Tag Archives: arguments

That’s Not a Scientific Argument

I had an interesting discussion with someone this weekend about nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. He has his doubts about fusion being a safe and clean energy source because it has the word “nuclear” in it. I explained that the fuel sources and waste products are totally different and the processes are totally different. One has radioactive materials, the other does not. One can have an uncontrollable chain reaction that leads to a meltdown, the other just stops if energy input ceases.

Here are some other arguments that are not scientific and are therefore not valid in a scientific discussion:

The Bible says so

Uh, no. The Bible is so incredibly not scientific. Religion is based on belief, not research using experimentation, data gathering, analysis, and so on.

This conspiracy theory website says so

You don’t know how many people I know who keep quoting conspiracy theory websites as if they’re the truth. No, they’re not. Sorry, they are so flawed in their thinking, they keep ignoring half of the information and focusing on one aspect. Give me an actual scientific paper to support your argument.

The vaccine has mercury in it, so it’s dangerous!

It may have mercury in it, but it’s in a molecular compound, not elemental mercury. It’s elemental mercury that’s dangerous, not the compound. Our body doesn’t break that down. It’s not the only chemical people say is dangerous. Another is formaldehyde. Vaccines contain less formaldehyde than a pear. In fact, our own bodies naturally have things such as formaldehyde, arsenic, and we’d die if we didn’t have other “dangerous” chemicals such as sodium or potassium.

So, what’s your favourite unscientific argument?

Educational Video about Armenia Becomes a Battle

I’ve mentioned the YouTube channel Geography Now before, and how I’m really enjoying Paul Barbato’s educational videos about the geography of what will eventually be every country in the world.  He’s currently on the A countries, and will soon finish Azerbaijan.

Now that country is going to cause an uproar, I’m sure.  On his video about Armenia, there’s been a huge battle in the comments section between Armenians, Azerbaijani, and Turkish.  There is, of course, a rather rocky history between these people, which I won’t go into here.  You can just watch the video.

If you wish to dare wade into the comments, you can do so.  But be warned that you’ll see mostly heated accusations and arguments.  It’s amazing how an educational video can bring out the nationalistic fervor, vile incriminations, and raw emotion.  It’s an educational video!  They’ve gone as far as attacking Paul himself.  He’s just providing the facts.  But of course, Turkish, Armenian, and Azerbaijani accounts of the facts tend to be different.  Well, I would assume he’s using reputable sources for his facts and doing a lot of research for each video.  If he makes a mistake, he apologises and changes it.  Honestly, some people just need to calm down.

I personally can’t wait for the Azerbaijan video.  I can’t wait for any of them, actually.

The Importance of People Watching

Any writer knows that to write fiction, you need to understand human behaviour.  What can be better than people watching?

I’ve always been a people watcher.  This doesn’t come from being a writer, this is a side effect of my introversion.  I watch many aspects, like how they walk, how they talk, body language, posture, how they interact with others, and so on.  It’s one of my strategies for dealing with others when I have to speak with them.  And I speak with many people every day in my job.  I’ve learned to adapt how I speak with others depending on what kind of person they are.  I can usually get along with anyone, even people I don’t like very much.  While others may get into arguments with that person, I seem to be able to diplomatically defuse situations.  Of course, this only works if we speak the same language.  I know when to let the person talk, and I know how to interrupt them.  A lot of this comes from years of experience in both teaching and customer service.

All of this is important for writing, because if we don’t understand how people behave, characters will end up being very unnatural and stereotypical.  When reading a serious novel, stereotypical characters turn me off.  I don’t want cookie cutter characters, I want well-rounded people. So what you need to do is not only watch how people move and behave, but also listen to conversation.  How do they say what they say?  Take notes about figures of speech, natural phrases, and how people respond in conversation.

If you can’t get out and are stuck in front of your computer, try watching some YouTube videos.  It’s best if they aren’t staged, acted, or a monologue in front of a webcam.  Look for those candid videos where someone just happens to be recording what’s happening.  You can get real behaviour and conversation that way.  Do you want to write a fight scene?  Watch a video of an actual fight in public.  For research, not entertainment, of course.  Don’t watch a movie fight scene.  Those are choreographed and not realistic.  You can also find good arguments on YouTube.  Listen to what they say.  Listen to how their language changes.  It’s quite different than their usual calm language.

There are many ways to observe people. What do you like to do?