The Instigator
CerebralCortex
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,622 times Debate No: 7091
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (5)

 

CerebralCortex

Pro

Carl Sagan is attributed with saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

I will start by providing a definition for the word evidence.
The best definition I found for this word was in wikipedia as follows:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either a) presumed to be true, or b) were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth. Evidence is the currency by which one fulfills the burden of proof.

Note, BTW, that we are not talking about absolute proof, which exists only in the abstract world of mathematics.
In reality we can't really prove anything, the person reading these lines right now may be hallucinating and what he is experiencing in fact is not real, therefore he can't prove the lines he is reading now really exist, or even that he exists.
So when we speak of evidence we are speaking of data that is used to convince someone of a claim but not absolutely prove it.
Nothing in this world is absolutely ever really provable in the mathematical sense.

With this out of the way, we can start examining Carl Sagan's phrase.
Lets start by asking what is an extraordinary claim ?
Here is an example:

1. I have a pet dog
2. I have a pet alligator in my bathtub
3. I have a pet dragon that spits fire and eats knights for breakfast

So an extraordinary claim is a claim that is supported by very weak,
or no prior evidence or that may even contradict other available evidence.
Ask yourself what is the minimal amount of evidence that would be required for you to believe each of these claims. Remember not prove them in absolute terms (which is impossible), but convince you of thier truth.

I will continue to examine two cases, one legal and one scientific:

Legal
------
A person is accused of murdering his wife.
Here is the evidence presented by the prosecution:
- There are two apparently credible eye witnesses saying they saw him do it and describe how he did it
- A day before the event took place the wife found out the husband was having an affair, she threatened the husband she will divorce him and destroy his reputation
- The accused has no alibi during the time in which the event took place.

Now the prosecution has a very strong case,
and unless defence can somehow dispute these claims,
the accused will, most likely, be found guilty.

Now lets replace the accusation with the following:
A person is accused of casting a spell on his wife and turning her into a cat.

Now the same amount of evidence exists,
we have the witnesses, the motive and the opportunity.
Lets even add in some more evidence:
- A cat is brought to court room and and the eye witnesses confirm this is the cat she was turned into. (hence you have a body)
- The accused was known to be obsessed with cats (more motive)
- The accused studied witchcraft for many years (more opportunity)

However all this would still not be enough to even grant a single day in court.
The only thing it would grant would be the end of the prosecutor's career.

So in a courtroom, the resolution holds.

Science
---------
In this example we will examine the case of the so called star child skull.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

The starchild skull came into the possession of Lloyd Pye, a writer and lecturer in what he calls the field of alternative knowledge, in February 1999. According to Pye, the skull was found around 1930 in a mine tunnel about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, buried alongside a normal human skeleton which was exposed and lying supine on the surface of the tunnel.

The skull was found to be abnormal in several aspects:
- A dentist determined, based on examination of the upper right maxilla found with the skull, that it was a child's skull, 4.5 to 5 years in age. However, the volume of the interior of the starchild skull is 1600 cubic centimeters, which is 200 cm� larger than the average adults brain, and 400 cm� larger than an adult of the same approximate size.
- The orbits are oval and shallow, with the optic nerve canal situated at the bottom of the orbit instead of at the back. There are no frontal sinuses. The back of the skull is flattened, but not by artificial means.
- Testing in 2004 at the Royal Holloway college of the University of London revealed unexplained "fibers" in the bone of the skull and a reddish residue in the cancellous bone, neither of which are known or recorded to exist prior to the discovery.

Here is evidence, that some woos, argue point to the child being of alien origin, perhaps having an alien father. Now, of course, there is additional data that is more consistent with a standard human being but the data above does appear abnormal.
- Now what's wrong with this evidence ?
- Why is this not convincing the scientific community ?
- This is scientific evidence is it not ?
- Why not say ok, this is an alien until proven otherwise ?
- And finally why is the data sufficient to substantiate the claim that the skull belonged to a living creature but not sufficient to claim it belonged to a living alien creature ? After all, the skull could be a rock that only has the appearance of a skull, can it not ?

Con -- these are all questions you need to answer ...
Good luck.
InquireTruth

Con

==========
Introduction:
==========

I would like to extend my gratitude to CerebralCortex for hi s challenge on such an interesting topic. I hope that he is willing to take the affirmation of said resolution to its logical conclusion. In order to prevent any semantic misrepresentation of the term evidence, I will assume that my opponent does not wish to say that evidence is merely that which establishes belief in a claim. Belief, though important, says nothing of the actual verity of a claim. Evidence, then, should be understood as that which sufficiently establishes a claim as actually true and not just verisimilitudinous.

