Tautology Wiki



Stuart Kauffman(2000) Investigations, p52 explained that Newton's famous F = M x A is a tautology, just as Darwin's concepts 'fitness' and 'natural selection'. According to Wittgenstein many useful concepts are necessarily circularly defined in terms of each other. Del Ratzsch(1996) The Battle of Beginnings, p144-145 is a good account of the tautology.

Notes: This is incorrect as explained elsewhere, F=ma isn't a tautology. Circular reasoning in formulating arguments , such as the Common Ancestor for example, isn't the same thing as a rhetorical tautology (not Tautological assertions). Logical fallacies or fallacious argument can contain both circular reasoning and tautologies, leading to confusion between the two. Rhetorical tautologies are used to guarantee the truth of the propositions, which in many cases obfuscates the fact that a disputed premise is being assumed(begging the question). Logical necessities, mathematical redundancies or Tautological assertions are assumed as the supportive scaffolding in any logical argument, leading to the proponent of a particular argument equivocating between mathematical certainties or logical necessities (A or not-A) and his rhetorical tautologies in order to save his argument from being a fallacy.


This incorporates Doubting Thomas on Darwin's Tautology article.

A tautological argument is not an argument; a tautological game is not a game. Physics equations, such as E = mc2, are not tautologies. The terms on both sides of the equation are defined elsewhere independently. The equal sign does not mean "is defined by" but rather equal to, establishing an equivalence. It doesn't define one term in term's of another. Acceleration and mass independently don't equal force but their product MA as derived by Newton does, hence the equation F=MA isn't a tautology. The second law relates an external influence, the force, to the acceleration of an object in space and time, it isn't a tautological statement,they are independently measurable.

Physics equations are a subset of mathematical equations. Tautological logical validities aren't found in physics equations but in mathematical equations. Unfalsifiable mathematical assertions such as 7=7 are the axiomatic supportive scaffolding that enables a well reasoned description of the observable world. A physics equation, as a falsifiable proposition, assumes given necessary truths or logical validities. All falsifiable theories pivots on unfalsifiable assumptions, implying that all of human endevor are based on a belief system, consistent with Godel's theorem. This raises Philosophical questions.

A rhetorical tautology can't be falsified because it is just that a tautology. A logical validity such as "A or not-A" can't be verified but this doesn't equate to a refutation. The idea symbolically represented with the symbol string "A or not-A and therefore monkeys gave birth to humans" is a rhetorical tautology: The conclusion is a non-sequitur. It might be true that monkeys gave birth to humans but not as a logical deduction from a necessary truth. (http://groups.google.com/group/sci.bio.evolution/browse_thread/thread/ea6cb92232f2e69c/e49f197b34b00632?q=aristotle+OR+tautology#e49f197b34b00632)

X=X could be a logical validity,mathematical redundancy or a logical tautology depending on the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatics or motive behind it. There is no language without a motive. A Truism is true by definition, it is not a tautology but can be reformulated in a tautological manner in order to disguise the truistic nature of the original statement and underlying Premises. The dividing line between a Truism and an observation is Pragmatics. Neither is Begging the question a tautology. A Truism is embedded inside an argument in an attempt to disguise that the conclusion based on the argument's core is a Non_sequitur_(logic) Non sequitur (logic). The sun shines is an observation, it becomes a Truism if used in an argument to influence the hearer to come to a conclusion which doesn't follow logically from the core of the argument.

The truism in such a case should be considered a &action=edit&redlink=1 Red herring (logical fallacy) an irrelevant piece of trivia employed as a rhetorical smoke screen. Tautologies, CircularReasoning and Truisms are used together as a rhetorical device in a deceptive attempt to argue for a view if it isn't possible to independently establish the real reason for the viewpoint elsewhere. The seeming complexity of such an argument might comes across as well reasoned but is really just the articulation of a world view that can't be Falsified.

Rhetorical tautologies are a Synonymous play with words that alludes to the same fact but in doing so presents itself as an explanation giving the illusion of uncovering the actual reason for the observation. An example of this would be the following proposition: favorable traits become more common and unfavorable traits become less common. The word favorable and the term more common says the same thing twice, which doesn't tell us the actual reason the traits become more common. This is illustrated with two questions:

  • Other than noting the traits became more common how was their favorability measured?
  • Other than noting the traits were favorable how was their capacity to increase measured?

The argument is formulated in such a way that it cannot be refuted. Furthermore the underlying Premise and word view of the formulator must be questioned because it might contain circularity, FalseDichotomies,RetrospectiveSpecification with the tautology an attempt to disguise these underlying Logical fallacies.

