the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

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Iwannaplato
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Iwannaplato »

Trajk Logik wrote: Wed Nov 29, 2023 11:04 pm Not based on what you just said above. In a way the OP is right in that "Both sides justify their positions as well as they can" to reach a solution to what a Scotsman is and thereby determining which one committed the fallacy, if one was even committed. If both parties start off in same position of not having the authority to determine who is wrong in their description of a Scotsman and have to justify their descriptions then there is no fallacy until it is actually determined what a Scotsman is to say who was wrong in in their description.
Much of what you say here isn't in the OP.
a) There is such a thing as a false Scotsman
b) There is such a thing as a true Scotsman
c) The end
I don't think this is correct. It's as if the NTS is not a useful idea. I think it is. I think it is a real phenomena that some people when arguing try to eliminate problematic counterexamples, for example. Given that that is a real phenomenon - and let me know if you think this does not happen - it can be useful to have a name for that. And it can be a fallacious approach to arguing: to eliminate problematic examples that don't fit your position. And yes, the accusation can be false or problematic.
So it seems to me, based on what you have said, we need to solve the problem of defining Scotsman to even determine if a fallacy was even committed and who committed it.
Sure. I don't think I've said something else.

Let's look at his second post:
In what sense is the argument not technically accurate? In what sense does it not accurately represent reality? How is it wrong? and Nuh-UH!
He refers to his OP as an argument. It's not an argument. It is three assertions with no justification for any of them.

His third post starts to make an argument.

But he considers his 'argument' to be a solution to 'the problem'. He thinks he has solved the NTS. But he doesn't understand that it is not a formal fallacy. IOW when someone says 'Oh, but those are not true Scotsmen' that person must necessarily be incorrect. It means that there is a potential fallacious pattern happening.

He thinks he put the NTS to bed. That it was wrong. That we don't need it. That he has shown that it is not a (n informal) fallacy. He is confused about what it is supposed to be.

Which I pointed out in my first post in the thread.

He is treating it as if anyone arguing that someone else using the NTS accusation is incorrect because there can be false Scotsmen in the mind of those using the NTS. Which means he does not understand the difference between formal and informal fallacies, nor the NTS itself.

And I was worried that I came off as just wanting a fight....

You are defending the OP which the OP writer considers an argument that shows that the NTS 'problem' is solved - title of the thread. It's not a problem. He doesn't know what he is interacting with.

It's an amazingly dense package of confusions. He's certainly concise.

It's a useful idea and one that focuses on a real pattern that is fallacious, but obviously is not present in all cases of exclusion. Exclusion can be sound. Exclusion can also be used fallaciously. When it is, that's an NTS situation.

It's good if people have this concept, I think. If he and or you think it is useless, well don't use it.
Last edited by Iwannaplato on Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Trajk Logik
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Trajk Logik »

Atla wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:24 am Now there are two of them. With such skills how do they stay alive in adulthood?
Now there are three of them. With such an inability to read and properly address others' posts in a logical way how are we suppose to take anything they say about logical fallacies seriously?
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Trajk Logik »

FlashDangerpants wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 2:02 am
Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 12:50 am
FlashDangerpants wrote: Wed Nov 29, 2023 11:07 pm Watch the video I gave you.
I did and the video makes the same assumptions you do, AND the comments seem to support what I have been saying. For instance, in the video it says:
“Simply put, if you assert All S are R, and someone finds and S that is not R,…” who is to say that that someone actually found an S that is not R? What is S? What does it refer to? What does it represent? Only then can we say that someone found an S, or that the first claim that All S are R is true.

Simply put, the second person is disagreeing with the first person’s definition of S. So the problem is that there is an undetermined definition. The solution is to agree on a definition. Only then can you determine if a fallacy was ever committed.

The video goes on to say that the “specific claim is easier to prove. “It’s really hard to find all S for most things. It’s easier to find just one S that is not R.” But that depends on what S and R are referring to. S is the term; R is the definition. S has to have at least one R to mean anything. Scotsman needs to mean something to then claim a fallacy has been committed in the first place and to even say someone has made a generalization.
I think perhaps you don't understand what a fallacy is. You used a dictionary to find out what a Scotsman is, perhaps you should use it again.
I think perhaps you can't read. A fallacy is an improper use of language. Try committing a fallacy not using language. Try identifying a fallacy without using language.

