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Debunking Pseudoskepticism: Common fallacies

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posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by Malcram
Life on earth only proves that life on planets is possible (or rather 'certain', since it has occurred).


Wouldn't that be a possibility fallacy?

Do quotes count as a second line?



[edit on 4/4/2009 by skibtz]




posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by symmetricAvenger
reply to post by Malcram
 


the big difference is the (s) on the end of planet(S)

hope that helps


hes is right and infact you are incorrect in this instance..


Not at all. It changes nothing. 'Planets' in this case is a clearly used as a classification, as shown by the context. To say "life on planet" makes no semantic sense, right? And the context makes the interpretation you are implying "planets" suggests absolutely impossible:

"Therefore there is no reason to speculate that life cannot be possible elsewhere".

One could only interpret it otherwise if they had not understood the sentence, had not bothered to read the very explicit context, or were determined to try to undermine the OP no matter what the facts.

[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by skibtz

Originally posted by Malcram
Life on earth only proves that life on planets is possible (or rather 'certain', since it has occurred).


Wouldn't that be a possibility fallacy?

Do quotes count as a second line?


How many times do I need to explain the same thing? Only if you don't count Earth as a planet! If you do - because it is - then it describes a certainty, something that is already the case, a 'fact'. A fact is not a fallacy.

You really need to reread the OP and my responses to your last posts because all the answers are in there already. And seeing as past exchanges have lead to both you and SymmetricAvenger being on Indigo's ignore list, it is apparently left to me to explain his clear statements again, and again. I don't see how it can be made more plain. There were no fallacies in the OP rebuttals you quoted or in my statement regarding them. None have been demonstrated.

And again I have to ask, why the intense scrutiny of the OPs rebuttals and absolutely no attention paid to the fallacies they addressed? The topic of this thread is pseudo-skeptical fallacies. Do you accept the fallacies listed in the OP as legitimate arguments? If so perhaps you could defend them? Let's hear it. If not, why would you attempt to endlessly query the rebuttals to arguments you agree are fallacies? It makes no sense to me.


[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by Malcram
 


yes it makes no sens is why pointed it out.. you see planet(s) in refrence to you comment would im imply others

But statement said planets meaning more than one.. when infact it

probibilty of life on another planet would be 100%

that is the correct way.. not the other

thanks
and i can read like i said!



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 02:12 PM
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reply to post by symmetricAvenger
 


The statement Indigo made makes perfect sense. I just answered this point fully.

I can't tell if you are even agreeing or disagreeing at this point.


[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 02:20 PM
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reply to post by Malcram
 


about the statement? well no i dont why? because its not a fact..

its an assumption.. like i said?

we dont infact know for 100% if there is life?

so why would the probiblity have 100% when infact in mathmatics thats a certnety?

so you infact dont need the probibily of it as its 1


i think you are confusing it with ODDS


Just becuase we are infact here does not infact mean life is out there.. not even if our planets are the same why?

We dont even know what life IS and how IT accurs?

correct?



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 02:25 PM
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reply to post by symmetricAvenger
 


You have not understood the statement, so you are refuting your misinterpretation and misrepresentation of it, rather than what was said and what is clearly stated in the context. The statement in the OP is a fact and makes perfect sense, if understood, which is fairly easy to do if you read the context.

The claims you listed were patently not made in the OP rebuttal we are discussing. They are your additions, straw men.

This has become utterly futile. I'm afraid I'm putting you on ignore now too SA. So no further responses will be forthcoming.



[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by Malcram
 


If one could argue that it is probable that life is Earth-specific then the statement would read:

The probability of Earth-specific life on planets is 100%

This is obviously invalid.

So the OP has made the assumption that life is not Earth-specific?

I am not trying to antagonise - I am investigating.

For the record, I personally believe that the universe is smattered with intelligent life and that we have been, and continue to be, visited by intelligent life. I have seen no evidence that has convinced me of this - just personal experience.

What I am not prepared to say is that this is fact or it is known or it can't be any other way. To me it is the most likely answer but I am also very aware that I could be totally wrong and that there is nothing but us and UFOs were the product of a terrestrial source.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by rich23
All I was doing was pointing out the obvious in your argument: your intention is to debunk rather than consider any possibilities. It's interesting that you then go on to put words in my mouth which I don't think I used, and which, even if I did, are irrelevant to the point I'm arguing here. So far, then, we have an irrelevant and emotional response - basically, a straw man combined with insults. Carry on!

Considering the possibility of whether or not ETs exist is a waste of time, because it's not necessary for them to exist. That's like considering the possibility that I could make a hole in the Earth by dropping a ping-pong ball.


If you look at your original post, you'll see I was simply quoting you. If I'm guilty of a personal attack, then you certainly are. I'd say I was simply turning your own logic back on you.

