1. I accept that I am under the control of a higher power (Muppet).

If there is no evidence for p, then p is “false”.

http://figuraleffect.wordpress.com/2007/03/18/religion-and-reasoning-style/ - Religion and reasoning style

<quote>
The atheists I have spoken to seem to believe that argumentum ad ignorantiam is a valid inference rule.  Roughly it says that if there is no evidence for p, then p is “false”.

Agnostics, on the other hand, seem to believe that if there is no evidence for p, then p is “unknown (at this time)”. They also seem to argue that there’s something funny about the “God Exists” proposition, for instance bring it closer to the Christian notion of a God would make them more likely to flip to false. 
</quote>

I guess I believe the second form and I am agnostic.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 18th, 2007 12:57pm
I believe the first, and I am agnostic/atheist depending on the time of day.

as bottom line, if you go around believing that no evidence === maybe true, then you end up believing all kinds of insanely stupid things _might_ be true, when obviously they are not.

so, no evidence == false.  if there is a god then he exists outside of all rationality and that rule doesn't apply, and neither do any other rules of logic or science.

within the constructs of any decent form of logic, and within any reasonable scientific framework, god does not exist and pretending he does is stupid and corrupts that framework.

if god does exist then (as he himself desires) he exists outside of logic and requires _faith_ instead.

its sodding idiots that confuse the two.

science and logic is by definition a game with the basic rule of 'lets assume, just for a second, that neither god nor any other supernatural construct exists and lets see where that assumption takes us".

pissing about with that definition is stupid, even if yo ubelieve in god.
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 18th, 2007 1:16pm
If p is non-disprovable, then p is not false - p is just meaningless.
Permalink Colm 
March 18th, 2007 1:33pm
On the topic of Leprechauns I'm agnostic.

The true believers of Leprechauns can't be upset at me, because I still believe it's *possible* Leprechauns exist. And of course, the a-leprechaunists can't take issue with me because I don't *really* believe in them.

It's because I'm so reasonable.
Permalink actually I'm just spineless 
March 18th, 2007 1:36pm
Of course, I don't exist, but the leprechauns do.
Permalink God 
March 18th, 2007 1:52pm
"you end up believing all kinds of insanely stupid things _might_ be true, when obviously they are not."

If it is *obviously* false, then it is demonstrably false, and you should have evidence to *prove* it is false.

There is no evidence that the earth was created 4,000 years ago. BUT there is plenty of evidence that it was created 4 billion years ago, proving the first assertion to be false.

Physicists have had all kinds of problems in areas where they couldn't prove stuff, so they couldn't rely on it, no matter how "positive" they were it was true; thus the rejoicing when someone *does* find evidence proving it...

(Note that "proving something to be false" is not the same as "proving a negative")
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 18th, 2007 2:55pm
I agree with the agnostics. Someone sees a space alien and other people say they are mentally ill. As 'proof' they use arguments like 'well if there really were space aliens, don't you think they would have contacted officials at the UN by now?' Fuck, that's not proof of anything. Aliens may or may not do that. Maybe they did it already. Maybe the person who saw the aliens is crazy. Maybe they are not. Don't have enough info to say whether people who see space aliens are seeing something real, or are crazy, or are lying, or what. How could you know?
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 18th, 2007 3:30pm
> If it is *obviously* false, then it is demonstrably false, and you should have evidence to *prove* it is false.

Nicely said.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 18th, 2007 3:51pm
"If it is *obviously* false, then it is demonstrably false, and you should have evidence to *prove* it is false. "

yes, because the process of proving a negative is known for its simplicity and trivial nature.

"There is no evidence that the earth was created 4,000 years ago. BUT there is plenty of evidence that it was created 4 billion years ago, proving the first assertion to be false. "

no, by your standards that doesn't prove the first assertion false.  that just renders the first assertion unlikely. 

