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Thread: Is “good evidence” a subjective or objective determination?

  1. Top | #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Objective facts are true even if the overwhelming majority rejects them.
    Before one can accept this one has to have decided what is real. I'm reminded of an experience from very early childhood. A police officer was telling us about traffic safety, crossing streets safely, looking in both directions, etc. He said that if you see a car coming toward you and you cover your eyes because you're afraid, the car doesn't go away. That really stuck with me.

  2. Top | #22
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    By definition facts are indisputable. A car is going 50 mph.

    In general the problem is in proving something is indeed a fact and not supposition or conjrecture. Again a Perry Mason episode.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Basically I watched the whole original Perry Mason series recently. There is no way a Perry Mason episode relates to establishing facts.

    Very twisty. Something is always missing when Perry gets the loser to confess. There is no scene to which one can refer that the person actually did the deed. there is only the word picture Perry draws when accusing.

  4. Top | #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Basically I watched the whole original Perry Mason series recently. There is no way a Perry Mason episode relates to establishing facts.

    Very twisty. Something is always missing when Perry gets the loser to confess. There is no scene to which one can refer that the person actually did the deed. there is only the word picture Perry draws when accusing.
    It surely does. How the application of logic goes goes from tne subjective and circumstantial to objective truth.

    Glad to see my old nemesis is still rolling around.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    By definition facts are indisputable. A car is going 50 mph.

    In general the problem is in proving something is indeed a fact and not supposition or conjecture...
    I thought the problem was that 50 miles per hour is a disputable 'fact' because space/time is relative and not objectively observable from inside the uni/multiverse.

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    By definition facts are indisputable. A car is going 50 mph.

    In general the problem is in proving something is indeed a fact and not supposition or conjecture...
    I thought the problem was that 50 miles per hour is a disputable 'fact' because space/time is relative and not objectively observable from inside the uni/multiverse.
    There are 3 general levels of science. Relativistic where things go very fast and time dilation becomes significant. Newtonian here on the surface which governs things like baseballs and jets, and quantum where thongs are very small like atoms.

    All measurers are relative in that they are refernced to a point or standard. If something weighs 1o kg it is relative to the kg standard.. The philosophical bombshell Einstein dropped was that there are no absolutes.

    Velocity is relative to an in inertial frame an xyz set of axis in space. A space ship in motion is an inertial frame.


    Two cars one at 50 mph and the other at 70 mph have velocities relative to the ground. To the 50 mph car the 70 mph car is moving at 20mph faster to its inertial frame.

    People on the ISS are aging differently than those on the ground. Relativistic corrections for time dilation have to made for GP clocks on Seattleites ab\nd the ground.

    Thanks for the rep comment. We all sorely need civility.

    The global reference points are Stem International or SI. Google SI units NIST and you will find an explanation and list of units.

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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    By definition facts are indisputable. A car is going 50 mph.

    In general the problem is in proving something is indeed a fact and not supposition or conjecture...
    I thought the problem was that 50 miles per hour is a disputable 'fact' because space/time is relative and not objectively observable from inside the uni/multiverse.
    If you thought that then you would be wrong. Someone in a different reference frame would still agree that the car was traveling at 50mph in the reference frame in which that measurement was made.

  8. Top | #28
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    "Good evidence" is contextual, but there are logical principles that should be applied.
    It is basically a matter of relative probability and how much a piece of data increases the probability of a given theory. That increase in probability is logically determined by whether the theory was able to predict and explain the data with greater accuracy than the alternatives, and whether those alternatives make more or less unverified assumptions than the theory in question.

    So, relevant factors are things like how many alternative theories can account for the data? If the alternatives mean the data can be easily accounted for even if theory X is false, then it isn't "good evidence" and in fact might not even qualify as "evidence" at all.
    Another factor is the how well supported those alternatives are prior to considering the data in question. If some of the alternatives assume only things that are well established facts, then the data does little to increase the probability of some theory that relies upon yet unverified assumptions. For example, it is well established fact that people lie, they misperceive, they misremember events. Thus, if "evidence" for the theory that cows can jump over the moon consists of some people claiming they saw it happen, that is very weak evidence for the theory b/c there are multiple alternatives to explain people saying that which rely only upon known causal mechanisms. That related to a general principle of evidence based reasoning, which is that an event is more likely to be an instance of something that is already known to generally happen than to be an instance of something that has not been verified to ever happen. If you know there are deer in the area, then tracks that could be deer are more likely to be deer than to be from some hypothetical animal not yet verified to even exist. Same goes for anything that could be do to something in the known universe rather than God.

