Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Logic is a Wreath of Pretty Flowers That Smell Bad

Or so many woos try to argue. It's quite common when I deal with various trolls that they'll argue how "telling" it is when I point out a logical fallacy they committed. I've heard it pretty often with Creationists and the ad hominem fallacy: Rather than argue about the science, they'll make some accusation about a skeptic's or a scientist's sexual orientation, racism, or whatever, as if that somehow changes the color of a fruit fly's eyes or the constant radioactive half-life of a particular isotope.

I haven't performed any extensive sampling, but it seems to me that the vast bulk of logical fallacies are types of subject changes. Red herrings. A subtype of the non-sequitur. My being an atheist, for example, doesn't change the fact that multiple lines of converging evidence agree on a single phylogenetic tree. The fact that I own D&D books does not falsify the fact that the Big Bang theory accurately predicted the cosmic microwave background radiation before it was measured. Science, it works, bitches.

In the world of woo, it seems, emotion matters infinitely more than truth. Self-esteem matters more than learning. Certainty matters more than honesty. It reminds me of several episodes of the original Star Trek where Kirk and crew blew up "logical" computers and androids by behaving oddly. The only difference is that they're going for the tiniest expression of frustration, as if it's impossible to be logical and emotional at the same time. Being right and being stoic are completely unrelated things.

Of course, since most woos never pause to understand what logic actually is, they declare victory, even if they only contributed gibberish, contradictions, and transparent subject changes to the discussion. Science doesn't care about how you express your ideas, only if they're logically sound, and proving that often takes work. Woo and faith, however, only exist to prop up the believer's self-esteem or to make laziness self-justifying.

12 comments:

DM said...

http://community.history.com/topic/2477/master/1/

have I said this before...

Tom Foss said...

Speaking of people who are damn boring and never say anything new.

Hey, Dennis, looks like you haven't heard: the non-religious are the fastest growing denomination stateside, and there are even more of us in your great white north. You've been predicting the death of atheism for years now, but it keeps getting bigger and stronger. Looks like your predictions are about as shitty as those of that hack poet you worship.

DM said...

you are a FOOL...

repent or die...

Bronze Dog said...

Ah, threats of violence and/or eternal purposeless torture. How wonderfully civilized.

MWchase said...

Whoa whoa whoa... Actually follow the links, and have a look at http://nostraamerica.atspace.com/ . See that video there? With Edward Current?

Is this an elaborate troll, or did he pull a Debra on Edward Current?

Ryan Michael said...

This reminds me exactly of a conversation I had with my Dad yesterday. He was trying to bust out the old "You can't prove love so faith is just like love" and just would not listen to me prove (easily, since it was my dad) love is absolutely proveable. Changes in the body have been recorded when two people in love (or whatever word you want to use) converse, meet, do the butt thang or whatever. Love is a feeling, and it produces measurable effects. Faith is an idea, and it means believing in something extraordinary sans extraordinary evidence. Why can't people get this?

Ryan Michael said...

Oh, and I'd also like to commend "DM"'s astute comeback to Tom's answer. How did you think of that one? Did you stay up all night or get to bed by two?

Tom Foss said...

Remember, Dennis is straight-up certifiable. This doesn't surprise me at all, especially since actual sane people have fallen for Current's routine.

But I do think it's terribly funny. I guess Dennis has been inhaling too many flaming goat fumes.

Akusai said...

Whoa! Rockstar from nowhere! Good to have you back!

djfav said...

!!111!!1!!1!11GOATS ON FIRE!!11!1!!11!

themadengineer said...

Logic only smells "bad" to them because it leads to conclusions that they'd rather not hear.
And besides, wasn't the context in the episode that they were purposefully being illogical to annoy/damage a robot/AI/mechanical-being?

Bronze Dog said...

"And besides, wasn't the context in the episode that they were purposefully being illogical to annoy/damage a robot/AI/mechanical-being?"

Pretty much the point of relating it to real world woos: They seem to think annoying us with illogic counts as a win. Whether or not they do it knowingly is up for debate.