Friday, June 27, 2008

funny comics

the average voter

Scott Hagaman has an interesting post on the average voter - the most interesting part is a quote from Caplan

The average voter is an irrational nutjob when it comes to her political beliefs. Caplan also provides a plausible explanation for this. Having irrational political beliefs doesn't cost the average voter much. If you have irrational beliefs about how your wife treats other men in your bedroom, you stand to lose quite a bit. But holding the irrational belief that McCain is fit for public office doesn't cost people very much (unless, perhaps, all their friends are rational). As Caplan puts it:

In a sense, then, there is a method to the average voter’s madness. Even when his views are completely wrong, he gets the psychological benefit of emotionally appealing political beliefs at a bargain price. No wonder he buys in bulk.

Sadly true....

he then says
This will, for a variety of reasons, call into question Schwitzgebel's overcommon assumption - which I find absolutely absurd - that voting is a duty. But I suspect he disagrees with several of the claims I've made.

I think, not to put words in his mouth, Eric would actually agree that voters are irrational in this sense. Just for the purposes of his experiment he is willing to package being informed/uninformed/willfulness in relation to being informed and voting all together and assume that one should expect of a professor of ethics "willfully informed and voting".

And that the assumption takes the form of "at least enough that the experiment provides some indication of morality" and together with all the other experiments provides strong evidence for morality/lack of morality. Possibly these assumptions are in error but seem tolerable as long as they are stated in the conclusion of the paper or are supported by literary review.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Continued from previou posts

As a reflective agent, to truly believe something you must consider it to be epistemically superior to its negation. You must therefore hold that anyone who believes otherwise is ipso facto your epistemic inferior in this respect.

I have issues with
1) 'must'
on threat of what?*


2) 'superior to its negation'
does that mean if there is no theory that covers more than 50% I can't believe anything? I am thinking here of fundamental theories that underly all other ideas - such that you would have to totally revamp your world view to switch from one to another. An example might be an ethical theory on which one (as a highly rational agent) might have built 'rules for living one's life'.

*I guess a certain sort of rationality is hidden in the term "reflective agent"?

Meta Coherence

On the issue of meta coherence raised by Richard Chappell
As a reflective agent, to truly believe something you must consider it to be epistemically superior to its negation. You must therefore hold that anyone who believes otherwise is ipso facto your epistemic inferior in this respect.

clark makes the interesting comment
1. On fundamental issues I don’t think arguments are justified.
2. You say I should not believe when I don’t have sufficient justification.
3. Therefore I should not believe any of the fundamental issues in philosophy.
4. Fundamental issues in philosophy determine higher order justification.
5. Therefore I shouldn’t believe higher order beliefs. (Such as whether there is a cup in front of me)
6. Therefore your reasoning leads to pyrrhonic disbelief.
7. (6) is ludicrous therefore I call (2) into question

I have to say I'm sympathetic to Clark

the point Richard disputes is (1) and I am unsure if I agree on Clark there BUT I USED to believe it AND I am unsure if I don't think could defend it with logic which raises the circular issue of Richard's own argument arguing that I should not believe it!

I don't particularly like the idea of appeals to ludicrousness so I'd phrase it more in terms of "this view is completely impractical, and is based on a misconception of what 'belief' is.
I definitely believe some things that are not rationally justified and I see no contradiction there. It is also 'rational' for me to value something like 'having useful beliefs' such as alternatives to radical skepticism while recognizing that radical skepticism MAY be the best supported argument via evidence. that is because like with Pascal's wager - there is hardly anything to be gained by being right about radical skepticism while it is useful to be right about some other theories.

Why should we worship god?

Firstly I am thinking of a god who has the full set of "Omni"s
Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient and omni-benevolent.
Richard brown suggests the following options
1. Because God is all-powerful!!! He could destroy you in a micro-second or banish you to an eternity of pain and torture…so you had better worship Him or you’re screwed!!
which he rejects because it is not a reason because
This answer makes God out to be a petty tyrant and that is incompatible with the description of Him as all-knowing and all-loving.
2. Because God deserves it! He created this Universe just for us.
which he counters with the problem of evil in the world and by asking "why am I obligated to be grateful for a gift that I did not ask for?"
finaly he suggests
3. We should worship God because he commands us to do so!
which he counters with
‘what kind of God would command us to worship him?’ This seems sort of needy and insecure, something that I take to be at odds with the characterization of God as all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful.

