Making an argument
Although often we make arguments to try to learn about and understand the world around us, sometimes we hope to persuade others of our ideas and convince them to try or believe them, just as they might want to do likewise with us. To achieve this we might use a good measure of rhetoric, knowingly or otherwise. The term itself dates back to Plato, who used it to differentiate philosophy from the kind of speech and writing that politicians and others used to persuade or influence opinion. Probably the most famous study of rhetoric was by Aristotle, Plato’s pupil, and over the years philosophers have investigated it to try to discover the answer to questions like: What is the best (or most effective) way to persuade people of something? Is the most convincing argument also the best choice to make? Is there any link between the two? What are the ethical implications of rhetoric? Although we might take a dim view of some of the attempts by contemporary politicians to talk their way out of difficult situations with verbal manouevrings that stretch the meaning of words beyond recognition, hoping we’ll forget what the original question was, nevertheless there are times when we need to make a decision and get others to agree with it. Since we don’t always have the luxury of sitting down to discuss matters, we might have to be less than philosophical in our arguments to get what we want. This use of rhetoric comes with the instructional manual for any relationship and is par for the course in discussions of the relative merits of sporting teams.
In a philosophical context, then, we need to bear in mind that arguments may be flawed and that rhetorical excesses can be used to make us overlook that fact. When trying to understand, strengthen or critique an idea, we can use a knowledge of common errors – deliberate or not – found in reasoning. We call these fallacies: arguments that come up frequently that go wrong in specific ways and are typically used to mislead someone into accepting a false conclusion (although sometimes they are just honest mistakes). Although fallacies were studied in the past and since, as was said previously, there has been something of a revival in recent times and today people speak of critical thinking, whereby we approach arguments and thinking in general in a critical fashion (hence the name), looking to evaluate steps in reasoning and test conclusions for ourselves.
Logical fallacies are common errors of reasoning. If an argument commits a logical fallacy, then the reasons that it offers don’t prove the argument’s conclusion. (Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the conclusion is false, just that these particular reasons don’t show that it’s true.) There are literally dozens of logical fallacies (and dozens of fallacy web-sites out there that explain them).
Fallacies of Distraction
False Dilemma: two choices are given when in fact there are three or more options.
From Ignorance: because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to be false.
Slippery Slope: a series of increasingly unacceptable consequences is drawn.
Complex Question: two unrelated points are conjoined as a single proposition.
Appeals to Motives in Place of Support
Appeal to Force: the reader is persuaded to agree by force.
Appeal to Pity: the reader is persuaded to agree by sympathy.
Consequences: the reader is warned of unacceptable consequences.
Prejudicial Language: value or moral goodness is attached to believing the author.
Popularity: a proposition is argued to be true because it is widely held to be true.
Changing the Subject
Attacking the Person:
(1) the person’s character is attacked.
(2) the person’s circumstances are noted.
(3) the person does not practise what is preached.
Appeal to Authority:
(1) the authority is not an expert in the field.
(2) experts in the field disagree.
(3) the authority was joking, drunk, or in some other way not being serious.
Anonymous Authority: the authority in question is not named.
Style Over Substance: the manner in which an argument (or arguer) is presented is felt to affect the truth of the conclusion.
Hasty Generalization: the sample is too small to support an inductive generalization about a population.
Unrepresentative Sample: the sample is unrepresentative of the sample as a whole.
False Analogy: the two objects or events being compared are relevantly dissimilar.
Slothful Induction: the conclusion of a strong inductive argument is denied despite the evidence to the contrary.
Fallacy of Exclusion: evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive argument is excluded from consideration.
Fallacies Involving Statistical Syllogisms
Accident: a generalization is applied when circumstances suggest that there should be an exception.
Converse Accident : an exception is applied in circumstances where a generalization should apply.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other.
Joint effect: one thing is held to cause another when in fact they are both the joint effects of an underlying cause.
Insignificant: one thing is held to cause another, and it does, but it is insignificant compared to other causes of the effect.
Wrong Direction: the direction between cause and effect is reversed.
Complex Cause: the cause identified is only a part of the entire cause of the effect.
Missing the Point
Begging the Question: the truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises.
Irrelevant Conclusion: an argument in defense of one conclusion instead proves a different conclusion.
Straw Man: the author attacks an argument different from (and weaker than) the opposition’s best argument.
Fallacies of Ambiguity
Amphiboly: the structure of a sentence allows two different interpretations.
Accent: the emphasis on a word or phrase suggests a meaning contrary to what the sentence actually says.
Composition: because the attributes of the parts of a whole have a certain property, it is argued that the whole has that property.
Division: because the whole has a certain property, it is argued that the parts have that property.
Affirming the Consequent: any argument of the form: If A then B, B, therefore A.
Denying the Antecedent: any argument of the form: If A then B, Not A, thus Not B.
Inconsistency: asserting that contrary or contradictory statements are both true.
Stolen Concept: using a concept while attacking a concept on which it logically depends.
•Appeal to Authority
•Appeal to History
•Appeal to Popularity
•Confusing Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
•Correlation not Causation
•Restricting the Options
You need to be able to recognise each of these fallacies, and also to explain what is wrong with arguments that commit them. Once you’ve learned what the fallacies are, pay attention and see if you can spot any of them being committed on TV, the radio, or in the press. it’s fascinating to see how the conspiracy-theorist’s minds work. They seem to be especially fond of (all of them, really):
Perhaps the most basic error in the use of empirical data is simply “misrepresenting” it. This can occur in a number of ways. One possibility is simply deliberate distortion, claiming that a data set proves something when it doesn’t. If people have an agenda, and set out to prove it, they may reach for the first bit of evidence they can find that even seems to fit their position. Closer examination may show that the evidence isn’t quite as supportive as was first claimed. Alternatively, someone confronted with potentially problematic evidence for their position may misrepresent it to make the problem go away. A similar error can be committed accidentally. Sometimes when people look at a data-set they see what they want or expect to see, rather than what is actually there. The effect of our presuppositions on our interpretation of evidence should not be underestimated. It can lead to conclusions being drawn which simply aren’t supported by the evidence. A further way in which data may be misrepresented is if it is presented selectively. A varied data set can be described focusing in on certain sections of it. The data set as a whole is thus misrepresented; it is effectively replaced by a new set comprising of unrepresentative data.
A common problem with evidence sampling is drawing conclusions from “insufficient data”. This is related to the generalisation fallacy. To prove a theory, it is not enough to observe a couple of instances that seem to support it. If we want to know what percentage of the population take holidays abroad, we can’t find out by asking five people, calculating the percentage, and applying the result to the population as a whole. We need more data. This raises the question: how much data is enough? At what point does a data-set become sufficiently large to draw conclusions from it? Of course, having enough data is not a black-or-white affair; there is no magic number of observations which, when reached, means that any conclusion drawn is adequately supported. Rather, sufficiency of data is a matter of degree; the more evidence the better. The amount of confidence that we can have in an inference grows gradually as more evidence is brought in to support it.
Simply having enough data is not enough to guarantee that a conclusion drawn is warranted; it is also important that the data is drawn from a variety of sources and obtained under a variety of different conditions. A survey of voting intentions conducted outside the local Conservative Club is not going to provide an accurate guide to who is going to win the next general election. A disproportionate number of people in the vicinity will be Conservative voters, and so the results of the survey will be skewed in favour of the Tory party. The sample is not representative. A survey to find out what proportion of the population own mobile phones would be similarly (though less obviously) flawed if it were conducted near a Sixth-Form College. The sample of the population would be skewed towards teenagers, who are more likely than average to own mobile phones, distorting the figures. Collecting data from a variety of sources is one thing; collecting it under a variety of conditions is another. A survey of what type of vehicles use local roads conducted at a variety of locations, but always at the same time of day, would not yield representative data. Conducting it during rush-hour would mean that commuter-traffic would be over-represented in the results; conducting it in the evenings might mean that public transport would under-represented in the results. Differences in what types of drivers drive at what times would need to be factored in when designing the experiment. The quality of a data-set is thus not just a matter of how much data it contains, but also of how representative that data is likely to be. To minimise the problem of “unrepresentative data”, evidence must be collected from as wide a range of sources as possible, and under as varied conditions as possible.
