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Thread: The burden of proof in politics

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    The burden of proof in politics

    Science can do many things but one thing it cannot do is prove a universal negative. This is why there is something called the burden of proof. The burden of proof rests on the person who makes a positive claim. A positive statement is an affirmative statement about something (ex: the cat is grey) as opposed to a negative statement which counteracts a positive one (ex: the cat is NOT grey). To illustrate why the burden of proof rests on the one making a claim, a man by the name of Bertrand Rusell used an analogy. He stated that there's a Chinese teapot somewhere in between the orbits of Earth and Mars. Since there's no evidence AGAINST such a teapot, provided that it's too small to be detected by even the best telescopes, it only stands to reason that such a teapot exists. This is not to say that no claim can be proven. Rather, each claim must at least have some evidence to be taken seriously.

    This concept isn't unique to the scientific community, it can be found in the American justice system. The burden of proof rests on the prosecutor. In civil courts, the evidence has to point towards guiltiness being more likely than innocence for a conviction. Criminal courts take it a step further, even further than the scientific community. In order to get a guilty verdict, the evidence pointing towards the guiltiness of the defendant must be beyond a reasonable doubt. You may have heard of this as the concept of "innocent until proven guilty".

    Now you might be wondering how this concept can apply to the political world. Well, laws that extend the government are based on the claim that government should do _____. Likewise, the people who say that government is too big espouse the belief that the government should NOT do _____. For example, the concept of single payer healthcare is based on the idea that the government should cover the costs of all patients, this is a claim that must be justified. Each government policy must have a justification. In addition to this, there must be evidence that said policy works. For example, if welfare does not actually reduce poverty, then welfare should be eliminated. In this regard, the negative effects of a policy should be taken into account. For example, the massive increase in incarceration can be attributed to "tough on crime" policies like three strikes and you're out and mandatory sentencing. And lastly, each government policy must do its job better than the free market. If the free market can do it better than government, that policy should be eliminated. Back to my example on universal healthcare, if the reason why American healthcare is expensive is because of overregulation, then the solution is to remove these regulations, this would actually save money and there would be no need to worry about politicians slashing funding or waiting times.

    tldr version: For the sake of avoiding arbitrary laws, the burden of proof shall rest on the person seeking to increase the outreach of government whether it be increasing government spending, implementing gun control laws, waging a war on drugs or terror, raising the minimum age for X, or implementing any regulation.
    The default side for the scientific community is the one making the claim.
    The default side for the justice system is innocence.
    The default side for the political community should be libertarianism.

    Scale regarding economic policy:

    Here's a general guide on the burden of proof regarding economic policy. Higher numbers have to produce better results than lower numbers. Subsidization, regulation, and public alternative can be combined, resulting in a higher number.

    complete deregulation: 0

    subsidization: 1

    regulation: 1

    public alternative: 1

    government granted monopoly: 4

    full blown nationalization: 5

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    I agree about burden of proof, but one of the problems is different sides disagree about what the goals are as much as they disagree about what best accomplishes those goals. For example, you stated if welfare doesn’t decrease poverty then it should be eliminated. That makes sense if the goal of welfare is to reduce poverty. But I imagine a lot of people also believe the purpose of welfare is to minimize the hardship of people already in poverty. And a program could do that without actually reducing the number of people in poverty.
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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Every claim and counterclaim must be supported.
    <a href=http://i.imgur.com/u68aMie.jpg target=_blank rel=nofollow>http://i.imgur.com/u68aMie.jpg</a>
    "I'm not 100% sure that you and I exist, but I'm surer that God exists than that you exist, and I'm as sure God exists as I am that I exist."
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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Masterhawk View Post
    Science can do many things but one thing it cannot do is prove a universal negative. This is why there is something called the burden of proof. The burden of proof rests on the person who makes a positive claim. A positive statement is an affirmative statement about something (ex: the cat is grey) as opposed to a negative statement which counteracts a positive one (ex: the cat is NOT grey). To illustrate why the burden of proof rests on the one making a claim, a man by the name of Bertrand Rusell used an analogy. He stated that there's a Chinese teapot somewhere in between the orbits of Earth and Mars. Since there's no evidence AGAINST such a teapot, provided that it's too small to be detected by even the best telescopes, it only stands to reason that such a teapot exists. This is not to say that no claim can be proven. Rather, each claim must at least have some evidence to be taken seriously.

