Date: 31 Jul 94 06:10:10
Subj: Frequently debunked claimes list - DFQ.0
³Frequently debunked fundi claims list ³
³Created and maintained by C. J. Henshaw of Fidonet#1:250/820³
³A list of common fundi babblings and responces 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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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
(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.
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
===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.
Fundi:Tests can range billions of years from test to test.
Reply:You're masters have been programming you badly. Those statments are
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
data beyond all reasonable bounds.
Reply:True belevers hacking each other to death tends to cut down on the
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.
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
whenever it is argued that something must be true simply because it has not
proved false. Or, equivalently, when it is argued that something must be
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
"Of course the Bible is true. Nobody can prove otherwise."
"Of course telepathy and other psychic phenomena do not exist. Nobody has
any proof that they are real."
Note that this fallacy does not apply in a court of law, where one is
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
be present on the earth. The earth does not have a tenth as much water, even
we count that which is frozen into ice at the poles. Therefore no such flood
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
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
the assertion being made. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that
something is true unless proven otherwise.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
'the increase in crime is due to the removal of prayer from schools'
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Description: A syllogistic argument in which the middle term of
a categorical syllogism is not distributed in at least one of the
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
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
Reply: What if Allah is real? You owe it to yourself to be ready just in
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
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 talk.origins 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
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