We should give scores to arguments and conclusions
Score based on the number of reasons to agree vs reasons to disagree
For each reason we should track the number of reasons to agree and disagree with it. This will result in a conclusion at the top of a page, with columns for reasons to agree and reasons to disagree, as shown below:
However reason to agree (RtA#1) will also have reasons to agree and disagree with them. Using this format RTA#1, as shown above, is used to support Conclusion #1. If you clicked on RtA#1, you would have a new page with reasons to agree and disagree with it. In this situation a reason to agree with RtA#1 would also support Conclusion #1. Also a reason to disagree with RtA#1 would weaken conclusion #1. Obviously a reason to agree with RtD#1 would weaken Conclusion #1, and a reason to disagree with RtD#1 would strengthen Conclusion #1.
For simple math I suggest we just count all the reasons to agree that tree out beneath a belief. However in the future, when we have computers to do our math for us, an argument that is once removed could have 1 point, and an argument that is twice removed could have 1/2 a point and so on.
So what do we do with the scores? How do we know that the ideas with better scores are really better ideas? We don't, but what you don't measure you can't improve. Mankind may never be able to come up with a forum that uses an algorithm to promote better ideas, but I would like to try.
At some level we all know that if we don't promote good arguments and demote bad arguments we will have a less useful website. The problem becomes how do you define a good argument and how do you define bad one. Obviously a good argument uses good data and good logic. At some point if someone uses bad logic, or bad facts, people should post reasons to disagree with their argument. I believe that if we create a forum that allows people to post reasons to disagree and agree with arguments, arguments that are based on sound logic, and good facts will have more reasons to agree with them and fewer reasons to disagree with them.
So what do we do with arguments that have high scores? We move them to the top of the page? Do we delete arguments with low scores? Of course not, we just move them to the bottom of the lists of reasons to agree and disagree. This is like evolution, in that the best arguments get access to better real-estate.
I believe we should track the number of reasons to agree and disagree with each belief. At first this sounds stupid, because some arguments are better than others. And so just because you have a lot of stupid arguments to support a belief doesn't mean that it is correct, if there are just a few valid reasons to oppose a conclusion. However, if you count reasons to agree with reasons to agree, bad arguments won't have as much force.
For instance a reasons to agree with a reason to agree will support the original conclusion.
Example: Mankind causes some global warming
A reason to believe that C02 causes global warming might be that: in 1861, John Tyndal published laboratory results identifying CO2 as a greenhouse gas that absorbed heat rays (longwave radiation). From this example the belief that C02 causes global warming is strengthened by the number of reasons to agree with it, and this belief can strengthen other arguments, such as the belief that mankind is causing global warming by releasing C02.
Bertrand Russell said, "It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true". At some point ideas with more reasons to support them are more valid than those ideas with fewer reasons to support them. If not those reasons that are used, will be more valid, if they have more reasons to support them, and so on...
That is why I think we should at least start counting the number of reasons to agree and disagree with each idea. Myclob 12:34, 28 August 2011 (EDT)