On the Existence of Garage Dragons
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19-08-2015, 05:06 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(19-08-2015 04:35 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Those are fundamentally different concepts, and I don't see how analogies between them can be useful. Bigfoot or a jar of marbles are nothing like God.
The claims themselves for Big foot are similar as the claims for god and similar as the claims for the garage dragon.

No, they are not. God is by definition invisible, immaterial, and undetectable, and so is the garage dragon. That is the specific claim. No such claim is made about Bigfoot. The hypothetical Bigfoot is a physical creature that can be seen, smelled, felt, etc. It is, according to the claim, detectable by our senses. God and the garage dragon are not.

That is a fundamental and huge difference in the claims being made. They are not similar at all.
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19-08-2015, 05:12 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 05:06 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The claims themselves for Big foot are similar as the claims for god and similar as the claims for the garage dragon.

No, they are not. God is by definition invisible, immaterial, and undetectable, and so is the garage dragon. That is the specific claim. No such claim is made about Bigfoot. The hypothetical Bigfoot is a physical creature that can be seen, smelled, felt, etc. It is, according to the claim, detectable by our senses. God and the garage dragon are not.

That is a fundamental and huge difference in the claims being made. They are not similar at all.

There is various definitions of various gods and types of gods or deities that aren't of those definitions.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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19-08-2015, 05:23 PM (This post was last modified: 19-08-2015 05:36 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 05:02 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  From the other thread:

(19-08-2015 04:54 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  What if I changed that to "Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, undetectable (at least to date) passive computer virus which only interacts with the environment by monitoring it and collecting data? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my computer virus exists?"

Does that change anything?

No.

Computer viruses exist within the computer's memory. If a computer is infected with a virus, it is necessarily detectable, even if the means of detecting it is so difficult as freezing the computer in its current state and going over every single bit in its memory banks individually. Even the slight interaction you mention is detectable.

If there were no means to detect the virus, then it would not exist, but there are. Therefore, it isn't a garage dragon.

So what you are saying is that there is a significant and substantial difference between undetectable in principle and undetectable in practice. Yes? From a practical perspective there isn't any difference. In any case, it can be shown that there are computer viruses which are undetectable in principle. An Undetectable Computer Virus

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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19-08-2015, 05:51 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
Apologize, this is rambling and unclear. I'm not a philosopher or intellectual.

For the First Mover/Clock Winder definition of god, not detectable and with no further effect on the universe, the analogy of the garage dragon holds to some extent. The claim about that god is that the universe exists because of it, and while we don't have methods that can assess this yet, eventually we may. In which case, the claim could be verified, god would exist, but there would be no reason for anyone to live in such a way as to please this god. The existence of the god changes the way we understand the starting point of the universe, but has no moral or practical implications for human behavior.

If the garage dragon's existence could be confirmed, there would be no immediate moral or behavioral implications, but I can't help feeling that people in this case would be searching for some way to make practical use of the garage dragon, as it's "there" in the garage and so has some possibility of interaction. That's not a parameter of the original analogy, of course.

The problem is that the big bang god is so far from the way that religious people conceptualize god that the analogy with the garage dragon may not be the most apt comparison. Many people will reject the possibility that the garage dragon is necessarily both undetectable and powerless. They will posit that the garage dragon's powers are enormous, just untapped, and include the ability to help humans control their circumstances, if people can just figure out how to contact it, appease it, and heat up its fire. People will spend thousands of years working out rituals and tests designed to get the dragon to reveal itself.

I think my fundamental difficulty with the analogy is that the definitions won't sit still, and the kind of god that is truly analogous to a garage dragon isn't really something most people would call god.
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19-08-2015, 05:54 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 05:06 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  No, they are not. God is by definition invisible, immaterial, and undetectable, and so is the garage dragon. That is the specific claim. No such claim is made about Bigfoot. The hypothetical Bigfoot is a physical creature that can be seen, smelled, felt, etc. It is, according to the claim, detectable by our senses. God and the garage dragon are not.

That is a fundamental and huge difference in the claims being made. They are not similar at all.
The garage dragon is just an analogy.
The entity of the claim does not have to be invisible, immaterial and undetectable.

Carl starts off with a dragon. He does not initially claim that it is invisible.
Only once the person looks and does not see the dragon does the claimant then come back with an excuse. In the dragon analogy they say that the dragon is invisible. The invisiblity is not an important factor. This is just an analogy remember. He could have used a Big foot analogy and merely said that you weren't looking inside the right cave, if you come back and say, I've looked in all the caves then he might say that big foot may have been hiding behind a tree. If you say that you looked behind all the trees he may have come back to you and said that big foot moves around, that you would need to look in all the caves and behind all the trees at the same time. If you said that you set up cameras and looked in all caves and all trees at the same time, he might come back and say that big foot was perhaps swimming in one of the rivers at the time.

The important point that Carl was stating was that the claim wasn't sufficiently formulated in order to allow for it to be falsified. He was showing how the claimant can come back with excuses as to why you didn't falsify the claim.
His conclusion is that the claim itself should be discarded and that the topic of the claim remains unknown.