You called me "simplistic." Did I call you a name? No.



Arguing from ignorance


Not at all. Your statement

It's possible to make a hole to the other side of the Earth by dropping a ping pong ball.


...is so eminently falsifiable I don't really need to drop a ping-pong ball to try it. To argue otherwise is to make yourself look foolish. If that statement had any merit at all it would render the game of ping-pong rather more exciting than it actually is.

You have not even established a correct definition for "possible." Back to square one for you.



Maybe there's a telegram of an ET explaining transistor radios?


I'll do you the courtesy of treating you like a polite, intelligent person.

There were two points being made. The most general point is that because we've been using the scientific method (which isn't the be-all and end-all, IMO, but has its advantages, to be sure) for a relatively brief period of our documented history, it would be arrogant and unwise to assume that we've cracked it to the extent that our ideas of the universe are accurate and will never require updating.

As Korzybski said, "the map is not the territory". This is a statement with implications that go very deep.

The second point is that there are plenty of people out there who have said we've had a certain amount of help from ETs, some of which has given us technology that we use on a daily basis (Kevlar, fibre optics, etc) and some of which is allegedly still under wraps (antigravity, free energy and other exotic technologies). Because I'm open-minded I'm prepared to countenance the possibility, and don't need to attempt clumsy ridicule on the idea.

You can hypothesize on that if you want, but there's still no proof.


I don't think you really get the hang of this arguing from ignorance business. There are plenty of occasions when then-current scientific paradigms have been supplanted and the experts of the day have looked rather stupid to their successors. "Heavier-than-air flight is impossible", for example. Or, of course, people argued when steam trains came in that it would be impossible to exceed thirty miles an hour because we wouldn't be able to breathe. Predictions made on the best evidence of the day, and all supplanted.

And Bill Gates said that 640 KB of RAM should be enough. Those claims were debunked by scientific proof, unlike ETs.



Exactly, so why is it necessary for UFOs to exist?


I'm beginning to regret my indulgence at treating you like an intelligent and polite poster. Please go back and read my post again until you can understand that's not what I said.

You're saying it's possible, yet not necessary. That's a contradiction.



So, ETs exist because the government is lying about it? That's affirming the consequent.


No. Nice try, but that wasn't the argument. I think that ETs exist because I look at the evidence differently from you. My suspicions about what's going on with the disclosure process are based on the presupposition of ETs rather than the other way around.

And here we have a prime piece of evidence to suggest that you're really quite dishonest in the way you go about things.

Presupposing an unproven hypothesis is invalid. If we presupposed that Osama Bin Laden attacked the WTC, then the 9/11 truthers would have some real 'splainin to do.




Absolutely. But just because the government is lying about it and trying to fool us all, perhaps with some sort of staged event, it doesn't mean that the ETH is necessarily invalid.

Contradiction


No. Firstly, I was answering a point you raised.

Secondly, one possible scenario is that, while ETs exist, and some factions may even be helping the USG with technology, the USG uses that technology to create the illusion that ETs are the new enemy. There's no contradiction there.

Please try to read what I write more carefully if you want a polite response to your posts.

ETH is irrelevant to the government staging an ET event. Fake ETs would be necessary for such an event. Nothing that was mentioned would even prove ETH.

By adding in your evil-government argument, you are also peppering your statements with suspicious logical fallacies.

Don't throw my own words back in my face. That's not logical or scientific.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by RiotComing
 



I'd like to explore my potentiality of sleeping with Jessica Alba, but everything has its place and time.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:44 PM
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reply to post by rich23
 



Again, you misused the word "jealous." Maybe English isn't your native language?

Posters are getting stars with little to no merit. That is a misuse of the system.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by skibtz
reply to post by Malcram
 


If one could argue that it is probable that life is Earth-specific then the statement would read: "The probability of Earth-specific life on planets is 100%"

This is obviously invalid.

So the OP has made the assumption that life is not Earth-specific?


No. The invalid claim you formulated above was not one the OP was making (which is why it was not phrased as you phrased it). Neither is the OP statement we are debating claiming life is not earth specific. Neither of the suggestions offered are pertinent.

Again, read the context, the statements immediately following the sentence you are fixated upon make this perfectly clear. It is not a claim, it's a simple statement of fact. It is not provided in order to substantiate any claim. These are rebuttals of claims, not claims in themselves. In this case, this statement is part of a rebuttal of the idea that: "life cannot be possible elsewhere." and the purpose of the statement is clearly seen in the conclusion of that paragraph: "Therefore there is no reason to speculate that life cannot be possible elsewhere". No claim is being made except that it would be incorrect to suggest that life elsewhere is impossible. But that's not a 'claim' as such because it's a hard fact. Do you disagree that this would be an error? Clearly not, judging by what you said about in your last post. So how can you query the statement that it would be an error, or the points made to lend support to that idea?

To demonstrate further that the statement we are debating in no way meant either of the two things you suggested above, or anything else that has been implied, read what quickly follows as the rebuttals continue:

"My opponent may argue that it is possible that life only formed on planet Earth and nowhere else....This is an argument from possibility fallacy. It is possible that Earth is the only planet that has life, but it is also possible that that Earth is not the only planet that has life. Mere possibility is not enough to make a case."

Do you see? How can he be making a assumptive claim one way or the other if he immediately acknowledges both scenarios as possible?

Can I suggest that you and others have perhaps read things that Indigo has discussed in other threads, become involved in heated debate with him regarding his beliefs on the ETH in those other threads, and then followed him into this thread and wrongly interpreted his OP rebuttals of claims, as claims, as if you were continuing the debate you had begun elsewhere? This is a different discussion. However, many of the points you make at the end of your last post appear to relate to completely different topics and different threads. This is a thread discussing the fallacies employed in pseudo-skepticism with regard to the ET/UFO issue. Not a thread about proving or disproving the ETH. Perhaps that is where the confusions of some arises from.


[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by rich23
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is also a thinly-disguised version of the argument from incredulity.

Excellent work on the thread. btw.


No, arguing from incredulity is claiming that ETs exist because you personally don't have any proof that they don't exist.

Scientifically valid claims require proof. You can't argue against that.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by platosallegory

Great post.

Like, you said people are just trying to debate something and the pseudoskeptic will say first you have to prove extra-terrestrials or first you have to prove extra-dimensional beings exist.

This is nonsense, what do they think this folder is for? It's about Aliens and UFO's and if we have to prove these things exist before we can debate these things then you might as well shut down ATS. They might as well close down the forum on physics because we couldn't debate parallel universes, holographic principle, string theory and more because these things havn't been proven first.


That's an invalid slippery-slope argument; there are plenty of other topics on ATS.

If you mean that ATS would be in financially-unable to operate, then maybe you are making a promise?



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:56 PM
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Originally posted by vcwxvwligen

No, arguing from incredulity is claiming that ETs exist because you personally don't have any proof that they don't exist


Who has made a claim in that manner? I agree that would be a silly basis for a claim - especially as it's entirely unnecessary as there is evidence - but I'm not aware of anyone making it. So either it's a straw man, or some people have been formulating some unnecessarily silly claims. LOL (Of course, anything is possible at ATS).


[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by LogicalResponse
 



Until you have proof, it's just a waste of braincells to assume that it's true.

Sure we all have flights of fancy, but then you have to seperate fact from fiction.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by Heike
Sorry about that. I've had no training in formal logic and I'm learning as I go here. I am not quite sure I understand what I'm doing yet.


don't sweat it.

formal logic is useless as a tool for rhetorical debate. it's rules are far too rigid for real world application.


Formal logic is an a priori, and not an empirical, study. In this respect it contrasts with the natural sciences and with all other disciplines that depend on observation for their data. Its nearest analogy is with pure mathematics; indeed, many logicians and pure mathematicians would regard their respective subjects as indistinguishable, or as merely two stages of the same unified discipline. Formal logic, therefore, is not to be confused with the empirical study of the processes of reasoning, which belongs to psychology. It must also be distinguished from the art of correct reasoning, which is the practical skill of applying logical principles to particular cases; and, even more sharply, it must be distinguished from the art of persuasion, in which invalid arguments are sometimes more effective than valid ones. read it


it is not a mistery why this thread has gon around in circles.


Good Inductive Argument: An argument in which the premises provide good reasons for believing the conclusion. In an inductive argument, the premises make the conclusion likely, but the conclusion might be false even if the premises are true.read it


i get the feeling someone has just been introduced to formal logic in an undergraduate course of study.

K....back to the merry go round.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:04 PM
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reply to post by Malcram
 



Quote from OP:


all I am going to do is use the principle of non-contradiction in logic and show that the arguments used by pseudoskeptics are logically contradictory


Travis's post did indeed have merit. This thread is ridiculous because nobody is using logic, they are only entertaining their wishes and hopes.

Check your facts before you try to sound all smart.



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:08 PM
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reply to post by vcwxvwligen
 


I suggest you find the Mod's recent post. If you move forward from much earlier in the thread and reply as you go in that manner you may find yourself banned before you reach then end. Thankfully we are only debating the OP now and the topic raised in it, according to Mods instructions.

[edit on 4-4-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 



That's because your arguments are ridiculous.

Debunking the debunkers does not make you right by default, and mmiichael is right that your rants seem to be overly anti-government which causes one to infer that UFOlogists have a hidden agenda. Where are your claims of cover-ups by private companies? International organizations?



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