You aren't even aware that you have now agreed with me that the dictionary would be the authority for determining whether or not the counter-example falsifies the premise. Thanks for finally agreeing with me, even though you were to thick-headed to realize it.
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FlashDangerpants
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by FlashDangerpants »

I would say that this guy can't see the wood for the trees, but he would probably whip out a dictionary and start arguing about leaves.


Actually I can see it now:

Advocate: "If there is a wood then there are trees, ergo you can only see the woods if you can see the trees .... The no wood for trees problem solved!!!!!"

Trajik Log: "OP is correct, whoever defines what a tree is also defines what the woods are... we are now free of the terror of woodless trees and treeless woods"
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Trajk Logik
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Trajk Logik »

Iwannaplato wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:59 am
a) There is such a thing as a false Scotsman
b) There is such a thing as a true Scotsman
c) The end
I don't think this is correct. It's as if the NTS is not a useful idea. I think it is. I think it is a real phenomena that some people when arguing try to eliminate problematic counterexamples, for example. Given that that is a real phenomenon - and let me know if you think this does not happen - it can be useful to have a name for that. And it can be a fallacious approach to arguing: to eliminate problematic examples that don't fit your position. And yes, the accusation can be false or problematic.
I never said that NTS is not a useful idea. My point is that there is work that needs to be done in order determine if what was said was actually a NTS fallacy. All I've been asking is how does one even determine if the counter-example actually falsifies the premise? From where does one acquire that authority? This has to be determined before we can even say a fallacy has been committed and find use in the NTS idea.
Iwannaplato wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:59 am
So it seems to me, based on what you have said, we need to solve the problem of defining Scotsman to even determine if a fallacy was even committed and who committed it.
Sure. I don't think I've said something else.
You did. Let's take another look at the OP:
Advocate wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:18 pm a) There is such a thing as a false Scotsman
b) There is such a thing as a true Scotsman
c) The end
You said:
The OP takes it as something that can be solved and then the NTS was just stupid.
Seems to me the OP does not imply the NTS is stupid or irrelevant. It is simply implying that there exists an authority for determining a false Scotsman from a true Scotsman. What do you think that authority is? This is the problem that needs to be solved - who has the authority and what does that look like - a dictionary, a linguist, an observation, a Scotsman?

Here is the original example in my first post:
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
Person A: "But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

What if the fallacy looked like this:
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "Look Scotsman up in a dictionary and you will find that being a Scotsman has nothing to do with what one eats"
Person A: "But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

If Person A is rejecting the authority by which you are falsifying their premise, then what are we to do? Doesn't the dictionary have the authority to falsify their premise? Is it more of an authority than an observed counter-example? Is the counter-example even valid considering that the dictionary does not even mention anything about what one eats? It seems to me that Person B is committing another fallacy by being caught up in assuming the premise has some merit to even go down the road of trying to prove a Scotsman is defined by what one eats. Just use the dictionary to determine what a true and false Scotsman is.
Iwannaplato wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:59 am Let's look at his second post:
In what sense is the argument not technically accurate? In what sense does it not accurately represent reality? How is it wrong? and Nuh-UH!
He refers to his OP as an argument. It's not an argument. It is three assertions with no justification for any of them.
Either you are blind or stupid, or both.
If there is no justification for a) There is such a thing as a false Scotsman, and b) There is such a thing as a true Scotsman, then there is no way to determine if "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge." is true or false and "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge." is true or false because you are saying that there is no way to determine what a true Scotsman is or isn't. The justification for the assertions are found in the dictionary. It's really that simple. Now who is complicating the matter needlessly?
Iwannaplato wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:59 am His third post starts to make an argument.

But he considers his 'argument' to be a solution to 'the problem'. He thinks he has solved the NTS. But he doesn't understand that it is not a formal fallacy. IOW when someone says 'Oh, but those are not true Scotsmen' that person must necessarily be incorrect. It means that there is a potential fallacious pattern happening.

He thinks he put the NTS to bed. That it was wrong. That we don't need it. That he has shown that it is not a (n informal) fallacy. He is confused about what it is supposed to be.

