Ten Commandments of Debating and Logic

Via Chris Spinks. It has some typos, and awkwardly places the period before the end of the sentence (I have a lot of students who do that when ending with a parenthetical citation, too). But it still seems useful. [Read more…]

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Uncertainty is Uncomfortable

On a related note, Roger Olson had the following to say in a post on “The Problem of Irrational, Unteachable Christians”: Anti-intellectual obscurantism is a persistent problem among Christians. The ideal of the “holy fool” endures among us…People who appeal to belief against logic, who revel in irrationality, are unteachable. Nothing anyone says to them about [Read More…]

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To Engage or Not to Engage

I had been meaning to blog for a while about the question of whether it is worthwhile engaging with fringe views, whether those that are just barely represented within the academy, or those beyond its pale. It seems appropriate to return to the topic now, since Richard Carrier has offered two blog posts which react to [Read More…]

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The Best Thesis Defense

  I smiled when I saw the above XKCD cartoon on Facebook. But from a more serious side, despite the saying that “the best defense is a good offense,” that isn't true in the world of arguments and reasoning, whatever its validity may or may not be in the realm of sports. No matter how [Read More…]

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Creationism Debate: Ignoring the Ground Rules

Bob Cargill drew attention to this mash-up video, illustrating just how many of the issues raised long before in the Non-Stamp Collector video turned up again in Ken Ham’s part of the recent debate. Some young-earth creationist sites have lists of arguments that their adherents should not use. The problem is that the list of [Read More…]

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Have a Logical Holiday Season

I was surprised that, having come across this image recently (I added the words), it isn't the only image focused on Spock in a Christmas sweater. Here's one from Anubis-Admirer:   [Read more…]

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Vulcan Jesus

I came across this on Pinterest and thought I would share it – and not only because it is firmly at the intersection between religion and science fiction. Spock was arguably the most openly religious character on the Enterprise – he had rituals and practices of a sort that no other crewmember was shown to [Read More…]

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Ad Hominem

Regular commenter Ian said the following, which made an important point clearly and succinctly, and so I wanted to share it. He wrote: Being shown in detail that you’re wrong is often confused for a personal attack. I have heard so many people, when presented with counter-evidence to their views, complained that the person criticizing [Read More…]

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So You Want To Have a Discussion…

A Facebook friend shared both the image above and the one below. It is one of the things I love about this blog that most commenters approach discussion here according to these guidelines. I am not so strict as to make rules of this sort, but there is an ideal standard that most here share [Read More…]

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Jedi Mind Meld

OK, from a political perspective as well as that of science fiction fandom, is this a gaffe, as some have claimed? I do not think so. The poster gets the fonts right for the Star Wars and Star Trek references. And so I think there is a deliberate use of science fiction's greatest example of [Read More…]

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Review of Richard C. Carrier, Proving History

I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to review Richard Carrier’s latest book, Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. I am grateful to Prometheus Books for sending me a free review copy. Carrier emphasizes from the outset that this is the first of two books, the second of [Read More…]

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