Re: virus: Agnosticism

David McFadzean (
Wed, 2 Apr 1997 23:22:15 -0700

> From: Chris Schenck <>
> Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997 10:52 PM
> David McFadzean wrote:
> > I would say that faith is belief without reasonable evidence which
> > is quite different from proof. Reasonable evidence is much easier to
> > find than proof. As far as I know nothing empirical has ever been
> > proven true, only mathematical theorems.
> Hmmm....good point. But why should we aspire to anything less than proof?

Yes, it would be unreasonable to aspire to proof when it is
a logically impossible goal.

> Many men have been unjustly led to the gallows by so-called "reasonable
> evidence." The problem with reasonable evidence is that the first part of
> the term (reasonable) is *so* very subjective. What is reasonable to one
> might be folly to another. So how are we to determine what is resonable?

We have to make a tradeoff between acceptable error and cost of
diligence. To extend the example you mentioned above, it is probably
reasonable to wrongfully convict someone 0.1% of the time, because to
reduce the error rate another fraction of a percent would double the
average time for a court case and many more criminals would get away.

> So if not plurality, then what? Should every person have his own
> definition of "reasonable evidence"? This seems to be a bit too
> anarchistic of an approach. (Dodge City law comes to mind...) :)

Given the ridiculous things that most the public believes true (UFOs,
ESP, miracles, etc.) standards of evidence are clearly too low. It is
possible to go too far in the other direction, but I don't see that being
a problem any time soon.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus