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Messages - Tom Bishop

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8101
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 04:56:32 PM »
Oh and yes there is a huge difference between making a claim and stating a belief.

Stating

There is no X.

Is not the same as saying

As far as I know, there is no X.

The first you are asserting that you know, for a fact, and that you have examined all sorts of research or data.
The second, you are acknowledging that you have a limited grasp on the subject, but from what you have seen, X does not exist.

Those statements are the same. You cannot speak from an ultimate truth in one sentence and then from your own belief in the next. They are both your belief.

8102
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 04:52:05 PM »
Well see in your example of the bug in a program, the programmer is looking for a bug where it is most likely to be.  In the program.  Not some other program or in your drawers.  He is looking in the program.  If he can't find a bug where a bug is supposed to be, that is supporting his claim.  However, he sure wouldn't have a long career as a programmer if he developed his code, submitteded it and claimed the are no bugs in this program.  I don't need to test it.  It isn't my responsibility to do so. 

Just as if I claimed there is no handkerchief is Pizza's pocket, it is my burden to actually check Pizza's pocket for a lack of handkerchief.

No, it is not your burden to check, or the programmer's for that matter. The burden is on the party with the positive claim.

If someone claims that a bug in the software exists, that person would be burdened to demonstrate or provide information on that bug. The programmer wouldn't be burdened with searching through a needle in a haystack of code for some sort of bug. There is already evidence that a bug does not exist. The claimant must demonstrate the assertion.

In a discussion of ghosts it is not my burden to 'prove that ghosts don't exist'. It is the burden of the claimant to demonstrate the existence of ghosts. There is already evidence that ghosts do not exist.

In a discussion of the handkerchief, the current evidence in the discussion is that there is no such handkerchief.

In a discussion of whether schematics exist of a gravity measuring space ship built to withstand magnetic interference, the evidence is that there is no such schematic.

Positive evidence is required for all of that. Our current knowledge and experience tells us that none of that exists. The most likely place to check for those things is with the party with that claim. If that party cannot provide the necessary evidence, then the proof falls flat.

8103
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 06:46:37 AM »
The base truth is that you do not know for certain.

The available evidence says that there is no handkerchief, therefore that is what is concluded. The conclusion stays that way until positive evidence is presented of this handkerchief.

Quote from: Rama Set
Quote
My experience says that there is no handkerchief. Your experience says that there is no handkerchief. No one has seen any such handkercheif. There is no handkerchief until demonstrated otherwise.

Incorrect.  Your ignorance does not satisfy a burden of proof.

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The websites saying otherwise are authored by people trying to justify their belief in ghosts, aliens, and magical fairies who live in the sky.

See: http://oyhus.no/AbsenceOfEvidence.html

Quote
an anecdote from Roar Lauritzsen about Absence of Evidence:

"Suppose you are a programmer, and you are looking for bugs in a program. At first you cannot sleep at night because you are convinced that there must be a bug somewhere, you just haven't found it yet. To find the bug, you test the program to see if you find something that doesn't work as you expected. If you found something, it would be evidence that there was a bug. If you test the program a lot, and still find no evidence of a bug, this increases your confidence that there is no bug. In other words, it counts as evidence for the absence of a bug, and you are finally able to sleep better.

After a while, your program is thoroughly tested, and you still find no evidence for a bug. You begin to suspect that there might not be a bug after all. However, if there is no bug, you will have no purpose as a programmer. You feel as if your life depends on the existence of a bug. You are now looking for the Bug that will save you. You believe that there must be a Bug, so you test your program even more thoroughly. When you still cannot find any evidence for a Bug, you start to rationalize: Although I cannot find any Bug, that does not prove that there is no Bug. You are now a true believer in the Bug."


Quote from: Rama Set
Quote
If anyone is claiming existence of a handkerchief, the burden is on them.

What if no one has claimed the existence of a handkerchief, but you are merely asserting it?

If no one has claimed the existence of a handkerchief and I had merely asserted that there is no handkerchief, then it is still not my burden to demonstrate that there is no handkerchief beyond the evidence which already tells us that there is none. The burden was already met with evidence. It is this evidence which must be contradicted.

8104
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 06:09:26 AM »
No negative claims are not automatically proven.  It has been shown to you multiple times that negative claims also carry a burden of proof.  Why do you assume that negative claims are automatically true?

The negative claims automatically meets the burden of proof by virtue of being a negative.

Quote
Use Pizza's example

I claim
"There is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket"

The base truth is that there is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket. My experience says that there is no handkerchief. Your experience says that there is no handkerchief. No one has seen any such handkerchief. All available evidence says there is none, therefore there is no handkerchief until demonstrated otherwise. If anyone is claiming existence of a handkerchief, the burden is on them.

Quote
In reality, the only position I can take, without any further evidence, is that

"I do not know if Pizza has a handkerchief in his pocket"

Until I check Pizza's pockets, or someone else does, I cannot know for certain what is in Pizza's pocket.

When we speak, we speak from our own knowledge. If you make a statement that "diamonds are the hardest rock" it is because you believe that diamonds are the hardest rock. There is no difference if you preface the statement with "As far as I know, diamonds are the hardest rock". Each statement is equally of your own belief.

If I state that there is no handkerchief in Pizza's pocket I am speaking truthfully from my own knowledge, and therefore that can be said. It is impossible to speak from someone else's knowledge or from a universal truth. It is the present knowledge in the discussion.

8105
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 04:20:05 AM »
I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.

The burden of proof is clearly on the person with the positive claim. In an argument on the existence of ghosts, if someone claims that ghosts exist, is it the burden of that person to provide evidence for the existence of ghosts? Or, is it the burden of the person claiming that ghosts do not exist to provide evidence of their non-existence?

Clearly, the burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist to prove that claim. There is already plenty of evidence that ghosts DON'T exist. The burden of the skeptic to provide evidence that ghosts don't exist has been automatically met, by virtue of a life long experience that ghosts do not exist.

This is why the burden is always on the person with the positive claim. The negative claim is trivial to prove.

Incorrect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Proving_a_negative

It may be trivial to fulfill your burden in some cases, but that does not free one from the burden.  Anytime a truth is asserted it carries a burden of proof.  It is very simple.

A negative claim is such that it is already automatically proven. I don't need to prove that ghosts don't exist because their non-existence is already established by experience.

The burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist. My responsibility for proving that ghosts do not exist extends to me opening my eyes and seeing that they do not exist.

8106
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 03:57:18 AM »
I'm disputing that negative/positive is a meaningful distinction for an assertion, and I'm disputing that an assertion is relieved of its burden of proof simply because it contains a negation.  All assertions have a burden of proof.  Assertions are not negative or positive.  That's not a real thing.

I'm most strongly disputing that one should assume any claim containing a negation to be true until proven otherwise.  Every claim with a negation can be reformulated into a claim without one. 'Not P is true' is the same as 'P is false.'  It makes no sense to suggest that we should believe any and all assertions that contain negations until the contrary assertion has been proven.

This iteration of the forums are new, but there were lots of posts from different users on .org that commonly made the claim that 'negative claims cannot be proven.'  The gravity thread made me think of those, so I posted this thread.

The burden of proof is clearly on the person with the positive claim. In an argument on the existence of ghosts, if someone claims that ghosts exist, is it the burden of that person to provide evidence for the existence of ghosts? Or, is it the burden of the person claiming that ghosts do not exist to provide evidence of their non-existence?

Clearly, the burden is on the person claiming that ghosts exist to prove that claim. There is already plenty of evidence that ghosts DON'T exist. The burden of the skeptic to provide evidence that ghosts don't exist has been automatically met, by virtue of a life long experience that ghosts do not exist.

This is why the burden is always on the person with the positive claim. The negative claim is trivial to prove.

8107
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 30, 2013, 02:59:58 AM »
Why was this thread made? Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?

8108
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 28, 2013, 07:00:36 AM »
Basically what is bolded is exactly what you have done.

You claim that lack of evidence proves you right.  You then push the responsibility of looking for any sort of evidence to others even when you admit that you haven't looked in the most likely place that this evidence would exist if it does exist.

I am looking in the most likely place. I'm looking right here on this forum, awaiting claimants to provide the obligated evidence for their claims. It is not my responsibility to find the evidence. See the quote above.

8109
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 28, 2013, 06:39:57 AM »
It is not my responsibility to prove anything either way. The act of challenging the critic to "prove me wrong" is the fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Quote
The philosophical burden of proof or onus (probandi) is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.

...

Holder of the burden

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed". This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question.

See bolded.

8110
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 28, 2013, 06:17:15 AM »
Quote
Only if you have looked in the most likely places.  Otherwise, it is just an argument from ignorance.

There is no "argument from ignorance fallacy" if there is a lack of knowledge in the discussion, and we truly are arguing from ignorance.

8111
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 28, 2013, 01:13:20 AM »
Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?
Does this mean that you admit that you must now start supporting your negative claims?

Negative claims already have supporting evidence of absence by virtue of an absence of evidence.

8112
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Is it possible to prove a negative?
« on: December 28, 2013, 12:22:50 AM »
Who said it was impossible to prove a negative?

8113
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 27, 2013, 10:14:52 PM »
I love that Tom doesn't have to prove any of his 'positive' claims about errors.  This is precisely why the negative/positive distinction is not a logical tool, but is merely a cognitive dissonance in the minds of people who are unwilling under any circumstances to alter the beliefs they consider precious.