Appeal to Force
(Argumentum Ad Baculum or the “Might-Makes-Right” Fallacy): This argument uses force, the threat of force, or some other unpleasant backlash to make the audience accept a conclusion. It commonly appears as a last resort when evidence or rational arguments fail to convince a reader. If the debate is about whether or not 2+2=4, an opponent’s argument that he will smash your nose in if you don’t agree with his claim doesn’t change the truth of an issue. Logically, this consideration has nothing to do with the points under consideration. The fallacy is not limited to threats of violence, however. The fallacy includes threats of any unpleasant backlash–financial, professional, and so on. Example: “Superintendent, you should cut the school budget by $16,000. I need not remind you that past school boards have fired superintendents who cannot keep down costs.” While intimidation may force the superintendent to conform, it does not convince him that the choice to cut the budget was the most beneficial for the school or community. Lobbyists use this method when they remind legislators that they represent so many thousand votes in the legislators’ constituencies and threaten to throw the politician out of office if he doesn’t vote the way they want. Teachers use this method if they state that students should hold the same political or philosophical position as the teachers, or risk failing the class. Note that it is isn’t a logical fallacy, however, to assert that students must fulfill certain requirements in the course or risk failing the class!
Appeal to Popularity
The “appeal to popularity fallacy” is the fallacy of arguing that because lots of people believe something it must be true. Popular opinion is not always a good guide to truth; even ideas that are widely accepted can be false. An example is: “Pretty much everyone believes in some kind of higher power, be it God or something else. Therefore atheism is false.”
Two million people watching does not mean a video is true. Just because a lot of people believe something, does not make it true; consequently, just because a lot of people do not believe or understand something, does not make it false.
“Faced with waning public support for the military escalation in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that the war is worth fighting and signaled for the first time he may be willing to send more troops after months of publicly resisting a significant increase. Gates urged patience amid polls showing rising disenchantment among the public with the war effort, saying the American military presence in Afghanistan was necessary to derail terrorists.” – Associated Press, Sept 3rd, 2009.
The appeal to popularity is almost automatically controversial at times, as sometimes the right move is unclear or sophisticated. Robert Gates is choosing to go against the grain because he feels he is justified by a greater cause than appeasing popular opinion.
Be also careful of an Appeal to Unpopularity. A lot of pseudoscience claims they are being persecuted by the mainstream, and there is thus a conspiracy to keep their knowledge hidden. The number one way to avoid both of these appeals is to stick to the data and ignore the marketing. I’ll give you a hint: real science does not depend on flashy graphics or bold typeface every other word, just to get your attention because the truth can speak for itself. Go against the flow…
Science is all about defeating the Appeal to Popularity. The idea is that people are inherently flawed and easily fooled. The best way to know something is to try your damnedest to prove it wrong. If you actually prove something right, make sure you send it to numerous other scientists and see if they can prove you wrong. It’s humbling and time consuming, but it is the reason your monitor is beaming photons into your optical lobe right now. Science struggles with acceptance because the populace usually despises its cruel, sometimes boring conclusions. No gods on Olympus? Fooey! No psychic healing? Frogswallop! Besides, I don’t want to be a loner with obscure views, so I’m going to go with the flow… and if I’m wrong, then everyone’s wrong, so who cares?
Think of Mob Rule. Imagine you are a black man in the 1700’s and some racist white folk are about to lynch you for the crime of being born. Almost everywhere you turn, you find nothing but racism. You know it’s absurd, all the claims they make about you, since you know yourself better than their superficial judgments. You have facts, and evidence; they have hate, and ignorance. Now do you care? Sometimes it’s dangerous to go against the flow, there are bullies at every stage in life. The cruelty of others is endless, and thus the will to fit in is powerful. It is hard to resist the “Appeal to Popularity”. The key is to always question the facts, to buy based on reality not perception. Are you sick and your friend is suggesting some sort of weird “new age” treatment? Ask an expert, read some journals, examine some tests.
The Appeal to Popularity is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy. It usually starts off as a perception with a low sample size, and grows larger not because it is efficient at what it claims, but is effective at marketing itself, since it is essentially a feedback loop of ever increasing loudness. Your turn… Can you think of a moment where you, or someone you know of, fell for the “Appeal to Popularity”?
“Circular” arguments are arguments that assume what they’re trying to prove. If the conclusion of an argument is also one of its reasons, then the argument is circular. The problem with arguments of this kind is that they don’t get you anywhere. If you already believe the reasons offered to persuade you that the conclusion is true, then you already believe that the conclusion is true, so there’s no need to try to convince you. If, on the other hand, you don’t already believe that the conclusion is true, then you won’t believe the reasons given in support of it, so won’t be convinced by the argument. In either case, you’re left believing exactly what you believed before. The argument has accomplished nothing. An example is: “You can trust me; I wouldn’t lie to you.”
Confusing Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
“Necessary conditions” are conditions which must be fulfilled in order for an event to come about. It is impossible for an event to occur unless the necessary conditions for it are fulfilled. For example, a necessary condition of you passing your A-level Critical Thinking is that you enrol on the course. Without doing so, there’s no way that you can get the qualification. “Sufficient conditions” are conditions which, if fulfilled, guarantee that an event will come to pass. It is impossible for an event not to occur if the sufficient conditions for it are fulfilled. For example, a sufficient condition of you passing an exam is that you get enough marks. If you do that, there’s no way that you can fail. Some arguments confuse necessary and sufficient conditions. Such arguments fail to prove their conclusions. An example is: “People who don’t practise regularly always fail music exams. I’ve practised regularly though, so I’ll be all right.” Not having practised regularly may be a sufficient condition for failing a music exam, but it isn’t necessary. People who have practised regularly may fail anyway, due to nerves, perhaps, or simply a lack of talent.
Correlation not Causation
The “correlation not causation” fallacy is committed when one reasons that just because two things are found together (i.e. are correlated), there must be a direct causal connection between them. Often arguments of this kind seem compelling, but it’s important to consider other possible explanations before concluding that one thing must have caused the other. An example is: “Since you started seeing that girl your grades have gone down. She’s obviously been distracting you from your work, so you mustn’t see her anymore.”
An argument is “inconsistent” if makes two or more contradictory claims. If an argument is inconsistent, then we don’t have to accept its conclusion. This is because if claims are contradictory, then at least one of them must be false. An argument that rests on contradictory claims must therefore rest on at least one false claim, and arguments that rest on false claims prove nothing. In an argument that makes contradictory claims, whichever of those claims turns out to be false the arguer won’t have proved their conclusion. This means that it is reasonable to dismiss an inconsistent argument even without finding out which of its contradictory claims is false. Examples are: “Murder is the worst crime that there is. Life is precious; no human being should take it away. That’s why it’s important that we go to any length necessary to deter would-be killers, including arming the police to the teeth and retaining the death penalty.” This argument both affirms that no human being should take the life of another, and that we should retain the death penalty. Until this inconsistency is ironed out of the argument, it won’t be compelling. Also: “We don’t tell the government what to do, so they shouldn’t tell us what to do!” These were the words of an angry smoker interviewed on the BBC News following the introduction of a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in England. Her claim that she doesn’t tell the government what to do is instantly refuted as she proceeds to do just that.
Arguments often use specific cases to support general conclusions. For example, we might do a quick survey of Premiership footballers, note that each of the examples we’ve considered is vain and ego-centric, and conclude that they all are. (Or we might offer one example of an argument that moves from the specific to the general as evidence that others do the same.) We need to be careful with such arguments. In order for a set of evidence to support a general conclusion, the evidence must meet certain conditions. For example, it must be drawn from a sufficient number of cases, and the specific cases must be representative. The more limited or unrepresentative the evidence sample, the less convincing the argument will be. Arguments that base conclusions on insufficient evidence commit the “generalisation fallacy”. Examples are: “Smoking isn’t bad for you; my grandad smoked thirty a day for his whole life and lived to be 92.” and “Estate agents are well dodgy. When we moved house… [insert horror story about an estate agent inventing fake offers to push up the sale price].”
Restricting the Options
We are sometimes faced with a number of possible views or courses of action. By a process of elimination, we may be able to eliminate these options one-by-one until only one is left. We are then forced to accept the only remaining option. Arguments that do this, but fail to consider all of the possible options, excluding some at the outset, commit the “restricting the options” fallacy. An example is: “Many gifted children from working class backgrounds are let down by the education system in this country. Parents have a choice between paying sky-high fees to send their children to private schools, and the more affordable option of sending their children to inferior state schools. Parents who can’t afford to pay private school fees are left with state schools as the only option. This means that children with great potential are left languishing in comprehensives“. Quite apart from any problems with the blanket dismissal of all comprehensives as inferior, this argument fails to take into account all of the options available to parents. For the brightest students, scholarships are available to make private school more affordable, so there is a third option not considered above: applying for scholarships to private schools. Unless this option can be eliminated, e.g. by arguing that there are too few scholarships for all gifted children to benefit from them, along with other options such as homeschooling, the conclusion that children with great potential have no alternative but to go to comprehensives is unproven.
