Ubi dubium | That’s Absurd [1]

If it’s claimed that those who are not members of a given religion, ethnicity, status, ideology, belief-status, sexual orientation, species, national or planetary origin, parallel (or askew) dimension of residence, or gender identity will be consigned to unpleasantness in an imagined hereafter, whether in a kind of Hell, stuck in an infinite loop on a karmic wheel, inside Morgarn the Lizard God’s stomach, or the like, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that the Piri Re’is Map of 1513 really shows Pleistocene Antarctica, and it is an uncannily accurate depiction of the earth as seen from space, it’s evident on the basis of the claim alone, given a look at the actual map in a museum in Istanbul, that that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that life, the universe, and everything were magically commanded, spoken, dreamed, or otherwise brought into being in their current form by a supernatural being literally in six or seven days less than 10,000 years ago, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that science is just a myth or subjective narrative no more valid than any other in factual accuracy or worth, that’s absurd. Science works, hence the science and engineering behind the computer servers hosting this blog.

If it’s claimed that the evidence for the paranormal is scientifically overwhelming, yet at the same time rejected by a hidebound Scientific Establishment™, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that having an open mind means accepting any claim regardless of the bad reasoning and lack of good evidence for it, that’s absurd, and  it confuses what it means to have an open mind.

Having an open mind means applying consistent standards to all claims, and proportioning belief to the evidence for the claim.

If it’s claimed that cratering on planetary bodies is really caused by scarring from giant electrical arcs in space and not the impact of asteroids, meteorites, or comets and other interplanetary objects, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that the sun is really powered by giant, invisible, and otherwise undetectable electrical currents on its surface, lit literally like a lightbulb, and not by thermonuclear reactions in its core, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that nothing can really be known through science because it doesn’t and maybe can’t explain absolutely everything in excruciating detail, that’s absurd.

Everything we can really say we know about the world, regardless of nationality, culture, and period of time, we know through science in some form, from early science to modern.

If it’s claimed that Occam’s razor justifies the any claim desired as the simplest explanation for allegedly unsolvable mysteries, that’s confusing the unexplained for the unexplainable, committing an argument from ignorance. And that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that being an expert in one field instantly carries unimpeachable authority in another field, that commits an argument from authority, and that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that one can argue against reason, evidence, or science, using reason, evidence, or science without contradicting oneself and merely affirming these things in the process, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that the Clever Hans effect isn’t real because it is used to invalidate much animal and some human paranormal research, that’s absurd.

If it’s claimed that subjective personal accounts are an accurate guide to what’s objectively true or works, because something merely seems to work, given what is known about errors in human thinking and perception, that’s absurd.

If I claim that science solves all problems, answers all questions, and that it’s fully immune to human error or institutional context, then that’s absurd, it’s dogmatic, and dogmatism is for fools.

So I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be as little of a fool as I can manage, and minimise my absurdities as much as possible.

For my part, it’s really the method used, the process of thinking, and not the conclusion reached, that really matters.

Tf. Tk. Tts.

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