Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Correcting trollish fallacies

Distribution of tossed coins, a reminder

We see the binomial distribution of coin-flipping possibilities, here based on 10,000 actual tosses iterated 100,000 times, also indicating just how tight the peak is, mostly being between 4,850 and 5,150 H: Thus we see the roots of discussions on fluctuations: Note, not coincidentally, sqrt (10^4) = 10^2, or 100. (Compare the bulk of the 10,000 coin toss plot on 100 k repetitions, centred on 5000h, with +/- 100 capturing the main part. Obviously possibilities run from 0 H to 10,000 H but there is a sharply peaked clustering about the “average”.) END

Wikipedia presents pseudo-“knowledge” [fake “knowledge”?] on ID, yet again

In discussing implication logic and first duties, Wikipedia on ID came up yet again. The lead’s manifest failure to be responsibly objective, descending into slander from the outset, speaks volumes: Intelligent design (ID) is a pseudoscientific argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins”.[1][2][3][4][5] Proponents claim that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[6] ID is a form of creationism that lacks empirical support and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses, and is therefore not science.[7][8][9] The leading proponents of ID are associated with the Discovery Institute, a Christian, politically conservative think tank Read More ›

drc466 exposes the argument from incredulity fallacy

Here at UD, we will headline particularly noteworthy comments spotted in discussion threads. Today, drc466 has a gem, in the Show a Natural OoL for $10 mn prize thread,: drc466 , no. 21:] “there is nothing more irritating than the constant (invalid) refrain from evolutionists of “argument from incredulity”. And the variant “God of the Gaps” or “Goddidit” accusations. When a scientist, engineer, or layman for that matter, conclusively demonstrates mathematically or empirically that something is impossible, that is not an “argument from incredulity”. It is a proof requiring evidence to the contrary. Say, for example, that I make the claim “Iron doesn’t float”. That’s not an argument from incredulity, that is a positive hypothesis based on experimental observation that Read More ›

Sci Fi Writer John C Wright on self-evidence, honesty and reason

Mr Wright observes: From time to time it is useful for sane men in an insane world to remind themselves of basic truths.The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false. We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.Truth is a subtle and complex topic, but what we mean by the word can be said in a short sentence using words of one syllable: Truth is when one says ‘it is’, and it is as one says.The second conclusion springs immediately from the first. We know that truth is true because to say Read More ›

“If it fits into a nutshell . . .”: on, the error of demanding arbitrary, rhetorically loaded brevity

I noticed that the objection of dismissal on length (without substantial consideration) has come up here at UD yet again. I think it appropriate to note its fallacious character where considerable reflection is required. (And BTW, a quote from a serious source is a legitimate approach as I will shortly exemplify.) Accordingly, let me headline a comment I just made in the Egnor vs a materialist neuroscientist thread: KF, 15: >>[I]f a philosophical claim on any serious matter fits neatly into a nutshell, it belongs there. There is always an issue of substantial exposition, cross-check against material facts, establishing credible coherence and comparative, balanced explanatory power. This is not a business of 140 or 280 character tweets or rhetorically loaded Read More ›

FYI-FTR: The answer given to attempts to undermine moral government (and to those that — even worse — suggest that Christians must become/are vigilantes)

A new accusatory talking point being used by one particular frequent objector, is that I am ducking answering what he imagines I cannot answer. This arose in connexion with his drearily raising yet again an obsessive theme that would drag threads into the sewer. Having taken time to deal with such in one thread, I refused. I took time to deal with the focal topic (currently at top of UD’s recent active threads) then I took time to answer objections as above. For corrective record, I now headline, and as the relevant thread is still open, discussion will be entertained there. First, 419 in the atheism warrant challenge thread, July 17 2019 at 11:54 am on blog timestamp: [KF, 419:] Read More ›

Logic and First Principles, 12: The crooked yardstick vs plumb-line self-evident truths

Let’s propose a silly example, that a certain Emperor (maybe, just before he went out in his new invisible clothes) decides that a certain crooked stick is now the standard of length, straightness, uprightness and accuracy, a crooked yardstick. Suddenly, what is genuinely such things will be deemed the opposite. And then, suppose that somehow he and his publicists persuade the general public to accept the new standard. Will they not then find that those backward fuddy duddies that hold up their old yardsticks are ignoramuses and obstacles to progress and harmony? Are we then locked into a war of competing imposed definitions and redefinitions? (That would for sure be a manipulator’s paradise.) That’s where a plumb-line might help: Here, Read More ›

SM on Gerrymandering of definitions and the breakdown of responsible discussion

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. Read More ›

The ID issue vs Digital Empire/Cartel concerns: information utilities/ “superhighway” vs shadow-censoring, de-platforming information gatekeepers

The ID issue has long been a focal point for intense, often deeply polarised debate on our origins and world roots as informed by science. Science, being a major source of knowledge and understanding about our world, which also energises technological innovation and economic growth. Science is often treated as though it is the grounds for seeing evolutionary materialism as effectively self evidently true but crucially depends on our being responsibly and rationally sufficiently free to think logically, establish mathematics as a domain of rationally grounded truth about abstract structures and quantities that are necessary for any possible world, and more. Such already deeply challenges the world-picture painted by the magisterium of lab coat-clad atheists. That is only a gateway Read More ›

CT4: AK on morality: “Since the moral fabric is man made, all we are doing is seeing it change . . .”

Sometimes, one of our frequent objectors has a truly noteworthy letting- the- cat- out- of- the- bag moment that is worth headlining. In the still live CT2 thread, AK unwittingly exposes the incoherence and implied amorality of atheistical, evolutionary materialism when he comments in key part: AK, 80: >>Since the moral fabric is man made, all we are doing is seeing it change, as it has done over the centuries. Sometimes history shows that the change has been for the good, and sometimes for the bad. But since civilization is thriving, it is reasonable to conclude that we have had more wins than losses.>> Note first, “[s]ince the moral fabric is man-made.” Here, the question is clearly begged in grand Read More ›

Correcting trolls, 3: Wikipedia blunders yet again — “Unlike hypotheses, theories and laws may be simply referred to as scientific fact”

The other day, I ran across the Wiki article on Laws of Science. While there is much good there, such as: The laws of science, scientific laws, or scientific principles are statements that describe or predict a range of phenomena as they appear in nature.[1] The term “law” has diverse usage in many cases: approximate, accurate, broad or narrow theories, in all natural scientific disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy etc.). Scientific laws summarize and explain a large collection of facts determined by experiment, and are tested based on their ability to predict the results of future experiments. They are developed either from facts or through mathematics, and are strongly supported by empirical evidence. It is generally understood that they Read More ›

Correcting Trollish errors, 2: AK’s “A/Mats are skeptical of extraordinary claims . . . ” (selective hyperskepticism rises yet again)

It is clearly time to hammer selective hyperskepticism again. Here is AK at 49 in the Answering thread: A/Mats are skeptical of extraordinary claims. And I don’t apologize for that. BA, UD President (and a lawyer familiar with correcting fallacies) duly hammered the fallacy: BA, 50 – 53 : >>50: . . . Like the extraordinary claim that a bag of chemicals configured in just the right way suddenly becomes subjectively self-aware? Funny, I’ve never met an A/Mat who was skeptical of that extraordinary claim. Can you point me to one? 51: . . . Like the extraordinary claim that non-living chemicals spontaneously combined in just the right way to become living things? Funny, I’ve never met an A/Mat who was Read More ›