"Physicists have had all kinds of problems in areas where they couldn't prove stuff,"

yep.  imagine how much more work they would have if they had to _prove_ every crackpot theory false before moving on.

the point is that sure, it might be true that every night I get my energy recharged from having 13 succubus sneak into my bedroom and giving me an invisible reverse blowjob, but if I have to be able to prove that false before I can reasonably assert that it is totally nuts then Im going to have to waste an awful lot of time.

being a scientist is about choosing from the most likely possibilities.  sometimes the actual answer turns out to be an unlikely possibility and because of this everyone wastes truckloads of time and effort, but that is the price you pay for not having the resources to investigate every single crackpot theory.


"(Note that "proving something to be false" is not the same as "proving a negative")"

cool.  I believe that 13 succubus, invisible to any scientific form of measurement, pop into my bedroom every night and give me a reverse blowjob.

Prove that to be false. 


...or maybe just explain the difference between that and proving a negative...
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 18th, 2007 3:56pm
Imagine that you have two plants, with stems and branches and so forth, in a room. One grows from the floor up, one grows from the ceiling down. Another condition for this thought experiment is that the two plants can never touch each other but they can get infinitesimally close.

You feed them and the grow very robustly. Is there any space left in the room? If not, why? If so, why?

What if the room is unbound itself? No walls?

Do the set of all provable thoughts and the set of all falsifiable thoughts cover the set of all thoughts?
Permalink Send private email sour grape snowflake 
March 18th, 2007 8:02pm
"Is there any space left in the room? If not, why? If so, why?"

yes.  because there is always a gap between the plants.

"What if the room is unbound itself? No walls?"

irrelevant.


"Do the set of all provable thoughts and the set of all falsifiable thoughts cover the set of all thoughts?"

can something be unprovable and not falsifable at the same time?  clearly.  religion fills that hole nicely.

I assume you had a point?*




* actually, Im assuming you dont, but im trying to be optimistic about it.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
March 18th, 2007 9:46pm
Optimism is the tree on the bottom.

(I think a mathematician would say no there is no space between. In the bound room case. But yes when space itself is boundless. See that self-starving German professor.)
Permalink Send private email sour grape snowflake 
March 18th, 2007 10:17pm
you are wrong Im afraid.  just because the sum of a series tends to 0, doesn't mean that merely mentioning the series implies 0.

for the space between the plants to be ~0 you would have had to mention that an endless amount of time had passed.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
March 18th, 2007 11:36pm
fair enough. yes, a set of uncountable cardinality.

i like my image of a tree filling up provable space from, and a negative tree doing the opposite from above.
Permalink Send private email sour grape snowflake 
March 18th, 2007 11:56pm
"cool.  I believe that 13 succubus, invisible to any scientific form of measurement, pop into my bedroom every night and give me a reverse blowjob.

Prove that to be false."

I can't, because it's true.
I mean, given the massive ignorance of logic displayed in your post, I have to accept that you honestly *do* believe that.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 19th, 2007 1:09am
"if you go around believing that no evidence === maybe true, then you end up believing all kinds of insanely stupid things _might_ be true, when obviously they are not. "

paraphrase : I'd like to believe in logic, but I don't.
Permalink $-- 
March 19th, 2007 6:43am
> I believe that 13 succubus, invisible to any scientific form of measurement, pop into my bedroom every night and give me a reverse blowjob.

> Prove that to be false.

Why should we, as long as you are enjoying yourself (yourselves)?
Permalink  
March 19th, 2007 8:44am
"I can't, because it's true.
I mean, given the massive ignorance of logic displayed in your post, I have to accept that you honestly *do* believe that."

ohh, well done.  youve certainly struck a logical motherload with _that_ post.
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 19th, 2007 4:34pm
"I'd like to believe in logic, but I don't."

logically speaking, if there is no evidence for something, why would you think it might be true?
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 19th, 2007 4:43pm
Take, for example, the startling lack of evidence of any higher brain functions that you show. However, I still believe you might have a brain...
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 19th, 2007 5:11pm
so now you are talking about belief, not logic.

its perfectly possible to believe something might be true.  but to think that it is logical to think something might be true despite any evidence whatsoever is..well...illogical...
Permalink Send private email zestyZucchini 
March 19th, 2007 8:15pm
It is not so simple :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_world_assumption
Permalink Send private email Rick Zeng/Tseng 
March 19th, 2007 8:36pm

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