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    By definition facts are indisputable. A car is going 50 mph.

    In general the problem is in proving something is indeed a fact and not supposition or conjecture...
    I thought the problem was that 50 miles per hour is a disputable 'fact' because space/time is relative and not objectively observable from inside the uni/multiverse.
    If you thought that then you would be wrong. Someone in a different reference frame would still agree that the car was traveling at 50mph in the reference frame in which that measurement was made.
    A true fact is by definition a fact. Running a red light caught on traffic cam. Eyewitness to a murder.

    Newton's Laws Of Motion, within understood limits. From any courtroom drama, a preponderance of subjective evidence leading to a conclusion of guilt when the actual truth is not known.

    Good evidence is like good pizza, you know it when you taste it.

    Good evidence is that which passes open scrutiny, but that is not always true. 'Truth' and evidence of truth is a complex issue.

  10. Top | #30
    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Thus, if "evidence" for the theory that cows can jump over the moon consists of some people claiming they saw it happen, that is very weak evidence for the theory b/c there are multiple alternatives to explain people saying that which rely only upon known causal mechanisms.
    Is it more appropriate to still consider that "weak evidence" or should we simply dismiss it as being any evidence at all? What still has me confused is whether that is a meaningful and also objective distinction.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU3uIibaDb0

    In rewatching the above link from my call to The Hang Up podcast, Matt Dillahunty makes a remark at about 1:04:00 that evidence becomes sufficient when it narrows to one answer only. If that is the case though, then I do not understand what distinction there is between "evidence" and "proof" for a hypothesis/theory. At the time of the call I had not thought to raise that question, unfortunately. Any other helpers out there? Is he right or wrong, in your view? I would think that some newfound data could elevate the likelihood of multiple hypotheses simultaneously. Maybe just adding the qualifier "sufficient" is what he was emphasizing though.


    He immediately follows by listing how "some people" are deluded, irrational, etc. That claim is true, but also seems to defeat his own argument because it applies to himself too. All of us humans have minds that evolved to be biased and we will hold irrational, deluded, biased views throughout our lives on a variety of issues. None of us are going to be purely unbiased in evaluation of data on those matters. Any evaluation we make will be made inside of our own subjective preexisting biases. Good use of the scientific method and peer review would help tremendously in reducing the influence of our biases, but they cannot eliminate them. So the views we hold, and what we think constitute "sufficient evidence" are influenced by our biases. Even when an expert consensus is formed about a scientific view, that is an intersubjective opinion. It is still the result of the personal biased preferences of various individuals, though more carefully processed than gut guesses from random ignoramuses on the street.



    Also at about 1:05:20 he describes a scenario where he believes he has an experience that nobody else in the large surrounding group has, and how in that case it would be rational for him to conclude that he is being delusional. I responded by asking if that was actually an argumentum ad populum fallacy. He responded back saying it was not that fallacy because others were merely claiming they did not observe the same phenomenon he did. It would be a fallacy if they take the further step and said it was not real because they did not observe it. However, mere moments earlier Matt did actually form an argument, drawing a conclusion that he was delusional on the basis that others did not observe the same thing. I still do not understand how that is not a fallacy. Similarly, if 99.9999% of living people claimed to have an experience with a god or to have observed a god, and Matt did not have the same, would he also conclude that he was likely delusional then? If it was a unicorn instead of a god, would he think he was the delusional one? If it was a fish in a pond that everybody else saw but him (even when everyone was looking), would he consider himself delusional and to have simply missed observing something that is actually real?



    Later, the cohost Phil seems to give advice to not take a strong atheist stance, moreso for tactical reasons. In a debate, it would shift a burden of proof onto me. However, my sincere view is that there are no gods, and I am not going to pretend otherwise. Also, I think there is a strong justification for that view. So no, I am not going to shy away from expressing my honest opinion just because I want to avoid bearing a burden of proof, especially one that I think can be met. I wish he did not warn against taking a strong atheist view on those weak grounds, but at the time I did not think to challenge him on it. Matt, who also believes it is likely there are no gods, agreed with Phil and in doing so did not see how it contradicted his own views too.



    Days after that show I recall sending an email to them with these followups, but never received a response.

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