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[personal profile] sarahmichigan
The "argument from ignorance" goes something like this:

"Statement X can't be true because there's no proof for it."
or
"Statement Z must be true because there's no proof that it isn't true."

An example might be, "Psychic phenomena don't exist because there's no proof that they're real." There might be other, valid, arguments against the realness of psychic phenomena, but this isn't a valid argument.

Or, "God exists because nobody has proven that he doesn't." Of course, it's as consistent (and equally fallacious) to argue, "Oh yeah? Well, God doesn't exist because nobody has proved that he does."

More examples and further explantion here:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html#ignorantiam
http://www.logicalfallacies.info/argumentfromignorance.html

During an argument, the burden of proof is on the person making the initial assertion, say, "Gray aliens rule the White House." If person A is arguing this point, and person B is skeptical, Person A might then say, "If you don't believe me, then where's your proof that gray aliens are NOT ruling the White House?" Person A would be committing the fallacy (really just a sub-set of argument from ignorance) of shifting the burden of proof.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html#shifting

Date: 2007-02-20 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stacycat69.livejournal.com
Im not sure if it falls under this fallacy, but there is something with the burden of proof. Take God for example, the burden of proof of existance is on those that say that God exists. Atheists cannot prove that something *does not* exist, because it just takes one piece of evidence to the contrary to negate their position.

Date: 2007-02-22 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tacit.livejournal.com
Indeed, when it comes to claims of the supernatural, from God to psychic phenomena, I've always been very fond of a quote by Carl Sagan from The Demon-Haunted World: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

Date: 2007-02-20 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkaycee.livejournal.com
I don't have time to hit the links now, but I've always liked the concise "absence of proof does not constitute proof of absence."

amen

Date: 2007-02-20 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
Thank you, I like that one and get to file it away.

I just figure that humans have such a limited level of experience that it is rather ignorant for any of us to figure we have the ultimate answer in anything.

Religion can use aspects now of what will someday be science because it doesn't have to know all the facts to use the tools.

Science as logical as it thinks it is, never has the whole story. It only has another piece till forever.

Both are a bit cocky when they figure "they" have "the whole truth" and ignore each other's pieces of the ultimate puzzle.. The truth is likely to be a blend of both and then some more...depending on how complete one likes their truth.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-20 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
Religion can use aspects now of what will someday be science because it doesn't have to know all the facts to use the tools.
To use the tools for what? If it weren't for the word "religion", I'd think you were talking about engineering.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-23 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
Yes....using the word "religion" was perhaps other than my highest choice. I usually use the term spirituality.

Anyway, hands on healing, esp, prayer, work. Science, as yet, does not really have the explanation for these yet and "religion" just uses them.

I imagine at some point we will even explain "God" mathmatically/scientically in some left brain version of fact.

For now, it is bigger than we are scientifically.

chuckles...engineer, eh? chuckles...thanks, I enjoyed that.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-23 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
I usually use the term spirituality.
I've never understood the distinction, anyway.


Anyway, hands on healing, esp, prayer, work. Science, as yet, does not really have the explanation for these yet and "religion" just uses them.

As does medicine, but you're right, we don't really understand the placebo effect, yet.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-23 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
There are scads of studies that show that prayer has absolutely no effect on anyone's illness, and no reputable studies that show that it does. In fact, in one study, some people who knew they were being prayed for did worse, presumably because they were thinking, "I must be really sick if people are praying for me!"

Prayer is just wishful thinking, IMO.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-24 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
What about their own prayers? There should be a pretty strong placebo effect there.

placebo effect

Date: 2007-02-24 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
I am sure that what someone believes has an impact on their being.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-22 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dare2grok.livejournal.com
I just figure that humans have such a limited level of experience that it is rather ignorant for any of us to figure we have the ultimate answer in anything.

Most, if not all, religions do just that. They make many claims of ultimate truth with no basis whatsoever in verifiable or falsifiable experience. Legitimate science is QUITE a bit more honest than that, basing itself on verifiable and falsifiable experience, called "experiments" or "observations", which yield predictive statements, called "theory". Further, legitimate science never claims that theories are ultimate answers, but rather the best explanation, at present, for what is observed and will adapt as new information arises. The legitimacy of critical ways of thinking, such as science, over religion lies basically in that.

Religion can use aspects now of what will someday be science because it doesn't have to know all the facts to use the tools.

Please discuss more fully. I'm not quite sure I understand what you are saying.

Science as logical as it thinks it is, never has the whole story.

You imply that "science" claims to provide "the whole story". It does nothing of the sort. See above my very brief definition of what a legitimate scientific theory is.

Both are a bit cocky . . .

