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  1. #1
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    FSM doesn't exist!

    I've read so many debates where people have thrown this FSM concept up just to make a point. Well, having thought about it, I think it's evident that in all probability FSM doesn't exist.

    Of course, I cannot conclusively prove that FSM doesn’t exist. That’s of course impossible. However, I will attempt to show that it’s much more likely that the FSM doesn’t exist than it is that it does exist.

    The idea came to me while arguing about a specific issue of evidence in another thread. In fact, it arose out of a suggestion that an opponent made (credit to him/her).

    Assumptions:

    1. That it is agreed, on a basic level, that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
    This is another way of putting the good old rule against appealing to ignorance. Most of us here agree with this rule in some form or another. Essentially what it means (so far as my reading of so many threads at ODN goes) is that if we consider the truth of a proposition for which there is no evidence and against which there is no evidence, we are forced to accept that the likelihood that the proposition is true is the same as the likelihood that the proposition is not true (subject to the caveat below).

    I often argue that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, where the situation is such that if the proposition were true, we’d EXPECT to see some evidence of it then it is permissible to claim absence if all evidence is lacking. I only say this for the record as this is unlikely to arise in this case as we are going to discuss a concept for which no evidence would ever be expected (FSM).

    The one caveat I need to make at this point is that I will be arguing that the above rule, while applicable on a basic level, doesn’t (and can’t) have equal implications in every set of circumstances. The effect that a proposition is as likely as its opposite can only be true when applied to "Simple propositions” (to be contrasted, of course with “Compound propositions”). More on this later.

    2. For the purposes of the argument, let’s define FSM as an omnipotent undetectable entity who has two eyes and a noodly appendage. What this means is that these will be the defining characteristics of the FSM. He may have other characteristics and traits too. But without all these, he’s not FSM.

    Argument:

    1. Firstly, let us introduce the concept of a non-evidenced-proposition. I will call it NEP. An NEP is any proposition for which there is no evidence and against which there is no evidence. An example of an NEP is “Pink elephants exist” or “FSM exists” or “there is life on Pluto”.

    2. Let us now consider a simple NEP and how it relates to the rule against appeal to ignorance. Let’s consider “Pink elephants exist”. There’s no evidence that they do and none that they don’t. The rule against appeal to ignorance prohibits us from saying “it’s therefore more likely that they don’t exist than it is that they do exist”. Quite simply, there’s no evidence either way. We therefore have to accept that their existence is just as likely as not. It’s true that no one has ever seen a pink elephant. But they might just live in some remote corner of the Sahara. Or maybe they don’t even live on planet Earth. If we’re prepared to agree that they’re just as likely to exist as not to exist then the evidentiary probability of the existence of pink elephants has to be 50%.

    3. The above is an example of what I would call a Simple NEP. It’s “simple” because it only makes one non-evidenced claim; that pink elephants exist. We already know that elephants exist. The only question is whether any of them are pink.

    4. Now, if we were to combine the above proposition with another non-evidenced-proposition, we would end up with what I’d call a Compound NEP. For example, to say that Pink Elephants exist AND they ride bicycles is a compound NEP. It consists of two non-evidenced propositions.

    5. Taking the above statistical assignment into account, the probability of this Compound NEP must be 50%*50%. This is because we have two separate claims; each of which has no evidence for it and none against it. In calculations of probability, when calculating the probability of two independent events combined (“A AND B”), we multiply their values by each other. Therefore, the probability of two Simple NEPs being true must be 50%*50%=25%.

    6. What follows is that it’s not the case that EVERY NEP has the probability of 50%. This only applies to Simple NEPs. As soon as we try to combine two or more NEPs, the probability has to decrease. This of course HAS to be the case. Otherwise, the probability of pink elephants existing would be the same as the probability of pink elephants existing AND riding bicycles. To go further, the probability of pink elephants existing would be the same as the probability of pink elephants riding bicycles and playing soccer and preferring Guns n Roses to Mozart and frequently engaging in lesbian sex.

    7. Now applying this to the flying spaghetti monster, we have to look at the defining characteristics of the FSM. These are: undetectable entity, omnipotent, having two eyes and having a noodly appendage. The probability of the first NEP (that an undetectable entity exists) is 50%. But not all of such entities would have to be omnipotent. There’s no evidence that any of them are. That’s why this is our second NEP. Therefore the probability of there existing an undetectable entity who is omnipotent must be 25%. But there’s no evidence that omnipotent undetectable entities have two eyes (or that they don’t). Hence, the probability that this one does is must also be 50%. This, combined, results in 12.5%. And finally, our last NEP to add to the equation (so that we can end up with all the defining characteristics of FSM) is that it has to have a noodly appendage. There’s no evidence that omnipotent undetectable entities who have two eyes also have noodly appendages (or that they don’t). Therefore, we have to multiply the 12.5% by 50%. We end up with 6.25%. And that’s our probability that FSM exists.

