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"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" Hitchens. Do you agree?

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Do you have any thoughts on how to answer this title? As it is an IA for the May 2013 exams, people aren't going to answer it for you, but they will help you hash out some ideas. So why don't you post what you've thought of so far, and then people will comment and add things :)

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I have an idea for this essay title... It seems to me that Hitchen´s statement is an example of a fallacy called argument from ignorance. There is more information about this in the link below

http://en.wikipedia...._from_ignorance

It seems to me that it is very easy to disagree on the statement. For example, a mathematical conjecture (like Golbach´s conjecture) has not been proved to be true and yet it can´t be dissmissed because the conjecture has not been proved to be false either. I am having a difficult time finding counterarguments to this whole idea... Up to now I have not found any. Ideas anyone ??

Edited by vera

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"that Which Can Be Asserted Without Evidence, Can Be Dismissed Without Evidence." Do you agree?

I have come up with some of the points that might be of interest in writing the tok essay but i'm pretty confused about what should i include in my tok essay and what not.

- While an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence we can only prove a positive. "Since there is no evidence to disprove God exists, then She/He/It must exist because it sure cannot be denied without evidence."

- Can “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” be denied without evidence?

- We can search for alien’s fossils because we know where and how to look for it however this cannot work for atheists in order to deny the existence of God because they cannot assert that they are looking in the right direction, thus they cannot know where, when and how to look. Whereas when someone who asserts his belief in God through faith, why does he demand the atheists to provide an evidence of god's existence?

- “You don’t have evidence” is an evidence of reason itself. (this is sort of a negative sided argument)

Any tips on what i should base my argument on and how should i tackle the question?

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"that Which Can Be Asserted Without Evidence, Can Be Dismissed Without Evidence." Do you agree?

I have come up with some of the points that might be of interest in writing the tok essay but i'm pretty confused about what should i include in my tok essay and what not.

- While an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence we can only prove a positive. "Since there is no evidence to disprove God exists, then She/He/It must exist because it sure cannot be denied without evidence."

- Can “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” be denied without evidence?

- We can search for alien’s fossils because we know where and how to look for it however this cannot work for atheists in order to deny the existence of God because they cannot assert that they are looking in the right direction, thus they cannot know where, when and how to look. Whereas when someone who asserts his belief in God through faith, why does he demand the atheists to provide an evidence of god's existence?

- “You don’t have evidence” is an evidence of reason itself. (this is sort of a negative sided argument)

Any tips on what i should base my argument on and how should i tackle the question?

I find your ideas somewhat confusing. Essentially the quote is saying: if you have no evidence to prove your assertion that unicorns exist, then I do not require to provide evidence that they do NOT exist in order to dismiss your claim that they do. If that makes sense.

So your quotes are really the wrong way around. When you say "Since there is no evidence to disprove God exists, then She/He/It must exist because it sure cannot be denied without evidence." that is not the point Hitchens is making. He is making the point that since there is no evidence to PROVE a god exists, everybody else is free to dismiss it instead of being obliged to come up with a counter argument that it does not exist. Possibly I misunderstood your quote as you didn't really explain why you were saying it, but unless you meant it to be the wrong way round, I thought I should point out that it is!

I suggest you don't look at religion/god (or keep it minimal) as it's not an argument which is going to go very far, plus you might have a TOK marker who is of one religious persuasion or the other, although I'm sure that god is what Hitchens originally intended to talk about as he was a controversial gentleman. I suggest you look instead through the various areas of knowledge and see if you can come up with ways in which to look at this quote. A possibility might be the Higgs Boson, if you can work out how the quote might be applied to that. You can also look at subjective things, such as art, the value of creativity, hypothesising etc. - much of this can be asserted without evidence as such, but would you necessarily dismiss it? Possibly it might be interesting to think about what 'evidence' means...

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"that Which Can Be Asserted Without Evidence, Can Be Dismissed Without Evidence." Do you agree?

I have come up with some of the points that might be of interest in writing the tok essay but i'm pretty confused about what should i include in my tok essay and what not.

- While an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence we can only prove a positive. "Since there is no evidence to disprove God exists, then She/He/It must exist because it sure cannot be denied without evidence."

- Can “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” be denied without evidence?

- We can search for alien’s fossils because we know where and how to look for it however this cannot work for atheists in order to deny the existence of God because they cannot assert that they are looking in the right direction, thus they cannot know where, when and how to look. Whereas when someone who asserts his belief in God through faith, why does he demand the atheists to provide an evidence of god's existence?

- “You don’t have evidence” is an evidence of reason itself. (this is sort of a negative sided argument)

Any tips on what i should base my argument on and how should i tackle the question?

I find your ideas somewhat confusing. Essentially the quote is saying: if you have no evidence to prove your assertion that unicorns exist, then I do not require to provide evidence that they do NOT exist in order to dismiss your claim that they do. If that makes sense.

So your quotes are really the wrong way around. When you say "Since there is no evidence to disprove God exists, then She/He/It must exist because it sure cannot be denied without evidence." that is not the point Hitchens is making. He is making the point that since there is no evidence to PROVE a god exists, everybody else is free to dismiss it instead of being obliged to come up with a counter argument that it does not exist. Possibly I misunderstood your quote as you didn't really explain why you were saying it, but unless you meant it to be the wrong way round, I thought I should point out that it is!

I suggest you don't look at religion/god (or keep it minimal) as it's not an argument which is going to go very far, plus you might have a TOK marker who is of one religious persuasion or the other, although I'm sure that god is what Hitchens originally intended to talk about as he was a controversial gentleman. I suggest you look instead through the various areas of knowledge and see if you can come up with ways in which to look at this quote. A possibility might be the Higgs Boson, if you can work out how the quote might be applied to that. You can also look at subjective things, such as art, the value of creativity, hypothesising etc. - much of this can be asserted without evidence as such, but would you necessarily dismiss it? Possibly it might be interesting to think about what 'evidence' means...

Thing is, i have sorted out my essay by planning through. My thesis statement is that it depends on the AoK, then i go onto talking about Mathematics that you need evidence in order to prove a theorem and if anything that doesn't fit onto that theorem can be denied but then in places like ethics, you don't need evidence...Human science is based upon different gathered evidences, forming a theory (Demand supply, inversely proportional, as supply increases, demand decreases because product isn't scarce anymore).

Does it seem like a reasonable argument? thing is, i need to add some depth to my examples for each AoK so that when the examiner goes through each AoK, he cannot dismiss what i've said...

Edited by shad0wboss

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Hey guys I need help ansering this may 2013 essay prompt. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

I know that shifting the burden of proof is used.

Focusing on Science and History as areas of knowing.

Then using sense perception, reasoning and consensus gentium as ways of knowing.

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We can't give you opinions. We can comment and help guide your own opinions and examples and bits of evidence. If we were to do the work for you that would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?

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well i have already wrote my essay on the prompt....but am having a hard time trying to write a conclusion/counterclaim.

I guess what I meant to say is what counterclaim could I tie into my essay, against Science and History, to prove what Hitchens is talking about. I was thinking along the lines of axioms (math) or maybe ethics.

any thoughts

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well i have already wrote my essay on the prompt....but am having a hard time trying to write a conclusion/counterclaim.

I guess what I meant to say is what counterclaim could I tie into my essay, against Science and History, to prove what Hitchens is talking about. I was thinking along the lines of axioms (math) or maybe ethics.

any thoughts

Since i have to send my first draft out on Tuesday, i'm pretty short on time as well.

What i think i'll be doing is to really give my own opinion really whether i agree, or i don't agree or whether the answer lies in a specific area. I think, since Hitchens is an athiest and he tries to approach everything through scientific reasoning, there are loads of points one can discuss to really prove Hitchens wrong and i think that's the easiest answer to the question "do you agree"

However i need some tips on how i can really fortify my claim about Hitchens being wrong

Edited by shad0wboss

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well i have already wrote my essay on the prompt....but am having a hard time trying to write a conclusion/counterclaim.

I guess what I meant to say is what counterclaim could I tie into my essay, against Science and History, to prove what Hitchens is talking about. I was thinking along the lines of axioms (math) or maybe ethics.

any thoughts

Since i have to send my first draft out on Tuesday, i'm pretty short on time as well.

What i think i'll be doing is to really give my own opinion really whether i agree, or i don't agree or whether the answer lies in a specific area. I think, since Hitchens is an athiest and he tries to approach everything through scientific reasoning, there are loads of points one can discuss to really prove Hitchens wrong and i think that's the easiest answer to the question "do you agree"

However i need some tips on how i can really fortify my claim about Hitchens being wrong

What is your claim as to why Hitchens is wrong?

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well i have already wrote my essay on the prompt....but am having a hard time trying to write a conclusion/counterclaim.

I guess what I meant to say is what counterclaim could I tie into my essay, against Science and History, to prove what Hitchens is talking about. I was thinking along the lines of axioms (math) or maybe ethics.

any thoughts

Since i have to send my first draft out on Tuesday, i'm pretty short on time as well.

What i think i'll be doing is to really give my own opinion really whether i agree, or i don't agree or whether the answer lies in a specific area. I think, since Hitchens is an athiest and he tries to approach everything through scientific reasoning, there are loads of points one can discuss to really prove Hitchens wrong and i think that's the easiest answer to the question "do you agree"

However i need some tips on how i can really fortify my claim about Hitchens being wrong

What is your claim as to why Hitchens is wrong?

I mean, what i said is that it depends on the AoK really. Some AoK need evidence in order prove a point or claim whereas some don't need evidence in order for something to be asserted really. However my teacher has told me to form knowledge issues first, and then try to give real life examples in context to the claim under certain AoK. Also i'm a bit confused how i can mention WoK in this discussion as well.

Edited by shad0wboss

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I'm bumping this one up because i'm still stuck on this essay. Not that i'm working on it due to my mocks but i would still want some more ideas by people who're doing/thinking about this topic. Are there any sample TOK essays with a similar topic?

Also my teacher told me that all these topics of 2013 are interlinked so i should consider other questions as well. This just confuses me more. Do you agree with this?

Edited by shad0wboss

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I'm writing on this topic right now actually. My final copy is due tomorrow and I procrastinated horribly. The way that I was advised to go about this is by using human sciences, ethics, religion and such as a counter claim. In almost every topic that my class has discussed, I didn't really have an opinion, I basically was on the fence about anything. In my essay, I have talked about how in natural science and math, you need evidence but as the areas of knowledge become more subjective, they require less and less tangible evidence. By tangible evidence, I mean something that without a doubt proves a claim to be either true or false. It would also help if you had a very strict definition of evidence so that you can rule out what is or is not evidence.

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