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Thou shalt knowest thine logical fallacies

This is a discussion on Thou shalt knowest thine logical fallacies within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; As a reminder to others, but also to ourselves: http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ Printable too....

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Thou shalt knowest thine logical fallacies

    As a reminder to others, but also to ourselves:

    http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

    Printable too.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #2
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    Along those lines, Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" bears mentioning.
    Mario F. likes this.

  3. #3
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Carl Sagan ranks right there at the top of my favorite scientists. Number two. Number one is Johannes Kepler. I think the reason for this discrepancy is that I was brought up with him and he was the determining influence in my love of science. He's a second father. My real father inculcated in me the love for reading and the arts like no one else did. Sagan did the exact same for science.

    But Carl Sagan on the topic of baloney always throws me back to his stance on agnosticism and atheism. Granted, he his much better positioned to discuss "baloney" then, say, Albert Einstein who was a professed believer. But as an so-called agnostic, Sagan always took a dim view of atheism to the point of failing to realize his own definition of what atheism is was reductive and largely false.

    So I say this: Carl Sagan was full of it when he would try to go politically correct by calling himself a agnostic and calling out on atheists as being stupid, by manipulating the definitions of both philosophies to serve his needs.

    Some notable quotes:

    "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid." -- In here he essentially describes atheism in its broadest sense, not acknowledging any other form of atheism or even that atheism definition is largely a matter of debate.

    “My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it . . . An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic.” -- In here he just described atheism in its most inclusive sense. But calls it agnosticism. An atheist is exactly someone who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it. No atheist would keep not believing in God if suddenly there was evidence of his existence.

    To his credit, throughout his life Carl Sagan was repeatedly confronted with the existence or not of God. More often than not against his will. He was born, lived and worked in one of the most secular theist (an interesting oxymoron) countries in the world. His immense popularity and his unparalleled work in bringing hard science to the masses would consistently put him in a position in which he would have to answer on the existence of god. It was one of the most popular questions among journalists, for instance, and one of the ones he hated the most.

    He always positioned himself as a non believer. But the pressures of a rather conservative American society (particularly conservative during his lifetime) would, I suspect, force him into rejecting some ideas in order to remain politically correct and avoid public backlash. Many of his quotes on the matter just read like a man bending backwards. Carl Sagan was never a man to hide his thoughts, but I suspect this is one area where he definitely was never upfront about the matter. These, and other, quotes are often riddled with inconsistent remarks, something he was not known to do.

    Interestingly enough, Car Sagan characters and fiction included more atheism than he would probably want to have written (example in point, "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism", in Contact). But it is perhaps the Demon Haunted World that best serves to describe Car Sagan atheism, that he was an atheist, that all he used to publicly say about it was baloney. Here's the quote of the day. Some of the wisest words I've ever read and one of the strongest finishing corollaries:

    An ancient Chinese proverb advises, "Better to be too credulous than too skeptical," but this is from an extremely conservative society in which stability was much more prized than freedom and where the rulers had a powerful vested interest in not being challenged. Most scientists, I believe, would say, "Better to be too skeptical than too credulous." But neither is easy. Responsible, thouroughgoing, rigorous skepticism requires a hardnosed habit of thought that takes practice and training to master. Credulity -- I think a better word here is "openness" or "wonder" -- does not come easily either. If we really are to be open to counterintuitive ideas in physics or social organization or anything else, we must grasp those ideas. It means nothing to be open to a proposition we don't understand.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 01-16-2014 at 02:59 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  4. #4
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    “My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it . . . An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic.” -- In here he just described atheism in its most inclusive sense. But calls it agnosticism. An atheist is exactly someone who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it.
    No. Sagan's point (which I can't tell if you're missing or not) is that believing in the absence of something is not equivalent to lacking belief in the presence of something. Confusing the two is a bad idea.
    Elkvis likes this.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
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  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    And in doing so he described an atheist. I'm not missing the point. I'm calling him for failed logic and not considering atheism many facets.

    Besides I consider the old "believing in the absence != lacking belief in the presence" a complete baloney. They are the exact same thing. If you are instead in a state of doubt, then you are in none of those states.
    Epy likes this.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #6
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    As a clear example of what I mean, let me show you how "believing in the absence != lacking belief in the presence" is bad reasoning and can be used to hide the truth, bend backwards, or simply lie:

    We are both at a party where a bunch of people are discussing the existence of God. I haven't spoken yet, but from the discussion I realize my atheism would become very unpopular. Being the case you carried me along because you got a plus-one invitation, I don't feel like embarrass you. So when it comes my time to speak, I say the following:

    Well, I can't find belief in me. But that doesn't mean I'm saying he doesn't exist.