“Ad hominem” is Latin for “against the man”. The ad hominem fallacy is the fallacy of attacking the person offering an argument rather than the argument itself. Ad hominems can simply take the form of abuse: e.g. “Don’t listen to him, he’s a jerk”. Any attack on irrelevant biographical details of the arguer rather than on his argument counts as an ad hominem, however: e.g. “that article must be rubbish as it wasn’t published in a peer-reveiwed journal”; “his claim must be false as he has no relevant expertise”; “he says that we should get more exercise but he could stand to lose a few pounds himself”.
“Tu quoque” is Latin for “you too”. The tu quoque fallacy involves using other people’s faults as an excuse for one’s own, reasoning that because someone or everyone else does something, it’s okay for us to do it. This, of course, doesn’t follow. Sometimes other people have shortcomings, and we ought to do better than them. We can be blamed for emulating other people’s faults.
“Straw man” arguments are arguments that misrepresent a position in order to refute it. Unfortunately, adopting this strategy means that only the misrepresentation of the position is refuted; the real position is left untouched by the argument. An example is: “Christianity teaches that as long as you say ‘Sorry’ afterwards, it doesn’t matter what you do. Even the worst moral crimes can be quickly and easily erased by simply uttering a word. This is absurd. Even if a sinner does apologise for what they’ve done, the effects of their sin are often here to stay. For example, if someone repents of infanticide, that doesn’t bring the infant back to life. Christians are clearly out of touch with reality.” This argument distorts Christianity in a couple of ways. First, it caricatures repentance as simply saying the word ‘Sorry’. Second, it implies that Christianity teaches that all of the negative effects of sin are erased when one confesses, which it doesn’t. Having distorted Christianity, the argument then correctly points out that the distortion is ludicrous, and quite reasonably rejects it as “out of touch with reality”. The argument, however, completely fails to engage with what the Church actually teaches, and so its conclusion has nothing to do with real Christianity.
Appeal to Authority
An “appeal to an authority” is an argument that attempts to establish its conclusion by citing a perceived authority who claims that the conclusion is true. In all cases, appeals to authority are fallacious; no matter how well-respected someone is, it is possible for them to make a mistake. The mere fact that someone says that something is true therefore doesn’t prove that it is true. The worst kinds of appeal to authority, however, are those where the alleged authority isn’t an authority on the subject matter in question. People speaking outside of their area of expertise certainly aren’t to be trusted on matters of any importance without further investigation.
Appeal to History
There are two types of “appeal to history”. The first is committed by arguments that use past cases as a guide to the future. This is the predictive appeal to history fallacy. Just because something has been the case to date, doesn’t mean that it will continue to be the case. This is not to say that we can’t use the past as a guide to the future, merely that predictions of the future based on the past need to be treated with caution. The second type of appeal to history is committed when it is argued that because something has been done a particular way in the past, it ought to be done that way in the future. This is the normative appeal to history fallacy, the appeal to tradition. The way that things have always been done is not necessarily the best way to do them. It may be that circumstances have changed, and that what used to be best practice is no longer. Alternatively, it may be that people have been consistently getting it wrong in the past. In either case, using history as a model for future would be a mistake. An example is: at the start of the 2006 Premiership season, some might have argued, “Under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have been unstoppable in the Premiership; the other teams might as well give up on the league now and concentrate on the Cup competitions.”
Arguments by analogy rest on a comparison between two cases. They examine a known case, and extend their findings there to an unknown case. Thus we might reason that because we find it difficult to forgive a girlfriend or boyfriend who cheated on us (a known case), it must be extremely difficult for someone to forgive a spouse who has had an affair (an unknown case). This kind of argument relies on the cases compared being similar. The argument is only as strong as that comparison. If the two cases are dissimilar in important respects, then the argument commits the “weak analogy” fallacy.
Sometimes one event can set of a chain of consequences; one thing leads to another, as the saying goes. The “slippery slope” fallacy is committed by arguments that reason that because the last link in the chain is undesirable, the first link is equally undesirable. This type of argument is not always fallacious. If the first event will necessarily lead to the undesirable chain of consequences, then there is nothing wrong with inferring that we ought to steer clear of it. However, if it is possible to have the first event without the rest, then the slippery slope fallacy is committed. An example is: “If one uses sound judgement, then it can occasionally be safe to exceed the speed limit. However, we must clamp down on speeding, because when people break the law it becomes a habit, and escalates out of control. The more one breaks the law, the less respect one has for it. If one day you break the speed limit, then the next you’ll go a little faster again, and pretty soon you’ll be driving recklessly, endangering the lives of other road-users. For this reason, we should take a zero-tolerance approach to speeding, and stop people before they reach dangerous levels.”
Appeal to Ridicule
The “appeal to ridicule” is a fallacy in which ridicule or mockery is substituted for evidence in an “argument.” This line of “reasoning” has the following form: X, which is some form of ridicule is presented (typically directed at the claim). Therefore claim C is false. This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because mocking a claim does not show that it is false. This is especially clear in the following example: “1+1=2! That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!” It should be noted that showing that a claim is ridiculous through the use of legitimate methods (such as a non-fallacious argument) can make it reasonable to reject the claim. One form of this line of reasoning is known as a “reductio ad absurdum” (“reducing to absurdity”). In this sort of argument, the idea is to show that a contradiction (a statement that must be false) or an absurd result follows from a claim. For example: “Bill claims that a member of a minority group cannot be a racist. However, this is absurd. Think about this: white males are a minority in the world. Given Bill’s claim, it would follow that no white males could be racists. Hence, the Klan, Nazis, and white supremists are not racist organizations.” Since the claim that the Klan, Nazis, and white supremists are not racist organizations is clearly absurd, it can be concluded that the claim that a member of a minority cannot be a racist is false. Some examples of “appeal to ridicule” are: “Sure my worthy opponent claims that we should lower tuition fees, but that is just laughable.” and “Support the ERA? Sure, when the women start paying for the drinks! Hah! Hah!” and “Those wacky conservatives! They think a strong military is the key to peace!”
Post hoc ergo propter hoc
“Post hoc ergo propter hoc”, Latin for “after this, therefore because (on account) of this”, is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) which states, “Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one.” It is often shortened to simply post hoc and is also sometimes referred to as false cause, coincidental correlation or correlation not causation. It is subtly different from the fallacy cum hoc ergo propter hoc, in which the chronological ordering of a correlation is insignificant. “Post hoc” is a particularly tempting error because temporal sequence appears to be integral to causality. The fallacy lies in coming to a conclusion based solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors that might rule out the connection. Most familiarly, many cases of superstitious religious beliefs and magical thinking arise from this fallacy.
Alias: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. Translation: “After this, therefore because of this”, Latin. Type: Non Causa Pro Causa Forms. Event C happened immediately prior to event E. Therefore, C caused E. Events of type C happen immediately prior to events of type E. Therefore, events of type C cause events of type E.
Example: “The only policy that effectively reduces public shootings is right-to-carry laws. Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crime. In the 31 states that have passed right-to-carry laws since the mid-1980s, the number of multiple-victim public shootings and other violent crimes has dropped dramatically. Murders fell by 7.65%, rapes by 5.2%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3%. … Evidence shows that even state and local handgun control laws work. For example, in 1974 Massachusetts passed the Bartley-Fox Law, which requires a special license to carry a handgun outside the home or business. The law is supported by a mandatory prison sentence. Studies by Glenn Pierce and William Bowers of Northeastern University documented that after the law was passed handgun homicides in Massachusetts fell 50% and the number of armed robberies dropped 35%”.
Source: “The Media Campaign Against Gun Ownership”, The Phyllis Schlafly Report, Vol. 33, No. 11, June 2000. Source: “Fact Card”, Handgun Control, Inc.
Analysis of the Examples
Counter-Example: Roosters crow just before the sun rises. Therefore, roosters crowing cause the sun to rise.