Natural selection: superstition for the Godless[]

moved back to main page

Papers by John S. Wilkins[]

moved to John Wilkins

Haldane on Tautology[]

Haldane committed the same error of Etymological_fallacy ,Polysemy, Equivocation]:

"...The phrase, `survival of the fittest,' is something of a tautology . . There is no harm in stating the same truth in two different ways."—*J.B.S. Haldane, "Darwinism Under Revision," in Rationalist Annual (1935), p. 24....." .

There certainly is no harm to state (A or not-A) as an axiom in set theory or x=x in elementary mathematics for eigth graders, they must comprehend their logically valid nature - (pedagogical tautology Naming_Conventions#Tautology_naming_conventions)

He states that the natural selection tautology1 (Wilkins meant type 1 tautology) is a "promissory note". A or not-A is also a tautology1, more specific like "(what happens happens1)" it is a logical necessity or "promissory note" that all of logic is assumes it is true. But "what happens, happens and therefore our ancestor was a flea-scratching baboon on the Savannas" is a rhetorical tautology3, the conclusion is a non-sequitur.

It is still possible though that we evolved(PatternOrDesign sense?) from a Common Ancestor monkey hanging by his tail, but this is a conclusion that can't be deduced directly from Tautology1 alone. Arguments will involve assertions that can't be verified but neither refuted - Tautology1 as part of the cognitive scaffolding to express our ideas within a paradigm(world view) such as Irreducible Functionality.

Newtons inverse square law pivots on the promissory nature of Tautology1 and can be tested, but can't be derived directly from the nature of Tautology1. An argument which derives it sole force from Tautology1 is in reality Tautology3.

http://evolvingthoughts.net/2009/08/26/tautology-4-what-is-a-tautology/ "....As Maynard Smith once said, in a source I cannot now find, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of tautologyx in a mathematical system; every mathematical model must have them. So why should we now think that a tautologyx is problematic?....."

To what type of tautology would Wilkins refer to here 1 or 3? Tautology1 isn't "problematic" , it is the foundation of all we say, do and think our entire existence is earthed in it. The problem comes in with Tautology3 and John S. Wilkins erroneous attempt at equivocating between Tautology1 and Tautology3. Aristotle, Democritus , Empedocles etc. explanatory scheme for their condition of existence involved Tautology3, influencing John Calvin and others.

Calvin's heretical doctrine of predestination - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination (taken to its full logical conclusion makes life meaningless) was really a twisting of Paul's type Tautology2(tautological expression) words. (Provide citations for any pleonasms used by Paul if any)

The "environment"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment) has the sense of a physical location or it could be a condition of existence. Likewise the word "predestined" could be used in multiple senses such as God having revoked free will or it could be used as a poetic expression Tautology2, to state that a person has accepted salvation from Christ and is now destined to go to heaven. In Psalms we find Tautology2 expressions for its poetic effect, they aren't fallacious. Because "predestined" like "quark" and the symbol "Jesus" or "Yeshua" has no meaning. One might call Christ "Jesus" or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshua. As long as the users of either symbol are referring to the same concept. Only the concept represented with "Jesus" has meaning, not the symbol itself.

All the thinkers and theologians from Augustine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_luther came into contact with the works of Aristotle or derivatives of it and most of them attempted to reconcile propositions which cannot be disputed(Darwin's expression) or Tautology3 with their respective world views. The destructive influence of Aristotle's type Tautology3 thinking was foisted on humanity in 1831(Matthews), Darwin(1859) with the semantic gargoyle of Natural selection, influencing today's thinking from the three major world views YEC, ID and Atheism. Either of these world views has to be correct, either God exists or he doesn't but all their major mainstream Apologetic movements such as Ken Ham, Dembski, Berlinski and Dawkins use argumentation narratives that suffer from Aristotelian type Tautology3 thinking and/or attempts at reconciling Aristotle's unfalsifiable propositions as Aquinas did with Christianity.

Aristotelian type Tautology3 thinking let to Skinner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behaviorism displaced by Chomsky (worked with Marcel Schützenberger). Chomsky thinks that "natural selection" is grammatical gargoylian hubris but can't openly state so due to the thought police on Universities, he was thus forced to use 'natural selection' in his publications because he gets his salary from the US federal government, not because he is stupid. The person who pays you to influence society with your ideas, such ideas will ultimately be a reflection of his official views such as the EU and US government who are controlled by Aristotelian, Empedoclian and Epicurean pagans with their "battle for survival"(getting the pointy end of the stick)f mythology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquinas wrote http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commentaries_on_Aristotle. Elsewhere JohnWilkins quoted an author in a book of how the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_mass was an attempt to reconcile Aristotelian3 metaphysics. The reference is there somewhere under under JohnWilkins.

