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Fallacy of Composition

Composition, Fallacy of composition

Arguments employing a fallacy of composition hinge upon an artificial and inappropriate extrapolation from members of group to the whole group, or parts of an object to the whole object.

Attempts to discredit modern theory by citing past theories discredited by modern science fail on the grounds that they are fallacies of composition. The fact that some earlier scientific theories have been discarded does not mean that current theories ought necessarily to be discarded. Equally, the fact that some scientists have made fraudulent claims, or that some evidence has been faked does not mean that all scientists make fraudulent claims or that all evidence has been faked.

The history of science suggests that some current hypotheses and theories will be supplanted by better explanations, just as some earlier hypotheses have been revised. This practice is part of the beauty of science in that such revisions are within the nature of science and will be based upon new empirical or experimental evidence* and not upon the unfounded criticisms of creationists unless and until creationist or intelligent [sick] design theorists’ present new evidence or valid experimental results.

Creationists, intelligent [sick] design proponents, and the pretentiously titled 'Fellows' of the Discovery Institute do not yet have a falsifiable hypothesis for ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’, have not yet conducted scientific experiments on ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’, and have not yet** published any peer-reviewed scientific papers on ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’, so it is extremely unlikely that any revisions of scientific hypotheses or theories will ever result from creationists' fallacies of composition.


*Recently discovered exceptions to the central dogma of genetics are an example of this revision – the concepts within the "dogma" have been repeatedly verified, but experimentally discovered exceptions have led to an expansion of understanding to include the newly discovered mechanisms of genetic expression.
** as of May, '07

The point illustrated by the image is that we cannot begin to accurately guess the function of the whole if we do not know the function of the parts.

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. . . launched (sans champagne, alas) 10/22/06