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Topics - EireEngineer

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Flat Earth Q&A / Clouds and UA
« on: April 10, 2012, 06:47:59 PM »
So with UA, how exactly do clouds stay up for observable periods?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / A Few New Logical Fallacies
« on: August 10, 2010, 05:59:04 AM »
Brian Dunning at the Skeptoid podcast and blog recently posted a few new examples of logical fallacies.  Several of these seem to be very relevant to some of the postings here:

Proof by Lack of Evidence

This one is big in the conspiracy theory world: The lack of evidence that would support their conspiracy theory is due to the evil coverup. Thus, the lack of evidence for the conspiracy is, in and of itself, evidence of the conspiracy.

    Bombo: "The passengers on Flight 93 were taken off the plane and executed by the government."
    Starling: "But there's no evidence of that."
    Bombo: "Exactly. That's how we know it for a fact."

There are certainly things in the world that are true but for which no evidence exists, but these are in the minority. If you want to be right more often than not, stick with what we can actually learn. If instead your standard is that anything that can't be disproven must therefore be true, like Russell's Teapot, you're one step away from delusional paranoia.

Levee seems to be a big fan of this one:
Appeal to Quantum Physics

This is a form of special pleading, a scientific-sounding way of claiming that the way your magical product or service works is beyond the customer's understanding; in this case, based on quantum physics. That sounds impressive, and who's qualified to argue? Certainly not the average layperson.

    Bombo: "Quantum physics explains why pressure points on the sole of your foot correspond with other parts of your anatomy."

Here's a tip. If you see or hear the phrase "quantum physics" mentioned in a context that is anything other than a scientific discussion of subatomic theory, raise your red flag. Someone is probably trying to hoodwink you by namedropping a science that they probably understand no better than your cat does.

Proof by Anecdote

Many people believe that their own experience trumps scientific evidence, and that merely relating that experience is sufficient to prove a given claim.

    Starling: "Every scientific test of magical energy bracelets shows that they have no effect whatsoever."
    Bombo: "But they work for me, therefore I know for a fact they're valid and that science is wrong."
Is Bombo's analysis of his own experience wrong? If it disagrees with well-performed controlled testing, then yes, he probably is wrong. Personal experiences are subject to influences, biases, preconceived notions, random variances, and are uncontrolled. Relating an anecdotal experience proves nothing.

And of course....we see quite a bit of this because very few of us are experts at anything relevant to the discussion lol:
Appeal to Lack of Authority

Authority has a reputation for being corrupt and inflexible, and this stereotype has been leveraged by some who assert that their own lack of authority somehow makes them a better authority.

    Starling might say of the 9/11 attacks: "Every reputable structural engineer understands how fire caused the Twin Towers to collapse."
    Bombo can reply: "I'm not an expert in engineering or anything, I'm just a regular guy asking questions."
    Starling: "We should listen to what the people who know what they're talking about have to say."
    Bombo: "Someone needs to stand up to these experts."

The idea that not knowing what you're talking about somehow makes you heroic or more reliable is incorrect. More likely, your lack of expertise simply makes you wrong.

Flat Earth General / Something For the Flat Earth crowd to try
« on: March 25, 2010, 05:12:57 PM »
I saw this on the news tonight. Maybe we can get Tom Bishop to do an experiment or two for once.,0,5393976.story

WEST YORKSHIRE, GREAT BRITAIN -- Putting NASA and its billion dollar budgets to shame, a British space enthusiast took amazing photos and video from space with just a few hundred dollars, a home camera and a balloon.

Robert Harrison spent a mere $747 dollars to take his photos and video from 22 miles above Earth's surface.

The results are stunning.

Flat Earth Debate / Flat Earth Theory is Officially Woo
« on: December 21, 2009, 04:59:08 PM »
Anyone who is familiar with the modern skeptical movement will recognize the term Woo-woo.  For those not familiar, it is the term that skeptics use as a generic for all manner of snake-oil, pseudo-science, and their ilk. Prime examples of woo? How about Suplementary, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine (acronym intentional). Astrology? Of course. Conspiracy theories.....definitely.

While Flat Earth may seem not to fit with the above list, all of them share some remarkable similarities.  All use logical fallacies to justify their existence.  All refuse to even look at the scientific evidence against them. And all of the above, FET included, have to rely on a conspiracy theory to maintain their viability. 

That being said, FET is just woo.

Flat Earth General / Something for the FE crowd
« on: November 14, 2009, 09:21:03 AM »
even four year olds can understand

The Lounge / God Wills it
« on: October 29, 2009, 03:20:05 PM »
Either that or "God Wills it"

Flat Earth Debate / Regarding the Photoelectric Suspension Theory..
« on: October 20, 2009, 06:00:57 PM »
So....if the sun and the moon are just big disks of metal then how come we can see very un-metal like behavior when we look at them through a telescope? A metal disk would not have craters with obvious signs of ejecta.  Nor would it have a corona, or giant flares of gass erupting from its surface.  I suppose sunspots are just spots of tarnish on the surface that are periodically cleaned off by the cosmic maid?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Occam's Razor
« on: October 17, 2009, 09:48:29 AM »
"Many people on the forum try to use Occam's Razor as a demonstration that the earth is round, which is silly as Occam's Razor has no logical basis, merely a basis of probability and possibility, which proves nothing.
However - I have been trying to think of occasions where Occam's Razor has been shown not to be valid and I can't think of any. Has anyone got any examples?"

Classic Strawman Logical Fallacy.  Occam's Razor is a tool for limiting probability sets, not as a sole demonstration of likelihood. The boiled down interpretation of this principle is that, all things being equal, the solution which is the simplest is generally the correct one.  It does not entirely exclude there being another answer, only states the general likelihood of an overly complex solution being correct.  If someone was using this interpretation as their only basis for argument, then they certainly would be incorrect.  However, the principle generally holds up in most circumstances just the same.

When looking at a problem with a multiplicity of answers, generally the one with the least amount of variability and complexity will be the correct one. The universe is an inherently chaotic system, and each level of complexity added to a theory induces a corresponding increase in this chaos.

Flat Earth Q&A / Retrograde motion of the planets?
« on: October 17, 2009, 09:02:42 AM »
How do FETs account for the retrograde motion of the planets?

Flat Earth Q&A / Sextants and Latitude
« on: October 17, 2009, 08:27:15 AM »
How do flat earthers explain the use of sextants (much less the operation of GPS) to tell position?

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