You still don't understand my point Beany. You're blatantly wrong when you say Science accepts "all forms of evidence". You've already made the point many times that Science rejects eye-witness testimony. I'm sure it rejects all kinds of things that some people would consider evidence.If you value evidence, you value science. I said nothing about 'scientific evidence', I am referring to all forms of evidence. It is evidence through evidence that the scientific method accounts for the uncertainty and unreliability of evidence better than any other known method.
Science clearly favors evidence that can be observed in the physical world or repeatedly demonstrated. So don't say it accepts all forms of evidence, that's wrong.
My question to you is this: Why should we presuppose that evidence that can be physically observed and/or can be repeatedly demonstrated is the best evidence? You still haven't answered that question. The fact that it can be physically observed or repeatedly demonstrated does not intrinsically prove that the evidence is reliable...only that it can be physically observed and repeatedly demonstrated. There is a presupposition that this evidence is the best, and that presupposition isn't based on anything. We're just supposed accept it. I'm asking you, WHY should we accept it?
Originally Posted by senzation54
All evidence can be physically observed.
That aside, evidence is anything which causes an experience through our perceptions. We can abstract these experiences into different types of evidence. We can test different types of evidence against reality to measure its accuracy. Science has no presupposition to dismiss eye witness testimony out of hand, but it does have evidence to support doing so, as I explained in the last post. Certain sciences may not be able to get around weaker forms of evidence, however, and might have to compensate for that with very large sample sizes. Psychology frequently has to use testimonial evidence, and perhaps that's why psychology is a weaker science than physics, but still a science. I'll attempt to humor these banal criticisms though.
Suppose that we have a container full of black and white beads. What is the more reliable method for figuring out the proportion of white beads to black beads: Do we count them and create the proportion using numbers or do we have someone eyeball the container and try and guess at the proportion? Next scenario. We have a room full of 10 different objects. Which is the most reliable way for recording the number (and type) of different objects in this room: Do we have someone stare at the room for a certain amount of time and then ask them about it later or do we take a picture of the room? We can measure this evidence against reality (say, for instance, whoever put the beads in the container or the objects in the room against the types of evidence).
Now, suppose instead of one person observing the room, we have 10 people. And NINE out of those ten people remember there were 9 objects in the room, but a photo of the room shows 10 objects. Do you think there were 9 objects in the room? Why or why not?
And here's some more difficult questions: Do you think a photo is more reliable simply because we all agree it's more reliable? What if we all decided to agree that testimony was more reliable than photographic evidence? Do you think it would be easier or harder to discern the truth (or equally difficult)? How many uncontrolled variables are there in a human mind and how many uncertainties? Humans have motives and desires. Do you think a human has ever been accidentally deceptive (which is to say, provided a testimony not in accordance with the truth)? Do you think a human has ever done this intentionally? Taking this into consideration, can you find any evidence that would suggest that humans can introduce a bias in their evidence that is difficult to account for? How can we reduce this bias?
And then a thought, and I'll leave you with the word concordance, because maybe it'll inspire you to do some research and try to learn rather than keep pressing this poor point: If we only have one way of measuring something, how do we know how accurate the measurement is? How can we discern reality to compare against one type of measurement? Could we?
edit: Nevermind, the word concordance is completely overrun by religious and there's not much scientific to say on it. Replace the word with accuracy and precision, and getting similar results through different methods.
Last edited by Beanybag; 04-21-2012 at 01:04 AM.
No you're making the groundless presupposition that all evidence can be observed.All evidence can be physically observed.
Individual testimony can't be observed, when you use that as evidence (and it is used as evidence in many different places outside of Science) it is making the presupposition that you can trust others. Trusting others doesn't use any of your 5 senses, yet it is still evidence.
Wrong again. That's YOUR definition of evidence, but it's not the only form of evidence. You can't experience another individual's testimony through any of your 5 senses, you simply have to trust them.That aside, evidence is anything which causes an experience through our perceptions. We can abstract these experiences into different types of evidence.
Beany, you're making the presupposition that evidence can only occur through your 5 senses. I've just given you a reason why that's not true, and your presupposition that it's true is flawed as well. If somebody else could know things outside of using their 5 senses, how could Science, which is the art of using the 5 senses to discover things, measure that?
Now you can say that it's stupid to assume that any part of the Universe exists outside of our 5 senses. But we already know there are parts of the Universe that exist outside of our 5 senses, and we've discovered them more and more over time. We've had to built devices (such as infrared and radiation detection) in order to observe them using our 5 senses.
Wouldn't it be closed-minded to say that nothing else about the Universe could exist outside of our 5 senses when we continue to find new things, every decade, that do? Dark matter and multiverses are two examples of things that exist outside of our 5 senses. As a human species, we didn't know about these for hundreds of thousands of years, only learning about them fairly recently though other discoveries.
Your beef with the theory of Spirituality is that it hasn't been observed by any of the 5 senses so far. You throw out eye-witness testimony because you say it's unreliable. I say to you, in the absence of any physical evidence, personal testimony is the only evidence that we have.
Your rejection of personal testimony of the vast majority of the human race on this subject makes you closed-minded in my opinion. You have to accept that there are other forms of evidence outside of the 5 senses that are valuable. Science says they aren't valuable because you can't quantify them, but what you should say is that they aren't valuable to Science.
That's fine. Yet we use this same evidence for many other aspects of our lives, in terms of history, court trials, and even in our relationships. Personal testimony IS proof. If you want to make the argument that people aren't trustworthy, that's another subject completely. But you can't make the argument that any evidence that exists outside of Science is not evidence, because that's simply not true.
Originally Posted by senzation54
You keep saying 5 senses, but we have more than 5. Just say senses.
Testimony can be physically observed through reading or hearing or whatever. All evidence is in the form of perception induced experiences.
I did not say testimony isn't evidence, I said its unreliable.
My problem with spirituality is more than lack of evidence, it's lack of a coherent idea. It isn't an explanation.
These forums deserve a new forum icon. I think a bag of popcorn is in order.
Ramsay Sound Pack
I would encourage you to dismiss the skeptics.
Originally Posted by senzation54
Fluttershy brought up 12 Angry Men for a reason - people aren't reliable sources. We have lots of evidence to confirm this. You desperately want for this to be reliable evidence but testimony is neither accurate nor precise.
Tangent, is the problem of induction really a problem? It seems to be that a circular argument may in principle be valid, and that soundness may be a better criticism.
Credit to Devious`, with thanks to AvunaOs for my last signature
Science doesn't claim objective truth, it claims subjective truth based on our physical perceptions.
This is your assumption, which you can never prove.Perceptions perceive physical events.
I'm not saying that they are physical.If spiritual events are physical, then they can be explained scientifically.
That's your right to do so, however it has no bearing on whether the evidence represents reality or not.Until they can be explained scientifically with reliable evidence, I'll dismiss their existence.
I see no reason to jump to the Scientific Conclusion about the world when it's just as likely that we all live in a computer simulation, or that the Universe is being manipulated by alien technology, or that our 5 senses only cover an extremely narrow spectrum of reality.I see no need to jump to a conclusion about the world when people misperceiving/misremembering things is just as much a possibility (and fully explained by our current model of reality).
It's not accurate or precise under Scientific Standards, it's accurate and precise enough to the people that have experienced it. The flaw in your logic is that you endlessly compare all form of evidence to Scientific evidence, still without offering a single reason why I should believe the presupposition that Scientific evidence is even reliable. You say things like, "It can be repeated", "It's the only form of evidence we have", "it's the most reliable", on and on and on, but in doing so, you're measuring your standards for evidence against the standards of Science, so your entire argument is circular.Fluttershy brought up 12 Angry Men for a reason - people aren't reliable sources. We have lots of evidence to confirm this. You desperately want for this to be reliable evidence but testimony is neither accurate nor precise.
Science is all based on the presupposition that we can trust the data available through our 5 senses (or physical perceptions). I see that presupposition as being completely groundless.
Originally Posted by senzation54
Oh, so you're trying to have me convince you of evidence while taking the position of global skepticism? The hell? I conceded that it's impossible without presupposing it when I first brought up epistemology. All I've said is that if you value evidence, you value science. Everyone values evidence, therefore everyone values science. You very much want for a formal logical fallacy to be equally valid to science, but I won't concede this point. Only accepting well-supporting, explanatory, well-reasoned arguments doesn't make me close-minded.
If spiritual events aren't physical then they aren't real. Existence is limited to the physical universe. There is no mind-body dualism, there is our brain. If a spiritual realm can't interact with our brain in a physical manner, it can't interact with our universe and functionally doesn't exist.
Science claims to describe how the world we see around us appears to react. If this world is a computer simulation, science is still providing an accurate description of it.
Credit to Devious`, with thanks to AvunaOs for my last signature
This is always the position I've taken. I'm saying there could be evidence that exists outside of the physical world, and many people claim that there is.Oh, so you're trying to have me convince you of evidence while taking the position of global skepticism?
