Archive for the ‘Intelligent Discussion’ Category

Yay! Thunderf00t shows us how to take down another idiot.

Disclaimer: I’m a thunderf00t fanboy.

Howtheworldworks is a youtube user that has been put under the skeptical microscope. First by TheAmazingAtheist and then by thunderf00t. Here’s TJ’s first video:

And  Here TF’s 2 videos:

Part 2:

The main points: Howtheworldworks is entitled to his opinions, but to lie to back them up is intellectual dishonesty and just fucking ballox (to put it frankly).

Watch this space, anyone who lies so much, and pisses off so many people in so many fields will get a lot of good videos on skeptical thinking.

Atheist Hard-On

Shameful i know, but come on!! Finding the four horsemen on youtube in HD!

Two hours of class discussion amount friends.

From the Richard Dawkins’s youtube channel.

Can’t spell unstable without unintelligent.

Well the “un” part anyway.

Here’s another video from Thunderf00t (yes, I’m a fanboy now) :

I found this to be a very powerful video.

It’s the prefect example of the “fine-tooth-combness” of the scientific method. VenomFangX (aka PosterBoy for Creationist Stupidity aka PCS) says one thing, then a whole weight of evidence is brought again him that proves, a) his lying b) he has done whatever he is criticising or c) the guy is messed up.

It also looks like were seeing a public break down of someone who just keeps lying, and is now having those lies thrown back in his face, (as well as legal pressures). I don’t know about you but those batman clips and this love video of his just creep me out.

I also must thank Thunderf00t for two reasons. Firstly, his videos on the universe are brilliant, there are superb and extremely well made; a clear labour of love. Secondly, I thank him for the time and effort he has put into making, what can only be describe as a catalogue of bad arguments against science. They give me hope that creationists, and other anti-science quakes, will no longer be able to lie their way through arguments and debates. THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

Nice to see there’s some sense.

(via bbc)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7842769.stm

An atheist UK bus campaign which uses the slogan "There’s probably no God" does not breach the advertising code, a watchdog has ruled.

 

Although the watchdog acknowledged the content of the campaign would be at odds with the beliefs of many, it concluded that it was unlikely to mislead or to cause "serious or widespread offence".

Here’s how you teach kids when it comes to religion… you don’t!

Spirituality, Not Religion, Makes Kids Happy, Say Psychologists” is the title of a new post by scientificblogging.com

Here’s an extract

To make children happier, we may need to encourage them to develop a strong sense of ‘personal worth’, according to Dr. Mark Holder, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia,  Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Ben Coleman and graduate student Judi Wallace.

The relationship between spirituality and happiness remained strong, even when the authors took temperament into account. However, religious practices – including attending church, praying and meditating – had little effect on a child’s happiness.

How ‘bout that?

I wish they used more then 320 kids, and that it was international. but it’s still a sound study open for another trail to back up the finding.

Just another example that religion has a greater chance of doing harm to a child then good.

Skepticism 101 – Confirmation Bias

Great podcast from the SGU crew:

SGU 5×5 #42

Ah ha! VenomFangX has publicly apologised. Won’t get jail time.

I think i’ll let the video speak for itself:

Top 20 Logical Fallacies

Copied and pasted from The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Found via Skeptic Detective

1. Ad hominem. An ad hominem argument is any that attempts to counter another’s claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself. True believers will often commit this fallacy by countering the arguments of skeptics by stating that skeptics are closed minded. Skeptics, on the other hand, may fall into the trap of dismissing the claims of UFO believers, for example, by stating that people who believe in UFO’s are crazy or stupid.

2. Ad ignorantiam. The argument from ignorance basically states that a specific belief is true because we don’t know that it isn’t true. Defenders of extrasensory perception, for example, will often overemphasize how much we do not know about the human brain. UFO proponents will often argue that an object sighted in the sky is unknown, and therefore it is an alien spacecraft.

