And Yeti it moves

General philosophy discussions. If you are not sure where to place your thread, please post it here. Share favorite quotes, discuss philosophers, and other topics.

And Yeti it moves

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 19th, 2020, 7:08 am 

For reasons that we needn't go into (damn Corona virus., grrr. All work cancelled) I watched a documentary about the Yeti today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1rr_L2y5So

At around 1:00, our resident science expert tells us, "I think the biggest reason why most scientists are skeptical of there actually being a Yeti is that there really isn't any evidence for it"

Later, around 35:50, the same expert tells us. "And when you look at all the evidence, um, it's pretty unconvincing"

Well, on pain of equivocation or contradiction, our expert seems a little confused. After all, if there isn't any evidence how can the evidence be unconvincing?

Now, I'm not here to defend the yeti; he can stand up for himself.

The point I'd like to raise, ladies and gentlemen, is this: What constitutes evidence and what does not?

Let's take our old pal God for example. We're often told there is no evidence for his existence. My friends here (if there are any) will know I'm not a religious man. But it kinda pisses me off when luminaries (cough) like Richard Dawkins tell us there is not a shred of evidence to support God's existence.

To me, when people like Dawkins say "There is no evidence for God" it sounds like another way of saying, "God doesn't exist" cloaked in a veneer of (putative) scientific respectability.

I suppose it begs the question: what does and what does not constitute evidence. Is Prof Dawkins appealing to some kind of objective standard that all rational people agree on? If so, I'd like to hear about it.

Can we agree that for quite a long time it was taken that the evidence for God's existence was fairly strong? Take the argument from design, for example.

Since Darwin came along, are we to assume that all that evidence -- or that was taken to be evidence -- vanished into thin air?

Are we to say:

(i) There once was good evidence for God, but there no longer is

(ii) Those suckers like Newton who were convinced of God's existence had evidence. but we now have stronger evidence to the contrary

Or to be more scientific:

(i) Did Joseph Priestley have good reasons (cf. evidence) for believing in phlogiston? And there still are good reasons?

(ii) There never was any evidence for phlogiston?

The first option seems to suggest God might not be a dead horse. The second option seems to augur poorly for current scientific theories. After all, they have a nasty habit of turning out to be false. If we suppose a certain current theory [you name yer fave] becomes superseded, are we to say there was never any evidence to support it?

Someone mentioned Paul Feyerabend, haha. This is what you get :)

Well, what would evidence for God look like? Is there any? How about all creatures great and small? Do they count? If not, why not?
Reg_Prescott
 


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby TheVat on March 19th, 2020, 11:13 am 

I would hazard a guess that standards have shifted on what constitutes evidence. But that's a long thread and we may have done one or two. (pokes around in pockets, extracts pieces of lint, shrugs)

If the final paragraph is the main thread question, we would have to start by precisely defining God (several threads here, etc.). With an emphasis on differentiating that definition from, say, some unthinkably advanced alien lifeform that appears magical and godlike to our tiny minds.

Phlogiston was, by current standards, pure conjecture. No one had been able to isolate it. So, in that sense, evidence was weak. If you posit a substance, osmium say, eventually you have to produce some at Show and Tell. All I have today is pocket lint, unfortunately.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7705
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 19th, 2020, 11:30 am 

See, what you're trying to here, Mr Vat, is dismiss all the phlogiston evidence.

As if to say "Well, you know, Mr Priestley was old and senile and a bit of an embarrassment"


I don't think he was. The finest scientific minds of the 18th century endorsed that phlogiston stuff.

I'm sure I had a point, but can't remember it now.

See ya tomorrow.
Reg_Prescott
 


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby Forest_Dump on March 19th, 2020, 11:58 am 

As to the existence of "god" (presumably the middle Eastern Judeo/Christian/Muslim one), I have read the last few editions of "The Skeptic" and tend to think the Christian did a better job than the athiest but the bottom line is that the athiest(s) tend to want to narrowly define the terms but given the nature of what a deity would be, that becomes impossible (IMHO).

So the real question is "what defines evidence in different contexts?" For that I think we are inextricably stuck with the reality that it depends on what people will accept in different situations. Many religious people will only accept "evidence" if it doesn't conflict with their beliefs just as many who call themselves scientists will only accept evidence if it seems to conform to rigid methematical principles. All that would be different from the kinds of evidence that might be acceptable in a court of law. In a court of law, for example, we might be able to make the case that many of the "facts" in the New Testament are legally acceptable because there were more than two eye witnesses (i.e., in the Gospels). I wouldn't but that is a bit of a different thing.

Bottom line, although out of my area of expertise, I think it is possible to argue that all the evidence for phlogistan still exists but additional, more recently identified evidence and newer better explanations leads to newer (and better) interpretations just as the argument could be maintained that thunder sticks could still be described as magical impliments but other people would prefer to explain the same phenomenoa in terms of combustion, inertia, ballistics, etc.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8777
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby davidm on March 19th, 2020, 12:34 pm 

Is there evidence that the earth is flat? Sure, it looks flat. That’s evidence. And when you do local-scale mapping or surveying, flat-earth theory works well. I can build a house just fine with flat-earth theory.

