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Thread: Supernatural?

  1. #81
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    Re: Supernatural?

    [QUOTE=mican333;559864]Your opinion that I can't explain clearly what a ghost is is noted. I hold a different opinion. In fact, I think the dictionary definition is pretty clear.
    [Quote]
    CHALLENGE: So what do you by “soul” and “unseen world”?

    What if I said a dog is "a highly variable domestic mammal (Canis familiaris) closely related to the gray wolf." That certainly is better detailed that "an animal with four legs". And guess what? That's a dictionary definition. You can still say "that's not enough detail" but then again, you are just stating your opinion on the matter and not proving anything beyond what's in your head.
    Well, I know what all those words mean. I don’t know what “soul” means and what an “unseen world” is. So I have to ask for clarification.

    The same with rejecting the dictionary definition of "ghost" along with the rudimentary cultural knowledge of ghosts (which I also use to define "ghosts"). If YOU DON'T THINK that that is enough, then all that means is that that's what you think. It doesn't prove anything expect that that is what you think.

    So all you are telling me is your opinion when you what I've provided isn't good enough. And as I said, your opinion is noted.
    As I said, you haven’t pointed out specifically what this cultural knowledge is. Are you talking about the movie “Ghost” or “Sixth Sense”?

    And since it was never my burden in this debate to get you to believe that I actually saw a ghost, it doesn't matter if you believe me or not. You said you were going to prove that ghosts don't exist. You just subjectively not believing me doesn't do that at all.
    Well, then we’re done! If you didn’t see a ghost then how can you say that this is what you saw? Please make up your mind.

    I could likewise lay into you about how you are debating but I think doing such a thing is rude and a waste of time so I'm not going to "fire back" nor am I going to argue against all of your wildly inaccurate assessment of my debating. It's just a waste of time.
    Sure, but it’s very unladylike of you to dodge and weave and obfuscate and throw smoke and mirrors whilst claiming to be a victim when called out for doing so. I expect better of your gender TBH.



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  2. #82
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Well, I know what all those words mean. I don’t know what “soul” means and what an “unseen world” is. So I have to ask for clarification.
    You can ask. I don't see why I have any obligation to answer, though.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    As I said, you haven’t pointed out specifically what this cultural knowledge is. Are you talking about the movie “Ghost” or “Sixth Sense”?
    Again, I see no need to answer these questions. But those films both refer to a disembodied soul stuck on Earth so that does seem to correspond to ghosts as I understand them.



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Well, then we’re done! If you didn’t see a ghost then how can you say that this is what you saw? Please make up your mind.
    I never said I didn't see a ghost. I believe I did see one. I'm just saying that I don't care if you believe that I saw a ghost or not and therefore feel no need to convince you that I did nor do I have any burden within this debate to convince you.

    As I recall, you said you could prove that ghosts don't exist. If that's no longer something that you claim that you can do, then we are done!



    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Sure, but it’s very unladylike of you to dodge and weave and obfuscate and throw smoke and mirrors whilst claiming to be a victim when called out for doing so. I expect better of your gender TBH.
    Unfortunately, I don't expect better of you than to make personal attacks and wildly inaccurate statements about my debating. If I did expect better, I'd be very disappointed right now. Can I ask that you stop doing that? Do I need to remind you that it's rude and a waste of time?



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  3. #83
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    You can ask. I don't see why I have any obligation to answer, though.
    You don’t. Then I have no obligation to care what you have to say either! And I consider it retracted.

    Again, I see no need to answer these questions. But those films both refer to a disembodied soul stuck on Earth so that does seem to correspond to ghosts as I understand them.
    “Stuck on Earth?” What does that even mean? And was does it mean for a “soul” (which you haven’t defined) to be “disembodied”? What is it that gets disembodied.

    I never said I didn't see a ghost. I believe I did see one. I'm just saying that I don't care if you believe that I saw a ghost or not and therefore feel no need to convince you that I did nor do I have any burden within this debate to convince you.
    You’re the one that offered as much detailed as was required. Not surprised that you’re reneging on that but a little disappointed.

    As I recall, you said you could prove that ghosts don't exist. If that's no longer something that you claim that you can do, then we are done!
    What’s a ghost?


    Unfortunately, I don't expect better of you than to make personal attacks and wildly inaccurate statements about my debating. If I did expect better, I'd be very disappointed right now. Can I ask that you stop doing that? Do I need to remind you that it's rude and a waste of time?
    Only when you stop being evasive, which is your technique. My technique is to attack your style of arguing, not you personally. I would never punch a lady but I do hold you to account if you make claims you cannot support.


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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    You don’t. Then I have no obligation to care what you have to say either! And I consider it retracted.
    Consider what retracted?


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    “Stuck on Earth?” What does that even mean? And was does it mean for a “soul” (which you haven’t defined) to be “disembodied”? What is it that gets disembodied.
    What is the purpose of those questions?


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    You’re the one that offered as much detailed as was required. Not surprised that you’re reneging on that but a little disappointed.
    I never offered to provide as much detail as was required. Can you show me where I said that? Of course not.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    What’s a ghost?
    What's the purpose of that question?





    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Only when you stop being evasive, which is your technique.
    That's a personal attack. You are directly accusing me of being evasive and using that as a technique. That is a comment about me.


    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    My technique is to attack your style of arguing, not you personally.
    And you contradicted yourself in the next statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I would never punch a lady but I do hold you to account if you make claims you cannot support.
    See, this is what I mean by wildly inaccurate assessments. Show me a claim that I made that I cannot support. And please COPY AND PASTE A DIRECT QUOTE OF MINE WHERE I CLAIM SOMETHING.

    I know I never claimed that ghosts actually exist. I know I didn't claim that I can, or will, answer any questions about ghosts that you care to ask.

  5. #85
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    Re: Supernatural?

    I know I never claimed that ghosts actually exist. I know I didn't claim that I can, or will, answer any questions about ghosts that you care to ask.
    Wait, so you’re not claiming ghosts actually exist yet you claim that you saw one? So are you saying you don’t exist or you didn’t see something or you’re not certain it was a ghost?

    ROFL!! I’m not sure if I can bear being going around in circles with you much longer.




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  6. #86
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Wait, so you’re not claiming ghosts actually exist yet you claim that you saw one?
    I never claimed that I saw a ghost. I claimed that I believe I saw a ghost as in since what I saw fits the description of a ghost (as I understand ghosts to be defined) I believe I saw a ghost.

    So no, I never claimed that ghosts actually exist nor that I actually saw a ghost and I'm sure you won't find such a claim anywhere in my previous comments (I looked).

    Just to be clear, a CLAIM in a debate is a statement that one forwards as factually correct and supportable. I never did that regarding ghosts. But I certainly understand the confusion on the matter (sincerely, that was not meant as snark).

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    ROFL!! I’m not sure if I can bear being going around in circles with you much longer.
    But I see the snark is still strong with you. Could I request that you be polite in our debates? Please?
    Last edited by mican333; May 16th, 2018 at 07:33 PM.

  7. #87
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I never claimed that I saw a ghost. I claimed that I believe I saw a ghost as in since what I saw fits the description of a ghost (as I understand ghosts to be defined) I believe I saw a ghost.

    So no, I never claimed that ghosts actually exist nor that I actually saw a ghost and I'm sure you won't find such a claim anywhere in my previous comments (I looked).

    Just to be clear, a CLAIM in a debate is a statement that one forwards as factually correct and supportable. I never did that regarding ghosts. But I certainly understand the confusion on the matter (sincerely, that was not meant as snark).
    So you believe you saw something that you simultaneously don’t claim exists?


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  8. #88
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    So you believe you saw something that you simultaneously don’t claim exists?
    Correct. I believe it exists but I don't claim it exists.

    One reason I don't claim it exists is because I have no evidence to back up my belief that it exists. I don't make claims that I cannot support. But I certainly believe in certain things that I can't necessarily support.

    And to be clear, I never said "I was a ghost". I said "I believe I saw a ghost" so I am referring to my state of mind (what I believe) and not objective reality.

  9. #89
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Correct. I believe it exists but I don't claim it exists.

