Question

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Lynx Ssss

What is the fallacy here?,

1. Dynamo performed magic.

2. It has no natural explanation and tricks.

3. Therefore it's supernatural because it has no natural explanation

asked on Friday, Jul 30, 2021 01:53:33 PM by Lynx Ssss

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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus writes:

Assume there's either a natural explanation or a supernatural explanation. It has to be one of the two, and it cannot be both.

Let 'natural explanation' be A, and 'supernatural explanation' be B.

Our first premise is, either A and B.

Assume there is no natural explanation.

Our second premise is not A.

Deduce therefore B.

This is a valid syllogism - there is an exclusive or (xor) separating A and B. Since the 'or' is exclusive, we cannot have both A and B - but we are also given a hard dilemma (so we must pick between A and B).

The strength and weakness of this argument, then, is based on the premises rather than logical validity.

Is P1) true? It's reasonable.

But what about P2) ? Is there really no natural explanation, or have we simply not found one? This is where Dr Bo has a point with the argument from ignorance. The lack of a natural explanation at present does not imply there isn't one, or will never be one.

posted on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 02:46:14 PM

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Answers

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Bo Bennett, PhD
5
answered on Friday, Jul 30, 2021 02:24:55 PM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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account no longer exists writes:

Kaiden,
I wish I could respond to your response, because I think it represented the discussion very well. I'm trying to use "explanation" as it is used in the Principle of Sufficient Reason sense (that it's never acceptable to say "nothing" is a reason, and every contingent fact has an explanation), which I think is the exact same sense you gave in your response.

I was trying to state that Dr Bennett's assertion that "nothing" has explanatory power, is not a basis for an Argument from Ignorance.

If we're going to enumerate possible explanations for perceived magic, the possible explanations from that discussion would include 1) Natural 2) Supernatural and 3) Nothing (as per Dr Bennett).  

Well, we can just remove number 3 itself, because it isn't really an option at all, because it's literally nothing.  We can't list nothing  in an enumeration of things that have some sort of explanatory powers. It is void. It's attaching a predicate to a subject that isn't even there. It's like saying "_wawa_wa__ causes it to rain", or "_wawa__wa__ is yellow". It's even less that actually. Nothing does nothing, causes nothing, is nothing and has no predicates, and certainly can't be listed in an enumeration of things that contingent reality depends on. 

Anyhow, I think you represented the difference very well (at least from my standpoint).

posted on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 03:07:40 PM
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Kaiden
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Hi, Lynx Ssss!

      This argument’s premises have been ambiguous enough to fuel a lengthy discussion about what fallacy, if any, has been committed. The arguer does not assume that Dynamo’s performance cannot currently be explained. For he currently has an argument that the performance has an explanation (but a supernatural one.)

      But Dr. Bennett and Corhniolio both offer good answers. Dr. Bennett says that it is an argument from ignorance. Corhniolio says it is a disjunctive syllogism. The reason they cannot agree is because of the ambiguity of the sentence “it has no natural explanation”.

An explanation can be understood in two ways.

1. An explanation is the thing out there in the world that provides the adequate conditions of something’s existence or occurrence. For example, rain, sunshine and soil explains the growth of a plant. Rain, sunshine, and soil are the things out there in the world that provide the adequate conditions for the plant to flourish.

2. An explanation is the account of whatever it is that provides the adequate conditions of something’s existence or occurrence. For example, my biology book explains the growth of a plant. My biology book gives an account in clear details of the adequate conditions of a plant’s grow.

      In the first sense, an explanation is the  factors themselves that are behind a phenomenon or existent. In the second sense, an explanation is the detailed description that a person provides of the factors that are behind a phenomenon or existent. Dr. Bennett said that the argument is an argument from ignorance because he read premise 2 as talking about explanations in this second sense. That is, just because no one has provided any naturalistic account of Dynamo's performance, it does not follow that supernatural forces were behind Dynamo’s performance. Corhniolio said that the argument is a disjunctive syllogism because he read premise 2 as talking about explanations in the first sense. That is, there are only two possible kinds of causal factors out there in the world: supernatural or natural. If the causal factor out there in the world that was responsible for Dynamo’s performance was not natural, it had to have been supernatural. (Assuming there were any causal factors responsible at all.)

      Dr. Bennett and Corhniolio both have interesting Answers, just depending on what sense of “explanation” you are using.

      Personally, my focus is on premise 1. “Magic” is also an ambiguous term. If premise 1 really does mean that Dynamo used magical powers to conduct his performances, then the argument is valid because that it what the conclusion basically says. But of course, the argument would thereby be question begging. If premise 1 means that Dynamo was just using magic tricks , then the argument is valid because premise 1 contradicts premise 2, which says that the performance has no tricks. And anything follows from a contradiction (in classical logic.)

I suppose that "magic" could only mean either a supernatural power or a magic trick. As I have argued, the argument is valid on either interpretation, but question begging on the first interpretation. So, the argument is valid and potentially question begging.

 

Thank you, Lynx Ssss

From, Kaiden

answered on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 04:48:00 PM by Kaiden

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Lynx Ssss writes:

First my agrument was that dynamo performed magic but I don't mean real magic or fake I just mean the things you watch like magician performing magic, like dynamo doing this and that, take for example dynamo taking a fish out of empty bucket now when I say dynamo performed magic I don't mean real or fake I just mean the magic or performance of dynamo taking fish out of a empty bucket in other words wonderful or amazing. Now when I say there is no natural explanation how clouds form I mean it has not yet any natural explanation not that there isn't. 

 

Btw, thanks for answer.

posted on Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021 12:14:47 AM
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Arlo
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If we accept premise 2 as true, and if we assume "natural" and "supernatural" to be opposites, then what we have is an application of the definition of "natural" and "supernatural" that involves deductive reasoning.

If we question premise 2, then we have one true premise and one false premise leading to a questionable conclusion.

If the statements describe any of the magic shows I've seen, a more accurate rewording of the premises might be:

1) Dynamo performed magic tricks

2) Dynamo did not offer any natural explanation for the tricks

3) I can't figure out any natural explanations for the tricks

4) Therefore ....

I suggest that a better conclusion might be that Dynamo is a pretty good magician, rather than that there's something supernatural going on here.

answered on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 12:30:50 PM by Arlo

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John Best
1

I can see Dr. Bo's answer here......

