuff about reality can be logically and absolutely proven...?

I do believe that some things can be absolutely proven, but only because my definition of proven is... Well, it's best explained by this:

100%-1/X if X->infinity
I explained in an earlier post that there comes a time when the odds of something are so low that it becomes a mathematical impossibility.

What I don't believe in is that absolute proof is required or should be a requirement for belief or disbelief.

There's a reason why I keep insisting what I do, though:  Your attitude toward agnostic atheists such as myself.  You deride us.  You think that because we don't believe we have 100% proof of no-gods, then that's some sort of mark against us.  That without such a proof, we're somehow unjustified, or that our beliefs are weaker than yours.  That position of yours makes no sense whatsoever unless you believe that proof is necessary in the first place.

I don't think that the fact that you don't believe you have 100% proof of no gods is a mark against you. However, I do think that the fact that you give the hypothesis one iota of credit is. Logically you should only give a hypothesis credit if there's evidence for it, not if there's no evidence against it.

That ends up amounting to precisely the same thing.

Allow me to explain:
Awareness is required for perception, and perception is required for there to be something that you're aware of.

That is so non-analogous to Descartes' reasoning that I'm *almost* shocked that you posted it.

See above.

I'd thought it was obvious from the context.

It wasn't.

I agree.  Never said otherwise.  In fact, I explicitly stated that I agreed with you, and you challenged me for doing so.

I "challenged" you?

But anyway, what does that have to do with the rest of the quote?  You know, the meat of it.

If I cannot explain it, how could I answer any of those questions?

I...never accused you of being a theist.  Just someone who was, for whatever reason, misrepresenting a large sub-group of atheists.

I know. I was just slightly upset due to the accusation that was made a while back.

Which are still "atheists" unless you want to call us agnostics "false atheists".  That'd be nice and hypocritical after this last post of yours.

Knowledge is not a requirement for belief, so no. You're not false atheists.
 1. For lack of a better term.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #48 on: January 25, 2012, 08:28:38 PM »
Can you prove it without relying on the other things you're simultaneously trying to prove?

I will explain this below.

That ends up amounting to precisely the same thing.

Allow me to explain:
Awareness is required for perception, and perception is required for there to be something that you're aware of.

Sorry, I forgot about explaining this a little better. The explanation is what I quote above.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #49 on: January 25, 2012, 08:32:59 PM »
What are thoughts? Are they not based in the brain, where the mind is also "located"[1]? Don't brains always result in minds?
 1. For lack of a better term.

So the evidence conclusively indicates.  But evidence can be doubted, so this too must be doubted in the Cogito argument.

You stated a few times that Descartes' position was that we needed to question everything, even whether input was actually occurring or not.

I may have been unclear there.  That is what is required, logically, for his argument to work.  And that is (for the most part) how he went about it.  Sadly, "for the most part" isn't good enough in this case.

"Mine" was that input was occurring, as is painfully obvious, and that we should question everything else. Of course, "mine" only exists as an attempt to disprove that we can't prove anything, and thus is only valid under that assumption.

You both are trying to prove that we can prove things.  They're pretty similar goals.  As for that input is occurring, of course it's painfully obvious.  That doesn't mean that it's not doubtable.

I'm not defining anything into existence. That's what awareness is.

Then you can't prove that it's what's going on.  Not without falling back on the other things you're trying to prove.

I do believe that some things can be absolutely proven, but only because my definition of proven is... Well, it's best explained by this:

100%-1/X if X->infinity
I explained in an earlier post that there comes a time when the odds of something are so low that it becomes a mathematical impossibility.

For all intents and purposes, sure.  That's not what Descartes meant by "prove", and it's his "I think therefore I am" that you originally cited, and to which I objected.  But if this is what you mean by "prove", then I agree, things can be "proven".

What I don't believe in is that absolute proof is required or should be a requirement for belief or disbelief.

Well, you've got no reasonable beef with us agnostic atheists then, do you?

