In my recent post about Bill Moyers and the anti-vaccine lunacy, I referred to the Straw Man Fallacy, which I’ve just added to my Logical Fallacy FAQ. I try to keep my FAQ to a few sentences (and I will add links to more complex descriptions of the fallacies), trying to make it easy to grasp the essence of the particular fallacy.
We frequently use the term “pseudoscience” to describe the ideology of certain groups: anti-vaccinationists, evolution deniers (creationists), global warming deniers, and almost anything in the areas of parapsychology, alternative medicine, and sasquatch. The science denialists (broadly defined as any group who rejects the scientific consensus on any subject without valid scientific support) always seem to be insulted by the word “pseudoscience” as if it’s a pejorative without foundation.Read More »Pseudoscience and the anti-vaccine lunacy
Recently, there has been a large uptick in interest about the so-called placebo effect, mostly from the complementary and alternative junk medicine (CAM) crowd. Evidently, they feel that being equivalent to doing nothing is good enough to be real. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Why Placebos Work Wonders, is indicative of this recent pro-placebo point-of-view. I’ve got other bones to pick with WSJ on global warming, but I’ll save that for another day.
What exactly is the placebo effect? The definition is often misused, implying some beneficial effect from a sugar pill or sham treatment. But in medicine, a placebo is actually a failure. If a new pharmaceutical, procedure or medical device shows no difference in efficacy compared to a placebo, then it is rejected. But the CAM-pushing herd thinks that proves its a success when one of its potions and lotions is equivalent to a placebo. What? A failure of a modality in evidence-based medicine is somehow converted into a successful product in the CAM world?Read More »How the placebo effect proves nothing and means nothing
In this blog, the term “logical fallacy” is used frequently to illustrate a logical or rational failure of a particular argument. There are several definitions of what constitutes a logical fallacy:
[pullquote]❝A logical fallacy is, roughly speaking, an error of reasoning. When someone adopts a position, or tries to persuade someone else to adopt a position, based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy.❞–Logical Fallacies[/pullquote]
[pullquote]❝An argument that sometimes fools human reasoning, but is not logically valid.❞–Fallacious Argument[/pullquote]
[pullquote]❝In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is usually an improper argumentation in reasoning resulting in a misconception or presumption. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure any logical argument.❞–Wikipedia[/pullquote]Read More »Logical fallacies Part 1-Anti-vaccination gang’s naturalistic fallacy
Pseudoscience pushing individuals can be likened to zombies. They have no brains, and their only goal in life is to eat the brains of those who don’t adhere to their position. The anti-vaccine crowd are my favorite zombies, because the… Read More »The Zombie Apocalypse or vaccine myths that won’t die
Rosa Rubicondior: Where Creationists Get Confused.. Creationists utilize numerous logical fallacies to either “disprove” evolution (using rhetoric and religious text) or to “prove” creationism. Usually, however, they stick with trying to showing how evolution is wrong, thereby, implying that creationism… Read More »Rosa Rubicondior: Where Creationists Get Confused.
This is my continuing multi-part discussion about how pseudoscience uses logical fallacies, strawman arguments, and other rhetoric to make its case, rather than real science. Just click on the links to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The… Read More »How pseudoscience makes its case. Part 4.
This is part of my ongoing discussion on how quacks use pseudoscience to push their myths and potions on the world. Part 1 discussed the scientific method, which allows us to objectively analyze the natural world. Part 2 discussed the… Read More »How pseudoscience makes its case. Part 3.
Recently, I discussed how science works. It’s not a belief. It’s not a random set of rules. It is a rational and logical process to determine cause and effect in the natural world. Pseudoscience, by its very nature, ignores the… Read More »How pseudoscience makes its case. Part 2.