Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mr. Eccles Presents | Sanal Edamaruku on the "magic powers" of cows (Malayalam) -

There will be no Astrophenia this week, so apologies for that. This Caturday, I'm going to do something different from the usual English language video posts.

As a publicly visible website, accessible almost anywhere on the planet, here I'm posting content intended for non-English speakers.

This post is intended for speakers of Malayalam, one of the major Dravidian languages of South India, in particular the state of Kerala.

It features one of my favorite Indian rationalists, Sanal Edamaruku, on magic powers recently attributed to the common bovine by someone in a position of authority making silly claims.

Having seen this item discussed elsewhere on Indian English language news outlets, I'm calling bull on these claims, but Sanal puts it so much better than me.

So, to those who speak the language, enjoy! Caturday's Astrophenia will be back this coming fortnight.

Published on Jan 16, 2017
രാജസ്ഥാനിലെ വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ മന്ത്രി പറയുന്നത്, പശു ശ്വസിക്കുന്പോൾ പുറത്തോട്ടു തള്ളുന്നതും ഓക്സിജൻ തന്നെ ആണെന്നാണ്. അങ്ങനെ ചെയ്യുന്ന ഏക മൃഗം പശു ആണെന്നും ലോക താപീകരണം ഉൾപ്പടെയുള്ള പ്രശ്‌നങ്ങൾക്ക് പരിഹാരം പശുവിനെ വളർത്തുകയാണെന്നുമാണ് അദ്ദേഹം പറയുന്നത്. ഒട്ടേറെ അത്ഭുത ശക്തികൾ ഉള്ള പശുവിന്റെ അടുത്തുപോയാൽ രോഗങ്ങൾ മാറുമെന്നും അദ്ദേഹം പ്രസ്‌താവിക്കുകയുണ്ടായി. അതേക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള സനൽ ഇടമറുകിന്റെ പ്രതികരണം ആണ് ഈ വീഡിയോ.

English text: The Education Minister of Indian state Rajastan made a public statement cows are holy that they are the only animals that inhales and exhales oxygen. He also claimed that ailments would be cured if one goes near cows. Sanal Edamaruku explains the fallacy of the magic faith around cows.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Logico Fractatus | Fract Wholes & Numerations (w/apologies to Muse)

This week I've a few recent images to show. These pieces are samples of some of the experimentation I've been undertaking with older parameter sets, at least the first two, while the third comes from a new preset still in the testing stages. I may scrap it and try something else depending on the outcome. All have been created within the last week or two.

Tf. Tk. Tts.


"Worldmakers at Work"


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Project Logicality | Labeling Argument Strategies & The Fallacists' Fallacy

There are many ways to argue deceptively or mistakenly, and often these ways involve logical fallacies–flaws in arguments that come in two general sorts, formal and informal.

The former are defects in structure, errors in the pattern of the argument that render it invalid, usually independent of the argument’s specific content.

The latter are often breaches of procedure rather than structure, attempts to thwart the goal of a critical discussion, often to merely ‘win’ the argument than to achieve better understanding, to obscure truth rather than reach it. Many informal fallacies are not always fallacious.

Fallacy theory is a complex subject, and not all logicians agree on the definitions I’ve just given, but that’s cool. Fallacies can be used to distract and mislead, or they can be used in reverse, in labeling argumentative strategies, to reduce their effectiveness by calling attention to them when abused.

In some debates, such labeling will be done fairly frequently, in others, more subtle counterstrategies will be used rather than explicitly pointing out the fallacies. In this case, knowing thine enemy and naming it is useful, subjecting the flawed argument to scrutiny, and lessening its sting.

But that is not enough. And it pays to not be a dick when debating.

To argue that naming a fallacy shows the claim of an argument false is to commit the fallacists' fallacy, as it it entirely possible for an argument may be weak, its claims not following from the premises, but the claim made can still be correct despite the argument made for it.

It is also committing the fallacist's fallacy to falsely accuse one's opponent of arguing fallaciously, when a fair evaluation of their argument and its context would clearly show the argument valid. Context matters with argumentation!

So it is not enough merely to label an argument. In fact, it's advised that you don't, at least not in an arrogant manner. What's needed is to use your knowledge of how the argument goes wrong to craft an even better counterargument, assuming that it's even important enough to refute. Not all arguments are, as some may be simply ignored if not worth the time spent 'attacking' them.

