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Thread: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

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    Default Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Lecturer at the University of Texas at El Paso assembled this "Master List of Fallacies", both traditional and contemporary.

    We see many of these in politics, and here in the Bilge.

    https://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliams.../fallacies.htm

    A few examples:

    1. The A Priori Argument (also, Rationalization; Dogmatism, Proof Texting.): A corrupt argument from logos, starting with a given, pre-set belief, dogma, doctrine, scripture verse, "fact" or conclusion and then searching for any reasonable or reasonable-sounding argument to rationalize, defend or justify it. Certain ideologues and religious fundamentalists are proud to use this fallacy as their primary method of "reasoning" and some are even honest enough to say so. E.g., since we know there is no such thing as "evolution," a prime duty of believers is to look for ways to explain away growing evidence, such as is found in DNA, that might suggest otherwise. See also the Argument from Ignorance. The opposite of this fallacy is the Taboo.

    5. The Affective Fallacy (also The Romantic Fallacy; Emotion over Reflection; "Follow Your Heart"): An extremely common modern fallacy of Pathos, that one's emotions, urges or "feelings" are innate and in every case self-validating, autonomous, and above any human intent or act of will (one's own or others'), and are thus immune to challenge or criticism. (In fact, researchers now [2017] have robust scientific evidence that emotions are actually cognitive and not innate.) In this fallacy one argues, "I feel it, so it must be true. My feelings are valid, so you have no right to criticize what I say or do, or how I say or do it." This latter is also a fallacy of stasis, confusing a respectful and reasoned response or refutation with personal invalidation, disrespect, prejudice, bigotry, sexism, homophobia or hostility. A grossly sexist form of the Affective Fallacy is the well-known crude fallacy that the phallus "Has no conscience" (also, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do;" "Thinking with your other head."), i.e., since (male) sexuality is self-validating and beyond voluntary control what one does with it cannot be controlled either and such actions are not open to criticism, an assertion eagerly embraced and extended beyond the male gender in certain reifications of "Desire" in contemporary academic theory. See also, Playing on Emotion. Opposite to this fallacy is the Chosen Emotion Fallacy (thanks to scholar Marc Lawson for identifying this fallacy), in which one falsely claims complete, or at least reliable prior voluntary control over one's own autonomic, "gut level" affective reactions. Closely related if not identical to this last is the ancient fallacy of Angelism, falsely claiming that one is capable of "objective" reasoning and judgment without emotion, claiming for oneself a viewpoint of Olympian "disinterested objectivity" or pretending to place oneself far above all personal feelings, temptations or bias. See also, Mortification.

    7. Alternative Truth (also, Alt Facts; Counterknowledge; Disinformation; Information Pollution): A newly-famous contemporary fallacy of logos rooted in postmodernism, denying the resilience of facts or truth as such. Writer Hannah Arendt, in her The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) warned that "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists." Journalist Leslie Grass (2017) writes in her Blog Reachoutrecovery.com, "Is there someone in your life who insists things happened that didn’t happen, or has a completely different version of events in which you have the facts? It’s a form of mind control and is very common among families dealing with substance and behavior problems." She suggests that such "Alternate Facts" work to "put you off balance," "control the story," and "make you think you're crazy," and she notes that "presenting alternate facts is the hallmark of untrustworthy people." The Alternative Truth fallacy is related to the Big Lie Technique. See also Gaslighting, Blind Loyalty, The Big Brain/Little Brain Fallacy, and Two Truths

