Explain Yourself
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19-03-2010, 08:34 AM (This post was last modified: 19-03-2010 09:14 AM by Stark Raving.)
RE: Explain Yourself
(19-03-2010 06:15 AM)jaronm90 Wrote:  
(17-03-2010 10:54 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Signature: It just makes sense dammit!

Not sure if you mistyped it or just know it differently but I've always heard if from Carl Sagan as "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" (emphasis added).

He originally uses it in relating to the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence but I've also seen an interview where he says that theists could and should use it as well when defending their belief in a deity.

Not being confrontational or critical, just potentially informative Big Grin

I have always wanted to know at what point the quote was altered, but Carl Sagan has used it both ways. At some point he used the reverse because it was also good logic. If I see no footprints in the newly fallen snow, it is evidence that noone has walked through the field today. The lack of evidence is what tells me that. It does not, however, tell me noone has walked through the field yesterday, since the newly fallen snow could simply be covering the footprints in the soil.

To me, what matters is when you LOOK for the evidence. The scientist will move the snow, or wait for it to melt. Once you start to actively search, and still find no evidence, that is when absence is evidence. I apply this to god. I believe a thinking atheist searches for god, and that is why s/he knows there is not one. Lack of real evidence.

In the end, even if the quote isn't what Sagan said, it's still applicable. Heck, I get stuff wrong all the time. I'm ok with it! LOL
Ugh, read my post and realized I was unclear......
What I wrote is simply a way to argue both sides. Sorry, my thoughts tend to get away with me and I forget to mention important information. LOL

What I didn't mention is that I am pretty sure that adding the "not" is the actual misquote, but since I haven't found the proof yet, I thought I would explain why it doesn't really matter. Truth be told, my quote is in fact more accurate than saying absence is not evidence, but thats just how I see it. I'll do some research though, and come back to it........I know I've seen this argument somewhere before.

Just visiting.

-SR
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19-03-2010, 10:53 AM
RE: Explain Yourself
Not proof that it is a misquote either way, but an interesting read. It also raises the point about WHO said it. Looks like we may have both been wrong about that one.

http://logbase2.blogspot.com/2009/01/abs...dence.html

Just visiting.

-SR
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19-03-2010, 11:27 AM
 
RE: Explain Yourself
(19-03-2010 08:34 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  
(19-03-2010 06:15 AM)jaronm90 Wrote:  
(17-03-2010 10:54 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  

I have always wanted to know at what point the quote was altered, but Carl Sagan has used it both ways. At some point he used the reverse because it was also good logic. If I see no footprints in the newly fallen snow, it is evidence that noone has walked through the field today. The lack of evidence is what tells me that. It does not, however, tell me noone has walked through the field yesterday, since the newly fallen snow could simply be covering the footprints in the soil.

To me, what matters is when you LOOK for the evidence. The scientist will move the snow, or wait for it to melt. Once you start to actively search, and still find no evidence, that is when absence is evidence. I apply this to god. I believe a thinking atheist searches for god, and that is why s/he knows there is not one. Lack of real evidence.

In the end, even if the quote isn't what Sagan said, it's still applicable. Heck, I get stuff wrong all the time. I'm ok with it! LOL
Ugh, read my post and realized I was unclear......
What I wrote is simply a way to argue both sides. Sorry, my thoughts tend to get away with me and I forget to mention important information. LOL

What I didn't mention is that I am pretty sure that adding the "not" is the actual misquote, but since I haven't found the proof yet, I thought I would explain why it doesn't really matter. Truth be told, my quote is in fact more accurate than saying absence is not evidence, but thats just how I see it. I'll do some research though, and come back to it........I know I've seen this argument somewhere before.

I'm pretty sure it's in Pale Blue Dot that Sagan says this quote and uses it in an statement concluding (essentially): since we haven't found any evidence of aliens yet that doesn't mean they don't exist.

I did a quick Google search and found a couple quote indexes.
Link
Link 2
But I also came across this page which might support the context you were trying to explain in the form of a logic proof.
Link 3

This is more analytical than the context Carl was using the quote for when I first heard it. I agree that without proof of something one can logically and correctly state that they have not found evidence for that which they were looking for and deduce that it doesn't exist, but, that is working under the assumption that anywhere one can look for evidence, one has, and still found no proof, making it logical to conclude it doesn't exist. Sagan was stating that: though we have looked and still found no evidence, we have not looked everywhere and it would be too soon to deduce nonexistence (in reference to extraterrestrial intelligence).

Here's another link with the quote in it along with his reason for saying it and how it applies to his theological perspective.
Link 4

I'm almost 100% sure the lack of "not" in the quote would imply the opposite of how Carl viewed the world, with a fair balance of open-mindedness and skepticism. If you can find a link to prove otherwise, i.e. that Carl said it without the "not", I would quickly rescind my position. I think it's clear we were operating under different conditions for our understanding of the quote.

