Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
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22-10-2013, 08:53 PM (This post was last modified: 22-10-2013 09:00 PM by evenheathen.)
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
Okay, so going on this argument ad populem idea. I'd have to look it up to be sure of the answer, but I'm not going to.

Wouldn't we have to look at the number of humans that have ever existed on the planet vs. the number of humans that have existed and believed in the god of the bible?

Wonder who's gonna win that one? Consider

edit: Okay, I briefly looked it up. The numbers vary as it's a speculative question, but the estimated number for total humans that have ever lived is 108-110 billion.

Total estimated christians ever lived? About 7-8 billion.

Looks like yahweh loses by a landslide. Laughat

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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23-10-2013, 03:36 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(22-10-2013 05:47 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  And if the alien dropped down into the middle of a tea party rally, and they answered 'secret Muslims' or 'Iran' or 'Freemasons'? Then the alien would be shit out of luck. Even knowing that Obama is, in fact, our elected President; does that make him the de facto leader? Even that can be debated.

When a majority of people believe in something, it's only proof that a majority of people agree on a belief. When the majority of the world thought the worlds was flat, that didn't make a flat Earth more probable. It is evidence that determines probability, not majority opinion. Gods (however they are defined) either exist or they do not, and no amount of popular opinion affects the answer. Both of your examples are fallacious.

A man walks into a bar and shoots a patron then runs out. Police investigate and interview 100 eye witnesses. 99 eye witnesses claim the shooter had one arm. 1 eye witness claims the shooter had two arms. Now the actual probability that the shooter has 1 arm is either 1 or 0 and the police don't know the actual probability and won't know it until the shooter is captured. However when the probability becomes known its more likely that it will be 1 than 0. Why? Because of the evidence the crowd provides and the fact that the crowd is in a position to know.

Now if Pleasejesus says, "Most everyone believes in God and that is evidence which suggests God exists" he is right. It is stupid to dismiss that evidence by claiming argumentum ad populum. It would be better dismiss it by saying, "In this case the crowd is in really no position to know if God exists or not, so their opinion carries so little weight, I can just dismiss this evidence on its face.

Argumentum ad populum fallacy occurs only when a person concludes a proposition to be true because many people believe it. The fact that many people believe it is evidence.....not conclusive evidence....but evidence none the less. In our shooter example you would expect the police to focus on one armed suspects based of the evidence the consensus of the crowd provides.
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23-10-2013, 08:59 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(23-10-2013 03:36 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  A man walks into a bar and shoots a patron then runs out. Police investigate and interview 100 eye witnesses. 99 eye witnesses claim the shooter had one arm. 1 eye witness claims the shooter had two arms. Now the actual probability that the shooter has 1 arm is either 1 or 0 and the police don't know the actual probability and won't know it until the shooter is captured. However when the probability becomes known its more likely that it will be 1 than 0. Why? Because of the evidence the crowd provides and the fact that the crowd is in a position to know.

Now if Pleasejesus says, "Most everyone believes in God and that is evidence which suggests God exists" he is right. It is stupid to dismiss that evidence by claiming argumentum ad populum. It would be better dismiss it by saying, "In this case the crowd is in really no position to know if God exists or not, so their opinion carries so little weight, I can just dismiss this evidence on its face.

Argumentum ad populum fallacy occurs only when a person concludes a proposition to be true because many people believe it. The fact that many people believe it is evidence.....not conclusive evidence....but evidence none the less. In our shooter example you would expect the police to focus on one armed suspects based of the evidence the consensus of the crowd provides.

No, it's not evidence, and your example is not a good analogy. First off, in your analogy, people actually saw the shooter. Here's a better analogy:

A man walks into a bar and shoots a patron, destroys the body, removes all the other evidence, then runs out. Nobody actually sees it happen, but the empty bar raises questions. Why is the bar empty? Where are the customers? For lack of a better answer, they determine that aliens have removed the patrons. Over time, this story is passed down and altered to 'make more sense' to future generations. Soon, most everyone who has ever lived believes that aliens raided an ancient bar and kidnapped it's patrons. On an internet forum for non-alien believers, an alien advocate named 'Please E.T.' says that 80%-99% of people who have ever lived believe in the alien theory, thus making it valid evidence that the event occurred. And he is 100% incorrect.

PJ is using (fabricated) percentages as evidence of the existence of god. The percentages are made up, and he places great weight on the amount of people who (he claims) believe in a god.

In argumentation theory, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for "appeal to the people") is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it.

If everyone believed in something that was false, it wouldn't be valid evidence, regardless of how many people believe in it. The weight of PJ's argument, all of it, is based on his (bullshit) percentage of people who believe in a god. He's... appealing to the people. Or do you consider false information valid evidence if enough people believe it?

