Two Matters Of Logic (And Timewasting Avoidance)

A couple of timewasting avoidance schemes when dealing with anti-skeptic Defenders of the Faith in Science:

(1) The Congealed Minds

Some people pop up in skeptic blogs commenting in a way similar to swashbuckling (or marauding), making statements such as “I believe the scientists doing the research are a much better judge of that than you are“.

That’s a very good sign that we’re dealing with people who:

  • Worship mainstream scientific literature
  • Are willing mouthpieces of somebody else
  • Routinely misrepresent science as an organically growing process where past interpretations are cast in stone
  • Act like those philosophers who would reply to Galileo continuously quoting Aristotle and the Aristotelians, rather than accept to reason by themselves

The only question to ask them is: Is there anything anybody could ever say, show, write, demonstrate, ask or explain in a blog or comment to a blog, that will make you change your mind?

The answer will of course be “No”. Therefore there is no point debating with them.

(2) The Deferrers

Another common anti-skeptic tactic is to invoke some Higher Authority, eg: “I won’t presume to substitute my non-professional judgment for that of someone who’s dedicated his career to a pursuit of unbiased scientific knowledge, just as I wouldn’t substitute my judgment for that of an oncologist or a neurologist treating myself or someone close to me“.

That’s a completely meaningless statement, because it is supremely illogical. If a person defers judgment to somebody else, obviously what that person writes has no value at all: we should always be looking for the opinion of “somebody else”. Anybody arguing “don’t listen to me, listen to somebody else” is a prisoner of twisted logic, as the first part of that sentence negates the second one. Therefore there is no point debating with them.

5 Replies to “Two Matters Of Logic (And Timewasting Avoidance)”

  1. Well, it is true that you’re likely not going to change the mind of “The Congealed Mind”, however, it is at times useful to debate such people….. mostly because others are reading.

    If your argument is well thought and reasoned, then typically the “congealed mind” exposes themselves. Often, they then move to the “deferral” group.

    1. James – I am long past the illusion of changing anybody’s opinion via the internet. My two points were exactly a way to identify who we’re dealing with, and move on asap to something and somebody more interesting…

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