Legitimate science is the antithesis of "cockiness" as it merely serves to order and predict observations AND subjects itself to peer review and falsifiability. Religion, on the other hand, at best cannot withstand such critical thinking of its validity and sometimes, at worst, actively suppresses such attempts. I think your comparison of the two which implies they are somehow morally equal in the intellectual sphere demonstrates a woeful lacking of understanding.

Re: amen

Date: 2007-02-22 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
I was going to make a bunch of the same points (especially about "science thinking it has the whole story") but you covered pretty much what I was going to say.

cocky

Date: 2007-02-23 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
Science assumes it has the "best" answer for the time. Some things work even though we have yet to know why or to be able to "prove" them.

Yes, some religions think they have "all" the answers...not most of them...but some do.

And some, if not many, scientists figure if they haven't figured out how something works or their science has yet to come to a point to understand something that it is somehow a bunch of bunk.

Science is right now trying to shove a vacination down our throats for young girls to protect them against PAV.

Society takes children away from parents who have other ways of healing other than chemo.

Yes...science is cocky when it does such things.

The mainstream is not the most advanced knowledge on the planet...never has been and likely never will be.

Re: cocky

Date: 2007-02-23 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
Are you talking about HPV and the vaccine they have out for it now?

Do you really think people should ignore conventional treatment for cancer in children and try alternative healing that isn't shown to work in peer-reviewed journals? If so, I really wish you'd stop commenting on my journal because I don't want anything to do with you.

ignore convention?

Date: 2007-02-24 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
I was talking about the vaccine for HPV and I think it should be an option, not mandatory. My teeth are permanently discolored from the use of tetracycline while I was in my formative years. They didn't know that then. They no longer give it to people in their formative years. This is only one example of aspects of medicine where they have basically "jumped the gun" and a mild one at that.

Personally, I think it is something that should be left to the individual-esp as this is supposedly a sexually transmitted disease and can be avoided through other means. (as opposed to something that could be easily spread and deadly to all genders-like...perhaps a vaccine for hep b/c would be a more logical mandatory choice and I don't think that is a good idea either...critical word here "mandatory")

No, I don't think people should "ignore" conventional treatment. (Do remember that some natural treatments were at some point considered the conventional and that much of our current medicine came from them.)

I do think that individual people, individual families, etc should be able to make their own informed choices on these things.

I suspect you would be rather upset if my views and ways were to be put into law and you had to do things my way when it came to your health no matter how much information and experience you had for ways that you felt suited you better.

I think we need to respect folks' personal choices. If you wish to make it mandatory to inform them of what is considered to be a "better" way...fine. (as long as that isn't abused)

Making it a law...not fine.

There are positive aspects to both the "conventional" and the "alternative" health paths. Each has its place.

Re: ignore convention?

Date: 2007-02-24 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
HPV really can't avoided by other means. Condoms help some, but not nearly as much as against other STD's. I've read a few places that a substantial majority of adults have had HPV at some point in their lives.

Respecting people's person choices is fine. What you do to your children is not a personal choice.

choice

Date: 2007-02-24 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
You said "What you do to your children is not a personal choice."

Really? So who do we have raising our children today? What religion, medical plan, morals, standard of education, etc is the one that we have given our future to?

Think we can get them to pay the bills too?

Re: choice

Date: 2007-02-24 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
So who do we have raising our children today?
Huh?

What religion...morals
That one is generally left to parents. I do think it's unethical to teach your children your religion as fact rather than opinion, but I don't think it's feasible to ban such a thing.

medical plan
There are quite a few proposals floating around for universal care for children, and yes, they frequently involve the government paying.

standard of education
In Michigan, I believe it's compulsory school through 16 years old. I'd love to see it changed so that you're an adult when you graduate high school, no matter what age that is. And yes, the government pays for that, too.


My basic view is that your children are not your toys to warp as you see fit. They did not ask to come into the world, and they're dependent on their parents and society for absolutely everything that will determine what sort of success they have, how well adjusted they are, whether they go out killing people every weekend, etc. For the parents, having kids is just something they wanted to do. The idea of "parent's rights" strikes me as a sick joke.

Re: cocky

Date: 2007-02-24 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dare2grok.livejournal.com
Science assumes it has the "best" answer for the time. Some things work even though we have yet to know why or to be able to "prove" them.

You are confusing me. If something "works", then that means it has an evident causational relationship to something else. Could you please be more specific about, maybe, an example of this, because I would be highly interested in ANY example of evident causation which legitimate science DENIES. Examples, please.

Yes, some religions think they have "all" the answers...not most of them...but some do.

