Date: 31 Jul 94 06:10:10 To: All Subj: Frequently debunked claimes list - DFQ.0 _ ³

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Date: 31 Jul 94 06:10:10 From: Autopost To: All Subj: Frequently debunked claimes list - DFQ.0 ____________________________________________________________________________ ³ ³ ³Frequently debunked fundi claims list ³ ³Created and maintained by C. J. Henshaw of Fidonet#1:250/820³ ³ ³ ³A list of common fundi babblings and responces ³ ³ ³ The part of the FAQ list has been changed to provide factual answers to fundi babblings. I've cut out all the jokes, etc and moved them to the main portion of the FAQ list. Likewise, I've also moved all the babbling answers from the main FAQ into this FAQ. BEGIN LIST - BEGIN LIST - BEGIN LIST - BEGIN LIST - BEGIN LIST - BEGIN LIST ===Humism/atheism/Satanism misinformation=== Fundi:Secular Humanists are out to kill our children! Reply:Can you find anything in the humanist credo that states that? Didn't think so. Reply from Marilyn Burge: I just found this on the back cover of my latest copy of "The Humanist," the quarterly magazine for the membership of the American Humanist Association. Thought you might be interested in seeing what we REALLY stand for, as opposed to what you THOUGHT we stood for. The Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles - We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems. - We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation. - We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life. - We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities. - We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state. - We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding. - We are concerned with securing justice and fiarness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance. - We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves. - We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work toegether for the common good of humanity. - We want to protect and ehnance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species. - We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest. - We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence. - We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity. - We ebelieve in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences. - We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion. - We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences. - We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos. - We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, andwe are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking. - We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service of others. - We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality. - We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings. ===General lack of scietific know how=== Fundi: Evolution is ONLY A theory or Fundi: But [subject] is only a theory! Reply from Simon Ewins [copy-edited]: I realize that you appear to have almost no scientific education at all but I am posting this and the next message in the hope that you may gain an understanding of what a scientific theory is. All of these are used in an attempt to explain a fact. The theory of evolution is used, according to these criteria, to describe the fact of evolution. The theory of gravity uses these criteria to describe the fact of gravity. When Einstein proposed a new theory to explain gravity apples did not hang in mid-air while waiting to see who was right, Einstein or Newton. The improvement or alteration of the theory did not have any effect on the fact of gravity. So it is with the fact of evolution. Please read on and discover what a theory is... A survey of the literature on the history, philosophy and sociology of science reveals that there are at least four fundamental categories of criteria by which theories are judged: (1) logical criteria (2) empirical criteria (3) sociological criteria (4) historical criteria. There are four primary logical criteria for a theory. It must be: (1.a) a simple, unifying idea that postulates nothing unnecessary ("Occam's Razor") (1.b) logically consistent internally (1.c) logically falsifiable (i.e., cases must exist in which the theory could be imagined to be invalid) (1.d) clearly limited by explicit stated boundary conditions so that it is clear whether or not any particular data are or are not relevant to the verification or falsification of the theory. The need for these four criteria should be obvious upon reflection. An idea that is too complex or deals with observations piecemeal can have no practical explanatory value for a scientist. Theories must make clear patterns of things and relationships between things. These patterns and relationships must be internally logical and consistent since these are required attributes of all sound explanations. The explanation must be falsifiable, at least logically if not by actual experiment, or else tautologies or other logically sterile constructions might be admissible as theories. Finally, a theory must be limited by boundary conditions