My thoughts as to what would be defendable positions for why one should worship god are

1) god is ultimate good - so we should contemplate him and that the proper approach to contemplating ultimate good is worshiping, and that one who doesn't worship is less likely to be good.

still its easy to think of a person who worships and yet on the face of it is evil.

2) You should worship/thank him IF you are grateful for existing
still not clear why being ungrateful deserves punishment.

3) God has a perfect plan (which flows from being all loving and omniscient), any change you make to it no matter how well thought out will detract from that plan - part of that plan is that you worship him.

Now this might be valid - but that is partly because it is so vague.

So none of which I find compelling but all at first glance defendable.

Now considering this (regardless of whether you believe in god just assume he exists) is there a valid reason why you should be required to worship him? or why it would be valid to punish you for not worshiping him if he is omni everything?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Individualism and conservatism

Richard C argues against a point made by Bill Vallicella that individualism is inheritly related to conservatism. He counters that individualism is in fact it is the basis of his liberalism.

I have to agree with Richard here - In my experience conservatives are generally the group asking members of society to be productive members of society, and feeling frustrated when they are not. The liberals on the other hand often end up defending the anti-social people. Of course that takes a different spin when you go to the extreme like communism but on a day to day basis I don't meet many communists and I expect Bill doesn't either.

David Boaz however is attacking a more vulnerable target, although he does so with only one eye. Much as Richard might hate it it is highly likely that Obama is more into sacrifice for society and collectivism (even in a sense that could be considered abhorrent) than Richard, David or Bill, as with McCain. Why? because they are politicians. Politicians are almost always more authoritarain and collectivist than the peopel they rule becuase as decision makers they can assocaite more closely with
the state and it is their job to wondering about what a state should do, how it can fix problems via authority and how individuals prevent their idealized goals. And maybe that is how it should be, but I can see how average Joe who can't influence the state might get annoyed.


Two things that really annoy me about hte media these days.
One was an interview with a finance company I heard today, As far as I could tell the interview was entirely patsy questions, I would not be at all surprised if the company paid the radio station money to have the interview - and if they didn't then they at least got an agreement to ask only easy questions before turning up. Now maybe that finance company was a great finance company - but The interviewer could at least have asked something probing so that we could judge that.

the second was an even more common trick the radio stations pull. there was an interview regarding the English rugby sex scandal. The host cut to an 'expert' so they could ask him some questions about the scandal. This fellow then told them that he knew nothing. So we had a 5 minute or so 'story' where we learned that there was no story as yet.

Now I think this story is ridiculous (if the woman doesn't want to lay charges the police should let it go and so should the media), but maybe some people are interested. What annoys me however is that the radio station knew there were people interested and wanted to have a story - so they pretended they had new information even though they knew they didn't. To do this they used the (annoying at the best of times) trick of getting a 'expert' on to create a 'conversation'. That just feels like an insult to the public's intelligence.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Does god know Quantum mechanics

Richard asks the question "does god know about quantum mechanics?"
the argument goes like this

One of the strangest things that we have found out about it over the last thirty years or so is that if there is a way for us to know the path that the photon actually takes, and so determine which slit it actually travels through, then the interference pattern no longer manifests. What we get is ‘nothing but us particles down hir sir’. In Green’s book The Fabric of the Cosmos he details experiments he calls ‘quantuum erasures’ where they showed that what matters is whether someone could know the path taken by the photon. Tis is obviously extremely strange and anti-common sense, but it is a robust experimental finding. But now consider God. If He knows the path that the photon takes then it will not act like a wave. It will act like a particle. So from God’s point of view particle physics has to be correct. Since He is always holding the door of the refrigerator open, metaphorically speaking, the light inside will always be on. But this really reduces to the first option in claiming that God can’t have any direct knowledge of quantuum physics.