And some, if not many, scientists figure if they haven't figured out how something works or their science has yet to come to a point to understand something that it is somehow a bunch of bunk.


I have not, in my experience, read about or heard of such behavior from legitimate science. Again, provide an example or examples . . . please!

Science is right now trying to shove a vacination down our throats for young girls to protect them against PAV.

I believe you mean HPV, and I believe you are speaking of the matter in Texas. Currently, that strikes me as a matter where politics, big business, and most especially profit motive may be involved to a far greater extent . . . perhaps trumping what science might advise. I think your view lacks greatly in taking all the factors into account, and conclusions on this specific matter are probably premature at best at this stage. A well-reasoned approach would recognize that this is an unfolding situation involving the probable greater involvement of factors beyond scientific opinion.

Society takes children away from parents who have other ways of healing other than chemo.

Yes...science is cocky when it does such things.


In this example, you erroneously tie science to the government entities involved in enforcing laws related to human welfare. While such entities sometimes use medical or scientific knowledge as a basis for their policies, science is not responsible for such application, because science cannot control how well or not any bureaucrat specifically applies scientific knowledge in formulating social policies.

Re: cocky

Date: 2007-02-24 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
I have not, in my experience, read about or heard of such behavior from legitimate science.
Individual scientists do all sorts of weird things. They're people with their own biases, just like anyone else. It's the scientific community as a whole that weeds such things out.

There's an old saying about physics advancing, one funeral at a time.

Re: cocky

Date: 2007-02-25 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dare2grok.livejournal.com
Very much agree about individual scientists and their biases; however, I don't agree with magicmaiden's implication that a significant proportion of scientists are the way she describes. The "scientific community as a whole that weeds such things out" and the many scientists who, despite biases, keep their minds open are what I'm meaning by "legitimate science". Good point for clarification.

where do you get your science facts from?

Date: 2007-02-24 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
You said" "A well-reasoned approach would recognize that this is an unfolding situation involving the probable greater involvement of factors beyond scientific opinion."

Good point. I did tie them together because it has been my experience that most folks do not get their science straight from the scientific community.

So where do you get your science facts from? What do you consider to be the "real" scientific community?







Re: cocky

Date: 2007-02-24 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
Society takes children away from parents who have other ways of healing other than chemo.
As it should if those ways have not been shown to work. We should do such things a lot more often.


Scientists as a whole will not dispute thing that have been shown to work just because they don't understand them. Such things will be regarded as an open question, like bumblebee flight until a couple of years ago, dinosaur extinction until about 20 years ago, or how relativity and quantum mechanics can both be mostly true now.

equal

Date: 2007-02-24 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicmaiden.livejournal.com
I think your comparison of the two which implies they are somehow morally equal in the intellectual sphere demonstrates a woeful lacking of understanding.

Morally equal? In the intellectual sphere?

I think I should have stopped here in my original post.

"I just figure that humans have such a limited level of experience that it is rather ignorant for any of us to figure we have the ultimate answer in anything."

I don't think of either as a "moral" aspect of life.

Certain flavors of prayer work. There is a scientific reason and method for them working that could be learned and used-though at this time it seems that has yet to be done. Prayer does not require a "God" as such in order to work.

Both aspects are cocky when they try to put their views into law and force "everyone" else to live their way. Forced immunizations are one example of this.

Proof, is for the purpose of convincing others.

Personally I think there is some bit of truth in everyone/thing and each person gets to determine what is true for him/her.

Date: 2007-02-20 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
The strong atheist position (I'm only a weak atheist, although I specifically disbelieve in some gods.) is normally not that God has been disproved, but that there isn't any real reason to consider the existence of any gods to be a serious possibility.

Date: 2007-02-22 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
That's pretty close to my position. I think the burden of proof is on the people who believe in ANY supernatural phenomenon, not just God, since I think a naturalistic/material explantion for just about everything suffices.

Date: 2007-02-21 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aackthpt.livejournal.com
On the "Statement X" part... I'll agree that there being no evidence doesn't prove that something doesn't exist. However, I think this point is rather moot anyway. Take your psychic phenomena example: "don't exist" vs. "no proof that they exist" basically amount to the same thing in practice, even if not in principle. And the way I see it, that applies in general and separating the strict interpretation of your "Statement X" phrase from something else is almost always a silly semantic argument.

So I guess it boils down to, I think the default position, in a no-evidence scenario, should be non-existence. But with an open-mindedness, of course. Actually, now that I review it, I see this sort of thing is mentioned on the infidels site. Whatever. I still say it's semantics and makes no practical difference.

Occam's Razor is love.

And since I haven't commented yet, now is as good as time as any to note that I'm really enjoying this series of yours. Thanks!!!

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