No Nonsense

Anti-pseudoscience, anti-woo, pro science, pro critical thinking, no conspiracy theories, no spin. Count the logical fallacies. No Nonsense!

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"Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out" -unknown

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." -- Carl Sagan

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." -- Christopher Hitchens

What is a logical fallacy? All arguments have the same basic structure: A therefore B. They begin with one or more premises (A), which is a fact or assumption upon which the argument is based. They then apply a logical principle (therefore) to arrive at a conclusion (B). An example of a logical principle is that of equivalence. For example, if you begin with the premises that A=B and B=C, you can apply the logical principle of equivalence to conclude that A=C. A logical fallacy is a false or incorrect logical principle. An argument that is based upon a logical fallacy is therefore not valid. It is important to note that if the logic of an argument is valid then the conclusion must also be valid, which means that if the premises are all true then the conclusion must also be true. Valid logic applied to one or more false premises, however, leads to an invalid argument. Also, if an argument is not valid the conclusion may, by chance, still be true. For a more thorough discussion of logical fallacies and how to structure a logical argument, see the New England Skeptical Society's article, How To Argue.

Top 20 Logical Fallacies (in alphabetical order) taken from -

The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe

The New England Skeptical Society The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe Science-Based Medicine
The James Randi Educational Foundation
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
Simon Singh and his fight to mend British libel laws
Professor Richard Wiseman
PZ Myers' Pharyngula
Dr. Phil Plait and Bad Astronomy
Skeptic Blog
Michael Shermer's Baloney Detection Kit
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
The Skeptics' Dictionary
List of cognitive biases
Don Watson - Weasel Words
A List of Fallacious Arguments

Chat #NoNonsense

"No skeptic, to my knowledge, ever made a major scientific discovery or advanced the welfare of others."

-- Deepak Chopra (yes, he actually said that)

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but That's funny..." -Isaac Asimov

The scientific world view is full of awe and wonder. Understanding how truly awesome the universe is – in its elegant complexity, its staggering beauty, and the many intricate systems of which it is comprised – gives a profound feeling of connectedness and sparks the imagination. And it has the advantage of being real. -Steven Novella

The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again.
— Mark Twain

Discussion Forum

Not The Onion - Steve Moore

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck Jun 9. 12 Replies


Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Bertold Brautigan May 5. 25 Replies

Hell for christians? Hell for all?

Started by Patricia. Last reply by Joseph P Feb 7. 60 Replies

Misleading Public Polls

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Dec 8, 2015. 5 Replies

My arguments are always valid

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck Nov 6, 2015. 4 Replies

The heart of anti-atheist prejudice is distrust

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck Oct 20, 2015. 2 Replies

Can psychics "connect" with a woman's nonexistent dead sister?

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Bertold Brautigan Sep 9, 2015. 10 Replies

Idiocracy Now

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joseph P Sep 2, 2015. 4 Replies

It Takes More Faith to Be an Atheist Than to Believe in God?

Started by Bertold Brautigan. Last reply by Gerald Payne Aug 21, 2015. 21 Replies

Talking Nonsense as US Politcs

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck Aug 17, 2015. 6 Replies

A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem-Solving

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by tom sarbeck Jul 4, 2015. 6 Replies

Spot Graphics that Lie

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joseph P Jun 25, 2015. 49 Replies

Susceptibility to Bias

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Jun 23, 2015. 1 Reply

Gish Gallop

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Loren Miller Jun 21, 2015. 7 Replies

Political discourse in US - fundamentally fallacious

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck May 29, 2015. 14 Replies

Liberal Washing

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Gerald Payne May 19, 2015. 4 Replies

Information Technology amplifies irrational group behavior

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Mar 22, 2015. 10 Replies

Hunger influences decisions

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joseph P Feb 19, 2015. 2 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by sk8eycat on June 5, 2015 at 9:12pm

D'you mean the one in Arizona?

Comment by sk8eycat on June 5, 2015 at 8:58pm

Is that the same "bridge to nowhere" that hooked Sell-ya Palin? (I wonder if she believes in flying sorcerers, too.)

"Some sort of record for over-the-top Tuckerization was set by David Gerrold and Larry Niven in their very silly novel The Flying Sorcerers (1971)."

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on June 5, 2015 at 7:13pm

Or maybe hook, line and snicker!

