My Take on the Burden of Proof
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24-10-2012, 02:20 PM (This post was last modified: 24-10-2012 02:23 PM by Vosur.)
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 11:47 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Yes, but your initial example didn't prove a negative. Using a double negative is just extra verbiage to restate the positive - it is not in itself a negative regardless of having or or more instances of the word "not" (or a synonym) in it.

I exist - positive
I do not exist - negative
I do not not exist - positive

Proving I exist is proving a positive.
Proving I do not exist would be proving a negative but is impossible.
Proving I do not not exist is proving a positive again. It is definitely not proving a negative.

Your simplification is also misleading. How would you prove you do not have four arms? If I asked you to prove it, what would you do? I already know the answer: you would prove that you have two arms. See? You wouldn't prove the negative claim about 4 arms but you would, instead, prove a positive claim about having 2 arms.

So let's say that you and I could never meet. I cannot possibly examine you to see if you have four arms, but I want you to prove you don't. Further, you are not allowed to prove that you have two arms because that is proving something else - you must prove that you don't have four arms without restating your negative proof as a new positive proof that you have two arms.

How would you do it? Send me a picture? I would say it could be photo-shopped - besides, it really proves two arms if I accept it as valid. Send me a doctor's statement that he examined you and certifies that you don't have four arms? I would say that could be fabricated - besides, it really certifies two arms. Send me a video of your naked body moving around so I can see it from all angles? I would say that it might not even be you - besides, it really shows two arms. State that no other person has four arms therefore you don't? I could argue that maybe you had a birth defect or could be conjoined twins or maybe you're an alien - besides, you're really saying that everyone has two arms therefore so do you. Even if we met and I examined you myself, I could argue that your second set of arms might be retractable and you still have four arms but at this time I can only observe two of them - besides, you would obviously be proving that you have two arms.

Sure, that's ridiculous, but proving or disproving a number of limbs is actually quite a bit easier than proving or disproving a supernatural god. But even here you see that all proofs you might try (even those I didn't mention) are really only going to prove that you have two arms - once again, proving a positive because there is no way for you to prove a negative.
Before we get into this any further, I need you to answer the following question: Are you prepared to have long and perhaps tiresome semantics debate with me? If the answer is yes, create a new thread (because this is unrelated to the OP) and we can get right into it.
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24-10-2012, 07:34 PM
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(22-10-2012 01:02 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  This suggests the following idea: The burden of proof is that measure of persuasion that causes a person's beliefs to change, and it lies with whatever persons might effect that change.

I don't actually have a problem with this. Yes, technically the burden of proof lies with the person making a positive claim, and yes, I think skepticism is always the right position when in doubt. However, I agree that you won't change minds without making that positive claim, even for a non-belief.

So when arguing with a Christian, I claim that the bible can't literally be true because it has irreconcilable contradictions, and then I give them evidence. I say that prayer is ineffective, and then I give them evidence. I say that their belief is analagous to and sometimes identical to other religions that they see as false, and then I give them the evidence. Sure, I can't prove that no god exists, but start defining your god and I can tell you why that specific god is nonsensical.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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24-10-2012, 07:56 PM
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
When people define a god with non-existing properties and then try to say that this non-existing thing I have defined exists, it makes it really hard to take any of it seriously.

"Tell me about your god"

"He's immaterial, invisible, all powerful, all knowing. Etc etc"

That's amazing. My non-existent coffee mug has those exact same properties. If teachers in this country drank from the divine mug more often they wouldn't have these troubles in school.

I'm pushing for mug theory to be taught in science class.

Big Grin

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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24-10-2012, 08:04 PM (This post was last modified: 24-10-2012 08:34 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 11:47 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  I exist - positive ... Proving I exist is proving a positive.

Girly's still waiting on that particular proof. ... Anyone? ... 'Cause Descartes' Cogito Ergo Sum failed miserably at it. Anyone got something better than Descartes? ... Anyone? ...

