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Talk:Point refuted a thousand times

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This Arguments related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Is it worth actually adding the refutations? I mean, yes, the point is that they've been done "a thousand times" already, but still, we should put some decent reading in. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 13:52, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

As should be expected, I feel uncomfortable about the political jabs here. (I also have a shrewd idea who may have inserted them, although I did not check so far.) How do you define communism and libertarianism? How do you define viable in the area of political philosophies? Is it really so easy to demonstrate that libertarianism or communism "do not work", if that is what is supposedly meant, as faith healing, for example? Work by what criteria? Who says that you get to define the criteria? Political ideologies have to be treated differently than factual claims about the natural world and do not make much sense as examples here. --Mintman 12:42, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, that's what I thought as well. It's never been refuted that I'm aware of (at least not "a thousand times") that certain political stances are "wrong". This is for stuff like "there are no transitional fossils" "mutation can only decrease information" and so on. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 12:49, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I got 50% on the "Who inserted the political jibe" test. I agree those should come off, but I don't think there's a need for the refutation to be included on this page - they all link to pages that describe the refutation in some detail. –SuspectedReplicantretire me 13:40, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Ah yes, now I also looked it up. The communism was very much as expected, and I guess the libertarianism item was inserted as retaliation? --Mintman 19:32, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Can a 'prat-fall' be incorporated into the article? (talk) 17:26, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

A what?? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:45, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Colloquial term - 'slipping on banana skin' etc: sometimes used in the context of slapstick humour. (talk) 17:51, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

I have just one question. Are you actually being serious? --Danfly (talk) 20:03, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

PRATT/Prat minor wordplay silliness. (talk) 16:20, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Bullshit: not minor, nor silliness. By repeatedly associating a commonly debunked notion (PRATT) with a colloquial word (prat) for hind end, ass, butt and so on, those debunked notions are framed as objects of mockery. Such framing is an effective tool for shaping perception, and hence shaping public opinion. The authoritarian "conservative" message machine has been making effective use of this technique for at least thirty or forty years now, and it's well past time teh progressive folks consolidated their impedimenta for a similar effort. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:33, 17 June 2011 (UTC)


"Liberal theology is wrong because it caused an alteration in moral attitudes to make them incompatible with conservative moral codes (e.g., the Wedge Document)."

I don't get it or understand it at all. What does e.g., the wedge document have to do with the former sentence and what does that former sentence have to do with anything? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 15:40, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Nothing! ТyTalk. 15:43, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I can see what the sentence means, i.e. X is wrong because it is incompatible with Y, which must be true. The wording is a bit confusing though. I remember having to read it a again after seeing it for the first time. --Danfly (talk) 15:46, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Having looked at the document's goals, I can see where LX was coming from: 'To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies'. Essentially, they say materialism is bad because it denies (or is incompatible with) objective moral standards). Come to think of it, it probably should have been kept in that form... --Danfly (talk) 15:59, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

What about the creation of universe.[edit]

Atheists (like me) maintain that the universe has been never creatd (in agreement with our faith that nothing can be created without energy, from which it may be "created", already existing), therefore the universe existed always (not my original thought but Carl Sagan's). For about a century we have a scientific theory to support this claim (theory of relativity by Einsteins) but most folks believe that it is impossible to exist without being created and so the universe had to be created "somehow" (favored word of mystics) in the past and consider therefore the Big Bang hypothesis a legitimate scientific "theory" (even is it contradict5s their own definition of scientific theory and not understanding Big Bang physics and math a bit, as they redily admit).

Since there is a certain probability that atheists, especially those studying seriously physics and astronomy for many years (like me) may be right, shouldn't this issue be debated at least once? Without assuming that those who understand relativity and that certain cosmologists attempt to push their creationist theory of Big Bang (as most physicists and all atheists, except crypto creationists, do) are wrong and should be considered cranks? The question, between others, addressed to Śnieżnej Dziewczyny (Polish translation of Puellanivis in proper case which Polish has 7 in singular and 7 in plural, the 1st being "Śnieżna Dziewczyna" pronounced sh'niezhna zhievchina :) JimJast (talk) 13:08, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

There is "absolute proof" that You are personified pyramid.

