TIL mini blog

This tiny tiny blog is a collection of things I learned today!

(Well, okay, not TODAY today, but you get the idea.)


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April 18, 2023 - 15:27 EST

The legend of the red stone

The story of two friends, a really long walk and an unbeatable bet

Once upon a time, in a land far away, two travelers named Alice and Ben set out on a seemingly endless journey along a winding road that stretched infinitely into the horizon. As they walked side by side, they shared stories, experiences, and knowledge with one another, each eager to learn and grow.

One day, as the sun was setting and casting warm hues across the sky, Alice mentioned a legend she had heard of a mysterious red stone. It was said that this stone had the power to grant wisdom and understanding beyond human comprehension. Intrigued, Ben asked her where this stone could be found. Alice admitted that she did not know the exact location of the stone but was confident that it existed somewhere along the infinite road they were traveling.

Ben was skeptical. He couldn't see any evidence to suggest the existence of such a stone, and he believed that without proof, they could not assume the stone was real. A friendly debate ensued, with Alice insisting that the red stone must exist, while Ben maintained that there was no reason to believe it did. As the discussion grew more animated, they decided to settle their disagreement with a bet.
Alice would bet on the existence of the red stone, and Ben would bet against it.

And so, their journey continued, each step filled with anticipation as they searched for the elusive red stone. Along the way, they encountered many other fascinating wonders, but the red stone remained undiscovered. As the years passed, neither Alice nor Ben could claim victory in their bet, for the stone's existence or non-existence could not be definitively proven.

During their quest, Ben is bound to uncover the truth. He is either proven wrong by finding the stone or remains correct if it doesn't exist, being right "by default." On the other hand, if they find the stone, Alice can say "I told you so," but if it doesn't exist, she's trapped in a perpetual cycle of being wrong.

A story that is more than what it seems

The red stone metaphor is a story a friend told me ages ago, and it pops into my head whenever I'm asked to prove that something doesn't exist, is 100% safe, or isn't risky without the shadow of a doubt. If I get the chance, I love sharing this story with others.

Getting the hang of the burden of proof is super important in rational arguments because it teaches us that our arguments should be based on solid evidence, not just on the fact that others can't prove us wrong.
In other words, if you make a claim or assert that something is true, it is your responsibility to present evidence or logical reasoning to support your position.

It has also taught me that it's generally more rational to assume something doesn't exist until there is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise.

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