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Comment author: christopherj 03 October 2013 06:32:34PM 1 point [-]

Then what does this belief not allow to happen—what would definitely falsify this belief? A null answer means that your belief does not constrain experience; it permits anything to happen to you.

What if I had the belief that a certain coin was unfair, with a 51% chance of heads and only 49% chance of tails? Certainly I could observe an absurd amount of coin flips, and each bunch of them could nudge my belief -- but short of an infinite number of flips, none would "definitely" falsify it. Certainly in this case, I could come to believe with an arbitrary level of certainty in the falsehood of the belief. But I don't believe that would apply in general -- what if to reach any arbitrary level of testing a belief, I'd need to think up and apply an indefinite number of unique tests? For example, a belief concerning the state of mind of another person -- I can't think of a definite test, nor can I repeat any test indefinitely to increase certainty.

On a related note, why abandon Bayes in this case for Popper, without any disclaimer? Eg falsificationism is useful because it fights magic explanations and positive bias, but it is still a predictive belief if observation causes you to slightly shift your probability for that belief.

Comment author: tylerj 03 January 2014 03:33:05PM 0 points [-]

What caused you to believe a 51 % chance of heads versus 49 % chance of tails?

Comment author: tylerj 02 January 2014 02:47:54PM *  0 points [-]

Or suppose your postmodern English professor teaches you that the famous writer Wulky Wilkinsen is actually a "post-utopian".

Suppose you, an invisible man, overheard 1,000,000 distinct individual humans proclaim "I believe that Velma Valedo and Wulky Wilkinsen are post-utopians based on several thorough readings of their complete bibliographies!"

Must there be some correspondence (probably an extremely complex connection) between the writings, and, quite possibly, between some of the 1,000,000 brains that believe this? The subjectively defined "post-utopian" does not hold much evidential weight when simply mentioned by one informed English professor, but when the attribute "post-utopian" is used to describe two distinct authors by many blind and informed subjects, does this (even a little bit) allow us to anticipate any similarities between (some of) the subjects' brains or between (some of) the authors' writings?