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 What's the best cure for "Stupid Buffoonery?"
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Landrew
New Member

44 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  09:11:48  Show Profile Send Landrew a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When someone claims to be a reincarnated Napoleon, (along with 344 others) or that they have returned from an enjoyable vacation on Venus, what's the best cure for them? Call the men in white coats?

When someone steadfastly claims that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that men and dinosaurs walked the earth together, should we show them more scientific research and geologic evidence?

I don't think dismissal and ridicule are going to work. When a college professor is fired for writing about Intelligent Design, I think it only martyrs them deeper in their cause, and men like Ben Stein can come along and heroify them in a film.

Education is the key? But they have their own system of education, finely crafted to attune each piece of evidence to the literal wording of the King James Bible. Creation Science, as it's called, was built starting with it's conclusions and working backwards. Shouldn't the reverse of the Scientific Method be called something other than a science?

Isn't the correct interpretation of the Scientific Method the real key to uncovering truth? I think even some serious theologians have even practiced it, and then run afoul of their religious brethren for doing so too diligently.

Perhaps if skeptics spent less time ridiculing and dismissing and more time actually practicing science, we might get to the bottom of so much nonsense a tiny bit faster.

God bless women, for without them there would be no cookies.

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  09:33:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You mentioned a professor being fired. Like it or not, if a professor is not doing his/her job, then generally, universities need to deal with that. If a professor is supposed to be teaching mainstream economics, and he is teaching Marxian economics instead, then he/she is not doing his/her job, whether or not you and I think they should have a class on Marxian economics. If a professor is supposed to be teaching science and is teaching Creationism, then why wouldn't they be fired if they refuse to do their job?

That's different than ridicule. We all have stupid ideas, so it's stupid to ridicule (too loudly) people with stupid ideas. If one doesn't think one holds stupid ideas, then that in and of itself is a stupid idea. That doesn't mean we don't ridicule the idea, or even the arrogance of the idea holder.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 03/12/2010 09:50:28
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  11:48:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"What's the best cure for "Stupid Buffoonery?""

Best? Death before they procreate.

Dismissal and ridicule may not always be the best approach.....but they sure make me feel better.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  12:30:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ricicule is a valuable tool. In instances where people deny virtually irrefutable evidence (age of the earth, evolution, an so on), why bother wasting my time trying to have a rational discussion? Since kicking them in the tender bits is mostly illegal, and probably unethical, verbal and written ridicule are the next best thing.

Because, seriously, if you think the earth is 6000 years old, there is no chance of you being convinced by rational agrument. I wouldn't waste my time trying.

As the saying goes, if rational arguments worked on religious people, there would be no religious people.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  14:13:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Landrew
Perhaps if skeptics spent less time ridiculing and dismissing and more time actually practicing science, we might get to the bottom of so much nonsense a tiny bit faster.

There is more science being done now than ever. What makes you think that doing even more will solve the problem?

I don't think dismissal and ridicule are going to work.

I don't think that only showing people evidence will work. In fact, it seems to me like it doesn't work a lot of the time. So... why not ridicule ridiculous notions from time to time?

Isn't the correct interpretation of the Scientific Method the real key to uncovering truth?

Well, it is the real key to uncover scientific understanding. Of course, some people reject such knowledge in the first place.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  14:30:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I, too, have to chime in for ridicule. (Hey, it's personal! ) In my opinion (sorry, Dude but I must use that word, lacking scientific evidence), ridicule is one of the most powerful, culture-changing weapons in the human armamentarium.

I'm unaware of any profs who've been fired for simply holding Creationist beliefs. I think it would be very wrong to fire an academic or a scientist for belief alone. But if a biology professor or teacher provides Creationist teachings in lieu of teaching the established science of evolutionary biology, he's not only not doing his job, he's teaching lies instead. He deserves to be let go for misfeasance.

Also, I think the threat that Ben Stein may attack institutions for firing bad professors is just silly. Stein, with "Expelled" has proved to be the veritable poster boy for back-firing Creationist FAIL. Bring him on for more laughs!

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  14:34:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem. Period.

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  14:38:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by dglas

Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem. Period.
You had me at "Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem," but you really nailed it down with that "Period."

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  15:21:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

Originally posted by dglas

Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem. Period.
You had me at "Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem," but you really nailed it down with that "Period."


Yeah? Well, *you* would say that!

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  15:28:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner
In my opinion (sorry, Dude but I must use that word, lacking scientific evidence)

You can always have an opinion for an ought. Having an opinion for an "is" is a different matter.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  15:47:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And yet the phrase "mistaken opinion" is meaningful. Everyone understands what it means.

I remember a thread in which someone insisted, despite all argument to the contrary, that if someone wanted to change a definition, they had to provide reasons for doing so.

This idea of opinion as not applying to statements of fact is a radical change in definition.

Provide reasons for this change.

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
Edited by - dglas on 03/12/2010 15:49:31
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  16:46:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by dglas

Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem. Period.


It seems as if you fail to comprehend what argumentum ad hominem is dglas. Ridicule could be that, but mostly it isn't.

Also, you are in the wrong thread for discussions about opinion.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  17:54:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by dglas

Originally posted by HalfMooner

Originally posted by dglas

Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem. Period.
You had me at "Ridicule is argumentum ad hominem," but you really nailed it down with that "Period."


Yeah? Well, *you* would say that!
Just my job here.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  18:08:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If an argument against someone's position begins and ends with personal ridicule, I think that is an objectionable type of ad hominem.

But if the argument the person gives reveals them to be a fool and/or liar, I think that person is fair game for derision. Some ad homs are more legitimate than others.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  18:22:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We've been over this dozens of times here. Name calling, abuse, ridicule, and derision alone are not argumentum ad hominem.

Saying "you're a retard!" is not ad hom.

Saying, "you're wrong, because you are retarded!" is an ad hom.


This is apparently a difficult distinction for people to grasp.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  19:07:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
dglas.....

This idea of opinion as not applying to statements of fact is a radical change in definition.
According to the definitions of the word, opinion may or may not apply to statements of fact. Opinion can be a number of different things. It is not necessarily a statement of fact.
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