Category Archives: Rules of Logic

Don’t cherry pick your experts

The appeal to authority fallacy is one of the most common logical fallacies in internet debates. It is a favorite tactic among climate change deniers, anti-vaccers, young earth creationists, and pretty much anyone else who rejects “mainstream” science. I previously … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Rules of Logic | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Courts don’t determine scientific facts

Most people have probably seen the recent news that Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289 million following the ruling by a California jury that Monsanto’s glyphosate (a.k.a. Roundup) is dangerous and likely contributed to Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. I could … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science, Rules of Logic | Tagged , , , | 54 Comments

Occam’s razor is about assumptions, not simplicity

Occam’s razor is an important tool for critical thinking, and it is employed constantly in science. Nevertheless, it is often misunderstood and is frequently (and erroneously) stated as, “the simplest solution is usually the correct one.” This is an unfortunate … Continue reading

Posted in Rules of Logic | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

When can correlation equal causation?

“Correlation does not equal causation.” It is a phrase that everyone has probably heard, but many people seem to ignore or misunderstand it. Indeed, although useful, the phrase itself can be misleading because it often leads to the misconception that … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science, Rules of Logic | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

The fallacy fallacy: Reject the argument not the conclusion

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on the importance of understanding logical fallacies, and in that post, I made the following claim, “anytime that an argument contains a fallacy, that argument must be rejected.” Much to my surprise, many … Continue reading

Posted in Rules of Logic | Tagged | 10 Comments

The importance of logical fallacies

As anyone who frequents this blog knows, I spend a lot of time talking about logical fallacies. I frequently criticize peoples’ arguments for having them, and I present them as a reason for rejecting particular lines of thought. Nevertheless, many … Continue reading

Posted in Rules of Logic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Vaccine injuries and confirmation biases

Humans are remarkably bad at accurately discerning patterns. All of us (skeptics included) are prone to confirmation biases and logical flaws in reasoning. We don’t like to be wrong, and, as a result, we tend to cling to things that … Continue reading

Posted in Rules of Logic, Vaccines/Alternative Medicine | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments