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From:
Subject: Re: [TGF] Absence vs. Availability of Evidence
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 11:01:54 -0700


Jillaine,

To me having a reasonable discussion with others involves a couple of
components:

1. Objects, evidence, something outside ourselves that everyone in the
discussion can observe/experience
2. Logic (shared reasoning basis)
3. shared language

In the situation you describe (which I know I haven't fully grasped the
details and subtleties), it sounds like you've put forth evidence and
conclusions. Those disagreeing should be able identify problems in your
reasoning, difficulties with the evidence you've provided and/or offer
additional evidence or reasoning. Any of these are in the 'public' eye,
and hopefully subsequent discussion trying to resolve the issues would
lead to deeper understanding for somebody.

I'm not sure I understand what is meant by

>conclusions could just as easily be made by the absence of
> information, from what we do NOT know.

That's just too general for me to try to apply to a specific issue. I
really don't know whether it's true or not, because it's outside my
experience at this point. It's difficult for me to imagine forming
sound conclusions based on ignorance, but perhaps I am misunderstanding
what is being said.

I guess the question I would ask that person is "What
evidence/conclusion do you draw from what specific absent/unknown
information? Can you be more specific?".

One way to better understand these challenges is to ask the challengers
to engage in a rational discussion, where they put forth, in detail,
their reasonings and evidence.

Congratulations on your article!

Linda Gardner
Massachusetts




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