    15. The Argument from Ignorance (also, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam): The fallacy that since we don’t know (or can never know, or cannot prove) whether a claim is true or false, it must be false, or it must be true. E.g., “Scientists are never going to be able to positively prove their crazy theory that humans evolved from other creatures, because we weren't there to see it! So, that proves the Genesis six-day creation account is literally true as written!” This fallacy includes Attacking the Evidence (also, "Whataboutism"; The Missing Link fallacy), e.g. "Some or all of your key evidence is missing, incomplete, or even faked! What about that? That proves you're wrong and I'm right!" This fallacy usually includes fallacious “Either-Or Reasoning” as well: E.g., “The vet can't find any reasonable explanation for why my dog died. See! See! That proves that you poisoned him! There’s no other logical explanation!” A corrupted argument from logos, and a fallacy commonly found in American political, judicial and forensic reasoning. The recently famous "Flying Spaghetti Monster" meme is a contemporary refutation of this fallacy--simply because we cannot conclusively disprove the existence of such an absurd entity does not argue for its existence. See also A Priori Argument, Appeal to Closure, The Simpleton's Fallacy, and Argumentum ex Silentio.

    26. The Big Lie Technique (also the Bold Faced Lie; "Staying on Message."): The contemporary fallacy of repeating a lie, fallacy, slogan, talking-point, nonsense-statement or deceptive half-truth over and over in different forms (particularly in the media) until it becomes part of daily discourse and people accept it without further proof or evidence. Sometimes the bolder and more outlandish the Big Lie becomes the more credible it seems to a willing, most often angry audience. E.g., "What about the Jewish Problem?" Note that when this particular phony debate was going on there was no "Jewish Problem," only a Nazi Problem, but hardly anybody in power recognized or wanted to talk about that, while far too many ordinary Germans were only too ready to find a convenient scapegoat to blame for their suffering during the Great Depression. Writer Miles J. Brewer expertly demolishes The Big Lie Technique in his classic (1930) short story, "The Gostak and the Doshes." However, more contemporary examples of the Big Lie fallacy might be the completely fictitious August 4, 1964 "Tonkin Gulf Incident" concocted under Lyndon Johnson as a false justification for escalating the Vietnam War, or the non-existent "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq (conveniently abbreviated "WMD's" in order to lend this Big Lie a legitimizing, military-sounding "Alphabet Soup" ethos), used in 2003 as a false justification for the Second Gulf War. The November, 2016 U.S. President-elect's statement that "millions" of ineligible votes were cast in that year's American. presidential election appears to be a classic Big Lie. See also, Alternative Truth; The Bandwagon Fallacy, the Straw Man, Alphabet Soup, and Propaganda.

    60. Hero-Busting (also, "The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good"): A postmodern fallacy of ethos under which, since nothing and nobody in this world is perfect there are not and have never been any heroes: Washington and Jefferson held slaves, Lincoln was (by our contemporary standards) a racist, Karl Marx sexually exploited his family's own young live-in domestic worker and got her pregnant, Martin Luther King Jr. had an eye for women too, Lenin condemned feminism, the Mahatma drank his own urine (ugh!), Pope Francis is wrong on abortion, capitalism, same-sex marriage and women's ordination, Mother Teresa loved suffering and was wrong on just about everything else too, etc., etc Also applies to the now near-universal political tactic of ransacking everything an opponent has said, written or done since infancy in order to find something to misinterpret or condemn (and we all have something!). An early example of this latter tactic is deftly described in Robert Penn Warren's classic (1946) novel, All the King's Men. This is the opposite of the "Heroes All" fallacy, below. The "Hero Busting" fallacy has also been selectively employed at the service of the Identity Fallacy (see below) to falsely "prove" that "you cannot trust anyone" but a member of "our" identity-group since everyone else, even the so-called "heroes" or "allies" of other groups, are all racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, or hate "us." E.g., In 1862 Abraham Lincoln said he was willing to settle the U.S. Civil War either with or without freeing the slaves if it would preserve the Union, thus "conclusively proving" that all whites are viciously racist at heart and that African Americans must do for self and never trust any of "them," not even those who claim to be allies.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    No 1. reminds me of biblical archaeology. The search for confirmation of what they claim to believe………….

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Thanks...
    David G
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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    We actually witnessed SamF use this one, verbatim.
    15. The Argument from Ignorance (also, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam): The fallacy that since we don't know (or can never know, or cannot prove) whether a claim is true or false, it must be false, or it must be true. E.g., Scientists are never going to be able to positively prove their crazy theory that humans evolved from other creatures, because we weren't there to see it!
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Lecturer at the University of Texas at El Paso assembled this "Master List of Fallacies", both traditional and contemporary.

