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The chances overwhelmingly are that there are factors affecting the rocket's trajectory that the experiment (and by extension, the hypothesis) has failed to take into account.

Unless it's that you have a very specific definition in mind for "well-controlled burns" (ie. burn engine P for X seconds:milliseconds, then burn Q and R for Y seconds:milliseconds, and your position will be Z) and the mechanism controlling the rockets has failed to time them properly, or if your rocket is shot down by an orbital defence laser (or otherwise sabotaged).

That may have been what you meant anyway? To be fair, I would expect that kind of misdirection in a high school experiment. But it parsed to me as implying "if an experiment doesn't do what you predicted, reality is wrong".

Lack of rationality causes religion causes lack of rationality causes religion causes lack of rationality --

I'm having a little trouble actually articulating what I find wrong here, and I'm not sure if that's a fault in what I'm supposedly intuiting or in my ability to articulate.

That's not so much a "logical fallacy" as a mistaken belief that belief is incontrovertible (or a mistaken over-valuing of "the personal opinion"). You've also substituted Argument for Fallacy.

The one you've outlined might also be less important here because it's a lot easier to recognise for what it is, and is likely to be recognised as a stonewall rather than as a convincing argument in a Dark Arts debate. The convincing Bad Argument does a heck of a lot more damage.

Which argument is "worst" comes down to semantics: does Worst Argument resolve to "Argument That Does Most Harm", or to "Argument That Is Least Correct", or to "Argument That Is Least Convincing", or to "Argument That Is Least Likely To Be Useful"?

Hi there, denizens of Less Wrong! I've actually been lurking around here for a while (browsing furtively since 2010), and only just discovered that I hadn't introduced myself properly.

So! I'm Bluehawk, and I'll tell you my real name if and when it becomes relevant. I'm mid-20's, male, Australian, with an educational history in Music, Cinema Studies and Philosophy, and I'm looking for any jobs and experience that I can get with the craft of writing. My current projects are a pair of feature-length screenplays; one's in the editing/second draft stages, the other's coming up to the end of the first draft. When I have the experience to pull it off (gimme another year or two), I'm hoping to develop a few projects that are more focussed on rationality. The backup plan for my future is to take on a Masters and beyond in screenwriting and/or film, either at RMIT or overseas (NY, LA, France?) depending on where my folio can get me.

That said, my scientific literacy is way lower than it "should" be, and I'm tempted to spend a few years working on that instead, but I'm not sure how much would be practical for my life; I normally find that I can ask (some of) the right questions about a list of stats, and I can generally understand human psychology when the concepts are put in front of me, and that seems to have been enough to get me by so far; I just feel really, really out of my league whenever I run into predicate logic, advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, or programming languages.

I also aspire to aspire to become fluent in French and Japanese.

As an Australian with an American partner:

Australia has slightly different rules about relationships than the U.S. does. Getting married is one way to do it, but if you and your partner live together in an exclusive relationship for the span of a year or two you can be recognised with "de facto" status. It's a legal step between "single" and "married", and it's another legal basis on which you can apply for a longer-term visa in Australia and CAN be done from within Australia.

It is, however, just as expensive to travel back to the U.S. and apply for the de facto visa from there (Flights + ~$2k), as it is to apply for the de facto visa from within Australia (~$3k). And of course you need to be able to show that you've been in that relationship for a year or more, and that the relationship is both long-term and stable, which is out of the question for most Work/Holiday visa holders.

The de facto visa also gives you the right to live, work and study in Australia for two years, after which if the de facto relationship is still stable, exclusive, etc. you're then eligible for permanent residency.

At the risk of nitpicking:

"Makes Deity happy" sounds to me like a very specific interpretation of "utility", rather than something separate from it. I can't picture any context for the phrase "P should X" that doesn't simply render "X maximizes utility" for different values of the word "utility". If "make Deity happy" is the end goal, wouldn't "utility" be whatever gives you the most efficient route to that goal?

There was an implied "Bill is not an accountant" in the way I read it initially, and I failed to notice my confusion until it was too late.

So in answer to your question, that has now happened at least once.

While words have a normative value as part of their common use, I think the reason you're getting so many down votes for those comments is that "value" is only a behavioral mechanism on our own part. Lots of people ascribe negative or positive values to event X. Great. But that's just a response in the human brain(s) that observe(s) event X, not a part of event X itself.

And to say that "his courage was vicious" -- you know what, I like that. I'm going to look for a way to use that in prose.

But if the question "What is P(X), given Y?" is stated clearly, and then the reader interprets it as "What is P(Y), given X", then that's still an error on their part in the form of poor reading comprehension.

Which still highlights a possible flaw in the experiment.

Ah. Yeah, I may have parsed that one incorrectly, now that you mention it. Thanks for pointing that out.

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