Please explain yourself.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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23-10-2013, 09:52 AM (This post was last modified: 23-10-2013 09:55 AM by Hafnof.)
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
Heywood is arguing that the sum of anecdotes is data. That, if you draw a big enough circle around people who believe in "something greater" then we have a large percentage of people who have concluded that "something greater" exists. His analysis of this belief is that the consensus position among humans is that "something greater" exists and agues that those who disagree with this consensus position should shoulder the burden of proof.

This is a silly old argument and reveals the following failures of insight:
1. That there is almost zero consensus about what that something greater might be among "something greater" believers. Even within a particular religious sect opinions differ sharply on foundational questions. The circles can just as easily be drawn as "people who believe in Heywood's god" and "people who conclude Heywood's god to be false". The former group being presumably a vanishingly small set and the size of the latter group providing strong evidence against the existence of Heywood's god. Arbitrary circles drawn around specific groups or to exclude specific groups are not statistically relevant.
2. We can draw a comparison between god belief and consensus on scientific topics. We might accept a consensus scientific opinion, subject to change as new evidence comes in, that a broad range of scientists have reasonably come to through a thorough examination of the evidence. On the other hand many religious people are simply indoctrinated and have never critically analysed their beliefs. Their beliefs are on the whole not evidence based even if we count the seeking of evidence for pre-established beliefs that we call "apologetics". Therefore it is not reasonable to treat a consensus among god-believers on the whole as being comparable to the reasoned, challenged and tested consensus opinions of professional academics.
3. The statement that god exists is a positive claim that demands positive evidence, just as the statement that no god exists is a positive claim that demands positive evidence. No amount of ad populum covers up this fact or shifts the burden of proof away from those who claim either extreme... but while atheism may be strong or weak and therefore may demand positive evidence or not demand positive evidence, theism is always a positive claim. Theism always carries with it a burden of proof.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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23-10-2013, 09:52 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(23-10-2013 03:36 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(22-10-2013 05:47 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  And if the alien dropped down into the middle of a tea party rally, and they answered 'secret Muslims' or 'Iran' or 'Freemasons'? Then the alien would be shit out of luck. Even knowing that Obama is, in fact, our elected President; does that make him the de facto leader? Even that can be debated.

When a majority of people believe in something, it's only proof that a majority of people agree on a belief. When the majority of the world thought the worlds was flat, that didn't make a flat Earth more probable. It is evidence that determines probability, not majority opinion. Gods (however they are defined) either exist or they do not, and no amount of popular opinion affects the answer. Both of your examples are fallacious.

A man walks into a bar and shoots a patron then runs out. Police investigate and interview 100 eye witnesses. 99 eye witnesses claim the shooter had one arm. 1 eye witness claims the shooter had two arms. Now the actual probability that the shooter has 1 arm is either 1 or 0 and the police don't know the actual probability and won't know it until the shooter is captured. However when the probability becomes known its more likely that it will be 1 than 0. Why? Because of the evidence the crowd provides and the fact that the crowd is in a position to know.

Now if Pleasejesus says, "Most everyone believes in God and that is evidence which suggests God exists" he is right. It is stupid to dismiss that evidence by claiming argumentum ad populum. It would be better dismiss it by saying, "In this case the crowd is in really no position to know if God exists or not, so their opinion carries so little weight, I can just dismiss this evidence on its face.

Argumentum ad populum fallacy occurs only when a person concludes a proposition to be true because many people believe it. The fact that many people believe it is evidence.....not conclusive evidence....but evidence none the less. In our shooter example you would expect the police to focus on one armed suspects based of the evidence the consensus of the crowd provides.

The saddest part here, is that the example you quoted from me refutes your own response to said post...

No amount of popular opinion makes something factually accurate, and resting your argument solely upon the perceived importance of the majority opinion, is fallacious.

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23-10-2013, 10:04 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(23-10-2013 03:36 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(22-10-2013 05:47 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  And if the alien dropped down into the middle of a tea party rally, and they answered 'secret Muslims' or 'Iran' or 'Freemasons'? Then the alien would be shit out of luck. Even knowing that Obama is, in fact, our elected President; does that make him the de facto leader? Even that can be debated.

When a majority of people believe in something, it's only proof that a majority of people agree on a belief. When the majority of the world thought the worlds was flat, that didn't make a flat Earth more probable. It is evidence that determines probability, not majority opinion. Gods (however they are defined) either exist or they do not, and no amount of popular opinion affects the answer. Both of your examples are fallacious.

A man walks into a bar and shoots a patron then runs out. Police investigate and interview 100 eye witnesses. 99 eye witnesses claim the shooter had one arm. 1 eye witness claims the shooter had two arms. Now the actual probability that the shooter has 1 arm is either 1 or 0 and the police don't know the actual probability and won't know it until the shooter is captured. However when the probability becomes known its more likely that it will be 1 than 0. Why? Because of the evidence the crowd provides and the fact that the crowd is in a position to know.