Exposition: The Post Hoc Fallacy is committed whenever one reasons to a causal conclusion based solely on the supposed cause preceding its “effect”. Of course, it is a necessary condition of causation that the cause precede the effect, but it is not a sufficient condition. Thus, post hoc evidence may suggest the hypothesis of a causal relationship, which then requires further testing, but it is never sufficient evidence on its own.
Exposure: Post Hoc also manifests itself as a bias towards jumping to conclusions based upon coincidences. Superstition and magical thinking include Post Hoc thinking; for instance, when a sick person is treated by a witch doctor, or a faith healer, and becomes better afterward, superstitious people conclude that the spell or prayer was effective. Since most illnesses will go away on their own eventually, any treatment will seem effective by Post Hoc thinking. This is why it is so important to test proposed remedies carefully, rather than jumping to conclusions based upon anecdotal evidence.
Analysis of Examples:
These two examples show how the same fallacy is often exploited by opposite sides in a debate, in this case, the gun control debate. There are clear claims of causal relationships in these arguments. In the anti-gun control example, it is claimed that so-called “right-to-carry” laws “effectively reduce” public shootings and violent crime. This claim is supported by statistics on falling crime rates since the mid-1980s in states that have passed such laws. In the pro-gun control example, it is claimed that state and local gun control laws “work”, presumably meaning that the laws play a causal role in lowering handgun crime. Again, the claim is supported by statistics on falling crime rates in one state. However, the evidence in neither case is sufficient to support the causal conclusion.
For instance, violent crime in general fell in the United States in the period from the mid-1980s to the present, and – for all that we can tell from the anti-gun control argument – it may have fallen at the same or higher rates in states that did not pass “right-to-carry” laws. Since the argument does not supply us with figures for the states without such laws, we cannot do the comparison.
Similarly, the pro-gun control argument does not make it clear when Massachusett’s drop in crime occurred, except that it was “after” – “post hoc” – the handgun control law was passed. Also, comparative evidence of crime rates over the same period in states that did not pass such a law is missing. The very fact that comparative information is not supplied in each argument is suspicious, since it suggests that it would have weakened the case.
Another point raised by these examples is the use of misleadingly precise numbers, specifically, “7.65%” and “5.2%” in the anti-gun control example. Especially in social science studies, percentage precision to the second decimal place is meaningless, since it is well within the margin of error on such measurements. It is a typical tactic of pseudo-scientific argumentation to use overly-precise numbers in an attempt to impress and intimidate the audience. A real scientist would not use such bogus numbers, which casts doubt upon the status of the source in the example. The pro-gun control argument, to its credit, does not commit this fallacy. This suggests, though it doesn’t nail down, an appeal to misleading authority in the anti-gun control one.
Sibling Fallacy: Cum Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
Source: T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments (Third Edition) (Wadsworth, 1995), pp. 131-132.
Julian Baggini, “Post Hoc Fallacies”, Bad Moves.
Robert Todd Carroll, “Post Hoc Fallacy”, Skeptic’s Dictionary.
Moving the goalpost
“Moving the goalpost”, also known as “raising the bar”, is an informal logically fallacious argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded. In other words, after an attempt has been made to score a goal, the goalposts are moved to exclude the attempt. This attempts to leave the impression that an argument had a fair hearing while actually reaching a preordained conclusion. Moving the goalpost can also take the form of reverse feature creep, in which features are eliminated from a product, and the goal of the project is redefined in such a way as to exclude the eliminated features. An example is: Bella Donna claims that Sybil Antwhisper, her room-mate, is not sharing the housework equitably. Sybil tells Bella to go away and itemize and record who does what household tasks. If Bella can show that she does more housework than Sybil, then Sybil will mend her ways. A week passes and Bella shows Sybil clear evidence that Sybil does not “pull her weight” around the house. Sybil (the advocate) responds: “That’s all very well, but I have more work and study commitments than you do – you should do more housework than me… it’s the total work of all kinds that matters, not just housework.” In this example the implied agreement between Bella and Sybil at the outset was that the amount of housework done by both parties should be about the same. When Sybil was confronted by the evidence however, she quickly and unilaterally “changed the terms of the debate”. She did this because the evidence was against her version of events and she was about to lose the argument on the issue as originally defined. By “moving the goalposts”, Sybil is seeking to change the terms of the dispute to avoid a defeat on the original issue in contention. The term is often used in business to imply bad faith on the part of those setting goals for others to meet, by arbitrarily making additional demands just as the initial ones are about to be met. Accusations of this form of abuse tend to occur when there are unstated assumptions that are obvious to one party but not to another. For example, killing all the fleas on a cat is very easy without the usually unstated condition that the cat remain alive and in good health.
Non sequitur in normal speech
The term “non sequitur” is often used in everyday speech and reasoning to describe a statement in which premise and conclusion are totally unrelated but which is used as if they were. An example might be: “If I buy this cell phone, all people will love me.” However, there is no actual relation between buying a cell phone and the love of all people. This kind of reasoning is often used in advertising to trigger an emotional purchase. Other examples include: “If you buy this car, your family will be safer.” (While some cars are safer than others, it is possible to decrease instead of increase your family’s overall safety.) and “If you do not buy this type of pet food, you are neglecting your dog.” (Premise and conclusion are once again unrelated; this is also an example of an appeal to emotion.) and “I hear the rain falling outside my window; therefore, the sun is not shining.” (The conclusion is a non-sequitur because the sun can shine while it is raining.)
Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle
The “fallacy of the undistributed middle” is a logical fallacy that is committed when the middle term in a categorical syllogism is not distributed. It is thus a syllogistic fallacy. More specifically it is also a form of non sequitur. It takes the following form: All Zs are Bs. Y is a B. Therefore, Y is a Z. It may or may not be the case that “all Zs are Bs,” but in either case it is irrelevant to the conclusion. What is relevant to the conclusion is whether it is true that “all Bs are Zs,” which is ignored in the argument. Note that if the terms were swapped around in either the conclusion or the first co-premise or if the first premise was rewritten to “All Zs can only be Bs” then it would no longer be a fallacy, although it could still be unsound. This also holds for the following two logical fallacies which are similar in nature to the fallacy of the undistributed middle and also non sequiturs. An example can be given as follows: Men are human. Mary is human. Therefore, Mary is a man.
Affirming the Consequent
Any argument that takes the following form is a non sequitur: If A is true, then B is true. B is true. Therefore, A is true. Even if the premises and conclusion are all true, the conclusion is not a necessary consequence of the premises. This sort of non sequitur is also called “affirming the consequent”. An example of affirming the consequent would be: If I am a human (A) then I am a mammal. (B) I am a mammal. (B) Therefore, I am a human. (A) While the conclusion may be true, it does not follow from the premises: I could be another type of mammal without also being a human. The truth of the conclusion is independent of the truth of its premises – it is a ‘non sequitur’. Affirming the consequent is essentially the same as the fallacy of the undistributed middle, but using propositions rather than set membership.
Denying the Antecedent
Denying the antecedent, another common non sequitur. is this: If A is true, then B is true. A is false. Therefore B is false. While the conclusion can indeed be false, this cannot be linked to the premise since the statement is a non sequitur. This is called denying the antecedent. An example of denying the antecedent would be: If I am in Tokyo, I am in Japan. I am not in Tokyo. Therefore, I am not in Japan. Whether or not the speaker is in Japan cannot be derived from the premise. He could either be outside Japan or anywhere in Japan except Tokyo.
Affirming a Disjunct
Affirming a disjunct is a fallacy when in the following form: A is true or B is true. B is true. Therefore, A is not true. The conclusion does not follow from the premises as it could be the case that A and B are both true. This fallacy stems from the stated definition of or in propositional logic to be inclusive. An example of affirming a disjunct would be: I am at home or I am in the city. I am at home. Therefore, I am not in the city. While the conclusion may be true, it does not follow from the premises. For all the reader knows, the declarant of the statement very well could have her home in the city, in which case the premises would be true but the conclusion false. This argument is still a fallacy even if the conclusion is true.
Denying a conjunct
Denying a conjunct is a fallacy when in the following form: It is not the case that both A is true and B is true. B is not true. Therefore, A is true. The conclusion does not follow from the premises as it could be the case that A and B are both false. An example of denying a conjunct would be: It is not the case that both I am at home and I am in the city. I am not at home. Therefore, I am in the city. While the conclusion may be true, it does not follow from the premises. For all the reader knows, the declarant of the statement very well could neither be at home nor in the city, in which case the premises would be true but the conclusion false. This argument is still a fallacy even if the conclusion is true.
