Python is DOOMED! Again!

Mario Figueiredo marfig at
Sat Jan 24 10:30:48 CET 2015

 Steven D'Aprano,

> Rick, you seem to be under the misapprehension that a reductio ad
> absurdum argument is a fallacy. It is not. From Webster's dictionary:
> Indirect demonstration, or Negative demonstration (called
> also reductio ad absurdum), in which the correct
> conclusion is an inference from the demonstration that any
> other hypothesis must be incorrect.
> And from Wordnet:
> reductio ad absurdum
> n 1: (reduction to the absurd) a disproof by showing that the
> consequences of the proposition are absurd; or a proof of a
> proposition by showing that its negation leads to a
> contradiction [syn: reductio ad absurdum, reductio]
> Example:
> Argument:
> Human population growth can continue forever, without any limits
> at all. There shall never come a time where lack of resources
> will constrain growth.
> Refutation by reductio ad absurdum:
> If human population doubles every fifty years, in 718 years every
> square metre of the world's land surface will have a person in it.
> In 840 years we will be jammed shoulder-to-shoulder. In 2335 years
> there will be a million people per square inch of the planet's
> surface (including oceans). Before that, after just 2155 years,
> the
> entire mass of the planet will be converted to human flesh. In
> 6760
> years, the entire solar system will be a solid sphere of humans,
> expanding outward at 15840400 km per hour.
> Since this is clearly absurd, something (war, famine, disease,
> reduced fertility) must reduce or halt population growth.
> (Aside: those numbers are more or less correct, as best as I can
> calculate them.)
> Reductio arguments can, of course, be fallacious. "The world cannot be
> a sphere. If the world was a sphere, people on the bottom would fall
> off!" This argument is fallacious because it fails to understand that
> gravity acts towards the centre of the Earth, not "down" relative to
> outer space.

And that's cherry picking. Another fallacy. That is, presenting only results 
that support your argument.

When Reductio ad absurdum fails to respect the principle of non-contradition 
it is no longer a proof by contradiction devise, but  a proper fallacy. Reductio 
ad absurdum becomes then one of the well know forms of straw man argument.

Your argument that the 70s things were bad and Rick wanted to go back to 
those times is both debatable (the 70s brought much of what we use today 
as gospel, like design patterns, for instance). You also try to reduce rick 
argument to the absurd by insinuating he is trying to support the idea that 
we should declare function names in one file, function parameters in another 
file and the function body in another file. That's a proper reductio ad absurdum 
straw man argument if I ever saw one.

More information about the Python-list mailing list