Тysic semper 13:15, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Hi Ty, what's "evil fundie"? Would it be a "fundamentalist", but why were you "evil"? JimJast (talk) 13:54, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
This should explain everything. Jack Hughes (talk) 14:30, 17 June 2011 (UTC)


What might we call a fundie disregarding something well-established that isn't a refutation of anything in particular? I'm thinking here of, for example, Keynesian being a conservative snarl word, though Keynes' theories are demonstrably sound and accepted by anyone who understands economics. Do we have a page for this? — Unsigned, by: ShorinBJ / talk / contribs

Denialism? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:35, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

accuracy of claim?[edit]

"In the UK where legalisation of same-sex marriage has been considered by the Conservative government, those in opposition repeatedly argue that its legalisation will result in the Church of England being forced to perform gay weddings despite opposing the practice. It has been pointed out to the anti-gay marriage lobby repeatedly that this will not occur; however, as they clearly have no better arguments at their disposal, it is repeated over and over again."

Is this accurate? European and Canadian anti-discrimination law already has a precedent for broad consideration of discrimination laws. In Canada the Human Rights Commissions have penalized people for religious opposition to homosexuality. Is there anything within the UK legal system that would prevent the Church from being forced, under anti-discrimination laws, from performing gay weddings?Gwia? (talk) 04:07, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

"Members of marginalized groups who claim oppression exists are just playing the victim card where there is no real victimization."[edit]

How I decode that sentence after insufficient caffeine: "There are marginalized people who are sometimes just playing the victim card." Would whoever wrote that like to say a few words about why they feel the need to make that point, and what that point is doing in an article about people who rely on tired, old,long-debunked arguments to justify their belief systems. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 17:15, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

WE as RW do not feel the need to make that point. The way the whole super section is formatted, we have to state a PRATT (as in, a point we want to refute) first, in bold, then try to describe the people who put forward this PRATT (or try to refute it) in an indented passage below said bolded statement. Nullahnung (talk) 17:18, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
EC --> Never mind. It's not a claim, it's an example of a PRATT. My bad. That said, I think it's way too vague, and would read better if it were phrased not as unspecified "marginalized groups" and "oppressions," but in terms of specific PRATTS actually harnessed vs. specific groups. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 17:20, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. It's a common one we encouter in the wild. ·Femilisk 17:37, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I intended my original entry to cover a broader base of things than just "playing the victim card" type PRATTs, but instead to cover the general attitude of talking over oppressed people in every way shape and form. There have been thousands of articles and books etc about oppression and what is and isnt oppressive and why. And almost every argument with is is literally a point we have refuted thousands of times. But im super tired and perhaps this is what its still saying idk. --Laurelai (talk) 17:47, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Sorry but I think it's far too vague and general to be counted as a PRATT. If somebody says that all women/gays/minorities/whatever are just playing the victim, sure, that's ridiculous. But I don't think that comes up very often. Individual cases where a person or group is accused of playing the victim are best judged on their own merits. A lot of the time it may be a smear or a canard, but there certainly are cases where people play their "victim" status to their advantage, use it to avoid personal responsibility, or to frame dialogue disingenuously (e.g. framing all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, framing all criticism of Islam as Islamophobia). Then there's the issue of which groups are genuinely marginalised, oppressed or victimised. E.g. conservative Christians claim that they are a marginalised group & are victimised by laws which increasingly force them to treat LGBT people equally which is contrary to their own personal beliefs. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:11, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
That's a good point. Is it better now that Vivian made it more specific? (We may need to actually put some examples of people saying such things as references, though.) Nullahnung (talk) 18:35, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not so sure that the section relates to those derailments by religious groups, at least in the current format --Drowninginlimbo (talk) 18:39, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I've included some simple refutation of the supposed PRATTs provided by Vivian, but it feels like I'm just beating up a strawman with regards to the jim crow/barack obama argument. Who actually says that? (I believe I've seen the PRATT about rape culture put forward before, but not the one with Obama/Crow) Nullahnung (talk) 18:52, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I probably run into the rape culture argument online on a weekly basis, not so much the Obama one though --Drowninginlimbo (talk) 18:54, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Come to post-racial America, where everyone holds hands and sings Kumbaya. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 18:56, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
That's depressing to read, at least the sources used are mostly skeptical --Drowninginlimbo (talk) 18:57, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Aaaand I unapologetically copied a source from Wikipedia for our article. Nullahnung (talk) 19:01, 18 June 2014 (UTC) Nvm, doesn't fit. Nullahnung (talk) 19:05, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

