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I favor a different way of explaining my understanding of the words than you do.. A body of evidence is called proof only when it convinces.
You can define the words however you like as long as you recognize that this is not actually what proof and evidence really are, and that the scientific community has come to a general consensus on this. As an example, there is all the evidence in the world for evolution but the enormous monetary prizes offered for the 'proof of evolution' go unclaimed. Why? Because the premise is fallacious; evolution has not been proven and never will be.
That's false on it's face. Sure, it's not the evidence that does the actual convincing, but the individual interpretation of evidence. If it isn't thought to support or refute a claim then it's not regarded as evidence.
Evidence is evidence, convincing or not. The evidence for ghosts consists of personal anecdotes, and just because one is not convinced by the anecdotes does not make them nonexistent. It makes them feeble evidence.
Don't you think irrefutable is the same thing as yet to be refuted?
To use evolution again; proponents of evolution will tell you what could happen that would refute their theory. A monkey could give birth to a human baby, or aliens could zip down to earth and do some genetic modifications, or a new high-order species could spontaneously form from dirt. This is why evidence is not irrefutable, just yet to be refuted; it is conceivable that new knowledge could come to light that would invalidate current evidence.
There is no way for numbers to suddenly scramble themselves around or begin unpredictably representing random and varying quantities, ie: the integer 2 sometimes represents 3 and other times represents 17, 4 becomes larger in quantity than 4000, etc. A right angle will always be 90 degrees. Length will never influence the angle of a line. Triangles will always have three sides. So on, and so on. This is why proofs are irrefutable; it is inconcievable that new knowledge could come to light that would invalidate a proof.
Edit: I probably should have waited for a new post or an addendum to the old one. Sorry, I got ahead of myself.
Your responses seem well thought out. But my feeling is that your strong tendency to be contrarian is preventing you from noticing that the statement I started this debate with posits not a single thing out of line with your explained understanding. I find this very strange.
Based upon the fact that you later show again that you do not understand the difference between evidence and proof, and that evidence never will be proof, I disagree. Call this contrarian if you want, but this is not a distinction I invented; it is a universally accepted tenet of science that unless something is irrefutable, it cannot be said to have proof, only evidence. To summarize again what I think is wrong with your statement:
If you meant 'evidence' in your debate, I disagree with the statement that 'evidence mere consists of what is convincing' because the act of being convincing is not a defining characteristic of evidence.
If you did mean proof, I disagree with the statement that 'proofs merely consist of what is convincing' because proofs are irrefutable.
Is that so?Ok so lets say the above logical preposition is about 3 water ponds, labeled A, B, and C
A is 10'X10' and a foot deep
B is 5'X5' and 2' deep
C is 2.5'X2.5' and 4' deep
Only If we're discussing surface area is your logical statement valid. To describe something as greater than requires that we refer to something measurable and agreed upon standard.
Pond A is larger in both volume and surface area.
Even if that were not so, the if in the proof is not to be ignored. If we resolve the statement and replace the variables with real numbers, no matter what feature they measure, and we have a statement in which A is not greater than B, or B is not greater than C, then the statement no longer posits than A is greater than C. So, the proof still holds because it posited that A is greater than C only if certain conditions are met.
Furthermore, even if you do show that my statement is false, it doesn't really mean anything except that I gave a poor example that wasn't actually a proof. Proofs would still exist. I gave you a link earlier that provided a collection of them. You can try to debunk those, if you want.
Evidence is called proof once it is thought of as conclusive. In other words if it's convincing. If we're talking about proof, we are inescapably talking about evidence and whether or not it's REGARDED as conclusive.
Evidence is not proof. Evidence will never be proof. If evidence is convincing, then it is just that and nothing more: convincing evidence.
What can you present that's irrefutable?
The conclusion of a proof must be valid in that it is not merely convincing; it cannot be refuted or adequately replaced by a different conclusion. If it is refuted or replaced, then the conclusion is invalid and it was never actually a proof; it was a faulty equation or a series of illogical statements. This debate prompted me to try to better understand what constitutes a proof, and I think I can provide a simple example.
If A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A is greater than C.
Logically, there is no way it cannot be true, therefor it is a proof.
It is always possible that the conclusion of a body of evidence, no matter how convincing, may eventually be superseded by new evidence and a different conclusion. Evidence can be interpreted different ways and the same evidence can be used to support different and conflicting conclusions. There are logical ways in which the conclusion drawn from available could be false, therefor evidence is not proof and it never will be.
Unless I misunderstood the debate, the word 'proof' in the title actually refers to 'evidence', correct? The data a person uses to support their case? In that case, the statement 'evidence merely consists of what is convincing' is incorrect in that the act of being convincing is not a defining characteristic of evidence. Evidence can be convincing or not depending on what it is and what conclusion is supports.
If the statement was indeed intended to be 'proof' as in 'a proof' then it is also incorrect because proofs are more than convincing, as I said earlier, they are irrefutable. If it is refutable, it is not a proof.
I'd like to read a clear explanation of that distinction.
From the page:
"Pure mathematics consists entirely of such asseverations as that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of that thing."
From the page:
"Scientific evidence has no universally accepted definition but generally refers to evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis."
I agree with that.....ironically I don't see how this (valid IMO) statement of yours refutes mine. As I understand it both our perspectives are based on what I see as a philosophically agnostic outlook.
I was assuming the context in which you were using 'proof' in this case would have been better filled by the word 'evidence', as it often is. By proof, do you not mean whatever body of evidence one uses to support a claim?
Evidence is just evidence until it becomes convincing, then it's called proof.
No. Evidence is always evidence. It may be part of a repertoire of evidence that is convincing, or not.
I remain a skeptic of absolutist claims like that. They're involved in all sorts of excessive trust related problems.
I understand why you are skeptical and I don't want to confuse things by overstepping my understanding of mathematics, but I think what really matters is that science makes a clear distinction between evidence and proofs.
I think that statement is evidence that you agree with the debate title/statement
No, because evidence =/= proof. Ever. Even if every piece of available evidence seamlessly supports a particular theory, it can never honestly be said that that theory has been proven.
When people ask for proof of a claim, they are actually asking for supporting evidence, because claims do not have proof, only evidence. Colloquially, the two terms are interchangeable, but this does not mean they are truly the same thing.
Proofs consist of 'a sequence of steps, statements, or demonstrations that leads to a valid conclusion.' A mathematical proof is formed via deductive reasoning rather than examining empirical evidence or weighing possibilities, and it is always completely unfalsifiable. Someone with a stronger mathematical background would be able to explain it better.
Evidence consists of data that supports a statement. Evidence will never amount to a proof, but different pieces of evidence may accumulate into a whole that is convincing. The amount of evidence a person needs in order to be convinced of a claim depends on how skeptical they are. Some people are not open-minded at all to the possibility of a claim, thus, however they may profess to want to see evidence, no amount of evidence will ever convince them.
Slowing the growth rate is a lot more effective than increasing the death rate as a lot of the previous comments suggest.
However the idea of selectively allowing someone to have a child borders on eugenics. Who outlines the requirements and judges applicants? Doesn't this system leave significant opportunity for bias and corruption? I think a better solution would be a serious and unified worldwide effort for accessible contraception and sex education, since we're talking about what should happen and not what's necessarily feasible right now.