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Nye's Argumentative Fallacy: No True Scotsman

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Nye vs. Ham Debate: No True Scotsman by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

http://www.icr.org/article/7897/

 

A surprisingly large number of people—some three million—watched live online February 4 as debaters discussed the topic “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Ken Ham took the affirmative position while “Science Guy” Bill Nye took the negative. During the debate, Nye’s use of a certain fallacy was soon evident, and viewers should beware of this tactic because of the subtle way it can skew perception.

 

Each time Nye contrasted “Ken Ham’s creation model” of a young world with “us in the scientific community,” he committed the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle wrote in Discerning Truth that this fallacy is committed “when an arguer defines a term in a biased way to protect his argument from rebuttals.”1

 

The informal fallacy’s name comes from an imaginary conversation in which a Scotsman claims that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. A bystander replies that he, too, is from Scotland but does put sugar on his porridge. The first Scotsman rejoins, “Well, no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

 

What did he do? He essentially redefined the word Scotsman to insulate his argument against virtually any example that refutes it.

The fact that Ham presented specific examples of fully credentialed scientists who adopted the Bible’s creation account of history had no effect on Nye, who continued to insist that scientists are evolutionists—by definition. The “Science Guy” insulated his assertion from scrutiny by defining “scientific” to suit his needs.

 

The common general definition of science includes observing, measuring, and interpreting natural processes. But Nye’s definition of true science seems to involve observing, measuring, and interpreting natural processes only according to evolutionary tenets.

 

Nye was wrong to assume that no real scientist could ever hold the creation model, since scores of real scientists have and do. This is amply demonstrated in books like In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation and The Genesis Files, containing 22 interviews with Ph.D. scientists who ascribe to Ham’s creation model and tell their stories.2,3 And of course, early creation scientists forged the paths of each of today’s major scientific branches of inquiry, like Isaac Newton’s physics,4 Matthew Maury’s oceanography, Louis Pasteur’s immunology,5 Michael Faraday’s electromagnetism,6 and George Carver’s agriculture.7,8 Are we to believe that Newton and Pasteur were not real scientists?

 

Apparently, facts like these do not matter to someone who is so fully committed to the false idea that real scientists only believe in evolution that he is more than willing to adjust the very definition of scientist to preserve his argument.

 

The fictional Scotsman who actually does put sugar on his porridge was willing to present and perhaps even demonstrate his case. In the same way, a minority of true scientists are willing and prepared to make their cases for biblical and scientific creation. Why would anyone even feel the need to protect their anti-creation definition of scientist with a “no true Scotsman” fallacy unless the evidence for recent creation that believing scientists are prepared to present constitutes a real threat?

 

References

  1. Lisle, J. 2010. Discerning Truth. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 134.
  2. Ashton, J., ed. 2001. In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
  3. Wieland, C., ed. 2004. The Genesis Files. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
  4. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Isaac Newton. Acts & Facts. 37 (5): 8.
  5. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Louis Pasteur. Acts & Facts. 37 (11): 8.
  6. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Michael Faraday. Acts & Facts. 37 (8): 8.
  7. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: George Washington Carver. Act & Facts. 37 (12): 8.
  8. Morris, H. 1982. Men of Science, Men of God. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
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Nye vs. Ham Debate: No True Scotsman by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

http://www.icr.org/article/7897/

 

A surprisingly large number of people—some three million—watched live online February 4 as debaters discussed the topic “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Ken Ham took the affirmative position while “Science Guy” Bill Nye took the negative. During the debate, Nye’s use of a certain fallacy was soon evident, and viewers should beware of this tactic because of the subtle way it can skew perception.

 

Each time Nye contrasted “Ken Ham’s creation model” of a young world with “us in the scientific community,” he committed the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle wrote in Discerning Truth that this fallacy is committed “when an arguer defines a term in a biased way to protect his argument from rebuttals.”1

 

The informal fallacy’s name comes from an imaginary conversation in which a Scotsman claims that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. A bystander replies that he, too, is from Scotland but does put sugar on his porridge. The first Scotsman rejoins, “Well, no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

 

What did he do? He essentially redefined the word Scotsman to insulate his argument against virtually any example that refutes it.

The fact that Ham presented specific examples of fully credentialed scientists who adopted the Bible’s creation account of history had no effect on Nye, who continued to insist that scientists are evolutionists—by definition. The “Science Guy” insulated his assertion from scrutiny by defining “scientific” to suit his needs.

 

The common general definition of science includes observing, measuring, and interpreting natural processes. But Nye’s definition of true science seems to involve observing, measuring, and interpreting natural processes only according to evolutionary tenets.

 

Nye was wrong to assume that no real scientist could ever hold the creation model, since scores of real scientists have and do. This is amply demonstrated in books like In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation and The Genesis Files, containing 22 interviews with Ph.D. scientists who ascribe to Ham’s creation model and tell their stories.2,3 And of course, early creation scientists forged the paths of each of today’s major scientific branches of inquiry, like Isaac Newton’s physics,4 Matthew Maury’s oceanography, Louis Pasteur’s immunology,5 Michael Faraday’s electromagnetism,6 and George Carver’s agriculture.7,8 Are we to believe that Newton and Pasteur were not real scientists?

 

Apparently, facts like these do not matter to someone who is so fully committed to the false idea that real scientists only believe in evolution that he is more than willing to adjust the very definition of scientist to preserve his argument.