I don't think that the fact that you don't believe you have 100% proof of no gods is a mark against you. However, I do think that the fact that you give the hypothesis one iota of credit is.

Who says I do?  An iota's an awful lot.

Logically you should only give a hypothesis credit if there's evidence for it, not if there's no evidence against it.

Agreed.

Allow me to explain:
Awareness is required for perception, and perception is required for there to be something that you're aware of.

That's the definition, and there's evidence for it.  But proving it on its own, without relying on evidence is...troublesome.  Only if you're using the traditional sense of "proof" that Descartes did.  Not if you use the sense of it that you just clarified that you meant.

I "challenged" you?

You said that although you couldn't put it into words, your idea of existence was nonetheless defineable.  I agreed.  Then you challenged me to state my definition of it in words.  :-\  Seemed kinda unfair, really.

If I cannot explain it, how could I answer any of those questions?

Because you don't have to actually put your understanding into words in order to answer those questions.

I know. I was just slightly upset due to the accusation that was made a while back.

Well comparing you to MagicMiles was extreme, and uncalled-for.  I apologize for that.

Knowledge is not a requirement for belief, so no. You're not false atheists.

Glad to hear it.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2012, 08:45:17 PM »
So the evidence conclusively indicates.  But evidence can be doubted, so this too must be doubted in the Cogito argument.

I see your point. I snipped the parts I thought were irrelevant due to this conclusion.

Well, you've got no reasonable beef with us agnostic atheists then, do you?

I do. I explain why (directly) below.

Who says I do?  An iota's an awful lot.

The very position of agnosticism towards something means that you're giving it some credit. You're saying "We don't know for sure if it's impossible", which is saying that it might be possible, which means that you're giving the hypothesis some credit.

You said that although you couldn't put it into words, your idea of existence was nonetheless defineable.  I agreed.  Then you challenged me to state my definition of it in words.  :-\  Seemed kinda unfair, really.

I thought you were only agreeing on the "definable" bit.

Because you don't have to actually put your understanding into words in order to answer those questions.

I do.

Is it accurate?  Can we prove that it's accurate?  Can we doubt that it's accurate?  Yes?  Then let's remove it, and see where the argument goes once we do.

I can't show you how it's accurate or inaccurate without actually defining it first.

Well comparing you to MagicMiles was extreme, and uncalled-for.  I apologize for that.

Nah, it's not that. It doesn't really matter anyway, but thanks.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2012, 08:55:20 PM »
I love it when replies on both ends start getting shorter.

The very position of agnosticism towards something means that you're giving it some credit. You're saying "We don't know for sure if it's impossible", which is saying that it might be possible, which means that you're giving the hypothesis some credit.

No more credit than I'm giving to the "brain in a vat" scenario,  Which is why I said that an iota's an awful lot.

I thought you were only agreeing on the "definable" bit.

Nah, though I suppose it's possible to put it into words, it's a hellish task and I wouldn't wish it on either of us tonight.

Is it accurate?  Can we prove that it's accurate?  Can we doubt that it's accurate?  Yes?  Then let's remove it, and see where the argument goes once we do.

I can't show you how it's accurate or inaccurate without actually defining it first.

Well, you can't explain to me how it is or isn't.  But I didn't ask for an explanation.  All of my questions until the last one are yes/no questions.  And the last one doesn't ask for any sort of explanation of what your concept of existence is.  It only asks for what happens to Descartes' argument one that concept is removed.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2012, 03:45:11 AM »
No more credit than I'm giving to the "brain in a vat" scenario,  Which is why I said that an iota's an awful lot.

And yet neither hypothesis deserves any credit whatsoever. This is why I "deride" agnostic atheists.

Well, you can't explain to me how it is or isn't.  But I didn't ask for an explanation.  All of my questions until the last one are yes/no questions.  And the last one doesn't ask for any sort of explanation of what your concept of existence is.  It only asks for what happens to Descartes' argument one that concept is removed.

