Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Uncategorized Posts | 3 comments

# On Solving the Dreaded Problem of Induction

On pages 70-71 in my new book, The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True, I basically solve the problem of induction. Well, I point the way anyway. What is this problem?

In inductive reasoning, scientists make a series of observations and then infer something based on these observations, or they predict that the next observation under the same exact test conditions will produce the same results. It’s argued there are two problems with this process. The first problem is that regardless of the number of observations it is never certain the next observation of the same exact phenomena under the same exact test conditions will produce the same exact results. For scientists to inductively infer something from previous results or predict what future observations will be like, it’s claimed they must have faith that nature operates by a uniform set of laws. Why? Because they cannot know nature is lawful from their observations alone. The second problem is that the observations of scientists in and of themselves cannot establish with certainty the validity of inductive reasoning.

There is a great deal of literature on the problem of induction, and I cannot solve it here…But if all we ever do is think exclusively in terms of the probabilities, as I’ll argue later (in chapters 7 and 10), then this problem is pretty much solved.

I write more about it, but can you catch my drift?

There’s also Nelson Goodman’s “new riddle of induction”, concerning the question of which among all logically possible predicates and/or sets of referents are deemed relevant for inductive projection. This is the famous “grue”/”bleen”/”blue”/”green” problem.

Basically, every set of inductive data points can be characterized in an infinity of ways. For example, all the observations for the proposition that “tigers are carnivorous” are also observations for the proposition that “gorbles are fluzzivous”, where a gorble is either a rabbit belonging to a female U.S. President or a tiger not belonging to a female U.S. President, and something is fluzzivous iff it is carnivorous while on Earth and eats only marshmallows while in outer space.

“Gorbles are fluzzivous” is obviously a bad conclusion despite having a huge number of supporting observations and zero exceptions. The upshot is that in addition to a general belief that lawlike regularities will continue, we also need some kind of trust in the kinds of categorizations that strike our brains as good, non-capricious ones.

• Dave Johnson

http://s1.zetaboards.com/LooseChangeForums/topic/4979676/1/

they did not survive Armageddon…

2 Kings 19

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+19&version=NIV

“That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!”