or else there will be criteria for determining whether or not any particular observation or experiments should or should not be explainable by the theory. In fact, if a theory is totally unbounded, then it is not possible to imagine any observation that is irrelevant to verifying the theory. Thus, an unbounded theory would not be falsifiable. And, if a theory cannot be falsified, it cannot be self-corrected. Yet self-correctability is precisely the characteristic that gives scientific theories their epistemological power: a theory that is incorrect or incomplete can, by attempts to falsify it, reveal its faults or limitations and so be corrected or extended. Three empirical criteria are of primary importance as well. A theory must: (2.a) be empirically testable itself or lead to predictions or retrodictions that are testable (2.b) actually make verified predictions and/or retrodictions (2.c) concern reproducible results (2.d) provide criteria for the interpretation of data as facts, artifacts, anomalies, or as irrelevant. The basic point is that not all data are valid for testing any particular theory. Some data may be interpreted as factual (that is, they fall within the boundary conditions specified by the theory and verify its predictions or retrodictions); some may be artifactual (that is, the result of secondary or accidental influences lying outside the boundaries set for the validity of the theory); some are anomalous (that is, demonstrably valid within the bounds of the theory, but also at odds with predictions or retrodictions made by the theory); some are irreproducible and so, invalid; and some are irrelevant since they address the theory not at all. Once again, the necessity of these criteria should be relatively self-evident. It is possible to imagine theories that are logically falsifiable but experimentally untestable (as when the technology does not exist to convert the logical test into an empirical test). Such a theory cannot be either verified or falsified and so is useless in practice to an experimental scientist. One can, at best, only leave such empirically untestable ideas in the scientific purgatory of doubt. A theory must also limit what may possibly be observed in the universe. Otherwise, one would not know what to look for, where, how to look for it, under what conditions,or know whether what one saw was relevant or irrelevant to the theory. If everything is possible under an explanation, then no tests for it can exist. A theory must also make verified predictions and retrodictions to validate itself. It is possible otherwise to imagine theories that make predictions and retrodictions all of which are falsified. A theory whose predictions and retrodictions are falsified, either by the prior existence of relevant data or the subsequent discovery of relevant data, cannot be considered a valid theory. It is in need of correction or extension. And, of course, a theory based upon irreproducible results is, in effect, invalidated by the very fact that the results cannot be reproduced - for either the boundary conditions governing the collection of the data have not been properly set, or the original data may have been due simply to coincidence rather than any mechanism proposed by the theory. Sociological criteria also exist for determining the validity of a theory. A theory must: (3.a) resolve recognized problems, paradoxes, and/or anomalies irresolvable on the basis of preexisting scientific theories (3.b) pose a new set of scientific problems upon which scientists may work (3.c) posit a "paradigm" or problem-solving model by which these new problems may be expected to be resolved (3.d) provide definitions of concepts or operations beneficial to the problem-solving abilities of other scientists. Once again, the need for these criteria is manifest. An idea that does notresolve any recognized scientific problems cannot be called a scientific theory. It can have no effect upon the research activity of scientists. Similarly, an explanation that does not pose new problems does not allow scientists to learn anything they were unable to learn before. A theory therefore has no sociological value unless it provides a model for new or more efficient sorts of scientific activity. Thus, a theory must be stated in terms that are operationally useful to the community of scientists whomight use the theory. If the definitions or concepts upon which the theory is based are not operationally useful, then the explanation says nothing experimentally verifiable about nature. Such an explanation cannot, therefore, be scientific. Finally, there is a fourth set of theory criteria as well: historical ones. A theory must: (4.a) meet or surpass all of the criteria set by its predecessors or demonstrate that any abandoned criteria are artifactual (4.b) be able to accrue the epistemological status acquired by previous theories through their history of testing or, put another way, be able to explain all of the data gathered under previous relevant theories in terms either of fact or artifact (no anomalies allowed) (4.c) be consistent with all preexisting ancillary theories that