Ramblings on Fallacies

Here lately I have been somewhat focused on the how and the why our society has become so damn divided. I used to vote R at a time in my life. I did not disagree too much with the party message, being for the most part, this is America dammit! There is opportunity for us all, it is up to us to get out there, and seek it. So I did. And I prospered to some degree. It all seemed to make sense.

But there were also times I voted for a D. I never identified as a R or a D. I simply looked at what both sides had to offer and made my decisions at the voting booth accordingly. It never occurred to me it had to be an all one or the other concept. My brain just never worked that way. I always saw things are never black and white, there is always a gray area or exceptions to a rule or a norm, and I’ve seen the blinders on people who can only see either/or.

Well my personal position hasn’t really moved one way or the other really. I still try to look at all sides and form an opinion based on what I can see and hear. Over the years what really stands out to me is this. The R party, for all intents and purposes has lost it’s freaking mind! They have moved so far to the right, so far into crazytown, that my middle ground ass looks like a radical lefty. I think, for most of us with an ounce of critical thinking skill, we can effectively agree on this.

So, maybe we agree. Which begs the question, how the hell did this happen? How did we get here?

My personal opinion, the answer is, the weaponization of right wing media, social media outlets (willingly or unwillingly) letting insanity run free, and last but not least, the people we share the world with. I have sort of been harping on logical fallacies of late. I’ll often link to the page of fallacies or insert a link to a specific fallacy as a response to a obvious fallacial argument. Which I know probably tends to make me look more like a prick than I’m comfortable with, but I feel like it is important for folks to understand these fallacies, primarily because they are the oft used tool in the toolkit of a lying, misleading, all out propaganda assault, on all good people. Once we become aware of what is being used against us, maybe we can learn to combat not just the big lie, but all of the rest of the lies and B.S. as well.

Politicians, media outlets, and people parroting what they have heard from these sources, have allowed, even encouraged, a long festering deep seated primal hate, that used to mostly hide under the bed, prosper in broad daylight. It feels to me like the divisiveness today is 1000x stronger than it was a few short years ago. I know myself, depite knowing darn well they can’t all be bad people, I find myself wanting to wall myself off from anyone that walks or talks like a R. Just because the B.S. has become so deep, and they are so embedded within it, I don’t want to be anywhere around these freaking people. I dont want to feel like that. I’m almost sure, that is the outcome, our professional liars in media and politics, are trying to take us to. And there we go, bleating the entire way…

With these things in mind, I did a search today, I found an interesting writeup by someone, I never caught the who, but this is a very well written look, at what I feel is much of the source of our social ills of the day. It is an eye opening look into fallacies, understanding them, and our own human failings, as to why we tend use these fallacies. Once people understand how they are being used against us, it is the way to find our way back, I hope, to a better world. Sadly the people who need it the most will balk at the thought they have ever been deceived, or wrong about anything. It takes a certain amount of open mindedness to open the door to introspect. So, those who need it the most will likely never consider it. But I do believe it is important for us to look at it from this angle.

I didn’t agree with everything there, it is a 10 part series, with lots of great quotes, and videos interspersed here and there to help drive a point home. But overall I liked it. I’m not real sure about the part encouraging folks to experiment with psychadelics, but I’ll have to try it first and get back to you. 😉 I’m also not sure about the premise of making anyone smarter, but it certainly has the potential to make people think. Which sometimes is a worthwhile investment.

I’d love to see your thoughts…

How to get Smarter: A guide to critical thinking, cognitive biases, and logical fallacies

I could not for the life of me get that link to embed. I kept getting told the site refused the request. But perhaps a copy and paste will work.

After I wrote this up, I went back and perused more on this guys site. (I’ve been exploring issues that could cause the link fail, changing settings, and even trying to use IE instead of my duck duck go/chrome, to no avail so this has been sitting in drafts for a day) Anyway… I saw a bit on astral projection there, that made me wince. Even though I did dabble with it when I was a kid. So, with that in mind it is possible for someone to post really good stuff and go over the deep end in places you did not see coming. I still feel like the place I’m sending my brave friends, is worth the trip.

Again, let me know your thoughts. It’s a long series, there’s no rush 🙂

Cranks, Kooks, and Crazies

The internet is a wonderful thing. Much of the worlds knowledge at our fingertips. Blogs and online hangouts a plenty. It is wide open spaces for anyone with a desire to learn or explore. The information age is great.

The misinformation age though not so much.

