Friday, August 19, 2005

My Brief Life On The Panda's Thumb

I made a comment a few weeks ago on The Panda’s Thumb. I was quickly attacked by a litany of ad hominem abusives, ad hominem circumstantials, encountered one of the very best examples of begging the question I have seen (I’ll probably use it as an example in the logic classes I teach in college), was sworn at, and so on. I found it very difficult simply to make one logical point and have it responded to (which was that a conclusion made by Nick Matzke did not logically follow from his premise).

So off we went chasing red herrings, swinging at straw men, and sliding down a great many slippery slopes. Now, in the untamed wild west of angry Darwinists where gunslingers take the laws of logic into their own hands, came macho threats, outright mockery, drooling guffawing, and whispered snickering. Everything but my mother was assaulted.

All of which began to produce a fog of sorts through which, I confess, it became hard to see the forest for the trees. Such is the net outcome when a fair portion of Patrick Hurley's 25 informal fallacies belch forth from The Saloon of Darwin.

Yet my brief life at The Panda’s Thumb gave me many wonderful new examples of informal logical fallacies to use in my teaching. As well as a number of clear non sequiturs and just plain poor logic. Yes, I do understand that il-logic is not the domain of Darwinists especially. All of us can and do miss the point, equivocate, and get vague. But illogic-with-a-vengeance seemed to predominate in the “discussion” I had. Which tells me that vitriolic fundamentalists are to be found wherever there are humans.