    Since the probability of FSM existing is as low as 6.25%, I can confidently say that in all likelihood there’s no such thing as the FSM.

    Of course, if this argument is accepted then it has to extend not only to FSM but to any Compound NEP.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  2. #2
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Good effort in disproving the FSM, but you miss the whole point of the concept. No one ever claimed that the FSM is likely to exist. The very reason why it works is because it is so absurdly improbable, yet cannot be definitively disproven - just like God (who, in most religions, is described with such specificity that it is as improbable, if not more so, than the FSM). The FSM comes in as a device to rebut those who insist on believing in God by arguing that atheists cannot prove that God doesn't exist.
    Trendem

  3. #3
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    Good effort in disproving the FSM, but you miss the whole point of the concept. No one ever claimed that the FSM is likely to exist. The very reason why it works is because it is so absurdly improbable, yet cannot be definitively disproven - just like God (who, in most religions, is described with such specificity that it is as improbable, if not more so, than the FSM). The FSM comes in as a device to rebut those who insist on believing in God by arguing that atheists cannot prove that God doesn't exist.
    LOL Trend. Thanks. I know what FSM is all about......I'm not going to do something rude and disprove God, am I? I'd rather just stick to FSM
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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  4. #4
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    To equate the impossibility of proving the existence/non-existence of a FSM with the existence/non-existence of God is, imo, irrational and illogical.

    The FSM is proposed as a material entity existing within a material universe bounded by time. At least, it is if language means anything - "flying" and "spaghetti" and "monster" all having meanings that pertain to a time/space limited, material universe.

    God is revealed as an omniscient, omnipresent, Spiritual Being within whom the entire bounded universe (including time) exists.

    There is no comparison.

    However, if one wanted to make a slightly better comparison with God and something, it would be a better argument to propose, say, an idea or concept, such as E = MC2.

    Before this concept was proposed by Einstein, it apparently had no existence. Yet, with hindsight, we can see that before it was proposed, it existed, to be revealed in the future. It was only when the veil of time-future was lifted that the timeless existence of the concept became known.

    It is not possible to compare, in any worthwhile sense, material existence with non-material existence, and time-limited existence with time-less existence.

    Thus the FSM/God comparison fails on every level.
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  5. #5
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by disinterested View Post
    To equate the impossibility of proving the existence/non-existence of a FSM with the existence/non-existence of God is, imo, irrational and illogical.
    I think you have missed the point of the thread by a mile. I was demonstrating the difficulty with applying the "evidence of absence" rule in the way in which many tend to apply it on ODN (in other words by clamining that where no evidence for or against exists the odds are equal both ways). The argument can be applied to any particular entity for which or against which no evidence exists. I chose to apply it to a god called FSM (yes, FSM is a god by any standards!).



    The FSM is proposed as a material entity existing within a material universe bounded by time. At least, it is if language means anything - "flying" and "spaghetti" and "monster" all having meanings that pertain to a time/space limited, material universe.
    To the contrary. The FSM is not a material entity. FSM is in fact a god. It's a supernatural entity, it's invisible and it is said to have created the world. In addition, it falsifies scientific evidence in order to make us believe that the world is older than a few thousand years. FSM very much meets any definition of a god (check your dictionary or ask me to post a definition and I will do so if called upon). At least those are the charactersitics attributed to FSM when he is invoked as a comparison to some particular God. I didn't posit such characteristics in my above argument for two reasons:

    1. I wanted to be conservative (ie, not to make it look like I deliberately insist on too many factors to minimise the odds of FSM's existence).

    2. I wasn't comparing FSM to any particular God. Having very few defining attributes was sufficient for my purposes and helped keep the OP short.



    God is revealed as an omniscient, omnipresent, Spiritual Being within whom the entire bounded universe (including time) exists.
    Ok, there's no evidence either for or against the existence of such a being. Moreover, adopting the rule against appeal to ignorance (as used on ODN so often) we have to say that the odds for each of those attributes are 50/50. There's no evidence for the existence of an entity with any one of those attributes. Each of them is therefore an NEP (non-evidenced-proposition). Read my FSM argument for details (to help you understand how the following calculation is made). If you ask me to, however, I will present the full version of the argument in reference to your above (blue) definition of God. I will say at this point that

    Odds of God = Odds of omniscient * omnipresent * spirutual * "universe-embracing"

    Each of those odds by themselves is 50%, due to the lack of any evidence either for or against the existence of such an attribute in any entity.

    Therefore odds of God=0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5=0.0625=6.25% (coincidentally the same as the odds of FSM above).


    However, if one wanted to make a slightly better comparison with God and something, it would be a better argument to propose, say, an idea or concept, such as E = MC2.
    If you want to claim that God exists as a concept only then it would indeed be appropriate to compare him to a concept. However, it would be grossly inappropriate to compare him to E=MC2. The formula is accepted as proven correct. The same can't be said for God. Therefore God should be compared (as a concept) to some other concept that is unproven.

    Before this concept was proposed by Einstein, it apparently had no existence. Yet, with hindsight, we can see that before it was proposed, it existed, to be revealed in the future. It was only when the veil of time-future was lifted that the timeless existence of the concept became known.
    This incaccurate. You see, we had no formula but relativity existed (to be revealed in the future). At least that's what you're saying and I'll accept that. The case is different (if not opposite) with God. We HAVE A CONCEPT but it may well be that God doesn't exist.


    It is not possible to compare, in any worthwhile sense, material existence with non-material existence, and time-limited existence with time-less existence.

    Thus the FSM/God comparison fails on every level.
    The conclusion is obviously flawed as is the argument.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  6. #6
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus
    Odds of God = Odds of omniscient * omnipresent * spirutual * "universe-embracing"

    Each of those odds by themselves is 50%, due to the lack of any evidence either for or against the existence of such an attribute in any entity.

    Therefore odds of God=0.5*0.5*0.5*0.5=0.0625=6.25% (coincidentally the same as the odds of FSM above).
    This is true of any entity with any number of characteristics. The solution is trivial.

    You're comparing the likelihood of pulling an omniscient, omnipresent, spiritual, 'universe-embracing' God out of a hat with (1-(1/2^4)) other Gods with unique combinations of those qualities.

    What relation does this value have to the likelihood that God exists, or that God actually possesses these characteristics?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  7. #7
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    This is true of any entity with any number of characteristics. The solution is trivial.
    It's true for any entity whose defining characteristics are NEP's.


    You're comparing the likelihood of pulling an omniscient, omnipresent, spiritual, 'universe-embracing' God out of a hat with (1-(1/2^4)) other Gods with unique combinations of those qualities.
    No. I'm predicting the likelihood of the existence of an entity with any particular set of defining characteristics based on the assumption that lack of evidence for or against existence yields 50/50 odds for existence or none.

    What relation does this value have to the likelihood that God exists, or that God actually possesses these characteristics?
    Based on the assumption about lack of evidence it has complete relation to such existence. I have outlined my FSM argument in a lot of detail. Please feel free to attack it on whatever points you think appropriate.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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  8. #8
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    It's true for any entity whose defining characteristics are NEP's.




    No. I'm predicting the likelihood of the existence of an entity with any particular set of defining characteristics based on the assumption that lack of evidence for or against existence yields 50/50 odds for existence or none.



    Based on the assumption about lack of evidence it has complete relation to such existence. I have outlined my FSM argument in a lot of detail. Please feel free to attack it on whatever points you think appropriate.
    Right, but your argument relies on the premise that God actually exists. "If God exists, and is randomly assigned characteristics, what are the odds that the result will include omnipotence, omniscience, etc.?"

    You are not evaluating the likelihood that God exists. You have not actually shown that these characteristics are assigned in such a fashion, or--more realisitically--that the distribution of these characteristics is actually determined probabilistically.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  9. #9
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Right, but your argument relies on the premise that God actually exists. "If God exists, and is randomly assigned characteristics, what are the odds that the result will include omnipotence, omniscience, etc.?"
    No, it doesn't. My argument estimates the likelihood of any entity (E) with defining NEP characteristics (C1, C2, C3...) existing, on the assumption that lack of evidence for or against the existence of an entity that possesses an NEP yields a 50/50 likelihood for it. "If God is defined as having characteristics A, B and C then the likelihood of such a God existing is P".

    You are not evaluating the likelihood that God exists. You have not actually shown that these characteristics are assigned in such a fashion, or--more realisitically--that the distribution of these characteristics is actually determined probabilistically.
    As I said, my formula is based on the following assumption:

    If there's no evidence for or against the existence of a being or thing or phenomenon with a certain characteristic then the likelihood that it exists is equal to the likelihood that it doesn't.

