This is Skeptico's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Skeptico's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Skeptico
Recent Activity
Kendra: Thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned rebuttal. It's given us all much food for thought.
1 reply
You're right Sean - I really spaced on this one. I think I was reading an article at Salon, and followed a link to Linker's article at The Week. I then wrote Slate instead of Salon. Quite a mess up on my part. I must be out of practice or something. Anyway, I just re-wrote the bits that were in error, and removed all erroneous references to Slate. Thanks for pointing it out.
1 reply
There have been numerous anti-atheist articles popping up recently, mostly on Salon but elsewhere too. That’s their right, but you would think they would at least limit their articles to well argued ones. Or at least exclude arguments that have... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2014 at Skeptico
11
As JustinM noted above, the Seralini study is being withdrawn by the journal that published it. I have just written a new post to cover this: Seralini Study Withdrawn – Should Never Have Been Published. I am closing comments to this post. To comment on the Seralini study please click the link above to the new post.
Toggle Commented Dec 1, 2013 on The Seralini Rule at Skeptico
1 reply
That abysmal Seralini study of rats fed on GMO grain is at last being withdrawn by its publisher. Junk science like this should never have been published in the first place, but better late than never (marginally). The reason given... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2013 at Skeptico
The Seralini study has been proven correct. The science behind the study has been proven correct. These are just arguments by assertion, not backed by facts. I listed the flaws in the study, you haven’t demonstrated that any of these are not flaws. The EU has agreed and many scientists(200+) have signed on and endorsed the study as correct. Again, just arguments by assertion. And listing numbers of “scientists” who support something does not mean that it is true. That is what is known as an argument from authority – a logical fallacy. The name of your blog say's it all skeptico. This appears to be some sort of attempt to discredit my arguments by ridiculing the screen name. This is what is known as an ad hominem which is another logical fallacy. if there was not so much pushback from big agro/media and the supposedly scientific/conflict of interest from the pundits of the seralini study it would probably be shocking to the general public to know the truth, the mainstream media was quick to say flawed yet i have yet to see any retractions let alone news articles including this site that show seralini has been vindicated, Not sure what you are trying to say here, it was so muddled. But Seralini has not been “vindicated” so you are wrong again. so do your homework and try to be intelligent, and you will not come across as the national enquirer of science. You haven’t demonstrated one thing that was wrong in my post, or in the detailed rebuttals from the many scientists I cited, so clearly you are the one who needs to do his homework. For example, you need to explain how in a study of 200 rats, only 20 is an acceptable control group. Explain how no blinding is acceptable. Do your homework if you want to comment here again.
Toggle Commented Nov 23, 2013 on The Seralini Rule at Skeptico
1 reply
Merriam-Webster's second definition of "understand" defines the term as "to accept as a fact or truth or regard as plausible without utter certainty." Of course there are other definitions. But the one you want people to think of is "know" and and an "agreed fact." It's sneaky, but fortunately so transparent that anyone can see what you're doing. The rest of your comment was the usual sophistry that we've dealt with before. You still can't prove the existence of god using logic alone and so yes the debate is over.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
You will recall that I stated: "BELIEVERS like myself understand the necessary, uncaused cause to be God." The term "believer" means one who believes. Yes, believes – without evidence, yet you believe it anyway. I understood perfectly. The other thing I understood is that you cover up this unjustified belief with the word “understand.” Now “understand” has several definitions: 1.To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of; grasp. 2. To know thoroughly by close contact or long experience with: That teacher understands children. [snip] 7. To accept (something) as an agreed fact: It is understood that the fee will be 50 dollars. To know, to accept as an agreed fact. These are the subtle meanings you are trying to sneak in and get accepted, without of course directly stating them (because then it would be clear what you are doing). You are trying to cover up the fact that this is just an unjustified belief, with your use of the word “understand.” This seems to be a favorite trick of yours. But it’s just sophistry. And quite transparent. (This doesn't reveal a cover up. It simply reveals that your reading comprehension skills leave something to be desired.) On the contrary, I have just shown that my reading comprehension is fine. I comprehended exactly what you were doing. Nice try. Correction! I argued that that is was an "UNCAUSED cause," not merely a "cause." (And I will remind you, that you agreed my argument was valid.) On the contrary, I agreed “for