    One reason I don't claim it exists is because I have no evidence to back up my belief that it exists. I don't make claims that I cannot support. But I certainly believe in certain things that I can't necessarily support.

    And to be clear, I never said "I was a ghost". I said "I believe I saw a ghost" so I am referring to my state of mind (what I believe) and not objective reality.
    Then we’re in agreement. I don’t claim ghosts exist either.


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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Then we’re in agreement. I don’t claim ghosts exist either.
    Are we also in agreement that you've not been able to prove that ghosts don't exist?

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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Are we also in agreement that you've not been able to prove that ghosts don't exist?
    I don’t need to prove anything since you’re not making claims for me to prove or disprove! Since you already concede that you’re not claiming they exist then there is nothing left for me to do.

    Took you a while but we got there.


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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I don’t need to prove anything since you’re not making claims for me to prove or disprove! Since you already concede that you’re not claiming they exist then there is nothing left for me to do.
    You said you can prove that ghosts don't exist and seeing if you could do that was the whole point of the most recent discussion.

    Me not claiming that ghosts exist does not prove that they don't exist.

    So you have not proven that they don't exist.

  13. #93
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    Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    You said you can prove that ghosts don't exist and seeing if you could do that was the whole point of the most recent discussion.

    Me not claiming that ghosts exist does not prove that they don't exist.

    So you have not proven that they don't exist.
    Since you neither assert they exist, nor have any evidence and neither could you explain even a dictionary definition, instead alluding to some, still, unspecified cultural common knowledge, then I don’t think you’re making sense either.

    So end of discussion - your inadequate information about what a ghost is, along with the fact you’re not even claiming they exist (although, you still claim you saw one), means that there is no more to be said.

    The job is done: you have nothing to say and therefore, there is nothing to disprove.

    Are you claiming that it is possible there are ghosts? Are you making any claim that ghosts have any basis in reality at all?
    Last edited by SharmaK; May 17th, 2018 at 03:27 AM.

  14. #94
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Since you neither assert they exist, nor have any evidence and neither could you explain even a dictionary definition, instead alluding to some, still, unspecified cultural common knowledge, then I don’t think you’re making sense either.
    And your opinion is noted.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    So end of discussion - your inadequate information about what a ghost is, along with the fact you’re not even claiming they exist (although, you still claim you saw one), means that there is no more to be said.
    Your opinion is noted.

    And I'm not just being flippant, here. Your assessment of how much information is adequate, by all appearances, is entirely subjective. You are saying, in essence, "X is true because I say X is true" AKA the "appeal to self" fallacy. If you are going to set a bar of adequacy, you need some standard beyond your mere say-so. Either provide an objective standard or something that one would agree is reasonable. A pretty good standard is what people generally agree is a good standard. Would people in general think that if one's knowledge of ghosts is pretty much what almost everyone knows about ghosts is so inadequate that "they don't know what they are talking about"? Of course not. So your standard of adequate knowledge is much higher than what people typically consider adequate. And you can posit that your criteria is superior to what the masses think but then you will need to support that with something better than "because I say so".

    So to get back to the issue. I understand that YOU THINK that I've not provided adequate information but unless I'm suppose to just accept that your opinion on the matter is good enough, I have no reason to accept what you think as a valid basis for an argument. It's just your opinion and to that I say "your opinion is noted".

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    The job is done: you have nothing to say and therefore, there is nothing to disprove.
    You didn't say that you were going to disprove something. You said you were going to PROVE SOMETHING - you said you could prove that ghosts don't exist.

    Since you aren't even trying to do that anymore, I do agree that there is nothing left to discuss.

    You can either back up your claim that you can prove that ghosts don't exist or you can retract the claim by not continuing to make the claim. You obviously chose the latter option by choosing to end the discussion.

    So anyway, I guess we are done.
    Last edited by mican333; May 18th, 2018 at 06:35 AM.

  15. #95
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Are you claiming that it is possible there are ghosts? Are you making any claim that ghosts have any basis in reality at all?
    I think it’s plausible that ghosts (disembodied spirits) exist. It’s tough to prove given our current instruments and a prior commitment to materialism, but that doesn’t mean the phenomena doesn’t exist.