Before I posted this I found one more link which puts this quote in Sagan's Demon Haunted World as well, I wasn't 100% on if I was correctly remembering this being in here until this refreshed my memory.
Link 5
(19-03-2010 10:53 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Not proof that it is a misquote either way, but an interesting read. It also raises the point about WHO said it. Looks like we may have both been wrong about that one.

http://logbase2.blogspot.com/2009/01/abs...dence.html

Saw this after I posted the other.

Hahahaha... Rumsfeld. That guy is a blabbering moron in my opinion. But I was never putting forward that I believed Sagan was the first to coin the quote, only that he's where I first heard it from (while reading Pale Blue Dot) and that there was a "not" in it.
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19-03-2010, 11:47 AM
RE: Explain Yourself
I am sure we can agree that the interesting part of the discussion is not where the quote origionated, but whether one or the other holds more water. Thanks for sparking the discussion! I am going to start a thread about it, just so we don't completely hijack this one! lol.

Hope to continue this...

Just visiting.

-SR
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19-03-2010, 11:53 AM
 
RE: Explain Yourself
(19-03-2010 11:47 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I am going to start a thread about it, just so we don't completely hijack this one! lol.

Hope to continue this...

Good Idea. Sorry ppl who just want to know about each others' names and such, you can continue now. Confused
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19-03-2010, 02:25 PM
 
RE: Explain Yourself
USERNAME: I love platypuses. Or is it platypii? No idea, but they're damned cool animals. Also: poison claw of DEATH!

AVATAR: Just a cool picture of a platypus I found once.

TITLE: From the kid's show "Phineas and Ferb", their mild-mannered pet platypus is, by night, a brave secret agent called Agent P. His theme song features the line: "He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action."

QUOTE: I say this all the time, because it's true. There are secularists, humanists, freethinkers and such running around southern Louisiana, but they are few and far between.
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31-03-2010, 02:45 PM
 
RE: Explain Yourself
USERNAME: I always wanted that username and this is the first time it wasn't already taken. When I heard of the aquamarine gemstone I liked the way it sounds and since my real name is Marina, I immediately adopted it Smile
AVATAR: I'm an anime addict and this girl kinda goes with the username because of her haircolor xD
TITLE: that's how I see myself (PS ran out of ideas)
SIGNATURE: I love the rain...that's all I have to say
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03-04-2010, 10:19 AM
 
RE: Explain Yourself
avatar - Polaroid picture I took.
username - Favorite Harlan Ellison book (title).
custom title - One of my favorite label "warnings".
signature - One of my favorite authors.
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22-04-2010, 06:20 PM
RE: Explain Yourself
Profile change, so here we go again.

My new avatar is Gamal from the webcomic "Men In Hats", which is about six men in an unnamed desert who talk and occasionally eat sandwiches. Gamal is the only sort-of normal man there, and serves as the voice of reason in the series. I considered making Amar, the sadistic and hilarious dude in the top hat, my avatar, but I couldn't find an expression that was as funny as Gamal's.

My title is a (fairly obvious) reference to a line from "Sympathy For the Devil" by the Rolling Stones. The opening verse goes like this, in case you haven't heard it:

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith
I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Mad damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you is
The nature of my game


Of course, it's being sung by the devil, so... yeah. Figured it was appropriate.

And my new signature is from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, which is one of my favorite Terry Pratchett books.

----------SPOILER! If you want to read the book without knowing how it ends, stop here------------

A talking cat (Maurice) and some talking rats (the educated rodents) move into a small town looking for their fortunes, but discover that the town is in danger from a mysterious being named "Spider". Spider, as it turns out, is a Rat King - a group of rats whose tails were tied together by rat catchers for fun - consisting of eight individual rats. Eventually, Dangerous Beans, the most intelligent of the rats, confronts Spider in the sewers underneath the city. The full scene goes like this:

Quote:'I want to see who I am talking to,' said Dangerous Beans, firmly.
You are blind, little white rat. Through your pink eyes I see only mist.
'They see more than you think,' said Dangerous Beans. 'And if you are, as you say, the Big Rat… then show yourself to me. Smelling is believing.'
There was a scrabbling, and Spider came out of the shadows.
It looked to Maurice like a bundle of rats, rats scampering across the boxes but flowing, as if all the legs were being operated by one creature. As it crawled into the light, over the top of a sack, he saw that the tails were twisted together into one huge, ugly knot. And each rat was blind. As the voice of Spider thundered in his head, the eight rats reared and tugged at the knot.
Then tell me the truth, white rat. Do you see me? Come closer! Yes, you see me, in your mist. You see me. Men made me for sport! Tie the rats' tails together and watch them struggle! But I did not struggle. Together we are strong! One mind is as strong as one mind and two minds are as strong as two minds, but three minds are four minds, and four minds are eight minds and eight minds… are one-one mind stronger than eight. My time is near. The stupid men let rats fight and the strong survive, and then they fight, and the strongest of the strong survive… and soon the cages will open, and men shall know the meaning of the word 'plague'! See the stupid cat? It wants to leap, but I hold it so easily. No mind can withstand me. Yet
you… you are interesting. You have a mind like mine, that thinks for many rats, not just one rat. We want the same things. We have plans. We want the triumph of rats. Join us. Together we will be… STRONG.