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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24-10-2012, 08:32 PM
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 08:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(24-10-2012 11:47 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  I exist - positive ... Proving I exist is proving a positive.

Girly's still waiting on that particular proof. ... Anyone? ... 'Cause Descartes' Cogito Ergo Sum[ failed miserably at it. Anyone got something better than Descartes? ... Anyone? ...

Idk.. I exist because if I didn't.. who would say I exist? That's all I got.. could still be a program easily.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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24-10-2012, 10:27 PM
My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 07:56 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  When people define a god with non-existing properties and then try to say that this non-existing thing I have defined exists, it makes it really hard to take any of it seriously.

"Tell me about your god"

"He's immaterial, invisible, all powerful, all knowing. Etc etc"

That's amazing. My non-existent coffee mug has those exact same properties. If teachers in this country drank from the divine mug more often they wouldn't have these troubles in school.

I'm pushing for mug theory to be taught in science class.

Big Grin

You've got it mostly right. I see just one small detail you've got wrong here. You see, it's actually my mug which is The One True Mug, dear sir (or madam). But I quite agree, you've captured it's essence most efficaciously in your post. Well done! You're well on your way to becoming The Mug's favorite disciple. For a few dollars more...

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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24-10-2012, 11:36 PM
Re: RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 07:34 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(22-10-2012 01:02 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  This suggests the following idea: The burden of proof is that measure of persuasion that causes a person's beliefs to change, and it lies with whatever persons might effect that change.

I don't actually have a problem with this. Yes, technically the burden of proof lies with the person making a positive claim, and yes, I think skepticism is always the right position when in doubt. However, I agree that you won't change minds without making that positive claim, even for a non-belief.

So when arguing with a Christian, I claim that the bible can't literally be true because it has irreconcilable contradictions, and then I give them evidence. I say that prayer is ineffective, and then I give them evidence. I say that their belief is analagous to and sometimes identical to other religions that they see as false, and then I give them the evidence. Sure, I can't prove that no god exists, but start defining your god and I can tell you why that specific god is nonsensical.

+1

You've pretty much explained my position on arguing with Christians here Smile

Better without God, and happier too.
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25-10-2012, 12:29 AM
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 08:32 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(24-10-2012 08:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Girly's still waiting on that particular proof. ... Anyone? ... 'Cause Descartes' Cogito Ergo Sum[ failed miserably at it. Anyone got something better than Descartes? ... Anyone? ...

Idk.. I exist because if I didn't.. who would say I exist? That's all I got.. could still be a program easily.

If memory serves Descartes was kind of a dummy. He claimed to be skeptical of everything and then tried to prove Gods existence from there. He only started with Cogito ergo sum ( I think therefor I am). From there he tried to say 'I am an imperfect being, with an imperfect mind, but I can think of a perfect being. Therefore something that was perfect had to put that in my imperfect brain, therefore God'. Which is of course ridiculous. I can think of a perfect unicorn, don't mean they exist.

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25-10-2012, 06:47 AM
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
Of the many things René Descartes can be accused of, dummy is not one of them. I have my issues with cogito ergo sum, but let's not dismiss a man with a litany of important philosophical and mathematical accomplishments because he once said one thing that one disagrees with.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-10-2012, 09:13 AM
RE: My Take on the Burden of Proof
(24-10-2012 08:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(24-10-2012 11:47 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  I exist - positive ... Proving I exist is proving a positive.

Girly's still waiting on that particular proof. ... Anyone? ... 'Cause Descartes' Cogito Ergo Sum failed miserably at it. Anyone got something better than Descartes? ... Anyone? ...

That's simple. Punch the doubter in the face. Is that not enough evidence, or irrelevant evidence? Provide more until the doubter stops expressing doubt. After all, any measure of intimidation, or pain, or loss of ability to counter-reason due to concussion, is proof that the person who threw the punch exists.

((Disclaimer: Don't actually do this.))

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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