A pseudo-academic example of confirmation bias: Thesis by Petteri Nieminen

Let’s say you want to discredit a viewpoint which you strongly disagree with. Let’s assume you are not interested in the logical form of the arguments or the evidence used by those who hold the view. What can you do? You can always go the intellectual kinder-garden route of mining for fallacies in selected texts. There are thousands of texts in the internet, you can select those suitable for the conclusions you want to draw, tabulate the loosely-interpreted fallacies, and draw the wanted conclusions. You can also accuse those holding the viewpoint of some loosely-defined concept of bad thinking, let’s call it experiential thinking for example.

This is basically what Petteri Nieminen did in his 2015 thesis in theology ”A Unified Theory of Creationism — Argumentation, experiential thinking and emerging doctrine” (University of Eastern Finland). In a way, it is not surprising that the fallacy-accusation tradition of internet sceptics has supporters. Of course, the better way is not to search for potential fallacies, which are often poorly defined and falsely claimed, but to really think about the logical structure of the arguments. What is really surprising though, is that Nieminen’s thesis passed the pre-examination phase at the University of Eastern Finland. (It will be interesting to see whether the thesis is accepted.) My guess is that, whatever your view is on the subject, after reading the following analysis of the thesis, you will be surprised too.

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