Assuming Dynamo did indeed perform something, and that something we could not explain.   That is, there may be an explanation, but in our ignorance, we just don't know what the explanation is.   So 2, "it has no natural explanation and tricks"  seems to do two things, it defines 'magic' and also asserts without substantiation that there is no natural explanation.    There may very well be a natural explanation for what Dynamo has performed, but we are ignorant of what exactly Dynamo did.  So to claim it was supernatural because we didn't catch a potential natural explanation exclude the natural explanation.   

This assumes natural and supernatural events are mutually exclusive, which may also be an act of ignorance and/or arrogance.  

answered on Sunday, Aug 08, 2021 12:13:24 PM by John Best

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Lynx Ssss writes:

Let me tell you in 1st premise I used magic as neither natural 9r supernatural I just used it as an Wonderful performance that surprises people and they think it's supernatural and by it has no natural explanation I mean there isn't yet.

 

posted on Sunday, Aug 08, 2021 09:51:01 PM
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John Best writes:
[To Lynx Ssss]

I like Arlo's suggestion that the conclusion "Therefore it's supernatural because it has no natural explanation", would be better considered as "Therefore since the audience did not detect a natural explanation, that they think  something supernatural happened."  i.e. Dynamo is a good magician.   ;-)

 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 09, 2021 10:47:05 AM
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Prof M
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Yes, we know: Therefore, god. 

answered on Friday, Jul 30, 2021 06:32:10 PM by Prof M

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Kostas Oikonomou
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answered on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 10:16:12 AM by Kostas Oikonomou

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Lynx Ssss
-1

It is not an Argument From Ignorance.

It's a Disjunctive logical proposition. If it has an explanation, and the explanation is not natural, then the only other option is that the explanation is something other than natural (supernatural).

An Argument from Ignorance would mean there's an unknown possible enumeration, and you're just choosing one, but you lack the knowledge to have done so. Like "Somebody stole my watch, it must be Roger" or "Somebody stole my watch, it must be a ghost", or "Somebody stole my watch, it must be the Russians". Those would all be examples of an Argument from Ignorance (unless you have evidence for one). However, natural/supernatural is too high up on the logical categorization hierarchy, it is either one or the other. If it is not one, then it is the other.

In a true dichotomous  proposition, it is either one or the other. In this case, it is either natural, or it is super-natural. It is not natural, therefore it is super-natural. 

All explanations are natural or supernatural.

Either Dynamos magic has an explanation that is supernatural or natural.

Dynamos magic was not natural

Therefore Dyanamo's magic was sueprnatural. 

answered on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 11:58:37 AM by Lynx Ssss

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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:

 If it has an explanation, and the explanation is not natural, then the only other option is that the explanation is something other than natural (supernatural). 

The problem is, there has never, ever, been a verified supernatural explanation. The claim "It has no natural explanation" is always actually "I know of no natural explanation." Any claim that "It has no natural explanation" is a clear and obvious argument from ignorance , because the person making that claim would have to have a complete understanding of the natural world and all its laws to make such a claim, which, by all practical definitions, impossible.

posted on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 02:13:24 PM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

Well, I respectfully disagree. What you just explained is an unfalsifiable proposition. You could literally be burning in hell or living in heaven, and if you're a naturalist you'd just claim "I simply know of no natural explanation for what I'm seeing. I'm sure someday scientists will explain it. Clearly mass hallucinations are possible or I'm in a coma and will probably wake up. " This is a position that could never be falsified, and the true naturalist will always maintain that there's a natural explanation, no matter what evidence is presented to the contrary.

Arguments from Ignorance are always of the sort that they present a false dichotomy or enumeration. In this case there is no false dichotomy,  and the options here are natural/supernatural.

 

"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

"This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes the possibility that there may have been an insufficient investigation to prove that the proposition is either true or false."

If you read in his statement, he asserts "the explanation is not natural". He does not assert "maybe, the explanation is not natural". He asserts that it isn't, period. If it is not natural, then it is supernatural.  Disjucntion. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 02:37:11 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

An explanation is defined as a reason or justification given for an action or belief. This is important because it is possible for an explanation for something to not exist, that is, for something to be unexplained.

Look at the OP again:

It has no natural explanation

You reinterpreted the meaning:

If it has an explanation, and the explanation is not natural...

There is no claim being made that there is an explanation; so your hypothetical is moot. The claim is simply that there is no natural explanation. The logical conclusion is that the explanation is unknown and to jump to "then there must be a supernatural explanation" is excluding the possibility that there may be an insufficient investigation to prove that the proposition is either true or false.

If you read in his statement, he asserts "the explanation is not natural". 

No, he doesn't. You quoted him incorrectly. He wrote "It has no natural explanation". In your version, a claim is being made that there is an explanation, and that explanation is not natural. The way it was written is that the explanation is unknown. If "It has no natural explanation" is true, "It has no supernatural explanation" can also be true at the same time if the fact is that there is simply no explanation.

An unidentified flying object (UFO) is the same as an object with no earthy explanation. This doesn't mean there is an explanation and it must be from outside the earth (alien). The only reasonable conclusion is that the explanation is unknown, and saying because there is no earthy explanation, there must be an alien explanation, is another clear example of the argument from ignorance .

 

This is a position that could never be falsified, and the true naturalist will always maintain that there's a natural explanation, no matter what evidence is presented to the contrary

This is a whole other discussion, one of theology and perhaps the philosophy of science that is certainly an interesting and worthwhile discussion, but not for this forum. Even if your statement above were accurate, it has nothing to do with the fact that the OP presents a clear example of the argument from ignorance .

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 09:22:21 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:

[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Huh? I told that it has no natural explanation and by that I mean there is not yet also because there is no explanation or that this is natural then why supernatural when you have no evidence it is? 

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 05:51:13 AM
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Monique Z writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

"The problem is, there has never, ever, been a verified supernatural explanation."

 

If the criteria for an event to be deemed supernatural is that is that it cannot be explained naturally, but one assumes that where there is evidence lacking it means our understanding of the natural world is incomplete, then one must assume there is a natural explanation that we don't know. But this means we are being biased in our thinking because it is possible that the supernatural does exist and thats the reason there is no natural explanation.

This kind of thinking also seems to commit the fallacy of ignorance, because supernatural claims are being dismissed on the basis that because our understanding of the universe is incomplete there is probably a natural explanation that we simply haven't discovered.

It would be nearly impossible to make any claim on this subject that wouldn't depend on ignorance of the truth

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 09:43:46 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

but one assumes that where there is evidence lacking it means our understanding of the natural world is incomplete,

This isn't an assumption; it is a fact. We know the understanding of our natural world in incomplete. What we don't know, if the unknown explanation is filled by that gap in our understanding or not. This is why we can only logically and reasonably say that we don't know the explanation.

