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Journal SatanicPuppy's Journal: Argumentum ad Ignorantiam, we barely knew thee... 10

Finally tossing the old sig, as have had no ID whackjobs to torment with it for a while.

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam:
Fallacy of taking a statement not provably false and implying that it is therefore true


Theists Argument for the Existence of God
There is no evidence against p.
Therefore, p.

Atheists Argument for the Non-Existence of God
There is no evidence for p.
Therefore, not-p.

The whole goal of the culture of science is to use evidence and induction to find the right answer, not to use scientifically useless deductive logic to get into "Nuh-uh!" style pissing contests with people who already "know" the answer.

ad Ignorantiam is one of the more appalling fallacies you see thrown around in the world, because it is assertion based on zero evidence. It's almost always an emotional appeal made to play to the prejudices of the listeners.

So don't fall into the trap; conclusions made with no evidence are worthless.

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Argumentum ad Ignorantiam, we barely knew thee...

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  • It might surprise you to know that as a Christian (and I'm assuming you're not based on your handle, and if I'm wrong I apologize for that), I completely agree with this. Arguing "there is no evidence to exclude" or "there is no evidence to include" is foolish. You're never going to convince the other person of your viewpoint; the only possible impact is they'll get angry with you.

    Now specifically on the God question, my own belief is that people can and should study it out with adequate references on eac

    • I'm agnostic, mostly. I don't have a firm conviction on either side, and it annoys me absolutely to tiny pieces when other people try to claim that they are right and the other side is wrong.

      Either as a Theist, they should be exhibiting faith, and saying, "Though I cannot prove the existence of my God, I believe it in my heart." I am perfectly okay with this, and have spent many and many an hour in pleasant non-adversarial religious discussion. Religion is about faith, not proof..."For we walk by faith, not
      • by Trillan ( 597339 )

        Well, where we disagree is that I do believe that God will show himself to those who believe. In other words, I can have a "personal proof" of God (for lack of a better term), but it isn't something that I would expect to prove anything to you. Someone else can have a personal proof, too, but it won't mean anything to anyone else. In the end, that's perfectly fine with me.

        Let me tell a story. A medical doctor has a medical problem he doesn't understand. He goes to a specialist and is told he has three lar

        • Shrug. Medical Miracles as proof are generally filed under the Ad Hoc fallacy, because they're not repeatable...As a counter example, my mother, who was a good Christian, was told she had less than six months to live and only lived one. There is no lower rate of mortality for Christians, as opposed to lapsed Christians, and Atheists, and the fact that a doctor thinks you're going to die is in itself irrelevant (appeal to authority), because doctors are far from infallible.

          Worrying about why God lets some go
      • I've never seen the Atheist argument put like that, and I don't believe it reduces to that. First of all, the are a huge number of candidate deities that Atheists don't believe in. There are basically, two arguments, weak and strong, and both are valid, but the strong has to assume a certain class of deity or deities.

        1. Weak:
          1. There are an effectively infinite number of possible beliefs for which there is no valid evidence. Such beliefs are not worthy of acceptance.
          2. Beliefs in the various supernatural deit
        • Eh. I think that there is nothing wrong with developing a hypothesis and searching for evidence, so while I agree that an assertion without evidence can in no way be said to be "true", I don't necessarily think than an assertion without evidence is intrinsically unworthy.

          I think my point is more about suspending judgment in the absence of evidence. There are a lot of beliefs which have no valid evidence to support or refute them at this time, which time will prove to be correct or incorrect. I don't see any
          • OK, take your Santa Claus argument, and plug in the names of other supernatural beings and other natural explanations, if necessary. Any difference?

            • You assume that we have natural explanations for all things that we observe, and we don't. This is not to say that we should immediately attribute these things to being "acts of god", but simply that we don't pass judgment on them until we know what the hell we're talking about.

              I tend to look at modern physics from the historical perspective...We think we've got it all figured out. Hell, they thought they had it all figured out at the turn of the last century, then along comes Einstein, and poof, back to th
    • And "Satanicpuppy" was stuck on me by my wife back in the day, because I was "Evil...but Cute." It's got nothing to do with my religious beliefs.
      • by Trillan ( 597339 )
        Oh, I didn't think it made you a devil worshiper or anything like that. I was just pretty sure you weren't a Christian based on it. :)

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