Which I pointed out in my first post in the thread.

He is treating it as if anyone arguing that someone else using the NTS accusation is incorrect because there can be false Scotsmen in the mind of those using the NTS. Which means he does not understand the difference between formal and informal fallacies, nor the NTS itself.

And I was worried that I came off as just wanting a fight....

You are defending the OP which the OP writer considers an argument that shows that the NTS is false.

It's an amazingly dense package of confusions. He's certainly concise.

It's a useful idea and one that focuses on a real pattern that is fallacious, but obviously is not present in all cases of exclusion. Exclusion can be sound. Exclusion can also be used fallaciously. When it is, that's an NTS situation.

It's good if people have this concept, I think. If he and or you think it is useless, well don't use it.
As I pointed out, and if I am interpreting the OP correctly, the problem is that the person is not providing the best counter-example and is assuming that the premise has some merit by trying to play along as if the premise isn't a simple category mistake. In other words, I would never allow the NTS fallacy to be committed as my response to, "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge." would be "Go read a dictionary".
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Trajk Logik
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Trajk Logik »

FlashDangerpants wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:34 pm I would say that this guy can't see the wood for the trees, but he would probably whip out a dictionary and start arguing about leaves.


Actually I can see it now:

Advocate: "If there is a wood then there are trees, ergo you can only see the woods if you can see the trees .... The no wood for trees problem solved!!!!!"

Trajik Log: "OP is correct, whoever defines what a tree is also defines what the woods are... we are now free of the terror of woodless trees and treeless woods"
More straw-men. and all from someone who told me to use the dictionary to find what words mean so you're contradicting yourself too.

So I take that it that you agreed with my statement:
Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:14 pm A fallacy is an improper use of language. Try committing a fallacy not using language. Try identifying a fallacy without using language.
Because you failed to make any argument against it and would rather resort to committing other non-related fallacies. Looking to you as an authority on logical fallacies would be like looking to a politician as an authority on truth.
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Harbal »

Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:14 pm
Atla wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:24 am Now there are two of them. With such skills how do they stay alive in adulthood?
Now there are three of them. With such an inability to read and properly address others' posts in a logical way how are we suppose to take anything they say about logical fallacies seriously?
You seem to interpret the fact that nobody agrees with you as a sign that you must be right. :?
Iwannaplato
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Iwannaplato »

Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:59 pm I never said that NTS is not a useful idea. My point is that there is work that needs to be done in order determine if what was said was actually a NTS fallacy.
Great, agreed.
All I've been asking is how does one even determine if the counter-example actually falsifies the premise? From where does one acquire that authority? This has to be determined before we can even say a fallacy has been committed and find use in the NTS idea.
Sure. I gave an answer to this earlier. If you'd wanted information about that, you could have asked.
Iwannaplato wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:59 am
So it seems to me, based on what you have said, we need to solve the problem of defining Scotsman to even determine if a fallacy was even committed and who committed it.
Sure. I don't think I've said something else.
You did. Let's take another look at the OP:
Advocate wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:18 pm a) There is such a thing as a false Scotsman
b) There is such a thing as a true Scotsman
c) The end
You said:
The OP takes it as something that can be solved and then the NTS was just stupid.
Seems to me the OP does not imply the NTS is stupid or irrelevant.
He said he solved it. It's not really an issue, to him, as far as I can tell.
It is simply implying that there exists an authority for determining a false Scotsman from a true Scotsman.
I think charitable readings are a good thing, but this is going way beyond a charitable read of those posts.
What do you think that authority is? This is the problem that needs to be solved - who has the authority and what does that look like - a dictionary, a linguist, an observation, a Scotsman?
I think my earlier answer was something like the people involved need to justify their arguments for inclusion and exclusion. It's possible a dictionary could resolve it. It might need an expert. It might require hermeneutics - thinking of possible Christians excluding certain Christians.

