Some recent E-arguments around here have got me thinking...
I'm posting this because I need to keep the following things in mind as much as anyone. This board is a valuable resource, but like the rest of the internet, this forum could fall prey to hoakem and as much silly bullshit as anywhere else if we're not careful, and we all need to think critically about the things we and others say, if we are to make the best of our time and training here.
SIX RULES OF EVIDENTIAL REASONING
1. Any claim must be falsifiable in order to be true.
2. An argument is said to be “valid” if its conclusion follows unavoidably from its premises. But it must also be SOUND. In order to be sound, the argument must be valid AND all the premises upon which it is based must be TRUE.
3. Evidence must be comprehensive, exhaustive; in other words, the claim should take into account all of the available evidence.
4. You must evaluate the available evidence without self-deception; if the weight of the evidence suggests that the claim is false, you must be prepared to change your mind.
5. If the evidence used to support the claim is experimental in nature, the results should be reproducible (in order to ensure that the results are not mere coincidence).
6. Evidence should be sufficient, and in order to be sufficient, evidence should be provided in accord with the following stipulations: burden of proof rests on the claimant; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; and evidence based upon authority and/or testimony is always inadequate for any paranormal claim.
1. If no conceivable way exists that we can test the claim, then it cannot be true. For example, if someone claims that fairies exist all around us, except that you can neither see, hear, taste, touch, nor smell them—in other words, no measure can be taken of their existence—this claim cannot be true.
2. A valid but still unsound argument might go something like this: all brunettes are hateful liars, and since Jill is brunette, Jill is a hateful liar. The conclusion follows unavoidably from its premises, but it is nonetheless unsound because one of its premises isn’t true: all brunettes aren’t hateful liars.
3. This one should be self-explanatory, but most often, folks arrive at conclusions before all the information is in, or stop shy of evaluating the evidence further because it might disagree with their warm-and-fuzzy notions of what is “true.”
4. Human beings are capable of behaving quite irrationally. The comfort that a long-standing belief is capable of providing us often eclipses any notion of responsibility that we might feel toward the search for the truth. But responsible thinkers put aside personal feelings when they evaluate the evidence. This is important for everyone, including those of us on this board who wish to optimize our results inside and outside the gym, for practices that are built upon false claims, either as a whole or in part, have the potential to lead to poor or negative results.
5. When it comes to experimental evidence, one experiment by itself isn’t enough to warrant a firm conclusion. The methods by which the data was collected and the ways in which the experiment was conducted should be made transparent, so that others can duplicate the experiment and/or improve upon the ways in which it was carried out, all so that coincidence can be ruled out.
6. Exists to ensure that evidence is unequivocal, insofar as that is possible, leaving little doubt.
Feel free to adding anything.