We can always reformulate the discussion in the opposite direction.  Tom, you are making a positive claim:  "X can/does cause an error in your measurement/experiment."

You have to prove that claim.

Already done. It was agreed that a gust of wind could move a dollar bill. Therefore, a gust of wind could affect this experiment.

8114
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 27, 2013, 10:09:23 PM »
Quote
.01g is one one-hundredth the weight of a dollar bill. Air currents are certainly strong enough to move a dollar bill, let alone something one one-hundredth the weight.
But is it enough to move a 300 gram gnome?

If a gust of wind puts 1g of pressure down on the gnome, then that gnome is 1g heavier.

If a gust of wind attacks the gnome from the side or from below, then that also affects the gnome's weight.

Quote
Quote
There is a complete lack of documentation?  You contacted Snolab to verify this? Why are you starting down your fallacious and odious one of thought again?

Where is this documentation?

I never said there was, but if there is, Snolab would be a good place to start looking.

Then start looking.
Tom, why is it his responsibility to do your research?  ???

It's his research. I did not bring up the possibility that controlled trials took place at this lab.

8115
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 27, 2013, 08:47:29 PM »
So when it is shipped to an underground laboratory I your default position is it was done improperly?

There is a complete lack of documentation. What variables did this laboratory control in the experiment? Were people in the room during the experiment?
Tom, I think that you are grossly overestimating the precision of the scale used in the gnome experiment.  The Kern model EWB readout only displays to .01g resolution.  Any concerns of air currents, atmospheric buoyancy or magnetic fields are likely to be far too subtle for the scale to register.  The biggest control concerns are probably just keeping the reference gnome clean and undamaged.

.01g is one one-hundredth the weight of a dollar bill. Air currents are certainly strong enough to move a dollar bill, let alone something one one-hundredth the weight.

There is a complete lack of documentation?  You contacted Snolab to verify this? Why are you starting down your fallacious and odious one of thought again?

Where is this documentation?

I never said there was, but if there is, Snolab would be a good place to start looking.

Then start looking.

8116
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 25, 2013, 05:34:24 AM »
There is a complete lack of documentation?  You contacted Snolab to verify this? Why are you starting down your fallacious and odious one of thought again?

Where is this documentation?

8117
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 24, 2013, 07:54:42 PM »
So when it is shipped to an underground laboratory I your default position is it was done improperly?

There is a complete lack of documentation. What variables did this laboratory control in the experiment? Were people in the room during the experiment?

8118
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 24, 2013, 07:27:37 PM »
Wind and air currents of a room are certainly potent enough to affect the reading. Seeing as this experiment was shipped from person to person and performed in various uncontrolled environments, the experiment is invalid.

As has been shown in this thread, it has also been performed in controlled environments and regardless of the environment the results do not falsify the expected local variations in gravity.

The environments were not controlled. They don't even say if some of the experiments were performed outside or not. No attempt was made to control the numerous variables affecting the experiment.

You know this because of Wikipedia again?

It says right on their website that they ship the scale and gnome from person to person to perform the experiment at their leisure, and that if you want to perform the experiment in your own home town, all you need to do is 'apply here'.

8119
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 24, 2013, 07:10:02 PM »
Wind and air currents of a room are certainly potent enough to affect the reading. Seeing as this experiment was shipped from person to person and performed in various uncontrolled environments, the experiment is invalid.

As has been shown in this thread, it has also been performed in controlled environments and regardless of the environment the results do not falsify the expected local variations in gravity.

The environments were not controlled. They don't even say if some of the experiments were performed outside or not. No attempt was made to control the numerous variables affecting the experiment.

8120
Flat Earth Theory / Re: Gravity vs. Universal Acceleration
« on: December 24, 2013, 07:07:55 PM »
Wind and air currents of a room are certainly potent enough to affect the reading. Seeing as this experiment was shipped from person to person and performed in various uncontrolled environments, the experiment is invalid.

Are there a lot of wind and air currents in the rooms you frequent then?

You underestimate how sensitive the experiments to measure the slight variations of 'gravity' are.

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200806/physicshistory.cfm

Quote
Since the gravitational force between the spheres is so weak, the tiniest air current could ruin the delicate experiment. Cavendish placed the apparatus in a closed room to keep out extraneous air currents. He used a telescope to observe the experiments through a window, and set up a pulley system that made it possible to move the weights from outside. The room was kept dark to avoid temperature differences in different parts of the room affecting the experiment.

Cavendish relentlessly tracked down potential sources of error. He rotated the spheres in case they had picked up some magnetization. He observed the attraction of the rods without the spheres on the ends. He tried different types of wire to support the apparatus.

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