the sake of the discussion, let’s say you are correct…” You see, I had grown tired of your continued refusal to get to the point and was agreeing to your point for the sake of argument, to see where you would go with it (although I already knew in reality, I wanted you to present your argument). That’s what “for the sake of the discussion” means. It seems you are the one with reading comprehension difficulties. The explanation that "everything is popping into existence uncaused" does sound like a magical explanation to me. I don't know how else you would characterize that. Mystical, maybe? Or just something we don’t understand yet. And won’t make up explanations the way you do. "The idea that an electron...by its own free decision chooses the moment and direction in which it wants to eject is intolerable to me. If that is so, I'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk in a gambling casino than a physicist." - Albert Einstein (source: pg. 574, "Albert Einstein" by Albrecht Fölsing, translated by Ewald Osers) Argument from authority now? For someone who thinks he is not logically challenged you sure do rely on logical fallacies a lot.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Alastair: Believers like myself understand the necessary, uncaused cause to be God. Sorry to tell you this Mr. not-at-all-logically-challenged, but you understand nothing. You say you ‘understand’ it is god, but this is just a semantic diversion to cover up the reality, which is that you just choose to believe it is god. (Calling it an ‘understanding’ rather than just a belief does not make it any more credible and doesn’t make it true.) You believe it’s god because you started off believing it was god. But you have no facts evidence or logic to show it is god. As I’ve explained at least twice, if we don’t know the explanation for something, you don’t get to say ‘it’s god’ – that is just the basic argument from ignorance fallacy. If we don’t know the explanation for something, then we just don’t know the explanation yet. But I note that you do now at least accept that this is just a belief, not based on anything more solid (such as facts, evidence or even logic). What a lot of unnecessary effort to get to that conclusion. But skeptics like yourself now know that they owe their existence to a necessary, uncaused cause because it can be logically demonstrated to them. Vacuous drivel. All you are saying, all you have ever said, is that something must have caused all the things we observe because the universe couldn’t have just popped into existence by itself. All the tortured posts (26 by my rough count) where you were determined to steer the discussion towards the specific words “necessary,” “uncaused” and “causes all other contingent things” that you have learned somewhere will suit your conclusion, as though these words were magic talismans. And yet all it boils down to is ‘something must have caused all the things we observe.’ Doesn’t sound so convincing without the magic words now though does it? It sounds even less convincing when you realize you are just talking about the thing that made the things for which there is no known maker. Your conclusion is mere sophistry, just like Alvin Plantinga’s articles that you came here to defend, (unsuccessfully). In fact, you have just confirmed that all you have is: God is defined as that which must exist. That which must exist exists. Therefore, God exists! And no, you cannot define anything else as that which must exist. You just can’t, that’s why not. Which is where we started. But thanks for your interest.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
No idea. What do you call it? (Although I think we all know what Alastair is going to call it.)
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Well, it would appear that you're not an intellectually honest person because you are still not responding to my argument. Yes I have. Numerous times. You keep ignoring what I say. My argument is: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." And what I keep saying is, so what? And you keep ignoring the question. OK, something must be necessary. So what does that have to do with my post? What does it have to do with Plantinga's argument? What is your point? This is absolutely your last chance. What does "Something must be necessary" have to do with my post? What is your point? Answer the fucking question. And, to be crystal clear, if you reply by repeating again "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent" I will delete your comment and ban you.
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
You're not throwing me a bone; you're vainly attempting to "save face" because you KNOW that my argument is logically valid and therefore correct. Boy, you are full of yourself. And also wrong. First, you need to stop telling me what I am thinking. I have stated clearly that just because your argument may be logically valid, that does not mean it is correct. The intellectually honest person tries to understand and respond to the other person's actual argument, not the made up one that you respond to. Second, I am trying to get you to state the point (assuming you have one) of all this verbiage. So, every contingent thing that comes into being owes its existence to something that causes it to come into being. But this cannot be merely another contingent thing. Ultimately it must be something that is necessary, something that is uncaused which causes all other contingent things to come into being. SO WHAT?