I will start with a refutation of my opponent's claims and arguments and then go on to make a case of my own.

==========
1. My opponents examples, are they analogous?
==========

My opponent starts out with the example of (1) a dog, (2) an alligator, and (3) a fire-spitting dragon. My opponent's claim is that the extraordinary claim (obviously the dragon) would require extraordinary evidence because it "is supported by very weak, or no prior evidence."

In order for my opponent to make an accurate and analogous example to the dragon, he must present an ordinary claim in which the same amount of information (or evidence) is available, yet it is accepted merely by way of being ordinary. As it stands, there are mountains of evidence for both dogs and alligators and the existence thereof. The following chart may help to illustrate my point:

[Claim]………………….[Empirical evidence for claim] (addition signs represent the amount of available evidence)
Dog………………….....+++++++++
Alligator ……………...+++++++++
Dragon ……………….

Now, the only reason one accepts the claim of "dog" is because they have prior established evidence. But imagine a world where if someone said "I have a dog," you would have absolutely no prior evidence of "dog," – indeed you would have as much evidence for dog as we have evidence for a dragon in our world. Would the claim be extraordinary? If not, what are the qualifications for an extraordinary claim? And if so, would the evidence sufficient to prove the truth of "dog" in our world be sufficient to prove "dog" in the hypothetical world? To say no is to damn one to absurdity. To say yes is either say that, (A) all evidence for basic existent beings is extraordinary, or (B) that the amount of evidence to prove an extraordinary claim is exactly equal to an ordinary claim. Since I believe the only logically coherent answer is B, it stands to reason that both extraordinary and ordinary claims require the same amount of evidence to prove their verity.

==========
2. The Inanity of the Legal Defense
==========

My opponent false prey to the same fallacious reasoning as listed above. If he were to actually provide an equal amount of information in both cases, there is no more reason to believe the claims of murder in the first case despite the extraordinary nature of the second one. You cannot provide additional information to weight the comparison. If we had the same amount of evidence for casting spells that we did for murder, there would be no argument. My opponent needs to give an example of an ordinary claim that has the exact same amount of evidence as an extraordinary claim, but, by virtue of being ordinary, is accepted as truth.

==========
3. A Failed Defense from Science?
==========

It really feels silly for me to even address such a red herring (usually I just identify it as such and move forward), but I would hate for the readers to find any validity in this inane and innocuous proposition. The idea of the star child being of alien dissent is rejected because there is not enough evidence to establish the claim – ordinary, extraordinary or otherwise.

My opponent again appeals to the fallacious reasoning as stated above in (1).

================
A CASE OF MY OWN
================

==========
A. Taking Sagan Literally
==========

In all of my opponent's supposed defenses of Sagan's saying, he, rather unfortunately, fails to furnish any evidence that would establish the ACTUAL saying as true. My opponent seems to be referring to the amount of evidence necessary. The evidence itself still remains ordinary in all the listed examples. The only thing supposedly extraordinary is the amount necessary to prove the claim (though this is also blatantly false).

It seems that fleeting confidence in Sagan's saying has led my opponent to shift from what Sagan actually said, to (hopefully) what he may have meant. So in order for this interpretation to stand, my opponent must either (a) show that the evidence to prove an extraordinary claim is itself extraordinary, or (b) clearly substantiate that the saying means extraordinary amount.

==========
B. The amount of evidence remains the same
==========

To prove that an extraordinary claim is true (actually true and not just verisimilitudinous), requires neither an extraordinary amount of evidence nor that the evidence itself be extraordinary. The evidence to prove as truth both extraordinary and ordinary claims remains the same.

Many others, not just my opponent, make the mistake of thinking that merely accepting a belief more readily means that the claim is true. Though we accept that my opponent possesses a dog by a MERE testimonial assertion, that does not mean that is true, it merely means that we BELIEVE it to be true.

In order to actually prove something as fact or truth, it is subject to the scientific method - whether the claim is natural or supernatural. So if the claim is ordinary, or extraordinary, the method to prove either claim as fact or truth remains the same. If it is true that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, then my opponent must maintain that the scientific method is itself an extraordinary means of evidence.

