On the Existence of Garage Dragons
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22-08-2015, 01:24 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:20 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:09 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Do we know that multiverse theory is true?

Physically coherent theories are proposed to account for observation, usually prompted by those observations which are unexplained by existing theories. Existing multiverse theories do just that - they may be unverifiable, but never in principle unfalsifiable.

Fair enough. Perhaps we'll never know for certain what Sagan wanted to illustrate with the garage dragon, but we do know that he never concluded god nor aliens to be impossible.
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22-08-2015, 01:45 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:23 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:17 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Indeed; a meaningfully coherent definition of existence necessitates observable interaction on the part of the entity existing.

We could, I guess, assume perfect stealth capacity, but it is not viable to propose aliens visiting Earth for the express and explicit purpose of not interacting with it. They could accomplish that much without leaving home.

I would argue that it is not viable to propose aliens at all without evidence.

Presupposing them for the sake of analogy, on the other hand... ?

(22-08-2015 01:23 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I just also think it's a mistake to rule out aliens without negating evidence.

But that sort of dogmatic agnosticism is entirely pointless.

(22-08-2015 01:24 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:20 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Physically coherent theories are proposed to account for observation, usually prompted by those observations which are unexplained by existing theories. Existing multiverse theories do just that - they may be unverifiable, but never in principle unfalsifiable.

Fair enough. Perhaps we'll never know for certain what Sagan wanted to illustrate with the garage dragon, but we do know that he never concluded god nor aliens to be impossible.

That is a misrepresentation of Sagan, either through misunderstanding or dishonesty. We know precisely what he meant to illustrate: the non-interacting is indistinguishable from the non-existent.

"Alien life" has a coherent definition and demonstrable antecedent despite the lack of evidence. Nor is it in principle unfalsifiable (particularly within realistically limited contexts).

None of which applies to the ever-incoherent and vague "god".

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22-08-2015, 01:51 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:45 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:23 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I would argue that it is not viable to propose aliens at all without evidence.

Presupposing them for the sake of analogy, on the other hand... ?

(22-08-2015 01:23 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I just also think it's a mistake to rule out aliens without negating evidence.

But that sort of dogmatic agnosticism is entirely pointless.

(22-08-2015 01:24 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Fair enough. Perhaps we'll never know for certain what Sagan wanted to illustrate with the garage dragon, but we do know that he never concluded god nor aliens to be impossible.

That is a misrepresentation of Sagan, either through misunderstanding or dishonesty. We know precisely what he meant to illustrate: the non-interacting is indistinguishable from the non-existent.

"Alien life" has a coherent definition and demonstrable antecedent despite the lack of evidence. Nor is it in principle unfalsifiable (particularly within realistically limited contexts).

None of which applies to the ever-incoherent and vague "god".

Then why did Sagan reject strong atheism and describe the position of arrogant?
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22-08-2015, 01:55 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:09 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Do we know that multiverse theory is true?

It doesn't matter whether or not multiverse theory is true. I merely pointed out that, whether or not it is true, it doesn't posit the existence of non-interactive entities. It can't, because non-interactive entities, by definition, do not exist.

They are garage dragons.

(22-08-2015 01:51 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Then why did Sagan reject strong atheism and describe the position of arrogant?

Because not all proposed gods are garage dragons.

We've been over this many, many times now. You're running in circles.

"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."
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22-08-2015, 02:07 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:45 AM)Stevil Wrote:  No it doesn't.

You are certainly taking the analogy too far.

No, you are reading more into it than is there. There is more in the chapter, but not in the example.
Well, no actually.
I'm reading less into the analogy. You are thinking that the analogy means the subject of the claim must be invisible and incorporeal because in Carl's analogy his dragon becomes invisible and becomes incorporeal. But for some strange reason you are not reading into it that the subject needs to be a dragon or needs to breath fire. It seems to me that you are cherry picking.

I, on the other hand am not assuming that the subject needs to be invisible or incorporeal or a dragon or fire breathing. It's just an analogy.

(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  
Quote:If you think that you have to restrict Carl's point (supported by the garage dragon analogy) to an invisible, non interactive entity, then it only applies to deist type gods. If you try to argue this with a deist believer, they wouldn't really care. Their belief in a god has no bearing what so ever on their lives.

His point is about anything undetectable.
To a degree.
His point is about a claim which does not offer detectable criteria even though at first look you might think there ought to be detectable criteria.
He starts off with a claim of a fire breathing dragon in the garage. Seems very detectable doesn't it.
But then when you look for it and don't see it, then the claimant changes their story. They come up with an excuse, in the instance of the analogy they make the dragon invisible. But it could have just as likely been that you weren't looking for big foot in the correct place. It is not important for the subject to be invisible, that would be taking the analogy too far.

From RationalWiki, the give us an apt introduction as to the purpose of the analogy
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage
Quote:"The Dragon In My Garage" is a chapter in Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World, which presents an analogy where the existence of God is equated with a hypothetical insistence that there is a dragon living in someone's garage. This is similar to Russell's Teapot in the way it forms an apt analogy for the concepts of the burden of proof and falsifiability. 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. In a more general sense, this part may be done during the initial definition of the belief, or as when replying to critical examination of the belief in question.
This explanation has nothing to do with your and Unbeliever's point that the subject must be invisible and undetectable.

Carl's book is about science and the scientific method. He is showing that a claim needs to be properly documented, it needs to offer falsifiable criteria and needs to provide observable evidence.
Carl is explaining criteria for a valid claim. He isn't trying to tell the audience how to deal with claims for an invisible incorporeal entity. That is just some unimportant details of his analogy, what is important is that they excuses come up as to why you won't find the evidence that you initially expect to be able to find.