Sounds reasonable - but the problem is that that most modern physisists don't agree that this

what matters is whether someone could know the path taken by the photon.

is an accurate way to describe what is going on.

What IS going on is quite complex and its possible I don't have the writing skills to describe it in an eloquent way but...

The model proposed is an approximation as is any model I propose here - however some models are better than others. the former model is wrong in that
A) decoherence is caused not only by minds but by ANY complex system.
B) decoherence is a gradual change not something that is 'on" or "off"

First regarding A - Quantum mechanics refers to systems. So lets say a cat in a pefect box observes a light flash as a result of a photon movement - he makes that movement coherent in regard to himself but not me unless I open the box. Now I can still open the box and find the cat that observed the light flash or the one that didn't. It all depends on my perspective. This isn't all that strange, it is just some more relativity.

More scientifically - possible outcomes 'interfere' with each other if the resulting situations are similar. So if I fire a photon through a slit experiment the two possibilities have almost the minimum amount of difference and so there is a lot of interference between them. But if someone observes the evidence of the particle going through one slit as part of an experiment (prior to the photons hitting the target behind the slits) and he yells "it went through the left slit!" that creates a massive difference between the possible worlds. they cant interfere anymore because they are in a sense displaced from each other. The leading model to explain this is probably the 'multiple universe model' in this model every option is 'real' and much of what we consider magical about decoherence is related to how WE are being decohered in relation to the photons.

regarding B - decoherence is just a matter of how easily those worlds can interfere. Every 'world' interferes with every other - just some do so to an almost infinitely small degree because they are so dissimilar or because the options they represent are so unlikely.

So how does this relate to God? And under what situation would he cause decoherence in a photon?
Well first god would need to be able to be significantly different to what he is now. If that was not possible then there would be no decoherence as a result of him. That seems possible but is already at odds with theories that suggest he is by definition perfect.

Second - it needs to be possible to have a greater wave function than god - ie god plus the photon. again the sort of thin some theories might deny.

third - because decoherence relies to how different two possible worlds are he would need to be changed by the experiment. So God needs to be the sort of god that might for example be undesided whether to use Moses or Bob as his prophet, and then on observing a photon confirm that Moses is his man. Further this implies that the uncertain god is a decoherent mixture of possible gods. I don't think that matches with the usual perception of 'god' (although I'm not saying it is impossible).

Forth - god needs to be somehow locked into OUR universe for us to observe his decoherence. Just like the cat in the box unless god decoheres himself to us his decoherence of the photon doesn't matter to us. (in this case most theologists would probably suggest he IS decohered to us)

Simply - God has a number of special traits that mean I wouldn’t expect him to cause decoherence in accordance with modern quantum physics theory.

I expect the average theologist quantum physicist would go with the following

If there are multiple universes he sees them all, if there are not multiple universes that fact that there is only one possible god (in the sense of quantum physics) places God above quantum physics - so he see the world 'as it is' and doesn't observe/cause decoherence.

The Arrow of Time

I was watching this on blogging heads.

Here David Albert tackles he question of "why I can remember yesterday but not tomorow."

david separates it into
1) entropic processes - like why eggs become omlettes not the other way around.
2)epistemic asymetries - what you can know about the past, and the methods to find it out are different from what you can know about the future
3) we believe we can effect the future not past.

I think as usual the error is partly in the question.

First dealing with the big question - It is important to realize that we can't directly remember ALL of yesterday and even if I think I can I am probably very much mistaken. Memory is not a perfect tape recorder of what happened - it is an inference based on data points that we collected.
Now those data points can be used to construct an image of the future or of the past. But these images cant be equal because the latter is generally a more difficult task.

Of course even that depends on the time frame

close your eyes and imagine the room one second in the future, now do the same and imagine it twenty seconds in the past.

was the process you used very different? Which was more accurate?

