What is evidence?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Ophiolite, May 10, 2016.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Reported for insult and flaming..
     
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  3. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

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    That's entertaining - the point is entirely valid (you just don't like it). Since you refuse to tell us your criteria, we have no way of knowing you haven't simply gone to some kook off the street and asked them. How that is "flaming" or "insulting" is a mystery known only to you (or, more accurately, you cannot win a debate with any VALID tactic, and thus are resorting to attempting to "win by moderation", which, simply put, won't work).

    Now, either come up with a VALID rebuttal or concede the point by default.
     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently all this stuff about 'criteria' that's dominated half the thread, refers back to post #52:

    It's certainly a reasonable question. I'd wondered about that too.

    But MR had already implicitly addressed that in post #46:

    Certainly IF (big 'if') we accept that they are metallic, elude jet interceptors, register on multiple radars and contain occupants, then they would prima-facie seem to be "intelligently operated craft". The criterion that the board's grand-inquistors are repeatedly demanding is implicit right there.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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  7. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    I have no choice but to whole-heartedly agree, Yazata.

    That is part of what I was alluding to in my Post #88 : 'Take for instance the entirety of this Thread..."the facts of what is observed", by reading the entire Thread from the beginning, is "evidence" of what is "Par for the Course" on SciForums these days.'

    It would also appear as if "the board's grand-inquistors" not only fail to fully read and fully understand most Posts, but that they selectively interpret and apply the Sites Rules, differently, for different Members.

    Ergo...' "Par for the Course" on SciForums these days.'
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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  8. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    No. You are improperly ordering a follow-up question to what was a dodge of the original question. This thread is about evidence, not conclusions. MR's answer presupposes the evidence has already been vetted and accepted as showing those things. That's not what this is about. This is about evaluating the evidence itself.

    That is the basic flaw in most Flyingsaucerology. It collects only the initial knee-jerk reaction to a piece of evidence and adds that to the pile of proof without ever actually evaluating the evidence itself.

    See a moving light in the sky? Knee-jerk reacation says it is "flying" when it may not even be that. That's why so many "UFO"s are later positively identified as planets or land-base lights: people can't even reliably judge if an object is moving or not and their incorrect pre-judgement becomes accepted as fact.

    Ironically though, MR's "criteria" for what forms his belief in alien spacecraft doesn't actually support his belief! Virtually any of those pieces of evidence, taken separately, could apply to something mundane. The implied assumption is that all are observed on the same object, which isn't even possible in principle unless the sighting is continuous over a transition between day and night!

    A crackpot who is no longer with us got caught on that one when he falsely claimed that visually observed objects were clocked on radar at impossible speeds, when no such coincident observations were made. Taken together, the'd be a compelling piece of evidence, but separately, you can't even be sure the radar sightings were real!

    Coincident evidence would be anice important part of the criteria.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Accusations aside, MR was NOT the one who introduced the topic of ufos to this thread. Ophiolite mentioned them in post #1. Then the thread went off the rails after one of Sciforums' MODERATORS trolled it, with no reaction at all from the other moderators. (Presumably trolling is fine if moderators do it. Same for insults, flaming and threats.) Then River said something about ufos and Sideshowbob made this remark (that I largely agree with):

    MR's first mention of ufos in this thread was him responding to that by saying:

    Knees jerked wildly in all directions, teeth were knocked out and things were off and running. MR had dared to state an opinion that many on the board disagree with! (The Horror, the Horror!)

    The substance of the dispute appears to be what Ophiolite was talking about in his "annoyance 2":

    So is the problem with ufos that there is no evidence for some of the stronger interpretations of what they might be?

    MR's many examples of ufo sightings certainly create problems for that idea.

    Or is the problem with ufos that there is no good evidence for those stronger interpretations?

    If we go with the latter interpretation, which I think we should, and accept that there is evidence, even if we judge that the evidence isn't plausible or convincing, then the obvious question is: what makes evidence good and what distinguishes good evidence from evidence that isn't good?

    In practice, I think that people set their standard for what constitutes good evidence a lot higher for things that they don't believe in than for things whose existence they already accept. (My everyday 'scissors in the drawer' example spoke to that.) So an individual's judgement of the quality of evidence does seem to be in part a function of the nature of their existing beliefs about what exists in the world and about how the world is likely to behave.

    The often repeated slogan that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" essentially says the same thing that I'm saying.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely. As I made clear with Bells, the criteria for evidence of ufos lies in the examination of the evidence itself. I was falsely accused of never eliminating mundane explanations when in fact I do that with every case I post. The cases that I present as most compelling are the most famous and vetted cases in history. My criteria for deciding they are ufos ranges from do they move at fast speeds? (eliminating balloons) do they hover? (eliminating planes or jets or meteors) do they make a sound? (eliminating helicopters) do they have multiple witnesses? (eliminating hallucinations) their shape and structure, their behavior, and their effect on the environment. All of these factors combined allow me to infer them to be some sort of craft that exceeds what humans have. There are many other accounts on record of encounters with these craft landing in fields and occupants seen standing beside them. I don't know how much clearer the evidence for ufos has to be. But since I was infracted for even talking about a particular case earlier, I can't really post these numerous examples here because it defiles the sacred precinct of scienceland. So I guess I have to leave it at that. Which sort of begs the question of why I am being attacked and flamed for beliefs I am forbidden to present evidence for? Seems the exact opposite of Sci Forums rules.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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  11. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Was that directed at me? What accusations? And what does it matter who first brought up the subject of UFOs? Their improper evaluation is one of the more common sources of problems on this site.
    That is indeed part of what MR should be addressing. It is really two-fold:

