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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

The Logic of Nigel Tufnel ~ Dylan

Stonehenge was built in a cold climate

Aliens don’t build in cold climates

Therefore, Stonehenge wasn’t built by aliens

This is a great twist of a valid argument where the conclusion that we’ve arrived to is one that we can agree on and is backed up by science, but the way that we’ve come to it is not completely based in fact. While the conclusion may be true, the section of premises may not be completely factual. We know for sure that Scotland, where Stonehenge was built, is a very cold place. But the second premise is one that we can not tell for sure yet. We don’t know for sure if aliens don’t build in cold climate. I could assume that if they were able to travel the vast highway that is space to our blue marble of a home that they would have to build some sort of intergalactic traveling space craft in the deep cold of space somewhere. But, in any case, this argument comes from the vast, mysterious, dark, and confused mind that is Nigel Tufnel (character from the movie Spinal Tap, played by Christopher Guest) and according to him, aliens do not like cold. But until we have complete and solid proof that interstellar travels do not enjoy creating works of wonder in minus zero weather, we can not know for sure weather this argument is factually correct or sound.

Besides being an interesting look into factual correctness, this is a great comedic look on science and scientific arguments that Nigel Tufnel  proposes and I think that it is a great examination of scientific argument. I think that there is some work of a genius in this small little statement said at the end of a video. First of all, it is a great commentary on comedy and just how much comedy can really be a thought provoking message wrapped in a silly exterior. It shows us just how far comedy can go in blurring the line between reality and fantasy, and blending the two together.  Secondly, it is a great commentary on science, and how we reach conclusions in science and asks some great questions about the subject. If we all reach the same conclusion but with different methods, even if some methods may themselves not be correct, are all the conclusions as correct as one another? All in all, this is a great satirical argument to examine that is really a great look into the mind of comedy, and the mind of logic.

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and… clever.”

-Nigel Tufnel



5 thoughts on “The Logic of Nigel Tufnel ~ Dylan

  1. Love your finishing quote! Great work! I find it intriguing how one can reach a correct conclusion, yet have a completely incorrect approach. My question is, is it fair to claim someone to he correct If their reasoning for why they are correct is factually incorrect, or wrong? (if that makes sense to you)

    Posted by thelaserbeam17 | September 26, 2013, 5:24 pm
    • Thanks Lazar! Yes it is an interesting idea to consider, and I think the video brings it up in such a subtle and brilliant way. And that is a really interesting question to consider. I think that in cases like that we’d have to look at the argument in pieces and dissect which parts are true or not, but as a whole I can’t really say. Thanks again Lazar!

      Posted by dylanaraki | September 26, 2013, 11:26 pm
  2. That was a very funny take Stonehedges and aliens.. I really enjoyed Nigel’s “clever” explanation and his reasoning behind the Stonehedges.. I also enjoyed your explanation of how aliens don’t like the cold.. Very funny and amusing good work!

    Posted by imtiazpaiman99 | September 26, 2013, 5:36 pm
  3. Like the comments before me, I think you’ve found a perfect example of an argument with quite an acceptable conclusion, (I’d agree to aliens not having built Stonehenge) but which is based on factually incorrect statements. It also helped bring me some clarity to how a great argument can be based on ridiculous premises. Again, great choice of material!

    Posted by katbilan | September 27, 2013, 1:01 am
  4. Great example and thorough analysis rendered with wit and charm, Dylan. Excellent post!

    Posted by bryanjack | September 27, 2013, 4:16 am

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