Showing posts from 2017

Flat earth nonsense

Anybody who uses Twitter can come across flat earth proponents. I've engaged with a number of them and they seem to be really nice, misinformed, people. They generally commit the physics folly logical fallacy. That is, they don't understand physics, but talk about it anyway. This is, of course, a special case of the personal incredulity logical fallacy. Here follows a short list of concepts that can not be explained away by the flat earth "model". It's not an exhaustive list because that would be exhausting. Foucault Pendulum . The pendulum swings from one side to the other in a straight line, but the movement of the earth causes the floor to rotate with respect to it. Coriolis effect . The Coriolis effect explains the rotation of hurricanes and typhoons . Here's a cool video demonstration . Wallace's experiment . Also called the Bedford level experiment, is an experiment conducted by Alfred Russell Wallace on a straight, flat, canal. When eliminat

Interpreting the bible

Call me simple (most apologists call me simple, or worse), but I think there are three ways to look at the bible (or any other "holy" book). Either it's literally true, or it has got to be interpreted or there's an incomprehensible ontological argument I frankly don't understand. The, "it's literally true", argument is quite simplistic. It's quite wrong and it deserves all the ridicule in the world. But! It's a brave stance based on the actual historical way people looked at the bible. Once upon a time people believed that the cosmology of the bible (etc) was correct. Only after the advent of the scientific method has this view been reluctantly abandoned by most religious folks. The, "it has got to be interpreted", argument has several problems, in my opinion. For instance, nobody knows which interpretation is the correct one which explains the multiple denominations. Another problem is the cherry picking of parts of the bible t


" Scientism " means misusing the word " science ". You can misuse it either by calling something that can't be measured "scientific", or by claiming that something without sufficient supporting evidence is "scientific". It is a word that's thrown around by people who hardly know what it means and who certainly don't know what the word "science" means or what the scientific method is. "Scientism" is also a word used in philosophy to denote an excess of confidence in science, and has legitimate uses. However, the people who accuse others of "scientism" are not at all interested in philosophy. They are solely interested in delegitimizing the scientific method. They are anti-science . Period. Why are they against science? Is it because they are not scientifically literate? Do they have economic motivations? What worries me is the number of people that are anti-science. There's a war on science g

Formal logic

Genesis 1:1 * describes the following logic Informally Premise P1: God exists. Premise P2: If P1 then "the universe is as old as the earth**". Conclusion C1: The universe is as old as the earth. Formally P1 → C1, P1        C1 This form of logic is called Modus Ponens. The truth of C1 doesn't imply the truth of P1 because there may be other explanations for C1. Lets look at the following classical example Premise P3: It rains Premise P4: If P3 then "the streets are wet". Conclusion C2: The streets are wet There are other possible explanations for wet streets: A cleaning crew just passed, there were games with water, the dikes were broken, etc ... However, we can say that, if the streets are not wet then it doesn't rain. Formally P3 → C2, ¬C2        ¬P3 This form of logic is called Modus Tollens and is the inverse of Modus Ponens. To return to Genesis 1:1. C1 is false and Modus Tollens applies. P1 → C1, ¬C1        ¬