A note on skepticism and burden of proof.

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Adicted2aa, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. I was reading an article that some one linked to from this forum, and before I even got past the introduction I had noticed a flaw. The author maintained that if some one were to put forth the argument that he never had to shave because a six foot bunny with razor sharp teeth attacked his beard every morning, the burden of proof would lie with him and if he didn't the skeptic should say its false. Now I agree that its pretty safe to say in that instance that the man is a fibber but when making a point about skepticism the statement is flawed. A skeptic would only be able to say from that example that he didn't know if it were true. Because to belief it was false he would need proof of that as well. He could probably find it easily, but thats not the point. The point is that, to a skeptic, the burden of proof rest on any one who makes a conjecture, wether it be that something is or something isn't. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
  2. Still doesn't change the fact that whoever makes a claim is also responsible for providing the evidence. Also, the more fantastic the claim, the better evidence is needed. And until that is done, it is open hunting season on the claim.

    As for refuting base-less claims, no evidence is needed. It is quite enough pointing out the probability for an event or phenomena to be so miniscule as to render it for all intents and purposes false.

    Take the UFO debate as an example (let's not start a debate about it, just an example. No need to get those warp drives humming).

    UFO believers make a claim, aliens come visit us on a regular basis. Abducting people here, anally probing them there, wheat-field graffiti here and there, and blow up some cows for good measure.

    A rather fantastic claim, no?

    With rather abysmal evidence. All of which can easily be forged. And often is revealed as such when scrutinized.

    Does this exclude aliens visiting us. Well, no, but when you consider the probability of aliens whipping through the galaxy just to pull practical pranks on us, and leaving no evidence behind...

    No further reason, not even evidence, to dismiss the idea needed.
  3. A gold star for Zylark.

    It comes down to "what is more likely?"

    I'd also like to add this quote:

    "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."
    - Christopher Hitchens
  4. Well doubting something and then being provided no evidence tends to push a doubter over the edge. It's normal, they just stand on what is more likely.

    It doesn't make it better, just more 'sensible'.

    They just believe being logical and reasonable is better than anything else.

    In this case you choose a side and even if they are wrong they will still say they were being more sensible. They are just playing it safe, not wanting to complicate anything which to them isn't necessary.

    I've learned to just let them doubt and if you want to have an imagination, have one. To me, I think imagination is just as important as logic and reason.

    "What can be is more important than what is, because what can be is everchanging and what is can never change."

  5. [​IMG]

    It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
    -- Carl Sagan​
  6. "They consider themselves to be realistic, which is not true. Their recognition of reality is not based on knowledge... They believe that only what they can see with their own eyes can be real, wherein they do not consider that they could be deceived by their own seeing."

    Carl Van Vlierden

    I do not discredit any theory that says it appears that there is no God. I discredit people who are convinced there is no God. Especially when they try to force it on others.

    For you, sure- God may not exist. But that doesn't make it true for everyone else. God doesn't have to make any sense or have to obey any law, even His "own".

    Worship what you want or don't worship anything. It's all in how we deal with the same reality anyways, apples or oranges to me.

    Although I do think it's great you understand reality on the surface level, for you to conclude that the surface is all of reality is hasty. Then when someone comes along with an experience of seeing beneath the surface you discredit it, so that you can keep hugging your cozy (in a easier to understand way) surface reality that makes so much more sense to you. Wow, what a surprise.

    I understand it, but why the sides can't understand the other kills me...
  7. Let's deconstruct this one.

    Firstly, Carl Van Vlierden is a UFOlogist, obviously a person who does not practice critical though or logical consistency. But without committing an ad hominem, let us investigate this quote piece by piece.

    Firstly, Mr.GoodStuff, who is "they"?

    and we're about to find out why, this statement does not pertain to scientific skepticism.

    Precisely. That is not scientific skepticism -- it is quite the opposite.

    I can see the connection you're attempting to make to empiricism, but I'm bout to explain why it doesn't hold up.

    Sure, it's an important thing to consider. That's why verification and controlled experiments are conducted; to ensure that it is not a fluke, illusion or misconception.

