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Nov 26, 2015

Woo Report

This week the WHO international panel on cancer released a statement to the press letting everyone know that processed meats are just as bad as smoking. …. Or did it?

Just for an extra woo topic we’ve got Gwyneth Paltrow claiming that heat and a sauna will cure the flu


Religious Nuttery


Skepticism 101

what are logical fallacies?
According to, a logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning.

What’s the difference between a formal fallacy and an informal fallacy?

We’ll cover them in more detail in a future episode but what are a few examples of informal fallacies?

Skepticism 101 part 2 – Logical fallacies

Two types of logical fallacies – formal and informal

From Wikipedia

In philosophy, a formal fallacy (also called logical fallacy) is a pattern of reasoning rendered invalid by a flaw in its logical structure that can neatly be expressed in a standard logic system, for example propositional logic.[1] An argument that is formally fallacious is always considered wrong. A formal fallacy is contrasted with an informal fallacy, which may have a valid logical form and yet be unsound because one or more premises are false.

The presence of a formal fallacy in a deductive argument does not imply anything about the argument's premises or its conclusion. Both may actually be true, or even more probable as a result of the argument, but the deductive argument is still invalid because the conclusion does not follow from the premises in the manner described. By extension, an argument can contain a formal fallacy even if the argument is not a deductive one; for instance an inductive argument that incorrectly applies principles of probability or causality can be said to commit a formal fallacy.

Formal logic is not used to determine whether or not an argument is true

A valid argument has a correct formal structure. A valid argument is one where if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true

So, an argument that makes no logical errors could come to a false conclusion

That’s formal logical fallacies, not onto informal logical fallacies.

again from the wiki page

An informal fallacy occurs in an argument whose stated premises may fail to adequately support its proposed conclusion.[1] The problem with an informal fallacy often stems from reasoning that renders the conclusion unpersuasive. In contrast to a formal fallacy of deduction, the error is not a flaw in logic. Formal fallacies of deductive reasoning fail to guarantee a true conclusion follows given the truth of the premises. This will render the argument invalidInductive fallacies are not formal in this sense. Their merit is judged in terms of rational persuasiveness, inductive strength or methodology (for example, statistical inference). In other words, informal fallacies are not necessarily incorrect. However they often need the backing of empirical proof to become convincing.

A few examples of logical fallacies


Atheism For Dummies
Last time we covered a bit about what atheism is and what agnosticism is, this time around I want to talk a little bit about some associated terms and concepts.

Freethinkers and Freethought
From the wiki page

Freethought (also formatted free thought)[1] is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logicreason, and empiricism, rather than authoritytradition, or other dogmas.[1][2][3] The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers".[1][4] The term first came into use in the 17th century to indicate people who inquired into the basis of traditional religious beliefs.
A free thinker is defined as a person who forms his or her own opinions about important subjects (such as religion and politics) instead of accepting what other people say.[1] Freethinkers are heavily committed to the use of scientific inquiry, and logic. The skeptical application of science implies freedom from the intellectually limiting effects of confirmation biascognitive bias, conventional wisdompopular cultureprejudice, or sectarianism.

There seems to be some dispute as to what constitutes a freethinker. Many people who don’t accept organized religion but still believe in new age type mysticism consider themselves to be freethinkers and consider scientific skeptics to be close minded and dogmatic in a very post-modern sense.


naturalism is the "idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world."[1] Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.[2]

"Naturalism can intuitively be separated into an ontological and a methodological component."[3] "Ontological" refers to the philosophical study of the nature of reality. Some philosophers equate naturalism with materialism. For example, philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include massenergy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spiritsdeities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no "purpose" in nature. Such an absolute belief in naturalism is commonly referred to as metaphysical.[4]


Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalismempiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism). The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated, according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it.[1] Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. In modern times, humanist movements are typically aligned with secularism, and today "Humanism" typically refers to a non-theistic life stancecentred on human agency, and looking to science instead of religious dogma in order to understand the world.[2]


Secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons 
mandated to represent the state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. One manifestation of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people.[Notes 1] Another manifestation of secularism is the view that public activities and decisions, especiallypolitical ones, should be uninfluenced by religious beliefs and/or practices


Antitheism (sometimes anti-theism) is active opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications; in secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to organized religion or to the belief in any deity, while in a theistic context, it sometimes refers to opposition to a specific god or gods.

Music Break-Can I play with madness by Iron Maiden and I’m Not Jesus by Apocalyptica featuring Corey Taylor
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