    If we consider the possibility that consciousness does not end (for the purpose of debate) at death, now an area of scientific study, the possibility of a trapped stream of consciousness after death I think is plausible.
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Are you claiming that it is possible there are ghosts? Are you making any claim that ghosts have any basis in reality at all?
    There is not the slightest bit of solid evidence to support the proposition "At least one ghost exists." Sure, ghosts could exist -- but so could anything else you can think of -- from Santa Claus to Magic Jesus to the luminiferous aether. Nothing could be more trivial than "possible existence."

    To say that this thing or that thing "could" exist is to say nothing relevant about its probable existence and probable existence is all we know (and probably can know) about anything's existence. Things that can exist either probably exist ("probably" to various degrees) or they probably don't.

    Modern physics, far and away the world's leading authority on what exists, has given us a pretty detailed description of our world down to the subatomic level and that description does not include ghosts.

    Given that virtually all the evidence cited to support the claim "Ghosts exist" is better described by psychology or by cognitive science than by physics, it's very unlikely than ghosts exist

    . . . but it is possible that they do. It will always be possible.

  17. #97
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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    There is not the slightest bit of solid evidence to support the proposition "At least one ghost exists." Sure, ghosts could exist -- but so could anything else you can think of -- from Santa Claus to Magic Jesus to the luminiferous aether. Nothing could be more trivial than "possible existence."
    Well, you are lumping a bunch of things that have a certain similarity under one big umbrella.

    One of the primary differences between ghosts and Santa Clause is that people have claimed, in all sincerity, to have seen ghosts. Now, my own "sighting" was a hypothetical for the purpose of a debate but in reality I do have a friend who actually does think he has a ghost in his house and believes he has actually seen her.

    I am not suggesting that you believe in ghosts because of this third-hand knowledge that I'm giving you but to argue that ghosts are the exactly same as every other thing that has not been verified is a false argument. If you personally want to lump them all together, that's your choice. But you have not made a successful argument that they are all essentially the same and are equally dismissable.

    While I won't say that I am convinced that ghosts exist because of what my friend told me, I will say that since he is a fairly level-headed person who does not regularly voice a belief in things that are supernatural or religious, I consider his statement worthy of consideration and have seen no valid argument that says that I shouldn't do that.

    Just saying that since no one has proven that ghosts exist I should reject his statement in the same way I would not believe him if he said he saw Santa Claus does not add up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Modern physics, far and away the world's leading authority on what exists, has given us a pretty detailed description of our world down to the subatomic level and that description does not include ghosts.
    Actually, I would guess that any knowledgeable scientist would say that there is A LOT we don't know about the universe and other dimensions and would say that what we don't know dwarfs what we do know by a huge margin.

    So the "If they exist, we'd have confirmation by now" argument does not seem valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Given that virtually all the evidence cited to support the claim "Ghosts exist" is better described by psychology or by cognitive science than by physics, it's very unlikely than ghosts exist.
    What evidence are you referring to?

    I'm unaware of any study on why people claim to have seen ghosts that have reached any particular conclusion.

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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Well, you are lumping a bunch of things that have a certain similarity under one big umbrella.
    Yes, absolutely. The one similarity they have (which, for some reason, you failed to comment on) is that they all possibly exist.

    Over and over again, this mere "possibility of existence" -- that ghosts have, that Santa Claus has, that God has, that fairies have, that the Loch Ness monster has, et. al. -- is brought up by some as if it were in some way significant.

    My point is: It's not significant.

    One of the primary differences between ghosts and Santa Clause is that people have claimed, in all sincerity, to have seen ghosts. Now, my own "sighting" was a hypothetical for the purpose of a debate but in reality I do have a friend who actually does think he has a ghost in his house and believes he has actually seen her.

    I am not suggesting that you believe in ghosts because of this third-hand knowledge that I'm giving you but to argue that ghosts are the exactly same as every other thing that has not been verified is a false argument. If you personally want to lump them all together, that's your choice. But you have not made a successful argument that they are all essentially the same and are equally dismissable.
    What? I never claimed that ghosts and goblins and gods and other things that can possibly exist all have similar evidence, in terms of quality and quantity, that supports their respective claims to existence. My claim is that they all do, however, share one trait: possible existence.