    We see many of these in politics, and here in the Bilge.
    People are entitled to believe what they believe. With or without arguments.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    But are they entitled to assert that it is true?
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    People are entitled to believe what they believe. With or without arguments.
    yes, and some people make total tits of themselves when they share beliefs that have no foundation in facts.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    I’d like a laminated version in pictographs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    People are entitled to believe what they believe. With or without arguments.
    The post isn’t a list of entitlements

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    yes, and some people make total tits of themselves when they share beliefs that have no foundation in facts.
    Yes, they do.

    Kids in my extended family learn early on that anyone setting up the rules for a discussion is setting a trap. Accepting a list of fallacies is a trap many fall into.
    Life is complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    The post isn’t a list of entitlements
    See my response in post #10. Those who set the rules for discussions think they are entitled enough to set the rules.
    Life is complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    Accepting a list of fallacies is a trap many fall into.
    In my considered opinion, that is a dumb fact free statement.
    Now prove me wrong.
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    Default Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    See my response in post #10. Those who set the rules for discussions think they are entitled enough to set the rules.

    The "rules" of argument have been hashed out over centuries.
    Last edited by Nicholas Carey; 08-07-2022 at 11:01 AM.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Thank you, Nicholas, and I will be stealing that and reposting it far and wide.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    Yes, they do.

    Kids in my extended family learn early on that anyone setting up the rules for a discussion is setting a trap. Accepting a list of fallacies is a trap many fall into.
    objective reality is tricky for you. Listing common fallacies is not the same as defining terms for others. The former has a basis in human history of communication the latter is a tactic a person can play. Apples and oranges.

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    Some people really really EARN their place on my ignore list...

    I think we should all ask Scot for a permanent sticky for this list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    In my considered opinion, that is a dumb fact free statement.
    Now prove me wrong.
    I have no reason to change your considered opinion. If you find a need to change it, you might.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    The "rules" of argument have been hashed out over centuries.
    A fellow by the name of Godel had some comments about the "rules" of argument.
    Life is complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    objective reality is tricky for you. Listing common fallacies is not the same as defining terms for others. The former has a basis in human history of communication the latter is a tactic a person can play. Apples and oranges.
    Yet, the list is a definition of terms. One that others are expected to accept as valid definitions and invalid tactics.
    Life is complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    I have no reason to change your considered opinion. If you find a need to change it, you might.


    A fellow by the name of Godel had some comments about the "rules" of argument.
    Is that Gödel? The mathematician? Can you provide a link to his work on the "rules" of argument?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    7. Alternative Truth (also, Alt Facts; Counterknowledge; Disinformation; Information Pollution): A newly-famous contemporary fallacy of logos rooted in postmodernism, denying the resilience of facts or truth as such. Writer Hannah Arendt, in her The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) warned that "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists." Journalist Leslie Grass (2017) writes in her Blog Reachoutrecovery.com, "Is there someone in your life who insists things happened that didn’t happen, or has a completely different version of events in which you have the facts? It’s a form of mind control and is very common among families dealing with substance and behavior problems." She suggests that such "Alternate Facts" work to "put you off balance," "control the story," and "make you think you're crazy," and she notes that "presenting alternate facts is the hallmark of untrustworthy people." The Alternative Truth fallacy is related to the Big Lie Technique. See also Gaslighting, Blind Loyalty, The Big Brain/Little Brain Fallacy, and Two Truths
    Hah! Told ya.

    And unsurprisingly, totalitarian tactics follow. Student strikes, speaker cancellations, shout-downs, all the little Johnny and Janey Maoist "cultural revolutionaries" come pouring up out of the sewers like angry rodents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    I have no reason to change your considered opinion. If you find a need to change it, you might.


    A fellow by the name of Godel had some comments about the "rules" of argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Is that Gödel? The mathematician? Can you provide a link to his work on the "rules" of argument?

    Maybe he's talking Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems?

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/g...ncompleteness/
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Maybe he's talking Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems?

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/g...ncompleteness/
    As far as I can tell, that applies to mathematical logic, not argument as in debate. Which is why I asked TLT for clarification.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    People are entitled to believe what they believe. With or without arguments.
    Bull S. They have duties as citizens to engage in rational discourse. When they choose to believe nonsense, it has consequences for others, for which they are responsible.

    Freedom of speech protects one from the government, not from criticism. That one has freedom of speech does not make one entitled to believe what one (chooses to) believe.

    This is the vulgar concept of "Freedom and democracy -- I'm free to be an idiot because I'm one of the people."
    Last edited by Osborne Russell; 08-07-2022 at 04:04 PM. Reason: You? One? They?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    This is the vulgar concept of "Freedom and democracy -- I'm free to be an idiot because I'm one of the people."
    Or, as the master list above puts it, fallacy #23

    The Bandwagon Fallacy (also, Argument from Common Sense, Argumentum ad Populum): The fallacy of arguing that because "everyone," "the people," or "the majority" (or someone in power who has widespread backing) supposedly thinks or does something, it must therefore be true and right. E.g., "Whether there actually is large scale voter fraud in America or not, many people now think there is and that makes it so." Sometimes also includes Lying with Statistics, e.g. “Over 75% of Americans believe that crooked Bob Hodiak is a thief, a liar and a pervert. There may not be any evidence, but for anyone with half a brain that conclusively proves that Crooked Bob should go to jail! Lock him up! Lock him up!” This is sometimes combined with the "Argumentum ad Baculum," e.g., "Like it or not, it's time to choose sides: Are you going to get on board the bandwagon with everyone else, or get crushed under the wheels as it goes by?" Or in the 2017 words of former White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, ""They should either get with the program or they can go," A contemporary digital form of the Bandwagon Fallacy is the Information Cascade, "in which people echo the opinions of others, usually online, even when their own opinions or exposure to information contradicts that opinion. When information cascades form a pattern, this pattern can begin to overpower later opinions by making it seem as if a consensus already exists." (Thanks to Teaching Tolerance for this definition!) See also Wisdom of the Crowd, and The Big Lie Technique. For the opposite of this fallacy see the Romantic Rebel fallacy.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    The link no longer works for me. Is it dead?
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    Only to Oregonians.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Only to Oregonians.
    Perfectly reasonable and understandable...
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    OP you might enjoy this college professors take on the fallacy which we all live.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-sr...festo.text.htm

    FEELINGS OF INFERIORITY
    10. By “feelings of inferiority” we mean not only inferiority feelings in the strict sense but a whole spectrum of related traits; low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self- hatred, etc. We argue that modern leftists tend to have some such feelings (possibly more or less repressed) and that these feelings are decisive in determining the direction of modern leftism.
    11. When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about him (or about groups with whom he identifies) we conclude that he has inferiority feelings or low self-esteem. This tendency is pronounced among minority rights activists, whether or not they belong to the minority groups whose rights they defend. They are hypersensitive about the words used to designate minorities and about anything that is said concerning minorities. The terms “negro,” “oriental,” “handicapped” or “chick” for an African, an Asian, a disabled person or a woman originally had no derogatory connotation. “Broad” and “chick” were merely the feminine equivalents of “guy,” “dude” or “fellow.” The negative connotations have been attached to these terms by the activists themselves. Some animal rights activists have gone so far as to reject the word “pet” and insist on its replacement by “animal companion.” Leftish anthropologists go to great lengths to avoid saying anything about primitive peoples that could conceivably be interpreted as negative. They want to replace the world “primitive” by “nonliterate.” They seem almost paranoid about anything that might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own. (We do not mean to imply that primitive cultures ARE inferior to ours. We merely point out the hypersensitivity of leftish anthropologists.)
    12. Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect” terminology are not the average black ghetto- dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any “oppressed” group but come from privileged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle- to upper-middle-class families.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    The link no longer works for me. Is it dead?

    Works for me.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    As far as I can tell, that applies to mathematical logic, not argument as in debate. Which is why I asked TLT for clarification.
    Logic does seem to be the core of argument. So it does apply.

    For those unfamiliar with the consequences of the theorem:

    Any argument, discussion, or debate can be phrased as a logical statement. There are 4 possible results:

    A position can be proven TRUE and NOT FALSE.
    A position can be proven FALSE and NOT TRUE.
    A position can be proven both TRUE and FALSE.
    A position can be proven neither TRUE nor FALSE.

    You might notice that it is not sufficient to prove a position is TRUE or FALSE. You must also prove that it is NOT FALSE or NOT TRUE, respectively.

    But most discussions of substance end up with the last 2 results. That is why high school debate is usually preceded by the modifier "persuasive".
    Life is complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    Logic does seem to be the core of argument. So it does apply.

    For those unfamiliar with the consequences of the theorem:

    Any argument, discussion, or debate can be phrased as a logical statement. There are 4 possible results:

    A position can be proven TRUE and NOT FALSE.
    A position can be proven FALSE and NOT TRUE.
    A position can be proven both TRUE and FALSE.
    A position can be proven neither TRUE nor FALSE.

    You might notice that it is not sufficient to prove a position is TRUE or FALSE. You must also prove that it is NOT FALSE or NOT TRUE, respectively.

    But most discussions of substance end up with the last 2 results. That is why high school debate is usually preceded by the modifier "persuasive".
    I think that this proves that your position is NOT TRUE.
    Gödel’s incompleteness theorems are among the most important results in modern logic. These discoveries revolutionized the understanding of mathematics and logic, and had dramatic implications for the philosophy of mathematics. There have also been attempts to apply them in other fields of philosophy, but the legitimacy of many such applications is much more controversial.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/g...ncompleteness/
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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Another nicely annotated list of fallacies --

    https://cf.linnbenton.edu/artcom/eng...0Fallacies.pdf
    David G
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    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    The post isn’t a list of entitlements
    It is for some, sadly.
    Rick

    Lean and nosey like a ferret

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    82,534

    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    ^^^^
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Kitty Hawk, NC
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    11,894

    Default Re: Fallacies: A Useful Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I think that this proves that your position is NOT TRUE.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/g...ncompleteness/
    I believe the paper is saying that the logic of common discussions is so poorly structured that there is little to no truth. Just persuasion.

    One consequence of my position being NOT TRUE would be that whatever logic is used in common discussions should be used in math. That would avoid the nasty effects of contradiction and undecidability.

    I can give an example of proofs of a statement being both true and false. A popular comment about the stock market is that the recent bear market in the S&P500 has disrupted the lives of recent retirees. The comment is both true and false.

    I will ignore the true proof as it is likely you believe the popular press. I even believe their comment is true.

    I will sketch a proof of the false case. Recent retirees have saved for a long time. And had they invested in the S&P500 they received at least 10% return for any 30 year period that their money was invested for. That includes periods ending this year. In fact, any time period of longer than 3 years 7 months (a convenient point in my records) ending in any month this year produced at least 10%. For you to object to such a proof you would have to make a claim that 10% is not a reasonable long term return from the S&P500. (I am putting words in your mouth.) Records at https://dqydj.com/sp-500-return-calculator/ would indicate 10% is reasonable. I think that merits a QED.

    I could do a proof of election fraud in the presidential election. I will admit to a proof of no fraud.

    A proof of fraud goes into the gerrymandering and election rule writing by both parties with the intent of dividing up elected positions between the major parties with the maximum disadvantage to any other party. It might continue into the political duopoly that shares common goals that do not reflect the goals of the the majority of the voters. It is about time for me to go out into the weather and do some work. You will need to fill in the details to your satisfaction. I expect you could watch some youtube videos on the topic.
    Life is complex.

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