Monday, December 6, 2010

Circular Rationalism

In several Youtube debates I've had on a variety of different subjects, I've noticed the debunkers/skeptics have a number of vague buzzwords that they like to throw around. They include:
  1. 'Reason'
  2. 'Rationality'
  3. 'Debunked by Science'
  4. 'Freethinker'
The third one is a common dismissal. "Those 9/11 truthers have been debunked by science" or "Science refutes those global warming deniers" etc. Interesting choise of words ... not "<Insert specific observation here> scientifically rebuts...", but "Science itself debunks...", as if anyone who disagrees with them isn't doing science. And those that make these statements rarely go into specifics. It bares all the hallmarks of some cultist mantra, if you ask me.

As does their use of the words 'Reason' and 'Rationality'. The other day I commented on some video about life's origins, drawing parallels between the evolution of life and the evolution of human technology, and someone replied:

"@ScootleRoyale - Whatever floats your boat. I'd rather use rationality and reason."

I find these types of replies very interesting. What is 'rationality'? What is 'reason'? The dictionary definition of 'rational' includes the word 'reason', so to use both is redundant, and the dictionary definition of 'reason' refers to logic. So true 'rationality' is to use logic.

But 'rationality' is often a subjective thing. What one person considers 'rational', another person may consider 'irrational'. What do we say when people are trying to fit something into their world view? We say they are 'rationalizing' the observations - regardless of whether or not their rationalization is in any way logical.

It seems to me when so-called skeptics/debunkers etc. use the word 'rational', their use is purely subjective. They arbitrarily label things as 'rational' or 'irrational' depending on their world view - and then they say their world view is based on 'rationality'! It's completely circular!

Circular logic is a flawed logic, it therefore contradicts 'reason', and is thus 'irrational'.

Now of course it's not just skeptics who do that. Many Christians arbitrarily label belief in Jesus as 'rational', because that is their world view. But you'd think that so-called 'skeptics' would be better than that. But they are not. They are hypocrites and they have no reason to call themselves 'skeptics' or 'freethinkers'.

James Randi, Michael Shermer and Richard Dawkins are 'freethinkers'? ... What a joke!

The name 'rationalist' however is appropriate, if by 'rationalist' you mean someone who rationalizes things to fit their world view, coz that is exactly what they are. But if you use that definition, then flat earthers, religious fundamentalists and holocaust deniers would also be 'rationalists'.