already have established scientific validity. These criteria are necessary to ensure that theories are correctable. Correctability, in turn, ensures the increase in explanatory power of scientific theories with time, and promotes the consistency and integration of all scientific explanations, without such criteria, scientists would be free to pick and choose data that favor their explanations while ignoring previously recorded evidence and theories that falsify their own ideas. The historical criteria make such unscientific procedures nearly impossible. The historical records of each science stand as a monument to the series of tests any new theory must pass to prove its mettle against the accumulated knowledge of nature. The longer a science has existed, the greater the accumulated knowledge concerning any particular aspect of nature. Consequently, the more difficult it becomes to reformulate all of that knowledge into a new and consistent framework. [Robert Root-Bernstein] In short, fundi, if you have a better theory of how the diversity of species came to be as they are on this planet you must fit it into the above (and preceding) framework. While your theory is being tested and evaluated the diversity of species will remain as they now are. The facts that are manifest under the banner of evolution will not go away while your theory is being developed. If you can come up with a theory to explain the fact of evolution that fits these criteria I will accept it... but _only_ if you can do so and not before. Short reply: There's a theory of gravity too, idiot. Fundi:Science is a religion! Reply:Where is it's place of worship, who are the members of this science religion? ===Young Earth bullshit=== [most replys from Marty Liepzig] Fundi:Potassium Argon KAr/Uranium Lead UPb/Carbon 14 C-14 dating tests never give the same age for on object! Reply:They should not, as they have differing half-lifes and are used to determine ages for different suites of geological materials. Fundi:Some items have to be tested over 200 times before a scientist can come up with the chronology science would prefer. -or- Fundi:Tests can range billions of years from test to test. Reply:You're masters have been programming you badly. Those statments are both lies. Fundi:Pit one test against the other, and the range is much more erratic. Reply:Every time something is radiometrically dated, more than one age test component is used. This generates concordant ages and prevents errors from loss of daughter product, metamorphism, thermal resetting and the like. Fundi:Furthermore, these tests are built on at least 6 unscientific (and yet to be proven) presuppositions. Reply: Fundies in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Provide scietific evedence for creation or your favorite god thing. Reply:Proof again? Radiometric dating is based on the laws of physics. Challenge those if you don't beleve radiometic dating. By the way, it's those laws that made the nuclear bombs that you worship possible to build. They are also responsable for the sun... Fundi:The rest of the tests come up with dates about 10,000 years (few exceptions). All the rest come up with dates in the millions or less. Reply:Isn't their a commandment against lieing, fundi? Fundi:Juvenile water theory--Volcanic eruptions are about 20% water. This water gets added to the ecosystem. At the rate volcanoes are erupting, how long would it take to erupt the oceans? 340,000,000 years using conservative figures. This puts a ceiling on dates--not to exceed 350 million years max which is 10 times less than 3.5 billion years. (As the planet was hotter, volcanic eruptions would be MORE frequent which lessens this date). Reply:A load of tripe. The volume of the Earth's hydrosphere is well known, and it is finite. The hydrosphere includes ALL of the Earth's waters; from that in the oceans, to juvenile water, to that locked up in crystal matrices. The juvenile water offhandedly mentioned is a part of that hydrosphere. Secondly, this maroon assumes a one way water addition mechanism. Sorry, bud, but it's a "water cycle", i.e., water is naturally recycled; ever hear of subduction zones? Lastly, he does not account for water loss through dissociation and loss to the atmosphere. A classic strawman, and classily debunked. Fundi:Solar Winds Theory--all comets should have been burned up and out within 10,000 years. Reply:Including those that don't come back for 10,000 plus years? Fundi:Oil pressure dissipation theory--Pressure in oil fields dissipates at a measurable rate. All oil fields should have lost all oil pressure in under 10,000 years. Reply:Evidently this bozo knows absolutely zero about reservoir mechanics, reservoir engineering or simple geology. Until drilled, most petroleum reservoirs (except those breached at the surface) are "closed hydrodynamic reservoirs". There must be a trap (fault, closure, etc.) to stop the flow of oil once kerogenesis has taken place and a reservoir to contain these fluids. Without which, there would be no oil fields. Lithostatic loading presents a force equal to approximately 45% of depth (known as the hydrostatic