I think your presupposition that we can't know anything outside of the realm of Science (physical evidence) is what makes you closed-minded.All I've said is that if you value evidence, you value science. Everyone values evidence, therefore everyone values science. You very much want for a formal logical fallacy to be equally valid to science, but I won't concede this point. Only accepting well-supporting, explanatory, well-reasoned arguments doesn't make me close-minded.
Perhaps, but it doesn't make the world we live in any more real, nor reveal the parts of reality that we can't detect using our senses.Science claims to describe how the world we see around us appears to react. If this world is a computer simulation, science is still providing an accurate description of it.
Originally Posted by senzation54
Skepticism doesn't make me close minded - it's a necessity for open mindedness.
Deciding that an outside realm exists using a formal logical fallacy as 'evidence' for your claim would be something I consider both irrational and close minded.
It's not your skepticism I have a problem with, in fact I don't think you're skeptical enough of your own position.
I'm not using a logical fallacy to as evidence for my claim, I'm using a form of evidence that is accepted almost worldwide aside from a couple of (what I would consider) Scientific Extremists. Personal Testimony is one of the only things we have to establish most of ancient history.
Did you know that the lives of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Jesus Christ, Socrates, and hundreds of other greats has only been established using written personal testimony? According to you, these people must not have existed, because we have no Scientific Evidence for it. The fact of the matter is that personal testimony is a form of evidence, whether you accept it or not. And in lieu of Scientific Evidence (which we can't always get), I would say it's the only evidence we have.
If you accept that personal testimony is a form of evidence (and I don't know how you couldn't), then you have to accept that there are forms of evidence that exist outside of Science.
Earlier you accused me of using a form of "The God of the Gaps" fallacy, though I think you called it "Spirituality of the Gaps".
To quote Dinesh D'Souza, a person that I hate, but who I respect some of his arguments:
So when brilliant Scientists like Neil-Degrasse Tyson say that Science still can't explain 96% of the Universe, I think it's intellectually dishonest to view these "gaps" as annoying nuances that we still haven't explained using conventional Science. The true Scientist sees this MASSIVE gap as quite possibly, an entirely new way to explain our Universe.When the atheists talks about "gaps", here's what they mean: They mean that we've explained reality, Science has done it, but there are just a few of these little "gaps". A gap could just be a little hole or a departure in Scientific Understanding and the atheist is just hoping that next week or next month the gap will be closed and that the Christian will have to start running. But see, a true Scientist doesn't look at it that way at all. For a true Scientist, a gap is an opportunity. A gap is a clue that the entire understanding of reality that we have may be wrong. For example, in the Newtonian Universe there was a gap. Newtonian Physics explained almost every observed fact about the world. However, the orbital procession of Mercury, the orbital motion of Mercury, deviated slightly from the predictions of Newton. From the atheist point of view, this is an annoying gap. The hope is that within convential Newtonian Physics, we hope to solve the problem, fill the gap, and that's how conventional Scientists thought. But, when Einstein advanced his Theory of Relativity, a complete reformulation of the Laws of Space, and Time, and Matter, Einstein went back and re-measured the orbital procession of Mercury, and was thrilled when he saw that his Theory, which required an utter redrawing of the map of reality, could now account for it while Newton couldn't. So the "gap" was an amazing clue, that all of Science, up to Einstein, was in some ways deeply flawed in its perception of reality. This isn't a gap, this is a chasm opening up a new perception of Science into Reality.
Obviously I don't agree with D'Souza's belief in the Christian God, but not because he has it, because he talks about it likes it's a fact. Just like I don't agree with your idea of a Deterministic, Subjective Universe, not because you have it, because you talk about it like it's a fact.
Your position is much more faith-based than mine, because you seem to be making absolute claims about the Universe when there's still so much we don't know. Saying that I don't know does not require faith, it simply requires a little humility.
I have my theories too, and I've outlined some of them in this thread, but they're just my opinions. I would never be arrogant enough to portray them as facts, even if I had all the evidence in the world on my side.
I'm surprised you chose to defer to a christian's (wrong) opinion of the 'god of the gaps' argument. While a gap is certainly an oppurtunity for further learning, it is also frequently used as proof for a claim, which uses the logical fallacy of an argument from ignorance. You've been abusing this quite often. You ask me if causality holds for the whatever 'caused' the universe to happen, but as far as I know causality only holds within time and the universe and I don't know that time existed 'before' the universe. You say that this then means there must be a supernatural explanation for the creation of the universe, but that is an argument from ignorance. Supernaturalism of the gaps, if you will. You prey upon that which science has not yet learned as proof of your claim - but that will only work as long as science remains ignorant, and our yearning to illuminate these gaps puts your claim from ignorance in an ever-narrowing shadow.