But it isn’t flat.

Is there evidence that the earth is a sphere? Sure, long-range observations have shown its spheroid nature since antiquity. One being the observation that boats sailing to the horizon begin to recede from view from the bottom up. And that works fine for long-range navigation purposes.

But the earth isn’t a sphere.

Is there evidence that the earth is an oblate spheroid? Sure, and … etc., etc.

Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll get evidence that the we all live in a matrix, and the earth is merely an illusion.

And?

Everyone knows theories get updated or superseded. But many such theories even now work well, to limit. Flat-earth theory works well, to a limit. Geocentrism works well, to a limit. Newton works well, to a limit.

Theories become updated or superseded as more facts, more evidence, become available. Are all creatures great and small evidence for God’s handiwork? Sure — though pointedly, Hume attacked this evidence even before Darwin came along. Today, of course, Neo-Darwinism gives a much better account of where species come from.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 765
Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Forest_Dump liked this post


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 19th, 2020, 5:30 pm 

Well, David, as far as I can see, you're doing exactly what Prof Dawkins is doing: simply stipulating ex cathedra "there is evidence for X" and "there is no evidence for Y".

Nice work if you can get it, but not very helpful. Unless you've been appointed Grand Inquisitor on these matters.

That was kinda the point of the thread. What criteria are we interested laymen with no work thanks to goddamn Corona virus supposed to deploy to ascertain these things for ourselves?

Once again, if the Dawkinses of this world would just say "In my opinion, there is no evidence for God" (or the Yeti) I'd shut up and play Bingo or something.

But an unqualified "There is no evidence" brings out the devil and the Feyerabend in me.

After all, our resident science expert, Eugene Scott (the Yeti vid), seems unable to make up her own mind.
Reg_Prescott
 


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 19th, 2020, 5:37 pm 

Forest_Dump » March 20th, 2020, 12:58 am wrote:
So the real question is "what defines evidence in different contexts?" For that I think we are inextricably stuck with the reality that it depends on what people will accept in different situations. Many religious people will only accept "evidence" if it doesn't conflict with their beliefs just as many who call themselves scientists will only accept evidence if it seems to conform to rigid methematical principles.



Well, this is promising, Forest, except that you haven't told us what these "rigid mathematical principles" are.

Take Charles Darwin, for example. To my knowledge there is not a single equation in Origin. Are we to take it, then, that he had no evidence?
Reg_Prescott
 


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby davidm on March 19th, 2020, 5:47 pm 

Do you even READ what I write, or just make stuff up, to build straw men of my positions that you can easily knock down?

I just WROTE that there IS evidence for the flat earth, for geocentrism, and for God! How did you happen to READ the opposite of what I WROTE?

There is also evidence for Yeti. The problem is that you are jumping on a scientist for speaking a bit loosely about this. The solution is that EVIDENDE/NO EVIDENCE is a false dichotomy. There are grades between. There is good evidence, so-so evidence, poor evidence. There is also a lot of evidence, some evidence, little evidence. And so on. I think what the Yeti scientist was saying, roughly, is that the evidence for Yeti is in the little/poor range. Anyone who reads charitably can discern the intended meaning. With respect to my own posts, it seems you can't read at all.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 765
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby davidm on March 19th, 2020, 5:58 pm 

Reg_Prescott » March 19th, 2020, 3:37 pm wrote:
Take Charles Darwin, for example. To my knowledge there is not a single equation in Origin. Are we to take it, then, that he had no evidence?


In addition to the fact that you have also subtly (deliberately?) misrepresented what Forest wrote, you continue to seemingly fail to grasp that we have moved far beyond Darwin, who was just getting the ball rolling, after all! But hey, look at this! Mathemeatical models of population genetics

Whoda thunk??
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 765
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby Forest_Dump on March 19th, 2020, 6:04 pm 

Well Reg as you might remember, I am not a hard positiist in terms of what science really is so I am not that swayed by simplistic math, particularly as an "end". Don't get me wrong, math can help with some sciences (particularly good stats) but ultimately good logic is better (actually necessary). No Darwin had no stats, etc., to support his idea but he had some undeniably solid logical arguments that have been held up since plus, of course, there is tons of good stats, theoretical math, computer simulations, genetic coding, etc., since so that fact that Darwin didn't include an equivalent of E=MC2 is pretty irrelevant. (Of course he certainly did have an impressive amount of personal observational data, data gleaned from others such as pigeon breederrs, etc., which was not too shabby for the first half of the 19th century.)
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8777
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby Forest_Dump on March 19th, 2020, 6:07 pm 

BTW, by coincidence, I just started reading Bill Nye's (the science guy) book "Undeniable" on the evolution vs. creation debates. Well worth it although I don't expect to see much in the way of stats or calculus in there. Just solid observations, summary of much other science and good solid logic.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8777
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: And Yeti it moves

Postby TheVat on March 21st, 2020, 10:53 am 

Please resume, sans personal remarks, which may result in loss of the entire post. 9 posts removed, due to off-topic ad hommies.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7705
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills



Return to Anything Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

cron