Logically Fallacious Fallacies
by James W. Benham and Thomas J. Marlowe
Ad hominem arguments are the tools of scoundrels and blackguards. Therefore, they are invalid.
If you had any consideration for my feelings, you wouldn’t argue from an appeal to pity.
What would your mother say if you argued from an appeal to sentiment?
I don’t understand how anyone could argue from an appeal to incredulity.
If you argue from an appeal to force, I’ll have to beat you up.
You are far too intelligent to accept an argument based on an appeal to vanity.
Everyone knows that an argument from appeal to popular opinion is invalid.
Circular reasoning means assuming what you’re trying to prove. This form of argument is invalid becuase it’s circular.
As Aristotle said, arguments from an appeal to authority are invalid.
Post hoc ergo proptor hoc arguments often precede false conclusions. Hence, this type of argument is invalid.
Using the Argumentum ad Consequentiam makes for unpleasant discussions. Hence, it must be a logical fallacy.
The argumentum ad nauseum is invalid. The argumentum ad nauseum is invalid. The argumentum ad nauseum is invalid. If three repetitions of this principle haven’t convinced you, I’ll just have to say it again: the argumentun ad nauseum is invalid.
Ancient wisdom teaches that the argumentum ad antiquitatem is invalid.
An argument is emotional and no substitute for reasoned discussion. But proof by equivocation is a kind of argument. Thus, a proof by equivocation is no substitute for a valid proof.
If we accept slippery slope arguments, we may have to accept other forms of weak arguments. Eventually, we won’t be able to reason at all. Hence, we must reject slippery slope arguments as invalid.
A real logician would never make an argument based on the “No true Scotsman” fallacy. If anyone who claims to be logical and makes arguments based on this fallacy, you may rest assured that s/he is not a real logician.
An argument based on a logical fallacy often leads to a false conclusion. Affirming the consequent often leads to a false conclusion. Therefore, affirming the consequent is a fallacy.
The fallacy of the undistributed middle is often used by politicians, and they often try to mislead people, so undistributed middles are obviously misleading.
Reasoning by analogy is like giving a starving man a cookbook.
Non sequitur is a Latin term, so that’s a fallacy too.
And I bet the gambler’s fallacy is also invalid – I seem to be on a roll!
In a way, it makes me sad — because some of these folks are clearly intelligent and well-spoken… but haven’t been armed with even a basic grounding in scientific method or the traps of various logical fallacies. It says quite a lot about our educational system.
Barker, Stephen F. The Elements of Logic. Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1989.
Cedarblom, Jerry, and Paulsen, David W. Critical Reasoning. Third Edition. Wadsworth, 1991.
Copi, Irving M., and Cohen, Carl. Introduction to Logic. Eighth Edition. Macmillan, 1990.
Rand, Ayn Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Second Edition. Penguin, 1990.
•Brian Yoder’s Fallacy Zoo
•Charles Ess, Informal Fallacies
•Fallacies: The Dark Side of Debate
•The Galilean Library Guide to Fallacies
•The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fallacy entry
•Logical Fallacies .Info
•Michael LaBossiere’s Fallacies Introduction
•Philosophy.Lander.Edu, Introduction to Logic, Informal Fallacies
•Stephen’s Guide to the Logical Fallacies
•Wheeler’s Logical Fallacies Handlist
I can’t reply on drewswebsite because he has BLOCKED me. He’s the seventieth site to do this so far.
There could be THREE OR MORE transparent layers of air of DIFFERENT HUMIDITIES, only ONE of which condenses a “VAPOR TRAIL”, within the short-haul civil aircraft band between 30 and 35 thousand feet. Layer thicknesses of differing humidities are frequently only hundreds of feet thick and ARE CONSTANTLY VARIABLE in speed, direction, temperature and humidity. Aircraft are spaced ten miles apart on the same level for a particular route, and conflicting routes are nowadays 1000ft above or below each other.
So you’ll see SOME planes laying vapor trails while others don’t – it depends WHICH transparent stratospheric layer a particular plane is flying through.
Jet exhausts are NITROGEN, STEAM, and CARBON DIOXIDE at 2000 deg C (with traces of NOX and SOX). This cools RAPIDLY in an ambient stratospheric air temp of between -40 and -80 deg C to a FINE “WHITE SMOKE” OF ICE CRYSTALS in N2 and CO2.
If the stratospheric layer it is in is SUPERSATURATED (more than 100% humid), the ice crystals accrete more ice, get heavier, and fall faster.
If the stratospheric layer it is in is SATURATED (exactly 100% humid), the ice crystals REMAIN, but SLOWLY DIFFUSE TO FILL the stratolayer. The powerful WAVE VORTEX generated by the aircraft wing continues for tens of minutes after the aircraft has passed by, slowing to a stop very slowly.
If the stratospheric layer it is in is BELOW SATURATED (less than 100% humid), the ice crystals will slowly SUBLIME back into vapor AND THE TRAIL WILL DISAPPEAR.
The layers themselves aren’t perfectly flat – they roughly conform to the ground profile AND any rising CUMULUS clouds. So even if the plane flies straight and level, it may be the layer it is in slopes gently down or up, and THE CONTRAIL EITHER APPEARS OR DISAPPEARS as it enters a NEW stratospheric layer with a DIFFERENT HUMIDITY. You have to remember these layers, though different, are ALWAYS themselves transparent.
So you can’t SEE them. You can only see which layer is really humid by a plane throwing a vapour trail in it. Typically stratospheric layers begin ABOVE the TROPOPAUSE, which is where our ground level weather STOPS. It is NOT POSSIBLE TO PREDICT FROM TABLES STRATOSPHERIC LAYER TEMPERATURES FROM GROUND LEVEL TEMPERATURES.
The stratospheric layers vary in thickness, more densely packed close to the TROPOPAUSE, thinning out to nothing much above twelve miles up. It’s very smooth and calm up there – the layers slide over each other WITHOUT MIXING. Layers with HIGH GROUND SPEEDS are called JET STREAMS.
If there are MORE vapor trails in the sky than there used to be, then the answer is that there is MORE AVIATION TRAFFIC and MORE WATER IN THE ATMOSPHERE.
At this point someone will interject “Your Theory…” and I want to plainly cut this short.
THIS IS ESTABLISHED ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS and NOT MY THEORY.
If you wanted to PASS ANY EXAMINATION IN THIS FIELD then you HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THIS TO BE THE TRUTH.
Eurodele, at least you are TRYING to ask questions, but:
“why many jets, laying persistent contrails, would converge in time and space 100 miles from any large airport” – Easy. The speed of stratospheric layers over your head can reach 100mph. If contrails are persistent, then they could have been laid just an hour previously “over” an airport. Next time you see this phenomenon, time the movement of trails from horizon to horizon, and estimate the speed of the stratosphere
“strangely concentrated and patterned jet trails through or over which other jets can pass with normal contrail dissipation” – From FIVE miles beneath, you CANNOT TELL between “through” and “over”. This makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE if one (invisible!) layer is HUMID, and the layer above or below it (also invisible!) is DRY. Contrailscience cannot be held responsible for your failure to INTERPOLATE information…
Look, Ever, I am a normal guy looking at PURE BUNK: this last statement of yours. The proof that this last statement of yours is HORSE FEATHERS can be found by any sensible person merely by going to their LIBRARY, and READING any book they like which covers ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS. Now you wouldn’t object to that, would you?
“I’m one of the many victims” – of an industrial economy.
“They are spraying” – IT IS MAKING AUTO FUMES, PHOTOCHEMICAL SMOG, AND INDUSTRIAL POLLUTANTS.
“I will not go out to see them because my asthma is terrible” – ASTHMA IS CAUSED BY THE ABOVE AND ALSO BY POLLEN.
“Whatever these things are” – I thought you KNEW
“they are indeed making people sick” – People have been made ill by industry for 150 years in your country.
“The quality of the air is so poor in the Bronx and lately it is worst than ever” – Your country is producing effluents at an ever-increasing rate
“I wonder why” – NO YOU DON’T. You have already come to a WRONG CONCLUSION.
“Debunkers/ experts/ authorities on/ chemtrails/80-90%/ real info/hidden propaganda” – Why did you write this and why the quotes? What hidden propaganda? There’s NOTHING hidden here – check my channel – I’m a MUSICIAN here.
