False arguments

2013 – that was the year that was ….. hot!

hot

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney has been mounting an extensive disinformation campaign on climate change for years now. The tactic is simple, and apparently effective, if not truthful – latch onto any isolated “fact” that seems to show some evidence of a cool world, ignore all the facts, evidence and reports to the contrary, and sneer rather than argue logically. And make sure all your columnists, cartoonists and featured letter writers are ‘on message’.

So now that 2013 is over, what does the data tell us in Australia?

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Irrefutable evidence?

Courtroom

Recently I was following a debate between a christian and a non-believer, and the non-believer said that he (I presume it was “he”) would require “irrefutable evidence” to consider changing his mind about God. It seemed like a rather stringent requirement to me, so I started thinking ….

What things could we reasonably say we have “irrefutable evidence” for?

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Christians, atheists and confirmation bias

Horse with blinkers

“Confirmation bias …. is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way …. [or] interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.” (Wikipedia)

Atheists often accuse christians of confirmation bias, but we all do it to some degree – it is part of developing a consistent world view. But sometimes it obscures the truth.

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The ‘fine-tuning’ of the universe – Stenger vs Barnes

Spiral galaxy

In recent decades, cosmologists have investigated the ‘fine-tuning’ of a number of physical laws and values that determine the structure and nature of our universe. It appears that these parameters have to be very carefully selected for our universe to survive and for intelligent life to evolve.

This scientific conclusions has been used to argue for the existence of God, so when two expert scientists strongly disagree, the stakes are high.

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