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Well, if you don't truly know whether my argument is logically valid, then you obviously can't refute it. And if you can't refute it, then this debate is over. That's how it works. Duh! No, that’s not how it works. You haven’t offered any evidence that what you say is true, so your saying that this means therefore you are correct, is an argument from ignorance fallacy. Duh yourself. Speak for yourself. I'm not logically challenged like you. I do know. I know that my argument is logically valid in the same way I know that the mathematical statement "2 + 2 = 4" is logically valid. It's based on pure rationality, not empiricism. I know that something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent. Everything can't be contingent because that would imply an infinite regress - a logical fallacy. It may be logically valid but that doesn’t mean it is correct. You don’t know how the universe came into being and you can’t determine the universe came into being using logic alone. That is what you are missing. This is getting tiresome so (against my better judgment) I am going to throw you a bone. For the sake of the discussion, let’s say you are correct and something must be “necessary” as you put it. SO WHAT? Last chance to make clear what your point is with respect to Plantinga’s argument, which is the topic in hand. Get to the point.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
1) Once again, I don't know. Neither do you. Logic cannot give definitive answers to questions like this, especially when modern scientists disagree with you. 2) You already admitted you think this thing is god, from your Aquinas quote "...and this we understand to be God" so who do you think you are kidding?
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Alistair: Well, Darth Cynic certainly has your number. Let me try to explain the mistakes in your reasoning. Not that I expect you to listen – you dismissed Darth’s detailed post without considering it – but more of a summary for anyone else reading. Your first error is in what you say is a simple question – yes or no. Except it’s not as simple as your false dilemma would imply, because there is a third option you are not considering, namely “I don’t know.” You ignore this option despite my telling it to you at least twice. But “I don’t know” is a valid option. I don’t know, and the thing is, neither do you. I know you think you do, but you don’t; you’ve just decided you “know” something based on what seems correct logically. But you’re expecting too much from logic alone – for this kind of thing you need actual evidence, and you don’t have any. The second mistake you make, is the argument from ignorance, which is to assume that the thing you are talking about must be “god.” This is just such a hilariously basic error I find it hard to believe that people still rely on it. Even if you are correct and something is “necessary” you still don’t know what it is and you don’t get to say, ‘and it’s god.’ If we don’t know then we just don’t know and that is true even if you quote Thomas Aquinas, which is an appeal to authority (that’s three logical fallacies now – you’re really racking them up). So your argument fails spectacularly. Then I pointed out that modern physicists are saying that there is no “necessary” (as you insist on calling it) thing anyway. Now, I don’t know if that is true, and I’m not really qualified to evaluate the idea, but if you are going to ridicule what most current experts are saying on this subject, you had better have some good arguments to rebut their ideas, and (again) quoting Thomas Aquinas is not it. Also I did not “resort” to talking about uncaused anything, since (as you can see above) I had already refuted your arguments by exposing the three logical fallacies you are relying on. The modern physics contribution was just an additional reason you might like to consider that you could be wrong and can’t say for sure what is true, although please continue to tell your self you “won” the argument, if it makes you feel better. Yes, you “won” the argument when your opponent referenced what modern scientists are saying as opposed to what Thomas Aquinas thought. Very convincing victory. Anyway, you ignored my actual arguments and distorted one point (didn’t try to understand it but claimed I had “resorted” to it) and declared victory based on the distortion – so that would be a straw man argument – four logical fallacies now. So you’re done. One more thing. Do you want to know what really translates to "I can't refute your argument”? It would be this: I see nothing in your bloviated response that even begins to address it, let alone refutes it. …in response to Darth Cynic’s detailed 500 word deconstruction of your fallacious and dishonest debating style. No actual reasons why any of what Darth wrote was wrong, just pompous hand waving.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Alastair I keep asking you to come to the point but you refuse, instead preferring to play games. So at this point I’m just going to explain why the point I think you are really trying to get me to agree to, is wrong. 1) Just because there may need to be something that is not caused by something else, that does not mean that that thing must be “god.” To insist that would be an argument from ignorance fallacy. 2) If you read the work of any modern physicists (Victor Stenger has some good writing on this) you would know that things do pop into existence all the time without being caused by anything else (look up “quantum vacuum fluctuation”). So “god” is still not required. Unless you can now tell me what you think is the first cause (which is what you really mean by “necessary”) with evidence to support it, we are done.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
The point that I am making is a point that I have already made - namely, that "something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." So what?
