Sunday, May 17, 2009

The UK Skeptics on being entitled to an opinion

I don't normally agree with UK skeptics, but this is pretty good.


Ilíon said...

Here is a good essay on reasoning by the sci-fi author (and former atheist, now Catholic) John C. Wright: Axioms and Illative Reasoning

Finney said...

That was a pretty good article, Ilion. I'm still a bit confused as to what illative reasoning means though. Something about a judgment taking into account several different logical strands; i guess i just need a few more examples of it so I can distinguish it from the others.

Ilíon said...

Perhaps it can be understood as an informal Bayesian probability analysis. Perhaps VR, who surely understands Bayesian analysis far better than I, might comment on that idea.

Ilíon said...

There is no doubt a better thread (say, last month) in which to post this link, but the two recent skepticism threads are pretty good candidates.

Stanley Fish (NYT Opinion): God Talk, Part 2One of the things that Mr Fish is pointing out, indirectly, is that (as I think I mentioned recently) hypotheses and theories are underdetermined: the same facts can be fitted into multiple theories.

In the main body of his comments, what Mr Fish seems to be noticing, or, perhaps, *almost* noticing, is that the term 'fact' is continuously employed to refer to two quite different things:
1) the simple thing, event, observation we wish to discuss and make sense of; what we might better call a "brute fact"
2) and, all the talking and theorizing amd imparting-of-meaning we do about those "brute facts"
It is, of course, 2) that we really care about; 1) alone is uninteresting and meaningless.

Ilíon said...

Here is an article to which Mr Fisk lins and which may shed some light on what John Wright is talking about in the first link I gave -- Paul Campos: The atheist's dilemma