    You always cite they obscure possibilities (without any mechanism or evidence suggested), yet you never explain a better method of evaluation or scrutiny, you seem to rather advocate believing whatever you want, with a disregard to objective truth.

    ... who is not really a notable when it concerns critical thought or understanding empirical evidence :rolleyes:

    Why? It's logically consistent.

    [SIZE=+1]If it looks like God does not exist, quacks like God does not exist, then there is a good chance he does not....
    Proof is not required to believe. But some sign, some evidence is needed. None exists....
    Find some inkling of evidence. There is none.

    -- Victor Stenger
  8. Dude, logically consistant just plays into your perceptions. I've been trying to tell you that the past few days. I understand your side, but it doesn't take into account that religious and spiritual experiences really do happen all the time. How can we share them with you, other than by telling you how we achieved them?

    It is up to you to witness God, not for us to show Him to you!

    That is the key Rasta! You have to look for yourself, He is only something that could be, and never something that is!
  9. And your denial of perception is just a cop-out to validate your unsubstantiated beliefs.

    It does, and it uses Ockham's Razor to resort them to explainable physical, neurological, psychological and biological processes and phenomena

    You can't. Just face the fact it is an unprovable assertion with no bases in science or reality.

    That's circular logic, because of course is I abandon logical protocol and skeptical inquiry and submit myself to unsubstantiated belief i will agree with you. :rolleyes:

    You have to, in order to subscribe to those beliefs.

    Exactly, so click on the link in my sig.

    Believe it or not, I have in my life. It's fairly obvious that there is no such thing. In order to subscribe to it, you require substantial self-deception or compartmentalization. Those are two attributes i prescribe no virtue to, at all.

    Exactly. I think it's incredibly dangerous to accept fantasy as reality.

    And again, I'll repeat the quote as I have before.

    It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
    -- Carl Sagan

    That is the bottom line, to me.
  10. LOL you are just so shut up into the box I can't even get through to you. Tell Sagan it was nice talking to him though. :wave:
  11. It's hard to convince people of pseudoscience and unproven personal convictions when that person believes in the rigors of empiricism, logic and reason, huh?


    In reality; I'm the most open-minded person you'll ever met. I just need evidence to believe in the claim.
  12. Uh, ya?

    About your "idea" of openmindedness...

    You have to have evidence? That doesn't allow for any freedom of thought. It's as closed off as any fact is.

    The following quote is defamatory in nature as well, but it's not like all the arguements between you and I don't end up going down that road...

    I guess I just have mental problems or a hole in my head? Who are you to say these things?
  13. Maybe you should learn what the freedom of thought actually is -- because it has nothing to do with this.

    Being open-minded does not consist of accepting anything your told. Being open-minded consists of being open to new ideas and concepts. I absolutely am, considering them meet the standards of evaluation and verification as presented in the scientific method.

    Anything else is just a obfuscated misnomer of "naivety"

    You're actually right, it was rude and I apologize. Although it illustrated my point well on conceptions of "open-mindedness", I don't wish to insult anybody.

    Most don't, I'd like to think.

    You said it, not me.

    I was trying to suggest that you have an obfuscatory conception of the term "open-mindedness"

    To clear that up, let us consult an encyclopedia:

    The scientific method and it's adherents is nothing BUT open-minded

    I'm not actually. I understand how you could construe it that way, for sure. But I hope I've cleared it up that I don't think that of you.
  14. Oh, so THAT'S what freedom of thought is! Because Wikipedia says so? LOL

    How about it's being able to think of something without evidence you can show another? Because that's what I'm talking about.

    That version of freedom of thought seems like a dungeon with a window to look out of, and that's what you call freedom.
  15. Um yes, not specifically Wikipedia, but a source of culturally consensual knowledge.

    You can feel free to make up your own terms, but it makes it rather hard to communicate when you do that.

    To me, that fits the term "credulous"

    um, no actually, you're just taking a specific definition (see credulous) and assigning it a pleasant phrase with the word "freedom" in it.

