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Tags evidence , jesus

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Old 6th November 2012, 10:48 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
By the logic (and I use the word very loosely) presented above Sherlock Holmes must have existed.
Evidence doesn't necessarily show that anything MUST be true. Evidence is information that changes the level of confidence that we can have that any particular hypothesis is true.

There is evidence FOR positions that are actually false.

For instance, a scientific trial is very good evidence, but it's not ENOUGH evidence until it's been replicated numerous times. And even then there's a non-zero chance it will lead to a false conclusion.
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:57 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Evidence doesn't necessarily show that anything MUST be true. Evidence is information that changes the level of confidence that we can have that any particular hypothesis is true.
Well try it for yourself then...

I am thinking of a story. With no further information what is your level of confidence that it is true? 50/50?

It's based in Malta. With no further information what is your level of confidence that it is true? Different? How So?

Is the existence of Malta therefore evidence that my story is true?
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:25 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, no, it's not evidence at all in the first place. (Also because it was Spiderman who was in New York, not Superman, you heathens!) ...
.
That's a big 10-4, good buddy.
It was Gotham City! Totally different universe!
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:26 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
You said we were given 2 stories though. The point is that its the content of the stories in their entirety that determines whether they are true or not.
Yes, in the end the TOTALITY of evidence determines truth. But every piece of information along the way contributes to the likelihood of the truth it establishes.

Truth claims most often have multiple facets, and evidence advances the liklihood of these facets sometimes independently.

Quote:
Try reversing the flow of logic.

Does knowing New York exists suggest that there is a man who can fly living there? Clearly not.
No, but the claim has multiple facets, ALL of which are necessary for the claim to be true.

-At least one flying person exists.
-This person is a male
-This person lives in New York City

The fact that this person flies is definitely the most interesting part of it, but if a flying man existed in Tulsa Oklahoma, the "Flying man in New York" hypothesis would not be true.

It's easy to think, only of the evidence for the most extraordinary facets of a claim when a claim is extraordinary, but we need all the facets that define the claim to be true.

If no such city as New York existed, the "Flying Man in New York" hypothesis could not possibly be true.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:36 AM   #45
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Precisely what objective evidence would you expect to find of an obscure peasant from the first century? And do you have similar skepticism about the existence of, say, Simon bar Kochba, or Hanina ben Dosa, or Rabbi Akiva or Rabbi Meir? If not, why not? Most of them are only known from their followers' writings too.

Jesus is about as well-attested as most non-royal figures of his time. In antiquity they just didn't keep the sort of 'objective' historical records that we do, and by definition, the poor leave few material remains, and those that were left have long since disappeared.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:38 AM   #46
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:58 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Yes, in the end the TOTALITY of evidence determines truth. But every piece of information along the way contributes to the likelihood of the truth it establishes.

Truth claims most often have multiple facets, and evidence advances the liklihood of these facets sometimes independently.



No, but the claim has multiple facets, ALL of which are necessary for the claim to be true.

-At least one flying person exists.
-This person is a male
-This person lives in New York City

The fact that this person flies is definitely the most interesting part of it, but if a flying man existed in Tulsa Oklahoma, the "Flying man in New York" hypothesis would not be true.

It's easy to think, only of the evidence for the most extraordinary facets of a claim when a claim is extraordinary, but we need all the facets that define the claim to be true.

If no such city as New York existed, the "Flying Man in New York" hypothesis could not possibly be true.
Did you try my experiment with the Maltese story? What was your answer?

Yes, if New York doesn't exist then the probability of Flying Man in New York is zero. However if New York does exist it doesn't increase the probability of the story being true.

Try another example. Which of these is more likely to be true?

I have a brother named John.

I have a brother named Peter that lives in Chicago

I have a brother named Gary that lives in San Francisco and drives a Toyota
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Old 6th November 2012, 01:53 PM   #48
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I see these debates on a Historical v Mythical Jesus as two competing hypotheses.

What these hypotheses are trying to explain is the origin of a specific set of beliefs. A set of beliefs that emerged in the first century in Judea.

The core of these beliefs is something called "The Kingdom Of Heaven" - a naive and impractical belief that "we should all just get along" and that the land belongs to God, not men. "Share all your food and money, forgive debts, be nice to each other and don't screw around"...If people everywhere start acting like this, then "The Kingdom Of Heaven" has arrived here on Earth. We don't have to wait for some distant future when justice will be done, we can have it here and now.