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: / talk / contribs

There has to be a better name for this article[edit]

There has to be a better name for this article, this just sounds wrong to use as a literary device, tehre has to be a proper name, right? Bubba41102Taste the shortness 19:21, 7 May 2015 (UTC)


Has it been long and often enough that we should add a GMO section to this article? Common arguments

  • GMO is unnatural!!! -No more so than selective breeding; also it happens in the wild
  • It's unsafe and untested!!! -It's safer than traditional methods, which don't have any testing
  • But-but MONOCULTURE!!! -This is the fault of the restrictions on GMO food
  • Bad for the environment!!! -Reduces need for insecticides, and as it only 'applies' the insecticides to insects trying to eat the crop itself, it's actually a benefit since it doesn't kill harmless or beneficial insects like wasps, it disrupts the environment less
  • TERMINATOR GENES!!! Never in use due to backlash

CorruptUser (talk) 04:50, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

I'd love to see that. I can think of a few more annoying ones too. --Umichcynic (talk) 05:54, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
These aren't necessarily true at all...
  • GMO is unnatural!!! -No more so than selective breeding; also it happens in the wild
You can't selectively breed wheat with fish. Or bacteria. Breeding has some very large safeguards in it. Whatever kind of wheat you breed with wheat, the result is pretty likely to be wheat, and to act like all wheat has before. Your own counter-argument deliberately misses the point.
  • It's unsafe and untested!!! -It's safer than traditional methods, which don't have any testing
As I say, traditional methods have natural safeguards. Little can go wrong, ever.
  • But-but MONOCULTURE!!! -This is the fault of the restrictions on GMO food
No, it's basically the fault of money. Agribusiness. BTW I don't stutter.
  • Bad for the environment!!! -Reduces need for insecticides, and as it only 'applies' the insecticides to insects trying to eat the crop
This is the big one... Name 2 things genes do. Right, replicate, and mutate. You can test in a lab all you like, but nature presents an infinite variety of circumstances. We don't understand genes really at all. We're still in the "poke it and see what it does" phase. Gene functions are discovered by implanting them and observing their effects. That is, the visible effects that we think to look for. Right now, and not 100, or 1000, years down the line. Genes persist, too. It's inherently impossible to tell what might happen. And the state of the art is nowhere near good enough to let genetically-modified organisms out into the wild. We've still no theory that can predict what a gene sequence will do by looking at it's bases. We know the codes for a good few proteins, but proteins interact. Genes interact. Quite possibly beneath our notice. Certainly beyond our ability to predict on the time scale of nature.
One of the great women of science, Marie Curie, proves that the most educated scientist can be bitten on the arse by an unknown principle appearing out of the blue. Radium was a wonderful thing, except it turns out to cause cancer.
I'm not against using GM in the lab, or in medicine. As long as it's locked indoors, and ideally can't survive outside of lab conditions, there's a lot of advances to make and research to be done. Particularly research. We're really in the early days.
  • TERMINATOR GENES!!! Never in use due to backlash
"So far unused". You can't tell the future. And this is important. In some cases, where you get science wrong, people die. In this case it could be global disaster. That's unlikely, perhaps very unlikely. But because of the scale of the damage it could do, small chances are very much worth worrying about. The other things genes do... spread. It's in their nature. Whether or not we planned it. And whatever combination of GM organisms end up out there, with wild creatures and the whole of nature surrounding it and in between.
There's so many genes out there. But all the natural ones came about from other natural ones. From parents that were much like themselves. This inbuilt regulation, this safety margin, is one of the principal differences. One of the many arguments GM proponents don't admit.
I also notice that governments refuse to order food manufacturers to label GM food, even though the vast majority of people want it. For whatever reasons they like, that's the power of the consumer, the marketplace. If the marketplace is fair and good, people ought to be free to choose, and to really choose you need information. The issue of "is it safe to eat" is irrelevant. It's "is it safe to let into the wild" that matters, again, unaddressed. People have a right to boycott goods when they don't approve of the producers, or for any reason they like. We should be allowed to know what we're buying.
The problems you list, the "questions" you're putting in opponent's mouths, are ones chosen to have specific answers by GM proponents. The answers leave great glaring gaps. Lots of logical implications skipped over. In fact the GM lobby has so many of these logical errors, it would be interesting (an exercise for the reader) to spot and name them all. See how many you can get! (talk) 20:13, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