“If you are a Musician, why do you get so defensive about this topic? I see that you spent a lot of time proving your point, great.” – I am defending (quite literally) – nothing. I am ATTACKING false and dangerous beliefs.
The Bard of Ely (with whom I have worked) enjoined me to support his “chemtrail” blog. When I read it I was astonished – I’d never met such rubbish in my life. I knew FROM EXPERIENCE (I’m an ex-aeronautical engineer) that the whole idea was wrong for a HOST of reasons. I thought that a small campaign of scientific advice would clear it up – more fool me! There have been 60 Google pages listing my attempts.
My main concern is with HEALING. If one suffers from the delusion that aircraft are deliberately spraying you with substances to make you ill, and you ARE living in polluted air, then any illness you get merely serves to CONFIRM your delusion. If, however, I manage to convince a person such as YOU, suffering from such a delusion, that after all, aircraft are NOT spraying you, you may PERMIT yourself recovery from what was a temporary state of illness. You also have a choice: to MOVE to cleaner air, or to AGITATE to remove the sources of pollution.
There is a third and most important point, that almost NO-ONE has any confidence in our system. This is because PAST APATHY has allowed the wrong people in. The ONLY WAY to get the government you want is to BE the government you want. Frank Zappa was right: you MUST stand for office.
The very best outcome of this “chemtrail” movement would be a NEW PARTY – neither Republican nor Democrat – which would seek to redress ALL the terrible imbalances to Nature that we have created, whilst preventing both a cultural CRASH, and a Global Warming CRISIS.
But you’ll never do it without a full understanding of SCIENCE…
New Developments of the Theory of Everything
(Nothing whatsoever to do with “chemtrails”, but I don’t care!)
Startling progress has been made towards a final physical theory of Everything (sometimes called TOE) which unifies and brings into comparison the disparate Theories of Relativity and Quantum Fields.
If true, the gaps in our knowledge will be displayed. That which we don’t know that we don’t know – we will know!
And here are more references for you to follow up:
“serve to cause confusion to the issue” – That seems to be YOUR role here as it is QUITE OBVIOUS that what comes out of a gas turbine IS what makes SODA-POP.
“attempt to make rational people who are making observations and discussing their experiences appear to be conspiracy nuts and/or uneducated” – ANY “rational” person would know to read up on technical aspects BEFORE “making observations and discussing their experiences” especially if they felt they were uninformed.
“You are using faulty logic and classic emotion based redirection (example “This rising panic ensues from an under-educated public”) as the basis of your argument” – the public IS under-educated. YOU are under-educated. YOU are KNOWINGLY using faulty logic and classic emotion based redirection when confronted with my challenge that you ARE under-educated (see the subject of EVIL below).
“These are exactly the tactics that are used to manipulate rather than uncover the truth” – for you this statement ISN’T a discovery!
“You should know that your posts are smacking of someone with an agenda” – and yours positively REEKS of one.
“government plant” – AHA! We’re sophisticated these days at http://www.myspace.com/jazzroc – hope you like the blog, piccies and music.
“No one mentioned anything about what the trails were” – DISINGENUOUS hypocrite! I quote – “Obvious trails, definitely converging” – “latest plane curving at same angle” – “they just keep coming” – “it’s pretty obvious” – “that’s the one” – “somebodies doing something” – “really strange spiralling effect” – “they’re just non-stop”. My, my, how “INNOCENT” you really are….
“YOU were the one to put forward a theory for what they are” – It is THE EXPLANATION made from an understanding of atmospheric physics. It isn’t a “theory”. It is established atmospheric science. Your “chemtrails” are a theory.
“YOU said the video post is “wrong” which makes no sense – my video was only making an observation that something is going on” – OF COURSE it is wrong. If I hadn’t typed in “CHEMTRAILS” I wouldn’t have pulled you up. That very WORD is a LIE with no basis.
“In additional YOU brought up the subject of evil, no one else here did” – IT IS EVIL TO KNOWINGLY MISDIRECT AND TERRORIZE OTHERS.
The stratosphere temperature at the tropopause NEVER RISES ABOVE -40 deg C.
In A FRACTION OF A SECOND the exhaust, a mixture of NITROGEN, STEAM, AND CARBON DIOXIDE cools down from 2000 deg C to -40 deg to form a WHITE SMOKE OF FINE ICE CRYSTALS in a column of N2 and CO2 gases.
In HIGH HUMIDITIES that trail will PERSIST and even GROW. In LOW HUMIDITIES the ICE will SUBLIME to invisible WATER VAPOR.
There is no-one alive that can possibly be sufficiently clued-up on this. Whether you’re a specialist or a generalist makes no difference – from now on some aspect of our developing world is going to take you completely by surprise.
There is no doubt that one day soon an off-the-shelf computer will possess a greater processing power than the Human Brain.
But in the interim we will all have created (and endured) a startingly-exponential rate of change which could easily be totally out of our control. In the generation after the next we might well have produced a computer powerful enough to help us regain control of our civilization, but in the meantime – we’ll just have to rough it.
Extreme? I find myself arguing with people who know the extremes of NOTHING. They’re hardly capable of anything. They know the extents of their boundaries, and kinda suppose that the rest of the world goes on just a bit longer…
Chemtrailers are like people who are hammering their hands with hammers and complaining about the pain. They know no extremes other than their own extremities.
THIS IS EXTREME!
“S-I-C-K ! !” “D-U-D-E ! !” 🙂
FIRST CONTRAIL (PHOTO)
“other planes left Con trails that vanished” – then the trails were left in a DRY layer.
“other planes did not have trail” – they ALWAYS leave a trail in the stratosphere, but it may be VERY SHORT.
“at various heights” – ABOVE FIVE MILES?
“other trails lingered, spread” – then the trails were left in a SATURATED layer.
“are these trails Chem or Con trails” – CONTRAILS.
“I don’t know, I’m not a bird or a scientist” – I DO know. I AM a scientist.
“length/linger/sheet/layer/haze/slide/spray pattern/within 5-10 minutes/suspicious” – just coincident with a WET layer of the stratosphere.
“not natural/condensation trails” – you’re not a bird or a scientist, remember?
“know that planes dump fuel/not sure they dump it this low” – a plane that dumps fuel is doing it in order to survive an immediate landing. Being mobile it normally goes out to sea to do it, and will be LOW DOWN. Your chances of seeing THAT are RARE indeed.
“don’t know if it is fuel or something else/fuel = chemical” – EVERYTHING is a chemical, unless it is an ELEMENT. You’re not a bird or a scientist, remember?
“This is not the first time” – that aircraft have left persistent contrails in saturated air? Flying Fortresses in 1943 certainly did!
FRACTALS IN NATURE
Fractal calculations have an ever-expanding relevance to the task of understanding Nature with the tools of Science.
first of all, the theme by thomas tallis is very good and the pictures too, i am from germany, so my english is a little bit poor.
it seems to me that you have a good knowledge about atmospheric procedures, so i want to ask you a question.
i have watched “chemtrails” for over 2 years now, and i am still not clear, if it’s chemical spraying or normal contrails.
i understand the “layers of differing humidities” principle, that can explain some “chemtrails”. so that i see here a “chemtrail” and there a normal contrail. ok but i have filmed airplanes that have no contrail at all, and beginning to spray, and make an longstanding contrail and then stop it, to make no contrail again.
the confusing thing here is for me is that this airplane made a wingwidth stripe almost direct behind the plane. so you dont’ see two or four stripes, or how much engines it had, you see only a thick stripe all over the wingspan and it stays for hours and diffuses to thick cloud, and before it had no contrail and after that, and it sprayed at the end some little short trails, as if it stop the spraying, and there nor come a little bit of it. you can literaly see how it sprays. and in the spray direct behind the plane there were colours in the trail, because of the angle to the sun.
what do you think of that, how is it possible, if an airplane had two or four engines that it can make such a trail, and then the trail stays for “ever”? thanks for your time, and sorry for my english. i am waiting for your answer.
Hi FROZEMAN – I appreciate your English, and how hard it is to write in a different language… I’m glad you liked my music video. It makes the hard work (and a lot of musical pleasure) even more worthwhile.