    Now that you understand my point, do you agree with it?

    While I won't say that I am convinced that ghosts exist because of what my friend told me, I will say that since he is a fairly level-headed person who does not regularly voice a belief in things that are supernatural or religious, I consider his statement worthy of consideration and have seen no valid argument that says that I shouldn't do that.
    Really? You see no valid argument whatsoever that says you shouldn't do that?

    My advice to you on this subject: Re-read your Hume.

    Just saying that since no one has proven that ghosts exist I should reject his statement in the same way I would not believe him if he said he saw Santa Claus does not add up.
    I never said nor implied that. What I said, again, is that the possibility (not the probability!) that ghosts and gods and Santa Claus and you and me exist is exactly the same. That is to say, yes, it is possible that they (and we) exist.

    The question that should concern us, then, is not whether it's merely possible that something exists but rather how probable is it that it exists? That question can only be answered by accumulating and analyzing evidence.

    Put another way, the question concerning something's possible existence is answered simply by analyzing language and the answer is always either yes or no: Either something can exist or it cannot. Donald Trump and Nessie can exist, a four-sided triangle and a person who is both fully Man and fully God simultaneously cannot.

    But probability of existence is a whole other animal. Yes or no, of course, is never the answer to that question. The answer is something more like:

    "Almost certainly not. The evidence just hasn't come in."

    "There's some chance it exists but that doesn't seem likely based on what we know today."

    "The evidence suggests it's more likely than not that it does exist."

    "Sure it exists! There's tons of evidence that supports the claim for its existence."

    [Note: "Sure" in the last example does not mean certainty. It's used here more to express the sentiment that it would be perverse, in the light of the evidence, to claim that such a thing does not exist.]


    Actually, I would guess that any knowledgeable scientist would say that there is A LOT we don't know about the universe and other dimensions and would say that what we don't know dwarfs what we do know by a huge margin.
    You are aware that that is a text book example of an argument from ignorance, no? What we do NOT know does nothing to increase the probability that some other claim is true. But since your argument also touches on the point I'm making here (i.e., that the mere possibility of existence is insignificant) I'll expand.

    A claim that is often heard from lay people but never from philosophers and almost never from scientists goes something like "There is SO MUCH we don't know. The universe is vast and we've explored only a tiny fraction of it. Who knows what else is out there? Other dimensions could exist of which we are totally unaware. Almost anything could be the case. In light of this, why would you believe that [insert your favorite supposedly nonexistent entity here] doesn't exist?"

    That's answered by pointing out that no one is questioning whether or not X might exist in other dimensions or in other parts of the universe or, for that matter, even here in our own miniscule speck of the universe. If the description of the thing isn't nonsense and contains no self-contradictions, then yes, it MIGHT exist.

    They're only questioning whether it does exist. And that's a completely different question. It's a question upon which our ignorance has no direct bearing and one that can only be answered by accumulating and analyzing evidence.

    Sufficient evidence is necessary to show that something does exist. Any and all evidence is totally irrelevant with respect to the possibility of something's existence.

    If they exist, we'd have confirmation by now" argument does not seem valid.
    Depends upon the context in which that argument is given.


    What evidence are you referring to?
    The same evidence you refer to above. Your friend says that he "saw" a ghost. If he saw a ghost (presumably in the external world) then ghosts are perceivable by the naked human eye and are a part of the physical world. This makes it strange, at the least, that science, by far our leading authority on what exists, has yet to discover something so obvious that it can be seen by the unaided human eye. It would be a little bit like the science of astronomy detecting far off planets that will never be seen from earth by any human's unaided eye, but yet that same science of astronomy failing to detect the moon.

    OTOH, we know that some people sometimes "see" and "hear" things that do not actually exist in the external, physical world. This occurs for any number of reasons well known to psychologists and cognitive scientists and would seem to be a far better, more plausible explanation for ghost sightings and the like than the claim that ghosts exist in the external world, are visible and audible, and that science has simply failed so far to detect them.

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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Yes, absolutely. The one similarity they have (which, for some reason, you failed to comment on) is that they all possibly exist.