If I can't even define it in simple terms for myself, how could I know if I can prove it's accurate or not? And your last question is irrelevant unless the answers to the other ones are what you think they are.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #53 on: January 26, 2012, 04:04:40 AM »
And yet neither hypothesis deserves any credit whatsoever. This is why I "deride" agnostic atheists.

That's your opinion.  You're welcome to it.  Just don't pretend it's a matter of fact.  And try not to let it become too bigoted.

If I can't even define it in simple terms for myself, how could I know if I can prove it's accurate or not?

If you can't even define it in simple, intuitive terms for yourself, then the answer is obviously that no, you can't prove it's accurate.

And your last question is irrelevant unless the answers to the other ones are what you think they are.

Irrelevant to what?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #54 on: January 26, 2012, 04:09:11 AM »
That's your opinion.  You're welcome to it.  Just don't pretend it's a matter of fact.  And try not to let it become too bigoted.

You agreed that you shouldn't give a hypothesis any credit without evidence for it, not if they have no evidence against it. Neither hypothesis has evidence for it. Ergo, neither hypothesis deserves any credit.

If you can't even define it in simple, intuitive terms for yourself, then the answer is obviously that no, you can't prove it's accurate.

Agreed.

Irrelevant to what?

To your point, which I assume was to say that existence is, in itself, an assumption, or at least somewhat questionable.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline jaimehlers

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4829
  • Darwins +557/-17
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #55 on: January 27, 2012, 09:27:48 AM »
Actually, based on what we know about cosmology, biology, and related disciplines, it's a pretty safe bet that aliens do exist.  Note, though, that this is not a case where evidence is absent.
I agree about the former, but disagree with the latter.  Yes, it's a pretty safe bet, but we currently have no actual evidence of alien life forms.  All of our knowledge is based on the conditions of Earth, or what we can see from Earth, but without evidence of life on other planets, or at least life-bearing conditions on other planets, we can't say with certainty that yes, there is definitely life that did not originate on Earth.  Yet most people who know anything about the subject consider it inevitable that we will find such evidence, and that's the point I was trying to make.

I have no real problem with Lucifer stating that he doesn't think there are such things as deities.  I do have a problem with him categorically saying that absence of evidence is evidence of absence, because it isn't.  However, I coined a new phrase which I think works better:  "Absent evidence, absence is evident".

Online One Above All

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10920
  • Darwins +284/-37
  • Gender: Male
  • Supreme ruler of the multiverse; All In One
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #56 on: January 27, 2012, 09:35:28 AM »
I agree about the former, but disagree with the latter.  Yes, it's a pretty safe bet, but we currently have no actual evidence of alien life forms.  All of our knowledge is based on the conditions of Earth, or what we can see from Earth, but without evidence of life on other planets, or at least life-bearing conditions on other planets, we can't say with certainty that yes, there is definitely life that did not originate on Earth.

All our knowledge is based on observation and logic. However, you're assuming that "life-bearing conditions" are the conditions here on Earth, which is a very bad assumption.
118 elements (that we know of) in the universe, which can combine in tons of different ways. Our limited molecular make-up is... well, limited. To assume that life can only exist exactly in the same way that it exists here on Earth is a poor assumption.

Yet most people who know anything about the subject consider it inevitable that we will find such evidence, and that's the point I was trying to make.

We already have such evidence. The universe is nearly infinite. That's nearly an infinite number of solar systems with nearly infinite planets (in total). To assume that only ours has life demonstrates poor knowledge of probability and/or arrogance.

I have no real problem with Lucifer stating that he doesn't think there are such things as deities.  I do have a problem with him categorically saying that absence of evidence is evidence of absence, because it isn't.  However, I coined a new phrase which I think works better:  "Absent evidence, absence is evident".

It's the exact same thing.
NVM, your phrase means that absence of evidence is proof of absence, which it most certainly is not.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Online Azdgari

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 12235
  • Darwins +269/-31
  • Gender: Male
Re: If absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2012, 09:40:26 AM »
Jaim, we don't have evidence of the existence of alien life in the same sense that we don't have evidence of the existence of stars outside out light-cone.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.