    Nothing more -- it's just another misnomer.
  16. You have on many occassions insinuated that people who have experiences like me have mental conditions that, and I quote you- "are treatable"

    Please, don't act like I don't see it or won't remember it. Just because I let a lot of stuff slide doesn't mean I don't have a breaking point. Enough is enough.
  17. I actually just take the word freedom which means the right to your will and add it to thought which is the source of our will and get-

    Freedom of thought is being able to think however you want.

    I'm talking total freedom, not selective freedom as long as it sits inside the boundaries of logic and reason.

    It would be a misnomer if that's not what freedom of thought can be. It's just what logic and reason-based thinkers use to feel free in thought. You have no choice but to believe what you see, but I do. That's why I believe in total freedom of thought- so that we can be unique. That form of "freedom" is about as free as a caged bird, because you cannot think anything abstract about it, only facts and figures.
  18. Yup.

    And though I can back up claims that, they are considered disrespectful. I was reprimanded for that comment, too.

    So I don't say things like that anymore. Instead I point out that it is one of the many plausible and demonstratable explanations for some of these experiences -- but is by no means the only one.

    For example: I experience hypnogogia sometimes. It is truly a frightening psychological event. It is even diagnosable in extreme cases.

    To an individual not as incredulous and skeptical as me, the events experienced could easily (and has been documented) to be responsible for sightings of ghosts and even alien abduction claims.

    I investigated in after I had experienced it my first time, and learned that it was a well documented psychological phenomena, and that I wasn't actually being attacked by a demon.

    I personally feel this is no reflection of disrespect on any individual, but simply a mere fact. It's perfectly understandable how people can come to these conclusions without doing the research.

    Anyways, I'm off-topic, I'm just attempting to illustrate that the connection I made to psychological phenomena is in no way meant to disrespect you, but an attempt to show you that there is no need to invoke the supernatural - by the principle of Ockham's Razor.

    I sincerely apologize if you felt offended of bullied - not my intention at all.

    I don't know what you're talking about. ;):p

    You seem to reflect that you feel attacked lately. I understand that can happen when you lay intimate personal convictions out there to be subjected to constructive criticism.

    Trust me when I say that this is an objective debate to me. This kind of thing doesn't reflect on your as a kind, compassionate human being, which you evidently are. :)
  19. Yes, but that phrase "Freedom of Thought" already has a different meaning.

    Yes -- you're allowed to believe whatever you want - I'm not trying to impede that; just don't be surprised if your beliefs are subjected to critical thought and rational inquiry, that is within my own freedom of speech.

    If you do not wish for this to happen, then keep your beliefs to yourself.

    Why do you think of logic and reason as boundaries as opposed to restrictions of what can reasonable be demonstrated?

    Maybe since your claims fall outside - it should indicate that you may want to re-evaluate those beliefs.

    It is a misnomer, especially if there is already a word for the term your describing.


    Yes - but you have no way to validate it.

    You can be unique without unsubstantiated personal convictions.

    Sure I can, thats where philosophy comes into the mix -- hell, thats where logic comes from.

    The difference is that much of what I speculate about I can recognize to be just that: speculation, unverified and therefore not a truth.
  20. I wish it could be simple for me, but those experiences... Part of me would like to think maybe it's some mental condition that I have. But I have heard the same experience from others and all of them are extremely intellegent and logic and reason-based thinkers. It may help to know that every other person that related to this experience are mostly in the middle of understanding- believing in both God and evolution, and neither in a traditional way.

    It's easy to see how I could view this as empircal evidence that what I experienced was real- but I will admit I think it's possible it could have been a fabrication. It's just the nature of the experience- sheer knowledge instead of experience of the senses that gets to me but maybe your right. It's just the way you put it that bothered me the most, but I do understand your side.

    You just want it to make sense so that you can share it with others. I admire that, which is why I'm here trying to make scientific fact out of whatever the hell that was. You have been teaching me how these things go over with others though without evidence and I appreciate that. You will be invaluable when I make a thread about our connection and how I believe physics is proof of our connection. I will one day be able to show this vision to others in scientific and mathmatical forms because of people like yourself telling me I just wasn't showing them anything.

    Still, I believe freedom of thought will always exist no matter what we prove. There will always be the guy being like "you don't have to think of it like that" or the token "I don't care what you say" guy.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom of thought -credulous?

Share This Page