Barry Arrington has a new post at UD:
where he objects to the discussion, particularly by thaumaturge, on an earlier thread:
The earlier thread is based on the accusation that Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins “believe the fundamental questions in biology have been settled and all that is left is to suss out the details.”
Suppose that I were to argue that
- water is wet;
- therefore roses are red.
You would be right to accuse me of faulty reasoning. There is no inference from the wetness of water to the redness of roses.
The argument at UD is of a similar form. Barry Arrington and others are claiming that because Coyne asserts that evolution is fact, therefore he must believe that biology is complete (in the sense that the fundamental questions of biology have been settled). But there is no such inference. Just as the wetness of water says nothing about the redness of roses, so a belief in the facticity of evolution says nothing about whether there is a belief in the completeness of biology.
To illustrate the point, suppose I were to say that number theory is fact. That would not, in any way, imply that I believed mathematics to be complete. Indeed, Gödel’s theorem showed that mathematics is not complete, and it did so by showing that number theory is not complete.
Ironically, while Barry Arrington has been engaging in fallacious reasoning (as detailed above), he has also started another thread:
where he accuses Kantian Naturalist of fallacious reasoning.
So yes, Barry, you are correct. Language is not infinitely malleable. And you have been bending it and twisting far beyond what it can bear.