And, of course, the issue may not resolve. If the two sides don't believe in the same authority and their authorities don't agree. Which as we all know is common.
Here is the original example in my first post:
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
Person A: "But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

What if the fallacy looked like this:
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "Look Scotsman up in a dictionary and you will find that being a Scotsman has nothing to do with what one eats"
Person A: "But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

If Person A is rejecting the authority by which you are falsifying their premise, then what are we to do?
It depends. There are certainly situations where there's an impasse. You might be able to take other angles on the disagreement. The person simply repeated their position/assertion. You could ask for more justification. Maybe they think it is a self-evident truth. Maybe they agree that they need to justify it. That might open some doors. A whole range of next steps are possible until a final dead end is reached.
Doesn't the dictionary have the authority to falsify their premise?
If both sides agree on the particular dictionary and that this dictionary is likely to be correct. Two physicists might not find a dictionary enough evidene, both knowing that it's meant for the general public. I think many religious people would question its final authority and while not Christian, I have sympathy for that, depending on the point in question.

And then even with mundane things like chairs, a dictionary might not be able to resolve it. More or less thinking of the fuzzy boundaries of nouns and Wittgenstein.
Is it more of an authority than an observed counter-example? Is the counter-example even valid considering that the dictionary does not even mention anything about what one eats? It seems to me that Person B is committing another fallacy by being caught up in assuming the premise has some merit to even go down the road of trying to prove a Scotsman is defined by what one eats. Just use the dictionary to determine what a true and false Scotsman is.
I don't think that's the best solution, though I think it could certainly work in some.
Iwannaplato wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 9:59 am Let's look at his second post:
In what sense is the argument not technically accurate? In what sense does it not accurately represent reality? How is it wrong? and Nuh-UH!
He refers to his OP as an argument. It's not an argument. It is three assertions with no justification for any of them.
Either you are blind or stupid, or both.
You've read my posts so far. You really think I am either blind or stupid? Oh, is being blind like when you act like I didn't give an answer to the question you say above you wanted an answer to? Or were you being stupid? Or was it simply: I didn't say dictionary, so that means I didn't answer?

I suggest you look in a dictionary to see if you are using those terms correctly and perhaps that's help you rethink your insulting false dilemma.
If there is no justification for a) There is such a thing as a false Scotsman, and b) There is such a thing as a true Scotsman, then there is no way to determine if "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge." is true or false and "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge." is true or false because you are saying that there is no way to determine what a true Scotsman is or isn't. The justification for the assertions are found in the dictionary. It's really that simple. Now who is complicating the matter needlessly?
Now who's complicating the matter needlessly? Was that a criticism I aimed at you (or him)?
As I pointed out, and if I am interpreting the OP correctly, the problem is that the person is not providing the best counter-example and is assuming that the premise has some merit by trying to play along as if the premise isn't a simple category mistake. In other words, I would never allow the NTS fallacy to be committed as my response to, "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge." would be "Go read a dictionary".
Yes, I think I've got it that you think the dictionary is the solution or should solve all such situations. I don't agree with it as the solution to all such situations or even that it should be....

But more importantly...fuck you for insulting me for no reason.

I'll leave you to Atla and FDP.

You deserve what they will dish out.
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by FlashDangerpants »

Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 4:05 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:34 pm I would say that this guy can't see the wood for the trees, but he would probably whip out a dictionary and start arguing about leaves.


Actually I can see it now:

Advocate: "If there is a wood then there are trees, ergo you can only see the woods if you can see the trees .... The no wood for trees problem solved!!!!!"

Trajik Log: "OP is correct, whoever defines what a tree is also defines what the woods are... we are now free of the terror of woodless trees and treeless woods"
More straw-men. and all from someone who told me to use the dictionary to find what words mean so you're contradicting yourself too.

So I take that it that you agreed with my statement:
Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:14 pm A fallacy is an improper use of language. Try committing a fallacy not using language. Try identifying a fallacy without using language.
Because you failed to make any argument against it and would rather resort to committing other non-related fallacies. Looking to you as an authority on logical fallacies would be like looking to a politician as an authority on truth.
I didn't bother with your thing about it being impossible to commit a fallacy without using language because that was fallacious reasoning. You can't tell a lie without using language, but lying is its own thing and declaring it an "improper use of language" adds no information about what that is. You can't break a promise to an orphan without language either, there is no useful information int he idea that such language use is improper (but if you want to lie to orphans it isn't).

Aside form merely and uninformatively using words, you also can't commit a fallacy without infering from one set of information to another on an unreliable basis. Broadly speaking that second thing is what a fallacy actually is.