3. Argument from authority. Stating that a claim is true because a person or group of perceived authority says it is true. Often this argument is implied by emphasizing the many years of experience, or the formal degrees held by the individual making a specific claim. It is reasonable to give more credence to the claims of those with the proper background, education, and credentials, or to be suspicious of the claims of someone making authoritative statements in an area for which they cannot demonstrate expertise. But the truth of a claim should ultimately rest on logic and evidence, not the authority of the person promoting it.

4. Argument from final Consequences. Such arguments (also called teleological) are based on a reversal of cause and effect, because they argue that something is caused by the ultimate effect that it has, or purpose that is serves. For example: God must exist, because otherwise life would have no meaning.

5. Argument from Personal Incredulity. I cannot explain or understand this, therefore it cannot be true. Creationists are fond of arguing that they cannot imagine the complexity of life resulting from blind evolution, but that does not mean life did not evolve.

6. Confusing association with causation. This is similar to the post-hoc fallacy in that it assumes cause and effect for two variables simply because they are correlated, although the relationship here is not strictly that of one variable following the other in time. This fallacy is often used to give a statistical correlation a causal interpretation. For example, during the 1990’s both religious attendance and illegal drug use have been on the rise. It would be a fallacy to conclude that therefore, religious attendance causes illegal drug use. It is also possible that drug use leads to an increase in religious attendance, or that both drug use and religious attendance are increased by a third variable, such as an increase in societal unrest. It is also possible that both variables are independent of one another, and it is mere coincidence that they are both increasing at the same time. A corollary to this is the invocation of this logical fallacy to argue that an association does not represent causation, rather it is more accurate to say that correlation does not necessarily mean causation, but it can. Also, multiple independent correlations can point reliably to a causation, and is a reasonable line of argument.

7. Confusing currently unexplained with unexplainable Because we do not currently have an adequate explanation for a phenomenon does not mean that it is forever unexplainable, or that it therefore defies the laws of nature or requires a paranormal explanation. An example of this is the "God of the Gaps" strategy of creationists that whatever we cannot currently explain is unexplainable and was therefore an act of god.

8. False Continuum. The idea that because there is no definitive demarcation line between two extremes, that the distinction between the extremes is not real or meaningful: There is a fuzzy line between cults and religion, therefore they are really the same thing.

9. False Dichotomy. Arbitrarily reducing a set of many possibilities to only two. For example, evolution is not possible, therefore we must have been created (assumes these are the only two possibilities). This fallacy can also be used to oversimplify a continuum of variation to two black and white choices. For example, science and pseudoscience are not two discrete entities, but rather the methods and claims of all those who attempt to explain reality fall along a continuum from one extreme to the other.

10. Inconsistency. Applying criteria or rules to one belief, claim, argument, or position but not to others. For example, some consumer advocates argue that we need stronger regulation of prescription drugs to ensure their safety and effectiveness, but at the same time argue that medicinal herbs should be sold with no regulation for either safety or effectiveness.

11. The Moving Goalpost. A method of denial arbitrarily moving the criteria for "proof" or acceptance out of range of whatever evidence currently exists.

12. Non-Sequitur. In Latin this term translates to "doesn’t follow". This refers to an argument in which the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises. In other words, a logical connection is implied where none exists.

13. Post-hoc ergo propter hoc. This fallacy follows the basic format of: A preceded B, therefore A caused B, and therefore assumes cause and effect for two events just because they are temporally related (the Latin translates to "after this, therefore because of this").

14. Reductio ad absurdum. In formal logic, the reductio ad absurdum is a legitimate argument. It follows the form that if the premises are assumed to be true it necessarily leads to an absurd (false) conclusion and therefore one or more premises must be false. The term is now often used to refer to the abuse of this style of argument, by stretching the logic in order to force an absurd conclusion. For example a UFO enthusiast once argued that if I am skeptical about the existence of alien visitors, I must also be skeptical of the existence of the Great Wall of China, since I have not personally seen either. This is a false reductio ad absurdum because he is ignoring evidence other than personal eyewitness evidence, and also logical inference. In short, being skeptical of UFO’s does not require rejecting the existence of the Great Wall.

15. Slippery Slope. This logical fallacy is the argument that a position is not consistent or tenable because accepting the position means that the extreme of the position must also be accepted. But moderate positions do not necessarily lead down the slippery slope to the extreme.