Comment by Michael Penn on June 5, 2015 at 6:59pm

Yes, Bertold, that is true. Did you see the teeth on those lions, tigers, and chetahs? During the millennial reign these animals are all going to eat straw just like they did before the fall of man. I'd like to watch that and Christians swallow it hook, line, and sinker.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on June 5, 2015 at 2:05pm


NPR's Science Friday ran a story today featuring Christina Warren, Senior Tech Correspondent at. Mashable. She explained how Answers in Genesis gamed the Google query system and got their Website as the top hit when anyone Googles "What happened to the dinosaurs?"

If anyone's in the mood for a major pukeout, here's the emiment Ken Ham explaining.

Dinosaurs are used more than almost anything else to indoctrinate children and adults in the idea of millions of years of earth history. However, the Bible gives us a framework for explaining dinosaurs in terms of thousands of years of history, including the mystery of when they lived and what happened to them. Two key texts are Genesis 1:24–25 and Job 40:15–24.

One enlightening thing he explained with his usual eloquence is that all animals were vegetarian until Adam sinned.

He also cites dragon myths as evidence (!) that dinosaurs exsited alongside humans.

Comment by Gerald Payne on May 30, 2015 at 10:02pm

The church's of Europe, running up to, and during, the second world war, tried to make the best of a bad job. It's a noticeably human reaction devoid of any 'spiritual' guidance and evidence of the terrestrial limitations of divinity.

Comment by Joseph P on May 30, 2015 at 9:55pm

Hmm, I think it's a little more complicated than that.  I'm not sure about the exact details, since I wasn't an adult in the church and stopped going altogether, at the age of 18.  There are a lot of the rituals and rites, which are supposed to have some effect on your afterlife, but most Catholics grant Yahweh a lot more leeway in sending people to the place they belong, based upon what sort of person they were.

A lot of what I heard from the priests I knew probably wasn't exactly official dogma, so it's hard for me to remember what the official line was.

The Catholics church is at least good in this respect.  There are the official papal decrees, which I think they mostly do to attempt political influence on the countries that are easing up on abortion restrictions and increasing gay rights.  But what actually gets said to the congregants who come to a priest with questions is a lot more real-world and free of the bullshit.

I think most Catholic priests are a lot more agnostic than the official line from the pope would indicate, judging from my experience.

There's also the fact that they preach economic liberalism, even while hording wealth, themselves.  So, that's nice, I guess, that they're trying to convince others to take care of the poor, even if they aren't doing such a good job of it, themselves.

Comment by sk8eycat on May 30, 2015 at 6:17pm

Plus, Hitler was baptized as a Craplick when he was an infant, and never excommunicated by the Crutch.  According to their theology that means he'll be bored out of his shaky mind along with everyone else in heaven.

Comment by Joseph P on May 30, 2015 at 4:03pm


One thing that eats theists alive is that there has to be divine retribution. They just know that Hitler is going to hell (some say he's there right now) or if this is not so the world is not fair.

I've heard that desperate, emotional appeal plenty of times, yeah.  There are at least two huge problems with it.  First off, it's a blatant appeal to consequences, which is a logical fallacy for good reason.  The fact that you like the sound of one idea and don't like the idea of the alternative has zero impact on which is true.

But then there's the issue that it isn't even necessarily true, according to the theology of most versions of Christianity.  If Hitler accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal savior, at some point in his life, then he wouldn't be going to hell for the atrocities he committed, according to plenty of Christians.  If your emotional appeal has neither logical nor doctrinal grounds, you should really check yourself.

Some born-again Christians will make the weak argument that someone who doesn't act in a manner in keeping with Christ (which disqualifies Hitler for persecuting Jews but doesn't disqualify them for persecuting gays) had a false born-again experience and isn't really saved, but they have no theological grounds for being able to distinguish between the two.

How do they know that Jesus wasn't pleased at Hitler for getting back at those nasty Jews who helped get him crucified?  There's plenty of Biblical grounds for antisemitism, particularly in the Gospel of John, which was written later on, when antisemitism was starting to take hold in the early church.

Comment by Plinius on May 30, 2015 at 9:12am

You're too kind, Joan, and the honour is mine - I'm happy you're my friend! Not steel - they put concrete in my back during the last operation ;-)


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