How much evidence does it take to believe or to know?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.

Post Number:#31  Postby Santini » January 19th, 2010, 9:55 pm

Izzy, your article refers to living tissue not dead tissue.

See the problem?
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Post Number:#32  Postby NameRemoved » January 19th, 2010, 10:01 pm

Santini wrote:Izzy, your article refers to living tissue not dead tissue.

See the problem?


Not particularly, I was responding to your comments on only the brain as being able to have memory and mind and illustrating that the brain is not the only thing with memory in the body..cells have memory and slime of amoebas. I then went onto recommend a good book by Bergson Matter and Memory which he argues in scientific materialistial [Matter] terms that there doesn`t need to be a brain for Memory to exist or mind to exist.

You do recall, you originally rebutted my hypothesis in answer to Keiths question don`t you? ie. on how loved ones would recognise a person who has past over and changed. I spoke on the probability of spiritual [afterlife]recall and Memory. You spoke of the brain dying and no memory. I would imagine that as we have memory here why wouldn`t we have it in the afterlife?

Science doesn`t yet claim to know all the answers on it. That is why we are on here in answer to Scotts question of evidence, and discussing it and the possiblities showing the evidence thus far of the research which is placed and showing they are from a reputable sources and scientific studies, or don`t you want to play :wink:

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Last edited by NameRemoved on January 19th, 2010, 10:19 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Post Number:#33  Postby Santini » January 19th, 2010, 10:08 pm

Meleagar: Let's assume that you are correct and that we have no reason to believe that evidential-based reasoning leads to one's acceptance of probably true propositions.

Then, what if anything does lead to knowledge?

If no reasoning process leads to knowledge then it sounds very much to me as if you are saying that nothing can be known, not even probably; that all knowledge is mere opinion and relative; that it's as likely that the moon is made of green cheese as rock.
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Post Number:#34  Postby NameRemoved » January 19th, 2010, 10:41 pm

Last edited by *Izzy* on Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:19 pm; edited 5 times in total


eh? I edited twice not five times??? once to quote Santini and once to post my reply, just goes to show us all Science and its Technology does not always get things right. :P
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Post Number:#35  Postby Meleagar » January 19th, 2010, 11:25 pm

Santini wrote:If nothing leads to the knowledge of probable truth then it sounds very much to me as if you are saying that nothing can be known to be probably true; that all knowledge is mere opinion and relative; that it's as likely that the moon is made of green cheese as rock.


I didn't say that facts couldn't be known. I know lots of facts such as how tall I am, what kind of computer I am using and what color the sky is outside my window. I can make lots of truthful statements about a lot of facts. Facts are neutral. Evidence is an interpretation of facts based on a model, heuristic, world-view, or theory. That's why confirmation bias is a necessary aspect of any evidence-based beliefs.
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Post Number:#36  Postby Santini » January 20th, 2010, 2:32 am

Meleagar wrote:I didn't say that facts couldn't be known. I know lots of facts such as how tall I am, what kind of computer I am using and what color the sky is outside my window. I can make lots of truthful statements about a lot of facts. Facts are neutral. Evidence is an interpretation of facts based on a model, heuristic, world-view, or theory. That's why confirmation bias is a necessary aspect of any evidence-based beliefs.


So you would agree that facts about the world are best determined by an evidence-based reasoning process?

IOW, we know that the moon is basically a large dusty rock and not a slice of green cheese or something else because of the evidence that we have for the former proposition.



*Izzy* wrote:
Santini wrote:Izzy, your article refers to living tissue not dead tissue.

See the problem?


Not particularly


I was responding to your implied claim that memories could exist in humans outside of anything physical. IOW, a cremated human body IYO might still somehow retain memories.

These seems very unlikely given what we see in patients with brain injuries like those that result from Alzheimers, etc.


