• Jason K. posted a new activity comment 5 years, 9 months ago

    The way I see things, skepticism is the philosophical view. Science is the application of that philosophy. In other words, science is applied skepticism.

  • Jason K. posted a new activity comment 6 years ago

    Excellent analysis, although I do have one question about this line:

    A good skeptic should recognize that this is an ad hominem, and a kind of poisoning the well. Rescuing stranded tourists is a noble thing, but it has nothing to do with whether or not one has stolen money from others.

    I suppose I’m a bad skeptic, because I don’t see the ad hom.

    • Seems more like a reverse ad hominem. Instead of “attacking the person and not the argument” it’s “focusing on the character instead of the arguments”. There’s probably a better fallacy for what he’s doing there though. A non-sequitur and strawman come to mind.

    • amm1 replied 6 years ago

      It looks more like the converse of “ad hominem”: you should believe person X because X is such a good person. E.g., you should believe in creationism because Mother Teresa said so, and since she was a saint, she must be right.

      Is there a term for this sort of fallacy?

      • Using it in the case of a name like Mother Theresa would make it an argument from authority. I don’t know if there’s a special name for the fallacy that goes, “Joe Nobody is a real nice guy, so he must be right.” It is kinda the reverse of poisoning the well… sweetening the pot? If a random person is arguing a case based on their past good…[Read more]

        • Actually Rebecca was right, it’s an ad hominem. We usually only see the negitive version, the attack, but the fallacy is really just a subsection of non sequitur where you focus on the arguer rather than the argument. It can be positive but is usually negative.

          • You beast me to it. Ad Hominem is actually a category of fallacies.

            Poisoning the Well is an Ad Hominem. Insulting someone is an Abusive Ad Hominem. And so on.

          • I’ve heard the term ‘halo effect’ used for the ‘good’ side of ad hominem.

            Ad hominem is everywhere. It’s just gotten worse with the internet.

            My personal favorite ad hominem is, of course, the ad monsantum.

          • No it’s not an ad hom. It’s an attempt at an appeal to authority – he’s saying that because he has a family, and helped some other people out etc, he should be trusted.

            The appeal to authority is really a reverse ad hom, which is perhaps where the confusion comes from.