The Instigator
YouGotToShakeIt
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
BeforeYouBakeIt
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

You Should Never Believe Anything With Insufficient Evidence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 558 times Debate No: 28333
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

YouGotToShakeIt

Pro

My opponent may say that sufficient evidence is not required to have a proper belief[EC]. He may say that testimony is a reliable source due to the knowledge of the authority figure giving the testimony[S]. Like a Doctor giving a diagnosis based on the schooling they have received. But in order to be able to accept the "professional's" testimony you must also be able to analyze the source's character, emotion and reasoning at the time of the testimony[Q]. For example a doctor having a bad day may be quick to diagnose a patient with a very common virus or illness to simply get his day over with, and due to this is not truly sincere about the diagnosis[S]. My opponent may say that the professional has the knowledge of years of medical school but if one can't analyze the "professional's" character you have no way of knowing that this individual barely made it out of medical school, or if they are a true expert in the field of study[Q]. Keep in mind, attending medical school doesn't make you a good doctor just like attending church doesn't make you a saint.
BeforeYouBakeIt

Con

Our opponent makes our argument for us [I]. The idea that one should never believe based on insufficient evidence is grounded in the theory that you can only know something if you have seen factual evidence in support of your belief [S]. But our opponent goes on to say that to assess the testimony of a doctor, you must know his character and emotional state [S]. We have learned that character and emotion are factors in deciding how much you trust the testimony of someone [Q]. So we humbly submit that the acceptance of a diagnosis is based on faith that the doctor is capable of making a well reasoned diagnosis because he is moral and just, therefore you cannot have complete evidence that the doctor is right [Ri]. You can only believe that he knows what is best because he has training, and trust his judgement [C].
Debate Round No. 1
YouGotToShakeIt

Pro

My opponent seems to say that accepting testimonial claims based on insufficient evidence is okay due to having faith in the testimony giver's education. Now when you base something on faith you are saying that you believe something without evidence[EC]. In the case of the doctor, my opponent could argue that the simple fact that the doctor is in the office is evidence enough[S]. By that logic it can be said that any person in a doctors office with a lab coat on becomes a doctor due to the environment. "To know is one thing, and to know for certain that we know is another.[I]" by William James "The Will to Believe." In this quote by James I would like to point out that you may think you know the person treating you is a doctor, but you would not know for certain even if they have certificates and diplomas[S]. I say this because all they are in base form is a print out that anyone can do. In this sense it would be wise to seek a second opinion or even a third to verify what the first doctor has said. Because it may be the case that the initial doctor was not truly certified[Q]. But by verifying his conclusions true based of evidence you can argue that it could be the case that if the second or even third doctor agrees with the initial diagnosis was indeed correct and it seems to be that the initial doctor was right and true, but this is done by gathering trace data for yourself and using it to connect the similarities with the different professionals to form your own conclusion[Q]. As you clearly see you have confirmed the diagnosis through what could be seen as an initial I.Q, is the original doctor a true doctor. But my opponent would like to say that you can simply have faith, and this is belief with no evidence. The correct route would be to take the argument Plato created, I only know that I know nothing, stating that you do not have all the knowledge in the world, and can't assume based on faith that others do have that knowledge[S[. Also note that my opponent will also be using some evidence based arguments by using references from books read in class. If no evidence is needed, then why does he feel the need to provide some?[I]
BeforeYouBakeIt

Con

To directly address our opponents concerns with gathering sufficient data to indeed prove that they are ill by going to more than one doctor, we would simply say in order to go get a second or third opinion, one would need to believe, and not know for certain, that the first doctor's diagnosis was inaccurate [Q]. But we would like to raise a more important point [Q]. William K. Clifford, from his essay "The Ethics of Belief," claims that "In the supposed cases which have been considered, it has been judged wrong to believe on insufficient evidence, or to nourish belief by suppressing doubts and avoiding investigation. The reason of this judgement is not far to seek: it is that the belief held by one man was of great importance to other men" [S]. I will quickly summarize his example; A ship captain, who is in charge of the welfare of his crew, opts not to inspect the ship, and because of his neglect, the ship wrecks and his crew dies [Q]. Certainly this is a compelling enough argument for us to investigate all of our beliefs [Q]. But William James' argument from his essay "The Will to Believe" is a more compelling argument [Q]. He says that "Our reason is quite satisfied, in nine-hundred and ninety-nine cases out of every thousand of us, if it can find a few arguments that will do to recite in case our credulity is criticized by some one else. Our faith is faith in some one else's faith, and in the greatest matter this is most the case" [S]. What James is saying is that nearly all of what we know to be true, including the idea that there are molecules holding us all together, stems from a knowledge gained either second or third hand, and in having multiple people confirm that our beliefs are true, we claim them to be facts [Ri]. Let us refer once more to our opponent's example of gaining a second or third opinion from multiple doctors; In their argument, they claim that by gaining the opinion of more than one doctor, they gain the true knowledge of their illness [S]. Thus, they have already stated what James claims [Q]. So, we will propose the idea that since we cannot have the time to investigate all of our beliefs as Clifford claims we should, and accepting James' theory that most of what we know is gained through the collaboration of testimony, that you always hold some onto something that you claim to be true, without having done the sufficient research into that belief [Ri]. Therefore, it is necessary to hold some beliefs on insufficient evidence [C].
Debate Round No. 2
YouGotToShakeIt