I will answer the first point only; these are all PRATTs and part of a Gish Gallop and the best way to deal with such is to call it out and "stifle debate" because the person bringing up these PRATTs has no intention of ever bringing these up in an honest debate. You can get wheat with bacteria DNA. It happens in nature all the time. While the vast majority a species' DNA is the result of good ol' fashion fucking, and new DNA is usually the result of mutations (and so forth), in extremely rare circumstances DNA can cross from one species to another. It's called Horizontal Gene Transfer. In most cases, it's the result of viruses; if the injected DNA doesn't kill the host, the DNA is permanently part of the host cell. Yes yes, scary, and in situations where the cell is a gamete, you can have an organism born with DNA that originated from neither of its parents. This happens most often with bacteria, which also have another method for DNA absorption; ingestion. Usually DNA is just food, but uncommonly the DNA will combine with the bacterial DNA. This has an advantage in the ability of bacteria to acquire DNA from other successful species in an environment, since not all bacteria have the ability to fuck. The bacteria up your asshole? They have your human DNA. You murder trillions when you flush the toilet, you monster.
But this is missing the bigger point. The bigger point is this: So fucking what. Where DNA originates from has virtually no bearing on how dangerous it is for human consumption. Virtually all plants contain the genes for various poisons; what's to stop a potato from naturally mutating and producing toxic levels of solonine? The difference between "wild" natural changes and "controlled" artificial changes is that we can control what changes, and test and determine if any changes to the plant are indeed safe. That can not be done the "natural" way. CorruptUser (talk) 20:25, 29 August 2015 (UTC)


Actually a better example regarding sexism would be the opposite from "Not all men abuse women, so sexism no longer exists."

This being "rape / sexism exists, therefore all men are rapists / sexists". Of course no respected feminist would say this, apart from Andrea Dworkin and many others.

In fact the "all men are rapists" argument tends to be what the "not all men abuse women" argument is a response to. They're both equally wrong, for the same reason. Which might tell a wiser man than me something about the nature of the argument. And it's arguers. (talk) 19:43, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

--"Not all men" is not used the same way as "yes all men." the latter makes an absurd claim outright, while the former makes a true statement and functions as an attack on the straw feminist position (unless of course the feminist making the initial claim is actually saying "yes all men," in which case "not all men" is airtight logic, unless the feminist does in fact show that all men ARE rapists, which is of course impossible).— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. (You can indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line.) Thank you.--JorisEnter (talk) 20:33, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

PRATT is a logical fallacy[edit]

The point may have been "refuted" only in the eyes of the person appealing to PRATT. In the eyes of a creationist Evolution has been "refuted" a thousand times. In the eyes of a "gobal warming" believer, the natural cause of climate change has been refuted another thousand times. The bottom line: it's not the times you belive something has been refuted, it's whether the refutation makes sense or not. (talk) 00:53, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

PRATT only becomes a logical fallacy if you're using it in an argument...i.e., "your argument is a PRATT, therefore you're wrong." More commonly, PRATT is used more in the vein of "Your argument is a PRATT, it's not worth my time to debate you, please go away." Aristos achaion (talk) 18:59, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

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: / 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)