Tag Archives: logic

Correlation-Causation Fallacy Watch: Packers Lost Sunday Because Casey’s Stupid Sister, Megan, Told Her to Put Sparkles on Her Nails

_____ What strikes me about this clip (apart from its humor) is Casey’s fundamentally religious intuition: the reason the Green Bay Packers lost to the New York Giants on Sunday is because the ritual guaranteeing success was not followed perfectly—with … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Fixation of Belief”: Charles Sanders Peirce’s Terrific Introduction to Critical Thinking

In 1877 the great scientist and logician, Charles Sanders Peirce, wrote a mercifully short, but not simplistic, essay for Popular Science Monthly titled, “The Fixation of Belief.” It’s a stunner. I stumbled across it in a 1964 anthology of philosophy essays, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Critical Thinking Tip #7: Try Using Aristotle’s Method of Definition to Get a Handle on What You’re Pondering

Critical thinking gets turbo-charged wherever terms are clearly defined. And it was Aristotle who first noticed that, if a definition is to be any good, it should say something general and something specific. Aristotle designated these two components the genus and diaphora … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is a Human, Really? Thinking about Definition via Aristotle

If your definition of a word is to be any good, Aristotle was the first to notice that it should say something general and something specific. Aristotle designated these two components the genus and species of a definition. Thus you might … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Correlation or Causation? Did the Internet Cause Jared Loughner?

It’s amusing how, when those on the right find their political ox is being gored, that they are, all of a sudden, highly attentive critical thinkers attuned to every hint of a lurking correlation-causation fallacy (as in “Sarah Palin’s gun rhetoric caused Jared Loughner’s gun usage”). Given their logical … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Richard Dawkins v. William Lane Craig: Do You Second That Emotion?

This video rather cleverly (and, I think, fairly) catches out Richard Dawkins evading the substance of William Lane Craig’s debating points, substituting them with the straw man argument that Craig is making merely emotional appeals: And here’s Smokey Robinson (which … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Thirteen Missing Explanatory Links in the Atheist v. Theist Debate

Below I offer what I would call “the thirteen missing explanatory links” in the atheist v. theist debate. To my mind they constitute the most intractable problems for anyone trying to arrive at some sort of worldview coherence (whether you … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

To boldly go where no critical thinker has gone before?

This Tech Talk podcast, posted yesterday at the New York Times, sounds interesting: In this week’s New York Times Tech Talk podcast, J.D. Biersdorfer talks to Nancy Hill of the University of Texas at El Paso about lessons from “Star Trek.” … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Tend to Come at Issues

My habit (though I’m not always consistent about this) is to look for diamonds in the rough of ideas, even apparently bad ideas. And I find that this sometimes gets me in trouble with some readers of this blog. For example, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carl Sagan Looks Like an Alien and Wants Us to Believe That There are No Aliens Visiting Earth. Shouldn’t That Tell You Something?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Blogging UFOs: The UFO Hypothesis (and Tom Cruise) on Trial

These past few weeks, as I’ve thought about UFOs as a phenomenon, I’ve found myself confused, going back and forth between the value of testimony v. the value of expert scientific opinion, and then it occurred to me: Juries frequently encounter the exact same dilemma. In … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

OXYMORON Watch: Can a Mystic ALSO BE an AGNOSTIC?

Do you suppose it’s possible to be an agnostic and a mystic at the same time? I don’t necessarily have an answer for this question, I’m just asking. If a person says that reality is not contained by strictly scientific … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Near This, Know That”: The Sarah Palin Logical Fallacy Watch

Jimmy Kimmel: “John McCain showed up without running mate Sarah Palin, which is a shame because she actually has a lot of experience with financial matters. You know, she lives right next to a bank.” See a full definition of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Near This (Russia) Therefore Know That (Foreign Policy): The Sarah Palin Logical Fallacy

For the 2008 election season, I hereby propose that a new informal fallacy be added to all college textbooks devoted to philosophy, composition, rhetoric, propaganda studies, and law: “The Sarah Palin logical fallacy,” or simply “The Palin fallacy.” It can … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Pew Poll: Live and Let Live Evangelicals?

A new Pew Poll contains what some might regard as a startling finding: 57% of evangelicals say many religions can lead to eternal life. Given that one of the most important teachings of evangelical Christianity is that salvation comes ONLY … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Euripides’s “Bakkhai”: Is Dionysus Jesus?

Euripides’s “Bakkhai” is an extraordinary play, and functions on many fascinating levels. At one level it can be read as an indictment of rationalism, and a warning to the audience against atheism. Toward the beginning of the play, for example, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment