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Talk:Point refuted a thousand times

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Laffer Curve[edit]

Two complaints about the section on the Laffer Curve, from an economics undergrad - 1. "Despite this, the Laffer curve is still held in high regard..." seems to imply that there is no Laffer curve, which is obviously false. If tax rates were 110%, tax revenue would be zero, since working would end up costing you money. The point that all my macroeconomics professors made wasn't that the curve is wrong, it's that every country is currently on the "good side" of the curve, so cutting taxes necessarily lowers revenues.

2. It would really be best to remove the references to "supply-side economics" and the Laffer curve in two. The Laffer curve is considered a correct theory, just misapplied. Supply-side economics, on the other hoof, is too broadly-defined to really be right or wrong. You could say "dogmatically focusing only on supply and ignoring demand is bad economics" or "Reagan's supply-side policies, overall, cannot be credited with the majority of the economic gains made by America during his administration" and still be in line with the vast majority of economists. But for instance, "burning down all factories will lead to a short-term reduction in output" would be a supply-side viewpoint, and that's obviously correct. I think it would be best to describe it as "incomplete" rather than "incorrect". So the only PRATT is "supply-side economics is capable of explaining every economic phenomenon ever observed", which is so stupid that I sincerely hope nopony has ever had to refute it.

I don't know how to say either of these in the article itself, unfortunately. — Unsigned, by: 162.157.208.187 / talk / contribs

Politics section (racism and sexism).[edit]

First, I agree that the argument that racism and sexism don't occur anymore is a PRATT. I would argue that the supposed rebuttal is also full of borderline-PRATTs and fallacious arguments or those that directly conflict with other parts off Rationalwiki.

"racism encompasses more than just discrimination against people of colour."

- I'm pretty sure according to Rationalwiki's article on racism, it "manifests as negative discrimination." It would be nice to fix one or the other, as well as giving an example of something which does not involve discrimination on any scale: individual, societal, legal, social, etc, or any level: overt, systematic, systemic, accidental. Off the top of my head, I can think of nothing resembling that.


"The denial of the existence of various forms of oppression, or of the offensiveness of a given statement are strategies used to derail or undermine people working to advance the interests of marginalized groups."

- This statement violates Hanlon's Razor, assuming that an argument is actually designed as a diversion and not an argument. There is nothing strategic about it, and to say otherwise implies through sheer special pleading that racists aren't actually being racist but merely being a pain in the ass to anti-racist activists. In any case, not addressing an argument because the arguer had alterior motives is fallacious.


"If a member of a such group points out that something is oppressive to their group, they more than likely know better than someone not in that group because they live it every day. (Most likely they take the subject seriously enough to only produce such claims when they really think it's appropriate.) This holds doubly true for members of said marginalized group who also advocate for the rights of that group."

- This implies that, for ex, white rights activists would know best about what sort of nonsense they think is "oppressing" them. In reality, they're mostly, if not ALL, cranks, and racists themselves. Additionally, what possible reason do we have to assume that overreach isn't likely to occur? In any case, this amounts to an appeal to authority at best, and a sieve for the people who are most prone to reading in offensive subtext where none exist and overreacting to what they find, at worst. Consider environmental activists have made some truly fantastic claims against, for example, nuclear power. They might be activists, but in many cases, they're just as wrong as the climate deniers. Activist groups are well-documented to be crank magnets. How, besides skeptical inquiry, is someone to discern drivel like melanin theory from genuine issues like stereotype threat or hiring discrimination?


"People who suggest that these claims are frivolous should back this up with the required extraordinary evidence, which they almost never do."

- The phrase goes "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." i.e. the one who says "Society is rigged to keep me down" should prove it. A claim like "racism and sexism aren't real" would also demand extraordinary evidence. Denying a claim is the default until evidence is provided. Denialism is about denying overwhelming evidence, not denying a claim itself.

What this looks like to me is something written by an overzealous activist who's tired of having to make arguments and use evidence to support their claims, and wants to be able to demand blind faith.

The only rebuttal needed to disprove the idea that racism doesn't exist is one piece of evidence showing someone, somewhere, being racist in the recent past, or one incident of negative discrimination. Demanding blind faith in activists is not a rebuttal at all but something deeply problematic in and of itself.— Unsigned, by: 70.210.147.51 / talk / contribs

Suggestion when linking to this article[edit]

One man's PRATT is another man's "seriously? This has been refuted?". For example, to me, basically all points made by layperson climate deniers are PRATTs, but to many Americans they aren't, and I was recently unpleasantly reminded that there are people for whom Holocaust denialism is not seen as a PRATT. So I would suggest that any links to this page should be adjacent to a link to a page where our readers can read (or at least follow further links to) some refutations. Otherwise it looks rather supercilious and may put people off reading RationalWiki again - and more to the point, may put them off reading the actual refutations we've written or linked to on other pages, which would be rather shooting ourselves in the foot.--Greenrd (talk) 21:53, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Politics: Communists weren't left-wing, and fascists weren't right-wing![edit]

Both the "former" and "latter" sections here refer to the second assertion, which is confusing. Vivisectionist (talk) 13:21, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

Dividing line[edit]

Where is the dividing line between PRATT and 'things which are sufficiently counter-intuitive etc to need regular explaining'? Anna Livia (talk) 15:07, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Good question. I think the dividing line falls between things that are genuinely confusing and things that can easily be answered by a quick Google search. Wizard's hat.svgÜbermensch Pierce through the wonder of amazement at the ubermensch 15:09, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
But 'some web searches' do leave one equally or not more confused than when one started :)
Some allowance should be made for newbies and others who have to work things through and 'those things which do not work with one's brain (eg the piece of equipment which fights back whatever one does to it).'
Does the answer in part involve whether the person is willing to have their ignorance enlightened (however superficially) or not so willing? Anna Livia (talk) 15:29, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
It's essentially the same as the boundary between good faith argumentation and bad faith argumentation, entirely subjective and context dependent, but dammit I know it when I see it. It's usually pretty obvious. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 15:44, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
Category of topics with a fuzzy middle ground (and we all have 'things which do not work with our brains - eg reading music and 'how not to dislocate a wiki table if changing one little thing').
The point was mainly to note that not all seeming PRATTs are actually such - some people just need more 'explaining to in different ways' than average (but there can also be nuisances of various flavours playing with PRATTs). Anna Livia (talk) 16:32, 8 March 2019 (UTC)