*Izzy* wrote:
Last edited by *Izzy* on Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:19 pm; edited 5 times in total


eh? I edited twice not five times??? once to quote Santini and once to post my reply, just goes to show us all Science and its Technology does not always get things right. :P


That's not what it shows me. :wink:
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Post Number:#37  Postby NameRemoved » January 20th, 2010, 6:37 am

I was responding to your implied claim that memories could exist in humans outside of anything physical. IOW, a cremated human body IYO might still somehow retain memories.



It wasn`t implied, cellular memory has been studied in transplant patients who say they take on the personality traits of the heart donar. I did provide links, it makes sense if you know the afterlife exist in another dimension, that those loved ones who past over would have memory. Science can`t say a lot on things metaphysical, does not mean they do not exist. Eyewitnesses you overlook a group of people logical and sound of mind seeing evidence of the afterlife by visitations. The fact that you don`t believe people go on after the death of their body and their ill conditions in the body, does not mean they don`t.

Santini I am not my body, I inhabit my body.I would say we have a body of sorts in the afterlife. There is plenty of scientific research on afterlife ..Dr Raymond Moody anaesthetist studied NDE`s and for me even if science didn`t bother to study it, there is an afterlife.

We will just have to agree to disagree you think there isn`t one. Thats fine by me.
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Post Number:#38  Postby Meleagar » January 20th, 2010, 7:51 am

Santini wrote:So you would agree that facts about the world are best determined by an evidence-based reasoning process?

IOW, we know that the moon is basically a large dusty rock and not a slice of green cheese or something else because of the evidence that we have for the former proposition.


No. Facts are not determined by a reasoned interpretation of facts; beliefs that are based on evidence are based on a "reasoned interpretation of facts". Facts can only be known by direct empirical experience, and made as statements about empirical experience and, in a debate, a set of facts can be mutually postulated or agreed upon as a basis for argument. The idea that facts are objective experiences for everyone is a belief culled from the ideology that we all live in an quantifiably objective material-based universe.

I do not have any empirical experience in finding out what the moon is made of; one can rely mostly on third-party information vendors we consider to be legitimate and trustworthy, such as the press, popularized science magazines, textbooks, Discovery channel, etc. However, if one's beliefs rest on evidence, the way one sorts their third-party information vendors and the information they offer is a reflection of the bias of one's ideology.

The problem one faces when culling information from third-party sources is that such venues have their own biases in how they sort, edit and present such information.

So, what an individual ultimately has is (supposedly) scientists with particular confirmation biases interpreting empirical experiments and then sending papers in to venues that are edited and refereed by people with particular confirmation biases, then disseminated to the public via a third-party vendor system that has its own collective bias, and then perused by the individual with their particular bias.

Facts are empirical experiences. One interprets facts according to a perspective or theory; that interpretation is evidence. A conclusion based on evidence is a belief. Beliefs based on evidence are necessarily tautological to some degree because one generally uses their belief as the heuristic by which one interprets the facts - IOW, their beliefs generate the interpretive bias that in turn fashions the evidence they claim supports their beliefs.
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Post Number:#39  Postby Santini » January 20th, 2010, 10:34 am

If I've understood you then you seem to be saying one of two things, either that:

A) The moon is as likely to be made of green cheese or cardboard or brick as it is to be mostly a large dusty rock. You simply do not know.

Or

B) You believe the moon is basically a large dusty rock for ideological reasons.
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Post Number:#40  Postby Meleagar » January 20th, 2010, 11:04 am

Santini wrote:If I've understood you then you seem to be saying one of two things, either that:

A) The moon is as likely to be made of green cheese or cardboard or brick as it is to be mostly a large dusty rock. You simply do not know.

Or

B) You believe the moon is basically a large dusty rock for ideological reasons.


Personally, I don't hold impractical or trivial beliefs. "What the moon is made of" would be a trivial, impractical belief in my life.

Also, I don't know how to assess the likelihood of "what the moon is made of", other than to look at it through a telescope and then guess based on what it looks like on the surface, which I've done. It looks like rock through a telescope; my best guess would be that it's made of rock.

But, I certainly don't know, and I certainly don't "believe" it.
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Post Number:#41  Postby Keith Russell » January 20th, 2010, 11:55 am

I disagree, though I think the disagreement is semantic in nature.