The HJ Hypothesis, AFAICT is that this idea was proposed by a particular Jewish Peasant Preacher called Jesus. HJ didn't do miracles or much of anything else that the gospels say he did, because those gospels were written a long way away by people who never met him. The HJ hypothesis assumes that the Romans didn't like this "Kingdom of Heaven" idea and nailed the Preacher to a post. That's it. No "Son of God", no walking on water, no raising the dead or turning water into wine, those are all just later Theological metaphors - Bells and Whistles demanded by the marketplace of Messiahs.

Any MJ hypothesis (there are several) needs to account for the emergence of this "Kingdom Of Heaven" idea without a particular preacher espousing it. It is all very well to talk about other ancient mythical beings like Mithras or Hercules, but don't forget that Jesus was associated with real people from their recent past like John The Baptist, Ciaphas and Pilate. (yeah yeah, Sherlock Holmes was associated with Queen Victoria and Scotland Yard, I get it) It still leaves the question of where "Kingdom Of Heaven" came from.

We know of at least one sect of ancient Jews who practiced a form of communal sharing of property, who performed rituals with wine and bread at every meal, who believed in an imminent apocalypse and a Heaven for the righteous and Hell for the sinners- the Dead Sea Scrolls community, but even those DSS religious nutjobs had a flesh and blood Teacher, not some ethereal "Zeitgeist" inspiration.

Until the MJ hypothesis can account for the ideas without the Preacher, I think it is inferior to the HJ hypothesis. But then again, I'm still learning about this subject, so my position is open to change based on further information...
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Old 6th November 2012, 06:12 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
Did you try my experiment with the Maltese story? What was your answer?

Yes, if New York doesn't exist then the probability of Flying Man in New York is zero. However if New York does exist it doesn't increase the probability of the story being true.

Try another example. Which of these is more likely to be true?

I have a brother named John.

I have a brother named Peter that lives in Chicago

I have a brother named Gary that lives in San Francisco and drives a Toyota
Honestly, I think I've done a poor job explaining my position and this line of argument is sort of tangential to my point. If you don't mind, I'd like to start with a fresh example free from a bit of the baggage.

How likely do you think it is (just off the top of your head without performing a search) that there is a Jewish lawyer living in New York City named Daniel?
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Old 6th November 2012, 10:59 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
If you define "Historical Aslan" as a non talking lion that existed somewhere on earth, then yes. But it's not a very interesting claim.

Nor is a carpenter called Yeshua living in 1st century Jerusalem.

And there still isn't any evidence in what you posted even for that.
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Old 6th November 2012, 11:09 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
...Until the MJ hypothesis can account for the ideas without the Preacher, I think it is inferior to the HJ hypothesis. But then again, I'm still learning about this subject, so my position is open to change based on further information...
I'm learning here, too.
Could you show us why those ideas are unique to that time and place and need a Preacher/HJ?
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:09 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by sleepy_lioness View Post
Precisely what objective evidence would you expect to find of an obscure peasant from the first century? And do you have similar skepticism about the existence of, say, Simon bar Kochba, or Hanina ben Dosa, or Rabbi Akiva or Rabbi Meir? If not, why not? Most of them are only known from their followers' writings too.

Jesus is about as well-attested as most non-royal figures of his time. In antiquity they just didn't keep the sort of 'objective' historical records that we do, and by definition, the poor leave few material remains, and those that were left have long since disappeared.
1. Well, that's a different issue from the silliness of saying that if Jerusalem and such existed, then specifically Jesus of Nazareth probably existed? Because that's what the thread seems to have turned into. Working from limited information is one thing, but something as bogus as confirming Spiderman because New York existed is another thing altogether.

2. Well, that works both ways, lioness.

For royal figures they were fairly well known and there were plenty of witnesses around. E.g., when Tacitus writes about Nero about half a century later, he's writing in Rome about one of THE most public and infamous people ever.

It's like, dunno, a Muscovite writing today about Stalin (the interval IS a bit longer, but I'm compensating for increased life expectancy.) And he were writing in Moscow. Don't you think that even without printed press and TV, you'd find literally tens of thousands of people around who lived through his reign, without even trying too hard?

On the other hand, for a nobody like Jesus, who we're even reminded that in Jerusalem there'd be no reason for anyone to take notice... why would you think that Mark had plenty of witnesses about THAT one, when writing 40-50 years later and in Rome instead of Jerusalem? If he's an anonymous nobody, then he is an anonymous nobody.

