The poisoned tree, was Re: Argument From Authority

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 08:41:19 MDT

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> true for the white supremacist group. I never said they were wrong because
> of who they are. I said their facts were wrong because of the faulty way in
> which they were derived.
> Agreed. But the "facts" presented cannot be mere summary statements. We
> must have the background methodology to determine how these facts were
> derived. If the background reveals that the methods come from unreliable
> sources, then the facts are suspect. Unreliable sources are deemed
> unreliable because of their faulty methods, not because of who they are.

"Suspect", OK. "Unreliable", OK.

So we can readily see that if some text under examination was written
by a clever bigot with an axe to grind, it can get under one's radar
because one is endeavoring to make the words mean what they mean to oneself.
("Take it at face value"=="employ 'jackdaw epistemology'", where
"jackdaw epistemology" has been described by Conrad Lorenz as
"What I know, all jackdaws know").

Jeremy Rifkin has been cited as one whose public face on TV seems eminently
reasonable; and then one reads his books and discovers just how far out he is.

Thanks for being diligent in your memetic T-cell efforts. But:

...does this then mean that words do not mean what they mean?

...I take it, then. that "right, for the wrong reasons" doesn't
exist in your way of thinking? Fruit of the poisoned tree, and all that?

In other words, if a hardcore creationist claims that Newtonian mechanics is due
to the peculiar psychology of angels pushing planets around, is he incapable of
producing correct calculations using G*M1*M2/r^2 ?


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