When I told you to use a dictionary to find out what a fallacy is, it wasn't an actual recommendation. I was mocking you for using a dictionary definition of Scotsman. It concerns me that this was somehow too subtle for you, so I will be blunt. Do we need to make exceptions for you on the grounds of something like autism that prevents you from picking up on subtext?
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Atla »

Out of curiosity I googled the expression "a fallacy is an improper use of language", it says 0 hits. Maybe if I rearrange the words?
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by FlashDangerpants »

Atla wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:02 pm Out of curiosity I googled the expression "a fallacy is an improper use of language", it says 0 hits. Maybe if I rearrange the words?
It's his take on Wittgenstein. Except Wittgenstein was dismissing the Problems Of Philosophy when he suggested that none of them amounts to anything more than linguistic confusion. Trajik Log has takent this so much to heart that he is addressing trivial matters of reasoning as if they are the problem of other minds or mereological nihilism without (ironically) understanding that the misunderstandings involved are deeply dissimilar.
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Atla »

FlashDangerpants wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:10 pm Except Wittgenstein was dismissing the Problems Of Philosophy when he suggested that none of them amounts to anything more than linguistic confusion.
On a side note, I really don't know how someone can get away with claiming something this stupid..
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by FlashDangerpants »

Atla wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:41 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:10 pm Except Wittgenstein was dismissing the Problems Of Philosophy when he suggested that none of them amounts to anything more than linguistic confusion.
On a side note, I really don't know how someone can get away with claiming something this stupid..
I side with Wittgenstein on most of that stuff. That's why I am so scornful of the general realism/antirealism phenomenon v noumenon thing that VA asserts is the root of all philosophical debate. As far as I am concerned it is all fundamentally meaningless.
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by Atla »

FlashDangerpants wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 6:31 pm I side with Wittgenstein on most of that stuff. That's why I am so scornful of the general realism/antirealism phenomenon v noumenon thing that VA asserts is the root of all philosophical debate. As far as I am concerned it is all fundamentally meaningless.
Imo almost everything that Western philosophers have said is meaningless, so inside that box I guess Wittgenstein is mostly right. Most of that philosophy is just a jumble of dumb assumptions and linguistic confusion. The sad thing is that he therefore stopped there, even though that would have been the point where philosophy gets more interesting, once we leave the box.

I'll have to agree with Osho on this one..
Osho wrote: In the West, the philosopher has become a totally different phenomenon. Due to Greek influence, the philosopher lost his roots in existence and became more and more rational, became more and more speculative. And the Western philosophy has grown out of the Greek experiment, hence Western philosophy has gone almost in the opposite direction from Sufism. It has become a logic-chopping, great arguments about nothing, just hair-splitting.

And slowly, slowly the Western philosophy has come to a dead end. Now it is nothing but linguistic analysis. It no longer thinks of great things, it is no more concerned with God or truth or freedom or love, no, not at all. Its whole concern has become the meaning of words. When the Western
philosopher thinks about God he means that he will think what the word God means. He is not concerned with the reality of God, he is concerned only with the word ”God” – as if by analyzing the word ”fire” you will come to know fire, or by analyzing the word ”bread” your hunger will be
satisfied. The Western philosophy goes on thinking about the word, ”bread”, ” God”, ”love”, and has completely forgotten that ”love” is only a word, it is not reality. It is only a symbol; it is a finger pointing to the moon.

The Western philosophy goes on thinking about the finger – how long it is, how beautiful or not beautiful it is, black or white, and has completely forgotten that it simply points to the moon. You need not be concerned with the finger; you can forget about it. Look at the moon and forget the
finger – but the Western philosophy has become greatly skilled in thinking about the finger.

If you read the works of the greatest philosophers in the West – Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. E. Moore – you will be surprised: just linguistic analysis. The reality is no longer any concern of philosophy.
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Re: the "no true Scotsman" problem solved

Post by commonsense »

Trajk Logik wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:14 pm
Atla wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2023 5:24 am Now there are two of them. With such skills how do they stay alive in adulthood?
Now there are three of them. With such an inability to read and properly address others' posts in a logical way how are we suppose to take anything they say about logical fallacies seriously?
Just curious —do you understand that one of the two is you?
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