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Counterargument to what? What point are you trying to make?
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
I first asked you: "What else would you define as that which must exist?" To which you replied: "Offhand, I can't think of anything." To which I replied: "Well, something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." That's the assumption (actually argument) that I made. "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." Yes, you did just assume that. Thanks for admitting it. Although you denied it before. But it’s an assumption – you have no reason to suppose it is necessarily true. And based on your most recent post, it would appear that you now agree with me...that something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent. I agreed no such thing. Don’t make up straw man positions that you think I must have and then get me to defend these made up positions. So, I ask the question again: "What else would you define as that which must exist?" And I repeat, I can’t think of anything. If you prefer, I don’t know the answer. You, however, do think that something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent, because you wrote above, and I quote: "Something must be necessary because everything can't be contingent." So I am going to ask you for a second (and believe me this will be the last) time, What else would you define as that which must exist? This is your argument, stop playing games and answer the question.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
No, I am not assuming that. That's why I asked the question: "What else would you define as that which must exist?" Ye you did. You said "Everything that you see is contingent." You're playing semantics. I'm going to ask you this just one time: What else would YOU define as that which must exist? And please tell us why.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Everything that you see is contingent (dependent on something else that is contingent). There's your mistake - you're just assuming that. (Everything can't be contingent or by definition there wouldn't be anything.)
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Alastair: Offhand, I can't think of anything.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on The Golden Woos #4 at Skeptico
1 reply
Victoria: I hope you don’t mind, but I removed your full email address from your screen name. Generally you don’t want your email address published. Anyway, to your points: I want to say that not enough research has been done on GMOs OK, then how much research should be done? As you’ll know from reading my post, there are already 600 studies (and counting) in the GENERA database, that show the safety of GM foods. Or if you prefer, 126 with independent funding. Is that not enough? If not then how many do you think we need? Please let us know. And please justify the number. I’m hearing this ‘there aren’t enough studies’ a lot from anti-GMO people. They never say how many they think are needed or what they would accept. I get the feeling that for many anti-GMO people there just is no amount that would convince them, they are anti-GMO no matter what the studies show. Which of course is why they never say want they would need to change their minds, because they never would. Also, they usually have an impossible standard – to demonstrate with certainty that no GMOs could ever cause any harm. This is impossible to do since it’s never possible to prove a universal negative. Their impossible standard combined with no specifics for how many studies would convince them, demonstrates they are not interested in studies (unless those studies show some harm in GMOs, in which case they are al for those studies). This shows they are not interested in facts or science, but are only interested in being anti-GMO no matter what. Perhaps you are not like that, Victoria, in which case please tell us what you think is needed. and if bugs wont eat them then we sure the fuck shouldn't. I have no idea what you are talking about here. Perhaps you could enlighten us, with some references. However, humans are not insects: what can harm a bug won’t necessarily harm us so the conclusion you draw is false.. Plus this whole we are out to feed the world bull shit that they state is a crock of shit. Well, I have never said we need GMOs to ‘feed the world’ and very few people do. My position is that we face many challenges with a growing world population (forecast to hit around 9B by 2040), and that we need all the tools in our toolbox to face that challenge. It makes no sense to shut out a whole category of food for unscientific reasons. Want a specific? Read how the Florida orange crop may be doomed without genetic engineering to protect it against a bacterium. That’s not ‘feeding the world’ but Florida farmers might think genetic engineering could be a benefit. The GMO-corn they are feeding the cattle in the US in one year could feed the world twice over for a year. If everyone in the world stopped