Ken Ham]] The Battle of Beginnings, Del Ratzsch == http://books.google.co.za/books?id=9mtxPVS_OJsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Battle+of+Beginnings,&hl=en&ei=K_VXToK9H8yp8APd37zDDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

The battle of beginnings: why neither side is winning the creation-evolution ... By Delvin Lee Ratzsch

Tautology identification[]

Some arguments are disguised tautologies formulated such that it could be called Truthiness-Tautology, it is formulated so that it cannot be disputed, somewhere between a truism and tautology or a blending of a logical necessity , necessary truth, truism and rhetorical tautology - http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Talk/talk.origins/2009-11/msg08925.html

Double Tautology: http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_thread/thread/5947cbc2f3ae0a31/bbe4039c06b01a69 "... a concept irrefutable under all and any conditions , patterns or designs..."

StrawTology: An attempt to at introducing false observational information relating to a tautological description of a phenomena in order to extract an argument which seemingly explained the observation from tautological implications. (Will update in due time, see this - http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_frm/thread/557a525aebe1bddb# - thread for where it was discussed.)

QuesTology is an unanswerable question: "If the tree was made by God , who made God?" is a "Questology" , it is formulated in such a way that it can't be answered making any conclusion from it a non-sequitur: God could either exist or he couldn't. It is a variation of "Could God make a stone so heavy that he can't lift it?" Prof. Herrmann addresses this question at http://www.serve.com/herrmann/omni.htm: ".....A language, as we know it, if improperly applied along with classical logic can lead to meaningless statements when meaningful phrases are employed......". The implication by a user of the sentence who's world view is Atheism is that because the question can't be answered that therefore there is no God. If on the other hand a Theist were to ask the same question with his world view it would imply the existence of God because only he could answer such a question. The question and the fact that his creation(from either world view) could come up with such a question means there must be a supreme intelligence knowing everything and everything there is to know. To answer the question we with our limited knowledge would need to know everything. Imagine seeing a card-house and then concluding it wasn't designed because we don't know who designed the person that designed it and who in turn designed him in an infinite regress. It is tantamount to saying "because we don't know everything, we thus know nothing". "Questologies" are the twin-brother of "Rhetorical Tautologies", used to make an argumentation narrative indisputable making any conclusion from such a non-sequitur. [Note: I am not exactly sure about the logic in this paragraph, it could be erroneous , this subject needs further research. http://www.serve.com/herrmann/omni.htm would be in a better position to make sense of this issue. Please edit the discussion page with relative links to resolve this issue.]

The following block-quote was lifted from a tautology article by TdTone(Doubting Thomas on Darwin's Tautology) and ID/Creationist author and found its way into http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology_%28rhetoric%29.

A rhetorical tautology is defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, whereby the statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the propositions are guaranteed or that the truth of the propositions cannot be disputed by defining a term in terms of another self referentially: It says the same thing twice or repeats the same concept using words or terms in the synonymous sense, even though the words might not be semantically equivalent. Tautologies are a matte of pragmatics, not semantics. [Semantics are agreed upon codes between signal sender and receiver, they in themselves don't convey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatics. Only a conscious agent can have pragmatics, intent or an idea. Only ideas have meaning symbols like "natural selection" don't]. The argument is formulated in such a way that it cannot be refuted. A story in the New York Times isn't confirmed by reading it twice and neither is a world view confirmed by expressing it multiple ways. Consequently the statement conveys no useful information regardless of its length or complexity making it Unfalsifiable. It is formulating a description in a way that masquerades as an explanation when the real reason for the phenomena cannot be independently derived.

In the Usenet thread Darwin's principle of divergence - Tautology the full article was copied from TdTone. His take on the natural selection(NS1) is generally correct but he failed to notice key tautological sections in his essay.

The statement "If you can't find something (that you lost), you are not looking in the right place" is tautological. It is true and can't be disputed, but conveys no useful information. As a physical example, to play a game of darts where the dart board was full of bulls-eyes could be called a "tautological" game. The player would not lose. Any argument containing a tautology is flawed and must be considered a LogicalFallacy and conclusions or world views derived from such as non-sequiturs. The world view very well might be correct but doesn't follow logically from the argumentation scheme employed.

At http://bit.ly/dW8w6D Darwin wrote: ".. and every individual with the slightest blemish or in any degree inferior may be freely rejected..." The statement contains no useful information because being blemished implies that it would be rejected but this doesn't explain why it was blemished, what caused the blemish. It is a variation on Democritus


Ken Ham