16. Straw Man. Arguing against a position which you create specifically to be easy to argue against, rather than the position actually held by those who oppose your point of view.

17. Special pleading, or ad-hoc reasoning. This is a subtle fallacy which is often difficult to recognize. In essence, it is the arbitrary introduction of new elements into an argument in order to fix them so that they appear valid. A good example of this is the ad-hoc dismissal of negative test results. For example, one might point out that ESP has never been demonstrated under adequate test conditions, therefore ESP is not a genuine phenomenon. Defenders of ESP have attempted to counter this argument by introducing the arbitrary premise that ESP does not work in the presence of skeptics. This fallacy is often taken to ridiculous extremes, and more and more bizarre ad hoc elements are added to explain experimental failures or logical inconsistencies.

18. Tautology A tautology is an argument that utilizes circular reasoning, which means that the conclusion is also its own premise. The structure of such arguments is A=B therefore A=B, although the premise and conclusion might be formulated differently so it is not immediately apparent as such. For example, saying that therapeutic touch works because it manipulates the life force is a tautology because the definition of therapeutic touch is the alleged manipulation (without touching) of the life force.

19. Tu quoque. Literally, you too. This is an attempt to justify wrong action because someone else also does it. "My evidence may be invalid, but so is yours."

20. Unstated Major Premise. This fallacy occurs when one makes an argument which assumes a premise which is not explicitly stated. For example, arguing that we should label food products with their cholesterol content because Americans have high cholesterol assumes that: 1) cholesterol in food causes high serum cholesterol; 2) labelling will reduce consumption of cholesterol; and 3) that having a high serum cholesterol is unhealthy. This fallacy is also sometimes called begging the question.

This VenomFangX v Thunderf00t is getting a bit more serious.

I actually can’t find the VFX videos that TF used in this video, but giving their 2 cents. TF is also not giving away much… looks like it’s going to court.

At least that’s one fanatic Christian that won’t be using the courts to throw their weight around.

Re: Why are you an Atheist?

This is a post in response to this comment.

Interesting question, and one, surprising, I haven’t thought about too much.

There was two things I was interested in when I was young: history, and religion.

Included in religion is ancient myths (Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Aztec, etc.)

Since I live in Ireland, and in a more rural part of Ireland, primary school (elementary school) consisted of: English, Irish, Maths, and Religion… for the 8 years (usually start school at age 5 and leave at age 12). Most National Schools are owned by the Catholic Church, needless to say religious instruction was very important. We were taught how to pray; how to say the rosary; first communion; first conformation.

On a side note, I was sick for both my communion and conformation. I think that may have altered my thinking on the events… oh and before I forget, no I wasn’t abused. Thankfully my generation was one of those where abuse by clergy wasn’t widespread.

Anyway, back story complete.

At age 10, 11 roughly, my memory isn’t full proof. But I went through this obsessive religious phase. I prayed regularly, wondered about god, and generally thought he was judging everyone… and somewhere along the line I said “nah, this can’t be right.” 

My love of history comes from a deeper love of knowledge. By age 13 I had a rounded image of history and religion. This was when I became an agnostic. I said, “Sure, why can’t there be a higher being in charge of everything?”

Then in came the information.

I started coming across all the contradictions in the bible. I got into Islam, and then all the racism and hatred put me off. But even then Islam still has glaring holes in the scripture.

Then the science and the anti-theist information came in.

This was where my love of knowledge played a part. I devour information, and there is plenty of it on how religion and religious scripture does not hold up to science or even history.

Over my teenage years I simple acquired more and more information, and noted the  contradictions whenever I was made go to mass. It was these contradictions that wrapped it up for me that the bible was inaccurate or false. If you take the view that god revealed the bible to man, contradictions have two explanations: god isn’t as smart as everyone says; or the bible is a very human creation.

By late teens, I had become completely Atheist, and now border on the line of anti-theist (surprisingly they are two different things). But that’s pretty much it: grow up religious; found out more information that wasn’t too compatible with religion; and now have giving up completely on the faintest hope of believing in a higher being.

Comments, as always welcomed.