Absence of evidence
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22-08-2015, 10:10 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 09:59 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 09:58 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Ok, just assume that for the purposes of this discussion that when I say evidence, I'm talking about evidence that is sufficient to make a conclusion. Cool

Which is still not the same thing.

Are you saying that conclusive evidence =/= proof?

If so, how do you define proof?
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22-08-2015, 10:13 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:09 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 10:03 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Gods are not plausible because there exists no evidence and no logical argument (consistent with reality) to demonstrate they are plausible. They are garage dragons.

Extraterrestrial life, intelligent aliens, alien spacecrafts <- these are all detectable if they exist and given the existence of life on Earth, intelligent life on Earth, and space shuttles and rockets, it is plausible that they exist. No such evidence confirming their existence has been found. So, the only logical conclusion is that they do not exist, but that does not mean they cannot exist.

This is not the case with gods, because there is no evidence to suggest they are plausible. So the only logical conclusion is that gods don't exist AND they are not plausible.

I agree with pretty much everything you said except I don't think we can conclude that aliens don't exist. And, while I agree that the god theory is implausible, I wouldn't go as far to say that I know it is impossible (I know that you aren't claiming god to be impossible here either, but just wanted to add that for clarification on my position).

"...except I don't think we can conclude that aliens don't exist."

Then you don't understand burden of proof. The only logical conclusion until the burden of proof is met, is nonexistence/non-ocurrence.

If I hypothesize that a virus killed off the dinosaurs, we can easily test for what happened. With no evidence to support my hypothesis of a virus killing the dinosaurs, we should conclude that it is not possible (through a complete and utter lack of support and evidence) that the virus killed the dinosaurs. Even though it is not implausible.

Now, look at the same example, but substitute aliens.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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22-08-2015, 10:13 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:03 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Gods are not plausible because there exists no evidence and no logical argument (consistent with reality) to demonstrate they are plausible. They are garage dragons.

Eh. Certain gods - primarily those which exist in deism and its related belief systems - are garage dragons.

Others are hypothetically possible, at least. The Christian god, for example, isn't a garage dragon in its original form; in fact, it's one of the most detectable entities of all time, since a global flood would be hard to hide. They still don't exist, and we can quite conclusively demonstrate that they do not exist when we fail to find the evidence that they would have to leave behind - the complete lack of evidence for a global flood, for example - but they aren't garage dragons.

Garage dragons are just any entities which are defined in such a way as to be completely undetectable, even in principle. Anything that has the potential to be detectable is not a garage dragon - unless the person pushing the idea starts dancing backwards into god-of-the-gaps when they are shown to be wrong, that is.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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22-08-2015, 10:15 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:13 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 10:03 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Gods are not plausible because there exists no evidence and no logical argument (consistent with reality) to demonstrate they are plausible. They are garage dragons.

Eh. Certain gods - primarily those which exist in deism and its related belief systems - are garage dragons.

Others are hypothetically possible, at least. The Christian god, for example, isn't a garage dragon in its original form; in fact, it's one of the most detectable entities of all time, since a global flood would be hard to hide. They still don't exist, and we can quite conclusively demonstrate that they do not exist when we fail to find the evidence that they would have to leave behind - the complete lack of evidence for a global flood, for example - but they aren't garage dragons.

Garage dragons are just any entities which are defined in such a way as to be completely undetectable, even in principle. Anything that has the potential to be detectable is not a garage dragon - unless the person pushing the idea starts dancing backwards into god-of-the-gaps when they are shown to be wrong, that is.

Yeah, I meant gods in the sense that people continue to back-peddle no matter the god claim into garage dragon territory.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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22-08-2015, 10:16 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:10 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 09:59 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Which is still not the same thing.

Are you saying that conclusive evidence =/= proof?

If so, how do you define proof?

Proof is when there is so much evidence for something, it would be perverse to not believe it is fact.

But evidence supporting something might not conclusively demonstrate the existence or occurrence of something. There is evidence that life could exist elsewhere in the universe (life on Earth), but that evidence does not prove life does exist elsewhere.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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22-08-2015, 10:17 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 09:58 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 09:48 AM)Chas Wrote:  You keep conflating evidence and proof. They are not the same thing.

Ok, just assume that for the purposes of this discussion that when I say evidence, I'm talking about evidence that is sufficient to make a conclusion. Cool

Generally, when there is no evidence one cannot conclude much. However, when the absence of evidence that should be there if the assertion were true is evidence that the assertion is likely not true.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-08-2015, 10:17 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:10 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 09:59 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Which is still not the same thing.

Are you saying that conclusive evidence =/= proof?

Yes. Conclusive evidence and proof are not the same thing.

For example: your mother makes you a cake on your birthday. On your next birthday, you come downstairs and find a cake on the table. It is made in your mother's distinctive style and fits the pattern established beforehand. This is enough evidence to draw the conclusion that your mother has made the cake.

Your father made the cake, doing his best to imitate your mother's style, because she woke up sick this morning but didn't want you to be disappointed.

"Conclusive evidence" is a disingenuous phrase. It exists to try and crowbar in the idea of absolute certainty where it does not belong.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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22-08-2015, 10:17 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:13 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 10:09 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I agree with pretty much everything you said except I don't think we can conclude that aliens don't exist. And, while I agree that the god theory is implausible, I wouldn't go as far to say that I know it is impossible (I know that you aren't claiming god to be impossible here either, but just wanted to add that for clarification on my position).

"...except I don't think we can conclude that aliens don't exist."

Then you don't understand burden of proof. The only logical conclusion until the burden of proof is met, is nonexistence/non-ocurrence.

If I hypothesize that a virus killed off the dinosaurs, we can easily test for what happened. With no evidence to support my hypothesis of a virus killing the dinosaurs, we should conclude that it is not possible (through a complete and utter lack of support and evidence) that the virus killed the dinosaurs. Even though it is not implausible.

Now, look at the same example, but substitute aliens.

Unless we know what did kill the dinosaurs, I see no reason to rule anything out.
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22-08-2015, 10:19 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:17 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 10:13 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "...except I don't think we can conclude that aliens don't exist."

Then you don't understand burden of proof. The only logical conclusion until the burden of proof is met, is nonexistence/non-ocurrence.

If I hypothesize that a virus killed off the dinosaurs, we can easily test for what happened. With no evidence to support my hypothesis of a virus killing the dinosaurs, we should conclude that it is not possible (through a complete and utter lack of support and evidence) that the virus killed the dinosaurs. Even though it is not implausible.

Now, look at the same example, but substitute aliens.

Unless we know what did kill the dinosaurs, I see no reason to rule anything out.

Then you don't understand how science works. That is why falsifiability is a key component of scientific hypotheses and conclusions.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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22-08-2015, 10:19 AM
RE: Absence of evidence
(22-08-2015 10:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 09:58 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Ok, just assume that for the purposes of this discussion that when I say evidence, I'm talking about evidence that is sufficient to make a conclusion. Cool

Generally, when there is no evidence one cannot conclude much. However, when the absence of evidence that should be there if the assertion were true is evidence that the assertion is likely not true.

By "likely" do you mean "most of the time"?
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