It is not important for the claim to be about an invisible cold fire breathing incorporeal dragon. That is just an analogy. It seems a few of you have got confused on this. You guys seem to think invisibility is important but fire breathing isn't. This is the risk when using analogies, people sometimes get confused as to which parts of the analogy are part of the point and which parts are not part of the point.
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19-08-2015, 06:49 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The claims themselves for Big foot are similar as the claims for god and similar as the claims for the garage dragon.

No, they aren't.

One is, in principle, detectable. The other is not.

One is a garage dragon. The other is not.

(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The claims of Big foot’s existence do not provide a way to falsify Big foot’s existence.

Whether or not this is true - it arguably isn't, depending on the level of rigor in the definition and your views on epistemology - is unimportant. The issue is not that the claims do not offer a way to falsify themselves. It is that they offer no way to confirm themselves. They are, in fact, defined in such a way that confirmation is not possible even in theory.

That is what makes a garage dragon.

(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Carl’s garage dragon analogy is not about whether the claim’s focus is true or not.

Yes, it is.

Do you understand what the term "garage dragon" means?

(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Carl’s analogy is to highlight that the claim itself is invalid, not the result.

The claim is also invalid, yes. The two are not mutually exclusive.

(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  This is true. But if the claim were sufficiently formulated and we falsified the god claim then this would make an impact on the religious folk.
To them it matters if god exists or not.

And this is irrelevant to the question asked.

What is the difference between a garage dragon and no garage dragon at all?

(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  So we are asking the question “what difference does it matter if god exists or not” and the answer is that it doesn’t make a physical difference

Then we're done here.

If it doesn't make a physical difference, then it doesn't exist. That's what "exist" means.

(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Sure they can continue to believe in a god that doesn’t physically exist, in that way it wouldn’t make a difference but here you are assuming that we are talking about a physical existence.

We are. We always have been.

I have no idea what you are talking about at this point, but it certainly isn't garage dragons. The implications of belief in them, perhaps, the reasons behind people wanting to adopt illogical positions maybe, but not garage dragons themselves.

(19-08-2015 05:12 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  There is various definitions of various gods and types of gods or deities that aren't of those definitions.

Yes. Those are not garage dragons.

They don't exist either, but that's because we can look at the evidence and see that the claims made about them are false. They don't define themselves out of existence as garage dragons do.

(19-08-2015 05:23 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  So what you are saying is that there is a significant and substantial difference between undetectable in principle and undetectable in practice. Yes?

Yes.

Undetectable in practice doesn't mean much. Undetectable in principle means that it doesn't exist.

(19-08-2015 05:23 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  From a practical perspective there isn't any difference.

There absolutely is.

(19-08-2015 05:23 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  In any case, it can be shown that there are computer viruses which are undetectable in principle. An Undetectable Computer Virus

That isn't what that paper says.

Quote:An Undetectable Virus

A very similar example demonstrates that there are viruses for which no error-free detection algorithm exists. That is, not only can we not write a program that detects all viruses known and unknown with no false positives, but in addition there are some viruses for which, even when we have a sample of the virus in hand and have analyzed it completely, we cannot write a program that detects just that particular virus with no false positives.


...Our result is clearly complementary to Cohen's result in [1] that no algorithm can detect all viruses. That result may be expressed as

...<snip notation> (for every algorithm, there is some virus that it does not detect)

whereas our results are

...<snip notation> (there exists a virus which no algorithm perfectly detects)
...<snip notation> (there exists a virus which no algorithm loosely detects)

The paper deals with the limitations of algorithmic detection, not viruses that are literally undetectable under any circumstances. The issue it raises is that no algorithm can detect these theoretical viruses without having at least one scenario in which it will return a false positive, not that there are situations in which the virus outright cannot be detected.

It's tremendously interesting, and quite possibly worth its own discussion in the Science subforum, but it isn't a garage dragon.

(19-08-2015 05:51 PM)julep Wrote:  Apologize, this is rambling and unclear. I'm not a philosopher or intellectual.

No worries. Learning is just as valid a reason to post here as any other.

(19-08-2015 05:51 PM)julep Wrote:  The claim about that god is that the universe exists because of it, and while we don't have methods that can assess this yet, eventually we may.

If we eventually could detect it in some way, it wouldn't be a garage dragon.

(19-08-2015 05:54 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The garage dragon is just an analogy.
The entity of the claim does not have to be invisible, immaterial and undetectable.

If it isn't, it's not a garage dragon.

"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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19-08-2015, 06:59 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 06:49 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(19-08-2015 05:23 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  In any case, it can be shown that there are computer viruses which are undetectable in principle. An Undetectable Computer Virus

The paper deals with the limitations of algorithmic detection, not viruses that are literally undetectable under any circumstances.

If you're not going to use an algorithm to detect the virus then what principled method will you use?