"Evidence", as I use the word, refers to "facts" and "direct observation". Thus, what might be "valid, non-contradictory, evidence" for me, might be nothing but an unsupported claim, for you.

The interpretation of evidence can be either what I call "rational" (meaning, an interpretation based entirely and only on a logical evaluation of the evidence) or it can be what I call "faith-based" (meaning, an evaluation based on 1- ALL of the evidence PLUS factors that have nothing to do with the evidence, or 2- SOME of the evidence PLUS those other factors, or 3- only on those other factors, rejecting the evidence in its entirety).

Meleagar wrote:I didn't say that facts couldn't be known. I know lots of facts such as how tall I am, what kind of computer I am using and what color the sky is outside my window. I can make lots of truthful statements about a lot of facts. Facts are neutral. Evidence is an interpretation of facts based on a model, heuristic, world-view, or theory.


Then, what you call "evidence", I'm calling an "evaluation", an "interpetation", or a "theory".

As for the moon:

Meleagar wrote:Personally, I don't hold impractical or trivial beliefs. "What the moon is made of" would be a trivial, impractical belief in my life.

Also, I don't know how to assess the likelihood of "what the moon is made of", other than to look at it through a telescope and then guess based on what it looks like on the surface, which I've done.


There are at least two other ways to get additional information regarding the moon.

First, there satellite imagery of the moon has been done, and at least some of that information should be available to the general public.

Second, although there have been claims to the contrary, NASA claims to have sent manned misisons to the moon, and claims that those missions returned to earth bearing rocks from the moon's surface.

The data on the composition of those rocks is also available.
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Post Number:#42  Postby Meleagar » January 20th, 2010, 2:08 pm

Keith Russell wrote:I disagree, though I think the disagreement is semantic in nature.


No, I don't think it is semantic. I think that one of the fundamental flaws in attempted rational thought is confusing "evidence" with "facts". Believing that one's evidence is fact constructs a tautologial belief system that utilizes virtually impenetrable confirmation bias.

As your commentary shows:

"Evidence", as I use the word, refers to "facts" and "direct observation". Thus, what might be "valid, non-contradictory, evidence" for me, might be nothing but an unsupported claim, for you.


What are these facts evidence of? A gun exists. What is it evidence of in a murder trial? What is it evidence of at a shooting range? What is it evidence of in a criminal's glove compartment? What is it evidence of in a faulty product lawsuit?

Brute facts are not evidence of anything unless they are interpreted in context of a perspective or theory.

The interpretation of evidence can be either what I call "rational" (meaning, an interpretation based entirely and only on a logical evaluation of the evidence) or it can be what I call "faith-based" (meaning, an evaluation based on 1- ALL of the evidence PLUS factors that have nothing to do with the evidence, or 2- SOME of the evidence PLUS those other factors, or 3- only on those other factors, rejecting the evidence in its entirety).


Logic requires axiomatic premises to operate from, and it requires a framework that guides inferential connections towards a conclusion. Logic doesn't exist in a vacuum, nor is it used by blank entities. This is why even experts can evaluate the same facts and end up with competing, contradictory conclusions.

Then, what you call "evidence", I'm calling an "evaluation", an "interpetation", or a "theory".


Evidence is an interpretation of facts in light of a perspective or a theory. Brute facts by themselves are silent as to "what they mean", because to mean something there must be context and interpretation. When one confuses evidence with facts, their ideology becomes largely tautological.

First, there satellite imagery of the moon has been done, and at least some of that information should be available to the general public.


That's still third-party information, which I've already addressed.

Second, although there have been claims to the contrary, NASA claims to have sent manned misisons to the moon, and claims that those missions returned to earth bearing rocks from the moon's surface.


All that information is third party, which I've already covered.
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Post Number:#43  Postby Santini » January 20th, 2010, 5:06 pm

Meleagar wrote:I think that one of the fundamental flaws in attempted rational thought is confusing "evidence" with "facts".


