what is a reasonable doubt?

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what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by Metacrock » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:19 am

History is a science but it's a social science,* It can't be a "hard science" because we can never observe the experiment we can only try and piece together what happened from clues left in writing. Then of course that means we have to judge the history of the writing. History is probability. Although a strange kind of probability to which we cannot put numbers.

So history is really about likelihood and thus the question before us is "when does it become reasonable to doubt?" It's not reasonable to doubt e everything, very likely things are not reasonably doubted. Just as there has to be a warrant for belief, there must be a warrant for doubt. Warrants to be valid must be logically construed and if the contradict known facts there must be a rational explanation as to how the contradiction does not invalidate known facts.

So we need warrants for warrants, To avoid an infinite regression of warrant I suggest reading Plantinga and Stephen Toolman on Warrant. So a reasonable doubt is a warranted doubt. That means there's a logically valid and/or empirically verifiable reason for doubting. The danger will be confusing higher level beliefs and ideological biases with a warrant. Warrant can't be ideological biases, nor can it be higher beliefs.

What I mean by that is judging a historical event unlikely because its occurrences casts doubt upon some ideal we hold or a metaphysical assumption, Even if said assumption or belief are worthy and defensible they can't always be a warrant for said event (not unless there's a direct link).

Now I don't for a moment think I've summed it all up. My concept is that this will get us started on a good discussion :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


*I am a social science guy so I don't think that makes it any less scientific. Social science is harder than physical science because there many more variables and many we can never get at so to speak--such as understanding the past.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by met » Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:28 pm

I had a Cmpt Science prof once, who said, " Computing science is not a science, and how you can tell is, it has 'Science' in its name. So it's gotta be a pretension .... just like 'social science'."

... okay, don't blame me, there's no clear division between sciences and other stuff, except maybe how much math you can use? And even then....

The actualities of single events? There's some objectivity there, but history is full of much bigger controversies than that, isn't it? I've read that estimates of the number of indigenous people killed by the European invasion(s) here run from 1.5 million (estimated by the US gov't) to 500 million (some group's total estimate for both continents). But a lot of that depends on context and how you define "killed," doesn't it? So, it's rhetorical and a matter of trying to define the terms according to your own rhetorical needs. That's one of the main usages for history. And it seems to me that concepts like identity are even more tenuous than concepts like "killing?"

From the Stanford article on Foucault.
Finally, some philosophers (Hegel and Marx in one way, Nietzsche and Heidegger in another) have tried to resolve the problem of man's dual status by treating him as a historical reality. But this move encounters the difficulty that man has to be both a product of historical processes and the origin of history. If we treat man as a product, we find ourselves reducing his reality to something non-human (this is what Foucault calls the “retreat” from man's origin). But if we insist on a “return” to man as his own proper origin, then we can no longer make sense of his place in the empirical world. This paradox may explain the endless modern obsession with origins, but there is never any way out of the contradiction between man as originator and man as originated.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by KR Wordgazer » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:34 pm

In legal terms, there are two different standards, depending on the type of case. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is for criminal cases. There is a presumption of innocence, and if you have any reasonable doubt the person might be guilty, you are to find them innocent.

In civil cases the standard is "a preponderance of the evidence," and the plaintiff, the accusing party, has the burden of proof. The plaintiff has to have greater and more convincing evidence than the defendant, in order to prevail.

Both kinds of proof, however, depend on the reasonableness of the jury. For both standards, a jury is instructed to "use the same care that you use to handle your own personal affairs." "Reasonable" is defined as how an ordinary, sane person would look at his or her own personal and business interactions.

So of course the person's own presuppositions and biases are going to be a factor. The jury must try to lay aside its presuppositions and biases to the best of its ability.

In matters of religion, I think the person's own experiences are going to weigh heavily in favor of one side or the other. The key is being aware of this and open to the other side's point of view. I believe in God, but also that God set things up so we are not forced to believe in God-- there IS a reasonable doubt either way. I believe in God because the preponderance of the evidence, given my own life experiences, points to theism.

But I also think both sides tend to give the OTHER side the burden of proof. And since the presuppositions of modern Western society lean heavily towards scientific proof to the exclusion of other kinds of proof, this means that non-theists can fall into the trap of leaving their own presuppositions unquestioned while insisting that theists' presuppositions be overturned.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by Metacrock » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:17 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote:In legal terms, there are two different standards, depending on the type of case. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is for criminal cases. There is a presumption of innocence, and if you have any reasonable doubt the person might be guilty, you are to find them innocent.

In civil cases the standard is "a preponderance of the evidence," and the plaintiff, the accusing party, has the burden of proof. The plaintiff has to have greater and more convincing evidence than the defendant, in order to prevail.

Both kinds of proof, however, depend on the reasonableness of the jury. For both standards, a jury is instructed to "use the same care that you use to handle your own personal affairs." "Reasonable" is defined as how an ordinary, sane person would look at his or her own personal and business interactions.
I don't use that term as a connection to court room evidence or forensics. I am thinking of historical standard. it's only reasonable that dobt should be based upon warrated assumptions, ego...
So of course the person's own presuppositions and biases are going to be a factor. The jury must try to lay aside its presuppositions and biases to the best of its ability.

