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Re: [XTalk] Re: Proof

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Mike, The only justification for this type of reasoning is when there are compelling theoretical reasons for distrusting the evidence. However, what
    Message 1 of 104 , Sep 2, 2002
      At 06:48 AM 9/2/2002 +0000, you wrote:
      >--- Dave Hindley wrote:
      > > When we draw inferences from a set of evidence that is a
      > > subset of all the evidence, we are trying to predict the
      > > proportion of some characteristics of the universe population by
      > > means of the proportions existing in a sample. The degree to which
      > > the sample proportion represents the universe proportion becomes
      > > important when these generalizations are used to support an
      > > inductive hypothesis.
      >
      >It's hard to know how what you're saying applies to real-life
      >historical hypotheses, Dave. I suppose you're thinking in terms of
      >the old deductive-inductive dichotomy, but the way we reason a good
      >deal of the time doesn't appear to follow either pattern. Sometimes
      >we reason _in spite of the evidence_, if we believe the available
      >evidence to be unreliable - regardless of whether we believe that
      >evidence to be a representative sample.

      Mike,
      The only justification for this type of "reasoning" is when there are
      compelling theoretical reasons for distrusting the evidence.
      However, what usually happens is that we "reason in spite of the evidence"
      when we have one or more untestable pet premises, such as "Jesus really was
      the Son of God," or "There is no God" -- i.e., ontological premises based
      on faith or atheism (which, IMHO, is a form of faith).
      Most of the time, reasoning in spite of the evidence leads to bad results,
      and I think there's all too much of it in biblical studies. Or,
      to put things on another footing, isn't reasoning in spite of the evidence
      exactly what many fundamentalist Christians do, when confronted with modern
      critical scholarship?
      Can you provide us with a good example of a case when we *should* reason in
      spite of the evidence?

      >While it's true that we
      >assume that no unquestionable contradictory evidence is forthcoming,
      >that's a far cry from being concerned with the question of whether
      >the publicly available evidence is a representative sample of the
      >totality of existing evidence (including that as-yet undiscovered).
      >In general, it seems to me that the model of statistical analysis
      >that you're using just isn't adequate to account for the use of
      >probability in historical hypotheses.
      >
      >Mike Grondin
      >Mt. Clemens, MI

      I find this a baffling approach to the issue, and one that is fraught with
      potential for abuse.
      Which maybe means that I don't understand it. I've been away at a bluegrass
      festival over the weekend, and maybe my mind is not properly engaged yet.

      Bob
      Flagstaff, AZ
    • Thomas G. Barnes
      I know this is off topic, however, during the past few days I noticed the discussion going on about the use of copyrighhted material. Anyway, my question is
      Message 104 of 104 , Nov 13, 2002
        I know this is off topic, however, during the past few days I noticed the
        discussion going on about the use of copyrighhted material. Anyway, my
        question is this, how do I properly cite a web page I used information from
        in an academic paper. I am a student and an interested historical Jesus
        individual. I realize this is off topic so please send reply to me off the
        list.

        Thomas G. Barnes
        Philadelphia, PA
        Temple University
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