    You know i'm an atheist. You know my first sentence is the truth and in my second sentence I just lied. The result of both sentences is a lie. Were you to call me on my words later on that day and I would be able to gracefully get away with it if I used your logic against you that believing in the absence of something is not the same as lacking belief in its presence.

    Meanwhile I know that I lied with all my teeth. Because I know that believing in the absence of something is the exact same thing as lacking belief in its presence.

    Here's your truth table for my both sentences and their result:

    True != False = False

    Here's mine:

    True == False = False
    Last edited by Mario F.; 01-16-2014 at 06:22 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Well, I can't find belief in me. But that doesn't mean I'm saying he doesn't exist.
    You as an atheist may say this to avoid confrontation (as in your example), and yes you would indeed be lying... because you're an atheist. This would be perfectly valid for an agnostic to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Here's your truth table for my both sentences and their result:

    True != False = False

    Here's mine:

    True == False = False
    No, my truth table is True, Unknown, False.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

  8. #8
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    Eh! There's no 3VL here. It's not unclear whether my second statement is the truth. It IS a lie.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  9. #9
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    Agnosticism is a cop-out for pseudo-intellectual morons.


    Obviously undetectable super-people don't exist. To say that they might (because, after all, they're undetectable) is idiotic. That would mean that you're also agnostic about the undetectable, weightless elephant standing on your head. And don't forget the infinity of other undetectable entities you can write stories about.
    Mario F. likes this.
    The cost of software maintenance increases with the square of the programmer's creativity. - Robert D. Bliss

  10. #10
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Eh! There's no 3VL here.
    It's actually fuzzy, which is even further from the model you purpose. You're stuck in a false dichotomy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    It's not unclear whether my second statement is the truth. It IS a lie.
    I agreed it would be a lie. I'll say again, it's a lie for an atheist to say that, but not for an agnostic.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

  11. #11
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Besides I consider the old "believing in the absence != lacking belief in the presence" a complete baloney. They are the exact same thing.
    O_o

    You may interpret Sagan however you wish, but you only need to look upon the religious side of atheism to see that "believing in the absence" is very different from "lacking belief in the presence". I speak of so called "western atheism" as "rejection of any deity" has amassed proselytizers who do not approach wisdom by skepticism, but only seek a kind of fellowship in their rejection of theism proselytizing a "non-belief" born of something very like peer pressure instead of genuine skepticism regarding cosmic horrors.

    Now, I completely agree that atheism has many facets, but by ignoring such atheists, by equating rejection and simple lack of belief, you are ignoring several of those facets. As for your attempt at proof, I'm shocked at the irony.

    You would not be able to "gracefully get away" with the lie because you've just told us your definition of atheism is rejection of theism, and you've told us that in this scenario the individual who invited you is aware of your definition.

    Strangely, you've backed yourself into this problem because you equate "belief in the absence" with "lacking belief". You would only presume to think you might "gracefully get away with" the lie because you have assumed others would hold the view enough to buy the equivalence, but as Yarin has said, he does not hold that view so, remembering how you define atheism, will call you on the lie, and precisely because he holds the opposite view, Yarin will not accept "Oh, they are equivalent." as anything other than a "cop out". (In other words, by interpreting your statement as a "cop out" you will not have "got away with" the lie.) If you intend to "get away with" the lie, you'll have to do more than play to equivalence.

    Regardless, of how you choose to define atheism for yourself in this scenario, it is that definition which does or does not make you a liar. In the presented case, you are attempting to "gracefully get away with" the lie. You aren't exploiting the idea that "believing in the absence != lacking belief in the presence" to disguise the truth. You've doomed yourself to telling another lie; you can only "get away with" the lie you told at the party by telling another lie during the event when you are called upon about the lie: how you define atheist. Saying "I don't reject theism." is a lie about your definition of atheism.

    In what I find to be incredibly amusing, post #7 shows this better than anything I ever could. You may argue that "There's no 3VL here.", and you would be correct, but even though you are right, Yarin refuses the scenario outright which guarantees that you have not and never will "gracefully get away with" the lie.

    So, you've only proven that one lie may cover another lie not any inherent weakness or susceptibility regarding the ideas of "rejection is not equivalent to lacking belief in a god". Indeed, your argument for the equivalence is far more obvious yet also meaningless: "[lies] can be used to hide the truth, bend backwards, or simply lie".

    Well, actually, as continued in post #10, the refusal to buy your lie as presented in your hypothetical is clearly great enough that you haven't successfully "bent the truth" or "bend backwards" sufficiently to cover your obvious lie. In this case, the logic of "rejection is not equivalent to lacking belief in a god" has actually caught you ought as nothing more than a liar. You've only, potentially, convinced the others at the party which tells nothing of the equivalence because they didn't know you were an atheist.

