Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
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30-09-2015, 02:42 PM
Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
Specifically on the topic "Did Jesus Exist?"

Atheist: There is no secular record of Jesus. He only appears in Christian sources.

Theist: That's an Argument From Silence. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Atheist: You're saying that if I cannot prove that he did not exist then he must have existed. That's an Argument From Ignorance.

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30-09-2015, 03:25 PM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
Best Practice:

When ignorant, stay silent.

Here endeth the lesson.

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30-09-2015, 03:45 PM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
(30-09-2015 02:42 PM)f stop Wrote:  Theist: That's an Argument From Silence. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Not really.

The argument from silence is an informal fallacy that specifically implies that a specific person has refrained from saying anything on a subject, and the person making the fallacy has attempted to interpret that silence to support whatever point they are trying to make.

This would more properly be referred to as a simple non sequitur, except that, in the case of Jesus Christ, the absence of evidence can be taken as evidence of absence. The key that people tend to forget about that phrase is that absence of evidence does equal evidence of absence if the absence is present where you would expect to find evidence. If someone tells you that there is an elephant in a room, but you search the room and find no elephant, you do actually have evidence against the existence of an elephant in that room.

Now, I'm not an archaeological expert, so I'm not going to get into that whole debate about whether or not there was a real person named Jesus that the cult sprang up around or whether the authors of the Gospels made him up out of whole cloth. It's not really relevant. But, in the case of the Biblical Jesus, there is quite a lot of evidence that simply isn't where we would expect to find it.

That is, indeed, evidence of absence.

(30-09-2015 02:42 PM)f stop Wrote:  Atheist: You're saying that if I cannot prove that he did not exist then he must have existed. That's an Argument From Ignorance.

No. That is the burden of proof fallacy.

"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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30-09-2015, 04:31 PM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
Absence of evidence IS evidence of absence. Until it can be proven to be true, its false and must be assumed to be so.

Argument from Silence sounds an awful lot like a pitiful way of trying to remove themselves from the burden of proof.


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01-10-2015, 07:42 AM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
Absence of evidence can be proof of absence.
Let H be a hypothesis and P be a prediction such that H -> P (if H is true, P must be true)
Say that P is the prediction that a certain kind of evidence would exist in a certain place and time, meeting some predefined standard.
If the evidence predicted by P is not present in the place or time or to the standard it defines then H is false. H must be rejected or replaced with a revised H' that makes a different prediction.

The real question when it comes to a god concept is:
- What is the falsifiable question we are asking? and
- What testable predictions follow?
But most god concepts have been revised and revised such they make no predictions, they are unfalsifiable, and therefore irrelevant to the real world. That's where we end up. Either the god is false, or so intangible as to be meaningless.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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01-10-2015, 11:20 AM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
(30-09-2015 02:42 PM)f stop Wrote:  Specifically on the topic "Did Jesus Exist?"

Atheist: There is no secular record of Jesus. He only appears in Christian sources.

Theist: That's an Argument From Silence. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Atheist: You're saying that if I cannot prove that he did not exist then he must have existed. That's an Argument From Ignorance.

In this example the theist isn't arguing for the existence of Jesus at all. He is simply pointing out the fallacy of the atheist's argument.

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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01-10-2015, 11:36 AM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2015 11:39 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
(30-09-2015 02:42 PM)f stop Wrote:  Specifically on the topic "Did Jesus Exist?"

Atheist: There is no secular record of Jesus. He only appears in Christian sources.

Theist: That's an Argument From Silence. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Atheist: You're saying that if I cannot prove that he did not exist then he must have existed. That's an Argument From Ignorance.

An argument from silence would be a fallacy, unless you're suggesting if Jesus did exist they would be a variety of non-christian sources regarding him, beyond the references we already have in Josephus, Tacitus, etc...

Of course it would be a fallacy in this case. Because not even important Roman figures like Pilate, had anything other than primarily two jewish sources writing about him. So if the Romans didn't care all that much to write about Pilate, I don't know why anyone would expect them to about Jesus.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-10-2015, 11:48 AM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
(30-09-2015 04:31 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Absence of evidence IS evidence of absence. Until it can be proven to be true, its false and must be assumed to be so.

Argument from Silence sounds an awful lot like a pitiful way of trying to remove themselves from the burden of proof.

And trying to exclude the greco-roman biographies, commonly referred to as the gospel, and NT sources, such as accounts those who met his discloses and brother, to be excluded as evidence, is just silly.

To account for the Christian movement, history, writing, etc... without a historical Jesus, would require an explanation that would out maneuver the best of conspiracy theory. I don't mind that there's number of atheists who believe this is the case, but it just shows that creationist type mentality exist among supposed rationalist just the same as the folks they deride.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-10-2015, 11:51 AM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
Whenever theists pull the "well, Jesus totally existed because there are some obscure references to a guy named Yeshua by a couple of people" I always wonder why (among other things) not one person fucking wrote about the events of Matthew 27:52

"…51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.…"

You'd think a bunch of dead people getting up out of their graves, would be newsworthy. Drinking Beverage

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01-10-2015, 11:53 AM
RE: Argument from Ignorance vs. Argument from Silence
(01-10-2015 11:48 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(30-09-2015 04:31 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Absence of evidence IS evidence of absence. Until it can be proven to be true, its false and must be assumed to be so.

Argument from Silence sounds an awful lot like a pitiful way of trying to remove themselves from the burden of proof.

And trying to exclude the greco-roman biographies, commonly referred to as the gospel, and NT sources, such as accounts those who met his discloses and brother, to be excluded as evidence, is just silly.

To account for the Christian movement, history, writing, etc... without a historical Jesus, would require an explanation that would out maneuver the best of conspiracy theory. I don't mind that there's number of atheists who believe this is the case, but it just shows that creationist type mentality exist among supposed rationalist just the same as the folks they deride.

Bible (including NT) = claim, not evidence.

I mean, for fuck's sake, this is basic stuff here Facepalm

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