Furthermore, in order to actually prove the statement "my neighbor possesses a dog," it would require the exact same amount and method of proof to prove the dragon. If we had the exact same amount of evidence for dragon that we do for dog, would we still not believe that dragons exist? The answer is most obviously no, we would then accept the existence of dragon. But if my opponent says no, then he is saying that the amount necessary to prove the ordinary claim of dog is equal to the amount of evidence necessary to prove the claim of dragon.

==========
Conclusion:
==========

It is clear to me, and hopefully now to my opponent and readers, that Carl Sagan's popular saying, though catchy, is categorically false when taken seriously. My opponent is left with the task of answering the following questions:

1. How is the evidence itself extraordinary? And what does extraordinary evidence look like?
2. If we had the exact same amount of evidence for the extraordinary claim of dragon that we do for the ordinary claim of dog, why and in what way would the dragon require additional evidence?
3. What is an example of an ordinary claim that has the exact same amount of evidence as an extraordinary claim, but, by virtue of being ordinary, is accepted as truth.

Thank You,
Inquire Truth
Debate Round No. 1
CerebralCortex

Pro

"Evidence, then, should be understood as that which sufficiently establishes a claim as actually true and not just verisimilitudinous"
Well, I really wish you would have read what I said about absolute proof in round 1.
But since you probably have not I will repeat myself.
Nothing is really provable. Give me one provable fact about our universe please.
Prove to me that you are human please. How do I know you are not an alien ?
The claim that you are human is in fact a result of many observable characteristics that suffice,
based on common sense, to grant most people's belief in this claim, but it doesn't mean its really true.
We can not know for sure that anything is true.

Next you say:
"Now, the only reason one accepts the claim of "dog" is because they have prior established evidence. But imagine a world where if someone said "I have a dog," you would have absolutely no prior evidence of "dog," – indeed you would have as much evidence for dog as we have evidence for a dragon in our world. Would the claim be extraordinary?"
Yes absolutely it would !!! Imagine a human mission to mars that lands on mars after about 200 days in space.
The first thing the first astronaut setting foot there says is:
"Huston there is a living dog here on the surface !".
That, would of course, be an extraordinary claim !
I think the only thing I would accept if I was in Huston was that long term exposure to solar and cosmic radiation does in fact cause severe brain damage.

Next:
"And if so, would the evidence sufficient to prove the truth of "dog" in our world be sufficient to prove "dog" in the hypothetical world?"
Absolutely not !
In mars to establish such a claim you would have to work a lot harder than on earth.
In mars it is not clear how such a complex animal can exist in such a low temperature, low pressure, low resource environment.

I already said the following in the first round (you should have read it better):
"So an extraordinary claim is a claim that is supported by very weak, or no prior evidence or that may even contradict other available evidence."

The lack of prior evidence or the contradiction to other known evidence is what makes a claim extraordinary (thus non-ordinary).
If pet dragons were as common as pet cats then there would be nothing extraordinary about the claim "I have a pet dragon".

2.
--------------
"If we had the same amount of evidence for casting spells that we did for murder, there would be no argument"
You mean the same amount of prior evidence, thus the evidence that exists before the claim has been made !
Great ! but then the claim about turning someone into a cat would not be extraordinary, it would be as ordinary as murder is.
Therefore the amount of evidence that would be required to prove -spell casting- would be the same as for murder.

3.
-------------
"The idea of the star child being of alien dissent is rejected because there is not enough evidence to establish the claim – ordinary, extraordinary or otherwise."
Yes but there is evidence, even scientific evidence, I have stated it, please read round 1.
Your job is to explain why it is insufficient to cash in claims about aliens.
This is by no means a red herring.
If you read the point in round 1, you will see that the evidence is sufficient to grant certain ordinary claims e.g. the fossil is a skull that belonged to an extraordinary human but not enough to grant some more extraordinary claims like it belonged to an alien.
In any case you have absolutely failed to address this point, so please try again.

Again, I feel that you have not answered any of the questions I raised so I would insist that you read round 1 arguments and address my questions please.

Regarding your points:
--------------------------

"My opponent seems to be referring to the amount of evidence necessary. The evidence itself still remains ordinary in all the listed examples. The only thing supposedly extraordinary is the amount necessary to prove the claim (though this is also blatantly false)."
Extraordinary evidence is, very simple. Its non-ordinary evidence. Hence not the kind you commonly find or that is persistent with everything we already know (or think we know).
Extraordinary evidence is such, that when present, arguing against the extraordinary claim becomes more extraordinary than the claim itself.
For example if they had found a highly advanced spaceship near the star child's body (which is 900 years old) -- that would be something extraordinary.
Attributing this spaceship to anything else other than aliens would be more extraordinary than just attributing it to aliens and somehow also to this star child which was found near.
If we found alien spaceships every day, then this would be ordinary evidence, but then again a claim about aliens would also be ordinary.
In other cases an extraordinary amount of evidence can also be attributed as extraordinary evidence but I am not sure this semantic difference is important.