In matters of religion, I think the person's own experiences are going to weigh heavily in favor of one side or the other. The key is being aware of this and open to the other side's point of view. I believe in God, but also that God set things up so we are not forced to believe in God-- there IS a reasonable doubt either way. I believe in God because the preponderance of the evidence, given my own life experiences, points to theism.

But I also think both sides tend to give the OTHER side the burden of proof. And since the presuppositions of modern Western society lean heavily towards scientific proof to the exclusion of other kinds of proof, this means that non-theists can fall into the trap of leaving their own presuppositions unquestioned while insisting that theists' presuppositions be overturned.
new stupid atheist trick is to assert that any kind of store from has to be false
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by KR Wordgazer » Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:50 pm

Metacrock wrote:[
I don't use that term as a connection to court room evidence or forensics. I am thinking of historical standard. it's only reasonable that dobt should be based upon warrated assumptions, ego...
I understand that, but think that since the term did original come from the legal sphere, thinking about what it means in legal terms can be instructive. The legal definition is why I go with the lower standard "by a preponderance of the evidence" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt." If faith in God had to be "beyond a reasonable doubt," then it wouldn't be faith; it would certainty.

new stupid atheist trick is to assert that any kind of store from has to be false

There must be some typos here; I'm not sure what you mean.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:05 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote:
Metacrock wrote:[
I don't use that term as a connection to court room evidence or forensics. I am thinking of historical standard. it's only reasonable that dobt should be based upon warrated assumptions, ego...
I understand that, but think that since the term did original come from the legal sphere, thinking about what it means in legal terms can be instructive. The legal definition is why I go with the lower standard "by a preponderance of the evidence" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt." If faith in God had to be "beyond a reasonable doubt," then it wouldn't be faith; it would certainty.
are those two opposed? I didn't realize that.

new stupid atheist trick is to assert that any kind of store from has to be false
There must be some typos here; I'm not sure what you mean.
I've now seen several atheist arguing that Gospels are not evidence of Jesus' existence because they are narrative and Narratives (they use the term "story") are always fiction.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by KR Wordgazer » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:32 pm

Metacrock wrote:
KR Wordgazer wrote:I understand that, but think that since the term did original come from the legal sphere, thinking about what it means in legal terms can be instructive. The legal definition is why I go with the lower standard "by a preponderance of the evidence" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt." If faith in God had to be "beyond a reasonable doubt," then it wouldn't be faith; it would certainty.
are those two opposed? I didn't realize that.
They aren't exactly opposed, but "beyond a reasonable doubt" is a higher standard of evidence. In a civil case you simply have to decide whether the plaintiff has proven their case by having more evidence on their side than the defendant. In a criminal case you presume the defendant is innocent unless guilt is proved-- not just by having more evidence, but beyond a reasonable doubt (not beyond ALL doubt, but beyond any doubts a reasonable person might hold while looking at the evidence).


I've now seen several atheist arguing that Gospels are not evidence of Jesus' existence because they are narrative and Narratives (they use the term "story") are always fiction.
And of course, that is a completely unreasonable doubt. If all narratives were necessarily fiction, we couldn't do history at all. We couldn't do biographies or narratives of how a battle or a political campaign proceeded.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by Metacrock » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:29 am

KR Wordgazer wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
KR Wordgazer wrote:I understand that, but think that since the term did original come from the legal sphere, thinking about what it means in legal terms can be instructive. The legal definition is why I go with the lower standard "by a preponderance of the evidence" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt." If faith in God had to be "beyond a reasonable doubt," then it wouldn't be faith; it would certainty.
are those two opposed? I didn't realize that.
They aren't exactly opposed, but "beyond a reasonable doubt" is a higher standard of evidence. In a civil case you simply have to decide whether the plaintiff has proven their case by having more evidence on their side than the defendant. In a criminal case you presume the defendant is innocent unless guilt is proved-- not just by having more evidence, but beyond a reasonable doubt (not beyond ALL doubt, but beyond any doubts a reasonable person might hold while looking at the evidence).


I've now seen several atheist arguing that Gospels are not evidence of Jesus' existence because they are narrative and Narratives (they use the term "story") are always fiction.
And of course, that is a completely unreasonable doubt. If all narratives were necessarily fiction, we couldn't do history at all. We couldn't do biographies or narratives of how a battle or a political campaign proceeded.
yea I know I got thrown off that board by making better arguments then they did.
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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by JBSptfn » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:51 am

yea I know I got thrown off that board by making better arguments then they did.
There's a shock. Was it on the board that you were on most recently, or CARM?

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Re: what is a reasonable doubt?

Post by Metacrock » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:00 am

JBSptfn wrote:
yea I know I got thrown off that board by making better arguments then they did.
There's a shock. Was it on the board that you were on most recently, or CARM?
Peter Kirby's board. I had Just put up one of my best historical Jesus arguments he took it down immediately and took do2wn all my other posts and said the board had too many post that weren't substantial.
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