The plane was NOT “spraying”. “Chemtrails” don’t exist. It is ONLY contrails that exist. The phenomenon you describe is the trail of ice crystals left by an ordinary passenger jet flying through a supersaturated stratosphere. *The separate engine trails become “bound up” in the wave vortex of each wing – these may be more than fifty metres across.
Read my blog at https://jazzroc.wordpress.com, especially SCIENCE ON TRAILS. It is towards the end of the alphabetically-sorted compendium.
There, a scientist describes carefully how and why the whole body of an airplane generates a trail in a supersaturated stratosphere.
“Saturation” is a term used to describe how the air is “full” to its limit with water vapor. Ice cannot sublime into the air, and so cannot “disappear”. Trails laid in such conditions persist indefinitely.
“Supersaturation” occurs in calm clean “laminar” conditions, where the air becomes “over its limit” with water vapor, and just needs the slightest disturbance to precipitate out its overload of ice. Trails laid in such conditions get LARGER and HEAVIER and FALL….
The ICE crystals in the trail generated by the wings and body are microscopic in size and can REFRACT and DISPERSE light by INTERFERENCE, which accounts for the colors one can sometimes see.
Ordinary cirrus clouds also produce (on occasion) such coloured effects. They are called PEARLESCENT CIRRUS. There is another name for them – NACREOUS CLOUDS.
There used to be stories of a pot of gold to be found at the foot of every rainbow. Now science shows that everyone sees a different rainbow, and there is NO WAY you can approach its foot – ever.
“Chemtrails” are like this; a myth which, like a rainbow, disappears as soon as science looks at it. Let it go…
FUN IN THE SUN
It is only very rarely that I return to Blighty. I do it when I feel strong enough within myself to withstand a WEEK (well, three weeks max) of its brute power and brazen importunity.
I had a truly wonderful time whizzing through London on an Oystercard to yak with old buggers my age about software, businesses, engineering, aircraft, steam trains, (nothing about cars – hardly), beer, booze, and women. (All the women we know, by the way, talk about us, so it’s only fair to even up the ante. If they let us.)
Anyway, that aside I was aghast that once again British weather was making with the knee-freezing combination of 18 deg C and 85% humidity as I departed, mercifully freeing myself from being charged 30 pee to pee.
Back to a balmy 32 degrees, I discovered THIS idiocy had, as they say, GONE VIRAL. So – possible fun!
NOTE: Comments text arrives higgledy-piggledy according to the vagaries of YouTube, so sometimes you have to fish around to find the connections. This amuses me considerably…
Missymoo, have you just removed a concealed compliment to me, because your PROGRAMMING just kicked in?
Tch. Tch. Naughty, naughty…
“wise pensioner who knows name calling is unbecoming” just made me blush from head to foot, and now we’re BOTH blushing
Too embarassing… LOL )
Another irritating thing…
Chemtards are woolly-headed, I know, and cannot describe anything because even if their eyes are good, their brain doesn’t work
So let me tell you EXACTLY what CHAFF really is
It is ANY electrical conductor of an exactly specified LENGTH
In large amounts they REFLECT electromagnetic radiation (RADAR) with a wavelength of EXACTLY the same length
This was called WINDOW and used by the Allies in WW2 to confuse German radar air defences and prevent huge bomber losses
Then it was aluminum-coated paper, now it is zinc-plated glass fibres – which I think isn’t so nice and biodegradable
But in neither case is it harmful or poisonous – the fibre length is in the range 15-45 millimetres depending on the radar frequencies used by the enemy, and cannot be ingested by living beings
The amounts involved in a chaff release are in pounds – small beer
ANYONE using CHAFF as a scare tactic is a “terrorist”
Just as ANYONE using CHEMTRAILS as a scare tactic is a “terrorist”
The common (and mistaken) agricultural practice of PLOWING
GUARANTEES windborne dust, therefore windborne aluminum and barium
Windborne dust will SEED the condensation of water vapor
Once the water vapor becomes RAIN, then that rain will fall into a rain gauge so that some poor ignorant girl can become the victim of another slimy and vicious “chemtrail” video
Contrails are the IQ test that “chemtrailers” FAIL
beachcomber seems like a bit of a shill but not for the big pharma as expected I think for a much different organisation perhaps one they would tell u doesn’t exist. Iluminating ppl with the BS. Don’t let his desperate negative explanations get 2 you. You know the truth when it is presented, don’t let him second guess your well versed inner knowing of Truth. The trick of giving you the truth shrouded amongst lies esp regarding aluminium and barium – truth but lies moulded to deceive you.
@MissyM005 If you KNEW scientific method, missymoo, then all you have to do is
SHOW THE EVIDENCE
There’s absolutely NO POINT in telling others not to believe what I say
It is THE EVIDENCE that counts
and those white lines in the sky ARE evidence – evidence of CONTRAILS
It IS the TRUTH that aluminum and barium are in SOIL
and TRUE that soil dust puts aluminum & barium in RAINWATER
And also TRUE that that I’m a PENSIONER
You can call me the PAT CONDELL of chemtards
Who are YOU, MISSYMOO?
Quoting myself: “Windborne dust will SEED the condensation of water vapor”
And as a consequence you will find in your rain gauge ALUMINUM and BARIUM – courtesy of your local farmer
Then, if you are ignorant, you may appear on a “chemtrail” video
In the old days we had Jacques Tati, Benny Hill, Monty Python, Bill Hicks
Now “chemtrails” – a whole world of a comedy of errors
Aluminum is the MOST PLENTIFUL metal in the Earth’s crust
Not far down the list is BARIUM
You find BOTH in SOIL – CLAY is aluminum silicate
Exposed soil becomes dried and makes DUST which becomes easily WINDBORNE
The common (and mistaken) agricultural practice of PLOWING
GUARANTEES windborne dust, therefore windborne aluminum and barium
Windborne dust will SEED the condensation of water vapor
ALL plants are “aluminum resistant” because they EVOLVED in aluminum-rich conditions
Despite ALL the crap you wrote in this post, THE EPA CERTIFIED LAB SAID 0.5 MICROGRAM PER LITER IN RAIN WATER IS NORMAL. 3450 IS 6900 TIMES NORMAL YOU CEREBRAL MIDGET.
Energydrain, I WAS impressed by your little search, and must confess I KNOW the way it could be done
Forming large amounts of tungsten is very nearly impossible
Forming NIMONIC (nickel/molybdenum steel alloy) is a little easier
EVERY PART of the exhaust turbine section of a gas turbine is air-cooled from the rear face of the alloy sheet material they’re made of
Your “tube” would have to be streamlined concentric pipes of nimonic alloy
They would HAVE to be BROKEN for EVERY refit
The liar bastard in you said that jet fuel burns at 2400 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature for (JET A-1) fuel is 980 Celsius.
The following have melting points higher than that: Copper, Iron, Manganese, Nickel, Cobalt, Titanium, Chromium, Iridium, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Carbon
@EnergySupply2008 Hey, kiddo, I’ve just been back to the FAST exhibition at Farnborough where they have a cutaway Rolls-Royce Conway engine with the combustion temperature labelled at 2,400 degrees Centigrade
Why don’t you go there and tell them (the designers and manufacturers) that they are wrong?
And I know for a fact that the delivery requirements for the Welsbach materials in Teller’s paper were 80,000 feet. It kinda stood out, you know
Melting point isn’t a good indicator. Softening point IS
And while you’re watching the documentary, you will see that the WHOLE of the work force, and the technical staff, live and work right round the plane
The wings are glued together, so there is NO WAY of picking them apart to RETROFIT “stuff”
This means EVERY ONE OF THEM, including the lady with the glue gun, would have to know the “chemtrail” equipment installed
EVERY FITTER in EVERY WORK BAY ALL OVER THE WORLD would have to know about Energydrain’s “tungsten pipes”
Yet no whistleblowers
There are whistle blowers, you just have to look for them. Two aircraft mechanics found that tubing was leading to the lighting protection rods on the wings and they had been hollowed out. When his supervisor spotted him looking too closely, he was suspended for two weeks. They threaten whistle blowers with losing their jobs and blacklisting them.
@EnergySupply2008 There’s nothing you find that I haven’t already found
Ignorant people everywhere like conspiratorial conversations and activities because it makes them feel important
Intelligent people everywhere are NOT impressed by threats or blackmail or blacklists
If there WAS any truth in any part of this it would have been gone already
So HOW DO YOU get the Welsbach materials up to 80,000 feet?
In WHAT FORM is the barium/aluminum distributed?
