Sunday, March 1, 2009

Some Common Logical Fallacies (a.k.a. How Religious People Argue a.k.a Stop Presenting Me with Shitty Arguments that You Expect Me to Take Seriously)

After my recent atheist post, many friends have asked me questions in private about my beliefs, many arguing poorly in defense of a god. I’ve compiled this list of the numerous logical fallacies presented to me time and time again in the defense of a god because I am sick of individually refuting them. Well constructed and sound arguments are the only ones that are going to change my mind, people, so read up and learn!

(Just so you know, this is going to be quite the extensive list; you really won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t read it all. And-thanks to JT Eberpants for helping me out. :D )

  • Ad Hominem: Attacking the person instead of their presented ideas.
    • Ex: OMG! You are just a mean, evil atheist who is going to hell because you don’t believe in Jayysus.
  • Argument from Omniscience: Saying that all people, everyone everywhere think or believe a certain thing.
    • Ex: Everyone believes something! (Orly? How can you support this claim o’ omniscient one? I submit that you cannot.)
  • Appeal to Tradition/Belief: Saying something is true or good because it has been done for many years/decades/centuries.
    • Ex: Christianity has been around since, like omg forevers! So it must be true! Also-My parents raised me to believe in god so it’s what I believe.
  • Appeal from Authority: Using the words of an ‘expert’ on the subject to add credibility to your claim.
    • Ex: Ben Stein believes in god and he’s, like, really smart!
  • Argumentum Ad Baculum: Presenting an argument that is based on a threat.
    • Ex: If you don’t believe in god you will burn forever in the fiery depths of hell with no marshmallows, sucka!
  • Appeal to Ignorance: Assuming that someone will accept your argument because there is no proof of the contrary.
    • Ex: Because there is no proof that God doesn’t exist, you should accept that he does.
  • Appeal to Pity: Trying to get the other side to feel sorry for you to get them to agree with you.
    • Ex: I have nothing but god in my life, I was a bad person before and now I am good because I have accepted my savior, therefore religion is credible.
  • The Bandwagon: Arguing that just because lots of people are doing it makes it right.
    • Ex: Like, hundreds of people believe in god, so there must be one!
  • Begging the Question: Demanding your audience accepts whatever conclusion you come to without any sort of support or evidence to your case.
    • Ex: Worshipping a god improves the morals of society. (What proof do you have, Mr./Miss jesuspants?)
  • Burden of Proof: When one argues for something and then forces their opponent to prove otherwise.
    • Ex: You think god doesn’t exist? Prove it! (Apparently atheists are always on trial for their beliefs so we have to be well read motherfuckers while everyone else can skip around happily ignorant.)
  • Circular Reasoning: Stating in your argument what you’re trying to prove.
    • Ex: God exists because the bible tells me so, the bible exists because god created it.
  • Confirmation Bias: When one who is presenting an argument purposefully ignores the evidence that does not support their cause.
    • Ex: People of religion who expound upon the powers of prayer based on a few cases where it happened to work out rather than the millions of other ways it has not.
  • Confusion as to Correlation=Causation (Or Cause/Effect): Assuming that because two factors are linked when there is no verifiable proof that they are.
    • Ex: Stalin was an atheist and look at all the bad shit he did. Therefore, all atheists must want to do bad shit. (This can also be called ‘guilt by association’-all atheists are like Stalin)
  • False Dilemma/Dichotomy: Presenting only two options, one of which must be true.
    • Ex: Either the universe came about by chance or by design. It didn't come about by chance. So, it must have come about by design.
  • Hasty Generalization: Drawing a conclusion about a population using a sample that is not large enough.
    • Ex: That one atheist I met is a real jerk. All atheists must be jerks.
  • Non-Seqiutor: When a conclusion doesn’t follow what evidence has been presented.
    • Ex: We can't figure out how any natural process could account for the complexity of the human cell or whatever complex biological entity. Therefore, an intelligent designer must have put these parts together in the cell.
  • Middle Ground: Attempting to accept that the middle ground between two extreme ideas must be right simply because it is the middle.
    • Ex: Agnostics. (Suckers! Lol.)
  • Misleading Vividness: Allowing recent events to overshadow facts and evidence.
    • Ex: Person 1-I’ve been thinking about becoming an atheist. Person 2-What? No! Last week I talked to this atheist and they were really mean and spiteful and no one liked them at the church bake sale. Person 1-Oh! I guess I won’t, then.
  • Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: Assuming that because one thing happens after another that the two are linked.
    • Ex: After you prayed super hard for a pay raise at work for a couple weeks, you got one. Therefore, the power of prayer has been proven.
  • Poisoning the Well: A type of Ad Hominem fallacy, this is where someone spreads unfavorable information about a person (true or false) in order to discredit whatever they should say.
    • Ex: Don’t listen to them, they’re atheists! *Gasp!*
  • Red Herring: When an arguer will change the subject in order to divert attention from their crap argument.
    • Ex: God exists. You don’t think so? You’re a bad person! Look at all the bad stuff you do!
  • Reification Fallacy: When someone treats an abstract belief or hypothetical construct as if it represented a concrete event or physical, tangible entity.
    • Ex: God.
  • Relativist Fallacy: When a person rejects a claim by asserting that the claim might be true for others but is not for them for whatever reason.
    • Ex: Person 1-You’re claim that a god exists is unjustified, unsupported by any evidence, and riddled with logical fallacies, therefore I cannot accept it. Person 2-Well that may be true for you but it’s not for me.
  • Slippery Slope: Presenting a chain of events and assuming that one will inevitably lead to the other and so forth so you must accept a claim.
    • Ex: If you don’t believe in god, then you are a bad person, bad people go to hell, in hell you burn eternally, burning eternally sucks, so you should believe in god.
  • Special Pleading: Someone applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking themselves (or those they have special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption.
    • Ex: I am a Catholic. I follow the bible, as do my peers because it is what we believe is right. I use birth control, though, because I am a pretty princess.
  • Straw Man Fallacy: To distort or misrepresent the arguments that you are trying to refute.
    • Ex: You want to spread Atheism do you? You realize that Pilt-Down Man was a fraud of paleontology, right? So atheism is built on a series of fallacies.
  • Two Wrongs Making Right: Justifying one’s actions because another has done the same.
    • Ex: How can you give me crap for criticizing my religion when you do the same? (This has no relevance to an argument, people.)
  • Weak/False Analogies: Comparing two things that aren’t really alike in all of the relevant respects.
    • Ex: Atheists and religious people are the same because they both believe something.

Well, there you go. Feel free to add some, because I know I missed some, or let me know if I got something wrong.

Oh, and, YOURMOM!

1 comment:

Jack said...

LOL. Thanks for the laugh. Mostly because you prove the point that bloggers can't talk intelligently. As proven by your use of several fallacies in making your case here.

While what you have said is true. It isn't nearly correct. I don't have the time to educate you properly but this was entertaining.