    Over and over again, this mere "possibility of existence" -- that ghosts have, that Santa Claus has, that God has, that fairies have, that the Loch Ness monster has, et. al. -- is brought up by some as if it were in some way significant.

    My point is: It's not significant.
    Actually, it is significant. If one is faced with the argument that states that it's a fact that X does not exist, then pointing out that X could possibly exist effectively counters that argument. So it's significant in that situation.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    What? I never claimed that ghosts and goblins and gods and other things that can possibly exist all have similar evidence, in terms of quality and quantity, that supports their respective claims to existence. My claim is that they all do, however, share one trait: possible existence.

    Now that you understand my point, do you agree with it?
    Sure. But again, them all being possible does not make them equally dismissible.




    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Really? You see no valid argument whatsoever that says you shouldn't do that?

    My advice to you on this subject: Re-read your Hume.
    My advice to you is that if you are going to argue that I shouldn't do that, you should present an argument that points out why I shouldn't do it. Until I see such an argument, I maintain there is nothing particularly wrong with considering (which is not the same a believing) that my friend may be right.




    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    The question that should concern us, then, is not whether it's merely possible that something exists but rather how probable is it that it exists? That question can only be answered by accumulating and analyzing evidence.

    Put another way, the question concerning something's possible existence is answered simply by analyzing language and the answer is always either yes or no: Either something can exist or it cannot. Donald Trump and Nessie can exist, a four-sided triangle and a person who is both fully Man and fully God simultaneously cannot.

    But probability of existence is a whole other animal. Yes or no, of course, is never the answer to that question. The answer is something more like:

    "Almost certainly not. The evidence just hasn't come in."

    "There's some chance it exists but that doesn't seem likely based on what we know today."

    "The evidence suggests it's more likely than not that it does exist."

    "Sure it exists! There's tons of evidence that supports the claim for its existence."
    I don't disagree with any of that.






    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    You are aware that that is a text book example of an argument from ignorance, no?
    No. I did not argue that ghosts exist because we have no evidence that they does not exist. I'm saying we don't have enough evidence regarding ghosts existence or nonexistence to make a solid scientific case either way.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    A claim that is often heard from lay people but never from philosophers and almost never from scientists goes something like "There is SO MUCH we don't know. The universe is vast and we've explored only a tiny fraction of it. Who knows what else is out there? Other dimensions could exist of which we are totally unaware. Almost anything could be the case. In light of this, why would you believe that [insert your favorite supposedly nonexistent entity here] doesn't exist?"
    I would call that a straw man argument. I've certainly never made such an argument and also find it inherently illogical.

    And a bad argument supporting X does not provide any support against X. It should discarded and have no influence on the evidence of whether X exists or not.




    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    They're only questioning whether it does exist. And that's a completely different question. It's a question upon which our ignorance has no direct bearing and one that can only be answered by accumulating and analyzing evidence.
    I agree.

    But of course course that goes for both sides of the debate. Those who seek to prove that ghosts exist need to provide evidence if they are going to prove their case. And those who seek to prove that ghosts don't exist need to provide evidence to prove their case.

    If neither side provides any real evidence, then the question remains open from the scientific perspective.

    That does not mean that one can't believe that ghosts exist or believe that ghosts don't exist but if one is going to prove their viewpoint, they need evidence.






    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    The same evidence you refer to above. Your friend says that he "saw" a ghost. If he saw a ghost (presumably in the external world) then ghosts are perceivable by the naked human eye and are a part of the physical world. This makes it strange, at the least, that science, by far our leading authority on what exists, has yet to discover something so obvious that it can be seen by the unaided human eye.
    What do you mean by "science"? It sounds like science is some kind of all-seeing entity that sees everything and if something exist, it is automatically spotted. That's not how it works. Before anything can be scientifically discovered, there has to be an attempt by scientists and they have to likewise do such a good job of capturing evidence that the scientific community is convinced that ghosts are real. Anything short of that and science has not confirmed that ghosts exist.