I just recently encounted an avid flat earther who is also very religious, probably a YEC. And very much a crank. What is a crank? My definition would be someone who holds very firm opposing belief in areas where the evidence/understanding of the topic at hand is pretty much settled. They hang on to these beliefs despite the tons of evidence that shows they are mistaken. Often they will become highly agitated, aggressive, and relentless in their attacks on anyone holding a more rational view. And they will never ever admit any possibility they could be in error. They cling to these erroneous beliefs like a dog with a ham bone and will snap at anyone that gets close. There are lots of topics available for your friendly neighborhood crank to take up, but I will focus on the flat earth today.

The flat earth claim is a non starter for most of us. We already have a good understanding of the spherical shape of our planet based on many areas of study and evidence galore supporting the fact our earth is a sphere. Now the crank will handily dismiss this evidence. They will proclaim we have bought into the BIG LIE, we have been duped, deceived, NASA is in on the coverup! Only they (the crank) know the truth!

Now I encounterd my crank on Nans blog, (hi Nan!) and I made no attempt to hide the fact I was incredulous to their claims. They latched onto me like a dog with a ham bone and have been leaving me some interesting posts (if you are into the pathology of a crank) on my blog. I put them in the trash where they belong, but will reproduce them here as an example of crankism. Here we go:

“Evidence based shell? What do you know about EVIDENCE?

Perhaps you have SEEN evidence that the earth walked a quarter mile to pick up a can of tuna………oh wait, you HEARD……………by others who ASSUMED………….who heard by others who SUPPOSED………..who agreed with others who ‘did the math……………….’ who pretended to ASSERT………that your so-called ball spins @ 1,040 mph, orbiting at an alleged 67,000 mph…………

………while not person has ONE drop of EVIDENCE…….but a thousand THEORIES……………that the earth is guilty of the highest crime.

You crack me up. Evidence. A man who disavows the Creator, pretending to speak of Design…………

Your so called evidence is about as useless as a dictionary without words.

Gotta love the immoveable foundations of the earth, founded upon the floods………….as sure as true science testifies, and as sure as the good book so eloquently says.” (end of comment)

First note the overuse of the caps and the extended ellipses. Now let’s look at the assertions. First an insult to get started, since my blog is titled Evidence Based Reality, what would I know of evidence? Then this: “Perhaps you have SEEN evidence that the earth walked a quarter mile to pick up a can of tuna” I have to admit I don’t even know where this nonsensical claim came from, I probably don’t want to know. When it comes to the mind of a crank you probably do not want to delve deeper by asking questions 🙂

Next we get to the heart of the matter, that the rotation of the earth on its axis at 1040 mph, and its trajectory around the sun, which is roughly moving on that trajectory at 67,000 mph, is all the BIG LIE!

Then let’s with a sweep of the hand, dismiss all of the good scientific evidence we have for a spherical earth with this: “while not person has ONE drop of EVIDENCE…….but a thousand THEORIES……………that the earth is guilty of the highest crime.”  Evidence is meaningless to a crank that has all of the answers don’t ya know?

Now this: “You crack me up. Evidence. A man who disavows the Creator, pretending to speak of Design” Again this one seems to be out in left field, as I do not speak of design, though I am an atheist. So we can give them a half right here.

Again a quick dismissal of the evidence with the hand wave: “Your so called evidence is about as useless as a dictionary without words.”

Finally a biblical reference with this: “Gotta love the immoveable foundations of the earth, founded upon the floods” I think when you start with the premise that your magic book is the end all be all source of facts, you have a flawed premise. One that requires the bending of reality to fit your preconceptions. I would posit that this behavior might be a key point, at the very core, of the emergence of a crank.

Now this: “as sure as true science testifies” Please note the assertion of the true science, but none forthcoming. Cranks have all of the true science, they just never have any to show you.

Now here is the other post retrieved from the trash, for your perusal:

Congrats digs. You have entered the realms of the hypocritical. You post about an alleged ‘globe,’ (global warming haha) then accuse someone of ‘derailing’ your post because you cannot with a straight face answer the criminal charges made by yourself.

Congrats. All atheists everywhere should be proud. Next stop: more shallow name calling, baseless nitwit comments, and a complete ignoring of what lies stare you in the face. Way to go, but its ok, I have ten thousand atheist clocks /i have cleaned in my basement, don’t need another rusty and broken one of yours. lol (end comment)

More of the same really. Insults, projection, the Big Lie, nonsensical claims of criminal charges, and finally a gross overestimation of their prowess. The hallmark of the crank. Note I did not name my crank. Most of you know who it is, I personally refuse to allow them any notoriety here. Although I don’t mind if it comes up in the comments.