CFI promoting bad reasoning

I joined the CFI and this forum a few weeks back because I wanted to support the promotion of reason in the public. My experience on this forum is causing concerns that this was a mistake. I find more fallacious argument and unfounded or just wrong claims in this forum than any other reason based group that I am on. It seems that this forum is diseased with a pseudoscientific mindset.

Because the forum relatively few members, I considered just unsubscribing from notifications and ignoring it. However, I am concerned about the effects that this issue can have on CFI in general.

This is a forum. If you have an issue with the scientific content of any post, you are encouraged to respond with better science. If you come up with facts and peer reviewed papers that debunk any post, no one will object.
There is no substititute for good science.

In fact you probably will garner several likes from other posters who are interested in scientific truth.

OTOH, CFI also encourages new ideas and perspectives on new developments or even old ideas, if offered in good faith. Spirited debate will sort the “wheat from the chaff”.

CFI forum is an “open” forum and censorship is only practiced for “unacceptable” speech and behavior as spelled out in the “forum rules”.

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CFI, the organization, does not endorse the opinions on this forum. The mods have banned trolls, but that does not seem to be your concern. Could you link one of these other forums, so I can compare?


My thoughts exactly.

Phillybruce can you share any of those site with us?

CFI forums is for sharing thoughts, ideas, discussion, and even debating. Part of this is linking to reliable sources if you find someone is misinformed or is lacking information. That said, I too would like to know where these other forums are.

Please would you give us some exemples?

First off, I want to be clear. I am not talking about what is discussed. I am concerned about the logic and structure of the arguments being presented.

This is a clastic example of what I am talking about. Write4u is evoking the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof. The person making the argument is responsible for justifying that argument. Yes, anyone should be able to provide a counter argument. And anyone should be able to challenge the person making the claim to justify them. However, a fallacious or unjustified claim should not require someone to counter in order to invalidate it.

Most of the rationality themed forums that I am in are closed. E.g. my local humanist group. I searched online though and found an open forum that looks pretty good. In fact, thank you. I found this forum because of this post and joined today.

I really don’t think just looking at a counter example would clarify what I am saying though. It’s not what is being discussed. It a question of the forum promoting sound reasoning based on critical thinking. To be clear, I am not asking for critical thinking police patrolling to pounce on anyone that makes a mistake in logic. I am saying that to meet the mission of the CFI, this forum should promote an environment where people can learn these skills while having fun discussing cool questions.

Here is a google search for “critical thinking” on

What is a classic example of what you are talking about? I have no clue as to what you are talking about, so I should appreciate it if you would refer to the offending post.

Why did you not challenge this example of “false” argument.
Quote the passage and your objection and see what my response is.

Let it be known that on many occasions I have cited the exact same objection as you cite now, so there must be a good “reason” why I used that particular approach in that instance.

What you are doing is spreading a vague accusation without the direct challenge of the actual posit.

Please quote or cite the post # where I place “the burden of proof” on the auditor. I am ready to defend any and all of my posts.

That does not mean I am always right, but I do have a “reason” for my perspective.

So, instead of vague complaints, post your exact objection and allow me to respond.

How would you like it if I accused you of being prejudicial based on what you just posted about me.
Then we would have two accusations without anyone having a clue of what the other is talking about, no?

Don’t spread vague rumors without actually addressing the issue.

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I seam to have screwed up the reply mechanism for this forum. For the shifting the burden of proof fallacy, I am replying to the post by Write4U that begins with:

This is a forum. If you have an issue with the scientific content of any post, you are encouraged to respond with better science. If you come up with facts and peer reviewed papers that debunk any post, no one will object.
There is no substititute for good science.

My apologies for messing up the thread tree.

No problem. Pick a thread and we can continue there.

But when you cite an instance you wish to discuss, do reference or quote the post or sentence in question.

And what specifically is the scientific content where I used a proof fallacy in response to a challenge?

Proving that CFI uses good reasoning would be a challenge. There are only people here, not a “CFI”. People are flawed, so you can find errors in my reasoning I’m sure. I try to moderate by asking for clarifications when I don’t understand or disagree with someone’s reasoning.

It’s also worth noting that I appreciate the decorum of this conversation.

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I don’t think you need to prove it. I think the forum should adopt a culture and mission of teaching rational thought. How to do that will take some though and effort. I think its doable though. CFI has a lot of material on critical thinking. Perhaps someone from CFI can advise.

Keeping in mind what Lausten posted, CFI is a label, this forum is a few humans trying to dialogue.

When you see a failure in critical thinking and fallacious arguments - take the time to point it out. Rationally dissect the error in argument or fact, add some supporting information and ask a couple clarifying questions, never know what it might lead to.

You know that nice little bromide: “Be the change you want to see.” ?
I think there’s something to that.

Have any suggestions how to do that? You know, you could start a thread to explore this in more detail.


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Have any suggestions how to do that? You know, you could start a thread to explore this in more detail.

Very good idea.

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I used that word in response to the “burden of proof” fallacy that was mentioned. I like this restatement, suggesting a positive action.

There are other ways to contact CFI that might help you understand what the organization thinks about the forum and what their goals are. We, the moderators, have not been asked for input on how or what to promote on the forum, other than enforcing the rules, as found in the FAQ.

At the “main” page, in the menu, there are options for Staff, Board, and Contact.

In my mind, a forum is a place to debate.

And anybody who respects the forum rules is entitled to express his ideas.

That means that some people can express ideas other people find irrational or debatable.

I don’t think that this could be changed.

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The term “shifting the burden of proof” in this context is the name of a type of fallacy. It’s not mint to imply that a statement must be proven absolutely. An simple example of this fallacy could be:

  1. Ales claims that she has a drug to cure cancer.
  2. Bob asks Ales if she can back up her claim with evidence.
  3. Alas then demands Bob provide evidence that it doesn’t work.

Ales is making an extraordinary claim that without providing a justification. Since she is making the claim, she is the one that holds the burden of proof. Until she properly backs up her claim, there is no reason for Bob to except or counter her claim. She has shifted the burden of proof from herself to Bob.