A fact is not a claim about the world that is absolutely true. A fact is a claim about the world that can be false but is virtually universally recognized to be true by all those in possession of the currently available data and arguments related to the fact. It is something that, in Stephen J. Gould's words, is so highly probable it would be silly to doubt it.



What are these facts evidence of? A gun exists. What is it evidence of in a murder trial? What is it evidence of at a shooting range? What is it evidence of in a criminal's glove compartment? What is it evidence of in a faulty product lawsuit?


Facts become evidence when they are used in arguments to prove a conclusion; therefore, it depends upon the conclusion that one is trying to reach that determines the relationship between the fact and how the fact is used as evidence in any particular argument.



Brute facts are not evidence of anything unless they are interpreted in context of a perspective or theory.


No, brute facts are not evidence of anything beyond themselves until they are used in a premise of an argument.



Logic requires axiomatic premises to operate from, and it requires a framework that guides inferential connections towards a conclusion. Logic doesn't exist in a vacuum, nor is it used by blank entities. This is why even experts can evaluate the same facts and end up with competing, contradictory conclusions.


Yes but the axiomatic premises upon which logic is based are necessary for argument to proceed in the first place. For example, the argument that you just made here regarding logic depends upon the truth of logic. Every time you or anyone else makes a valid argument he assumes the truth of logic. It is self-contradictory to use logic to disprove logic.


That's still third-party information, which I've already addressed.


Most of what any of us believe we know about the world is based on second or third party information and not on our direct experience.
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Post Number:#44  Postby Meleagar » January 20th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Santini wrote:A fact is not a claim about the world that is absolutely true. A fact is a claim about the world that can be false but is virtually universally recognized to be true by all those in possession of the currently available data and arguments related to the fact. It is something that, in Stephen J. Gould's words, is so highly probable it would be silly to doubt it.


IMO, the difference between belief and knowledge is empiricism - not reports of empiricism, but empiricism itself. If one experiences a thing, they have knowledge of it; if they are simply convinced by reports of a thing, then they have belief.

Yes but the axiomatic premises upon which logic is based are necessary for argument to proceed in the first place.


I did not refer to the axiomatic premises upon which logic is based; I referred to the axiomatic premises and heuristic structure one uses in their logical argument. One such premise could be: there exists only material phenomena. That is not a premise of logic, even though it can be a logical premise. An axiom of logic would be the principle of non-contradiction.

Most of what any of us believe we know about the world is based on second or third party information and not on our direct experience.


None of what I believe about the world is based on second or third party information, so your claim here is erroneous.
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Post Number:#45  Postby Santini » January 20th, 2010, 7:46 pm

Meleagar wrote:
Santini wrote:A fact is not a claim about the world that is absolutely true. A fact is a claim about the world that can be false but is virtually universally recognized to be true by all those in possession of the currently available data and arguments related to the fact. It is something that, in Stephen J. Gould's words, is so highly probable it would be silly to doubt it.


IMO, the difference between belief and knowledge is empiricism - not reports of empiricism, but empiricism itself. If one experiences a thing, they have knowledge of it; if they are simply convinced by reports of a thing, then they have belief.


But do you agree with my definition of "fact" as I've given it here?


I did not refer to the axiomatic premises upon which logic is based; I referred to the axiomatic premises and heuristic structure one uses in their logical argument. One such premise could be: there exists only material phenomena.


Earlier you wrote, "Logic requires axiomatic premises to operate from, and it requires a framework that guides inferential connections towards a conclusion." This is the statement towards which my comment was directed.

I think you may have intended to use the term "rational argument" rather than "logic." I think you will agree that logic itself operates just fine in the absence of heuristic structure such as "there exists only material phenomena." Rational argument, OTOH, does rely on such structures.


Meleagar wrote:
Santini wrote:Most of what any of us believe we know about the world is based on second or third party information and not on our direct experience.


None of what I believe about the world is based on second or third party information, so your claim here is erroneous.


Do you not believe that Guam exists? Do you not believe that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the US?
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