"To prove that an extraordinary claim is true (actually true and not just verisimilitudinous), requires neither an extraordinary amount of evidence nor that the evidence itself be extraordinary. The evidence to prove as truth both extraordinary and ordinary claims remains the same."
No amount of any kind of evidence can ever really prove anything to be absolutely true. (read round 1).
Can you really prove anything ?

To sum up my answers to your final set of questions (these are just a summary answer the full answers are above):

1. Extraordinary evidence is such, that when present, arguing against the extraordinary claim becomes more extraordinary than the claim itself. E.g an advance spaceship found 900 years ago.
2. If dragons were common animals, then the claim would not be extraordinary. Since they are not really common animals the evidence presented by a single or a few cases would have to be extraordinary.
3. None. If there was then the extraordinary claim would become ordinary.

I would greatly appreciate if you could address my claims one by one, just as I have done to yours.
I realize this is a lot of work on your part,
but without doing so the debate becomes just a senseless point scoring game for votes.

Thanks
InquireTruth

Con

===============
To Clarify:
===============

My opponent says that we can know nothing absolutely (of course we can know some things absolutely, i.e. I have conscience existence in some form or another). But actually true and not just verisimilitudinous operates on the grand assumption that our cognitive perceptions of reality are true and accurate. So ACTUALLY true should henceforth mean actually true according to our cognitive perception of reality (since there is no way to prove that perceived reality is true or false without circular-logic).

===============
1. My opponent's possible world misunderstanding
===============

My opponent mistakes my analogy of a possible world (or modal logic) with another planet – the crux of his misunderstanding. I want my opponent to imagine a world in which everything is entirely the same as this one, except for one thing: dogs are not a known entity. Since in this possible world it would be an extraordinary claim to say that such things as dogs exist – similar to claiming such things as dragons exist in this one – it should seem that extraordinary evidence would be required. So if we were to take all the evidence for dog from our real world and confer it to this possible world, it would make the real world and the possible world exactly the same.

My opponent must maintain that (a) the possible world - that is now exactly the same as the real world - would still need more evidence for dog (because it was an extraordinary claim), (b) virtually all things presently known to us posses extraordinary evidence (since virtually all things at one point had no prior evidence making all things at one point extraordinary claims), or (c) the evidence to prove extraordinary and ordinary claims remain the same.

Since both (a) and (b) fail ad absurdum, the only logically coherent answer is (c).

===============
2.His rebuttal to the legal?
===============

My opponent is gravely mistaken. He needs to show an ordinary claim that has the exact same amount of evidence has an extraordinary claim, but, by virtue of being ordinary, is accepted over the extraordinary. Murder and spell-casting are not analogous because murder and spell casting have in unequal amount of known information. My opponent somewhat mistakenly(?) but rightly points out that, "Therefore the amount of evidence that would be required to prove -spell casting- would be the same as for murder."

If spell casting and murder can be proved with the same amount of evidence (assuming that the existence of the act of murder is proved using perfectly ordinary evidence with a perfectly ordinary amount) then it stands to reason that the existence of spell-casting can be proved with neither an extraordinary amount of evidence nor evidence that is itself extraordinary.

===============
3.My opponent stuck in elementary reasoning?
===============

He says that there is evidence that the star child is of alien dissent. This is false, there is absolutely no evidence of this and therefore the claim falls on all accounts. But my opponent is still making the elementary mistake of assuming that extraordinary evidence would be required to prove the claim.

Since, according to my opponent's understanding, all things were at one point extraordinary claims, there must therefore exist extraordinary evidence for virtually all things (which is a contradiction since, if it were the case, it would be rather ordinary). I would like my opponent to furnish the extraordinary evidence for dogs, alligators, and skulls. If he admits that all known things have extraordinary evidence, then he damns himself to admit that this is actually rather ordinary.

===============
Unanswered questions:
===============

"1. Extraordinary evidence is such, that when present, arguing against the extraordinary claim becomes more extraordinary than the claim itself. E.g an advance spaceship found 900 years ago"

This is true of ordinary evidence. Assuming that the verity of the existence of dog is composed of ordinary evidence, it would be rather extraordinary for me to argue against such a notion.

