Re: [skeptical] unfalsifiability clauses
- 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
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
> Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/