The default position.

Author: secularmerlin ,

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Imagine if you will that I have in my possession a box which I have not opened. Now imagine there is a ball in this box. This ball may be any color but I have claimed that the ball is red. Now since I have not seen the ball you may well wonder how I know this and you may well ask me "how do you know the ball is red?"

Let us further imagine that rather than opening the box and proving what color it is once and for all I reply "You can't prove that it isn't red".

Now you can't actually prove that the ball is not red. Should you simply accept my word?
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--> @secularmerlin
Depends what motive I believe you have to be honest or to lie.
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In this hypothetical situation You don't have any particular reason to think either of those things. If that were a part of the hypothetical I would have mentioned it. But for the sake of argument let us say that I am not lying I believe wholeheartedly and with a conviction of faith that the ball is red. I just haven't actually looked in the box and I haven't seen the ball.
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How do I know you're not lying to the degree of certainty you suggest me to in said scenario?
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In the context of this hypothetical, I would not accept your word. If there is no way to prove that the ball is not red, and you have not looked inside the box, there is also no way to prove that it is, unless of course there is more to the context of the logic puzzle. Maybe you have prior interactions and - or knowledge about the contents of the box?

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--> @ArgentTongue
In this hypothetical if you have no reason to think so. I have merely asserted that the ball is red and that you cannot prove otherwise.
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How do I know you're not lying to the degree of certainty you suggest me to in said scenario?
You don't have any way of knowing but I have given no indication that I am being duplicitous. If it helps you determine your answer however let us assume for arguments sake that I am not lying and that I believe wholeheartedly that the ball is red.
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--> @secularmerlin
Then I'd bet on the ball being red.
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Would it change your answer if I have a friend who claims the ball is blue with equal belief and fervor?
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Yes it would but perhaps not actually alter my bet.

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I'm not sure if I understand you. You seem to be claiming that it would both change your answer and not change ypur answer. Which is it?
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--> @secularmerlin
Both. Not neither, both.

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At the point where I claim the ball is red and my friend claims it is blue and with the understanding that we both believe with a conviction of faith that we are correct even though we both cannot be whom do you believe and why?
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There's infinitely more complexity to this scenario than the original one. I'd bet on red, considering purple if I can't ask more.
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If the ball is purple then both my friend and I are both wrong but there is no way for you to be certain that it is purple in any case. You may ask us anything that you like but our answers always amount to "I know what color the ball is and you can't prove it isn't that color" red for my claim and blue for my friend. Before you ask we both claim the ball is one solid color and if the ball is half red and half blue (or any combination of the two) then we are both wrong. Nevertheless we both believe that we are correct. As certain as we are that the sun will rise tomorrow.
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What colors make purple?
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Neither of us will accept that the ball is purple arguing instead that it is the colors we claimed. We both seem equally sure and both have equal evidence to present. We cannot both be right so whom do you believe?
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I don't know what is in the box at all.

My friend here says there is a red ball.

My friend here says there is a blue ball.

I say I don't know.

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Well I know you so do I have permission from you to personally divulge into criticism and deep analysis of your personality traits from what I've seen from you on the site?

If I didn't know you and if it wasn't your friend (him being your friend and not a stranger to you played into it), but knowing that both person 1 and person 2 think completely it's red and blue I would absolutely bet on purple.

However, since I know you and know this is a friend of yours I can judge you and your general friends and the kind of friend who'd disagree with you on their view on a base-fact type thing and work from there. What I know of you thus far and of the friends you have who disagree with you on such things leads me to trust you more than them so I'd bet on red.

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I hope you don't mind me correcting the topic name, it just hurt my eyes haha
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What I know of you thus far and of the friends you have who disagree with you on such things leads me to trust you more than them so I'd bet on red.
I appreciate your vote of confidence. In fact I find that I am touched in spite of myself. I am somewhat confused however as you have expressed more than once your concerns with my ability to recognize truth.

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--> @DebateArt.com
No by all means I'm not sure how to fix it myself once the topic is created.
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--> @Mopac
You are skipping ahead. At first it is only me and my box and my ball which I have never seen and which I insist is red. You can't prove its not red. Do you believe that it is red.
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--> @secularmerlin
I wouldn't accept any claim of the ball's color until you opened the box in my sight.
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--> @Castin
I will not open the box but I assure you that I have the highest order of faith in the redness of the ball.