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Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

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Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby _Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ » 04 Sep 2011, 07:58

It is prevalently believed among pseudo-skeptics and pseudo-intellectuals that the burden of proof always lies on a person making an extraordinary claim and not on the ones claiming it doesn't exist. While it is true that the burden of proof always lies on extraordinary claims, it's actually fallacious for 2 justifiable reasons:

1) The word, "Extraordinary" is very subjective at all levels.

&

2) It suggests that the burden of proof only lies on the extraordinary and not on the ordinary

So who really does bear the burden of proof????

Answer: On the person possessing a claim.

The burden of proof always lies on a person making a claim, regardless of it. If you claim X exist, then the burden of proof lies on you and if you claim X doesn't exist, then the burden of proof also lies on you. Claiming X exist is equivalent as claiming X doesn't exist. In addition, If you made a claim, you either have justification for it; otherwise, you're being outright dishonest to yourself.

For instance, suppose a parapsychologist claimed that a psi effect existed in an experiment. Now, suppose a skeptic claimed that a psi effect didn't existed in an experiment. Who has the burden of proof? Answer: Both. The parapsychologist/skeptic claimed that a psi effect did/didn't existed in a experiment; therefore, it is up to them to justify their claims. Saying you can't prove a nonexistent here is groundless. The skeptic can look for evidence of biases, flaws (Experimental or statistical), which would be enough proof for his/her claim. Saying the burden of proof lies on the parapsychologist and not on the skeptic is pseudo-skeptical and hypocrisy at best.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 04 Sep 2011, 11:28

In the realm of experiment every outcome ideally either confirms a hypothesis, or fails to confirm it, in which case there is a default hypothesis, which may be unfalsifiable by other means.
An extreme example is the Michealson-Morley experiment. The hypothesis was the velocity of light would be measurably affected by the existence of "aether", a "Fifth element" which was believed to be needed for the propagation of light waves.
"Aether" had originally been hypothesized as a separate element from which all celestial objects were composed, and which filed all space, since "vacuum" had not been observed and was believed to be impossible.
After Galileo, Newton, and meteors, all that was left for "aether" to do was fill space and propagate light. By proving (unexpectedly) that"aether" did not have the last effect predicted, "aether" lost its validity. If propagation had been shown, however, it would have constituted the first experimental proof of the existence of "Aether".
Unfalsiafiabilty is a hard concept to grok in the gut. The best I can do is "don't believe anything that could not conceivably be proven wrong, unless believing it works better than not believing it."
For example, I don't believe in the non-existence of aliens, because there could be (experiential) evidence I would accept that they exist, even tho no evidence would justify saying they do not anywhere, only in particular instances. ("That was no UFO, that was me!" "This 'alien artifact' says "made in China.'")
I don't believe in the Big Bang, because I consider it unfalsifiable. I consider the infinite universe to be equaly unfalsifiable, but it makes more sense to me, so, applying Occam's razor, I pick existence over the "vacuum" of non-existence.
A more complicated version. I have no compelling experimental evidence that my concept of "god" has anything to do with anything outside my own head, but currently, it works for me to believe he likes me.
Do I need to take my meds?
Last edited by Twain Shakespeare on 04 Sep 2011, 13:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Arouet » 04 Sep 2011, 12:41

_Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ wrote:It is prevalently believed among pseudo-skeptics and pseudo-intellectuals that the burden of proof always lies on a person making an extraordinary claim and not on the ones claiming it doesn't exist. While it is true that the burden of proof always lies on extraordinary claims, it's actually fallacious for 2 justifiable reasons:

1) The word, "Extraordinary" is very subjective at all levels.

&

2) It suggests that the burden of proof only lies on the extraordinary and not on the ordinary

So who really does bear the burden of proof????

Answer: On the person possessing a claim.


Huh? Who says that the burden of proof is only for extroadinry claims? The standard is what you have said: the burden of proof is on those making the claim. You are right in your conclusion, but I think you've set up a bit of a straw man here.

The ecree is a whole topic on its own which we can get into if you want.

