Is This A Fallacy?

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Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#1  Postby ChiefAuburn » August 28th, 2017, 6:19 pm

I don't believe there's a tea pot orbiting Saturn, therefore, there is a tea pot orbiting Saturn. And the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that there isn't one.


I feel like there is a fallacy, here. I am just not sure what it is.

I see it like this:


I do not believe X is real
Therefore, X is real
Now it is your position to demonstrate X is not real.

The second line contradicts the first line, but then the third line wants confirmation that the first line is correct.

Is this not a fallacy?
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Is This A Fallacy?



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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#2  Postby Greta » August 29th, 2017, 2:34 am

The quote in the OP appears to be related to this page: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof
The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim, and is not upon anyone else to disprove. The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever. However it is important to note that we can never be certain of anything, and so we must assign value to any claim based on the available evidence, and to dismiss something on the basis that it hasn't been proven beyond all doubt is also fallacious reasoning.

Example: Bertrand declares that a teapot is, at this very moment, in orbit around the Sun between the Earth and Mars, and that because no one can prove him wrong, his claim is therefore a valid one.

So Bertrand has made a logical fallacy because "The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever".

I can claim that I have two hundred legs and was born on the Moon, flying to Earth on a giant silk bird spun by spiders the size of skyscrapers. How do you disprove it? Why would you bother? :)
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#3  Postby -1- » August 29th, 2017, 2:55 am

Greta wrote:So Bertrand has made a logical fallacy because "The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever".


Yes, he was making a logical fallacy, on purpose: he mimicked the logic behind god-worship.

"There is a god; I can't prove there is one, but you (an atheist, for instance, being "you") can't prove that there is not one. Therefore there is one."

This is the logic Bertrand Russell paralleled in his famous tea-pot-in-orbit thought experiment, and his reasoning is false, perfectly pointing out how the god-worshippers' reasoning is logically faulty when they arrive at an absolute and invincible belief in god.

-- Updated 2017 August 29th, 3:04 am to add the following --

ChiefAuburn wrote:
I don't believe there's a tea pot orbiting Saturn, therefore, there is a tea pot orbiting Saturn. And the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that there isn't one.



1. I believe there is NO tea pot orbiting Saturn.
2. Therefore there is a tea pot orbiting Saturn.

There is no logical connection here. There is the word "therefore" but it connects two incongruous claims.

The whole thing is bizarre. It is not a product of logic, and therefore you can't measure it with the yardstick that measures logic (such as "is this a fallacy or not").

This is not a fallacy. There is no logic connecting the two claims.

-----------------

Why?

1. "I believe X. Therefore X does not exist."
2. This can only be true if whatever I believe in does not exist.
3. If someone finds an instance of what I believe in exists, then the general rule of 2 is falsified.
4. And after that the point in 1. is falsified.

The falsification proof hinges on the fact that there are some things I believe in, yet they exist.

In other words, the proof hinges on an empirical finding, and that is exactly what the tea-pot experiment hinges on. No find, then theoretically possible, but practically useless. Yes, find, then proof is not necessary, because it's a fact.
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#4  Postby LuckyR » August 29th, 2017, 3:29 am

Well gods and orbiting teapots do share the condition that neither is provable nor disprovable (by current technology). Therefore both reside in the realm of faith, not logic. Why theists don't embrace, then run with this opportunity baffles me since it makes their position unassailable. But no, many if not most wander into the logic tent where they try to make headway and convince essentially no one. Live and learn...
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#5  Postby -1- » August 29th, 2017, 5:04 am

LuckyR wrote: ...and convince essentially no one.

Hardly anyone gets convinced of anything. Hence, the lively and vibrant Internet forums on philosophy.
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#6  Postby Greta » August 29th, 2017, 8:00 pm

-1- wrote:
LuckyR wrote: ...and convince essentially no one.

Hardly anyone gets convinced of anything. Hence, the lively and vibrant Internet forums on philosophy.

:lol: the truth!

BTW, ignorant sod that I am, I thought "Bertrand" was a hypothetical person, not BR satirising an illogical position :) If it had been John, Susan or Murgatroyd in the example I would have responded the same way.
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#7  Postby Spectrum » August 29th, 2017, 8:50 pm

ChiefAuburn wrote:
1. I don't believe there's a tea pot orbiting Saturn,
2. therefore, there is a tea pot orbiting Saturn.
3. And the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that there isn't one.

I feel like there is a fallacy, here. I am just not sure what it is.

The above is not even a fallacy but rather it very bad logic [basic]. There is no proper form of logic or argument to the above. Formal or informal fallacy arise from at least an argument with a proper logical form, e.g. an syllogism.
Because 2 do not follow 1 [contradiction], and 3 do not follow 2, the whole syllogism is a badly constructed argument.

In Bertrand Russell's tea pot, he merely presented an example to expose the bad logic and argument of the theists.
In Russell's case, he started with 'I believe there's a tea pot orbiting Saturn' on the assumption there is no present technology we have to day to explore around Saturn.

The use of a tea pot [empirical] is not watertight, he could have referred some invisible being [as God is also invisible] flying around Saturn.
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#8  Postby -1- » September 3rd, 2017, 4:19 am

Spectrum wrote:The use of a tea pot [empirical] is not watertight, he could have referred some invisible being [as God is also invisible] flying around Saturn.


God is visible, to those who have eyes to see him. Claiming he is invisible is only possible if you were in his presence and saw to it that you couldn't see him. "Where are you, oh Lord?" "On this chair, right beside you," says his voice. You don't see him on that chair. You know he is invisible.

Is this how your knowledge developed about his invisibility? Yes? No? If no, then you have no business claiming he is invisible.

God is very much an empirical entity. That is what drives the debate about him up to such fierce heat. Some say, "I never experienced god with my senses, he don't exist." Others say, "I believe those eye witnesses who claim to have seen him." This is one big honking empirical question mark: if he so very exist, and he wants us to believe in him, why can't he show his golden brilliant face to us?

However, you are right about the thought experiment not being water-tight. It leaks. All teapots leak. They drip on the tablecloth as you pour tea form them. This is one of the universal philosophical absolutes. Maybe this is why Russell chose the tea pot as the example.

He could have chosen, with the same token, anything else that leaks: Wiki, babies, or any one of the near infinite number of other teapots than the one in use in the example.
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Re: Is This A Fallacy?

Post Number:#9  Postby Togo1 » September 5th, 2017, 11:35 am

The main issue I have with Betrand's logic here is that it covers such a wide variety of claims that normal discourse becomes impossible.

There is a deity
There is a teapot in orbit around Saturn
There are no teapots in orbit around Saturn
The earth arose as a result of supernatural forces
The earth arose as a result of natural forces
The earth arose
all events can be explained without resorting to the supernatural
Events can be explained
Logic is meaningful
emperical statements are meaningful
one plus two equals three
unicorns have a single horn in the middle of the forehead

While it's a useful rule of thumb that the person making the claim is the one who should justify it, it is worth remembering that any description of logic or of the world as we know, relies on making thousands if not hundreds of thousands of claims, most of which we can't practically justify. Betrand himself tried, and by his own account, failed.
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