    Which, to be fair, anyone with a healthy dose of skepticism would refuse to by any argument formed of such flaky equivalence in either direction.

    [Edit]
    Not that I think it matters, but yeah, I am religious and worship a goddess. Nope. You don't know about by "religion".
    [/Edit]

    [Edit]
    ^_^;

    After reading that, it sounds so assuredly "hipster" I can't help but giggle.
    [/Edit]

    Soma
    “Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak.” -- Fred Rogers
    “Salem Was Wrong!” -- Pedant Necromancer

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    Because I know that believing in the absence of something is the exact same thing as lacking belief in its presence.
    This is simply absurd. Theism makes a claim, that a deity exists. It is an active stance. Atheism, on the other hand, is simply a rejection of that claim - a passive stance. It makes no assertions. Anything beyond that is no longer in the realm of atheism, but just your point of view (or opinion, I should say).

  13. #13
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Gosh! The people I have to put up with...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    It's actually fuzzy, which is even further from the model you purpose. You're stuck in a false dichotomy.
    Really? See below...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    I agreed it would be a lie. I'll say again, it's a lie for an atheist to say that, but not for an agnostic.
    You are obviously arguing for the sake of argument, because you don't even bother to think through your own arguments. You are just pulling stuff and see if they stick.

    Point 1: Even though point 2 is more important, it needs to be said that it doesn't matter what agnostic or atheists think. From pure logic, there are two statements and a result. Each statement can be independently measured in terms of its truthness and you proposed a relationship between the two as an universal truth. If you want to think you can outsmart me, do me a favor and be at least a capable opponent. It's irritating to be discussing logic with someone who can't even understand its basic principles. I feel I'm being drawn into a dispute with a complete idiot that will draw this debate into a endless regress argument.

    Point 2: I said Point 2 is more important. And it is. Point 2 simply states that your reductive views of what an agnostic is are more fit for popular afternoon TV shows than for a true discussion on agnosticism. An agnostic is someone who doesn't believe of disbelieve. What an agnostic would have said was, I neither believe in his existence, or his lack of existence. I don't know. He wouldn't say that lacking belief in his existence is not the same as saying he doesn't believe he exists. Agnosticism may be criticized for many reasons. Mostly for its weak logical foundation, but not for being based on a completely false proposition.

    I'll repeat it here to you: "believing in the absence != lacking belief in the presence" a complete baloney. They are the exact same thing. If you are instead in a state of doubt, then you are in none of those states. An agnostic with a minimal grasp of logic knows this.

    EDIT: I see some interesting posts as I was writing this. It's a formidable discussion, but it's 4:35 am. I will have to get some rest. We'll keep up with it later.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 01-16-2014 at 08:36 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #14
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    If you want to think you can outsmart me, do me a favor and be at least a capable opponent. It's irritating to be discussing logic with someone who can't even understand its basic principles. I feel I'm being drawn into a dispute with a complete idiot that will draw this debate into a endless regress argument.
    [Edit]
    Just for the sake of irony: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem
    [/Edit]

    O_o

    Are you ........ing kidding me?

    In a thread where you invoke logical fallacy and Carl Sagan from the very start?

    Did that really just ........ing happen?

    *sigh*

    I admit, I have often played near the line, and have passed over it as well, but those comments are a simple, brutal attack for no reason whatsoever.

    Don't expect me to participate in anything meaningful on from this point; such an abuse deserves nothing but derision and matching trollish behavior in response if not a temporary ban.

    Soma
    “Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak.” -- Fred Rogers
    “Salem Was Wrong!” -- Pedant Necromancer

  15. #15
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Saw your post, went to bed, but had to get up because it was bothering me.

    In my defense I'll say that I was not attempting an ad hominen. I was questioning his capacities, not elevating mine. There's a difference, if you care to acknowledge.

    But on the matter of rudeness I agree I've stepped over the mark. And I apologize (to you Yarin) for it. I got irritated at the direction the discussion was taking because I felt (and feel) instead of actually be discussing the merits of each other positions we were locking each other down on what I consider a very bad application of logic. The 3VL thing irritated me and I blew. In any case it was uncalled for. My apologies.

    Now, I'm really going to bed. Not before:

    You mistaken what I meant to say about gracefully getting away with the lie. Or maybe those were not the best words. I am not trying to hide the lie from Yarin. He knows I'm an atheist. I'm comfortable with that. But in his own view of how lack of belief and belief relate, my statement is true, despite having been a lie. Which I could use as a friendly cop out in the form of "yes I lied, but isn't you who say that both things aren't the same? You should thank me for having turned to your side".

    But I'll read your post more carefully later today and see if I spot where I may have missed something.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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