(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  
Quote:If you try to tell them that their god being non observable and not interactive means it doesn't exist. They would be quite right in showing you the logical fallacy in your thinking.

No, it means you can't tell the difference between their god and no god. Where is the fallacy?
I'm sure you are aware of the scientific method Chas.
In the scientific method when you make a claim, you need to provide falsifiable criteria. If observations match the falsifiable criteria then you have falsified the claim.

If the claim does not provide falsifiable criteria then you have not falsified the claim.

If you go for a walk through the bush and don't find any wild pigs or any evidence for wild pigs, this does not mean that you have evidence that there are no wild pigs in the bush. You have not falsified the claim that wild pigs live in the bush.

The claim itself needs to provide falsifiable criteria in order for you to be able to falsify it.


(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  
Quote:If you try to tell them that there is no physical difference (or no difference from a human perspective) regarding whether their god exists or not, they would probably agree with you.

Good, then their belief is utter bullshit.
Sure, but you can't prove that it is bullshit. You can't prove it because their claim does not include falsifiable criteria. The correct response would be to simply reject the claim. This is what Carl says "the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis"



(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  
Quote:This interpretation is really a non starter.
It makes Carl's point meaningless.

No, it is precisely Sagan's point. There is no difference between undetectable and non-existent.
No, that is merely a bit of rhetoric in Carl's anology. He is pointing out that from his point of view that there seems to be no difference. He is not saying that this means that the dragon doesn't exist. That's a stretch. And is not supported by evidence. The claim hasn't been falsified as it doesn't provide falsifiable criteria. The claim ought to be rejected rather than the dragon itself. The dragon can be re-evaluated once evidence or a proper claim is formulated.
From Carl's conclusion
"the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion."
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22-08-2015, 02:11 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:55 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:09 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Do we know that multiverse theory is true?

It doesn't matter whether or not multiverse theory is true. I merely pointed out that, whether or not it is true, it doesn't posit the existence of non-interactive entities. It can't, because non-interactive entities, by definition, do not exist.

They are garage dragons.

(22-08-2015 01:51 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Then why did Sagan reject strong atheism and describe the position of arrogant?

Because not all proposed gods are garage dragons.

We've been over this many, many times now. You're running in circles.

Fair enough. So long as we agree that absence of evidence isn't the same as evidence of absence, we're good! Thumbsup
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22-08-2015, 02:12 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:01 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 12:50 PM)Chas Wrote:  No, we won't. There is nothing physical in the universe that is in principle undetectable.

If there are other universes, do we know for certain that they would be detectable?

Why should they be? They are not in our universe.

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, 02:15 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 02:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  No, you are reading more into it than is there. There is more in the chapter, but not in the example.
Well, no actually.
I'm reading less into the analogy. You are thinking that the analogy means the subject of the claim must be invisible and incorporeal because in Carl's analogy his dragon becomes invisible and becomes incorporeal. But for some strange reason you are not reading into it that the subject needs to be a dragon or needs to breath fire. It seems to me that you are cherry picking.

You heard it here first, folks: understanding the point of the analogy, as explicitly stated within the analogy itself, is cherry-picking.

You can try to avoid the question Sagan asks all you want, but it does nothing to help your position when you pretend that it was never asked.

(22-08-2015 02:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  This explanation has nothing to do with your and Unbeliever's point that the subject must be invisible and undetectable.

Because that isn't the point.

The point is that, given that the subject is undetectable, it does not exist.

(22-08-2015 02:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  No, it means you can't tell the difference between their god and no god. Where is the fallacy?
I'm sure you are aware of the scientific method Chas.
In the scientific method when you make a claim, you need to provide falsifiable criteria.

Claims of garage dragons provide none. They also provide no criteria by which the claim may be supported, because they are claims about fundamentally undetectable entities. Thus, they are by definition nonsensical. Undetectable entities do not exist. That is what not existing means.

This is not complicated.

(22-08-2015 02:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  Good, then their belief is utter bullshit.
Sure, but you can't prove that it is bullshit.

Except by pointing out that it is by definition bullshit.

(22-08-2015 02:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  This is what Carl says "the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis"

As has been pointed out multiple times, this is disingenuous quote-mining from a second, only tangentially-related scenario wherein evidence of the claimed entity is presented.

You really ought to read the passage before trying to discuss it.

(22-08-2015 02:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 02:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  No, it is precisely Sagan's point. There is no difference between undetectable and non-existent.
No, that is merely a bit of rhetoric in Carl's anology.

Then you can answer the question:

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

"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."
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22-08-2015, 02:17 PM
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 01:23 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:17 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Indeed; a meaningfully coherent definition of existence necessitates observable interaction on the part of the entity existing.

We could, I guess, assume perfect stealth capacity, but it is not viable to propose aliens visiting Earth for the express and explicit purpose of not interacting with it. They could accomplish that much without leaving home.

I would argue that it is not viable to propose aliens at all without evidence. I just also think it's a mistake to rule out aliens without negating evidence.

Have you ever encountered the Drake Equation?

It is 'viable' to propose anything for which there is real justification.

We know life exists, both intelligent and not. We know there are billions and billions of possible locations that could support some sort of life.
We are justified in believing there is very probably life elsewhere, and likely intelligent life somewhere.

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, 02:18 PM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2015 02:29 PM by Matt Finney.)
RE: On the Existence of Garage Dragons
(22-08-2015 02:12 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:01 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  If there are other universes, do we know for certain that they would be detectable?

Why should they be? They are not in our universe.

But would you agree that they even if they are undetectable, that wouldn't mean they don't exist?
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