The burden of proof always lies on a person making a claim, regardless of it. If you claim X exist, then the burden of proof lies on you and if you claim X doesn't exist, then the burden of proof also lies on you. Claiming X exist is equivalent as claiming X doesn't exist. In addition, If you made a claim, you either have justification for it; otherwise, you're being outright dishonest to yourself.


Sure if you make the positive claim that X doesn't exist, then the burden of proof is on you. But i don't know what you mean when you say claiming x exists is equivalent to saying that X doesn't exist. It's the opposite and a logical impossibility for x to exist and not exist.

For instance, suppose a parapsychologist claimed that a psi effect existed in an experiment. Now, suppose a skeptic claimed that a psi effect didn't existed in an experiment. Who has the burden of proof? Answer: Both. The parapsychologist/skeptic claimed that a psi effect did/didn't existed in a experiment; therefore, it is up to them to justify their claims. Saying you can't prove a nonexistent here is groundless. The skeptic can look for evidence of biases, flaws (Experimental or statistical), which would be enough proof for his/her claim. Saying the burden of proof lies on the parapsychologist and not on the skeptic is pseudo-skeptical and hypocrisy at best.


You're a bit off. Parapsychologist A makes claim X (which involves psi). Skeptic B says that Parapsychologist A hasn't sufficiently demonstrated that claim X involves psi.. Skeptic B is not necessarily claiming that claim X does not involve psi, but only that PA hasn't made his case.

Now, if SB is going say that psi is not involved then yes they need to demonstrate it (ie: show a non-psi mechanism).

It can be a subtle difference, but it is a difference. It's the difference between rejecting a claim and making a positive assertion.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Craig Browning » 05 Sep 2011, 00:06

The burden of proof always lies on a person making a claim, regardless of it. If you claim X exist, then the burden of proof lies on you and if you claim X doesn't exist, then the burden of proof also lies on you. Claiming X exist is equivalent as claiming X doesn't exist. In addition, If you made a claim, you either have justification for it; otherwise, you're being outright dishonest to yourself.


Love your logic, I've been a supporter of this view for a very long time given that the naysayers are the minority who point fingers at the majority e.g. it is they that seem to be making the "extraordinary" charge which, sad to say, can typically become understood when looking at the pseudo-intellectuals life and general psychological make-up -- the majority have had an incident in their lives where their belief. . . their faith, was shattered or betrayed. It doesn't have to be a traumatic instance; in fact I think many (especially the under 35 age group) hold to this view because of how our society is now days -- there's very little to believe in, in our time. The church has become a prove lie and farce not to mention the fact that it seems to be a perpetual hate mongering monster. Out politicians and Law Enforcement have likewise lost their luster because they are proven frauds in what they do, the real criminals typically sporting that $5,000.00 Italian suit with many also having a badge or bar certification. we don't even have to include big business and all the corruption it brings. . . my own faith shakes under all these examples of genuine EVIL (and not the good kind of evil).

Bitterness towards "God" has been a key of conversion for many a skeptic and atheist. . . then again, such has also inspired a huge amount of alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide. . .even murder. But sometimes our goals aren't to just lash out and deny God but to reap vengeance to the nth degree by ripping at the beliefs and testimony of those who have the audacity to hold to their faith no matter what.

"Strawmen" stand in cornfields warding off Crows unless they're Corn Dollies such as you'd traditionally find popping up this time of year or even a poppet, should one have need to put a pin into things :twisted: They are not the core of an argument but rather a classic dodge common to the skeptic's world when trying to force doubt/frustration onto the believer. They want us to buy into the idea that our position is weak when in truth, such as this example, we are but demanding our opponent play by the same rules it would impose upon us; they must prove their argument just as they insist that we do. The catch is however, the definitions of "proof" a likewise mutable; what I would see as proof and valid "they" deny, insisting upon a Black & White "concrete" for instance that they. . . anyone. . . can repeat and duplicate and make happen whenever they please, ignoring that even we know such is impossible or "unlikely" at most -- "God" simply doesn't work that way, he's a Teamster that works only when he feels like it, not when you tell him to. :twisted:
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby _Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ » 05 Sep 2011, 08:34

Arouet wrote:Sure if you make the positive claim that X doesn't exist, then the burden of proof is on you. But i don't know what you mean when you say claiming x exists is equivalent to saying that X doesn't exist. It's the opposite and a logical impossibility for x to exist and not exist.


