General Sophistry

May 31, 2007

General Pace defends his underestimation of American casualties:

“When you take a look at the life of a nation and all that’s required to keep us free, we had more than 3,000 Americans murdered on 11 September, 2001. The number who have died, sacrificed themselves since that time is approaching that number,” (Source)

Too bad Socrates cannot skewer such idiocy.


Meme watch

May 30, 2007

Just because he praises logic, Al Gore must be a Vulcan.

Only Vulcans praise logic.
Al Gore praises logic.
∴ Al Gore is a Vulcan.

I guess that makes me a Vulcan, too. And Aristotle. And Frege.

google vulcan gore

conjecture: only morons disparage logic. 🙂

Morons on the March

May 29, 2007

There is nothing more dangerous than a conservative who invokes the name of God:

“God has spoken to me,” DeLay said. “I listen to God, and what I’ve heard is that I’m supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican party, and I think we shouldn’t be underestimated.” (Source)

Conservative ideology breeds fear and spreads ignorance. Beware.

Here’s a fun trick I learned from Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins: replace “God” with “Zeus” or “Gaia” and see how it sounds.


May 26, 2007

For the set of morons is not yet empty:

Three of 10 Republican presidential candidates said in a recent debate that they did not believe in evolution. (Source)

The clever do all things intelligently,
but the fool displays folly. (Prov 13:16)

Intelligent System Test

May 21, 2007

Meaningful questions get answers:

How old is Al Gore?

Stupid questions, on the other hand, do not:

When is the rapture?

Draw your own conclusions, for thinking will soon be a crime (evidence).

The Deification of Fallacy

May 18, 2007

or: Fox News praises Jerry Falwell.

In this clip I heard Hannity exhibit the following fallacies:

  • Appeal to Sentiment (You can’t criticize Falwell because it disrespects his family)
  • Appeal to Authority (You can’t criticize Falwell because of all the good he did)

Christopher Hitchens, in comparison, maintains his calm.

I imagine Fox news viewers probably can’t even define a fallacy. Maybe because they are all too busy beating their wives.

And I have to admit that I side with Hitchens: whenever a biggoted moron dies, I feel like celebrating. Considering how many biggoted morons remain—Falwell, Coulter, etc.—I predict that I will be a very happy man well into my old age.

Can Logic Rescue Democracy?

May 17, 2007

Al Gore seems to think so.

Why has America’s public discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned? Faith in the power of reason—the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power—remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault. (Source)

And why has America drifted from logic and reason? Because of soma in the form of television.

Watching TV, even when the shows are funny and provocative (like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Keith Olberman), is a passive act. You don’t think when you’re watching TV. And if you’re not thinking, you’re not much use to anyone.

As a counterpoint to Al Gore, consider Noam Chomsky, who holds the view that we live in a polyarchy, and not a democracy.

In the light of the state of the world today, I have been wondering how can one increase intelligence in the world.