But this means we are being biased in our thinking because it is possible that the supernatural does exist and thats the reason there is no natural explanation. 

No. We cannot say the supernatural is possible until we demonstrate its possibility. All we can say is that we don't know if it is possible or not . We know for sure the natural is possible.

If one were to claim that must be a natural explanation and a supernatural explanation is impossible , they would be wrong for the same reasons (I don't know therefore natural). If someone expresses confidence that the unknown explanation will be natural, they are perfectly justified by logical induction. "Out of the millions of people doing magic, none has ever been demonstrated to be nothing but trickery. Therefore, this magician is likely also using trickery and not 'real magic'."

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 12:48:40 PM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

I have to disagree. You just conflated "earthly explanation" with "natural explanation" in the case of UFO, which aren't remotely the same thing. Obviously a Martian explanation would also be a "natural explanation" while not being an "earthly explanation".

In the case of the magic trick, if it has "no explanation", that is synonymous with "super natural" (anything other than a natural).

If it has an explanation other than natural, then it is supernatural. If a natural occurrence occurs, but has no explanation whatsoever, this is also supernatural. "Supernatural" means anything other than natural, and "nothing" causing material occurrences, is other than natural.

Either way it is not an Argument from Ignorance because we can enumerate exactly what the options are. 1) No explanation 2) Supernatural explanation 3) Natural explanation.

Arguments from Ignorance are when we do not know what all the possibilities are, yet we choose one. We can safely say here it is either 1 or 2, both which would occupy "other than natural" which is synonymous with  a "supernatural" category.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 02:23:55 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

No, you don't understand my question I told it has no natural explanation not that it is not natural you are strawmaning my agrument.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 09:26:24 PM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Lynx Ssss]

Ok, fair enough. I have a hard time  understanding what you were really saying. "It has no natural explanation and  tricks". It seems here you were trying to reiterate that there's no natural explanation, because you seemed to want to say there's no "tricks" going on here. At least that's the way I read it.

Either way, there's no way out. If you have a magician making rabbits popping out of a hat, it "has no natural explanation"  "and tricks", whatever that's supposed to mean, then it's supernatural. 

Just to avoid equivocation, here's the definition of "supernatural" that I yanked off of google's dictionary. If you're using some other definition, you'd need to specify, because that could change the entire understanding of your argument. 

Supernatural "attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
"a supernatural being"

If a magician has an empty hat, pulls a rabbit out of it, and there's no (negation, zero) natural explanation for  it and it wasn't a trick, or the rabbit literally has no cause whatsoever and just appeared, then this is "beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature" and is what almost every person alive means when they say something is "supernatural".

If the magician is required for this (I assume a magician because "tricking" somebody seems to require an agent), then you can never say there' no explanation, because the magician is required and this is what Aristotle refers to as an Efficient Cause. 

Regardless, rabbits coming out of hats, with "no natural explanation" nor "tricks", it's supernatural.

On the other hand it could be that I have no idea what you were really trying to say, because it barely makes sense, and I should have never responded. 

 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 10:26:14 AM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Actually it can be quantum teleportation and it can be just that magician was using technology and many possibilities so telling there is no natural explanation is absurd you have to debunk these explanation to justify your claim that it is supernatural.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 10:33:04 AM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Lynx Ssss]

Ok, "quantum teleportation" would be a natural explanation, but you said there's "no natural explanation".

I can barely understand what you're talking about. Don't say there's "no natural explanation" and then follow that up by giving a natural explanation! 

Naturalists, including the Dr, use the same form of poor reasoning, then claim others reasoning is poor.

You rule out a natural explanation, and then try to claim it was caused by "absolutely nothing", or you point to another natural explanation despite having already ruled them out.

If we accept that everything with ontological status has an explanation (as per Leibniz and many others), then if your magic rabbit did not have a natural explanation, then it's supernatural. If your explanation is "quantum mechanics" then it has a natural explanation.

Positing "absolutely nothing" as a viable option as an explanation, is extremely controversial at best, and certainly does nothing to demonstrate an Argument From Ignorance, which is obviously an informal fallacy and should only be cited when it's certain that it's occurring.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 10:58:07 AM
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Lynx Ssss writes:

[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Man, seems like you don't understand my question I told IT HAS NO NATURAL EXPLANATION AND THAT MEANS THERE IS NOT YET NOT THAT THERE ISN'T, want an example? Consider fish falling from sky it has no natural explanation yet that doesn't mean it's supernatural because you have no natural explanation. Also I don't even know what you are talking about I didn't told that it came out of nothing, right? And that's clearly agrument from ignorance because it has no natural explanation doesn't mean that it's supernatural.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 11:19:30 AM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Lynx Ssss]

Well, ok, then, you need to be more clear, and try to write coherent sentences.

Just so you know the word "no" is a negation. If I say "there are no unicorns", I am making an assertion that unicorns do not exist. You should have said "As of yet, we are not able to identify any natural explanations", then I think the answer you're looking for would have been pretty obvious.

If you rule out natural explanations, and can thus justify the statement "there is no natural explanation", then the explanation is supernatural. You can make the lame appeal to "absolutely nothing" to try to craft it into an Appeal To Ignorance, but that's such a metaphysically silly refutation to me it's hardly worth debating.

If you accept that things like rabbits appearing demand an explanation, then your rabbit has a natural or supernatural explanation, period. This is called the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which is itself controversial. People with certain philosophical views like naturalists rely on it being false, and they claim things happen for no reason whatsoever, but most everybody else accepts it as fact (everything that exists has an explanation of some sort).

If you hold to the position that things exist that have absolutely no explanation or cause, then you adhere to a proposition that needs to be proven. It is not sufficient to just assert it as true and then claim it's a basis for an Appeal to Ignorance, as the Dr did, and as perhaps you seem to be doing.

If the fish fell from the sky, and you ruled out the possibility of a natural explanation, the the Principle of Sufficient Reason tells us there must be some explanation and since "nothing" is not an explanation,  the two options are natural and supernatural, thus through disjunction the explanation is supernatural.

Asserting "things occur with no explanation", is an unfounded assertion of faith and certainly does not prove someone's argument to be an Argument From Ignorance, but it's not worth me engaging someone over it for very long.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 11:42:31 AM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

You have no natural explanation yet and how it is caused and that isn't the evidence that it isn't natural it's just that we don't know and also if by no natural explanation you mean that it isn't natural then you are excluding possibility of natural explanation that it can't be quantum teleportation and others.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 09:34:27 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Seems like you aren't answering my question, I asked are you accepting the possibilities of natural explanation or are you excluding for no reason? 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 11:40:32 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Also it's not faith it's agrument from ignorance because there is no natural explanation doesn't mean we can or can't explain that it simply means we don't know and telling it is done by god because it has no natural explanation is agrument from ignorance and not faith and even if it is faith it doesn't change the fact that it is agrument from ignorance

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 11:50:54 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:

[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

And what do you mean by that it is not natural are you telling that it has no natural explanation yet or it isn't natural?

