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Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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Milen

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no true christian
no true scotsman
Sun, Jun 25, 2017 - 02:55 PM

No True Scotsman

Is it a No True Scotsman, to say someone is not a scientist? Like, I once debated someone who clearly didn't have any education in physics nore any form of natural science, yet he claimed he knew a lot of stuff based on videos on youtube he watched. Then he went in to say he's a scientist just because you just need to use the scientific method, to be a scientist.
So the definition of a scientist is ''a person engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge that describes and predicts the natural world.'' (wikipedia), meaning someone who uses the scientific method.
Since science like Physics, Chemistry etc. use the scientific method for their basis of gaining knowledge, does that mean a person who claims to be a scientist (without having any knowledge in these spheres) can be called not a real scientist?
In religion there is no claim in their books ''if you do this you're not a real...'', which means that a religious person using the ''no true christian would ever do this'' for example, means they are using a No True Scotsman. But when it comes to science. Can a person be called a scientist, If they haven't had any expirience in any form of natural science, but just use the scientific method? And Its also another discussing, whether they actually use it properly or not.



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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Sun, Jun 25, 2017 - 09:19 PM
This is not the No True Scotsman, it does not quite fit (see https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/135/No-True-Scotsman). What this appears to be is an argument over the exact meaning of a word. In 5th grade, I won the "junior scientist award." Was I really a scientist? That would be a stretch, but I did apply the scientific method to a problem. In common usage, a scientist is someone with a degree in a field of science.

Update: Monday, Jun 26, 2017 05:19 AM

I was not satisfied with my answer above because I felt I did not explain enough. A key component of the No True Scotsman is rejecting what is overwhelmingly an accepted definition/example out of the desire to not accept one specific case into a group. In your case, a very broad definition of "scientist" is being used that can include children at science fairs. If you want to avoid being accused of this fallacy and don't feel like arguing semantics, avoid debating labels and make the distinction between how your opponent is using the label and how it is commonly used. For example,

If you want to call yourself a scientist, that is your prerogative. However, realize that the vast majority of people call themselves 'scientists' also have an advanced degree in a field of science. This is categorically different than watching a handful of YouTube videos. The point being, you simply calling yourself a 'scientist' does not lend you any credibility... at least not with me.

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Print Mon, Jun 26, 2017 - 11:47 AM
"Then he went in to say he's a scientist just because you just need to use the scientific method, to be a scientist."

Actually you need peer reviewed research to have a valid scientific opinion and your accreditation must come from a legitimate institution.

Google university doesn't qualify.


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Print Mon, Jun 26, 2017 - 12:39 PM
People love to use the old " well this scientist or this expert said such and such therefore it must be true"

I would counter with asking if his opinion is shared by the scientific community through widely accepted consensus or whether there is peer reviewed research that supports his opinion.

A scientist can make a claim that is nothing more than his informed opinion, albeit probably more informed than from a lay person, it can still be questioned.

Example

This scientist said building 7 looks like a controlled demolition , therefore 911 was an inside job.

Unless this scientist was part of the group of engineers that directly examined the evidence, I would say that this claim is not acceptable evidence of an inside job and i would need more to accept the inside job conclusion.


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Nor Ha

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Print Fri, Jul 07, 2017 - 06:29 AM
I think everyone gave great answers to your question. I would only like to add some practical perspective. If conversation is fast paced, often times it's hard to explain the details of widely accepted definitions. However sometimes answer is just that simple.
I looked up definition of scientist on several most popular dictionaries which in many ways represent what people expect one to be when the person is called scientist.

An expert in science, especially one of the physical or natural sciences.
dictionary.com

a person learned in science and especially natural science : a scientific investigator

Merriam-Webster

A person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.
Oxford Dictionary

an expert who studies or works in one of the sciences
Cambridge Dictionary

someone who works or is trained in science
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

So in practical terms you could mention that most of the dictionaries and general public define scientist as someone who has an expertise, education, training and experience in science. Scientific method is very important tool, but not the whole of the science . They have to be an experts not only in scientific method, but also in previously developed knowledge base of science. So using these common definitions you could say that it is NOT enough to be an expert in scientific method, you have to be an expert in SCIENCE.


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Print Sun, Jun 25, 2017 - 09:21 PM
Anthony Flew, a world famous atheist who went deist, coined the No True Scotsman fallacy. I personally don't think the reasoning is completely applicable to Christianity or Christians because you can't be a Christian by birthright or place of birth. Whether this applies to the behavior of a person who may be a Christian or not seems questionable because only Jesus decides who is a true Christian if he even recognizes such a thing. That's based on biblical theology because the Bible actually says only Jesus can judge the true reins of the heart meaning people can't really decide what qualifies as "a true Christian".
As far a what a scientist is, it all depends on how strict you want to be with the term. If the definition leaves room for it to simply apply to anyone who uses the scientific method, like you say, then it seems most everyone is a scientist. The popular use of the term usually only applies to someone who has some sort of degree in science and then the level of degree determines how reliable the information, or the interpretation of informstion, should be considered I believe. Ex. Most people can fill a balloon with helium and then claim through the scietific method they've shown helium rises and is lighter than oxygen etc....That's the scientific method right? Ok I'm rambling and probably didn't help.


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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Monday, June 26, 2017 - 05:19:49 AM
@skips777: Regardless of theology, the No True Christian (also No True Scotsman) fallacy is very applicable to Christians who claim "not a true Christian" based on some misdeed. This is precisely what the fallacy is about. The fact of actually being a Christian or not is irrelevant—it is the accusation that is the fallacy.

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skips777
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 06:19:51 AM
I understand Bo.
I guess my point is how it is inconsistent....
"True Scotsman" is clearly defined, where one was born, Scotland.
"True christian" isn't about where someone was born.
How is this not an equivocation as to what "true" means? That's my only point if it even is a point...
I completely understand why it's called no true Scotsman when someone says no true christian because of their behavior.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Monday, June 26, 2017 - 06:37:33 AM
@skips777: Actually, "true Scotsman" has nothing to do with where one was born... that was Flew's point. By rejecting the commonly accepted understanding of the word (in the case of the Scotsman, born in Scotland - or someone who legally became a citizen) this demonstrates the fallacy. They would say "you can be born and raised in Scotland, but if you do X, you're not a true Scotsman!" The fallacy is in attributing some nebulous, unfalsifiable, untestable, and often changing attributes to what constitutes "true." You are correct in that there is equivocation with the word "true." The one guilty of the fallacy hijacks the word "true" and sets up his or her own criteria—kind of like you did in saying "true" is defined by Jesus :) Others might argue that the term "Christian" is simply a human-created label that we give to a group of people who agree with a religious doctrine (that doctrine is unclear). If you do use the term "real" or "true," follow that with something such as "according to my interpretation of scripture" to avoid the fallacy and open yourself up to the fact that what you are calling "true" is based on your own subjective valuation.

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skips777
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 05:03:17 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD...aha...now i see. Just one point...maybe there actually is only one interpretation of scripture that is true. I assume you make room for that possibility. I now see that true is the only focus. Ty

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