Talk:Argument from ignorance

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Icon logic.svg

This Logic related article has not received a brainstar for quality. Please consider expanding the article appropriately. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Who made all that bold text? It makes the article look stoooopid. Bohdan

Its like you know wiki precedent to bold the words that you are writing the article about. tmtoulouse provoke 22:32, 31 August 2007 (CDT)
On the contrary, one normally bolds the the title in the first line. You bolded about five phrases. It's no wonder O'leary schools you all the time! Bohdan

Lead quote[edit]

The quote seems to be referring to those who misuse the concept of "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" in the sense that "no evidence for a conspiracy is proof that a conspiracy exists because it's covering up it's existence, as proved by it's lack of evidence." While that's a point that deserves to be discussed, it doesn't seem like the article is really talking about that particularly fallacy (whose name I'm not sure of). Thoughts? ThunderkatzHo! 22:44, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I removed the bit that says the old saw "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is "basically wrong", because it is not basically wrong. It is wrong in certain contexts, namely those that entail that presence is likely to produce evidence. Bah. Phiwum (talk) 15:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect characterisation[edit]

"The concept of irreducible complexity is based entirely around this idea of personal incredulity, that one person (Michael Behe) cannot see how something evolved naturally, it can't possibly evolve naturally." This is BS. It's based around the fact that the evidence points to it being too complex to have evolved naturally. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

You mean, "I don't understand that nature is more complex than I can imagine, therefore an invisible magic man did it." SophieWilder 10:44, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
YOU mean, "I can imagine nature did it therefor no help was needed." ;) — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Exactly. Nature appears capable of such things without outside help, at least according to people who have studied the evidence. SophieWilder 11:00, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
"Nature appears" Yes nature appears. Well carry on then and don't look at the evidence and counter evidence.
"according to people who have studied the evidence." I thought I'd better to say that again because you appear to have missed it last time. SophieWilder 11:53, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Figures of scientists who don't believe in natural evolution stand at like 13% now? Those are likely the ones who have studied the evidence. A large portion of the remaining 87% that believe evolution through natural processes likely haven't studied the evidence at all. You are using the argument from popularity. Doesn't impress.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Show me the source for this claim of thirteen percent. Let's study the evidence for your claim. And this thirteen percent of scientists had better be all biologists (since we're discussing the complexity of organisms). No engineers, please. SophieWilder 15:04, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
[1] — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Page number?--ZooGuard (talk) 16:17, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) That study doesn't mention biologists' views, nor does it explain what is meant by "guided evolution." I doubt it's an endorsement of intelligent design, or irreducible complexity.--"Shut up, Brx." 16:20, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Page 37, Zooguard--"Shut up, Brx." 16:20, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Anyways, the point remains the same. Just because ID proponents don't understand something doesn't mean it's false. "Complexity" has been tracked and explained quite thoroughly.--"Shut up, Brx." 16:26, 25 April 2013 (UTC)


I would put it as a prime example, since the reason for God to exist is mainly due to Argumentum ad Ignorantiam. "You can't prove God doesn't exists, therefore it does." Wayl -- (talk) 06:05, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I have a magic rock that keeps away tigers. See? There are no tigers here, so therefore it works! (Lisa Simpson)

That's introductory-level apologetics. Far more sophisticated (though still equally (at least in classical logic terms) fallacious) arguments exist and are aired semi-frequently. WalkerWalkerWalker 06:09, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

The burden of proof is on the individual proposing existence[edit]

What does that really mean? If an apologist proposes the existence of God, then the counter-apologist proposes the existence of "a universe without God". They're both proposing the existence of something! By denying the existence of something, you're proposing the existence of a universe without that thing. How do you know who is actually the one "proposing existence"? --Kittycat (talk) 15:49, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Would one need to prove (maybe personally) the existence of a universe where Harry Potter isn't real in order to believe he is a fictional character and deny he is real? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 15:14, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Obviously, it's more complicated than just putting the burden of proof on the one "proposing existence". Because both sides are "proposing existence". But never mind, just repeat everything your infallible philosopher-gods have said, because that's clearly the rational thing to do.Kittycat (talk) 16:40, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
"The burden of proof is on the individual proposing existence, not the one questioning existence." doesn't seem correct. I think it's "The burden of proof is on the individual making a claim, not the one questioning the claim." This statement covers, for example, someone who claims that God exists as well someone who claims that God does not exist. Neither claim is likely to be ever demonstrated. Another example, "There is body in my mother's car trunk." or "There is no body in my mother's car trunk." is easily demonstrable by opening Mom's car trunk. The phrase "proposing existence" is unclear and confusing. (talk) 21:02, 16 February 2020 (UTC)
This statement that you quote is within a paragraph that assumes that "the only evidence for something's existence is a lack of evidence for it not existing". So, this is in fact an extraordinary claim. The claim that there is a body in your mother's car trunk is also an extraordinary claim, because the vast majority of people do not have bodies in their car trunks. See: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Bongolian (talk) 21:31, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Absurdity of the argument from ignorance[edit]

If the argument from ignorance goes "X is true because there is no proof that X is false", doesn't that mean you can also claim "not X is true because there is no proof that not X is false" as long as there is no actual proof that X is true? For example, "The existence of God is true because there is no proof that the existence of God is false" can be met by "The nonexistence of God is true because there is no proof that the nonexistence of God is false". Obviously this wouldn't work if "the existence of God" were actually true, though.--Kittycat (talk) 12:17, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

I guess if you put enough double negatives in there it really doesn't change the substance of the argument, but it seems like a waste of time to me. It is a silly argument that if applied anywhere else in life people would likely commit you. No, there is nothing disproving that eating dog shit is a cancer cure or that fucking a blender will make you closer with god...but I bet people think I am nuttier than squirrel crap for making that an example. Seems like a perfectly okay justification for the foundation of purpose, morals, faith along with their belief in life after death for some. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 13:42, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
You don't get it. This is why it's a SILLY argument. You can prove something is true and false at the same time, AND THAT IS WHY IT'S A FALLACY.Kittycat (talk) 16:30, 10 May 2016 (UTC)