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 10:36:25 AM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

No. We cannot say the supernatural is possible until we demonstrate its possibility. All we can say is that we don't know if it is possible or not . We know for sure the natural is possible.

What exactly do you mean when you say it's possibility has to be demonstrated? 

If the definition of supernatural is that is not natural, then wouldn't the lack of a natural explanation for something be demonstratating it's possibility?

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 02:30:32 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To Monique Z]

No it's agrument from ignorance.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 10:36:41 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To Monique Z]

I don't know what magician did but this is natural because there is high probability of magicians doing tricks rather than supernatural because that's what magician do.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 01, 2021 10:40:48 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

What exactly do you mean when you say it's possibility has to be demonstrated? 

If we claim that X is possible, we need to have evidence that it is—it needs to be demonstrated. The same thing if we say that it is impossible . The impossible can typically just be demonstrated through logic or by definition (e.g., it is impossible for a bachelor to be married). We can't blindly claim that things are possible or impossible. Regarding the supernatural, it is not my problem to figure out how to prove it is possible—I am not the one that thinks it exists.

If the definition of supernatural is that is not natural, then wouldn't the lack of a natural explanation for something be demonstratating it's possibility? 

Absolutely not. The same way that seeing a strange light in the sky that one can't explain doesn't demonstrate the possibility that alien spaceships exist. Or the same way that our ancestors not knowing how the sun "set" demonstrated the supernatural when they thought Apollo pulled the sun across the sky in his chariot. The lack of a natural explanation is a epistemic failure that is not related to ontology.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 06:42:09 AM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

"If we claim that X is possible, we need to have evidence that it is—it needs to be demonstrated."

In the case of a supernatural claims as it's normally defined, surely it must be the case that supernatural events do not have natural explanations. Therefore it's possibility must necessarily demonstrate the lack of natural explanation. This would be defining the supernatural such that it's possibility is demonstrated if you and show all natural explanations available fail. 

Basically what you're saying is that the supernatural is impossible to demonstrate in your worldview given you reject the criteria necessary to define the supernatural.

I agree in the case of a magic trick there is likely a natural explanation. However saying the supernatural hasn't been demonstrated in the past therefore cannot be used as an explanation for things currently would also be an argument from ignorance

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 08:51:41 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

surely it must be the case that supernatural events do not have natural explanations.

Agreed.

Basically what you're saying is that the supernatural is impossible to demonstrate in your worldview given you reject the criteria necessary to define the supernatural. 

Not impossible, but my standards would be exceptionally high given my view as a scientist and research into past paranormal investigations. Assuming the supernatural existed, natural laws could not explain it. It would fall under extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. To stick with the OP example, if a magician pulled a rabbit out of his hat, and a dozen of the world's best magicians ruled out all known ways to do it, the magician could repeat the feat at will, it was tested using the scientific method in front of university scientists and professional debunkers of such tricks, to rule out known natural explanations, the logical and rational conclusion would STILL be "we don't know how he did it," full stop. However, if such rigorous testing was done, it wouldn't be unreasonable to accept this (provisionally), as a possible demonstration of what might be the supernatural.

saying the supernatural hasn't been demonstrated in the past therefore cannot be used as an explanation for things currently would also be an argument from ignorance 

Perhaps not an argument from ignorance, but certainly not good reasoning. If you need X to prove X, there is a problem. As I alluded to in a previous comment (not sure where), this concept is full of nuance and cannot be encapsulate by a simple rule as you mentioned above. Such a demonstration as I illustrated above could, let say "beyond reasonable doubt," create a category we can call the "supernatural." Even in that case, the only thing we can say about it is that defies all known natural laws and explanation despite rigorous testing and repeatability. Note how this is different from one-time events thousands/billions of years ago, personal testimony, dreams, feelings, "powers" that cannot be repeated at will, etc.

Each of us sets the bar where we are willing to accept magic as an explanation. Those of us with knowledge of natural laws, the scientific method, the human mind and the many cognitive biases, etc., are far more likely assume an unknown natural explanation (assuming no plausible natural explanation exists) than a supernatural one. This would be making a probability assessment, not a definitive claim that would trigger the argument from ignorance . Others will credit the supernatural to events like finding a parking spot. And of course, many people fall somewhere on this spectrum.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 09:44:29 AM
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Monique Z writes:

If what Dr. Bennett is saying is true, doesnt that mean the version of Atheism as presented by Anthony Flew is also an argument from ignorance? The justification goes something like this:

I don't know that God does not exist, however because there is no evidence proving God exists, I am justified in assuming that God does not exist until proven otherwise. 

posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 09:09:21 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

No, although I would object to his use of "prove" here (and some of his wording). Substitute "God" for invisible unicorns living in our anuses and you should get his point. We shouldn't believe things exist until we have sufficient evidence that warrants the belief. I would phrase as the following:

I don't know that God does not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that God exists, I am justified in assuming that God does not exist. 

I would also say (and you would too, most likely)

I don't know that leprechauns do not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that leprechauns exists, I am justified in assuming that leprechauns do not exist. 

These are epistemological declarations, not claims about objective reality (ontological). The form for the argument from ignorance is X is false because you cannot prove that X is true. As an atheist, I am careful not to make any declarations about God's existence, rather, my atheism answer the question whether I believe in a god or not. I don't believe a god exists, but at the same time I don't claim a god's existence is impossible (that is, it is false that a god or gods exists).

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 02, 2021 10:00:14 AM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

 "This would be making a probability assessment, not a definitive claim that would trigger the argument from ignorance"

 

I would agree to some extent. One is likely not claiming to know with full certainty that something is supernatural. One is making an inference based on the preponderance of evidence. In the case of the supernatural or the existince of God, I think it's much more appropriate to consider one is justified via sufficient reasons rather than evidence beyond reasonable doubt because as you noted our knowledge is incomplete in this regard and it would be very difficult to confirm many fundamental beleifs using this standard ( the reliability of one's own reasoning, for one). If one has sufficient reason to believe that the event is supernatural, and this would likely come from demonstrating that all natural explanations fail currently, I would think they are justified to the extent that our current knowledge allows. The issue in this case is that the absence of evidence is necessary to prove evidence of absence.