To continue the 'writing about Stalin' analogy, imagine that instead of writing about Stalin in Moskow, you were writing today in Washington DC about some guy called Ivan Ivanovich, who was born in some insignificant village that nobody heard about, and who was an insignificant bum in Moskow for a year in 1940 until the NKVD tortured and killed him for cursing the regime. Now imagine that you're in an age equally lacking mass media, internet, etc, like was the case in the 1st century, so you really need first hand witnesses. How many would you find? You'd be lucky to meet even one guy who says he knew a bum called Ivan. You wouldn't have plenty of reliable oral traditions.

So, yes, the story is largely unsupported and unreliable if that's the case.

3. Let's look at Occam, or how it's called in history, at historical necessity. You only need an extra entity there if you actually NEED to fill a hole that isn't otherwise explained.

For Bar Kokhba you need someone to lead a revolt. People don't wage an organized war without following someone. For Jesus you don't. Some guys BELIEVING in a Jesus are enough to explain everything.
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:17 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Honestly, I think I've done a poor job explaining my position and this line of argument is sort of tangential to my point. If you don't mind, I'd like to start with a fresh example free from a bit of the baggage.

How likely do you think it is (just off the top of your head without performing a search) that there is a Jewish lawyer living in New York City named Daniel?
Except that's just as irrelevant as the existence of New York City. We don't just need a random guy called Jesus in Jerusalem (there were probably literally thousands of Jesuses), we need a guy who had disciples, preached certain things, etc, to count as a historical Jesus. Just because you have a random guy called Jesus, doesn't mean you can just assume the rest.

E.g., similarly you can take a guess that an Arab called something like Abd Al Hazen (servant/slave of Hazen) or Abd Al Hazrat (servant/slave of the great lord) or Abd al Hazred (slave of the fenced in, i.e., probably of some ascet or hermit) or, as Lovecraft's character is actually translated in Arabic, Abdulah Al Hazred ('slave/servant of the god, the fenced in', i.e., you can attach that either to Abdullah as being a hermit title, or to the god who is sealed away) could have existed because those are plausible Arabic names. And they're less off than Jesus is for Yehoshua. But that doesn't mean you can then also assume that he wrote the Necronomicon.
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Old 7th November 2012, 12:40 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Honestly, I think I've done a poor job explaining my position and this line of argument is sort of tangential to my point. If you don't mind, I'd like to start with a fresh example free from a bit of the baggage.

How likely do you think it is (just off the top of your head without performing a search) that there is a Jewish lawyer living in New York City named Daniel?
I would say that's fairly likely but all elements of your story are known quantities and we are not talking about 1 specific lawyer but anyone that fits the description.

If we are just talking about any old Jewish carpenter called Jesus that may be fairly likely too. But that doesn't make them the source of the myth any more than finding an english schoolboy named harry makes them the source of jk rowlings work.

The point of argument though which you may haave conceded is that the fact that new york exists doesn't by itself make stories set in new york more likely to be true. The maths wouldn't work if it did.
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Old 7th November 2012, 01:26 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
I would say that's fairly likely but all elements of your story are known quantities.
I'd say it's more than fairly likely, it's guaranteed.
I would bet money any day of the week that a person fitting this description existed.

You say these are known quantities? How are they known? The same sort of evidence that I pointed to in my first post.

We know that New York has a high population.
We know that a significant percent of that population is Jewish.
We know NY is an urban area with a lot of law firms.
We know that Daniel is a very common Jewish name.
We know that Jewish people not uncommonly go into law.

Now I know that right now you seem to object to the relation of this kind of broad statistical data to claims about a specific individual. Putting that on hold for the moment though, would you concede that the above is the sort of evidence you used to come to the conclusion that the claim?

"There is at least one Jewish man named Daniel living in NYC who practices law".

In this context at least, will you concede that this is evidence?

If not, by what evidence did you arrive at the conclusion that this claim is fairly likely?
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Old 7th November 2012, 01:34 AM   #56
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If that's your only claim, then yes, there probably is a Jewish lawyer in NY called Daniel.

And there probably was a Jewish carpenter that visited Jerusalem at some point or another. Especially for Passover. Even by sheer number of Jesuses alone, I really mean "probably".

Now what? How do you get from something that generic to an analogy for specifically the historical Jesus?

