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Thread: Absence of evidence IS evidence of absence

  1. Top | #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    In that case, if there was no God, I would expect to see evidence of His non-existence.
    Even you must know that is patently absurd.
    Where is all this missing evidence that God doesn't exist?
    There could be no “missing” evidence for something that does not exist. There would be no evidence period for something that does not exist. But that is not the opposite condition of the OP. No one is asking “where is all this missing evidence that Bigfoot does not exist?”

    All I have ever seen is evidence that He does exist.
    No, you’ve read stories and perhaps had inexplicable (to you) experiences and seen various things in nature that you attribute to your concept of a god, but just like the gum wrapper in the crime scene, unless and until you can make a cogent argument as to why the gum wrapper is not just a gum wrapper, you haven’t.

    The absence of evidence that God doesn't exist is, itself, evidence FOR the existence of God.
    QED.
    Do you know what “QED” stands for? You don’t get there by using a double negative. You’ve just effectively stated “the evidence that God exists is itself evidence for the existence of God.” Well, no shit. So what is that evidence?

    Atheists! Take up your burden of proof.
    Even if there were such a burden, it still would not alleviate your own burden.

  2. Top | #112
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    You'll need to explain how you can deduce that there is a lack of evidence without in the process presenting some kind of supporting evidence.
    I take this to mean that you think that we can have evidence where there is no evidence, and this neatly undercuts your suggestion that I'm being illogical with my claim about evidence.
    ...
    Looking into this further ...
    I looked up the definition of absence:

    1 : a state or condition in which something expected, wanted, or looked for is not present or does not exist ...
    2 : a failure to be present at a usual or expected place ...
    So I have to admit what I didn't realize is that "absence of evidence" implies that some form of investigation did indeed take place and therefore there is some manner of supporting evidence. It was no good to try to substitute "lack of evidence" or reduce it to simply a lack of knowledge or ignorance. I was wrong in that, and it was my main point of concern. My response to Wiploc about "the dog that did not bark" was particularly off. So thanks for putting up with my ignorance.

    The other implication though is that the conclusion "is evidence of absence" the question of the presence or existence of the subject is likewise restricted to whatever context is implied. So if the implications of the word are not well defined on both sides of the equation the phrase becomes trite and artificial. Such as in the case when looking for milk in the fridge and returning with evidence of none, when it was there in the OJ container all along. The phrase is even less helpful when discussing the existence of a god, for instance, when the definition tends to change to suit the circumstance. So personally I'll continue to avoid the phrase and to treat it with suspicion when used in an argument.

  3. Top | #113
    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post

    Looking into this further ...
    I looked up the definition of absence:

    1 : a state or condition in which something expected, wanted, or looked for is not present or does not exist ...
    2 : a failure to be present at a usual or expected place ...
    So I have to admit what I didn't realize is that "absence of evidence" implies that some form of investigation did indeed take place and therefore there is some manner of supporting evidence. It was no good to try to substitute "lack of evidence" or reduce it to simply a lack of knowledge or ignorance. I was wrong in that, and it was my main point of concern. My response to Wiploc about "the dog that did not bark" was particularly off. So thanks for putting up with my ignorance.
    Good, that rekindles a bit my faith in mankind, which has gotten so very, very, very low these last few years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    The other implication though is that the conclusion "is evidence of absence" the question of the presence or existence of the subject is likewise restricted to whatever context is implied. So if the implications of the word are not well defined on both sides of the equation the phrase becomes trite and artificial. Such as in the case when looking for milk in the fridge and returning with evidence of none, when it was there in the OJ container all along. The phrase is even less helpful when discussing the existence of a god, for instance, when the definition tends to change to suit the circumstance. So personally I'll continue to avoid the phrase and to treat it with suspicion when used in an argument.
    Evidence is only as good as what it is. So, mere mention that there is evidence is pretty low on the scale of goodness. Having a cursory look is low-level compared to looking thoroughly. So, I'm not sure where you see evidence of a problem. In a judiciary process, you have confrontation between the prosecution and the defence, each trying to find better evidence than the other. But inferior evidence is still evidence. So, saying God exists because God is the reality we see all around us is evidence, but pretty near epsilon.

    Basically, it means we can't claim to know that God doesn't exist. Yes but, me, I don't need any believer to help me get to this conclusion. However, a dogmatic, hardcore materialist can only squirm because he can't prove that the epsilon is zero. Which will lead him to argue that the only evidence there is scientific evidence, which is just a Big Brotherly way to rewrite history and redefining even our most ordinary notions, resulting in confused ideological conflicts within society.

    So, maybe you could try to articulate your idea here a little bit more, just so I can have more evidence of what your view is.
    EB

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