Patrick, two quotes for you.
"It is a great nuisance that knowledge can only be acquired by hard work." - W Somerset Maugham
"It's okay to make mistakes, of course. Everyone does. But it's best to check things out a bit first before jumping to conclusions." - Phil Plait
After reading your ignorant attack on my post I am unsure why you decided to jump into this thread, all guns blazing only to shoot yourself in the foot every step of the way.
First rule: read the thread you are about to attack very carefully before you open your mouth. This helps prevent you from saying stuff that is immensely stupid.
Second rule: do not refer to me as a guy or dude. I am neither. It will take you approximately 2 seconds to verify this. You made an assumption based on (well, who knows? Imagination? Lack of research?) and turned out to be quite a lot wrong. Imagine it to be a little lesson in the way the real world works.
Anyway, on to your weird and wacky world of non-science.
Your argument in favour of ghosts says:
Thousands of people believe in ghosts because they have SEEN (as opposed to just having a gut belief in) ghosts. You can question the validity of 'seen'.
How did you manage to fall hook, line & sinker into this trap? Thank you for proving the point about fallacious argument from mass consensus.
Point the first: I do indeed question the validity of ‘seen’. Anyone ought to. If you doubt me, you might want to talk to your local friendly policeman or perhaps a local friendly public prosecutor. Eye-witness accounts are notoriously unreliable and very often completely wrong for a number of reasons: sometimes they are genuinely mistaken, sometimes their emotional at the time (fear, surprise, shock) can cloud their judgement, sometimes they lie, sometimes they see what they want to see.
Point the second of this logical fallacy is that claiming to have seen something is not proof. A thousand people making such claims is still not proof
. In the very next paragraph:
I wrote:The best you can claim for a plethora of anecdotes seeming to support an argument is that it might be grounds for genuine investigation of the facts.
Did you not see this sentence?
Perhaps a better question would be; how
did you not see this sentence?
So your very first objection is a fraud based on the fact that you didn’t bother to read what you decided to attack. Interestingly, you’ve also provided a good example of showing just how unreliable claims of having seen something are. (I’m assuming, based on the evidence of your quote-mining and posting, that you did ‘see’ the thread before you decided to respond to it.)
Actually, a great number of people have gone to great lengths to investigate and research paranormal claims. I would recommend that you familiarise yourself with some or all of the following:
Captain Disillusion http://www.youtube.com/user/CaptainDisillusion
Yes, they are aimed at kids, but you have to start somewhere.
Try Gas Station Ghost http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyR_WHEm ... annel_page
And Mirror ghost girl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3te1wBjb ... annel_page
James Randi http://www.youtube.com/user/JamesRandiFoundation
(do a search for ‘ghost’)
Afterwards, be sure to express your scorn here http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/com ... tpage.html
Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe http://www.theskepticsguide.org/
Download episodes 7, 66 & 71 just for starters and then make sure to show your disdain here: http://skepchick.org/skepticsguide/
E-Skeptic Read: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/
And just because I can never get enough of either of them
Psychic Spoonbender from A bit of Fry & Laurie
Your next point reads:
"Burden of proof"
- But what do you mean by "proof" let-alone "burden of".
This question is about as legitimate as my saying
“Patrick Fowkes” What do you mean by “Fowkes”? Let alone “Patrick” ?
Just because you can construct a question doesn’t mean that it is worthy of an answer - other than, for God’s sake man, get a dictionary and look it up. To paraphrase in simple everyday language, a claim cannot be regarded as factual without evidence to support it, and an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. People making claims that are unlikely, beyond the realm of ascertainable facts and based on conjecture only have a greater burden of proof than those people who choose to remain sceptical of the validity of such claims until some data, evidence or proof can be found to bolster this claim’s validity.
But I’ll repost my paragraph so that you can re-read what you are objecting to. I’ve coloured the important sentence in green just in case you missed it, hidden as it was in a paragraph containing 4 whole sentences.
I wrote:Burden of proof
The burden of proof is not always 50/50 in competing points of view.
I believe the earth is flat carries a far higher burden of proof than I believe the earth is a sphere. This becomes even more clear when you start to hear the ‘evidence’ for a flat earth involves government conspiracies (unproven), moon-landing hoaxes (unproven) and satellite and telescope hoaxes (unproven). A theory that is based on a collection of unsubstantiated hunches and guesses and beliefs does not deserve the same credibility and plausibility as one that has a mountain of evidence to support it; and absolutely nothing that disproves it or throws doubt on it.
Because you then go on to say:
Even science doesn't necessarily require "proof".
Um. Yes it does. You really need to do a lot more homework before you start making claims like this.
The fallacy being addressed here is that an unsubstantiated and completely uncorroborated claim does not enjoy any plausibility simply because it has not been completely disproved by its opponents. People who are in the habit of putting forward such ‘theories’ tend to really hate this because it means that they are required to put forward hard evidence instead of simply making claims that appeal to their fancy.
You then launch into a couple of paragraphs where you throw the word “science” around rather liberally. However, just about everything you have written suggests to me you know absolutely nothing about science or the scientific method. What you have said amounts to pseudoscientific gibberish. Just a quick hint here:
experimentalists have nothing to do with your "metaphysical peace and joy" experiences. There is a bit of a clue in the word ‘experimental’: experiment - it means test, examine the validity of
In both cases of theoretical and experimental science, whatever ideas or hunches a scientist may come up with, no matter how much she or he may strongly feel that they are right; if they or a colleague do not come up with testable, repeatable evidence then the theory is regarded as possible, but certainly not as scientific fact.
If you actually would like to learn something about science so that you can start using the term theoretical physics
correctly, try these links:
Discussion with Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg
http://richarddawkins.net/article,2868, ... David-Buss
Public lectures from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/Outrea ... _Lectures/
If you are at all interested in a two short experimentalists vs. theorists essays, you might check out what a couple of scientists over at CERN have to say:
http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/Peo ... rs-en.html
Proof, or evidence is in fact what science relies on to ‘judge reality’.
This is the reality of the situation, and your denying it or pretending otherwise won’t change the facts.
Regarding your Straw Man attack (so many logical fallacies, you truly are a gift):
you appear to reject subjects where "proof" is, also, absent i.e Philosophy and the Arts
Take a look at the very first paragraph of the thread to see what it was actually about. We’re not discussing Philosophy or Art, as it happens. We weren’t in fact even discussing science. We were discussing logical fallacies - or really bad arguments and how to avoid making them.
Congratulations, anyway, on managing to use yet another really fallacious approach to arguing. Are you doing it on purpose?
For the record, rather a lot of people here are exceedingly well versed in Philosophy and the Arts, and we regard both highly. (Please note the Sub-Forum titled Philosophy & Art
- its real, not an optical illusion)
With regards to your completely off-topic questions about where the laws of physics and mathematics reside (interesting questions but nothing to do with fallacious arguments) I can highly recommend Michael Shermer’s excellent book Why people believe weird things http://www.michaelshermer.com/weird-things/
Pay especial attention to p28 in the paperback edition, p29 in the hardcover edition where he patiently explains Pirsig’s Paradox (his name for your question) in detail. If you really want to debate the existence laws of physics and math, please create a new topic in the Science/ Scepticism
sub-forum or perhaps even the Philosophy & Arts
sub-forum which is where they belong.
But I’d really recommend you do some proper homework before you start so that you don’t convict yourself of stupidity quite so quickly as you did here.
Here’s a final quote:
Arrogance only works when you’re right.