There's a military metaphor in that, an unfortunate artifact of the history of argumentation that has given the entire field of study a reputation for quarrelsomeness and bickering.

That’s especially the case with logical inconsistencies and outright contradictions. If two or more arguments work at cross-purposes, logically at least one of them must be rejected, but the natural human inclination is to throw them all out, as reflecting poorly on the arguer’s credibility and even resulting in loss of the argument.

Even fallacious arguments sometimes assert things that are true, being right for the wrong reasons, but they cannot reliably show those things to be the case. Logic alone proves nothing, even if the argument is formally or informally valid or uses strong inference.

For that, we need objective data as well.

We need the best evidence available to support our premises, which must not only be true, but which must also be acceptable, clear, relevant, as non-circular as possible, and as free from unwarranted assumptions and presumptions as can be had.

Tf. Tk. Tts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Mews & Lynx Roundup | The Critical Gaze of the Rescue Panther

This fortnight, I use a graphic header featuring the diabolical Mr. Eccles, and yes I'll be alternating these each time. Next time, this post features our female Gorgeous.

The last two weeks have been productive, especially over the previous few days. I've completed 17 math lectures so far, with some new techniques pinned down, with some extra time spent on languages and more books finished than I'd expected.

So I'll have to update my Goodreads status this morning, as I'm a bit behind on that!

I've created new fractal presets for MB3D v.1.8.9, while awaiting the arrival of the most recent update to the software when it becomes available. The release I've been able to locate, MB3D v.1.9.1, from January of last year, is a bit spotty in places, and missing the most recent formulas in its standard menu. I'll probably have to refine my search terms if something more recent has been posted. I have had some fun with testing and tweaking older presets using the current formulas, with interesting results. I'll post some of those later this week as I continue experimenting! 

The Blogs:

My friend Kate has posted  on her site, Books, Crafts & Pretty Things, REALLY excited by this...My Shining Light with Leonie Dawson
Steve Novella at NeuroLogica Blog discusses common problems in how we make medical judgements, from both providers to patients in Cognitive Biases in Healthcare Decision Making
The True Book Addict highlights Japanese author Yukio Mishima in #CatThursday - Authors and Cats (58) #cats
On windupmyskirt, some spoilers on prison shows 'Wentworth,' and 'Orange is the New Black' with Netflix doubles down on locking women up.
Ravens N' Pennies gives the highlights and low points of the previous year with Carpe Blogiem: 2016 - A Year in Review.
And finally, Stu Barton releases a new piece of short near-future SF with Flash Fiction: Under Ashes.

The Mews:

An overhyped 'find' in Peru, by alleged experts who should know better in Tabloid Pseudoscience Alert: Alien Claw.
An update and better explanation of an object sighted in Chile discusses A U.F.O. Does Not Mean It's a 'UFO'
Our nearest currently surviving relatives show some rather sophisticated technical skill, further eroding human conceits with Primate Tool Use: Chimpanzees Make Drinking Sticks
This might be worth a look if you're a Gmail user, an you may want to share it as well, Highly Effective Gmail Phishing Technique Being Exploited.
Tomfoolery at a prominent medical institution causes no end of embarrassment with Anti-Vaccine Nonsense at Cleveland Clinic.
Phil Plait shows a recent image revealing scads of those hungry matter-devouring critters, in Chandra Deep Field Image Reveals Thousands of Black Holes.

The Lynx:

What powers would be possible for the Master of Magnetism using real physics, assuming he had powers? 7 Scientific Superpowers that Magneto Doesn't Know He Has.
The host of one of my favorite podcasts gets an interview on another of my favorite podcasts on The European Skeptics Podcast | Episode #056 feat. Richard Saunders
Here are some of the real-world buildings that count as 13+ of the Most Evil-Looking Buildings that Could Easily be Supervillain Headquarters.
How did special effects get done before the age of Talkies in Hollywood? Here is How Movie Effects Were Done in the Silent Film Era
A handy guide to assessing questionable items that try to pass as real journalism, in what was once commonly known as tabloids: 8 Skeptical Tricks for Spotting Fake News
How would an instrument made millennia ago sound were it played today? Hear a 9000 Year Old Flute - The World's Oldest Playable Musical Instrument.

xkcd: Bad Map Projection: Liquid Resize: