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Re: [skeptical] unfalsifiability clauses

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  • eric krieg
    I ve noticed paranormal claimants who effectively say, only believers experienced in this claim are qualified to speak about it . A similarly frustrating
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 11, 2001
      I've noticed paranormal claimants who effectively say, "only believers experienced in this claim are qualified to speak about it".

      A similarly frustrating claim is try the paranormal ability yourself, then you can prove it to yourself (my feeling is that a proper test involves an independent observer)

      There is a list of invalid reasoning syndromes including
      ad hominem - where you attack the person rather than the claim
      false dichotomy - where you wrongly imply only two solutions or explanations
      ad populum - where you imply something is true because it is widely believed.
      begging the question - where the question is not answered but restated
      post hoc ergo promptor hoc - where causation is imputed to something occurring before another.

      I think it would be nice if the general kinds of fallacies were taught in school as part of a
      critical thinking curricula

      Eric Krieg

      Thomas Robertson wrote:

      > Greetings from South Korea!
      > I've been suffering culture shock here in Korea, but it's not the Korean
      > culture I'm talking about. Rather, it's my own. Most of the other
      > English-speaking foreigners here whine over every little thing. Any
      > slightest real or imagined flaw which they see in a Korean person is
      > immediately magnified into a blanket generalization about the whole culture.
      > The foreign visitors may be superficial and ethnocentric enough to bring
      > homesickness on themselves the minute they get here, but they are clever
      > enough to incorporate an unfalsifiability clause into their chronic
      > bickering. Here's how it goes:
      > All foreigners in Korea are unhappy.
      > If a foreigner in Korea claims to be happy, that foreigner is merely trying
      > to compensate.
      > This has inspired me to make a collection of other unfalsifiability clauses:
      > According to Freud . . .
      > All dreams deal with wish fulfillment.
      > If you have an unpleasant dream, that is only because a "reversal" mechanism
      > sometimes comes into play.
      > According to Maslow . . .
      > Physical needs are sought before aesthetic and other intangible needs.
      > If you seek aesthetic and other intangible needs while your physical needs
      > are still frustrated, that is because you have "partial fulfillment" of your
      > physical needs.
      > a contribution from our theist friends . . .
      > God hears and answers prayer.
      > If your prayer is not answered, that can mean either of two things: you
      > didn't have enough faith, or it wasn't the will of God.
      > another contribution from our theist friends . . .
      > All Christians are good.
      > If you see a church-going person who isn't good, then that person is not a
      > true Christian.
      > sometimes addressed to a student . . .
      > You can make good grades if you study hard enough.
      > If you study hard and still don't make good grades, you either overworked or
      > you didn't study efficiently enough.
      > a prize item from the Aetherian cult . . .
      > Venus and Mars are inhabited.
      > If we probe those planets and find them uninhabited, that is because the
      > people there live on a higher "vibrational frequency."
      > All handicapped people are unhappy.
      > If a handicapped person seems jolly, then that is only because he or she is
      > merely trying to compensate.
      > Anyone can succeed in the Amway business.
      > If you haven't already succeeded in the Amway business, then keep
      > prospecting everyone you see, keep listening to motivational tapes, and keep
      > going to meetings, and you eventually will succeed.
      > That guy over there is a homosexual.
      > If he seeks the company of women, then that is either because he regards
      > women as his same-sex peers or he is merely trying to compensate.
      > That guy over there is a Communist.
      > If he admits it, that proves it. If he denies it, that proves it.
      > Any more contributions?
      > Thomas Robertson
      > http://www.pentatonika.com
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