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

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"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

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Freedom within Atheist Nexus

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Failing to imagine systemic risks

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Permanent Lie leads to collective psychosis

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Facebook uses fake news outlet as fact checker

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Firehose beats Fact-Check

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Unwitting Belief Change

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Changed by the Attention Economy

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Conservative Media Engineers Post-Truth Politics

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Reason Evolved to Win Arguments - not Reason Clearly

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Direct Mind Access

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Weaponized Fake Conspiracy

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The Science of Mind Manipulation

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Visceral Vernacular is Great Oration

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Bertold Brautigan on April 22, 2017 at 10:29am

Trump Cabinet Plots Christian Theocracy During Weekly Bible Study Meetings
April 21, 2017 by Michael Stone

[Progressive Secular Humanist]

Dreams of a Christian theocracy: Members of Trump’s Cabinet are participating in weekly Bible study meetings with a controversial pastor who wants “disciples of Christ” to take over the government.

A recent report via Fusion explains that key officials in Trump’s Cabinet are attending weekly prayer and Bible study meetings that are being led by Pastor Ralph Drollinger, a controversial right-wing pastor who preaches a message promoting a conservative Christian theocracy for the U.S.

Drollinger’s weekly, hour-long “Cabinet Member Bible Study” is held in the Department of Health and Human Services every Wednesday morning, and is well attended by prominent members of the Trump Cabinet.

Comment by Joan Denoo on April 22, 2017 at 1:51am

Appropriate cartoon, Ruth, "Clouding the issue".

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 21, 2017 at 10:34pm
Comment by Idaho Spud on April 19, 2017 at 6:55am

Hadn't heard about distillation.  I suspected they would have some bogus explanation, just like religious people.

I like your question.

Comment by Joseph P on April 18, 2017 at 6:56pm

There's some shit about distillation.  Apparently distilling water gives it a good knock on the head or something.

... which raises the question of how all of the water cycling around, which hasn't been distilled, doesn't cure us of everything that can be cured by any medication that has been in it since it was last distilled.

Comment by Idaho Spud on April 18, 2017 at 3:40pm

I've been listening to James Randi videos for the last few days, and often he mentions at talks he gives, taking homeopathic sleeping pills at 10 times the recommended maximum dose with no effect.

That's made me think of a question I would like to ask a homeopathic pusher.  If water retains the memory of the chemical that was originally put in, even though there is not a molecule of the chemical left after dilution, why doesn't all water have the memory of all the billions of chemicals that it at one time had in it through the billions of years it's been on earth, and why doesn't all these chemical memories swamp the effect of the chemical you put in it?

Comment by Joseph P on April 5, 2017 at 11:13pm

Heh heh heh.  Believe me; you don't have to tell me how the electoral college screws things up with the numbers.  It's the exact same math that makes gerrymandering so effective, allowing one party to get 55% of the vote but only 30% of the representation.

That isn't the exact ratio of North Carolina, but it's similar.  We have a Democratic governor, just recently elected in 2016.

Yet, at the federal level, 3 of the 13 congressmen are Democrats(  In the state general assembly, 15 of the 50 senators are Democrats(, and 46 of the 120 congressmen are Democrats(  Care to explain how that makes any kind of sense, mathematically speaking?  Because I call bullshit.

If we were going to switch over to a forced-proportionate distribution of electors, it would be simpler to go to a popular vote.  Less messy.

Doing proportionate distribution of electors for every single state would make the numbers really freaking weird, in addition to the very small (population-wise) states simply having more electors than they should have.  A small state that was polling right around the edge of having an elector switch over to the other party would suddenly have a massive ad blitz out of nowhere.

I don't think that the electoral college and the Three-Fifths Compromise are directly linked in any way.  I think that the Three-Fifths Compromise came after all of the other layers were put in place.

The electoral college was just part of the elaborate system put in place to prevent the unwashed masses from voting in a complete nut-job as president (and we see how well that worked).  Hell, it's similar to the election of federal senators, before the 17th amendment was passed.  The electors from each state don't have to be appointed by popular vote:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Three-Fifths Compromise was just simplified by the indirect elections that we have.  Once you have these sorts of layers that we have, it becomes easier to make the sort of adjustment that the Three-Fifths Compromise made.  Without the electoral college, they would have had to do something a bit more convoluted.

Comment by Grinning Cat on April 5, 2017 at 12:47pm

Indeed, the all-or-nothing electoral votes in all but two states is a culprit here. It disenfranchises every voter for the state's losing candidate (while their votes should be counted!) and disenfranchises every voter for the state's winning candidate beyond a bare plurality.

Suppose that in a particular state, candidate A gets 5000 votes and candidate B gets 3000 votes. (All other candidates get fewer.) Only 3001 votes count here. If A had gotten more votes, it wouldn't help them any more towards a nationwide win.

I don't know how the election would have turned out had every state assigned its electoral votes proportionately to the election outcome rather than in a single block. That would still unfairly give residents of larger states less influence. (We already have a mechanism to protect states' interests on an equal state-by-state basis. It's called the Senate.)

It's worth remembering that the electoral college system arose to keep southern, slaveholding states in the union, since the northern states had more voters and would dominate a direct popular election for president. Each slave was counted as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of inflating the state's number of Representatives in the House, and thus the number of presidential electors who'd do the masters' bidding.

It's also worth noting that in other civilized countries, there isn't discussion of the "popular vote" as a separate statistic -- it's simply called "the vote".

Comment by Joseph P on April 5, 2017 at 11:49am

I don't think we can blame this one on the disproportionate influence of states like Wyoming, Cat.  That only accounts for maybe 5 or 10 electoral-college votes.  The all-or-nothing delegate-math is the culprit here, in the larger swing-states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc.

Comment by Joseph P on April 5, 2017 at 11:26am

And then a great number of those people went down the ballot and voted for all of the GOP establishment candidates, in all of the other positions.  When Trump nominates a Scalia-clone to the Supreme Court and will sign anything that the Republican congress hands him, it doesn't matter how anti-establishment he claims to be.

I voted against the GOP establishment, too.  I voted Democrat.


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