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SM on Gerrymandering of definitions and the breakdown of responsible discussion

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Sometimes a gem of a comment gets overlooked, but is well worth promotion to headlined status. Here, let us belatedly highlight SM on gerrymandering definitions in the slippery slope thread:

SM, 13: >>If three successfully interbreeding populations of finches on a single island are separate species then whenever a Japanese person marries a Sicilian we already have inter-species marriage.

This gerrymandering of definitions for partisan political advantage is a classic case of the Slippery Slope: we let people adjust a definition to their own advantage once, even in a small way, and it isn’t long before you cannot even discuss the subject because there are too many definitions and none are sufficiently accepted or overlapping for discussion to be meaningful.

And here too we see that not only have we established a pernicious precedent with regard to altering – and thus multiplying – definitions, but we’ve done the same with regard to permitting contradictory definitions to be used wherever opportunistically convenient.

As others have noted, the wizards* who use these rhetorical tricks are not trying to clarify our thinking or advance the discovery of essential truths (let alone Truth), but are merely intent on closing down debate so as to maintain an unchallenged political narrative.

*Because they use words as incantations, claiming that reality is constructed “on the fly” as it were by human consciousness**, they think that changing the words used to describe reality changes reality itself.

** Even as they simultaneously claim that consciousness is an illusion. See my point above about contradictory definitions. Slippery Slope? This is a mad hatter’s rabbit hole, a one-way acid trip to civilisational self-lobotomy . . . >>

Okay, food for thought. END

7 Replies to “SM on Gerrymandering of definitions and the breakdown of responsible discussion

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    SM on Gerrymandering of definitions and the breakdown of responsible discussion

  2. 2
    PeterA says:

    SM:
    “If three successfully interbreeding populations of finches on a single island are separate species then whenever a Japanese person marries a Sicilian we already have inter-species marriage.”

    If that’s the case, then what new species would start from the marriage between a Korean man who sells Kosher tacos in Paris and a Bulgarian lady who runs a hibachi restaurant named “Mona Lisa” near the Louvre museum?
    🙂

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    PA, part of the issue is the definition of a species. KF

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    As an example of gerrymandering of definitions or equivocation:

    In 2009 Peter and Rosemary Grant discuss what is a species at Stanford for the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. Conclude all the finches are genetically compatible for breeding but various physical and social barriers prevent this. Also conclude it takes an average of over 30 million years for a new species to evolve. http://bit.ly/2SvEimE

    Has anyone ever seen this conclusion brought up by those who endorse Darwin/natural selection/modern synthesis in discussion of species? Darwin was interested in the origin of species but his defenders cannot accept any concrete definition of species. So how can a discussion take place?

    Go to 1:03 of video to see how Rosemary conflates species by saying that one species by breeding with another species can transfer genes to the other species. Implying separate species can interbreed. So just what was Darwin investigating in the Origen of Species?

  5. 5
    vmahuna says:

    “it takes an average of over 30 million years for a new species to evolve”

    Um, NOPE. New species appear POOF whenever Someone feels like it. Again, bats and whales. Although also Humans.
    There is not a SINGLE example of ANY species “evolving”, and any number of cases where what should be related sub-species are in fact unrelated (Pacific and Indian Ocean sea snakes are 2 UNRELATED species that LOOK and ACT so similarly that it was ASSUMED they were closely related.)
    So, you can RANDOMLY pick “30 million years” as a period of evolution, but that’s ENTIRELY for public relations purposes.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Species is now a very fuzzy concept.

  7. 7
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Species is now a very fuzzy concept.

    And this is by – ironically – design. With the multiplying and increasingly fuzzy definitions of the term the materialist can speak with great scientific gravitas about the evolution of species but can never be pinned down on his errors because proving such an error requires a fixed definition and he can always select an alternate one, and at the same time lambaste his critics for not knowing the “proper” definition or following his argument. It’s wizards all the way down.

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