There was a long pause. It was, Maurice thought, too long. And then:
'Yes, your offer is… interesting,' said Dangerous Beans.
There was a gasp from Peaches, but Dangerous Beans went on, in a small voice: 'The world is big and dangerous, indeed. And we are weak, and I am tired. Together we can be strong.'
Indeed!
'But what of those who aren't strong, please?'
The weak are food. That is how it has always been!
'Ah,' said Dangerous Beans. 'How it has always been. Things are becoming clearer.'
'Don't listen to it!' Peaches hissed. 'It's affecting your mind!'
'No, my mind is working perfectly, thank you,' said Dangerous Beans, still in the same calm voice. 'Yes, the proposition is beguiling. And we would rule the rat world together, would we?'
We would… co-operate. And Maurice, on the sidelines, thought: yeah, right. You co-operate, they rule. Surely you can't fall for this!
But Dangerous Beans said: 'Co-operate. Yes. And together we could give the humans a war they won't believe. Tempting. Very tempting. Of course, millions of rats would die…'
They die anyway.
'Mmm, yes. Yes. Yes, that is true. And this rat here,' said Dangerous Beans, suddenly waving a paw towards one of the big rats that was hypnotized by the flame, 'can you tell me what she thinks about this?'
Spider sounded taken aback. Thinks? Why should it think anything? It is a rat!
'Ah,' said Dangerous Beans. 'How clear it is now. But it would not work.'
Would not work?
Dangerous Beans raised his head.
'Because, you see, you just think for many rats,' he said. 'But you don't think of them. Nor are you, for all that you say, the Big Rat. Every word you utter is a lie. If there is a Big Rat, and I hope there is, it would not talk of war and death. It would be made of the best we could be, not the worst that we are. No, I will not join you, liar in the dark. I prefer our way. We are silly and weak, sometimes. But together we are strong. You have plans for rats? Well, I have dreams for them.'
Spider reared up, quivering. The voice raged in Maurice's mind.
Oh, so you think you are a good rat? But a good rat is one that steals most! You think a good rat is a rat in a waistcoat, a little human with fur! Oh yes, I know about the stupid, stupid book! Traitor! Traitor to
rats! Will you feel my… PAIN?
Maurice did. It was like a blast of red-hot air, leaving his head full of steam. He recognized the sensation. It was how he used to feel before he was changed. It was how he used to feel before he was Maurice. He'd just been a cat. A bright cat, but nothing more than a cat.
You defy me? Spider screamed at the bowed form of Dangerous Beans. When I am everything that truly is RAT? I am filth and darkness! I am the noise under the floor, the rustling in the walls! I am the thing that undermines and despoils! I am the sum of all that you deny! I am your true self! Will you OBEY ME?
'Never,' said Dangerous Beans. 'You are nothing but shadows.'
Feel my PAIN!
Maurice was more than a cat, he knew. He knew the world was big and complex and involved a lot more than wondering if the next meal was going to be beetles or chicken legs. The world was huge and
difficult and full of amazing things and…
… the red-hot flame of that horrible voice was boiling his mind away. The memories were unwinding and whirling into the darkness. All the other little voices, not the horrible voice but the Maurice voices, the ones that nagged at him and argued amongst themselves and told him he was doing wrong or could be better, were getting fainter-
And still Dangerous Beans stood there, small and wobbly, staring up into the dark.
'Yes,' said Dangerous Beans. 'I feel the pain.'
You are nothing but a rat. A little rat. And I am the very SOUL of ratdom. Admit it, little blind rat, little blind pet rat.
Dangerous Beans swayed, and Maurice heard him say, 'I will not. And I am not so blind that I can't see darkness.'
Maurice sniffed, and realized that Dangerous Beans was widdling himself in terror. But the little rat didn't move, even so.
Oh, yes, whispered the voice of Spider. And you can control the dark, yes? You told a little rat that. You can learn to control the dark.
'I am a rat,' whispered Dangerous Beans. 'But I am not vermin.'
VERMIN?
'Once we were just another squeaking thing in the forest,' said Dangerous Beans. 'And then men built barns and pantries full of food. Of course we took what we could. And so they called us vermin, and they have trapped us and covered us in poison and, somehow, out of that wretchedness, you have come. But you are no answer. You are just another bad thing humans made. You offer rats nothing except more pain. You have a power that lets you enter people's minds when they are tired or stupid or upset. And you are in mine now.'
Yes. Oh, yes!
'And still I stand here,' said Dangerous Beans. 'Now that I have smelled you, I can face you down. Even though my body is shaking, I can keep a place free from you. I can feel you running round in my head, you see, but all the doors are closed to you now. I can control the dark inside, which is where all darkness is. You have shown me that I am more than just a rat. If I am not more than a rat, I am nothing at all.'

I had to cut a bit out of the speech, of course - stupid character limits - but I still think it's very powerful writing.

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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18-08-2010, 08:30 AM
RE: Explain Yourself
Bump for the newbies. EXPLAIN YOURSELVES!

Oh, my current avatar is H. P. Lovecraft, my title shows my love of games of all types, and my signature is another Terry Pratchett quote.

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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