May 2008

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An obvious question - How do you know the cascade is not a cascade?

David Schwartz

"1. You have never been sure you were right and later found out you were wrong."

Wow, you're back to the same broken argument. Just because you have sometimes though you were right and later found out you were wrong, it does not follow that some other conclusion which you think is right might be wrong.

Test your argument form. I once saw an animal and later found out it was a dog, therefore any animal I saw might be a dog. Nope. Sorry, but thanks for playing.

Tomi Itkonen

Just ignore the “Leave it to the experts" crowd. They do not add any value to the conversation.

It's as pointless as saying "Don't play soccer. Leave it to Beckham."


I'm a member of the DNRC, ergo, I must be right - I don't need your steenking tests!


politicians are a problem, but politics does serve a useful public service - as it allows you to easily identify a good chunk of people that you should avoid at all costs. Are politicians uniqely the only group of people that would fail all of your tests whilst thinking they had passed them?


[quote] You just don't need to strut around proudly like a child with a lizard he has stoned to death, showing it off to everyone. You're better than that. [/quote]

Y'know, I'm not sure that he is, anymore.

Matthew Kovich

A kid beat up for saying "Fuck God", who then shot four people and killed himself:

Both the murderer child and his persecutors must have been pretty sure they were right...


I like to leave certain things to experts: everything I don't care about and that doesn't affect me.

On the other hand, one can learn things from the experts. They may not always be right, but they generally know more than I do about a topic if I'm not an expert. That means that they can usually point me in directions I hadn't thought of before. Which sometimes means only that I'm going to get lost in some other forest of ignorance.

Opinions used to be a dime a dozen. Now, like bytes of computer storage, they're more like a dime a gross. And most opinions are grosser than gross, so who cares?

By the way, I agree and disagree with everything you said today...and yesterday...and...what the hell...tomorrow. Why not?

What? Me worry?

Your friend, AEN.


>1. You have never been sure you were right and later found out you were wrong.

Any human who can "pass" this test is either lying or just nuts... either way, they're well suited for a career as a politician.

Which is why I'm pretty sure you're wrong every time you think that any problem can be fixed by increasing the amount of money that is given to politicians.

Joshua Zambrano

I think each of us can say confidently we believe another person is wrong as a result of our experiences, logic, and other sources all working together to show us a clear picture that apparently shows an opposing view to be correct.

I don't, however, believe we should disrespect the views of others, which I think you're getting at, and which I completely agree with. I like the argument used by this guy, Canadian philosopher Michael Horner:

Among his other interesting points are:

-One case of a statement that is clearly wrong is saying "all religions can be equally right" since the laws of logic tell us mutually exclusive claims can not be equally true, and religions differ in their claims about various essentials such as whether there is a deity, who that is, how we reach him, etc. Obviously if someone contradicts the laws of logic in such a way they can be said to be wrong.

-Intolerance does not mean never disagreeing since the very word implies disagreement, as without disagreement there is no need to "tolerate" someone in the first place.

-True intolerance would seek to silence the views of others rather than simply disagreeing with them. It's a matter of refusing to hear out opposing views, as opposed to simply disagreeing with them that is the difference between intolerance and respectful disagreement.


I once heard it this way: "its not what you don't know that will hurt you. Its what you know, that ain't so..." :)


Oh, and gr8hands: thanks for the backup, particularly since you have already stated you did not agree with my argument as a whole.



Thanks, q. I'm really just trying to restate Scott's position, but I sacrificed entertainment value in the hope of providing clarity to all those who did not seem to understand Scott's post.


Bill Tkach

I think you only need to pass one test; Whether I am an expert in the field you are discussing. If that is, even though you might have a sound theory, it is very likely, me being an expert, that I can denounce it using my superior knowledge.

Or if I have ESP, I can tell if you are full of shit. I can also ask my spiritual guide what the answer REALLY is.

Powers of perception and logic can be fallible. Logic doesn't always work. Some things are just illogical, but true.

There are no truths, anyway, just differing levels of truth. The only valid truth is a truth that is defined true by it's meaning. For instance, all homosexuals are gay. Or all snakes are reptiles. Or all spinsters are unmarried.

This is the only thing I learned from Philosophy 101, Critical Thinking.


From stomper:
"Instead of asserting Scott is wrong, it would be better to assert that Scott has failed to prove his point, and then explain how he has failed..." This plus the fact that indeed on policy issues there no rights or wrongs, only opinions..

Nicely put dude! Its always a joy to read a clear, well stated piece of logic...


I really like pt 6 - I would love to meet someone who cd honestly acknowledge and be aware of what they don't know!

But re. pt 1, by that test I fail, and therefore if you were to tell me 2 + 2 = 5, I can't be sure you're wrong.. If I can't be sure that 2+2=5 i better quit my job as a banker! :)


tord -- you simply got it wrong. If someone had said "H2O is wet" you might have a point. But 'water' is H2O only in the liquid (and therefore wet) form. It is no longer 'water' if it is heated to become 'steam', or frozen to become 'ice' -- it's still H2O, but it isn't water.

Noah Vaile

You know i'm right because I said it.


I think most of your commenters don't pass test seven. Let alone any of the rest


Sorry, tord. I thought "water is wet" illustrated my point, precisely because it was a counterexample proposed by an earlier commenter. In context, I thought it was pretty clear that I meant water in its common sense, as distinguished from ice and steam. I suppose I could have spelled it out in more detail, but I didn't want to blather on.

Let me know if there's any further confusion I can clear up for you.


Brad Peirson

Dance, monkey, dance....


You missed :-

9. I ignore what ever is said and get on my soap box and make the same few points whatever the topic.

some confortably numb dude

to answer your question, yes :D

Ron Davison

Jacques Barzun tells this delightful little story about proof:

When the great Enlightenment philosopher Diderot was teaching Catherine the Great of Russia, he was confronted by “loutish courtiers [who] burst in on him front of the court and one said, ‘Sir, a + b / z = x. Therefore God exists. Reply!’ According to the report … Diderot was struck speechless. ”


I've read your blogs for awhile and I find them extremely thought provoking, entertaining, and most times a reasonable point of view. You make us think, which can be good or bad. i am reminded of the Kevin Costner character in Bull Durham who said, "Don't think. It'll only hurt the ballclub!"
Keep talking about the energy needs our immediate focus....

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