    A large number of skeptics would go way beyond that. They would say that the existence of anything supernatural is extremely unlikely (given no evidence for or against) unless extremely compelling evidence is produced for its existence. I don't quite go that far.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    No, it doesn't. My argument estimates the likelihood of any entity (E) with defining NEP characteristics (C1, C2, C3...) existing, on the assumption that lack of evidence for or against the existence of an entity that possesses an NEP yields a 50/50 likelihood for it. "If God is defined as having characteristics A, B and C then the likelihood of such a God existing is P".
    No. "If God is defined as having characteristics A, B and C then the likelihood of an existing God having such characteristics is P". If you wanted to include the likelihood of such a God existing, you'd need to add another factor of (1/2) for the characteristic "exists", using your assumptions.

    As I said, my formula is based on the following assumption:

    If there's no evidence for or against the existence of a being or thing or phenomenon with a certain characteristic then the likelihood that it exists is equal to the likelihood that it doesn't.

    A large number of skeptics would go way beyond that. They would say that the existence of anything supernatural is extremely unlikely (given no evidence for or against) unless extremely compelling evidence is produced for its existence. I don't quite go that far.
    You are discussing the probabilistic determination of God's characteristics in a very loosely defined capacity.

    Are the odds of God being omniscient actually equal to the odds of God not being omniscient? You're assuming the probability is distributed evenly; you haven't even entered into a discussion of what characteristics are and are not necessary to God. You've simply assumed that they're all randomly assigned.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  11. #11
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    No. "If God is defined as having characteristics A, B and C then the likelihood of an existing God having such characteristics is P". If you wanted to include the likelihood of such a God existing, you'd need to add another factor of (1/2) for the characteristic "exists", using your assumptions.
    I could just agree with you and say that we should indeed add yet another division by half. It might be in my interest. But I do not agree. Existence is not an attribute for the purposes of determining the likelihood of existence. Without existence, you can posit anything as a CONCEPT. And God, as a concept, exists with a certainty of 100%. So does FSM. So does Toothfairy. And last, but not least, so does blojobamagonacumakwika (a concept I have just invented now).

    The only evidence you ever need to prove that a concept exists is to spell out the concept. Very easy. And completely irrelevant.



    Are the odds of God being omniscient actually equal to the odds of God not being omniscient?
    You're approaching the problem in the wrong way.
    The question of the odds of GOD being omniscient do not arise within the formula because being omniscient is one of the defining attributes of God.

    The real question is what are the odds that an omniscient entity exists (we can't call it "God" because omniscient is not enough to be God). This enitity is not God. Not unless we stipulate that "omniscient" completely defines God.

    So what are the odds that an omniscient entity exists? We have no evidence that it does. And we have no evidence that it does not. We have no evidence that makes either proposition more probable. Hence, you are just as right to say "it exists" as I am to say "it doesn't exist". Given the evidence, therefore (nil), does it not mean that the odds of an omniscient entity existing are 50%? If not, why not?


    You're assuming the probability is distributed evenly; you haven't even entered into a discussion of what characteristics are and are not necessary to God. You've simply assumed that they're all randomly assigned.
    You're quite correct in saying that I didn't discuss what characteristics are necessary to God. My original OP was about the FSM (a specific diety). Subsequently, disinterested (an ODN member) has proposed certain defininig characteristics for God. I used that member's definition and applied it to the formula. HIS God's likelihood turned out to be 6%.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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  12. #12
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    I could just agree with you and say that we should indeed add yet another division by half. It might be in my interest. But I do not agree. Existence is not an attribute for the purposes of determining the likelihood of existence. Without existence, you can posit anything as a CONCEPT. And God, as a concept, exists with a certainty of 100%. So does FSM. So does Toothfairy. And last, but not least, so does blojobamagonacumakwika (a concept I have just invented now).
    Semantics. Call it "real vs. imaginary" if you like. By your definition, the likelihood that an omnipotent, omniscient, etc. God exists "as a concept" is 100%, so if that's the basis of your analysis, your conclusion doesn't make sense.

    The only evidence you ever need to prove that a concept exists is to spell out the concept. Very easy. And completely irrelevant.
    You said before that all concepts exist. If you are describing the possibility that a concept exists, then the value is always 1.0

    You're approaching the problem in the wrong way.
    The question of the odds of GOD being omniscient do not arise within the formula because being omniscient is one of the defining attributes of God.

    The real question is what are the odds that an omniscient entity exists (we can't call it "God" because omniscient is not enough to be God). This enitity is not God. Not unless we stipulate that "omniscient" completely defines God.