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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19-08-2015, 07:03 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 06:49 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(19-08-2015 05:00 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The claims themselves for Big foot are similar as the claims for god and similar as the claims for the garage dragon.

No, they aren't.

One is, in principle, detectable. The other is not.
Here's a quote from the RationalWiki link you provided
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage
Quote:The main thrust of how Sagan develops the garage-dwelling dragon example is that the proponent employs increasingly ad hoc reasoning to describe their belief in the face of further questions. Eventually, the goalposts are moved in such a way as to render the initial assertion practically unfalsifiable.
And this is what happens when you go down that rabbit hole in your attempt to seek evidence for Big Foot.
I searched all the caves, Oh you think he might have been behind a tree, well I've now searched all the trees, Oh, you think he might have been in the river.

See!
(19-08-2015 06:49 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  One is a garage dragon. The other is not.
They are both garage dragons.

You have cherry picked the invisible incorporeal aspects from the analogy because you want it to apply to the dragon and to the concept of god.

You have also misread Carl's conclusion. His conclusion is that the claim is invalid rather than the existence of the thing being False.

To get to the conclusion you are trying to get, you are committing logical falisies. In particular Non-Sequitur and viewing absence of evidence as being evidence of absence which is absurd because the claim hasn't provided falsifiable criteria.
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19-08-2015, 07:09 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 06:49 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  The issue is not that the claims do not offer a way to falsify themselves. It is that they offer no way to confirm themselves. They are, in fact, defined in such a way that confirmation is not possible even in theory.
This is not the case. The claimant isn't providing evidence for their claim. They make their claim i.e. Big foot exists, and challenge you to falsify it.

This is what you then do, you assume the evidence can be found, you go hunting for it, then they give you an excuse as to why you didn't find it.
This is the garage dragon.
The analogy quite clearly goes through these steps. It shows how the claim is ill defined and keeps getting redefined. It shows how you think there might be a way to falsify it and then when you try the claimant changes the claim, provides new excuses.

Carl's idea and analogy is much bigger than just addressing magical claims.
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19-08-2015, 08:27 PM (This post was last modified: 19-08-2015 08:37 PM by Unbeliever.)
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(19-08-2015 06:59 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  If you're not going to use an algorithm to detect the virus then what principled method will you use?

It isn't that the algorithm can't detect the virus. The paper deals with the algorithm failing to achieve a one hundred percent accuracy rating due to false positives, not false negatives. It is still capable of detecting the virus every time that it actually exists.

EDIT: The above is incorrect. Upon re-reading the paper, I have realized my error. This is really interesting stuff. However, it still doesn't say that the virus is completely undetectable. The virus in question is a variant on the logic bomb concept, aimed at a specific algorithm. Since it's possible to build one of these for any specific algorithm, there is at least one virus that can go undetected by that specific algorithm. Others may still detect it, and it would still be possible to, for example, freeze the computer in a certain state and examine it personally for the logic bomb, as it is still a specific pattern of bits. It still isn't a garage dragon, but goddamn if it isn't cool. Honestly, I want to thank you for bringing it up.

(19-08-2015 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Here's a quote from the RationalWiki link you provided
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage
Quote:The main thrust of how Sagan develops the garage-dwelling dragon example is that the proponent employs increasingly ad hoc reasoning to describe their belief in the face of further questions. Eventually, the goalposts are moved in such a way as to render the initial assertion practically unfalsifiable.
And this is what happens when you go down that rabbit hole in your attempt to seek evidence for Big Foot.

If someone goes that far in trying to make Bigfoot undetectable, then yes, it does eventually become a garage dragon. What is your point?

(19-08-2015 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  To get to the conclusion you are trying to get, you are committing logical falisies. In particular Non-Sequitur

No.

(19-08-2015 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  and viewing absence of evidence as being evidence of absence which is absurd because the claim hasn't provided falsifiable criteria.

And no.

Re-read my arguments. The lack of evidence is a consequence, not the cause. The cause is that the entity, by definition, does not exist.

(19-08-2015 07:09 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(19-08-2015 06:49 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  The issue is not that the claims do not offer a way to falsify themselves. It is that they offer no way to confirm themselves. They are, in fact, defined in such a way that confirmation is not possible even in theory.
This is not the case. The claimant isn't providing evidence for their claim. They make their claim i.e. Big foot exists, and challenge you to falsify it.

It doesn't matter what the claimant intends to happen. The garage dragon - a complete non-entity - is what results. Rather the whole point of the analogy, in fact, is that the claimant is being rather silly and not making sense.

(19-08-2015 07:09 PM)Stevil Wrote:  The analogy quite clearly goes through these steps. It shows how the claim is ill defined and keeps getting redefined. It shows how you think there might be a way to falsify it and then when you try the claimant changes the claim, provides new excuses.

Carl's idea and analogy is much bigger than just addressing magical claims.

And yet it still addresses magical claims. Specifically, it shows that they are, by definition, untrue.

I really don't see what it is that you think is complicated about this.

"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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