Talk:Argument by gibberish

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Real Examples?[edit]

All the examples of this supposed fallacy are from a fictional movie and it doesn't provide any clarity to this fallacy's application in real life. Until it's better explained with some more realistic example, I don't see how it's any different from being a simple non-sequitur. (talk) 22:52, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

I added two 'real' examples. Bongolian (talk) 03:21, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
That's more helpful for sure, but the fact that the examples are both from people suffering from mental illness is..a bit disconcerting. (talk) 16:35, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
Be that as it may. Bongolian (talk) 16:43, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
I think we could dump any given deepak chopra quote in here and it'd have a pretty good chance of fitting.

Molecules form and dissolve, returning to the primordial soup of atoms. But consciousness survives the death of the molecules on which it rides. What was once a bundle of energy in a sunbeam turns into a leaf, only to fall and change again into soil. The change of state crosses many boundaries. A sunbeam is invisible, whereas leaves and soil are visible.A leaf is alive and growing,whereas sunbeams aren't.the colors of light, leaf, and soil are different, and so on. But all these transformations exist as constructs of the mind.The actual energy present in the sunbeam experiences no change at all.

Gibberish with the express intent of convincing you of something.. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:28, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
Chopra has discovered a new form of doesn't-matter: Doopity = deepity + gibberish. Bongolian (talk) 18:28, 18 August 2020 (UTC)

An outline for an edit.[edit]

A Critique[edit]

The so called "syllogistic" argument by gibberish mentioned at the top of the article has issues: it should use the propositional variable p in place of X, where p is an atomic formula of propositional logic. Furthermore, the use of the truth predicate is technically illegal, since we haven't provided a semantics yet. Moreover it cannot be expressing absolute truth or top verum as it is not a tautology and is not a quantified statement.

Instead the first premise should read "p is the case". The argument seems to be attempting to fit the argument form of the Hypothetical Syllogism, however it ends up a colossal mess: both premises cannot involve the material conditional cpq, thus the conclusion: that P cpq R cannot be placed on the subsequent line of the proof. 

Secondly, if we consider the second premise - "[a random set of gibberish]" we note that this is clearly not a proposition: it is an illegal expression that is ill-formed according to the rules of formation; additionally, we note that the ordinary language inside the closed brackets is insufficiently clear i.e. what exactly is a "random set", all things that are entitled to be called sets have determinate conditions for membership. Nevertheless, it is suitable for the understanding of this informal fallacy which occurs in our ordinary interactions where we acquiesce in vagueness, as it is a figurative expression, which serves our purposes. Perhaps instead we should use the phrase "a nonsensical sentence" or "a sentence of gibberish", rather than "a set".
Another important point is the notion of "inscrutable words", because it illustrates our need to see whether our terms refer or not, before considering them problematic. Indeterminacy of reference is an uncontroversial aspect of the bound variables of first-order logic. However as to whether a given term can be said "to refer," in the first place, is a more pressing matter. The so called inscrutable words (usually taking the form in natural language of nouns) can not be used as indicators of reference. Instead we turn to Russell's Theory of Descriptions to regiment our nouns into descriptive phrases, which in turn, can be translated into variables of first-order logic - the bearers of reference. Prima facie, words don't seem amenable to Russell's theory, however this is merely illusory, an obviously inscrutable word, say Pegasus is clearly not a description. Not to worry. A word can be regimented by paraphrasing it as 'is-Pegasus' or 'Pegasises',and in the case of a definite description it becomes an existentially quantified expression: Σx(kFxΠy(cfyx=y)kGx) (Łukasiewicz notation, due to wikis <math> not functioning). If the description is true of no entity in the domain then our theory tells us that the term is not only inscrutable but doesn't refer.
Some have called the argument from gibberish "meaningless", and although this is a tempting strategy, It might be the case that the fallacy is just extravagantly false.

Reference 1: The Skeptic's Field Guide[edit]

=== SMOG: simplified measure of gobbledygook ===

SMOG is a tool for measuring the reading level required to understand a piece of text based on the number of syllables per word.(see It helps weed out writers who deliberately use complexity to overwhelm the reader whilst minimising precision (basically a form of obscurantism). Writers guilty of the fallacy hope we won't realise that they have nothing to say. —Leucippus 01:02, 20 December 2020 (UTC)