    So what are the odds that an omniscient entity exists? We have no evidence that it does. And we have no evidence that it does not. We have no evidence that makes either proposition more probable. Hence, you are just as right to say "it exists" as I am to say "it doesn't exist". Given the evidence, therefore (nil), does it not mean that the odds of an omniscient entity existing are 50%? If not, why not?
    I don't know whether it does, and I don't know whether it does not. I think there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the likelihood of [x] existing is precisely equal to the likelihood of [x] not existing.

    It's like asking about a coin with some number of sides. You might say that there's a 50% chance that it has 2 sides vs. not having 2 sides. Do you see the error?

    You're quite correct in saying that I didn't discuss what characteristics are necessary to God. My original OP was about the FSM (a specific diety). Subsequently, disinterested (an ODN member) has proposed certain defininig characteristics for God. I used that member's definition and applied it to the formula. HIS God's likelihood turned out to be 6%.
    You are making assumptions about probabilities that seem arbitrary.
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Semantics. Call it "real vs. imaginary" if you like. By your definition, the likelihood that an omnipotent, omniscient, etc. God exists "as a concept" is 100%, so if that's the basis of your analysis, your conclusion doesn't make sense.
    I'm lost. Do you disagree that God as a concept exists with a certainty of 100%?


    You said before that all concepts exist. If you are describing the possibility that a concept exists, then the value is always 1.0
    Yes.



    I don't know whether it does, and I don't know whether it does not. I think there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the likelihood of [x] existing is precisely equal to the likelihood of [x] not existing.
    And how do we define likelihood? What do we base it on?




    It's like asking about a coin with some number of sides. You might say that there's a 50% chance that it has 2 sides vs. not having 2 sides. Do you see the error?
    No Clive. This is a bad example. Since we already know that the coin has a number of sides and we presumably know that coins can potentially have a lot of sides, we can't say that the chance of it having 2 sides is equal to the chance of it not having two sides.



    You are making assumptions about probabilities that seem arbitrary.
    The only assumption I have made is this:

    If there's no evidence in support of a proposition and no evidence in support of its negative, we must agree that it's equally likely that the proposition is true as that it is not true.

    Please tell me what's wrong with the above assumption.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    I'm lost. Do you disagree that God as a concept exists with a certainty of 100%?
    Yes. I'm saying that if you're attempting to show the likelihood that such a God is real vs. imaginary (you understand the distinction, yes?), you need include another factor of 1/2, given your assumptions. If you do not include this factor, then you are showing the likelihood that a particular concept of God exists. This probability is 100%; 100% != 6.25%.

    And how do we define likelihood? What do we base it on?
    Likelihood is the ratio of a particular outcome or possibility to some other particular outcome or possibility.

    No Clive. This is a bad example. Since we already know that the coin has a number of sides and we presumably know that coins can potentially have a lot of sides, we can't say that the chance of it having 2 sides is equal to the chance of it not having two sides.
    And how do you know that the distribution of probabilities for God are uniformly distributed?

    The only assumption I have made is this:

    If there's no evidence in support of a proposition and no evidence in support of its negative, we must agree that it's equally likely that the proposition is true as that it is not true.

    Please tell me what's wrong with the above assumption.
    Am I wearing shorts?

    You are suggesting that there exists a 50% probability that I am wearing shorts vs. not wearing shorts.

    Is this accurate?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Yes. I'm saying that if you're attempting to show the likelihood that such a God is real vs. imaginary (you understand the distinction, yes?), you need include another factor of 1/2, given your assumptions. If you do not include this factor, then you are showing the likelihood that a particular concept of God exists. This probability is 100%; 100% != 6.25%.
    That's incorrect because the existence of a concept is not an NEP and therefore it doesn't carry a 50% chance.



    Likelihood is the ratio of a particular outcome or possibility to some other particular outcome or possibility.
    Strange definition, I would think.

    Some questions:

    1. Do you agree that to determine the probability of a proposition, we have to consider the evidence that that proposition is true and the evidence that the proposition is not true? If not, why not?

    2. If you do agree with (1), do you agree that if the evidence that a proposition is true is equal to the evidence that the proposition is not true then the probability of that proposition being true is 50%?






    And how do you know that the distribution of probabilities for God are uniformly distributed?
    Let's see how you answer my questions above.


    Am I wearing shorts?

    You are suggesting that there exists a 50% probability that I am wearing shorts vs. not wearing shorts.

    Is this accurate?
    Let's assume that I don't know that you live in North America where it is summer now. Let's assume that I have no knowledge of the LIKELIHOOD (based on population distribution statistics) that you live in the northern hemisphere where it is summer now. Let's further assume that I have no knowledge of any statistics as to the numbers of people that wear shorts vs the numbers of people that don't wear shorts, particularly on Saturdays.

    Let's also assume that I don't know if shorts exist. There's been no confirmed sighting of shorts.

    In these circmustances, I would say that, with my state of knowledge (which is nil), the likelihood that you're wearing shorts is 50%.

    nb. many hardcore skeptics would kill me for this
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  16. #16
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    That's incorrect because the existence of a concept is not an NEP and therefore it doesn't carry a 50% chance.
    You said this:

    My argument estimates the likelihood of any entity (E) with defining NEP characteristics (C1, C2, C3...) existing...

    If you are speaking conceptually, then the probability is 100%, since all concepts exist.

    If your argument estimates the likelihood of an entity with defining characteristics existing in reality rather than merely conceptually, then you need to add another factor of 1/2 given your assumptions.

    Strange definition, I would think.
    F*ck off. Why even ask me for a definition if you're just going to make fun of it?

    Some questions:

    1. Do you agree that to determine the probability of a proposition, we have to consider the evidence that that proposition is true and the evidence that the proposition is not true? If not, why not?
    The probability of a proposition is not based on the evidence in favor of it. If the question is "Does God exist", and God must either exist or not exist, then either God exists, and there is 0 probability that He does not, or God doesn't exist, and there is 0 probability that He does.

    This is different than, say, asking whether a random toss of a normal two-sided coin will be heads or tails.

    2. If you do agree with (1), do you agree that if the evidence that a proposition is true is equal to the evidence that the proposition is not true then the probability of that proposition being true is 50%?
    Let's use a concrete example.

    Say that Tom is taller than John, and John is taller than Pete.

    Let's say we know that one of these three robbed a store last night. We know from the description that the person must have been taller than Pete.

    You're suggesting that there's a 50% chance that it was John, and a 50% chance that it was Tom.

    Now imagine that a video camera caught the whole thing on tape, and it showed that Tom was actually the culprit. The probability that John did it is actually 0%.

    Suppose you never saw this evidence. Are you still comfortable asserting that there is a 50% chance that John actually committed the crime?

    Let's assume that I don't know that you live in North America where it is summer now. Let's assume that I have no knowledge of the LIKELIHOOD (based on population distribution statistics) that you live in the northern hemisphere where it is summer now. Let's further assume that I have no knowledge of any statistics as to the numbers of people that wear shorts vs the numbers of people that don't wear shorts, particularly on Saturdays.

    Let's also assume that I don't know if shorts exist. There's been no confirmed sighting of shorts.

    In these circmustances, I would say that, with my state of knowledge (which is nil), the likelihood that you're wearing shorts is 50%.

    nb. many hardcore skeptics would kill me for this
    It should actually be 1/3.

    Three possibilities:

    Shorts DO exist, and I AM wearing shorts.
    Shorts DO exist, and I AM NOT wearing shorts.
    Shorts DON'T exist, and I AM NOT wearing shorts.

    (Obviously, we can discount:
    Shorts DON'T exist, and I'm wearing shorts.)

    Since by your theory, propositions with equal evidence are equally probable, each of these three possibilities has a (1/3) probability.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    The probability of a proposition is not based on the evidence in favor of it.
    What IS the probability of a proposition based on then?

    If the question is "Does God exist", and God must either exist or not exist, then either God exists, and there is 0 probability that He does not, or God doesn't exist, and there is 0 probability that He does.
    Right, so probability is dependent on truth. But wait...that kills the very purpose of determining probability. We NEVER determine the probability of something that we KNOW to be true. There's no reason to.



    Let's use a concrete example.

    Say that Tom is taller than John, and John is taller than Pete.

    Let's say we know that one of these three robbed a store last night. We know from the description that the person must have been taller than Pete.

    You're suggesting that there's a 50% chance that it was John, and a 50% chance that it was Tom.
    Yes, given that Pete was eliminated.

    Now imagine that a video camera caught the whole thing on tape, and it showed that Tom was actually the culprit. The probability that John did it is actually 0%.
    Once we've seen the footage, the probability that it was John is indeed 0%. Of course at that stage the evidence that it was John is overwhelmingly stronger than the evidence that it wasn't John.


    Suppose you never saw this evidence. Are you still comfortable asserting that there is a 50% chance that John actually committed the crime?
    Of course. Probability is used when we don't actually KNOW THE OUTCOME. When we do know the outcome, we don't bother with probability for the purpose of determining the likelihood of the outcome.

    If you toss a coin, the probability of heads is 50%. Let's say it lands on tails. Does it mean that at the time of tossing the coin the probability of tails was 100%? Of course not. It was 50%.