Of course there remains a sense of difference between memories and inferences, at least in some cases, because my brain has evolved in the presence of entropy. Memories are (generally) stored differently than logical inferences. So if we are talking about time as something fundamental let's imagine a super computer instead of my brain.

The super computer takes information from the current state of it's memory and infers what the future and the past must be. Because the past is low entropy and the future high entropy the super computer can tell a lot more about the past - but how can you say what it knows about the past is any different in nature from what it knows about the future? (aside from it probably being more detailed).

In the light of that it is not a bad assumption (although far from a universal one) to think we can influence the indeterminate future and not the fairly well determined past.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wishful thinking

In the previous post I refered to Richard C's argument that it seems to be illegitimate in general to accuse people of rationalizing. In the previous post I highlighted the fact that many expert psychologists believe we rampantly engage in post hoc rationalization so it is reasonable to think it is just true (although not in every case). However here I want to address the more substantive issue of if it is legitimate in an ordinary argument to accuse the other side of post hoc rationalization.*

Whar Richard C has right is that people do often use the fact that post hoc rationalization might be going on (or might be common) to argue that the idea is false - that is invalid. that I might be biased towards believing 1+1=2 isnt proof agianst it. HOWEVER it is reason for me to recheck my postion for bias. If my position is based largely on intuition I might have to say that I should reduce by certainty in my position. That also marginally helps the other persons position because he may have reduced his certainty based on the fact that I disagreed with him.

So in spite of the fact that it does not directly undermine the position - it is still a potentially important part of the debate.

as to the substantive issue, a logical argument regarding wishful thinking is a reason to "check for bias" rather than "to throw out one argument". But it remains worth highlighting.

* Note how I use post hoc rationalization and Richard uses 'wishful thinking - this isn't just switching from layman's terminology - you can post hoc rationalize things you don't wish to be true, all that matters is that you became committed to it for a non rational reason.

Post hoc rationalization

In this post , the famous philosopher of mind, performs an experiment regarding WhetherEthicists and Political Philosophers Vote Less Often Than Other Philosophers.

Richard, makes an interesting post in Suspecting Wishful Thinking. Where he makes the good point
you would think the reasonable prior assumption would be to favour the experts over folk opinion in case of disagreement.

He then goes on to wonder why Eric isn't paying enough attention to his expert opinion.

However I think this applies better to his own position than Eric's. The key issue here seems to be the claim of expertise.

Eric's statement is
"I suspect that if, indeed, ethicists don't tend to consider voting a duty that may be post-hoc rationalization rather than genuine moral insight."

In the context of the experiment this is a psychological claim about ethical professors*. Now the next question is "is Richard an expert in that field? Well my assessment is that he probably is not.

Richard argues
Surely if anyone has reasons worth considering on a controversial moral question, it's going to be moral philosophers!
that would be true if this was a moral question - but it isn't. the moral question would be "is it right for philosophers to want to vote. But the question Richard is addressing from Eric's post is the completely different "is the effect suggested, if it exists, likely to be post hoc rationalization"

he then argues
It's curious how often people accuse each other of rationalizing, or holding a position "because they want to believe it" rather than because they have genuine reasons for thinking it true.

Well in this context it isn't nearly as curious. Rational psychologists, or people in related fields like Eric or myself, who have access to a literature full of millions of experiments can make that sort of decision based on that evidence. What evidence could Richard be calling to bear? obviously not an expertise in psychology.

Still he does have another option.

Richard could and probably is, claiming to be a data point - yes that is very weak evidence - but even there he runs into issues
1) Richard isn't a professor. Yes he is studying ethics, but being a professor is a relevant difference, i.e. it would be very unsurprising to find philosophy students have different voting habits to philosophy professors.
2) the very nature of post hoc rationalization is that you probably don't know your doing it under superficial analysis.

* I also read into this a statement as to what sort of thing Eric is considering 'genuine moral insight"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

impermissable debating I

It seems quite often on the internet we have debates where two peopel who have some knowledge of the literature repeat a much more sophisticated debate that was held in the literature.

An example of this would be the average internet debate regarding Zombies where the arguments of Dennett and Chalmers are repeated.