Arguing that the supernatural has never been demonstrated (in other words, it's unproven) therefore one is justifed to reject the existence of the supernatural is also relying on ignorance to justify ones epistemic attitude. Yet, why is it considered valid justification but the inverse isn't ? 

It is the same reason the presumption of atheism has been justified — merely on the basis that one asserts all of the evidence for Gods existence fails. I see no reason to make the exception for a worldview like atheism to be justified, but not for belief in supernatural claims. 

What is seems you're suggesting is that beleif in the negative epistemic position requires less of a burden of proof, and can justifiably be assumed in the absence of evidence. But why should this be the case? 

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021 08:00:05 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

But why should this be the case?

Simple. Nature is proven and demonstrable, the supernatural isn't. The supernatural is a place holder for "we don't know." It might me magic, but might not. This is getting too much into philosophy of religion and the psychology of belief. So I will leave it there.

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021 09:36:47 AM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

I think your responses clearly show that you have cognitive biases on this subject. Theres just no way the presumption of Atheism is not also an argument from ignorance given what you've already asserted. Even if the natural has been demonstrated that has nothing to do with atheism. I also don't see how that assertion (the supernatural has never been demonstrated) is not an argument from ignorance itself

Thanks for responding!

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 07:39:06 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

Perhaps you can tell me what cognitive biases I have and what I wrote that makes this "clear."

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 07:50:04 AM
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Monique Z writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

Unfortunately I don't think this site is the best place to unpack this discussion in the detail it deserves. But I'll explain some of the reasons I think you've exposed your biases here. 

You stated:

"Substitute "God" for invisible unicorns living in our anuses and you should get his point."

The fact that you equate a serious debate like the existence of God with something utterly trivial shows you're not taking the subject seriously. Nobody has ever seriously contended that there's invisible unicorns living in our anuses, let alone put forward a proper case for us to consider. It's simply a tactic used to make belief in God seem ridiculous (appeal to ridicule?)

You stated:

"We shouldn't believe things exist until we have sufficient evidence that warrants the belief."

So positive epistemic claims require sufficient evidence, but negative epistemic claims do not? If your criteria for justified belief is sufficient evidence then why should anyone believe the non existence of something without sufficient evidence also? You're suggesting beliefs can in fact be justified on the lack of evidence to the contrary, but that would be an appeal to ignorance!

Here was an example of what you claimed is a justifed statement:

"I don't know that leprechauns do not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that leprechauns exists, I am justified in assuming that leprechauns do not exist. "

Now let me phrase the OP in the same manner:

"I don't know whether the magic performed happened naturally, however because I have yet to be presented with a sufficient natural explanation for the magic performed I am justifed in assuming that the explanation is not a natural one"

This now should be justified. Also theism can be phrased the same way:

"I don't know that Atheism is false, however because I have yet to to be presented with sufficient evidence for atheism, I am justifed in assuming atheism is false"

This should be justifed now. Yet these all qualify as an argument from ignorance!

This website defines the fallacy this way: 

"The assumption of a conclusion or fact based primarily on lack of evidence to the contrary. "

The presumption of atheism does exactly this! 

So does the assumption that the supernatural has never been demonstrated therefore should be rejected as an explanation.

This ties back into the black swan fallacy you mention in the argument from ignorance entry. I think the advice you provide in the end more or less summarizes my feelings on this topic:

"Leave room for discovery unless it has been demonstrated that the contradictory evidence, or claims cannot possibly exist or such claims would be impossible. "

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 09:28:15 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

The fact that you equate a serious debate like the existence of God with something utterly trivial shows you're not taking the subject seriously. 

But I am not. I was making an apt analogy to remove your theistic bias. If "God" (a supernatural being) is replaced with any other supernatural being (invisible anus-dwelling unicorns), you would clearly see why the statement is reasonable: I don't know that invisible anus-dwelling unicorns do not exist, however because there is no evidence proving invisible anus-dwelling unicorns exists, I am justified in assuming that invisible anus-dwelling unicorns do not exist until proven otherwise. It doesn't matter if nobody argues for the existence of anus-dwelling unicorns. You are responding emotionally because you think I am equating your God with anus-dwelling unicorns. I am not. Using outrageous examples like this allow people evaluate the claim without bias.

I did state: "We shouldn't believe things exist until we have sufficient evidence that warrants the belief." This is a foundation of critical thinking. If you disagree with with, you are using and incredibly flawed epistemology that opens the floodgates to endless false claims.

"I don't know whether the magic performed happened naturally, however because I have yet to be presented with a sufficient natural explanation for the magic performed I am justifed in assuming that the explanation is not a natural one" 

You are using a seriously-flawed epistemology in this statement based on thinking everything is magic until proven otherwise. Honestly, you are not even welcome at the big boys and girls table with such a belief (if you held it, but I know you don't).

"I don't know that Atheism is false, however because I have yet to to be presented with sufficient evidence for atheism, I am justifed in assuming atheism is false" 

You don't know that the lack of belief in any gods is false? That doesn't even make sense. But I think I know what you mean. You are claiming that by default you believe in God until proven otherwise. But you are being inconsistent (and not honest). Did you believe in Allah by default? Zeus? This isn't how belief works, and magic creatures you are presented with, I an confident you reject by default until demonstrated—which is what you should do. I don't know your history, but sometime over the course of your life you were presented with claims that God existed and at some point you started to believe. Not by default, but because someone/something convinced you.

Many years ago, when I became an atheist, I was an activist on the topic but quickly found that my  activism often conflicted with my larger goal of critical thinking and reason. I defended bad arguments and reasoning because anti-theism was my goal. This is why I stopped. When it comes to the existence of a god now, I can honestly say that I am apathetic. Only in retrospect I could tell that I was engaged in motivated reasoning. Smart people (like you) are very good at rationalization. Theists, especially Christians, typically believe that because God exists they will have eternal life. Many also believe if they "reject" God, they will suffer for eternity. This kind of belief not only introduces strong biases, but makes seeing one own biases extremely difficult to detect. I can appreciate you being concerned about me being biased, but you might want to examine your own biases. I teach a course on Cognitive Biases if you are interested :) https://www.virversity.com/course/cognitivebiases

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 12:20:22 PM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

You say I am biased, but offered no examples of what I actually said to support your accusations. In fact, I don't believe the supernatural. I just think you're not being consistent with your own claims about what constitutes as an argument from ignorance:

You stated: "Did you believe in Allah by default? Zeus? This isn't how belief works, and magic creatures you are presented with, I [am] confident you reject by default until demonstrated—which is what you should do."