Stop changing the subject & answer my questions
You wrote: “There’s nothing you find that I haven’t already found”
YOU are delusional. I found rain water tests, patents, geo engineers talking about spraying 44 BILLION 92 MILLION pounds of aluminum per year and so much more that cannot be covered adequately with this 500 character limit shitty interface. I already told you, the patent calls for 32800 feet and they could spray lower if they wanted to really blast us with aluminum particles in our lungs.
It has always puzzled me…
Why do chemtards believe “chemtrails” are used to fight Global Warming, when they are known to be Global Warming DENIERS?
Why do they believe EVERYONE but them corrupt?
In my experience, clever people who study hard and pass exams in engineering do so because THEY LOVE THE SUBJECT
All my classmates did. They also loved cars, beer, music and the opposite sex
Entering some corrupt organization is the LAST thing they would do
You should watch “The Making of the 777”
This will solve your puzzlement. 2900 flights per day needed to deliver 44 BILLION 92 MILLION pounds of aluminum PER YEAR to the atmosphere. RAIN RAIN RAIN water tests showing up to 6900 times more aluminum than normal. Class is over.
Energydrain: “chemtrail patent 5,003,186 issued to HUGHES AIRCRAFT, which talks about adding the aluminum to the fuel”
was formulated by someone who WASN’T a gas turbine engineer
There are patents for a hotel on the Moon – so it must exist
Why don’t you go there?
Scotty can beam you up
You will find thousands of morons already there
Energydrain: “Tungsten melts at 3400 degrees Celsius. Care to try again you shit for brains?”
I’m terribly sorry. You ARE correct about its melting point
To confirm, could you check the price and availability of tungsten tubing?
When that’s done, we could consider you to have won the argument
Where can you get it, and how much it costs, price and availability
Shouldn’t take a moment
Just get back to me
The current price for tungsten is $297 per metric ton (2204.6 US pounds) Only 13.5 cents per pound. It is used in incandescent light bulbs, cathode-ray tubes such as TV and computer monitors, vacuum tube filaments, heating elements, and rocket engine nozzles. 2009 production was 53 tons.
Aerosols are always present in the atmosphere, otherwise there wouldn’t be any clouds at all
Aerosols are generated by the oceans, forests, tundra, and volcanoes (85%) – and the industrial and farming activities of Man (15%)
Aerosols have existed in Earth’s air for FOUR POINT FIVE BILLION YEARS
That’s a little ahead of Edward Teller and chemtards
Why aren’t we BURIED in them?
WATER transports them down to land and sea
Even when extinction-event asteroids fell, the aerosol effects were GONE in 10 years
Shit. I had to rewrite it so many times because youtube blocks me every time I write something because I talk shit to all you shills. BTW. They don’t use commercial airliners. But seriously… all spelling aside, Shit will leave your mouth. Nasty.
@stephenbowman311 Yes, YT has a shit filter
It’s a pity it doesn’t apply it to shitty vids like this one
The thing is that it doesn’t know shit about science, just as you don’t, so it is unable to discriminate diahorrhea from honey, just as you can’t
I extend my sympathies to both of you and other chemtards everywhere
It must make shopping difficult
How do they deliver Welsbach materials to 80,000 feet? Mmmmm……
@beachcomber2008 Its funny you consider this to be a shitty vid, but you look through the comments and you’ve been here for a long time. I know plenty about science. Mostly because of my BA in Biology. I just came to F with you shills for a while and talk shit. Your not here for facts anyway. You are here on your shift spewing disinfo. I don’t go shopping. Thats for the women.
@stephenbowman311 “I know plenty about science. Mostly because of my BA in Biology”
What’s a B.A. in Biology? Since when was Biology an ART?
I got my degree in the sixties before DUMBING DOWN took place
I have been, and my wife presently is, a physics teacher, and I know for a fact that Advanced level today is what Ordinary level physics was for me
So don’t bullshit me, bro’
Tell me, how do YOU think they get the Welsbach materials up to 80,000 feet?
Well, I am terribly sorry, but you have not posted anything at all scientific!
Like explaining where all the barium and aluminum comes from and why?
Where does the 100 to 200 millions tons of aluminum come from considering the total world yearly production is only 33 million tones?
In other words, the uneducated authors of this video just do not know enough to make out a viable case!
Why should any sensible person take this cause at all seriously?
The video corrects it to 10-20 megatons with an annotation and you know it. David Keith, when asked 10 megatons will gave no human health impacts, does not offer a different number.
I have already posted twice, if you go to Worldal.com you will see that world production of alumina (aluminum oxide) is 67 megatons per year, yet you insist on lies and being a scumbag that it is 33 megatons per year.
Your knowledge of chemistry is pitifully small. Aluminum metal and alumina are two entirely different compounds. Aluminum has a formula weight 27 while alumina, aluminum trioxide, has a formula weight of 102. Thus 102 grams of alumina contains 54 grams of aluminum.
Thus the world output of 67 million tones of alumina would represent some 35 million tones of aluminum, EXACTLY what I said.
That is enough of this paranoidal Chemnut rubbish for tonight! Thanks for the laugh!
YOU are a total idiot. According to you 35 million tons of aluminum is turned onto 67 million tons of aluminum oxide and there is no aluminum left over to have aluminum for other purposes.
I like the way this has “gone viral”
With little effort thousands of chemtards line up to get drubbed
So energydrain thinks there are tungsten nozzles at the back of turbofan engines
Well, the NEXT time I go flying I shall take a camera and snap away at them
I WON’T ask the captain if he can fly at 80,000 feet because I know the answer (he cannot) and I wouldn’t want him to think I’m a moron – or a CHEMTARD
Edward Teller’s idea requires aircraft to LIFT the Welsbach materials to EIGHTY THOUSAND FEET, otherwise they won’t stay up for long
Unfortunately for Edward (and chemtards) only the U2 and the X15, and maybe the B1 can get up there
That’s certainly the reason why “chemtrails” don’t exist
Chemtards point at passenger plane contrails
and that’s why sensible people KNOW chemtards are just plain stupid
Contrails are an intelligence test which chemtards fail
HUGHES AIRCRAFT chemtrail patent 5,003,186 calls for spraying at 32,800 feet and says 10-100 micron sized particles will stay aloft for up to one year. Geoengineer David Keith wants to use NANO sized particles. A nano is 1000 times smaller than a micron and estimates particles will stay aloft for 2.5 to 4 years.
mikemb123: “condensation does not require aerosols”
NO. It ALWAYS REQUIRES AN AEROSOL
AEROSOLS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS PRESENT
When they are NOT present to allow condensation, the saturated vapor becomes SUPERSATURATED
Why are the dunces in the classroom shouting from the teacher’s desk?
I guess the Chemnuts satisfy their paranoia just just posting some nonsense they took from some other dud Chemtrail nonsense video.
OK so be it !
Written by JazzRoc
November 5, 2008 at 1:00 am
Tagged with aerosol, agenda, aluminium, aluminum, ambient, apathy, arthritis, aviation traffic, bard of ely, barium, blocked, blog, book, breathing difficulties, carbon dioxide, carnicom, chem trail, chemtrail, civil aircraft, confidence, confusion, conspiracy nut, contrail, crisis, cultural crash, cumulus, delusion, different humidities, diffuse, direction, disingenuous, drewswebsite, eamination, effluent, emotion based redirection, established, established atmospheric physics, eurodele, evil, experience, explanation, faulty logic, filaments, fortress, frank zappa, frozeman, gas turbine, global warming, gold, google, government, government plant, healing, heavy haze, high ground speed, horizon, horse feathers, humidity, hypocrite, ice crystals, industrial economy, innocent, interference, jazzroc, jet exhaust, jet stream, large airport, library, lie, lines in the sky, lung disease, metallic salts, misdirect, morgellons, movement of trails, music, nitrogen, no more blue skies, not a normal cloud, NOX, observation, oily clouds, pearlescent cirrus, persistent contrails, phenomenon, piccies, ptb, pure bunk, rainbow, rational, rense, saturated, soda pop, sox, speed, spraying, steam, strato-layer, stratospheric, sublimate, sublime, supersaturated, technical aspects, temperature, terrorize, tic-tac-toe, transparent layer, tropopause, Truth, understand, uneducated, uninformed, unnatural cloud, vapor trail, variable, water in the atmosphere, wave vortex, webby material, white smoke, whiteout, wrong conclusion, your theory
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