What tends to happen is each side pompously repeats the arguments that they found convincing ignoring any counter arguments from the other side that are not specifically raised in that debate. So what is the problem?

First, it seems to be on the face of it an inferior strategy - as soon as you throw the argument to the literature you can substitute your of the cuff theories for hundreds of well thought out arguments and direct the debate to the most productive areas.
Secondly, this part of the debate is a waste of air, at best - between equal opponents it amounts to wasting time reinventing the wheel, at worst there is a Locke (Ender's game) strategy going on here where one uses their superior knowledge of the literuature to debate dishonestly.

So a well read physicalist might argue - "the causal theory of reference disproves zombies." knpowing full well that Chalmers has a couple of defenses to that argument most obviously the denial of a causal theory of reference. But an uneducated person might just accept the argument.

My question here is if someone utilizes such a strategy should we consider it an impermissable strategy?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Locke and Demosthenes

Consider Ender's game.
In this story two super geniuses take on the identities Locke and Demosthenes in order to have an imaginary debate. They are able to influence people with their arguments and thus control global policy. They do this by having greater knowledge of the subject and releasing those arguments they know will influence people towards the conclusion that they want. In the end they take over the world via this sort of deliberative persuasion.

Of course there are no Locke's to quite the extent of enders game in the world right now*, but given almost any field there are people who are much smarter and more knowledgeable than those they debate with and who could use that knowledge to give others a false impression of the state of the debate in order to drive them towards the conclusion that they want.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

another zombie debate

there is another zombie debate atNeurath's Boat
here are the crib notes

A zombie scenario is one on which I would be making some mistake in thus projecting my imagined consciousness onto the zombie. Of course, many such mistakes are always to be expected, but this is not based on any of the usual ways of going wrong - If I think I'm imagining what it's like to be a zombie, I'm automatically entirely wrong.

I propose that what is characteristic of qualia is something like what Hume called "force and vivacity"; their tendency to bring associated ideas to mind, and enliven ideas. Within a single subject, phenomenal characteristics seem to experimentally track force and vivacity and conversely, absences of phenomenal content track absences of force.

It is, of course, open to someone to steadfastly insist that no matter how closely differences in phenomenal feel track differences in the functional activity of the mind. But it seems to me that at some point it becomes unreasonable.

Simply, If in a physical duplicate world the work consciousness does is still getting done, something physical must be doing the work and that thing must be consciousness. Part of what I mean by consciousness being that it's this state that does certain things.

white men and philosophy

I wonder why white people (more specifically white men) are so attracted to academic philosophy...

I have three main theories
A) it is related to how philosophy includes so much discussion of origional thinkers (like Aristotle) and original works. Which makes it like a lesson in western evolution of philosophy as opposed to a description of the state of current knowledge.

B) that many debates have a component of English semantics - and those who know multiple languages certain 'teaser debates' can easily appear ridiculous as opposed to interesting.

C) That there is some sort of social acceptance of philosophy in western society such that parents feel proud their sons and daughters are philosophers or at least not noticeably embarrassed.

FP might talk about barriers to entry to the field and there would be something to that - but how many non white non males even apply to study philosophy?

Still I suppose others have given this topic more thought than me.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Where does the burden of Proof Lie? [draft]

Lets say you enter into a debate with another person. Lets say both sides realise they have no strong reason for believing their own position except that they know it quite well. At the end of the debate we remain without any clear victory for either side - who's position gets the title of 'default position? who is left with the primary responsibility of 'disproving' the other side?

First we need to note that burden of proof is most importantly a norm for discourse and that agreement of both parties can change it. However we do have and need default rules for how burdens of proof are allocated.

Obviously the first is the side that does not have the preponderance of evidence also carries the burden of proof. As Al noted debate is in part like a tennis match where if it was that you made a point which on the face of it (to a neutral party) made your position look more likely - then your opponent is obliged to counter that argument before you need to present more arguments. But we want to be able to go a bit further than this obvious example.