    It should actually be 1/3.

    Three possibilities:

    Shorts DO exist, and I AM wearing shorts.
    Shorts DO exist, and I AM NOT wearing shorts.
    Shorts DON'T exist, and I AM NOT wearing shorts.
    Ok....so....

    Omnipotence does exist and an omniscient entity has it.
    Omnipotence does exist and an omniscient entity doesn't have it.
    Omnipotence doesn't exist and an omnisicent entity doesn't have it.

    You know, you might be right. And I can't believe I missed it! It shouldn't be 1/2 in favour of an NEP that posits existence. It really should be 1/3. I'll rep you for this.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  18. #18
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    What IS the probability of a proposition based on then?
    Let's take a concrete example:

    There are two chips in a bag. Chip 1 is red, chip 2 is blue.

    The probability that a chip selected at random from the bag is blue = (# of blue chips / # of total chips).

    Of course. Probability is used when we don't actually KNOW THE OUTCOME. When we do know the outcome, we don't bother with probability for the purpose of determining the likelihood of the outcome.
    Except that your statement--John has a 50% probability of having committed the crime--was incorrect. He has a 0% probability of having committed the crime.

    If you toss a coin, the probability of heads is 50%. Let's say it lands on tails. Does it mean that at the time of tossing the coin the probability of tails was 100%? Of course not. It was 50%.
    Let's be a bit more specific. The odds of a coin landing heads if flipped randomly would be 50%; the odds of a coin landing heads if a certain force was applied for a certain time over a certain distance, with certain air resistance, and caught after a certain time, is not necessarily 50%.

    Your assumption is that the distribution of characteristics is random. But we don't know.

    By your theory, actually, wouldn't it be equally as likely that the distribution is non-random?

    Ok....so....

    Omnipotence does exist and an omniscient entity has it.
    Omnipotence does exist and an omniscient entity doesn't have it.
    Omnipotence doesn't exist and an omnisicent entity doesn't have it.

    You know, you might be right. And I can't believe I missed it! It shouldn't be 1/2 in favour of an NEP. It really should be 1/3. I'll rep you for this.
    ((1/2)+(1/2))-((1/2)*(1/2))

    Although modelling the likelihood of God's existence and His characteristics probabilistically is actually much more complicated and would require more formal analysis.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

    HOLY CRAP MY BLOG IS AWESOME

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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    I often argue that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, where the situation is such that if the proposition were true, we’d EXPECT to see some evidence of it then it is permissible to claim absence if all evidence is lacking.
    But once you introduce this, you are no longer engaging in the argument from ignorance fallacy. You are now introducing other evidence and/or logic into your argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    1. Firstly, let us introduce the concept of a non-evidenced-proposition. I will call it NEP. An NEP is any proposition for which there is no evidence and against which there is no evidence. An example of an NEP is “Pink elephants exist” or “FSM exists” or “there is life on Pluto”.
    Without adding any other evidence to the equation (such as the fact that pluto is too cold to support life as we know it), both propositions are equal. So yes, going by the evidence of ignorance fallacy alone, and nothing else, both propositions are equal.



    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    2. Let us now consider a simple NEP and how it relates to the rule against appeal to ignorance. Let’s consider “Pink elephants exist”. There’s no evidence that they do and none that they don’t. The rule against appeal to ignorance prohibits us from saying “it’s therefore more likely that they don’t exist than it is that they do exist”. Quite simply, there’s no evidence either way. We therefore have to accept that their existence is just as likely as not.
    Again, if all you are introducing is lack of evidence to support a conclusion, then Pink Elephants are just as likely to exist and not exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    It’s true that no one has ever seen a pink elephant.
    And now you are introducing evidence. You are introducing statistical data that 100% of the people have not seen a pink elephant which likewise draws the conclusion that if such a creature exists, it should have been seen (as it would be near impossible for a creature to remain out of human sight for all of this time) and now have brought forward an argument against pink elephants that is not an argument from ignorance fallacy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    But they might just live in some remote corner of the Sahara. Or maybe they don’t even live on planet Earth. If we’re prepared to agree that they’re just as likely to exist as not to exist then the evidentiary probability of the existence of pink elephants has to be 50%
    .

    Nope. You have strayed from the argument from ignorance fallacy and have made a convincing argument based on evidence and logic which raises the likelihood, at least in my opinion, of there not being pink elephants way above 50%.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    3. The above is an example of what I would call a Simple NEP. It’s “simple” because it only makes one non-evidenced claim; that pink elephants exist. We already know that elephants exist. The only question is whether any of them are pink.
    Well, are you using the argument from ignorance to support this or are you using evidence and/or logic?



    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    4. Now, if we were to combine the above proposition with another non-evidenced-proposition, we would end up with what I’d call a Compound NEP. For example, to say that Pink Elephants exist AND they ride bicycles is a compound NEP. It consists of two non-evidenced propositions.
    But if all you are offering is the argument from ignorance fallacy, then you cannot use the compound NEP argument as it is a different argument than the ignorance from fallacy argument.

    In other words "pink elephants exist and it's a fact that they do until you can prove otherwise" is a logical fallacy and offers no more support for pink elephants existing than it offers support that they don't exist, thus based on the AFI (argument from ignorance) both propositions are equal.

    Likewise "pink elephants that ride bikes exist and it's a fact that they do until you can prove otherwise" is also logical fallacy and offers no more support for pink elephants on bikes existing than it offers support that they don't exist, thus both propositions are equal.

    In other words a logical fallacy offers 0% support for either side of an argument and as 0=0, both sides are equally supported (or in this case unsupported) by the use of the fallacy.




    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    5. Taking the above statistical assignment into account, the probability of this Compound NEP must be 50%*50%. This is because we have two separate claims; each of which has no evidence for it and none against it. In calculations of probability, when calculating the probability of two independent events combined (“A AND B”), we multiply their values by each other. Therefore, the probability of two Simple NEPs being true must be 50%*50%=25%.
    Leaving the argument from ignorance fallacy aside, as this is clearly not that argument:

    I agree. The more attributes you add to a proposed NEP, the less chances there are of it existing. Or another way to put it, the more specific it is (which means an increase of details) the less likely it is to exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    6. What follows is that it’s not the case that EVERY NEP has the probability of 50%. This only applies to Simple NEPs. As soon as we try to combine two or more NEPs, the probability has to decrease. This of course HAS to be the case. Otherwise, the probability of pink elephants existing would be the same as the probability of pink elephants existing AND riding bicycles. To go further, the probability of pink elephants existing would be the same as the probability of pink elephants riding bicycles and playing soccer and preferring Guns n Roses to Mozart and frequently engaging in lesbian sex.
    Yep.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    7. Now applying this to the flying spaghetti monster, we have to look at the defining characteristics of the FSM. These are: undetectable entity, omnipotent, having two eyes and having a noodly appendage. The probability of the first NEP (that an undetectable entity exists) is 50%. But not all of such entities would have to be omnipotent. There’s no evidence that any of them are. That’s why this is our second NEP. Therefore the probability of there existing an undetectable entity who is omnipotent must be 25%. But there’s no evidence that omnipotent undetectable entities have two eyes (or that they don’t). Hence, the probability that this one does is must also be 50%. This, combined, results in 12.5%. And finally, our last NEP to add to the equation (so that we can end up with all the defining characteristics of FSM) is that it has to have a noodly appendage. There’s no evidence that omnipotent undetectable entities who have two eyes also have noodly appendages (or that they don’t). Therefore, we have to multiply the 12.5% by 50%. We end up with 6.25%. And that’s our probability that FSM exists.

    Since the probability of FSM existing is as low as 6.25%, I can confidently say that in all likelihood there’s no such thing as the FSM.

    Of course, if this argument is accepted then it has to extend not only to FSM but to any Compound NEP.
    Agreed. But then that's based on using the compound NEP argument alone. For instance, if there were confirmed FSM sightings, then one can add that to the calculation and raise the percentage about 6.25%.

  20. #20
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    Re: FSM doesn't exist!

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post


    ((1/2)+(1/2))-((1/2)*(1/2))
    This is your response to mine:

    Quote Originally Posted by me in as per your shorts
    1. Omnipotence does exist and an omniscient entity has it.
    2. Omnipotence does exist and an omniscient entity doesn't have it.
    3. Omnipotence doesn't exist and an omnisicent entity doesn't have it.
    (numbers added for identification purposes)


    There are 3 possibilities here. Only one of those 3 entails an omniscient entity being omnipotent at the same time. The probability, therefore, of an omniscient entity being omnipotent must be 1/3=33.333333....(33)%

    Would you please explain your "((1/2)+(1/2))-((1/2)*(1/2))"?


    Although modelling the likelihood of God's existence and His characteristics probabilistically is actually much more complicated and would require more formal analysis.
    Not really. All we have to do is identify God's defining characteristics. Then consider the evidence for each of them. If the evidence for and against a particular defining characterstic is equal then we have to assign that characteristic 50% for and 50% against. After this process, we multiply the odds to add up the characteristics (the good old logical "AND").
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

 

 
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