level), except in geopressured areas where deposition was so rapid (as in the Tertiary of the Gulf Coast) where connate was not able to be expulsed from the shales and an increased pressure regime exists (up to 115% that of depth). In thrusted areas (such as portions of the Amu-Dar'ya Basin in Turkmenistan or the Central Basin of Trinidad), complex faulting can also downdrop immature sub-basins into abnormal pressure regimes. These reservoirs are pressured by the lithostatic load and sealed by the trap rock. Diffusion does not occur across the seal boundary, and the field remains pressured for millions, if not billions (our current Siberian well is testing target at an age of 1.6 billion years) of years. So there. Fundi:Erosion calculations theory--At the present rate of erosion, how long would it take to erode the entire planet level? Less than 14,000,000 years. Reply:You are assuming a static Earth. The Earth is anything but static, but rather a dynamic planet, consuming crust at subduction zones, and creating it at mid-ocean ridges. You're argument would hold water on Mars or the Moon, but you wouldn't. Fundi:Niagara Falls calculations--the gorge has been cut in 5,000 years. Reply:According to whom? Certainly not mainstream science that has determined that the isostatic rebound and glacioeustatic isostacy that is responsible for the falls is orders of magnitude older than this figure. Fundi:Dead Sea Calculations--minerals go into the dead sea never to come out again. At the current rate, how old is the dead sea at max? Under 10,000 years. Reply:1. Sediment sequestering. Sediments tend to settle under gravity. 2. The Dead Sea, until the Holocene, had fluvial outlets. 3. The Dead Sea did not exist throughout geological time, it's relatively young. Next. Fundi:California Redwoods calculations--Redwoods age at about 5,000 years. If they lived that long, why not longer? There is no reason we do not find Redwoods at 10,000 15,000 or even 50,000 years old. Reply:Humans age at about 80-105 years. If they lived that long, why not longer? There is no reason we do not find Humans at 150 200 or even 400 years old. Fundi:Population growth formula. At 2.5 growth, the earth is only about 6,000 years old. With even 1,000,000 yrs growth--calculating in wars and plagues which only set growth back less than 1 generation, the population should be 3.37 x 10 to the power of 2,091. Reply: You're assuming a constant growth rate -- along with interpolating your data beyond all reasonable bounds. Reply:True belevers hacking each other to death tends to cut down on the growth rate... Fundi:Assuming a constant growth rate, reproduction rate, and constant Magnetic field decay--The earths magnetic field is decaying at a measurable rate. The earth would have had the magnetic of a star just 10,000 yrs ago --which is impossible to go beyond that point--at the current rate of decay. Reply:Still can't find that commandment against lieing, fundi? First you assumes a constant rate and then ignore magnetic polarity reversals. Get an education. Fundi:Uranium to helium rate--the amount of helium in our atmosphere suggests that the earth is less than 15,000 years old max (3 x 10 to the power of 9 grams per year)! Between that and cosmic rays, helium should be 10 to the power of 20 grams. This is 1000s of time more than there is, suggesting the early date. Scientists have suggested the helium has escaped into space Reply:You `argument' is spacious because helium does escape into space, contrary to your belif that it somehow doesn't happen. Fundi:Sun shrinking calculations--The sun is shrinking (as it burns up) at a rate of 1/10 percent per century. In 6,000 years, this is no problem [6%]. In just 100,000 years ago, the sun would be touching the earth. This would be impossible for life to exist on earth. This proves the earth has not been orbiting the sun for more than 100,000 years at themax. Reply:The sun doesn't "burn up", it fuses hydrogen into helium. The old Shrinking Sun ploy from our buddy, Russ Akridge, at Oral Roberts 'university' Just assume a constant and you can prove damn near anything. "The shrinkage does not apply to the entire solar mass, but rather to the outer layers. Since the rate of shrinkage is so fast, the researchers think it is a temporary contraction phase. It is unrealistic to think that this will continue". (Eddy and Boornazian, Science News, v.115, June 30, 1979) Further observations of eclipses, direct coronal observation and solar planetary measurements are consistent with a 76 year cycle of pulsation. ===Logic=== Here are just a few of the fallacies that you have thrown about in this echo, masquerading as logic. ARGUMENTUM AD IGNORANTIUM Argumentum ad ignorantium means "argument from ignorance". This fallacy occurs whenever it is argued that something must be true simply because it has not been proved false. Or, equivalently, when it is argued that something must be false because it has not been proved true. (Note that this is not the same as assuming that something is false until it has been proved true, a basic scientific principle.) Examples: "Of course the Bible is true. Nobody