mererdog

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About mererdog

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    Learned Fool
  • Birthday 12/31/2016

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    happily
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    Over Here

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    Things that are of interest...
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    loafing
  • Website URL
    http://ulc.net/forum/index.php?showuser=192

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  1. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    My wife cares, so it matters to me. If "forest brides" are a real thing, it matters to them and to those who care about them. You don't care, but it still may matter to you. It is hard to accurately gauge the impact of something when you know little about it. Like doctors back in the day thinking that hand washing doesn't matter, you know?
  2. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    There is no good reason for me to think it exists. That does not mean there is no good reason for someone else to think it exists. There was a period in time where people were reporting seeing black swans, but were not producing other evidence of what they had seen. It was reasonable for them to believe their own eyes, and reasonable for others to doubt their word. My wife has a story. We explain it differently, but I wasn't there.
  3. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    Of course. I have made that point several times in this thread. Being skeptical of skepticism is good. It is easy to become unwilling and/or unable to see new information about a subject fairly. It is hard to realize that it has happened to you. The urge to think of ourselves as fair and open-minded makes it painful to look at our prejudices directly. I often have to remind myself that I do not know that Bigfoot does not exist. I simply habe a strong opinion that is not directly contradicted by the evidence that has been available to me up to this point.
  4. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    So, what I am actually doing is discussing applied epistemology. I am talking about the limits of knowledge, the difference between opinion and fact. Far from attempting to justify what is not there, I am warning against the dangers of using lack of knowledge to justify belief that something is not there. I am a proponent of doubt. I am a salesman for lack of certainty. This is the skeptical position, which is my default position on most subjects. Moral issues are my skeptical blind-spot.
  5. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    Well, that's just it. Either the placebo was not a placebo, or there was some other factor involved. As such, simply crediting the placebo would prevent learning the actual cause. As an example, I saw a study where fake acupuncture was more effective at pain management than actual acupuncture. Digging into the details, I find that the difference is most easily attributed to patient expectations produced when signing consent forms. The fake acupuncture recipients were given a long list of fake potential side-effecfs for the treatment, while the recipients of the real acupuncture were not. Not only were they more likely to think their treatment was effective, but they were more likely to think they needed to quit the study early due to the fake acupuncture giving them dry mouth. By understanding that the placebo is not the cause, we have the opportunity to learn how to get the desired effect without the placebo.
  6. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    You were replying to me. I said knowledge. You now say you weren't talking about the same thing as me. And this is my bad?
  7. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    A placebo has no therapeutic effect. If it works, its not a placebo. If an actual placebo seems to work, it is because of some other variable. The reason this matters is that isolating the variables that are producing the desired results is how we refine our treatments to make them more effective.
  8. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    If I can be wrong to believe Mutt and Jeff while not believing the Bible, does that not suggest that you can be wrong to believe the Bible but not the Qur'an? If we accept as a given that belief based on subjective experience is inherently problematic and leads to many incorrect beliefs, how can we justify any certainty in such beliefs? In other words, since we know that witness testimony has led to many false imprisonments, why do we still imprison people based on witness testimonies? I think the answer is that we tend to think of this stuff as someone else's weakness. "I discern. You jump to conclusions." "I spot lies. You reject truths."
  9. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    This is not accurate. Placebos don't "work." The placebo effect is a measure of the difference between correlation and causality: people getting better due to something other than the given treatment, like natural remission cycles. And large scale meta-analysis has consistantly shown the effect to be way smaller than the number you used.
  10. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    Well, no. Not all experience is reproducible, thus not all knowledge is verifiable. It can be proven to me without me being able to prove it to you. Even if I am a scientist. Additionally, the fact that research has not been published does not prove it does not exist, nor does the fact that I do not know something has been published prove it has not been published. Bottom line: Ignorance proves nothing. To use lack of information as a basis for inference is simply a bad idea.
  11. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    The fundamental flaw in this argument is the word "we." I don't know the limits of your knowledge. I don't know the limits of Dan's. Dan doesn't know the limits of mine. Making a claim of the "We don't know" format asserts the unspoken assumption that others cannot know stuff that I don't. When the context doesn't give the "we" a fairly specific meaning, I can't help but hear the claim as "I am not open to new information." Just so you know, this is one of the ones that drives me crazy on the Ancient Aliens shows. They will say "We don't know how this could be done without modern tools," when I have personally seen multiple demonstratioms of it being done without modern tools. In those cases it is clear to me that "We" don't know because "We" don't want to, you know?
  12. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    No. I am stating that they cannot be. We take a lot on trust, reflexively, without realizing we are doing it. We use correlation to tease out an understanding of causation, despite the inherent logical problems. We latch on tightly to preconceptions and summarily dismiss what does not fit. We count white swans and assume it tells us something about black swans. And it works. It produces results. Except when it doesn't. But we rarely count misses, because we are too busy counting hits.
  13. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    What objective evidence of the speed of light have you personally seen? You did the laser experiment? Calibrated the electronics? Or are you trusting what you read in a book?
  14. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    You grok the difference between measuring the speed of a horse and measuring the speed of horse? You see the important difference between measuring sensor input and measuring sensor output? I forget. How many white swans do we have to record to prove that all swans are white? A lot of fundamental cosmological conundrums make more sense if c varies. But scientific heresy makes you no friends...
  15. mererdog

    a common atheist fallacy

    The thing is that you don't get to the answer without the inferences. This means the answer is inherently interpretive, thus not objective. The bottom line is that we have not measured the speed of light. We have measured other things and inferred the speed of light from those measurements. This is how we deal with things we cannot interact with directly, whether things really big, things really small, or things in other time periods. Indirect evidence. Subjective proof. Without it, science does not work. Yet when religons use indirect evidence and subjective proof, they are often ridiculed. Not simply for making bad inferences, but for relying on inference at all. See my point yet?