Now if Pleasejesus says, "Most everyone believes in God and that is evidence which suggests God exists" he is right. It is stupid to dismiss that evidence by claiming argumentum ad populum. It would be better dismiss it by saying, "In this case the crowd is in really no position to know if God exists or not, so their opinion carries so little weight, I can just dismiss this evidence on its face.

Argumentum ad populum fallacy occurs only when a person concludes a proposition to be true because many people believe it. The fact that many people believe it is evidence.....not conclusive evidence....but evidence none the less. In our shooter example you would expect the police to focus on one armed suspects based of the evidence the consensus of the crowd provides.

Most everyone believes in God?
Would that be Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Zeus, ... who?
To have any meaning, the sentence should say "most everyone believes in Jesus" or "most everyone believes in Buddha" or ... insert appropriate god.

I question whether "most" people believe in any god. Is there a supporting statistic? But certainly when you narrow down to a specific god, "most" becomes inaccurate.

So you may as well say "most people believe the world will come to an end within our lifetime and that is the evidence which suggests it will happen" and it would be about as accurate. Hopefully that sheds some light on how ridiculous that "reasoning" is.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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23-10-2013, 10:24 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(23-10-2013 09:52 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  No amount of popular opinion makes something factually accurate, and resting your argument solely upon the perceived importance of the majority opinion, is fallacious.

You must have missed the part where I said it was, "evidence...not conclusive evidence...but evidence none the less.
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23-10-2013, 10:35 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(23-10-2013 10:24 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(23-10-2013 09:52 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  No amount of popular opinion makes something factually accurate, and resting your argument solely upon the perceived importance of the majority opinion, is fallacious.

You must have missed the part where I said it was, "evidence...not conclusive evidence...but evidence none the less.

Oh I did, and you're wrong. Majority opinion is only evidence of the opinion of the majority. You're using a flawed evolutionary mental heuristic to attempt to justify your logically fallacious position. Congrats...

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23-10-2013, 10:41 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(22-10-2013 08:53 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Okay, so going on this argument ad populem idea. I'd have to look it up to be sure of the answer, but I'm not going to.

Wouldn't we have to look at the number of humans that have ever existed on the planet vs. the number of humans that have existed and believed in the god of the bible?

Wonder who's gonna win that one? Consider

edit: Okay, I briefly looked it up. The numbers vary as it's a speculative question, but the estimated number for total humans that have ever lived is 108-110 billion.

Total estimated christians ever lived? About 7-8 billion.

Looks like yahweh loses by a landslide. Laughat

You might not be familiar with the Bible. Can you name any verses that state that "most" or "many" adults would trust Christ for salvation?

There are many who trust God and are saved, but you've put a narrow confinement around Christianity that isn't inherent to the text.
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23-10-2013, 10:43 AM
RE: Pascal's Wager Expanded Edition
(23-10-2013 10:04 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(23-10-2013 03:36 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  A man walks into a bar and shoots a patron then runs out. Police investigate and interview 100 eye witnesses. 99 eye witnesses claim the shooter had one arm. 1 eye witness claims the shooter had two arms. Now the actual probability that the shooter has 1 arm is either 1 or 0 and the police don't know the actual probability and won't know it until the shooter is captured. However when the probability becomes known its more likely that it will be 1 than 0. Why? Because of the evidence the crowd provides and the fact that the crowd is in a position to know.

Now if Pleasejesus says, "Most everyone believes in God and that is evidence which suggests God exists" he is right. It is stupid to dismiss that evidence by claiming argumentum ad populum. It would be better dismiss it by saying, "In this case the crowd is in really no position to know if God exists or not, so their opinion carries so little weight, I can just dismiss this evidence on its face.

Argumentum ad populum fallacy occurs only when a person concludes a proposition to be true because many people believe it. The fact that many people believe it is evidence.....not conclusive evidence....but evidence none the less. In our shooter example you would expect the police to focus on one armed suspects based of the evidence the consensus of the crowd provides.

Most everyone believes in God?
Would that be Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Zeus, ... who?
To have any meaning, the sentence should say "most everyone believes in Jesus" or "most everyone believes in Buddha" or ... insert appropriate god.

I question whether "most" people believe in any god. Is there a supporting statistic? But certainly when you narrow down to a specific god, "most" becomes inaccurate.

So you may as well say "most people believe the world will come to an end within our lifetime and that is the evidence which suggests it will happen" and it would be about as accurate. Hopefully that sheds some light on how ridiculous that "reasoning" is.

I'm going with the scriptural understanding of Romans 1 that despite any degenerative or pagan beliefs in god, people believe in god and that it takes a willful effort to be an atheist.

We're going beyond ad populum now to when the atheist is judged and god says, "I had many, many, many people around you believing in me and many Christians witnessing to you..."
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