ETA: I mean equally one can say with a straight face that even by sheer numbers, there probably was a schoolboy in England called Harry. In fact, not just "probably", but we can be sure, since there are a metric buttload of people called Harry who were once schoolboys. But now how would you use that for the historical Harry Potter? And if you don't think that just the existence of a schoolboy called Harry is enough to have a historical Harry Potter, please explain why the exact same is somehow support for a historical Jesus.
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Old 7th November 2012, 02:23 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If that's your only claim, then yes, there probably is a Jewish lawyer in NY called Daniel.

And there probably was a Jewish carpenter that visited Jerusalem at some point or another. Especially for Passover. Even by sheer number of Jesuses alone, I really mean "probably".

Now what? How do you get from something that generic to an analogy for specifically the historical Jesus?

ETA: I mean equally one can say with a straight face that even by sheer numbers, there probably was a schoolboy in England called Harry. In fact, not just "probably", but we can be sure, since there are a metric buttload of people called Harry who were once schoolboys. But now how would you use that for the historical Harry Potter? And if you don't think that just the existence of a schoolboy called Harry is enough to have a historical Harry Potter, please explain why the exact same is somehow support for a historical Jesus.
I'm not moving towards an analogy that mirrors Jesus in every way, I'm constructing analogies that clarify how we use evidence.

As for Harry Potter and Superman. Let's stop for the moment talking about figures we KNOW to be false. That's led us on some tangents away from the point. Although it's important to understand that evidence for a position doesn't necessarily mean it's true. There can be evidence in favor of something that turns out to be false. I'll come back to that if I need to, but I think it's an unnecessary sticking point right now.

So we've established that wider demographic style evidence can establish the likelihood of a certain kind of person. I'm glad we're on the same page on that. And that kind can be very specific, down to the name and even more so. I could keep adding details to Daniel and you could keep using demographics as evidence of likelihood. Of course any detail I add decreases his likely existence, but it does so to an amount in proportion to the consistency with what you know. If I said he ate bagels with lox last Tuesday, that would make someone fitting the description a certain amount less likely to exist. If I said he ate 17 live goldfish last Tuesday, it would have a different effect.

So let's take a new analogy to talk about using this demographic data to make predictions about specific individuals.

Let's say I ask a number of individuals, selected at random from all around the world, to write down true details about themselves, and then I have a computer program which creates a multiple choice question where one of the answers has the location swapped with one picked at random.

Here's the first question my computer program created.

Which of these is the real person?

A) My name is Daniel Stein, I'm a lawyer living in New York City, New York. I'm Jewish. I work at the law firm my father started, live in a very expensive apartment, and I ate bagels with lox from a local deli last Tuesday.

B) My name is Daniel Stein, I'm a lawyer living in Cafombo, Angola. I'm Jewish. I work at the law firm my father started, live in a very expensive apartment, and I ate bagels with lox from a local deli last Tuesday.
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Old 7th November 2012, 02:33 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'm not moving towards an analogy that mirrors Jesus in every way, I'm constructing analogies that clarify how we use evidence.

What evidence? You haven't presented any evidence that there was a carpenter called Yeshua in Jerusalem in the first century AD. Or that there is a Jewish lawyer called Daniel in New York.
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Old 7th November 2012, 02:44 AM   #59
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Aren't you glad you asked?

It's hard to answer a query about a hearsay statement, because we can't ask the Jesuit priest what he meant by "physical evidence" or how he might distinguish a "historical Jesus" from what might well be his belief in a supernatural Jesus. We here can only guess. Here's mine.

If he isn't distinguishing historicity at all, then his statement is almost tautological. The question of a supernatural Jesus isn't a physical one, and so it is unclear how any physical object or situation could bear on it. So, let's assume he meant some historical Jesus.

If he was a lawyer, or chose his words like one, then he would be talking about the kind of things mentioned in jest by Craig B in his post on the first page,

Quote:
But we have alleged evidence in the form of his foreskin, umbilical cord, tears, phials of his mother's milk, bits of the manger in which he was born, samples of his blood; as well as the nails and bits of the cross used to crucify him, the notice pinned to his cross, samples of his swaddling clothes, and innumerable other things. Crowns of thorns. There's no end to them! What more could we need? His shroud? Well, we've got that too!
In other words, something other than verbal testimony, business records, and what we actually have, redacted reports of traditions about the man. The problem with all the things on Craig's list is that we cannot exclude for any of them that they were manufactured or procured much more recently than Jesus is supposed to have lived. In many cases, it is breathtakingly obvious that they were just that, relatively recent fakes.

