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Two Matters Of Logic (And Timewasting Avoidance)

A couple of timewasting avoidance schemes when dealing with anti-skeptic Defenders of the Faith in Science:

(1) The Congealed Minds

Some people pop up in skeptic blogs commenting in a way similar to swashbuckling (or marauding), making statements such as “I believe the scientists doing the research are a much better judge of that than you are“.

That’s a very good sign that we’re dealing with people who:

  • Worship mainstream scientific literature
  • Are willing mouthpieces of somebody else
  • Routinely misrepresent science as an organically growing process where past interpretations are cast in stone
  • Act like those philosophers who would reply to Galileo continuously quoting Aristotle and the Aristotelians, rather than accept to reason by themselves

The only question to ask them is: Is there anything anybody could ever say, show, write, demonstrate, ask or explain in a blog or comment to a blog, that will make you change your mind?

The answer will of course be “No”. Therefore there is no point debating with them.

(2) The Deferrers

Another common anti-skeptic tactic is to invoke some Higher Authority, eg: “I won’t presume to substitute my non-professional judgment for that of someone who’s dedicated his career to a pursuit of unbiased scientific knowledge, just as I wouldn’t substitute my judgment for that of an oncologist or a neurologist treating myself or someone close to me“.

That’s a completely meaningless statement, because it is supremely illogical. If a person defers judgment to somebody else, obviously what that person writes has no value at all: we should always be looking for the opinion of “somebody else”. Anybody arguing “don’t listen to me, listen to somebody else” is a prisoner of twisted logic, as the first part of that sentence negates the second one. Therefore there is no point debating with them.

  1. sinchiroca
    2012/03/27 at 22:46

    It would probably be too much trouble to move everything over to the new blog. If you can keep this one alive, then you could treat it as an archive and just provide links back to it. If, however, you cannot keep this one going, then it’s probably better to move it all over. That would be a most tedious task — you’ve got nearly five years of material, and it is seldom possible to get a clean transfer.

    Unless, of course, you are referring to the tiny problem of transferring current discussions over, in which case it’s best just to put a link on this blog to the new site.

  2. sinchiroca
    2012/03/27 at 03:28

    Salutations, Maurizio. Here’s some more logic:

    1. You reject the argument that “I believe the scientists doing the research are a much better judge of that than you are.”

    2. Therefore, you think that the scientists doing the research are NOT a much better judge of climate change (presumably) than you.

    The question I put to you is this: on what basis do you claim to be just as good a judge of climate change than scientists who have been working full time on the problem for many years? Are you possessed of some super-power that permits you to understand the science with much less background? Are you naturally smarter than all those scientists? Do you possess special information that they do not possess?

    • 2012/03/27 at 22:18

      sinchiroca – thanks for asking. I hope I can elaborate further. For now please focus on “much better” and you might find the answer yourself.

      ps I am moving to a new site…what is the right thing to do? Copy the new comments across if they still come to the old site?

  1. 2012/03/15 at 09:39

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