Trust nobody?

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I’m officially sick of it. Stop linking to articles to make an argument for something that you believed with or without evidence. The line between information and propaganda is as faint as it has ever been.

I’m diarying a little here, and partly ranting. This would not pass peer review. I may also irritate some of my more liberally minded friends, but I hope that liberal though you may be, you will see that I have a point. I’m getting ever-wearier over the way people (and I’m even tempted to say “you young people,” such is the wearying effect) treat the notion of being informed. Being informed can now just mean that you’ve read a Buzzfeed article stating that all the research says X. You don’t have to think, it’s already packaged, with a dozen articles in the sidebar about how to fix everything that’s wrong with the world with “this one weird trick.” A while ago (maybe two months ago – in the age of education via social media, this is quite a long time) people (although in retrospect, people who advocate what they would call social liberalism) were passing around a link to just such an article. All the research, the enthusiastic writer told his readers, shows a clear link between spanking (i.e. as a form of punishment for children, you naughty readers) and mental illness later in life. Quick scan, existing beliefs reinforced, link shared, mission accomplished. I wonder if those who shared that link could even make it past this paragraph without rolling their eyes and declaring tl;dr. Continue reading “Trust nobody?”

Nuts and Bolts 009: Validity and Soundness

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“You make a valid point.” Have you ever heard anyone say this? When people say this they probably mean something like “you make a good point,” but when you enter the world of philosophy, you realise that the word “valid” is reserved for a different purpose. Similarly, in everyday speech when someone says “He has convinced me, because he made a valid argument,” they probably mean that someone has made a convincing argument. But in logic, the fact that an argument is valid certainly doesn’t indicate that it’s persuasive – or even good. Continue reading “Nuts and Bolts 009: Validity and Soundness”