October 20, 2011

Celebrating the Release of Murderers and Thugs

The painful debate about Israel’s decision to trade 1,000 imprisoned Palestinian terrorists for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit continues this week with the families of terror victims attempting to sue the government to prevent the swap. Though the vast majority of Israelis support the trade and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s willingness to pay the ransom for Shalit, the impending release of so many murderers is nothing to celebrate. That is, unless you are a Palestinian.
Read the rest of "Will the World Ask Why Palestinians Celebrate Murder?" here.

October 18, 2011

Physics Professor Says Global Warming is Pseudoscientific Fraud

Professor Harold Lewis boldly states that Global Warming is pseudoscience. The greatest pseudoscientific fraud. (I disagree, it is second to the pseudoscience of evolutionism.)

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society.
Anthony Watts describes it thus:
This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.
It's so utterly damning that I'm going to run it in full without further comment. (H/T GWPF, Richard Brearley).

October 17, 2011

Strange Searches: Ugly Atheists

Buon giorno. I had better restate that I know full well that people do not exactly do searches with precise sentences, they use words that will get results. Intentional or not, reading the "search terms" as if they were actual sentences will yield some interesting results.

See that? "Atheists are ugly". I can name some that are butt ugly, some that are moderately repulsive (like me) and some that are attractive. Same as anyone else. If that was really the object of the search, the seeker did not find it on my Weblogs. If we're discussing inner beauty, that's an entirely different story, capice?

October 15, 2011

Mosque, Meet My Pig Farm!

Here's a good one. Muslims buy some land and want to build a mosque (a symbol of Islamic victory). A guy has owned land there for some time. He is a pig farmer. They have the audacity to ask him to move. Nothing doing. So, he gets creative:

Atheist "Poes": They Make Their Own

“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.” The General Case of Poe's Law is "It is impossible to tell for certain the difference between genuine stupidity and a parody of stupidity." [1]

It is a common attack at someone who uncompromisingly stands for their Conservative and Christian convictions to call him or her a "Poe". That is, someone is accused of being so ridiculous in their beliefs, he or she is essentially acting like a fool and cannot be taken seriously. It is usually just another attempt at the Appeal to Ridicule fallacy in an effort to dismiss the person instead of dealing with the argument itself.

Modern fundamentalist atheism creates its own "Poes". They are hateful and angry, and put people off by their vituperation, lack of logic, constant protests and so on. (And they wonder why they are the least liked group?) I have been hit with loaded questions and venomous attacks that have stunned me with not only their viciousness, but their absurdity: Did I really read or hear that? I thought it was a joke at first!
A tirade was published last month by Al Stefanelli, the Georgia State Director of American Atheists, Inc, entitled Taking the Gloves Off.
In it, Al starts with this…shall we say “provocative”…statement:
It should come as no surprise that the individuals who abide by fundamentalist Christian and radical Islamic doctrines would be the first to cry out that they are being persecuted when their dangerous, damaging and disingenuous beliefs come under attack. Most of these people lack the maturity and intelligence to act in a socially acceptable manner. Many of them are sociopaths and quite a good number of them are psychopaths. All of them are clearly delusional.
Naturally, when I read this, I assumed it was a parody. Here’s someone who likes to poke a little fun at New Atheists by writing a piece that almost could describe their position if it weren’t so extreme. But it’s just a bit too absurd. Obviously an attempt at humor. You know, like Landover Baptist.
Turns out…not so much. Apparently Al is serious. And a lot of appreciative comments indicate he’s not the only one. Which is a bit sad for New Atheism, since if your position is indistinguishable from a parody of itself, then you’ve got a problem.
OK, Edgar Allen. Read the rest of "New milestone: fundamentalist atheism now indistinguishable from parody of itself" here.

Video: Fallacy of Proof by Assertion in Action

Atheist Michael Shermer caught making things up, click here for the video.

October 13, 2011

Logic Lessons: Proof by Assertion

As usual, the more I examine logical fallacies, the more I see how people blend their fallacies into dreadful monstrosities. I have had many experiences where people will attack by asserting that they have a bad or ulterior motive, so be careful of Proof by Assertion because it lends itself to reinforcing other fallacies.

"Proof by Assertion" (sometimes "Proof by Repeated Assertion", a relative of Circular Reasoning) is one of my favorite fallacies because I encounter it so very often. In its simplest form, Proof by Assertion happens when someone declares a "fact" without offering supporting evidence:

This is similar to the mantra, "Evolution is science, creation is religion".

An assertion with an excuse. I still say, "Disingenuous".

That was a very strange assertion and cop-out.

Another reason that I like "Proof by Assertion" is that it is conveniently linked with other fallacies (quite often with Appeal to Motive):
  • He is stupid, and blocked me on Twitter because he can't support his view (includes similarity to Argument from Silence)
  • Creationists are not scientists (includes Genetic Fallacy)
  • Creationists are liars (insipid attempt to manipulate by someone who is unable to distinguish between disagreement on the interpretation of facts, and evidence)
  • It's too bad you can't deal with reality (ad hominem, plus what I think of as, "My belief can beat up your belief")
  • Republicans only care about helping the rich get richer (includes Appeal to Motive)
  • The Bible was written by an evil spirit (No, I am not making up that absurdity)
  • I know what you're gonna say, and you're wrong (Poisoning the Well is in this, I think)
  • Osama bin Laden was a harmless old man that never hurt anybody (Yes, I've seen that foolishness, too)
  • Anyone who understand evolution accepts it, or, nobody who understands evolution denies it (seems to have a bit of Appeal to Ridicule
Although I may have used this before, here is one of the most wicked assertions and dishonest ad hominem attacks that I have ever encountered, from Norman the Paranoid Troll:

Although in an admittedly heated discussion,
this was exceptionally vicious and petty.

I have noticed that assertions are often linked to questioning (or maligning) someone's motive. In addition, this fallacy is very manipulative, and often used to provoke emotions in an attempt to gain control of the situation; it can be a great red herring to distract you from your purpose in the discussion. They not only contain "facts" that exist only in the imagination or worldview of the user, but often contain value judgments.

There is a version that I call, "You can't get there from here". It is based on a clash of worldviews, when evidence presented will require someone to shed their preconceptions and actually follow where the evidence leads. People have asserted that evolution is a fact, and then appealed to a kind of ad populum or Appeal to Authority with, "Scientists believe it." For example, "Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists, not because it has been observed to occur or can be proved by logically coherent evidence, but because the only alternative - special creation - is clearly unthinkable." People who think like this are unwilling to abandon evolution, with all of its flaws and intellectually dishonest baggage, because the Creator does not fit with their materialistic uniformitarian presuppositions. But they stand by their declarations and appeal to "scientists" despite the evidence to the contrary.

Many times,  I have seen opinions asserted as fact in matters of morality and philosophy. For example, someone who says that the atonement of man by God through Jesus Christ is "immoral" because they do not like it is asserting an opinion as a fact.

The basic Fallacy of Assertion is easy to spot. It becomes more confusing when it is a part of another fallacy. Asking for supporting evidence or references can show that you are not falling for it. However, be careful not to call a foul when someone is simply expressing an opinion and not attempting to present an argument. You can avoid this mistake yourself by adding, "I believe", "I think", "It seems to me", "In my opinion", and so on.

Subscribe in a reader