    This concept isn't unique to the scientific community, it can be found in the American justice system. The burden of proof rests on the prosecutor. In civil courts, the evidence has to point towards guiltiness being more likely than innocence for a conviction. Criminal courts take it a step further, even further than the scientific community. In order to get a guilty verdict, the evidence pointing towards the guiltiness of the defendant must be beyond a reasonable doubt. You may have heard of this as the concept of "innocent until proven guilty".

    Now you might be wondering how this concept can apply to the political world. Well, laws that extend the government are based on the claim that government should do _____. Likewise, the people who say that government is too big espouse the belief that the government should NOT do _____. For example, the concept of single payer healthcare is based on the idea that the government should cover the costs of all patients, this is a claim that must be justified. Each government policy must have a justification. In addition to this, there must be evidence that said policy works. For example, if welfare does not actually reduce poverty, then welfare should be eliminated. In this regard, the negative effects of a policy should be taken into account. For example, the massive increase in incarceration can be attributed to "tough on crime" policies like three strikes and you're out and mandatory sentencing. And lastly, each government policy must do its job better than the free market. If the free market can do it better than government, that policy should be eliminated. Back to my example on universal healthcare, if the reason why American healthcare is expensive is because of overregulation, then the solution is to remove these regulations, this would actually save money and there would be no need to worry about politicians slashing funding or waiting times.

    tldr version: For the sake of avoiding arbitrary laws, the burden of proof shall rest on the person seeking to increase the outreach of government whether it be increasing government spending, implementing gun control laws, waging a war on drugs or terror, raising the minimum age for X, or implementing any regulation.
    The default side for the scientific community is the one making the claim.
    The default side for the justice system is innocence.
    The default side for the political community should be libertarianism.

    Scale regarding economic policy:

    Here's a general guide on the burden of proof regarding economic policy. Higher numbers have to produce better results than lower numbers. Subsidization, regulation, and public alternative can be combined, resulting in a higher number.

    complete deregulation: 0

    subsidization: 1

    regulation: 1

    public alternative: 1

    government granted monopoly: 4

    full blown nationalization: 5
    What a complete load of crap.


    Reading that makes me understand a little better why american politics is among the worst example of politics i have come across.

    Politicians are there to represent the will of the people not make the decisions for them based loosely on which ever scientist they have in their pocket. What a ridiculous way to set policy by just pretending your cause has more science to back it and ignore the views of those who actually elected them into office.

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Every claim and counterclaim must be supported.
    So does the counterclaim that there isn't an invisible unicorn watching over us have to be supported?

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic Bob View Post
    I agree about burden of proof, but one of the problems is different sides disagree about what the goals are as much as they disagree about what best accomplishes those goals. For example, you stated if welfare doesn’t decrease poverty then it should be eliminated. That makes sense if the goal of welfare is to reduce poverty. But I imagine a lot of people also believe the purpose of welfare is to minimize the hardship of people already in poverty. And a program could do that without actually reducing the number of people in poverty.
    There are a lot of terms not defined.
    When someone says, "And lastly, each government policy must do its job better than the free market. If the free market can do it better than government, that policy should be eliminated.", there must be some agreed upon definitions of "doing it better".

    If the free market winds up being able to supply healthcare cheaper, (which it has yet to ever do) but the mortality rate skyrockets or massive utilization of spending caps and treatment caps leads to millions of people being DENIED CARE, are we still "in agreement" about what the word "better" really means?
    I ask this because health insurance profit in the free market is derived from DENIAL of CARE, and that's not me speaking, it's people like former CIGNA executive Wendell Potter, just as one example.

    So, using a concept based on profit oriented health care to define "doing a job better" is a bit of a sick joke. One cannot define "better" strictly in terms of costs, and health care isn't like car insurance. People can live without cars. They can't live without health care, not for very long anyway.

    Therefore, universal access to health care should not ever be defined in profit terms when determining costs.
    Thus the default side for the political community should NOT BE "libertarianism".
    Nobody gave libertarianism the exclusive right to be the arbiter of truth, "their truth".