can prove otherwise." "Of course telepathy and other psychic phenomena do not exist. Nobody has shown any proof that they are real." Note that this fallacy does not apply in a court of law, where one is generally assumed innocent until proven guilty. Also, in scientific investigation if it is known that an event would produce certain evidence of its having occurred, the absence of such evidence can validly be used to infer that the event did not occur. For example: "A flood as described in the Bible would require an enormous volume of water to be present on the earth. The earth does not have a tenth as much water, even if we count that which is frozen into ice at the poles. Therefore no such flood occurred." ARGUMENTUM AD NUMERAM This fallacy is closely related to the argumentum ad populum. It consists of asserting that the more people who support or believe a proposition, the more likely it is that that proposition is correct. "The Bible must be true. Millions of people know that it is. Are you trying to tell them that they are all mistaken fools?" SHIFTING THE BURDEN OF PROOF The burden of proof is always on the person making an assertion or proposition. Shifting the burden of proof, a special case of argumentum ad ignorantium, is the fallacy of putting the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions the assertion being made. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that something is true unless proven otherwise. ACCENTUS Description: A Fallacy of Ambiguity, where the ambiguity arises from the emphasis (accent) placed on a word or phrase. AFFIRMATION OF THE CONSEQUENT Description: An argument from the truth of a hypothetical statement, and the truth of the consequent to the truth of the antecedent. In the syllogism below, P is the antecedent and Q is the consequent: P implies Q Q is true <-- Affirming the consequent ______________ Therefore: P is true AMBIGUITY Description: An argument in the course of which at least one term is used in different senses. Also known as equivocation. There are several types of "fallacies of ambiguity," including REIFICATION, EQUIVOCATION, AMPHIBOLY, COMPOSITION, DIVISION, and ACCENTUS. AMPHIBOLY Description: A type of Fallacy of Ambiguity where the ambiguity involved is of an "amphibolous" (equivocal, uncertain) nature. Amphiboly is a syntactic error. The fallacy is caused by faulty sentence structure, and can result in a meaning not intended by the author. "The department store now has pants for men with 32 waists." (How many waists do you have? I have only one!) ARGUMENTUM AD ANTIQUITAM Description: A fallacy of asserting that something is right or good simply because it is old; that is, because "that's the way it's always been." ARGUMENTUM AD BACULUM Description: An argument that resorts to the threat of force to cause the acceptance of the conclusion. Ad baculum arguments also include threats of fear to cause acceptance (e.g., "Do this or you'll go to Hades when you die!" or "Might makes right."). ARGUMENTUM AD CRUMENAM Description: Fallacy of believing that money is a criterion of correctness; that those with more money are more likely to be right. ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM Description: An argument that attempts to disprove the truth of what is asserted by attacking the speaker rather than the speaker's argument. Another way of putting it: Fallacy where you attack someone's character instead of dealing with salient issues. There are two basic types of ad hominem arguments: (1) abusive, and (2) circumstantial. ARGUMENTUM AD LAZARUM Description: A fallacy of assuming that because someone is poor he or she is sounder or more virtuous than one who is wealthier. This fallacy is the opposite of the informal fallacy "argumentum ad crumenam." ARGUMENTUM AD MISERICORDIAM Description: An argument that appeals to pity for the sake of getting a conclusion accepted. ARGUMENTUM AD NAUSEUM Description: The incorrect belief that an assertion is more likely to be true the more often it is heard. An "argumentum ad nauseum" is one that employs constant repitition in asserting a truth. ARGUMENTUM AD NOVITAM Description: A fallacy of asserting that something is more correct simply because it is new or newer than something else. Or that something is better because it is newer. This type of fallacy is the opposite of the "argumentum ad antiquitam" fallacy. ARGUMENTUM AD POPULUM Description: An argument that appeals to the beliefs of the multitude (i.e., the "populace"). Another way of putting it: Speaker deals with passions of audience rather than with salient issues. This fallacy is also known as "Appeal to Tradition" Ad populum arguments often occur in (1) propaganda, (2) demagoguery, and (3) advertising. ARGUMENTUM AD VERECUNDIAM Description: An argument in which an authority is appealed to on matters outside his/her field of authority. "Ad verecundiam" also refers to a fallacy of simply resorting to appeals to authority. BEGGING THE QUESTION (CIRCULAR REASONING) Description: An argument that assumes as part of its premises the very conclusion that is supposed to be true. Another way of saying this is: Fallacy of assuming at the onset of an argument the very point you are trying to prove. The fallacy is also sometimes referred to as "Circulus in Probando." This Fallacy is also known by the Latin "PETITIO PRINCIPII". BIFURCATION Description: Also referred to as the "black and white" fallacy, bifurcation is the presentation of a situation or condition with only two alternatives, whereas in fact other alternatives exist or can exist. COMPOSITION Description: An argument in which one assumes that a whole has a property solely because its various parts have that property. Composition is a type of Fallacy of Ambiguity. CONVERTING A CONDITIONAL Description: If P then Q, therefore, if Q then P. CUM HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC Description: A fallacy of correlation that links events because they occur simultaneously; one asserts that because two events occur together they are causally related, and leaves no room for other factors that may be the cause(s) of the events. This fallacy is similar to the "post hoc" fallacy. DENIAL OF THE ANTECEDENT Description: An argument in which one infers the falsity of the consequent from the truth of a hypothetical proposition, and the falsity of its antecedent. P implies Q Not-P ____________ Therefore: Not-Q DIVISION Description: An argument in which one assumes that various parts have a property solely because the whole has that same property. Division is a type of Fallacy of Ambiguity. EQUIVOCATION Description: An argument in which an equivocal expression is used in one sense in one premise and in a different sense in another premise, or in the conclusion. Equivocal means (1) of uncertain significance; not determined, and (2) having different meanings equally possible. Equivocation is a type of Fallacy of Ambiguity. The opposite of equivocation is "unovocation," in which a word always carries the same meaning through a given context. FALLACY OF INTERROGATION Description: The question asked has a presuppostion which the answerer may wish to deny, but which he/she would be accepting if he/she gave anything that would count as an answer. Any answer to the question "Why does such-and-such happen?" presupposes that such-and-such does indeed happen. FALSE ANALOGY Description: An analogy is a partial similarity between the like features of two things or events on which a comparison can be made. A false analogy involves comparing two things that are NOT similar. Note that the two things may be similar in superficial ways, but not with respect to what is being argued. SECUNDUM QUID (HASTY GENERALIZATION) Description: An argument in which a proposition is used as a premise without attention given to some obvious condition that would affect the proposition's application. This fallacy is also known as the "hasty generalization." It is a fallacy that takes evidence from several, possibly unrepresentative, cases to a general rule; generalizing from few to many. Note the relation to statistics: Much of statistics concerns whether or not a sample is representative of a larger population. The larger the sample size, the better the representativeness. Note also that the opposite of a hasty generalization is a sweeping generalization. IGNORATIO ELENCHI Description: An argument that is supposed to prove one proposition but succeeds only in proving a different one. Ignoratio elenchi stands for "pure and simple irrelevance." ILLICIT PROCESS Description: A syllogistic argument in which a term is distributed in the conclusion, but not in the premises. One of the rules for a valid categorical syllogism is that if either term is distributed in the conclusion, then it must be distributed in the premises. There are two types of Illicit Process: Illicit Process of the Major Term and Illicit Process of the Minor Term. PLURIUM INTERROGATIONUM (MANY QUESTIONS) Description: A demand for a simple answer to a complex question. NON CAUSA PRO CAUSA Description: An argument to reject a proposition because of the falsity of some other proposition that seems to be a consequence of the first, but really is not. NON-SEQUITUR Description: An argument in which the conclusion is not a necessary consequence of the premises. Another way of putting this is: A conclusion drawn from premises that provide no logical connection to it. I.E. 'the increase in crime is due to the removal of prayer from schools' PETITIO PRINCIPII Description: Same as "Begging the Question" The argument assumes its conclusion is true but DOES NOT SHOW it to be true. Petitio principii has two forms: 1. P is true, because P is true. 2. P is true, because A is true. And A is true because B is true. And B is true because P is true. POST HOC, ERGO PROPTER HOC Description: An argument from a premise of the form "A preceded B" to a conclusion of the form "A caused B." Simply because one event precedes another event in time does not mean that the first event is the cause of the second event. This argument resembles a fallacy known as a Hasty Generalization. QUATERNIO TERMINORUM Description: An argument of the syllogistic form in which there occur four or more terms. In a standard categorical syllogism