For reference consider the legal approach
2. It is a general rule, that the party who alleges the affirmative of any proposition shall prove it. It is also a general rule that the onus probandi lies upon the party who seeks to support his case by a particular fact of which he is supposed to be cognizant; for example, when to a plea of infancy, the plaintiff replies a promise after the defendant had attained his age, it is sufficient for the plaintiff to prove the promise and it lies on the defendant to show that he was not of age at the time. But where the negative, involves a criminal omission by the party, and consequently where the law, by virtue of the general principle, presumes his innocence, the affirmative of the fact is also presumed.

the first point here is that the side proposing a conection or the existance of somthing bears the burden of proof. This is similar to Occams razor - "All other things being equal, the simplest position is the best." An example might be

Person A: "there are unicorns"
Person B: "there are no unicorns"

Person A bears the burden of proof.

2) the second point regarding to the plea of infancy is what I might term an "unnatural advantage". there are certain things you can be presumed to be able to prove (like your age) and if you don't it is to infer your not providing evidence is in itself evidence that that the truth detracts from your argument.


3) the current system does not carry the burden of proof. Lets say we have a current form of government - and a new group proposes a new form of government that is different but appears to be identical in it's benefits. In this case the people proposing the new system carry the burden of proof to allow for stable assumptions. For example our legal system might be no better than France's but to argue we should use France's in a court case would require considerable evidence.

Now a couple more that build on these

4) If the debate involves a hypothetical the side proposing the hypothetical bears the burden of proof. this is in part the fact that they are affirming a hypothetical is valid but the key issue is that it falls under the category of "unnatural advantage". The side which defines a hypothetical controls the nature of the debate and thus will be most able to argue their point - giving them the burden of proof encourages them not to use this advantage in a lazy manner.

For example if I say 'if fairy world exists then fairies are pink' it is up to me to provide an argument for that, prior to you needing to disprove it.

5) the side that initiated the debate (or wants to prove something) bears the burden of proof. Again this side takes the role of the affirmative but there is more to it than that.

The side that initiated the debate has pocked the time and nature of the debate, thy have also made it clear they are wiling to put effort into convincing the other side - it would be odd for them to now argue they don't need to make any points and that the other side needs to do all the arguing. Often the debate will be of the form "you are wrong or you are not wrong" as opposed to "you are wrong or I am right" if so then there is all the more reason for the initiator to ebar the burden of proof.

In a normal discussion this would take the form

in the wider debate person A and Person B contradictory theories

Person B : my theory is

Person A : Your theory is false

Person B : prove it

6) the side who’s position is least open to disproof carries the onus of proof. Lets say i have a theory that there exist invisible unicorns that you cant see or hear and you argue that there are unicorns that can be seen and heard. the suggestion is that I bear the burden of proof because by hypothesis my positi9on is harder to disprove so it is less productive to try to disprove it, further any lack of disprove of that theory is less evidence for it (consider Hempel's raven paradox).

Question begging from wikipedia

AI's notepad has a discussion on Question begging well let's go straight to the encyclopedia....

John Woods categorizes "begging the question" more generally, as:

Let T be a thesis advanced by Smith. Let A be a proposition forwarded by Jones as counting against T. Then Jones begs the question against Smith’s thesis T if:

  • A is damaging to T,
  • A is not conceded by Smith, does not follow from propositions already conceded by Smith, and
  • is not otherwise ascribable to Smith as what we might call a “reasonable presumption” or a “default” (for example, the belief that water is wet or that Washington is the capital city of the United States).

Fowler's Modern English Usage classifies begging the question in a similar fashion... Fowler states that it is "The fallacy of founding a conclusion on a basis that as much needs to be proved as the conclusion itself."

And in the more formal section

"when a circular argument is used within one syllogism. That is, when the deduction contains a proposition that assumes the very thing the argument aims to prove... For example here is an attempt to prove that Paul is telling the truth:
  • Suppose Paul is not lying when he speaks.
  • Paul is speaking.
  • Therefore, Paul is telling the truth.