So, if that's what the Jesuit meant, then his position is respectable. There might be some cavils about the shroud and the titulus, since some people remain unconvinced of their fakeness or misattribution, with apparent sincerity. In that case, where some actual analysis is called for, many modern theories of evidentiary reasoning (for example, the sort of thinking ably represented here by Cavemonster, and a category which includes Bayesianism, which has also been mentioned in the thread) urge evaluation of evidence by a comparison of:

the plausibility that the object would be present, assuming that Jesus lived

versus

the plausibility that the object would be present, assuming that Jesus did not live

As with all evidentiary evaluations, people will differ in their assessments. Many people would say, however, that if they found the two plausibilities of nearly equal conviction, then the object is "not evidence," because its existence could not possibly change anybody's mind (or very many people's minds) about the uncertain question, at least not those who agreed with the equipoise evaluation (or near-equipoise).

So, it is likely that your Jesuit informants' statement is a truthful account of his beliefs on the narrow question of the physical evidence for some historical Jesus. It would be easier, though, and we could be more definite, if we had the opportunity to speak with him directly. It would also be interesting to hear the rest of his argument, of which this statement was a part.

Hope that helps.
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Old 7th November 2012, 02:50 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Or that there is a Jewish lawyer called Daniel in New York.
Do you think it likely that there is a Jewish lawyer named Daniel living in NYC?

Why or why not?
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Old 7th November 2012, 02:57 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Do you think it likely that there is a Jewish lawyer named Daniel living in NYC?

Why or why not?

It may be likely, but that isn't actually evidence that it is so.

If I throw a dice, it is likely that I won't throw a six. That doesn't mean I won't throw one.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:03 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'm not moving towards an analogy that mirrors Jesus in every way, I'm constructing analogies that clarify how we use evidence.

As for Harry Potter and Superman. Let's stop for the moment talking about figures we KNOW to be false.
Why? If a method is sound, then it can be tested on some cases where you already know the result.

1. If a method somehow only works on cases where you can't verify the results, then it doesn't work, period.

2. If a method can't say "no", or you can't test it on any cases where you know it should say "no", it's worthless, because there is no way for it to falsify anything with it.

If I propose that I make the sun rise, and my criterion is that I live in a real town, therefore the sun rises because of me, you can't test it on only the positive case it's supposed to support. Until you see that it can give a "no" for other people known to NOT be the reincarnation of Ra (if nothing else, because I'm the one, and they can't be too), it's worthless.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:04 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
It may be likely, but that isn't actually evidence that it is so.
The likelihood isn't the evidence, the reasons we come to our viewpoint about the likelihood are the evidence.

The likelihood is the conclusion. It can be mapped on a scale from impossible to certain, and information we receive that gives us good reason to move our position for a claim on that scale is evidence.

If this is a semantic disagreement, and you feel that information is only "evidence" if it creates certainty all by itself, I'm not too interested in continuing.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:22 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Why? If a method is sound, then it can be tested on some cases where you already know the result.
Why? Because I think I think it takes us on a tangent. A few actually.

I mentioned in my post that you quoted that one of those tangents was the fact that information can be evidence for a position, even if that position turns out to be wrong. That may need to be covered here, but others are definitely unnecessary.

Another tangent is about the order information is received in and its status as evidence based on that. In the case of Harry Potter and Superman, even before we receive the information about location, we learned that the stories were written as fiction.

These and many more are all very interesting topics, but they could each fill up their own thread.

I'd rather concentrate for the moment on how broad, demographic level information can be valid evidence about a specific person. And I think that's what you're interested in too, and we can arrive at a mutual understanding of that better by pursuing a positive discussion of how evidence can work that way rather than the negative discussion of why I think those fictional examples are not comparable.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:43 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Which of these is the real person?

A) My name is Daniel Stein, I'm a lawyer living in New York City, New York. I'm Jewish. I work at the law firm my father started, live in a very expensive apartment, and I ate bagels with lox from a local deli last Tuesday.