You're right, it is impossible for X to exist and not exist (unless there are parallel universes) Anyway, what I was trying to say is that there is no difference between claiming X exist and vice-versa. The bottom line is that asserting X exist, as well as X doesn't exist, is pretty much a claim.

Skeptic B says that Parapsychologist A hasn't sufficiently demonstrated that claim X involves psi.. Skeptic B is not necessarily claiming that claim X does not involve psi, but only that PA hasn't made his case.


The skeptic B you had mentioned here is indeed a skeptical approach and you're right that the skeptic doesn't bear the onus, but that's not the case. The skeptic I mentioned is the skeptic claiming that psi didn't exist in the experiment, which is a claim and therefore, needs to satisfy the burden of proof.

Now, if SB is going say that psi is not involved then yes they need to demonstrate it (ie: show a non-psi mechanism).


Exactly! :mrgreen:
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Elhardt » 08 Sep 2011, 02:36

I can't stand that pseudoskeptic phrase "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". That's their way of trying to eliminate certain phenomena from discussion, consideration, or serious study, and when evidence supports a phenomena they can claim the evidence isn't extraordinary. There is no such thing as extraordinary evidence. There's simply evidence that supports a claim as true or evidence that shows a claim to be false and nothing more.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 08 Sep 2011, 02:50

Elhardt wrote:I can't stand that pseudoskeptic phrase "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". That's their way of trying to eliminate certain phenomena from discussion, consideration, or serious study, and when evidence supports a phenomena they can claim the evidence isn't extraordinary. There is no such thing as extraordinary evidence. There's simply evidence that supports a claim as true or evidence that shows a claim to be false and nothing more.



Ordinary proof about ordinary events can be provided by replicable experimet.
Extraordianary claims are not repeatable. It took hundred of observations before it was accepted that meteors struck earth ("I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors lied than that stones fall out of the sky." Thomas Jefferson) It was in connection with meteors that I first heard of the principle being ennuciated. To phrase it properly, "extraordinary (Non -replicable) events should leave extraordinary (Non -replicable) evidence."
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Arouet » 08 Sep 2011, 05:31

Folks: ECREE simply highlights a principle that we all apply to one extent or another. What it simply boils down to is that the further a proposition gets from what we generally expect, and the more important its implications, the stricter the evidence we'll require to accept it.

And yes, we all do it. The standard example is if you I tell you that I saw the neighbour's cat in my back yard you'd probably accept it without much probing. But if I tell you that a spaceship landed in my backyard you'd have a lot more questions.

When dealiung with psi we're dealing with consequences for our entire understanding of science. A paradigm change. No paradigm change should ever be taken lightly. We don't re-write the textbooks every time someone shows some promising results! When the textbooks need to be re-written we want rock-solid theories. Theories that have been fairly exhaustively vetted. This is how paradigm shifts work. It's how they have always worked.

Psi research simply isn't there yet. It may get there one day. But yes: according to our current knowledge of physics the conclusions of psi are extraordinary. The claims need to be exhaustively vetted. Parapsychology as a field is absolutely tiny. And the work just hasn't been done yet. And as discussed in the Ganzfeld thread: its very muddled right now. You can't change paradigms based on muddles.

And yes: this applies to conentional science too: string theory is not yet accepted, neither is multi-verse theory. Look at the arsenic life debacle, or the microbes on the asteroid. This applies across the board. We pay less attention to studies with less impact. That's the way it goes.

But as a rule of thumb: if the textbooks need to be rewritten, the research should be rock solid.

Does anyone disagree?
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby craig weiler » 16 Sep 2011, 04:34

according to our current knowledge of physics the conclusions of psi are extraordinary.


