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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

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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Craig Browning » 05 Sep 2011, 00:06

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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby _Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ » 05 Sep 2011, 08:34

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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

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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

A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby ProfWag » 16 Sep 2011, 05:33

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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.
A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Arouet » 16 Sep 2011, 11:00

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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby craig weiler » 16 Sep 2011, 12:34

A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.
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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby really? » 16 Sep 2011, 21:49

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Re: Logical Fallacy: The Burden of Proof

Postby Arouet » 16 Sep 2011, 22:23

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