When I decided to take the question seriously I approached it with an open mind and followed the arguments where they led. And yes, by default, before ever considering the questions deeply, I lacked a belief. But that only justifies you for the time you're not taking the subject seriously. Once you enter into the public debate on the subject and contend that a certain epistemic beleif is rationally justified you can no longer assert that you're simply remaining in the default position if you want to be taken seriously. You have to look at the case being laid out and make conclusions that are supported by good reasons. If that reason is the lack of evidence to the contrary then you're making an argument from ignorance according to the definition you give on this website. Here is is once again:

"The assumption of a conclusion or fact based primarily on lack of evidence to the contrary. "

You stated: "You don't know that the lack of belief in any gods is false? That doesn't even make sense. "

Based on your earlier statement, surely you know what I mean when I say Atheism. It's the belief/assumption that Gods do not exist. Here is the statement you're claiming is justified once again:  

"I don't know that God does not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that God exists, I am justified in assuming that God does not exist."

This statement says you are justified in assuming God does not exist. We will say that this is the kind of atheism we're discussing. 

If you simply mean you lack a beleif because you've never contemplated the question enough to critically evaluate the evidence to determine its veracity I'll accept that as justified. However if you've looked over the reasons and evidence, and determined all the evidence fails so therefore decide on the lack of evidence that you will assume God does not exist until proven otherwise, then you are clearly making an argument from ignorance.

You stated: "You are responding emotionally because you think I am equating your God with anus-dwelling unicorns."

My point is that it's hard to take you seriously because nobody has ever genuinely contended that anus-dwelling unicorns exist. I don't need to seriously consider flying unicorns living in people's anuses because there's no evidence or case that has been put forward to contemplate. This is not analogous because the reasoning+evidence for Gods existence has been laid out and presumably one has considered this case and made a determination of its veracity.
 
If you put forward a case for anus dwelling unicorns then I would consider that evidence+reasoning and also consider evidence+reasoning to the contrary in order to make a proper decision. Otherwise there's no reason to contemplate the existence of something nobody has seriously postulated.

You stated: "You are using a seriously-flawed epistemology in this statement based on thinking everything is magic until proven otherwise."

This is precisely my point! Now consider the presumption of Atheism and explain how this is not equally as flawed.

The presumption of Atheism, if you're being honest, is very clearly "assuming a conclusion or fact primarily based in lack of evidence to the contrary" . Unless your definition is incorrect there doesn't seem to be any other way to look at it. 

Perhaps what you are saying is that the presumption of atheism is an argument form ignorance, but it's still justified? How so? 

[ login to reply ] posted on Thursday, Aug 05, 2021 10:32:03 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

You say I am biased, but offered no examples of what I actually said to support your accusations.

Then I withdraw that accusation. This forum is not about personal attacks.

Once you enter into the public debate on the subject and contend that a certain epistemic beleif is rationally justified

That's the problem. I don't "contend that a certain epistemic belief is rationally justified" for gods, ghosts, spirits, or magic. I have not been convinced. The fact that I enter public debate on, does not affect the credibility of the claim.

However if you've looked over the reasons and evidence, and determined all the evidence fails so therefore decide on the lack of evidence that you will assume God does not exist until proven otherwise, then you are clearly making an argument from ignorance. 

Perhaps the problem here is with the difference between justified in "assuming X does not exist" versus "not believing that X does exist"? The latter is more accurate. But anyway...

"The assumption of a conclusion or fact" is not the same as not believing a claim. If I were to conclude that "God does not exist," then this would be a prime example of the fallacy. However, not being convinced is categorically different. By calling my justification of not believing in God claim fallacious, you are lowering the bar to an absurd level, where for the exact same reason, you would have to say that not believing in anus-dwelling invisible unicorns for the same reason, is fallacious. The fact that the magic being is a god or an anus-dwelling unicorn doesn't matter; what does matter is that one hasn't been presented with sufficient evidence to warrant belief of said being, therefore, they are justified in not believing they exist.

My point is that it's hard to take you seriously because nobody has ever genuinely contended that anus-dwelling unicorns exist.

It shouldn't matter what placeholders are used as long as they represent the same thing: in our case, supernatural/magical beings.

Otherwise there's no reason to contemplate the existence of something nobody has seriously postulated.

We are not contemplating their existence; we are evaluating the reasoning. The fallacy applies equally to God, anus-dwelling unicorns, or the Hadza tribe in northern Tanzania.

Now consider the presumption of Atheism and explain how this is not equally as flawed. 

You are still misusing the term "atheism." We both agree that atheism is the disbelief in any gods. So what does "presuming atheism" even mean? If you are saying that assuming everything has a natural explanation until being convinced otherwise is the same as assuming everything is magic until being convinced otherwise, then we can't have a serious discussion.

The presumption of Atheism, if you're being honest, is very clearly "assuming a conclusion or fact primarily based in lack of evidence to the contrary"  . 

I am saying that every person/source that attempted to convince me some version of god exists has failed, therefore, I remain unconvinced that any of these gods exist. How is this flawed reasoning? Even Christians would agree that they remain unconvinced that all the non-Christian gods they were presented with failed to convince them to believe in those gods.

We shouldn't believe in things until we have sufficient reason for the belief.

[ login to reply ] posted on Thursday, Aug 05, 2021 12:10:06 PM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

Your response to her seems to be largely a Motivation Fallacy argument. It doesn't matter if people desperately want to believe in things like cures for cancer, God, democracy, certain economic systems, that vaccines can save lives, or that there's a buried pirate treasure somewhere. They either have some epistemological reasons for believing in those things, or they don't. 

It also seems like, in my opinion, you're having a huge problem with categorical reasoning, as many atheists do not seem to grasp the subject in their arguments.

If I can, in some way make some statement about reality, based on observation; say that I can observe that a shoe print exists. I can then make further inferences such as "a person exists", "a person was here", "this person wore a shoe" etc, or at least at an even higher categorical level "a being with a show must have made this".  I could not make inferences such as "a guy named Roger was here", "the person who made this was gay", "the person who made this had a wife" or "an anus dwelling unicorn with a shoe made this".

The conflation between anus dwelling unicorns, zeus and a monotheistic God just doesn't work. Unless somebody can employ multiple epistemological modes, and present a case that "therefore anus dwelling unicorns exist", then those examples are just silly. There are no deductive arguments that people employ that lead to "therefore anus dwelling unicorns exist", there are not people who exist, every single generation of recorded human history, on every continent who claim that they have experienced anus dwelling unicorns. There are not people who died in their belief that they saw anus dwelling unicorns. Anus dwelling unicorns are a non-factor in the debate until somebody seriously posits that there's reasons to believe in them. 