Although these statements have a logical form, they do nothing to convince one of the truthfulness of the speaker because the matter (that is, what the words actually symbolize) of the major premise (the general supposition Paul does not lie when he speaks) and the conclusion are actually the same thing. In seeking to prove Paul's truthfulness, the speaker asks his audience to assume that Paul is telling the truth, so this actually "proves" the tautology "If Paul is not lying, then Paul is telling the truth."

Why Worship God

Richard Brown asks

I want to know why we are morally required to worship God, given that we believe there is one... his power to punish us, is not a reason of the sort that I am after.... After all unjust tyrants can force me to worship them via fear of punishment, but that doesn’t mean that I should worship them…

At first I thought this would just come down to accepting that god cannot be infinitely good by our standards (as the bible says he is a 'jealous god'). But this is philosophy afterall so I should see if htere is a more thoughtful way out of the dilemma - here are 3 possible (although somewhat question begging) arguments.

1) god is ultimate good - so we should contemplate him and that the proper approach to contemplating ultimate good is worshiping
2) You should worship/thank him IF you are grateful for existing
3) God has a perfect plan (which flows from being all loving and omniscient), any change you make to it no matter how well thought out will detract from that plan - part of that plan is that you worship him (actually I have a theory there).

and here is a fourth one that I expect most people, and particular individualist will think verges on evil but as a collectivist I find defendable.

4) the holy spirit is at stake.
to explain a bit further - the Holy spirit takes on the role of a super human, but one that is created by our actions and one that we owe an obligation to in the same way that you might say you organs owe an obligation to you. God/the holy spirit both want to create the holy spirit because it has intrinsic value similar to but much greater than you or I, and worshiping regarding the same thing is the sort of mindset that creates this.

Don't think that I am committed to any of them! They are pretty speculative arguments with hardly any foundation - I just thought I would throw them out there.


Fallacies are a important part of debate since Aristotle. Since discovering that the other side is committing a fallacy is about as close to a victory as one is ever going to get in most internet debates, the definition of what is a fallacy is hotly debated.

In order to look at this we take a step back to look at the big picture. The fallacy system is clearly designed to improve the standard of debate. But it does so in a very specific way - it is designed to catch misleading arguments. As per Aristotle fallacies are fallacies because they are deceptive. Note that an argument that is effective is MORE likely to be a fallacy than one that is not.

The assumption that is made in this system is that once we have weeded out misleading arguments the debate will get back on track towards a resolution, and that it doesn't matter if this takes a little more time than it might if we risked being mislead. This is similar to how other systems are defined in science.

For an example imagine someone using the fallacy of composition taken from wilkipedia

"all the band members (constituent parts) are highly skilled, therefore the band (composite item) is highly skilled"

Those able to detect that the argument may mislead thus 'call the fallacy' by saying that it is a 'fallacy of composition' and highlight that the person making the argument should try again.

Note that this is as far as i know universally accepted as a fallacy, BUT (although I'm not a music expert) if all the members are skilled then the band is more likely to be skilled. So there is some evidence provided by this argument, in that it could rationally influence the degree of creedance one gives to a position or one could argue it is dialectically effective in as far as a valid point is being made in a vivid way.

However it is still accepted as a fallacy (in certain context)*... Why?

Because there remains a potential to be misleading and we expect better. The failure to make a potentially persuasive argument or making it in a unpersuasive manner just leaves the debate more or less where it started but making a misleading argument (and it being accepted as opposed to rejected via the fallacy system) has the potential to corrupt the entire debate. Using the fallacy system gives us a simple rule for throwing out fallacies without having to determine if they have, for example, some sort of utilitarian use (which would be unworkable).

At an individual debate level there is not much cost because the person making this argument doesn't need to give the above argument in a misleading form to make the relevant point (presumably that it is good to have skilled band members) and as long as the other side also plays by the rules they suffer no disadvantage.

* it is a fallacy when the assumption being made is relevant. To take begging the question - it is OK to have a 'circular argument' if no one is likely to be mislead by that argument. For example I am typing therefore i am typing is circular but it isn't likely to mislead. Potential to mislead may be context Dependant.