B) My name is Daniel Stein, I'm a lawyer living in Cafombo, Angola. I'm Jewish. I work at the law firm my father started, live in a very expensive apartment, and I ate bagels with lox from a local deli last Tuesday.
How about neither? You haven't supported that the person saying that actually is any of that or has done any of that.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:45 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
The likelihood isn't the evidence, the reasons we come to our viewpoint about the likelihood are the evidence.

But that evidence is only evidence for the proposition that it is likely that there is a Jewish lawyer called Daniel in New York. It isn't evidence that there actually is one.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:47 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
How about neither? You haven't supported that the person saying that actually is any of that or has done any of that.
I'm giving it to you as a true premise within the hypothetical that one of these is correct.

Someone filled out true information and the machine replaced the actual location with a false location for one of the options.

I'll bet you have a hunch which one is more likely.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:52 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
But that evidence is only evidence for the proposition that it is likely that there is a Jewish lawyer called Daniel in New York. It isn't evidence that there actually is one.
I don't see those as distinct propositions. One is just a level of certainty of the other.

And I don't think you really do either. All evidence just increases the perceived likelihood of a proposition. That's what evidence is.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:52 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Why? Because I think I think it takes us on a tangent. A few actually.

I mentioned in my post that you quoted that one of those tangents was the fact that information can be evidence for a position, even if that position turns out to be wrong. That may need to be covered here, but others are definitely unnecessary.

Another tangent is about the order information is received in and its status as evidence based on that. In the case of Harry Potter and Superman, even before we receive the information about location, we learned that the stories were written as fiction.
Yes, and that's how we verify those methods. To actually verify anything, yes, you must already know the answer. Arguing that you should be allowed to use something only on stuff where we can't test the result is just as bogus when you do it, as when the mediums and dowsers somehow only work when you're not testing the result.

What you present as a tangent is exactly testing if the method works. And that's not a tangent, but crucial to knowing its accuracy.

Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
These and many more are all very interesting topics, but they could each fill up their own thread.

I'd rather concentrate for the moment on how broad, demographic level information can be valid evidence about a specific person. And I think that's what you're interested in too, and we can arrive at a mutual understanding of that better by pursuing a positive discussion of how evidence can work that way rather than the negative discussion of why I think those fictional examples are not comparable.
Well, yes, and the dowser and homeopaths would also rather concentrate on just the positives. So what?
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:54 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'm giving it to you as a true premise within the hypothetical that one of these is correct.

Someone filled out true information and the machine replaced the actual location with a false location for one of the options.

I'll bet you have a hunch which one is more likely.
But that's exactly an unsupported assumption: that one of these is correct. In reality I could say A too, but none of that would be actually true. That a city being real supports the actual person who did all that is bogus.

Real life doesn't work by such bogus dichotomies, and knowing that one of the two must be true. Cthulhu involving the fictive city of R'lyeh doesn't make Christianity true because it mentions the real city of Jerusalem.

In reality your A and B are orthogonal. A can still be false even if B is false. They're independent. After checking the city, what you have is that B is disproven by using a false city, but A is still neither supported nor disproven. Not being disproven is not the same as supported.
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Old 7th November 2012, 03:59 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
The likelihood is the conclusion. It can be mapped on a scale from impossible to certain, and information we receive that gives us good reason to move our position for a claim on that scale is evidence.

If this is a semantic disagreement, and you feel that information is only "evidence" if it creates certainty all by itself, I'm not too interested in continuing.

The likelyhood might change the amount or nature of evidence that would be needed to support the existence of the lawyer. For example, given that it is likely that there is a lawyer called Daniel in New York, an entry for someone called Daniel in a directory of New York lawyers would probably be enough for me to accept that there is such a lawyer. This still wouldn't make it absolutely certain, of course; there could be a mistake or misprint, or the lawyer in question could have died or moved to another city since the directory entry was created.

On the other hand, I would want more than a directory entry to support a claim that there is a lawyer called Daniel who can turn water into wine and come back from the dead.
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:02 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yes, and that's how we verify those methods. To actually verify anything, yes, you must already know the answer. Arguing that you should be allowed to use something only on stuff where we can't test the result is just as bogus when you do it, as when the mediums and dowsers somehow only work when you're not testing the result.

What you present as a tangent is exactly testing if the method works. And that's not a tangent, but crucial to knowing its accuracy.
Okay, I guess you really want to go on these tangents. And it's going to take a while, because we'll probably need to do at least three or four of them to get out of here.