    1. What does the piece of evidence depict.
    2. What is its quality/reliability.

    MR tends to have one answer for both:
    1. Aliens
    2. Aliens
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I see that the forbidden discussion of specific ufo cases has started again, like the false claim that ufos aren't tracked on radar at impossible speeds while also being seen. But then I will get infracted for providing evidence for that. Interesting..Selective enforcement of the rules here by the moderators. One wouldn't actually want the facts to be examined here to counter all the deliberate misinformation. This IS a science forum afterall. lol!
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Another lie. I never said they were aliens. Here's what I actually said:

    "The evidence is for intelligently operated craft that are beyond the technological capability of humans, that elude jet pursuit, that register on radar, that emit huge amounts of energy, that rarely make any sound, that have physical effects on vegetation, automobiles, and eyewitnesses, and that have been witnessed with occupants exiting them. While their identity remains in question, their existence is well confirmed by the evidence."
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    No. It was directed at Bell's remarks in #71, #81 and #83, when she told MR that he shouldn't be discussing ufos in this thread.

    Right. I think that ufo reports are often ambiguous as to #1, and weak as to #2. What's more, they are rarely verifiable or reproducible. Personally, I don't find ufo reports to be convincing evidence that ufos have an extraterrestrial origin. I don't believe that they do.

    But I do think that it's valuable to apply our various ideas about evidence, the strength of evidence and how evidence should be judged to problem cases. Ufos are kind of the paradigmatic evidenciary problem case.
     
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  15. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    We're pretty much in agreement...I mean, pretty much by definition a UFO sighting must be ambiguous otherwise it wouldn't be "Unidentified". I do want to re-emphasize what I mean by #1 though, since it can be misleading as a one-liner (or I need to find a better way to express it...):

    When I say "What does the piece of evidence depict", I'm referring to a faithful/non-analytical description of the sighting. I don't mean "Venus" or "alien spaceship", I mean "a white light in the sky, much brighter than any star".

    One of the biggest problems in analyzing UFO sightings is that you don't often get a naked description of the sighting. Rather, you get a description filtered through the pre-conceptions of the person who made the sighting. You get a judgement of what they saw, not a description of what they saw. That's the failure to separate the evidence (observation) from its analysis.

    That said, the truly unambiguous sightings would have fairly obvious descriptions: "a saucer-shaped craft, landing on the White House south lawn". Such a sighting should never be classified as a "UFO".
     
  16. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    But not beyond the technological capability of... who?

    If not Humans, then what else is left if not aliens? Dolphins? Bigfoot? Vulcans?
     
  17. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Trolls.
     
  18. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Suppose there is substantial observational evidence of the non-existence of Russell's orbiting teapot (because we never saw it, and we looked really, really hard for it).

    However, evidence of that nature is not the same thing as proof of its non-existence, so what is your point? Evidence isn't proof, and the goalposts haven't moved.

    Science still isn't science until or unless you are actually able (or believe you are able) to find something out. Reasonable doubt will always exist, no matter how many repeatable or consistent observations may agree with any hypothesis other than the null one, which is the beginning of all true science.

    Think of the universe as a master of illusion. Do you believe that you know what is happening on the dark side of the moon this very moment? Russell's teapot is gathering its forces, that's what. Prove that it isn't. That is consistent with the measurable, repeatable observation consistent with that hypothesis which was mentioned before ("we looked really really hard"), meager though those observations may be. Does it get you any closer to knowing the key to the illusion or the truth? Doubtful, at best.

    I recommend you work up a complete metaepistomological and metaphilosophical justification of your premise. Also, this thread probably belongs in philosophy.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    He's not making a point about proof, he's making a point about the quality of evidence for a hypothesis.
     
  20. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    "Quality" was never mentioned in any of his dictums about evidence except for the last one, and that is exactly the one my post addressed.

    And evidence in the form of a video posted to "YouTube", if the video has not been tampered with, is often used as actual evidence, in actual court settings. Looks like fine evidence to me.
     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Dan you are not making sense. Again.
     
  22. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    And if I actually had any sense to make, you are correct that this isn't the place to make it, exchemist.
     
  23. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    For ****'s sake Dan. Are you trolling or just a hell of a lot dumber than even I gave you credit for. Is your reading comprehension so defective and deficient you are unable to grasp a couple of simple points that have given no trouble to other members? Is this an ad hominem attack on my part? You bet your sweet ass it is! I find such gross, egregious stupidity damnably annoying. Feel free to report me for it.

    1. At no time have I even approached a smidgen of an implicit hint that absence of evidence could in anyway be considered proof of non-existence of a phenomenon. So why the hell would you bother to make a clear objection to an assertion that I have not made and would never make.
    2. My point was, is and shall be, that many people have a faulty idea of what constitutes evidence. Very simple. Very straightforward and made in my OP. I then provided several illustrative examples. I also described some of the groups who employ such faulty notions of evidence.
    (That's important Dan. There is a relationship between the examples and the type of people who create such examples. You seem to have missed that.)
    3. Nobody said evidence was proof. Why do continually counter points that have never been made? One suspects you are so wrapped up in your own deluded ego that you pay little heed to what people are actually saying to you. Well, please wake up and start listening.
    4. And nobody - absolutely nobody - mentioned frigging goalposts, so please take your frigging goalposts and ram them wherever causes you the greatest inconvenience.

    Which is inherit in, consistent with, and implicitly and explicitly covered by my OP, so why the hell are you even mentioning this as if this was something I hadn't noticed?

    Waffle and word salad, pretentious posturing, effluent and irrelevance in equal measure.

    You haven't understood my premise, so your advice is irrelevant.
    The thread is just fine here. Your post, however, belongs in the Trash Can.
     

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