Burden of proof (philosophy)

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Kokomojojo, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:28 PM.

  1. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    When you are forced to retreat to slipshod armchair psychology and weak straw men to defend your argument, you don't have much of an argument remaining.
     
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  2. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    atheists are the ones who claim to go left and right at the same time then go over the top when their arguments are so easily disqualified as bs. anyone can look back one page and read the posts you know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 12:31 PM
  3. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    I'm not interested in your attempts to change the subject. Have you familiarized yourself with the difference between knowledge and belief. Why did you evade the question of whether or not you know there is a God?
     
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  4. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    sorry, but you cant prove a negative or non existence.
     
  5. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    I originally liked this and had to come back on to unlike it because it has a faulty definition of agnostic.

    For agnostic you cannot take a position either for or against either theism or atheism to be an agnostic.

    Therefore the correct agnostic position is that they believe its impossible to know if there is or if there is not a God.

    You cant just pull any definition out of any dictionary as many of them now days are used politically and simply state common usage not academic usage.
     
  6. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    See, you dont understand what an agnostic is.

    I use the right words but get wrong interpretations in response
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 12:40 PM
  7. William Rea

    William Rea Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you do.
     
  8. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    yes only philosophers can do that, I understand.
     
  9. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    nobody can
     
  10. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    <Mod Edit> philosophers both can and do all the time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2017 at 1:42 PM
  11. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    I know of several definitions of the word. You are pretending there is only one. It borders on superstition.
     
  12. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    nope. Nobody can prove a negative, or non existence. It's basic logic 101.

    <Mod Edit>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2017 at 1:43 PM
  13. RiaRaeb

    RiaRaeb Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Only by using inductive reasoning, which never gives an absolute proof. Here read this excellent article that explains why people still believe in god, bigfoot and aliens despite inductive reasoning!

    So why is it that people insist that you can’t prove a negative? I think it is the result of two things. (1) an acknowledgement that induction is not bulletproof, airtight, and infallible, and (2) a desperate desire to keep believing whatever one believes, even if all the evidence is against it.

    https://departments.bloomu.edu/philosophy/pages/content/hales/articlepdf/proveanegative.pdf

    You may recognise the article!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2017 at 1:43 PM
  14. yiostheoy

    yiostheoy Well-Known Member

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    Why and how did you manage to switch from Philosophy to Religion ??

    Philosophy and Religion must always be kept separate.

    Same is true of Science.
     
  15. yiostheoy

    yiostheoy Well-Known Member

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    It's like when Bilbo Baggins told Gandalf "Good morning!"

    As Gandalf then pointed out, good morning means different things to different people.

    At least according to J.R.R. Tolkien.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 1:14 PM
  16. yiostheoy

    yiostheoy Well-Known Member

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    Science is inductive.

    Geometry is deductive.

    Mankind uses both.

    But what we truly know is a very short list.

    Cogito ergo sum.
     
  17. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    So this is interestingly effectively the same argument as I made with respect to a tree with an odd or even number of leaves in our private messages. I didn't realise such a similar example existed.

    The problem is that many who use the agnostic argument consider themselves atheists. This is merely semantics, it has to do with the word in question. In reality, many of the "atheists" or non-religious you debate with are following the logic which you attribute to agnostics.

    This is captured by the common statement that atheism is disbelief of the positive claim, rather than belief in the negative claim. Disbelief in a claim takes place whenever belief in that claim does not take place. That includes the stance you call "atheist" as well as the one you call "agnostic".

    To believe in a claim means to think that it is true. If you are an agnostic, you might be open to the idea that there is a god, you may think there is a 50% chance that it is true, but you do not take the stance that it *is* true. You do not make the statement of belief. Since it is not characterised as belief, it is disbelief. By the definition of atheism as a disbelief, such an agnostic would also be an atheist.

    Now, this is convoluted further by the fact that different atheists and theists will use varying definitions (some on both sides of the argument will maintain that atheism is only the claim that there are no gods). They are not wrong per se, they're just using other definitions of the word. I wouldn't want to say that you are wrong in characterising atheism as the belief that there is no god, but you will completely miss the point in most arguments if you consistently take that position.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 1:45 PM
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  18. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    It's not really true though. For instance, you could prove "there is no unicorn in the box" in a number of different ways, like looking in the box, or saying that nothing that can be considered a unicorn could fit in the box (if unicorn is defined in a certain way) and so on. Reference.

    The problem with burden of proof when it comes to religion is that God is conveniently poorly defined and by construction infinitely good at hiding when he wants to. So it is still impossible to prove the negative of God, but that is not true for negatives in general.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2017 at 1:43 PM
  19. yardmeat

    yardmeat Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. It is mostly when the proposal is nonfalsifiable in the first place that proving a negative a negative becomes impossible. You can deductively disprove the existence of the unicorn in the box, unless someone changes the variables so that the unicorn is magically undetectable.
     
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  20. rahl

    rahl Well-Known Member

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    no, you can't prove there is no unicorn in the box. What if the unicorn is so small you can't see it? what if it's invisible to the human eye? You can't prove a negative.
     

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