If the claim was that in every case we had evidence, the proposition we had evidence for turned out to be true, then yes, we could test by comparing to known quantities. But that's not the case. We can have evidence for conclusions that turn out to be false, we can have conflicting evidence. If evidence guaranteed truth, it would be called proof.

So we can't test for whether something counts as evidence by whether what it supports turns out to be true. Not on a case by case basis.
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:11 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
The likelyhood might change the amount or nature of evidence that would be needed to support the existence of the lawyer.
The likelihood IS how certain we can be that this lawyer exists.

I feel like we may be butting heads on semantic rather than substantive points, but I'm afraid I don't know how to clarify them.

Could you explain to me the difference between these conclusions below.

On the question of how likely it is that a person named Daniel as described in other posts exists, the evidence leads us to believe it is nearly certain that he does.

On the question of whether a person named Daniel as described in other posts exists, the evidence leads us to believe it is nearly certain that he does.

I don't see any functional difference between the two.
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:24 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
The likelihood IS how certain we can be that this lawyer exists.

No, it's how certain we can be that some lawyer called Daniel might exist. It isn't evidence for the existence of any particular lawyer called Daniel.
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:26 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'd say it's more than fairly likely, it's guaranteed.
I would bet money any day of the week that a person fitting this description existed.

You say these are known quantities? How are they known? The same sort of evidence that I pointed to in my first post.

We know that New York has a high population.
We know that a significant percent of that population is Jewish.
We know NY is an urban area with a lot of law firms.
We know that Daniel is a very common Jewish name.
We know that Jewish people not uncommonly go into law.

Now I know that right now you seem to object to the relation of this kind of broad statistical data to claims about a specific individual. Putting that on hold for the moment though, would you concede that the above is the sort of evidence you used to come to the conclusion that the claim?

"There is at least one Jewish man named Daniel living in NYC who practices law".

In this context at least, will you concede that this is evidence?

If not, by what evidence did you arrive at the conclusion that this claim is fairly likely?
I won't go so far as to say it's guaranteed but its highly likely. And the conclusion is reached more or less on the basis you point out.

But again, I reiterate, these things are known quantities (or at least we can take a good stab at them) We know there are Jewish people living in New York many of whom are lawyers and many of whom are called Daniel. You could probably do the math and work out the exact probability if you wanted to.

Nor does it it make any story about a Jewish lawyer named Daniel in New York more likely to be true.

If you say its 100% likely that there are Jewish lawyers named Daniel in New York it doesn't make it more likely that my son is a Jewish lawyer named Daniel in New York.

I'm not trying to be flippant or patronising but I seriously want you to walk through the logic.

I have a son - let's say that's a 50/50 statement right now.

I have a son who is Jewish - does the fact that many people are Jewish make this statement more likely to be true?

Your argument is that 'I have a son who is Jewish' becomes say 51/49 true because I know Jewish people exist. But if you follow that logic I can add 50 superfluous facts about my son and get to 100% true.

But I don't have a son. I made him up.
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:28 AM   #76
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That's another excuse that comes up every time: 'I'm not claiming binary true/false logic, so it's ok to talk bollocks.' So what makes you think that this time it would work?

As I mentioned repeatedly before, I'm ok with probabilistic reasoning too, as long as it's sound. In fact it even makes sense to go that route.

If you want to talk probability instead, what we have here is a P(X|Y), i.e.,

the probability that
X="a given character or event is true"
conditional that we know that
Y="it's mentioned in conjunction with a real city"

But even then the negatives count. When you divide the cases where X is true by the total cases, you can't include in the total below the fraction lines only the cases where X is true. That's a biased sample.

And if you look at the sheer mass of fiction books (or stories, as you wish) that use real cities as setup, vs the true historical books (or stories, if you prefer that) that use real cities, in fact the former vastly outnumbers the latter. If you also make it conditional of it being some demigod story, then it looks even bleaker. Whether it's Hercules or Theseus or even the NT, we have more events that can't possibly be true, yet are mentioned in conjunction with real cities, than things which could even be true, even if they mention the same cities. You have more clearly made up stories like Hercules slaying the hydra of some real Greek city, or Jesus raising the dead in a real Jewish city, than stories that can even be true mentioned in those cities.

So applying that criterion, far from moving the prior UP from 50-50, it's actually moving it DOWN.

If all you have is that a story is set in a real city, then you're not coming even near to it being more likely true than false. You need more stuff to get there.