    So no, I don't think lack of scientific confirmation means much of anything at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    OTOH, we know that some people sometimes "see" and "hear" things that do not actually exist in the external, physical world. This occurs for any number of reasons well known to psychologists and cognitive scientists and would seem to be a far better, more plausible explanation for ghost sightings and the like than the claim that ghosts exist in the external world, are visible and audible, and that science has simply failed so far to detect them.
    But your assessment that that is a more plausible explanation seems to be based on bias regarding the subject. Someone with the opposite bias, such as a religious person or one who thinks they have seen a ghost, would subjectively disagree and think that the reason that people sometimes see ghosts is because, at least some times, there are actual ghosts and people actually see them. And I see no real evidence that you are more likely to be right than that person or vice versa.

    Just because there is an alternative explanation does not automatically means that it's more likely than the other. If you want to provide REAL EVIDENCE that people who see ghosts are typically hallucinating on some level, you need to more than just raise the notion that that could be what's happening. Going by your logic that science sees everything, wouldn't science likewise know that when people see ghosts, they are typically hallucinating? If so, where are those studies that show that? I imagine they are filed away in the "no scientifically valid study has been done on this" cabinet along with the study on whether ghosts exist.

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    Re: Supernatural?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Actually, it is significant. If one is faced with the argument that states that it's a fact that X does not exist, then pointing out that X could possibly exist effectively counters that argument. So it's significant in that situation.
    No, not even then.

    Only if when concluding that "P is a fact" someone means that "P is necessary" or "P is absolutely true," only then would someone else's showing that P is merely possibly false, refute their argument. Rarely, if ever, does anyone intend by "Evolution is a fact" or "It's a cold fact that God doesn't exist" to say that it is IMPOSSIBLE for evolution to be false or for God to exist.

    To argue against such probable claims as if they are intended as necessary claims is to argue in bad faith. Unfortunately, I see this occur over and over again on this board. Check out the thread "Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified" for proof of this.

    What could be more clear than to write "Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified" to mean "The totality of the evidence does not support a belief in God's existence"? Yet even in that thread many of the intended rebuttals were not aimed at that conclusion but instead were written to rebut a strawman conclusion that says something like "God's existence is impossible."

    There's a thing in philosophical called the principle of charity. It means that we're supposed to try our best to interpret our debate antagonist's arguments in their strongest possible form. It's really a shame that so few of us are confident enough in our ability to express our own beliefs in a transparent and forceful way to be ethically capable of doing that. Sadly, I know I fail at this way too often myself.



    Sure. But again, them all being possible does not make them equally dismissible.
    And -- once again -- no one said that they are. You're arguing against thin air here.

    My argument was a reply to this statement of yours: "One of the primary differences between ghosts and Santa Clause is that people have claimed, in all sincerity, to have seen ghosts."


    You wrote that in response to this statement of mine: "Sure, ghosts could exist -- but so could anything else you can think of -- from Santa Claus to Magic Jesus to the luminiferous aether. Nothing could be more trivial than "possible existence."


    Clearly, then, I'm referring to the mere "possibility" of something's existence, not to the "probability" of its existence. Your bringing up the fact that people claim to have seen ghosts and that no one (at least no sane adult above the age of consent) has claimed to have seen Santa as if it is in some way relevant to the respective claims for each entity's possible existence is entirely off base.

    Evidence has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether it is merely possible for a proposed entity to exist. Evidence comes into play only once the discussion turns to the probability of that possible being's existence. So whether a billion people claim to have seen ghosts and no one has claimed to have seen Santa or vice versa, it doesn't matter in the least to the logical possibility of their existences.


    No. I did not argue that ghosts exist because we have no evidence that they does not exist. I'm saying we don't have enough evidence regarding ghosts existence or nonexistence to make a solid scientific case either way.
    The argument of yours to which I refer that elicited your above reply is the one that I quoted in my response, namely, this one: "Actually, I would guess that any knowledgeable scientist would say that there is A LOT we don't know about the universe and other dimensions and would say that what we don't know dwarfs what we do know by a huge margin."

    . . . with the implied conclusion supposedly being "therefore it's about as likely as not that ghosts exist."

    My point is that what we don't know has no bearing on what we do know and that it is a fallacy to suggest that it does.