 

The fictional Scotsman who actually does put sugar on his porridge was willing to present and perhaps even demonstrate his case. In the same way, a minority of true scientists are willing and prepared to make their cases for biblical and scientific creation. Why would anyone even feel the need to protect their anti-creation definition of scientist with a “no true Scotsman” fallacy unless the evidence for recent creation that believing scientists are prepared to present constitutes a real threat?

 

References

  1. Lisle, J. 2010. Discerning Truth. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 134.
  2. Ashton, J., ed. 2001. In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
  3. Wieland, C., ed. 2004. The Genesis Files. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
  4. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Isaac Newton. Acts & Facts. 37 (5): 8.
  5. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Louis Pasteur. Acts & Facts. 37 (11): 8.
  6. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Michael Faraday. Acts & Facts. 37 (8): 8.
  7. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: George Washington Carver. Act & Facts. 37 (12): 8.
  8. Morris, H. 1982. Men of Science, Men of God. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.

 

 

I Love where your Mind is at Sir!! :clap:

 

I was just reviewing this Fallacy the other day...and I didn't catch it. 

 

Very well done!!

 

 

My personal favorite is......If X did Y then claim Y as evidence of X  :huh:

 

Can you name it?

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It is the most common fallacy we see on this board. How many time have we seen comments like " a real Christian....". This forum is awash in this fallacy

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It is the most common fallacy we see on this board. How many time have we seen comments like " a real Christian....". This forum is awash in this fallacy

 

:thumbsup:

 

And For That

 

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. Jude 1:18-19

 

I Ask

 

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

 

And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:20-23

 

Forgiveness

 

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25

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It is the most common fallacy we see on this board. How many time have we seen comments like " a real Christian....". This forum is awash in this fallacy

That isn't the same because the Bible actually does give us the defintion of what real Christianity looks like.  The Bible does define what a real Christian is, so it is not a fallacy to make a biblical argument over what a real Christian is.  

 

An argument akin to the Scotsman fallacy would be in reference to something that doesn't actually define a real Christian. Something like,  "A real Christian always wears a suit and tie to church," would be an example of a Scotsman fallacy with relation to Christians.

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You want to find a real Christian?  Look to YHVH and live your life as He did.  We can probably say that no one alive is a true Christian, since we all are so deeply flawed.  But, that's the great gift from our Savior, He forgives us for that.

 

People that live contrary to what He taught us, or instruct others to live contrary to His teachings are false witnesses and they must be identified and purged from the Church.  We have a responsibility to be good stewards within our Church.

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You want to find a real Christian?  Look to YHVH and live your life as He did.  We can probably say that no one alive is a true Christian, since we all are so deeply flawed.  But, that's the great gift from our Savior, He forgives us for that.

 

People that live contrary to what He taught us, or instruct others to live contrary to His teachings are false witnesses and they must be identified and purged from the Church.  We have a responsibility to be good stewards within our Church.

 

Not wanting to be too picky, but YHVH was the name for God the Father, not for Jesus.  So it would be a bit hard to see how YHVH lived. 

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It is the most common fallacy we see on this board. How many time have we seen comments like " a real Christian....". This forum is awash in this fallacy

That isn't the same because the Bible actually does give us the defintion of what real Christianity looks like.  The Bible does define what a real Christian is, so it is not a fallacy to make a biblical argument over what a real Christian is.  

 

An argument akin to the Scotsman fallacy would be in reference to something that doesn't actually define a real Christian. Something like,  "A real Christian always wears a suit and tie to church," would be an example of a Scotsman fallacy with relation to Christians.

 

 

Oh come now, you know it goes a bit deeper than that.  Go to some of the political threads and you find statements like "no true Christian would support that guy or this person".  I cannot count how many times you have implied that no true Christian would believe evolution or in an old earth or a great many other things.  Then there is the "no real Hebrew scholar" that you throw out all the time.  

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Oh come now, you know it goes a bit deeper than that.  Go to some of the political threads and you find statements like "no true Christian would support that guy or this person". 

 

I don't think you will any of those.  I have never claimed that people who support Obama are not Christians.

 

 

I cannot count how many times you have implied that no true Christian would believe evolution or in an old earth or a great many other things.

 

 You can't count them becuase I have never implied any such thing even though you and others have sought desperately to assign that value to me.

 

Then there is the "no real Hebrew scholar" that you throw out all the time.  

 

That is baloney. What I have said is that there are no Hebrew scholars with advanced degrees in Hebrew that support the Gap Theory on grammatical grounds.   That is not a scotsman fallacy.  That is just the truth.   The fact that no one can yet provide ONE Hebrew scholar to refute my statements, prove it is not a fallacy.

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You want to find a real Christian?  Look to YHVH and live your life as He did.  We can probably say that no one alive is a true Christian, since we all are so deeply flawed.  But, that's the great gift from our Savior, He forgives us for that.

 

People that live contrary to what He taught us, or instruct others to live contrary to His teachings are false witnesses and they must be identified and purged from the Church.  We have a responsibility to be good stewards within our Church.

 

Not wanting to be too picky, but YHVH was the name for God the Father, not for Jesus.  So it would be a bit hard to see how YHVH lived. 

 

No, YHVH is God's Name and Jesus is God.  God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

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