eating meat then we would need much less land set aside for agriculture, it’s true. Not going to happen anytime soon though, so your point is moot. Diet soda fake sweeteners were banned for producing brain tumors They were? You can support that with a citation? Surely you can't be talking about these artificial sweeteners that are not banned and that are not associated with cancer risk in humans? So what are you talking about? And what does this have to do with GMOs? and Canola oil for leaving fatty deposits around organs and then scare tissue. Again, you can support that with a citation? And what does it have to do with GMOs? Once the government smells money they change reports to say "inconclusive" when it is a clear public hazard. The government changes the results of tests to protect its financial interests? You can support that with a citation? That’s a growing list of citations you need to provide. Your are an idiot if you think one tampered test means genetically mortified food is it. I never said this fraudulent test proves GMOs are safe, did I? The purpose of this post was to show that people who still quote this study, are not interested in the truth. But props to you for at least agreeing that the Seralini study is fraudulent. I thought you were a skeptic not a sellout So many things wrong with those nine words. First, read what a skeptic is: I apply critical thinking to truth claims. If there is no evidence that GMOs are dangerous, the skeptic doesn’t continue to say they are. Second, you are implying I have to be anti-GMO or a sellout. That’s a false dilemma – I can accept the safety of GMOs without being a sell out. Third – cheap sleazy low blow, Victoria. Please show that I am making money by having ‘sold out’ or withdraw that comment.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2013 on The Seralini Rule at Skeptico
1 reply
Blog Anti-NOM: Your links and comment above are a great example of cherry picking a small amount of information that you think supports your argument, while ignoring the larger data which does not. Your first link - the blog post - is to an opinion piece that distorts the EFSA guidelines to claim that they support Seralini. Your second link - Considerations on the applicability of OECD TG 453 to whole food/feed testing - to the actual FSA report, does not support the Seralini study. In fact, it does not mention Seralini at all. Here is the full report that you did not link. In particular: No support is given to the idea that only 20 controls in a study of 200 rats, would be enough. Nor does it support the idea that there should be no blinding. In fact the full report specifically states: “The study should be appropriately randomised and (where practical) blinded to ensure that the experiment is unbiased.” (Page 17.) You ignored that bit. With only 20 controls and no blinding, Seralini is dead in the water. The report does not mention Sprague-Dawley rats, and therefore the GM Watch article’s claim “…thus vindicating Seralini's use of the Sprague-Dawley rat” is simply not true. I agree that a study can be “exploratory” and doesn’t have to test a specific hypothesis. But if a study is exploratory (and you seem to be suggesting now that Seralini was exploratory) then you can’t draw conclusions from it. The purpose of an exploratory study is to develop a specific hypothesis that can then be tested in a follow up study. Make your mind up - if Seralini is exploratory then you can’t draw conclusions from it. The report does not condone the practice of cherry picking - ignoring negative results. The report does not agree with Seralini’s statistical methods - they are not mentioned at all. I also note that you ignore the EFSA’s actual specific comments on Seralini, namely: Séralini et al. study conclusions not supported by data. So you report that the EFSA’s new guidelines “validate” Seralini (although it does not discuss Seralini) and you ignore the specific EFSA report where they specifically states “Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Séralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards. And yet you conclude the EFSA validates Seralini. The blog article you linked is a perfect example of what I was talking about in my post - people like you aren’t interested in facts, but are only interested in pushing your anti-GMO conclusion that must be true no matter what. People who do this are not interested in science and there is no point in trying to engage them in any more debate. You are still desperately trying to agree with Seralini which means that you lost the debate and you’re done.
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2013 on The Seralini Rule at Skeptico
1 reply
Mike: I don't censor threads. But when on one person keeps repeating the same nonsense that has already been debunked, there comes a point when it has to stop. Also, I ban anyone who uses sock puppets. Such people aren't interested in genuine debate.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2013 on The Seralini Rule at Skeptico
1 reply