    I agree. But of course that goes for both sides of the debate. Those who seek to prove that ghosts exist need to provide evidence if they are going to prove their case. And those who seek to prove that ghosts don't exist need to provide evidence to prove their case. If neither side provides any real evidence, then the question remains open from the scientific perspective.
    Not so. The onus of proof in this case clearly lies with the side making the extraordinary claim. It is incumbent upon someone claiming that ghosts or witches or gods or extraterrestrials on earth exist to provide evidence to substantiate his claim. It's not the job of others to disprove such an extraordinary claim. Such claims should be assumed mistaken by reasonable people until and unless they are proved correct.



    What do you mean by "science"? It sounds like science is some kind of all-seeing entity that sees everything and if something exist, it is automatically spotted. That's not how it works. Before anything can be scientifically discovered, there has to be an attempt by scientists and they have to likewise do such a good job of capturing evidence that the scientific community is convinced that ghosts are real. Anything short of that and science has not confirmed that ghosts exist.

    So no, I don't think lack of scientific confirmation means much of anything at all.
    So by this I gather that you, unlike the vast majority of the educated world, do not accept the scientific description of the world as by far the most accurate description of the world that has yet to be advanced?


    But your assessment that that is a more plausible explanation seems to be based on bias regarding the subject. Someone with the opposite bias, such as a religious person or one who thinks they have seen a ghost, would subjectively disagree and think that the reason that people sometimes see ghosts is because, at least some times, there are actual ghosts and people actually see them. And I see no real evidence that you are more likely to be right than that person or vice versa.

    Just because there is an alternative explanation does not automatically means that it's more likely than the other. If you want to provide REAL EVIDENCE that people who see ghosts are typically hallucinating on some level, you need to more than just raise the notion that that could be what's happening. Going by your logic that science sees everything, wouldn't science likewise know that when people see ghosts, they are typically hallucinating? If so, where are those studies that show that? I imagine they are filed away in the "no scientifically valid study has been done on this" cabinet along with the study on whether ghosts exist.
    Quite a few mischaracterizations of my beliefs and statements in there, but that's OK. People often get sloppy when they get emotional. I'm only pointing out known facts to you. You can continue to ignore them if you wish.

    So, again, if your friend claims to have seen a ghost and assuming your friend is human, then ghosts are perceptible to the naked human eye. Things that are perceptible to the naked human eye are part of the physical world. Science, in particular physics, is quite adept at discovering that which exists on a physical level -- even on the subatomic level or even at a distance of light years away. Yet something as large as a ghost allegedly detectable by the unaided human eye is not a part of any scientist's model of the world. And, if ghosts actually exist, that is odd. It's very, very odd.

    So odd in fact that the alleged sighting of a ghost fairly begs for an explanation other than "Ghosts exist." So are there any alternate explanations that might explain this phenomena? As it happens, yes, there are.

    As you yourself pointed out (ad nauseam), sometimes people, for one reason or another, hallucinate. Sometimes people "see" things that do not exist in external reality. That's just a plain fact. You can accept it or not.

    Alternatively, people sometimes lie to others for some reason. Maybe they want attention. Maybe they do it for financial gain. Maybe they do it to advance some argument they are making like you did earlier in this thread when you claimed to have seen a ghost yourself when in fact now you admit you haven't. There are many different circumstances that motivate people to lie.

    Sometimes people play ruses on their friends. Has it occurred to you that perhaps your friend, knowing how "open-minded" you are, is just having you on with his ghost story for his own amusement? This happens, too, does it not?

    People sometimes suffer mental decline or some other cognitive malfunction that has them seeing things that do not exist outside their brains.

    Who knows which explanation is the correct one for any particular ghost sighting but one thing we do know: Each of the various alternate explanations that I've outlined have occurred and do occur in reality. Very few people doubt that and no scientist does.

    A sighting of an actual ghost, OTOH, has never been verified beyond reasonable doubt. Never. Not once. This isn't to say that ghosts can't exist. It is to say, however, that we shouldn't believe ghosts exist.
    Last edited by Rodriguez; May 18th, 2018 at 11:46 PM.

 

 
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