Science and Other Drugs

….maybe a little less wrong….

Tag Archives: information

Logical Fallacies: The argument from silence

One of the principal reasons I moved away from fundamentalism was the overwhelming presence of fallacies. As a good Fundamentalist Homeschooler, I was taught to hunt down and identify fallacies as efficiently and ruthlessly as the heat-seeking missile shown below.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile uses an infrared heat-seeking module and a warhead that expands into a jagged spinning ring of metal death on impact. Image courtesy USAF.

Unfortunately, fundamentalism is home to some pretty egregious fallacies in its own right, ones that became rapidly apparent as I turned my abilities back on my own indoctrinated beliefs. Wait, why do we believe such-and-such? No good reason at all? Interesting.

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Sexism and specificity

Image courtesy NASA

This photo of the Crab Nebula shows a brilliant pulsar at the center. A tightly packed sphere of subatomic particles heavier than the Sun but smaller in size than New York City, it rotates thirty times each second, sweeping Earth with a beam of x-rays like clockwork. Initially, pulsars like this were thought to be communication from aliens due to the regularity of their pulses.

I’m a flight attendant; don’t call me a stewardess.

I’ll be the last person (okay, maybe not the last, but pretty far down on the list) to complain that people are too worked up over political correctness. But I was amused on my way to work today when I heard the radio DJ (who, apparently, ought to be referred to as a “radio personality”) talking about different names for different professions, and what tends to offend people. The dental hygienest who called in insisted on not being called a “dental assistant”; a nurse called in who was tired of the nurse/male nurse distinction; a lady firefighter complained about being called a “fireman”. It was a fairly substantial list.

And then one of the other guys in the studio who said he was a part-time server complained about being called a “waiter”.

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