Evidence

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This topic contains 39 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 2 months ago.

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  • #28238

    Ivy
    Participant

    I wonder what you think of this quote:

    “The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence….”

    #28239

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    In my mind, it’s a truism.  I do think that evidence is a whole picture, and sometimes a bit of it can be missing.

    #28240

    Ivy
    Participant

    it’s a truism

    Is it? How does that compare to the statement, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?”

    I can think of a long list of things people believe without evidence every day….

    First you have to define what evidence would look like. We do this in experimental design by defining our variable and determining what’s being measured and why…

    #28241

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    How does that compare to the statement, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?”

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true.  “Extraordinary” is a very elastic concept, and basically means “previously unknown” or “fantastic”, which depends on what is already known.  It’s also anthropomorphic – based on somebody’s opinion of “extraordinary”.

    Some things we can’t do experiments on, but I guess most things we can.

    #28242

    Strega
    Moderator
    Ivy wrote: “The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence….”
    Of course. I could tell you my car is a Chevy but without a photo or sight of it by multiple unconnected sources, you’d simply believe or not believe me, as you chose. You might seek other methods of affirmation, but without any evidence, the statement is simply my assertion   In this instance your quote applies perfectly.  You might apply a simple feasibility test, and consider my honesty, and other circumstantial support, but you couldn’t be certain without some kind of objective evidence. Hopefully you’d be inclined to believe me because it’s certainly feasible, and there’s no particular reason why I might not have a Chevy.
    What if if I told you I actually ride a unicorn to get about?  Feasibility goes out of the window, and a lot of circumstantial support disappears. Hopefully you’d be disinclined to believe me, because the assertion doesn’t pass the feasibility test, has no corroboration, and you’ve certainly seen no evidence to support the possibility that unicorns actually exist, let alone form the core of my travel process.
    This second assertion requires extraordinary evidence, since it is an extraordinary claim.
    (no clue what’s happened to my formatting, but it is indeed evidence of the fact that I have a new iPad and have yet to learn how to use it!)
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Strega.
    #28244

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    What if if I told you I actually ride a unicorn to get about?

    But if you rode up to my house on a unicorn, that wouldn’t be extraordinary evidence, it would just be a visual sighting?  It would be evidence of something we find extraordinary.

    #28245

    Strega
    Moderator

    Simon, are you playing with words or making a point?. If it’s the latter, please try again

    #28246

    Davis
    Participant

    “The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence….”

    It’s an extremely important point when it comes to existential reality (metaphysical realism). Just because no evidence cannot be found doesn’t mean that something somehow exists in a way that hasn’t revealed itself yet or is inaccessible to you. That means certainty is, as far as we know, and quite possibly forever, impossible.

    That is about all that quote serves. It’s important, but it says absolutely nothing about the likelihood of the existence of a particular claim (like the bearded man in the sky who will burn me if I don’t believe in him and who I chat with before going to bed) and it has no bearing on skepticism (doubt). In other words, yes, it protects every single claim ever made from absolute total dismissal (even the most outlanding absurd claim cannot be ruled out with aboslute certainty) but the quote does nothing for the existence of God. It is still ridiculous to take it seriously…whether we can have total supreme certainty or not.

    #28247

    Davis
    Participant

    extraordinary evidence

    Simon, I think unseen’s pedantic side is rubbing off on you. By extraordinary evidence, I’m pretty sure Strega means strong reliable evidence. As in: “it’s written down in an old book” isn’t going to cut it if the claim is “a unicorn will grant anyone three wishes”. If the claim was “This book was written by me Mr. X” then that might serve as evidence, to some degree (though probably not really realiable if its an ancient book with no other sources to confirm it) but it would be sufficient evidence to at least take the claim seriously. It is not when it comes to the existence of some ridiculous supernatural creature. And you yourself might take it for granted that Mr. X wrote an ancient book but not even you, Simon, are going to take a 2000 year old book as evidence that unicorns go around giving people three wishes.

    #28248

    Davis
    Participant

    I do think that evidence is a whole picture, and sometimes a bit of it can be missing.

    Yes. Luckily humans can and always do fill in those blanks with their imagination and a dose of reason here and there. Luckily that has led to a lot of discoveries and progress. It also created the endless horrors of religion that still involve ruthless punishment and thought control and the spread of STDs and the holding back of knowledge … to this very day.

    #28249

    But if you rode up to my house on a unicorn, that wouldn’t be extraordinary evidence, it would just be a visual sighting? It would be evidence of something we find extraordinary.

    It would be evidence offered to support the argument that “Unicorns exist”. Using the Scientific Method Strega could ride the unicorn up to the houses of anyone who wanted to see the results (of the experiment) repeated. If the unicorn successfully made it up the path to the front door each time then we could have confidence (not faith) in the probability that her claim is  “ordinary”, that is, it is not an extraordinary claim. If everyone conducting the experiment kept finding Strega on a unicorn at their front door then a consensus would be reached about the existence of unicorns.

    Then we could say that her case is proven and “Unicorns” would now be listed under “Natural phenomena” rather than “Supernatural claims”. OK, gotta go, my Uber is outside.

    #28251

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Daniel 8:5 King James Version (KJV)

    And as I was considering, behold, a he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

    #28252

    The quote cited is attributed to Martin Rees an astronomer whose works and lectures I have long been aware of and some of which have featured in Sunday school posts. It refers to the possibility of alien life existing even though we have not found any. This is also known as the Fermi Paradox.

    There is no evidence for life existing anywhere else in the Universe. However it is only about 25 years since we realized that there are not just 9 (8) planets. In fact we now know that there are hundreds of billions of them just in our local Milky Way galaxy which in turn is just one galaxy among several billions of galaxies.

    We can go further “out” and suggest that our Universe is but one part of a Multiverse scenario. Therefore it is reasonable to assert that there is a probability that life, in some form does exist on several other planets in several other Universes. We cannot give an accurate percentage to what the probability is (Expressing it as a wave function might be better). We may feel that given the sheer scale of “Goldilocks” planets available that life must surely exist on at least one of them. But that is just a subjective feeling we get. So the quote is valid to a point.

    But in giving validity to the quote no conclusions can be drawn as to whether or not alien life exists.  It is equally valid to say that “The absence of evidence is the evidence for its absence”. But we still cannot categorically state that alien life does or does not exist. We will have to wait until we find some evidence. In the meanwhile people can continue to make arguments on both sides but neither side can make any knowledge claims about alien life.

    We will all have to remain agnostics for now. That is the most reasonable (reason able) position to maintain. There are some people who assert that have seen their spaceships or had visitations but I do not believe what they believe. I think they are mistaken and some are deluded. I will remain an atheist on the subject because I see no evidence to believe otherwise. Though if anyone has any evidence for alien life I would be happy to change my mind.

    #28256

    Unseen
    Participant

    A

    In my mind, it’s a truism. I do think that evidence is a whole picture, and sometimes a bit of it can be missing. Equivalence is bidirectional.

    You’re absolutely right in terms of logical form. In fact, it’s the paradigm of a truism, a tautology, basically. If (A=B) then (B=A) and (not B = not A) , right?.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #28259

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Simon, are you playing with words or making a point?. If it’s the latter, please try again

    I just think it’s a bit of a tautology: “extraordinary claims require evidence of extraordinary claims”.  Just like any other assertion.  The form of evidence itself doesn’t have to be anything special.

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