Nick Matzke: All True Scotsman Believe in Darwinian Evolution
|February 19, 2013||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
I am often amused by the Darwinists’ all-too-frequent use of the “no true Scotsman’ logical fallacy. Never heard of that fallacy you say? Let me explain. Wikipedia defines the fallacy this way:
No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.
Anthony Flew advanced the term using this example:
Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”
In summary, the fallacy takes this form:
Douglas: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
McDonald: “I am Scottish, and I put sugar on my porridge.”
Douglas: “Then you are not a true Scotsman.”
The point is that Douglas made an unjustified assertion. Instead of backing off his assertion when he is shown that it was false, he doubles down and makes up ad hoc self-serving categories.
Nick Matzke, like many Darwinists, is a master of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Yesterday he treated us with a particularly exquisite application of the fallacy that was a wonder of sheer breathtaking hubris. Let’s see how he did it.
In this post Dr. Torley notes that Professor James M. Tour, one of the most prominent and respected chemists in the entire world, is a Darwin skeptic.
Wow, your blogpost is a particularly silly comment on a particularly silly article. A guy whose field is not biology, and who shows absolutely no evidence of having seriously engaged with actual evolutionary biologists or their literature, and who appears to not have the first clue about how biologists would define “macroevolution”, spouts off on a webpage, and this is supposed to be a serious argument?
To which Dr. Torley responds:
Nick, he’s one of the world’s top ten chemists! I would think that he knows more than a few eminent biologists.
To which Nick responds:
He shows no evidence of that, either directly or in terms of showing a sign of having a clue about the field of evolutionary biology.
And what is Nick’s evidence that Dr. Tour has no clue about the field of evolutionary biology? Well, he’s a Darwin skeptic of course. Therefore, by definition he does not have a clue, no matter how eminent his credentials, no matter how cogent his arguments. In the form of the fallacy as outlined above, Nick’s argument goes like this:
Nick: All true scientists believe in Darwinian evolution.
Vincent: Dr. Tour, one of the top ten most cited chemists on the planet, is a Darwin skeptic.
Nick: Then Dr. Tour is no true scientist.
News to Nick: Getting red in the face and stamping your feet (metaphorically speaking) is not an argument. You do not get to decide who is and who is not a true scientist. Perhaps you believe you sit ex cathedra in the chair of Saint Charles the Bearded, and your pronouncements on who has a clue and who does not have a clue are infallible and binding on the faithful. But I do not count myself among the Darwinist faithful and your pronoucements are not binding on me. Believe me, I would like to among the faithful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to swim with the cultural current instead of against it? But it is impossble for me to convert, because no matter how hard I try I just cannot muster enough blind unreasoned (and unreasonable) faith to believe that everything came from nothing and that matter spontaneously reconstituted itself from mud into space stations.