It's not that reasons have been presented for belief in anus dwelling unicorns and zeus exist, and people reject them, it's that the arguments simply don't exist. That's why polytheistic and mythological religions were abandoned, because things like science have largely proven that thunder is not caused by a contingent being who carries a hammer, and that the sun isn't pulled across the sky in a contingent god's chariot. 

I could give you all sorts of reasons to believe in YHWH, and Jesus, for example. These reasons would include deductive logic, S5 Modal logic, historical abduction, the personal witness testimony and experiences of millions people, and on and on. You could either disagree or agree with any or all of these reasons. On the other hand, my guess is you can supply exactly zero reasons, employing any manner of well accepted epistemological methods as to why anus unicorns exists. Do you see the difference? One set of beliefs provides dozens of reasons to believe in them (rather you agree with them or not), the other provides zero. 

"but sometime over the course of your life you were presented with claims that God existed and at some point you started to believe"
-No, this is not how it works. This is how atheists just assert that it works, but it is false. People naturally have an inclination to believe in God.
At a young age, they perceive design, and they attribute it to an agent. 
This goes way back, and multiple studies have verified the same thing since, but atheists just keep falsely asserting this, and a this point it's just bald assertion.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15102137/

It's cool that you teach on cognitive bias, but it seems yours could be so strong that you're still not aware of it. I see this a lot with the university folks. It's a subculture with extreme forms of group think for example, and is prone to cognitive biases probably more than any other subgroup in society (this is my opinion). 

[ login to reply ] posted on Friday, Aug 06, 2021 11:22:10 AM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

It seems more like you're defending your own views on atheism rather than the Argument I layed out in previous posts. Im asking specifically about whether the following proposition is also an argument from ignorance:

"I don't know that God does not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that God exists, I am justified in assuming that God does not exist."

This is what I'm calling the presumption of Atheism.You said this particular statement is not an argument from ignorance and that its actually justified. I'm saying this is an argument from ignorance. Keep in mind that I haven't argued it isn't justified -- I'm saying the presumption of Atheism and the OP are allegedly justified for the same reason: the evidence presented fails to be sufficient to prove God/a natural explanation exists.

You stated: 

  "If you are saying that assuming everything has a natural explanation until being convinced otherwise is the same as assuming everything is magic until being convinced otherwise, then we can't have a serious discussion."

 The argument is more like due to the fact that all the natural explanations for this particular piece of magic performed are insufficient, one is justified in assuming the explanation is not natural until a natural explanation is produced . In order to properly form this conclusion one had to first presume a multitude of natural explanations, but then decided on a supernatural explanation when all natural explanations turned out to be insufficient. So one is not asserting  everything is magic prima facie. 

This is what I think makes the atheistic argument more evidently an argument from ignorance according to the definition provided on this website. You have suggested that one can presume athiesm prima facie without contemplating the evidence, because that's how we all start out when we first become aware of this discussion. And since the burden of proof rests solely on the theist, a person can remain justified in their atheism indefinitely without ever having reasons to support its truth!

Im a bit confused about your statement: 

"Perhaps the problem here is with the difference between justified in "assuming X does not exist" versus "not believing that X does exist"? The latter is more accurate."

More accurate to describe what? Your own beliefs? I never asked you about your own beliefs and am not suggesting you personally assent to the statement in question (though you've claimed a few times now it's justified).

You ask : "...what does "presuming atheism" even mean?"

The presumption of Atheism is likened to the presumption of innocence in the court of law, which is where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I described it as this:

 "I don't know that God does not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that God exists, I am justified in assuming that God does not exist."

The presumption of Atheism however, unlike the presumption of innocence, has no apparent utility. It proposes that Atheism should be presumed and the burden of proof rests solely on the believer to prove God exists. Yet if our epistemic theory is that justification only comes by way of sufficient reasons that demonstrate its truth, then the fact that one claims atheism is justified without having sufficient reason to demonstrate its truth  is self-defeating. At best, the presumption of Atheism can be used as a methodological axiom (though I don't think this would be useful), but it's not a justified epistemic declaration.

And why ought we make a presumption of Atheism in the first place? Why not presume theism? In law, the presumption of innocence has a good rationale -- convicting someone of a crime they are innocent of is generally worse of an outcome than a guilty person walking free. 

The consequences of being wrong about either Theism or Atheism are more or less the same, which is just that you carried a mistaken belief. So what? I can be mistaken even with sufficient reasons to believe either proposition. I don't see why anyone should be compelled to assume atheism in the absence of evidence.

The point you seem to be making is you are not convinced God exists until sufficient evidence for God's existence can be produced. I agree this is not an argument from ignorance. But this isn't the argument I'm interested in.

You say: "We shouldn't believe in things until we have sufficient reason for the belief."

Yes! Which is why one should not assume God does not exist until there's sufficient reasons for believing God does not exist.

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Aug 07, 2021 08:24:39 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Monique Z]

Im asking specifically about whether the following proposition is also an argument from ignorance...

The way it was originally stated, yes. This is why I stated in my last response that it would be more accurate to say

"I don't know that God does not exist, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that God exists, I am justified in not believing that God exists. "

It is more clear that there is no claim here of belief or otherwise, that no God exists. I know you agree with this and follow this same rule for all other magical beings. It doesn't matter what the magical being. The God of the Bible might have more evidence than anus-dwelling unicorns, but that doesn't matter. The point is at some level the evidence becomes sufficient, and this is point in which the belief is warranted.

like due to the fact that all the natural explanations for this particular piece of magic performed are insufficient,

How is it possible to evaluate ALL the natural explanations, even the unknown ones? What you mean is all the KNOWN natural explanations. What you are essentially doing is giving up on looking for natural explanations and going with the magic (i.e, supernatural). Again, if we introduce "magic" as an "explanation" for anything, we enter absurdity and I am not interested in having those discussions (and you are on the wrong forum). Magic, or "supernatural" doesn't explain anything just like "natural" doesn't explain anything. "Supernatural" is nothing but a placeholder for that which we don't know. Until someone discovers a reliable and verifiable mechanism for investigating the supernatural (like the scientific method is for the natural), then productive discussions cannot be had about supernatural causes. Until such a time, I am not interested.

Why not presume theism?

Atheism is not the position that no god exists; it is the disbelief in any gods —at least the way I am using it (and the vast majority of atheists). Please read that again, and this will answer I think all of your concerns. I don't presume that no god exists; the default position should be that we can't say anything about any magical being's existence. And because of this, the default position on any magical being, God included, is I don't believe that being exists, because I have not been presented with sufficient evidence that being exists. With this statement, I would acknowledge that the being might exist; I just don't believe it does.

"Theism" is a loaded term with many attributes to said God. You are presenting it like theism/atheism are the only choices. What about deism? Why can't that be the default? What about pantheism? What about animism? This basic rule of critical thinking works for all of these: "We shouldn't believe in things until we have sufficient reason for the belief." "Atheism" is different from all these other religious concepts because it is simply the lack of belief in any of these claims. Let's remove the religious bias and go back to the anus-dwelling invisible unicorns. Let's say there are cultures around the world that also believe in anus-dwelling invisible dragons, anus-dwelling invisible bigfoots, and anus-dwelling invisible seven-headed serpents. What should be our default position on the existence of these? That we don't know if they exist or not. So does that mean we believe they do exist? No. We are not claiming they don't exist because we don't have sufficient evidence to rule out their existence; we simply don't believe that they do. This is how belief works. In regards to all anus-dwelling creatures, we are A-anus-delling-creature-ists, that is, we don't believe the exist.

One more attempt at an analogy here that won't be "offensive" to those with religious sensibilities. I have a coin in one of my hands. What should the "default" position be as to what hand it is in? The default position (the position we hold before any evidence) is that we don't know. We don't believe it is in the right or left hand. We don't believe it is NOT in the right or left hand either. We can say

"I don't know that the coin is not in the left hand, however because I have yet to be presented with sufficient evidence that the coin is in the left hand, I am justified in not believing that the coin is in the left hand." 

This doesn't mean that the person does believe the coin is in the right hand. Substitute "right" for "left" above and it would still be accurate.

The coin is a simple example that removes the god bias that we all have. Nobody that I have ever met has no belief about god's existence; they either believe or don't believe. But this is due to the bombardment of evidence they have been presented with either for or against.

 

Which is why one should not assume God does not exist until there's sufficient reasons for believing God does not exist. 

I agree with you. I admit to my sloppy wording in earlier posts conflating "believing God does not exist" with "not believing God does exist." I hope you can now see and appreciate the difference.

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Aug 07, 2021 09:57:08 AM
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Monique Z writes:

[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

Very interesting discussion. Thank you for taking the time to respond! I think it's best to leave this discussion here for now. It was fun :)

Take care

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Aug 07, 2021 12:00:22 PM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To Monique Z]

Well the atheists I met on internet doesn't seem to tell they don't believe in god because of no evidence, they tell that they don't believe in god because the evidence we have shows that god is unlikely to exist and things can come by natural process.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Aug 29, 2021 10:35:37 AM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Monique Z]

Since starting to study this topic, I have found when atheists try to reason for their beliefs, from what I have seen, they always have a fundamental logical contradiction.

You have identified it in this case.

"We shouldn't believe in things until we have sufficient reason for the belief."

But then he just asserts what one's "default position" ought to be.

The basic reasoning goes "since we have only discovered x as the cause of y, x must by default be assumed to be the cause of everything". Since some components of the universe have been shown to be caused by natural phenomenon, therefore all components of the universe, including the universe itself, has been caused by natural phenomenon". That is the extent of the argument. From there, there's the extremely bizarre assertion that one need not strongly believe in this proposition, but we are required to carry it as our "default position", until they are proven wrong lol.

I could make the lame assertion that this atheist cosmological argument is a "composition fallacy" as amateur atheists try to make about theistic cosmological arguments, but as I just said, that'd be lame and it is not accurate.

Theists could employ this exact same format of reasoning for Theistic arguments (and they do), and my guess is he'd then reject the exact same form of reasoning and go on about how irrational it is.

"whenever we have discovered the cause complex information based encoding and messaging, we have identified the cause is an agent with a mind, therefore the default position should be that everything that has complex information based encoding and messaging was caused by an agent with a mind".

This is where the atheist would go on about making unwarranted assumptions and this and that, and how it's an "argument from ignorance" (despite the fact that there's only one other option).

Anyhow, the point is, 99% of the time all one need to do is read an atheists reasoning closely, and you find a logical contradiction, or self defeating assertions, and you did a good job of it here.

The bottom line is, in the Drs mind,  it's an "argument from ignorance" whenever a theist is making the argument, but it's extremely rational whenever an atheist is making the same form of argument. He then lectured you about cognitive bias.

However, I think your reasoning is very good, and enjoyed reading your comments.

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, Aug 07, 2021 10:43:10 AM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Actually complexity doesn't require intelligent beings just because we can create mobile that is complex doesn't mean that it applies same to the universe that it is created. So, telling that complexity comes only from an intelligent being is absurd.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Aug 09, 2021 09:57:01 PM
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account no longer exists writes:
[To Lynx Ssss]

The argument is not that "complexity" requires intelligence. The argument is when a certain level of mathematical complexity is achieved, that is semiotic information that is messaged and understood by a receiver, acted on and responded to, the only proven cause has ever been intelligence.

When you can find a robot in space that does things like improves itself, loves, writes letters with the intent that another robot will read it and understand it, and commits good and evil, and can demonstrate it came from natural causes, then everyone will be pretty interested. And no, snowflakes and crystals do not have anything to do with their argument.

It seems to me that you'd try to actually understand all the arguments first before opposing them. Why oppose arguments you simply don't understand? It makes no sense. I see this a lot on the atheist side.

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Aug 10, 2021 10:19:23 AM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

You wrote that right?

"whenever we have discovered the cause complex information based encoding and messaging, we have identified the cause is an agent with a mind, therefore the default position should be that everything that has complex information based encoding and messaging was caused by an agent with a mind".

[ login to reply ] posted on Thursday, Aug 12, 2021 04:39:23 AM
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Lynx Ssss writes:
[To The Great Corhniolio PhD]

Things can look designed but at the same time can be natural but things that look natural can also be man made. Let's take an example you saw a snowflake, seeing it's structure you thought that this is created by an agent but it isn't created by anyone it's the ice crystals that make up snowflakes are symmetrical (or patterned) because they reflect the internal order of the crystal's water molecules as they arrange themselves in predetermined spaces (known as “crystallization”) to form a six-sided snowflake. 

Take another example, you saw a forest but you thought it is natural while it is just man made.

So, things you consider natural can be man made and things you consider intelligent design can very well be natural.

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Aug 10, 2021 03:04:45 AM