Not true. There is nothing in our present understanding of physics which prevents psi from being accepted. Telepathy is easily explainable as a characteristic of entanglement and even telekinesis is explainable due to the observer effect. Precognition is explainable on a quantum level as well since time has basically been shown to not be fundamental to the universe. So in terms of physics, nothing will change. At the most, they will have to finally acknowledge the presence of consciousness in physics, but they don't need psi to reach that conclusion and they're headed that way whether they like it or not. Their own data is pretty conclusive.

You cannot attack psi on the grounds that it defies physics. There is no case for that.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby ProfWag » 16 Sep 2011, 05:33

craig weiler wrote:
according to our current knowledge of physics the conclusions of psi are extraordinary.


Not true. There is nothing in our present understanding of physics which prevents psi from being accepted. Telepathy is easily explainable as a characteristic of entanglement and even telekinesis is explainable due to the observer effect. Precognition is explainable on a quantum level as well since time has basically been shown to not be fundamental to the universe. So in terms of physics, nothing will change. At the most, they will have to finally acknowledge the presence of consciousness in physics, but they don't need psi to reach that conclusion and they're headed that way whether they like it or not. Their own data is pretty conclusive.

You cannot attack psi on the grounds that it defies physics. There is no case for that.

Actually, the jury's still out on whether psi defies physics so there is a case for either current belief. Once again, that subject is split as most parapsychologists say that psi does not defy physics whereas the other half say it does defy. Who knows? Then again, I'm still pissed at Scepcop over his 9/11 posts but that's a different subject... ;-)
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby craig weiler » 16 Sep 2011, 09:25

No, actually, this is not up for debate. Regardless of what happens in parapsychology, nothing in physics prevents any psi effect from occurring. You're more than welcome to provide me with examples of what you think are the barriers here, but ordinary quantum physics is pretty damned clear on this point.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Arouet » 16 Sep 2011, 11:00

craig weiler wrote:
according to our current knowledge of physics the conclusions of psi are extraordinary.


Not true. There is nothing in our present understanding of physics which prevents psi from being accepted. Telepathy is easily explainable as a characteristic of entanglement


Easily? I'm not so sure. As far as I understand there is no consensus that information transfer is possible through entanglement. Also: for information to transfer you're going to need more than a particle or two here and there that are entangled but huge bunches of them, and I'm not sure it works that way. But I'm no physicist.

In any event: while I get that some people have thrown out hypotheses of entanglement, its hardly accepted and its premature to say that its easily explainable based on it.

This physics stuff is pretty tough and some people get caught in some of the analogies that physicists use. Maybe one day there will be a fully fleshed out hypothesis but you seem to be jumping the gun a bit.

By the way: find a probable mechanism for psi and I'm much more likely to grab onto it.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby craig weiler » 16 Sep 2011, 12:34

Easily? I'm not so sure. As far as I understand there is no consensus that information transfer is possible through entanglement.

Actually, it's been done.
viewtopic.php?t=1533

But that's beside the point. It is thoroughly irrelevant to this discussion whether such and such psi thingy has been proven or not. It doesn't matter whether information transfer has been proven. All that matters is whether our current understanding of physics poses any barriers to the acceptance of psi. And the answer is: absolutely not. This is not like a perpetual motion machine. Psi doesn't violate anything. There is nothing in physics that says that it can't be done.

According to current physics, psi is not extraordinary.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby really? » 16 Sep 2011, 21:49

craig weiler wrote:
Easily? I'm not so sure. As far as I understand there is no consensus that information transfer is possible through entanglement.

Actually, it's been done.
viewtopic.php?t=1533


I wonder but not to much if Persinger realizes how difficult it would be to entangle all of the atoms in two brains at the same time. I'm rather certain he has not thought this out in the least bit. Methods of entanglement require atomic particles to interact with each other directly. look it up.

Every experiment to date has shown it's not possible. Even Persinger isn't certain
If true, then there’s another way of potential communication that may have physical applications
However, if you care to argue that superluminal information transfer has been demonstrated by Persinger you may do so here http://www.physicsforums.com/ Go on I dare you.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Arouet » 16 Sep 2011, 22:23

craig weiler wrote:viewtopic.php?t=1533


I'm familiar with that experiment, but what does it have to do with entanglement?
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