"2. If dragons were common animals, then the claim would not be extraordinary. Since they are not really common animals the evidence presented by a single or a few cases would have to be extraordinary."

This is epistemic imperialism. Is my opponent really saying that if nothing was known of the existence of dog, it would only take a single or a few ordinary cases to prove it? And how would these cases be extraordinary in terms of dragon? Certainly if we found a species of dragons living in the deep jungles of Peru, it would be enough to establish the case (assuming dragons are merely reptiles with wings and fire-spitting capabilities). We find knew species all the time in which no prior evidence exists (that mean such are extraordinary claims), so I would like to see all extraordinary evidence for recent and new discoveries (of course most discoveries are found by way of scientific method – which would render the scientific method itself extraordinary).

===============
Conclusion:
===============

My opponent's logic is thoroughly inconsistent and wanting. He needs to furnish an ordinary claim that is accepted over an extraordinary claim (though both posses the same amount of ordinary evidence) merely because it is ordinary.

InquireTruth
Debate Round No. 2
CerebralCortex

Pro

I suspect that the source of you confusion is that you still do not realize what an "extraordinary claim" is.
What you must realize is that an extraordinary claim, by definition, is a claim that prior to the claim being made
very weak or no evidence (or even evidence to the contrary) exists which supports it.
What else would make a claim extraordinary ?

However once an extraordinary claim is established,
the same kind of claim in the future would be more ordinary (or less extraordinary),
this again is by definition.

For example if I claim that aliens visited earth in the past, that is an extraordinary claim for the reasons stated above.
However if I establish this claim by providing extraordinary evidence, such as an alien spaceship relic, then I can cash in my claim.
After this, it would be established scientific knowledge that aliens visited earth in the past.
If a few years later, the same star child I spoke of in round 1 is found, then there might just be enough evidence to support the claims about him being of alien origin.
Why ? Because the claim itself is not so extraordinary anymore. This is because it will be made after we establish that aliens have visited earth in the past.

Hence what Carl Sagan's phrase practically means is
that when you wish to establish an extraordinary claim you must work harder than someone making an ordinary claim,
this is because prior knowledge supporting the ordinary claim already exists.
Hence the extraordinary(out of the ordinary) evidence you must provide to cash in the unsupported claim (unsupported prior to you evidence).

So your job as con was to argue that the same amount of effort is required for supporting an extraordinary claim as an ordinary one.
I guess you would need some extraordinary arguments to pull this off,
I thank you for your valiant attempt,
but it seems you have been unable to do so.

I think Carl Sagan's phrase is an extraordinary antidote to irrationality and is a marvel of healthy skeptical thinking.
I don't think there can be a doubt that the resolution stands affirmed.

Thanks,
InquireTruth

Con

==================
Introduction:
==================

First, I would like to thank my opponent for an enjoyable debate. He should also know that it is not my confusion he should concern himself with, but his. Since the majority of all my points have not been refuted, I will use this final round to respond directly to a few of my opponent's final-round assertions and then list a few of prior unrefuted points that still stand in strong negation to the resolution.

==================
A. "However once an extraordinary claim is established, the same kind of claim in the future would be more ordinary(or less extraordinary), this again is by definition."

This is so egregiously preposterous and nonsensical. This necessarily means that all current ordinary claims were once extraordinary claims. I previously asked my opponent to furnish the necessarily existent extraordinary evidence for dog, alligator, and skull – he, of course, did no such thing. If all ordinary claims do indeed posses extraordinary evidence (by virtue of once being extraordinary claims), why is it labeled extraordinary, If it is actually rather ordinary?

==================
B. "For example if I claim that aliens visited earth in the past, that is an extraordinary claim for the reasons stated above. However if I establish this claim by providing extraordinary evidence, such as an alien spaceship relic, then I can cash in my claim."

How is it that one can prove an extraordinary claim with another extraordinary claim (i.e. alien spaceship)? Furthermore, NASA uses many planetary observation devices to determine new things about our solar system all the time (new things in which no prior evidence existed for them), previously unknown entities are made known and so on. So if NASA found extraterrestrial life, it would be just another discovery using the same method of evidence used to confirm all past planetary discoveries. How is this evidence any more extraordinary then all other discoveries? Indeed, it is not! NASA could confirm extraterrestrial life using the same method of evidence gathering used to determine the surface appearance of planets. The ordinary evidence used to determine the surface of planets could be used to determine extraterrestrial life.

==================
C. "Hence what Carl Sagan's phrase practically means is that when you wish to establish an extraordinary claim you must work harder than someone making an ordinary claim, this is because prior knowledge supporting the ordinary claim already exists."

Using the example of my neighbor says he has a dog and my neighbor says he has a dragon: it is epistemic imperialism to say that the former is true because it is ordinary. We have no idea of the verity of either claim; it would only be an acceptance of the testimonial in regards to the former claim. In order to actually prove the statement "my neighbor possesses a dog," it would require the exact same method of proof to prove the dragon (dragon being a fire-breathing, reptile with wings). You may believe the claim more easily if it is said to be a dog, but that is still an acceptance of the mere testimonial.

To prove as actual truth or fact, dog or dragon, the same scientific methodology for evidence is required.

The only sentiment I agree with is that some things we accept (from honest people) by merely their testimony and others, if the claim is extraordinary (or the person is dishonest. I would believe an extraordinary claim made by one of my honest friends over most ordinary claims made by liars), we wish to see something beyond the testimony. But this does not mean that the simple claim is actually true - it simply means that we believe it to be true.

==================
Points That Still Stand:
==================

1. My opponent's definition relegates all ordinary claims to once being extraordinary. It is rather ordinary then, for even ordinary claims to posses extraordinary evidence.
2. My opponent would had to seriously contend that scientific evidence itself extraordinary in order for any remnant of his points to stand.
3. Whether an individual claims to have a dog or dragon, he cannot prove it without demonstrating it to us, regardless of how reasonable we might feel his claim to be.

==================
Conclusion:
==================

As it has known become abundantly clear, I have sufficiently negated the resolution and have, quite clearly, won this debate with ammo left. Thank you for reading.

Inquiretruth
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
You are confusing the idea that it would me more likely and believable over actual truth. To prove that it is TRUE and not just believable, the same amount of evidence in both cases is necessary. You cannot confuse believability and testimonial assertions with actual verity.
Posted by CerebralCortex 8 years ago
CerebralCortex
I did not fail to accurately define it, you just failed to accurately read it (in the debate rounds). Perhaps you should read my points again ?
Anyway to establish life in a Peruvian cave the same evidence found on mars would be way way more than enough. This is because we know life thrives almost everywhere on earth, hence life on earth is ordinary. But I am really starting to sound like a broken record here ...
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
It has nothing to do with probability. It has everything to do with evidence. Since you are showing a consistent ability to say things are extraordinary without the ability to accurately define what that means, it is safe to say you are speaking without knowledge.

If we found the same stuff we found on Mars in a cave in Peru, it would only be enough to establish what we have established in Mars case. To prove that life actually existed in either the Peruvian cave or the Martian land would require the same amount and same type of evidence - even though it would be rather ordinary for life to exist in a Peruvian cave (and more probable).
Posted by CerebralCortex 8 years ago
CerebralCortex
Just to address your final points:

A. Quantum physics made some extraordinary claims, so much so that Einstein refused to accept it until it was supported by so much extraordinary evidence he could not deny it any longer. Now principles like duality or indeterminism are no longer extraordinary.
B. I am glad you brought that up ! Scientists have tried very hard to look for life on mars, for example. Despite very intriguing findings like the analysis of the ALH84001 meteorite which was shown to contain organic molecules and structures that appear like microfossils along with strong evidence for liquid water in mars past and 3/3 successful tests for life done by early Martian robotic explorers. All this is merely enough to suggest the possibility of past life on mars but is still insufficient to really be considered as conclusive evidence for life, or past life on mars. Why ? Because other, more ordinary, explanations still exist for all these phenomenas. That's how science works. The question of finding life is not as simple as you may think. Scientists are not even sure they would know how to recognize that what they found is in fact life.
C. If you are actually arguing that the probability of the sentence "I have a dog" being true is equal to the probability of the sentence "I have a fire spitting dragon" to be true, then there is nothing more that can be said.

Finally I really admire your courage for taking on the impossible task of trying to prove this particular resolution wrong.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 8 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
The muliverse is an extraordinary claim. With no ""extraordinary evidence".
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
I'll debate this (PRO).
Posted by CerebralCortex 8 years ago
CerebralCortex
2 weeks is ok ?
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
I will accept when you change the voting period to something other than indefinite.
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Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
CerebralCortexInquireTruthTied
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