Pro

My opponent would like to believe that the ship captain argument is a valid argument for allowing him to sail across the sea without a valid inspection being done[RI]. But keep in mind that the example was not about the captains belief if the ship could make it across, but based on the fact that he was not responsible in fulfilling his duties as a captain to ensure a ship safe for voyage[S]. The argument was mainly about risking the lives of the people on board. And to address the other argument about the one in a thousand in reference to seeking another opinion from a second or third doctor, we are not speaking about a one in thousand situation[Q]. For a man does not get sick over a thousand times a week. We are speaking of a person unsure due to lack of evidence shown about the Doctors character[Q]. Also, I would like to point out that our opponent has not even addressed that they have continued to provide evidence for an argument that they are stating that sufficient evidence is needed. Now they may say that at times no evidence is needed, so can you say like William James that "....two one-dollar bills in our pocket must be a hundred dollars?"[I] Because by not seeing the bills directly, you can assume the value but without evidence be completely wrong. Or perhaps they want to go on a simple hope of being correct. Like Allen Woods said, "...such as wishful thinking, self-complacency, prejudice, partisanship or social conformity....determine what we believe."[I] Basically saying you have no evidence to prove your point, like my opponent, so you allow others to influence your ideas and beliefs, also showing a lack of self control[RE].
BeforeYouBakeIt

Con

Our opponent wishes to cloud your judgement by falsely quoting William James [Q]. Again, we will take a quote from James' "The Will to Believe," and explain why our opponent has falsely represented him [Q]. James says "Does it not seem preposterous on the very face of it to talk of our opinions being modifiable at will? Can our will either help or hinder our intellect in its percepts of truth? Can we, by just willing it, believe that Abraham Lincoln's existence is a myth and that the portraits of him in McClure's Magazine are all of some one else? Can we, by any effort of our will, or by any strength of wish that it were true, believe ourselves well and when we are roaring with rheumatism in bed, or feel certain that the sum of the two one-dollar bills in out pocket must be a hundred dollars? We can say any of these things, but we are absolutely impotent to believe them; and of just such things in the whole fabric of the truths that we do believe in made up,- matters of fact, immediate or remote, as Hume said, and relations between ideas, which are either there or not there for us if we see them so, and which if not there cannot be put there by any action of our own." [S] What his argument boils down to, as our opponent fails to see, is that you may hold any belief that you wish, but if they are not based in reality, no one will hold the same beliefs, and therefore yours become inane [Ri]. To quell our opponents inept attempt to make our entire argument false by claiming that we hold evidence to believe such things, I say this; all the beliefs we hold are beliefs bred of testimony [C]. We have reason to believe that the author we are citing is reliable and trustworthy, and so we hold that his words are true [S]. Because we deem him reliable and trustworthy, we accept his testimony as something that we should believe [S].
Debate Round No. 3
YouGotToShakeIt

Pro

My opponent says I am miss quoting the "two one-dollar bill" quote but if you read carefully[EC]. I never suspend any judgment on the quote itself, simply use it as reference point to make a statement on my own[S]. I never said that James meant to say anything. But i would like to point out, that once again like clockwork my opponent has avoided more issues than ever[Q]. The fact that he is using evidence to base an argument, dropped the doctors analogy, and avoids the ship captain quote brought up by himself[Q]. One can assume that he will attempt to make up for the lack of arguments prided in the last round, but as far as I can see this will only be a move made out of desperation. Therefor it seems to be the case that a fourth round is not needed for us, and we will leave the last round open for our opponents to make a last ditch effort to rescue his argument[RI].
BeforeYouBakeIt

Con

Our opponent makes an ad-hominem attack instead of creating a reasoned explanation for his lackluster stance [Q]. He claims that we ave consistently avoided the issues at hand, but he avoids all issues in his closing argument [Q]. Instead of following his path, I will take his advice and make a reasoned argument as to why you do not need sufficient evidence to believe [Q]. We cite our earlier references to James and ask that you have faith in our testimony, believing that we are of good character and standing, and that we do not mean to make you hold beliefs that will lead you into bad situations, but that we allow you to know that long as your beliefs are reasonable, you can hold them [Ri]. There are things in this life for which you will have no evidence to support your cause, and in that instance you must only hold true to your belief in order to succeed [S]. The burden of proof is on our opponent, and the have not met the standard to convince you that their argument is correct [S]. Therefore, in closing, we say that it is appropriate to hold beliefs for which you do not hold sufficient evidence, because they are a necessity of life [C].
Debate Round No. 4
YouGotToShakeIt

Pro

LAST ROUND, for you non debate nerds this will determine the winner. best yo-mama joke wins

Yo mama so fat, when she sees a bus full of white kids drive by she yells, "STOP THAT TWINKIE!!!"
BeforeYouBakeIt

Con

Yo mama so stupid, she thought a quarterback was a refund!
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by DudeWithoutTheE 3 years ago
DudeWithoutTheE
The motion is tautological. No-one, anywhere, ever, believes anything without believing there is sufficient evidence for it, even if the evidence is 'My sister's boyfriend's Dad's masseuse said so.' That's still evidence, of a kind. (Hence, testimony is considered to be a synonym of evidence).

The debate that's actually occurred seems to be more along the lines of 'You should never take anything on authority.'
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