there are only three terms: a subject, a predicate, and a middle term. RED HERRING Description: A fallacy when irrelevant material is introduced to the issue being discussed, such that everyone's attention is diverted away from the points being made, and toward a different conclusion. It is not logically valid to divert a chain of reasoning with extraneous points. REIFICATION Description: To reify something is to convert an abstract concept into a concrete thing. Reification is a Fallacy of Ambiguity. Reification is also sometimes known as a fallacy of "hypostatization". SHIFTING THE BURDEN OF PROOF Description: The burden of proof is always on the person making the assertion or proposition. Shifting the burden of proof, a special case of "argumentum ad ignorantium," is a fallacy of putting the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions the assertion being made. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that something is true unless proven otherwise. SPECIAL PLEADING (DOUBLE STANDARD) Description: Special pleading is a logical fallacy wherein a double standard is employed by the person making the assertion. Special pleading typically happens when one insists upon less strict treatment for the argument he/she is making than he or she would make when evaluating someone else's arguments. STRAW MAN Description: It is a fallacy to misrepresent someone else's position for the purposes of more easily attacking it, then to knock down that misrepresented position, and then to conclude that the original position has been demolished. It is a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that one has made. SWEEPING GENERALIZATION Description: Also known by the Latin term "DICTO SIMPLICITER", a Sweeping Generalization occurs when a general rule is applied to a particular situation in which the features of that particular situation render the rule inapplicable. A sweeping generalization is the opposite of a hasty generalization. TWO WRONGS MAKE A RIGHT (TU QUOQUE) Description: Two wrongs never add up to a right; you cannot right a wrong by applying yet another wrong. Such a fallacy is a misplaced appeal to consistency. It is a fallacy because it makes no attempt to deal with the subject under discussion. UNDISTRIBUTED MIDDLE Description: A syllogistic argument in which the middle term of a categorical syllogism is not distributed in at least one of the premises. Fundi: Where is your evidence for there not being a God? Show your work. Reply from Don Martin: This is twice, blockhead. Not a week passes but another fundy needs to be informed of the basic rule of logic: He who asserts must prove. Put another way, one does not prove a negative. Now, you are the one asserting the existence of a god, it is up to you to provide evidence for such a thing. The atheistic position is that unsubstantiated claims about deities are unconvincing, and inasmuch as unsubstantiated claims are all we ever get from the believers, we see no reason to change ourposition. Break some new ground around here for a change--bring onsome evidence for your imaginary supercolliding superfriend and watch the conversions roll in. Incidentally, citations from the propaganda book promoting your superfriend do not count as evidence. Fundi: But this is serious stuff! Don't you realize you're in danger of hell?! Reply: Do you have any evedence of this 'hell' mythology? Fundi: But what if Satan is real? You owe it to yourself to be ready just in case. Reply: What if Allah is real? You owe it to yourself to be ready just in case. Reply from Jason Rosendale: Which has the better probability of being realized: The existence of Satan, or the existence of a letter bomb in your mail box? Hint: If you cower in fear of Satan because "there's a remote chance that he COULD exist", you must be REALLY phobic about opening your mail! Yet you open your mail gleefully each day, as you cower in fear of Satan. This makes it obvious that your talk about probability is just a pathetic excuse to continue to believe in a baseless superstition. Twit: Was the Necronomicon written in Damascus in 730 C.E. by Abdul Alhazred? Reply: Howard Phillips Lovecraft invented Abdul Alhazred and the Necronomicon in 1921. Fundi: How was the fossil record sorted in an order convenient for evolution? Reply from the Noahs-ark faq: Ecological zonation fails to explain: (1) the extremely good sorting observed. Why didn't at least one dinosaur make it to the high ground with the elephants? (2) the relative positions of plants and other non-motile life. (Yun, 1989, describes beautifully preserved algae from Late Precambrian sediments. Why don't any modern-looking plants appear that low in the geological column?) (3) why some groups of organisms, such as mollusks, are found in many geologic strata. (4) why extinct animals which lived in the same niches as present animals didn't survive as well. Why did no pterodons make it to high ground? END LIST - END LIST - END LIST - END LIST - END LIST - END LIST - END LIST * Origin: CSS Gengis Khan * 00:00-06:45 Eastern * Toronto, Ontario (1:250/820)


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