    And by the way, with regard to the current climate in health care:

    I'd like to see just one of these right wing moguls explain to us why what we're doing right NOW IS affordable (which it isn't) and why they are sure it will remain affordable (which it won't) or at the very least, prove that it will NOT become even MORE unaffordable. (which it most definitely WILL)
    If they could prove that what we are doing RIGHT NOW will become substantially CHEAPER in the next ten years, I will eat a MAGA hat dipped in poodle piss.
    Last edited by Checkerboard Strangler; 03-09-19 at 07:32 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paradoxical View Post
    Putin would make a better president than Hillary.
    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    It IS NOT the job of the United States government to protect reporters overseas. It IS the job the United States government to preserve the freedom of the press here in the US.

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by soylentgreen View Post
    What a complete load of crap.


    Reading that makes me understand a little better why american politics is among the worst example of politics i have come across.

    Politicians are there to represent the will of the people not make the decisions for them based loosely on which ever scientist they have in their pocket. What a ridiculous way to set policy by just pretending your cause has more science to back it and ignore the views of those who actually elected them into office.
    I'm not claiming that any particular ideology is correct. What I am trying to say is that any public policy needs to be justified. And the laws need to be working toward their intended effect. Otherwise, we end up with arbitrary laws that don't get us anywhere.

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Checkerboard Strangler View Post
    There are a lot of terms not defined.
    When someone says, "And lastly, each government policy must do its job better than the free market. If the free market can do it better than government, that policy should be eliminated.", there must be some agreed upon definitions of "doing it better".

    If the free market winds up being able to supply healthcare cheaper, (which it has yet to ever do) but the mortality rate skyrockets or massive utilization of spending caps and treatment caps leads to millions of people being DENIED CARE, are we still "in agreement" about what the word "better" really means?
    I ask this because health insurance profit in the free market is derived from DENIAL of CARE, and that's not me speaking, it's people like former CIGNA executive Wendell Potter, just as one example.

    So, using a concept based on profit oriented health care to define "doing a job better" is a bit of a sick joke. One cannot define "better" strictly in terms of costs, and health care isn't like car insurance. People can live without cars. They can't live without health care, not for very long anyway.

    Therefore, universal access to health care should not ever be defined in profit terms when determining costs.
    Thus the default side for the political community should NOT BE "libertarianism".
    Nobody gave libertarianism the exclusive right to be the arbiter of truth, "their truth".

    And by the way, with regard to the current climate in health care:

    I'd like to see just one of these right wing moguls explain to us why what we're doing right NOW IS affordable (which it isn't) and why they are sure it will remain affordable (which it won't) or at the very least, prove that it will NOT become even MORE unaffordable. (which it most definitely WILL)
    If they could prove that what we are doing RIGHT NOW will become substantially CHEAPER in the next ten years, I will eat a MAGA hat dipped in poodle piss.
    I agree 100%. I feel the same about private prisons as well. I don't care if they can do the job cheaper if they don't also produce a lower recidivism rate.
    “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic Bob View Post
    I agree 100%. I feel the same about private prisons as well. I don't care if they can do the job cheaper if they don't also produce a lower recidivism rate.
    Recidivism is their stock in trade.
    Once you're IN the private corrections system, all kinds of post-discharge fines and fees are levied on you, even after you get out, and if you don't pay them, and pay and pay and pay, you're right back in jail again. There's fines and fees for anything and everything imaginable, it's like being stuck in a payday loan hamster wheel where the juice is still running even if you're down to the last ten dollars on the loan, a week goes by and BLAMMO, suddenly you owe 430 dollars again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paradoxical View Post
    Putin would make a better president than Hillary.
    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    It IS NOT the job of the United States government to protect reporters overseas. It IS the job the United States government to preserve the freedom of the press here in the US.

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    Re: The burden of proof in politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Masterhawk View Post
    I'm not claiming that any particular ideology is correct. What I am trying to say is that any public policy needs to be justified. And the laws need to be working toward their intended effect. Otherwise, we end up with arbitrary laws that don't get us anywhere.
    Like which arbitrary laws? And what defines, "not getting anywhere"?
    Quote Originally Posted by Paradoxical View Post
    Putin would make a better president than Hillary.
    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    It IS NOT the job of the United States government to protect reporters overseas. It IS the job the United States government to preserve the freedom of the press here in the US.

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