The best you can say is that it's more probable than something using a fictive city, but that isn't saying much. That probabilities are greater or equal to ZERO is already a given, not something that needs further proof. It's like saying that something is more likely to be real than my imaginary cat. So what?
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:45 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Okay, I guess you really want to go on these tangents. And it's going to take a while, because we'll probably need to do at least three or four of them to get out of here.

If the claim was that in every case we had evidence, the proposition we had evidence for turned out to be true, then yes, we could test by comparing to known quantities. But that's not the case. We can have evidence for conclusions that turn out to be false, we can have conflicting evidence. If evidence guaranteed truth, it would be called proof.

So we can't test for whether something counts as evidence by whether what it supports turns out to be true. Not on a case by case basis.
Lets try another angle of attack to see if it helps. Rather than trying to build up a case for the story being true. Let's work the opposite angle, let's see if we have evidence to reject the hypothesis that this story was just made up.

Does the existence of Jerusalem, carpenters, donkeys, crucifixes, Jews and sand make it any less likely that the story is a fiction? Surely the answer is no.
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Old 7th November 2012, 04:45 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
I'm not trying to be flippant or patronising but I seriously want you to walk through the logic.

I have a son - let's say that's a 50/50 statement right now.

I have a son who is Jewish - does the fact that many people are Jewish make this statement more likely to be true?

Your argument is that 'I have a son who is Jewish' becomes say 51/49 true because I know Jewish people exist. But if you follow that logic I can add 50 superfluous facts about my son and get to 100% true.

But I don't have a son. I made him up.
I thought we could skip this tangent, but I guess we're doing all of them between you and Hans.

What you're doing is backwards from what I'm trying to explain.

As you add characteristics to a claim. Generally a probability goes down.

What are the odds of a random person having a child? Let's say I know nothing about this person, just someone picked randomly. Pretty high.
What about having a son? Around half what we started with.

What about brown haired son? The probability gets lower.

A brown haired son who plays cricket? Even lower

So you see, each addition to the CLAIM makes that claim statistically less probable. But I'm not talking about adding complexity to claims. I'm talking about how a static claim compares to real world evidence.

So of these two claims:
A man juggled fifteen eggs on Tuesday
A man juggled fifteen eggs on Tuesday in Toronto

The second one is statistically less likely, and I think you misinterpreted my point to be that it would be more likely. That's not the case.

My broad case is this.

If we start with this claim:
A man juggled fifteen eggs on Tuesday in Toronto.

Then learning that there is an egg juggling school in Toronto is evidence in favor of the claim.
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Old 7th November 2012, 05:01 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I thought we could skip this tangent, but I guess we're doing all of them between you and Hans.

What you're doing is backwards from what I'm trying to explain.

As you add characteristics to a claim. Generally a probability goes down.

What are the odds of a random person having a child? Let's say I know nothing about this person, just someone picked randomly. Pretty high.
What about having a son? Around half what we started with.

What about brown haired son? The probability gets lower.

A brown haired son who plays cricket? Even lower

So you see, each addition to the CLAIM makes that claim statistically less probable. But I'm not talking about adding complexity to claims. I'm talking about how a static claim compares to real world evidence.

So of these two claims:
A man juggled fifteen eggs on Tuesday
A man juggled fifteen eggs on Tuesday in Toronto

The second one is statistically less likely, and I think you misinterpreted my point to be that it would be more likely. That's not the case.

My broad case is this.

If we start with this claim:
A man juggled fifteen eggs on Tuesday in Toronto.

Then learning that there is an egg juggling school in Toronto is evidence in favor of the claim.
You're right and I was a bit sloppy in dealing with this as I was hoping you would skip over it. The bit you highlight is an irrelevance to the argument so you can ignore the effect you mention.

Maybe its better to at each stage re-assess the likelihood of the original claim that I have a son given the new information

So, I have a son = x% probability

I have a son who lives in New York; OK New York is real so the statement 'I have a son is now x+y% probability'
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Old 7th November 2012, 05:08 AM   #80
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In reality, I think it might be fairer to say that we first need to define what we mean by Historical Jesus but if we include 'is the person that he Jesus myth is based on' then i think we have to say the probability mathematically at least is 'unknown'

The reality of Jerusalem, Jews, Carpenters, and Donkeys does not change the result and it's still 'unknown'.

If you found something in the definition of HJ that was definitely false then you could say its been disproven but then all that would happen is the definition would be changed...
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