No, an atheist take on the 'god of the gaps' argument is not saying we've explained reality. I'm simply saying your argument is nothing but a non-explanatory argument from ignorance based on poor evidence and faulty reasoning. No matter how big the gap, we know that methods that try to explain the universe that don't use science arrive at their conclusion on unreliable and faulty methodologies. That doesn't discount them as wrong, but it does give strong evidence in favor of being skeptical of the claim. What you have done is a little bit worse than a 'spirituality of the gaps', though. You've invented a gap to justify your belief, a gap that doesn't actually exist.
They might have existed, and they might have done the things that history says they did. There are ways to corroborate testimony to physical reality (we can have evidence of these people in the form of cities they built, monuments in their image, and so on), or simply by trying to get as much testimony to corroborate as possible. But physical evidence, even in history, is much preferred to testimonial accounts. Books are very valued since they are as close as we can come, and those who kept records in ancient times are the best we have to go off - if we had video evidence of any of the events in the past instead of a written one, we'd discard the testimony immediately. If a person claimed to have built a city in the past, we'd much rather have the ruins of the city than a painting. History has and always will be a very messy subject. Much of what we know we don't know for certain when it comes to historical figures and events. Socrates never wrote a book of his own and is thought to have never existed as the only records of him are testimonial accounts written about him, but even still, we revere him as one of the most profound philosophers to have ever existed.Did you know that the lives of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Jesus Christ, Socrates, and hundreds of other greats has only been established using written personal testimony? According to you, these people must not have existed, because we have no Scientific Evidence for it. The fact of the matter is that personal testimony is a form of evidence, whether you accept it or not. And in lieu of Scientific Evidence (which we can't always get), I would say it's the only evidence we have.
I'm honestly very surprised you're still relying on testimonial account at this point.
It's like you say things and ignore whatever I've said about it. Testimony qualifies as evidence, but it has an added level of uncertainty to it that makes it unreliable. With each combined level, we get more uncertainty - this is where we get the telephone game. Even in court, hearsay is completely dismissed as evidence, only direct witnesses are allowed in order to reduce uncertainty. And in science, where we need the highest precision and accuracy possible in order to learn as much as we can about the universe, when we need to measure the mass of a human hair, do we have someone weigh it on their hand and try to guess, then report to us how much they think it is, or do we put it on an extremely fine-tuned scale? In science, we try to control for as many variables as possible, and the human element in testimonial evidence simply adds far too much to be reliable - we have evidence for this, this isn't a hard concept to understand.If you accept that personal testimony is a form of evidence (and I don't know how you couldn't), then you have to accept that there are forms of evidence that exist outside of Science.
Further, why should I believe testimony that contradicts physical observation? If I see a rock, measure the mass of the rock, feel the rock, determine the composition of the rock, and do everything I can do know what I can about this rock, do I defer my judgment to what most people in the world might think about this rock? Their point of view might corroborate with what I've learned about this rock, but it has no impact on what I think about it. The same is true for what science has learned about the universe.
Now, you're trying to say that we just have opinions and you're simply trying to present yours as opinion and I'm trying to present mine as fact. I will only claim what is fact where fact is known, those who discuss with me know I am very careful not to overstate knowledge and accept humility on burgeoning ideas. But when it comes to ethics, only theologians continue to argue for objective morality, and they aren't taken seriously in professional philosophy (much like creationism isn't taken seriously by science). What is fact about subjective morality is that it doesn't contradict with the current scientific model of reality and is also sufficiently explained by it - this makes not only our best explanation, but IS the explanation because it explains morality soundly and completely. Spirituality might exist, but it doesn't hold any potential explanatory power over any actual aspect of morality and there's no reason to think it does. Objective morality is a incoherent idea that should be discarded so that we can attain actual moral progress through the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of discussion.
Objective morality is so incoherent that not even a deity can justify the existence of objective morals - if a deity created morals they are subjective to that being, else the being must be beholden to these objective morals, pushing the explanation away even more. Much like a deity, we've no reason to believe in objective morals because there is no evidence to believe they exist and they can't even be coherently defined. Much like science is perfectly content to continue without the irrational belief in a deity, ethics is content to continue without the irrational belief in inherent moral values.