Monday, November 12, 2012

Some atheistic logical fallacies



"They aren't fools because they say, 'there is no God.'  They say there is no God because they're fools."


At its core, atheism is a logical fallacy called, "denying the antecedent".  Denying the antecedent proceeds like this:  A. If God exists then I would see Him. B. I do not see Him.  C. Therefore, God does not exist. This isn't to say that many religious people don't embrace philosophical fallacies themselves, most do, but ALL atheists do.

Though atheists like to posture as paragons of reason and intellect, the truth is very different: they think irrationally and often childishly.

Tautologies: While not a logical error per se, a tautology is an explanation that contains no real information. A tautological statement merely references itself:  most, if not all atheists are darwinists. The darwinian principle is: "Survival of the fittest!" Who survives?  The most fit. Who are the most fit?  Those who survive!

Bare assertion fallacy: The atheist will say something with no evidence, let alone proof, to support it.

Shifting the goal posts: The atheist demands evidence for God.  When you give him the evidence the atheist will dismiss it out of hand as inadequate, then demand "better" proof.

Begging the question fallacy: The atheist says, "there is no evidence for God." You might reply, "Why do you say there's no evidence for God?" The atheist has the answer: "Because there is no God!"

Ad hominem fallacy: "You're a Christian idiot!"

Guilt by association fallacy: "You're a Christian, so you're an idiot!"

Masked man fallacy: "People once believed that thunder meant the Gods were speaking. This has been disproved by science. Therefore, science shows there is no God."

Genetic fallacy: "Religion began because people were afraid of nature. Nature had to be appeased; and this appeasement of nature eventually turned into deification."

Argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance) fallacy: "There is no scientific evidence for God. Therefore, there is no reason for believing in God."

Fallacy of the undistributed middle: "Theists are stupid. Tom is stupid. Therefore, Tom must be a theist."

Argumentum verbosium: The arguer uses verbosity and/or a plethora of complex words to make himself appear highly intelligent and informed. The opponent struggles to understand what is being said, while the audience is swayed in the arguer's favor because they won't admit they don't know what he's talking about. A favored tactic of neo-atheist, Christopher Hitchens.

Circular reasoning fallacy (akin to begging the question): "There is no God because there is no proof of God; and there is no proof of God because there is no God.

Denying the antecedent fallacy: "If God were good there would be no suffering. There is suffering. Therefore, God cannot be good."

Straw man fallacy - disregarding what someone says and answering according to one's own spin: Christian: "Christianity has been beneficial to me!" Atheist: "If Christianity is so beneficial then why do Christians go to war and kill one another - and others?  So, Christianity is hardly beneficial!"

Red herring fallacy: "Christianity is beneficial!"  "Not for the slaves that Christians owned."

Appeal to pity fallacy: "Many Christians were slave owners who bought and sold human beings like they were potatoes. So, is it any wonder many people reject it?"

Fallacious appeal to authority. Not all appeals to authority are fallacious, but atheists often use it fallaciously: "Of course, Einstein was an atheist - as well as a genius."

Argument from fallacy, fallacy: Theist: "Tom is good and Tom believes in God. Therefore, God is good."  Atheist: "No! And you just committed an affirming the consequent logical fallacy.  Tom is NOT good. Therefore, God is not good."

The tu quoque (you're another) fallacy.   Similar to a red herring fallacy: "Oh, don't tell me Darwin was a hypocrite! Look at Jimmy Swaggert!"

Shifting the burden of proof: Theist: "Can you prove there is no God?"  Atheist: "No, it's up to you to prove there IS a God."  When debating atheists you'll learn this response is VERY common .  I've debated hundreds of them at this point in time and none have ever straightly admitted that they cannot prove there is no God.  Saying, "There is NO God." is a logical assertion - no less than saying, "There IS a God."  Logical assertions require some substantiation.  But the atheist dodges the question and attempts to put the ball back in the theist's court - thinking he can win by default.  They might as well argue that it's up to others to prove that George Washington lived, not for to them to prove otherwise.  It is very important that theists keep on them and not let atheists dodge this question - as it exposes their core bankruptcy.

Question dodging/evasion: The atheist won't respond to a question with a relevant answer.

Kettle logic fallacy: Using multiple, inconsistent conclusions in order to prove a point.

These are some of the fallacies you'll encounter when debating with atheists.  You can see how logical fallacies will often overlap with others, e.g., tu quoque's with red herrings, circular reasoning fallacies with straw man fallacies. Begging the question with tautologies.  False analogies with appeals to pity.... 


Citizenfitz

12 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this page. I'm working through the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, creating a page that analyzed Mr. Nye's logical fallacies. I didn't know that anyone could pack fallacies that tightly.

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  2. Do you think some scientists and thinkers have gone through a process of elimination roughly like:

    1. If there were multiple gods, they'd conflict with one another and the universe would not consistently obey any physical laws. Therefore polytheism is false.
    2. If there is one god, that god must be everyone's not the god of just one ethnic group. Therefore Judaism is false.
    3. The Bible is riddled with internal contradictions. Therefore Christianity is false.

    and therefore cling to atheism because they see Islam as the only plausible alternative as a description of the universe, and they see THAT as too horrible to even bear thinking about?

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  3. Well-written post; I often encounter these logical fallacies when debating atheists. I would also add the "appeal to ridicule" fallacy, which seems to be a favored tactic among atheists, e.g. comparing belief in a deity to belief in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. Also, the "appeal to adverse consequences": "I believe that theism and/or religion causes moral corruption; therefore, theism/religion is false." Finally, an incredibly common fallacy in atheist arguments is the "faulty generalization" fallacy: cherry-picking practices or tendencies of particular religions and attributing them to religion as a whole as though the two are inseparable (common examples being using radical Islam or Christianity's worst moral failings throughout history to prove that religion as a whole is immoral, which in turn relies upon another "appeal to adverse consequences" fallacy: if religion and/or theism can be proven to be immoral, then religion/theism must be false.)

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  4. You have "Denying the Antecedent" wrong (twice). The form of the fallacy is (quoting Wikipedia):

    If P, then Q.
    Not P.
    Therefore, not Q.

    Consider your first example:

    A. If God exists then I would see Him.
    B. I do not see Him.
    C. Therefore, God does not exist

    It is actually of the form

    If P (God exists), then Q (I would see Him).
    Not Q (I don't see Him).
    Therefore, not P (God does not exist).

    Which is perfectly valid logic, as it doesn't deny the antecedent (i.e., the middle step isn't "Not P"). To deny the antecedent, this argument would need to be made:

    A. If God exists then I would see Him.
    B. God doesn't exist.
    C. Therefore, I don't see Him.

    I think we can all see that's fallacious, which is probably why atheists don't actually make that argument. I think, then, that your assertion that the logical fallacy of denying the antecedent lies at the core of atheism, is false.

    Since your first example (again):

    A. If God exists then I would see Him.
    B. I do not see Him.
    C. Therefore, God does not exist

    is not a logical fallacy, if you don't want to accept the conclusion, you must deny the premise. That is, you must deny that if God existed, we would see Him. Which, actually, isn't a terribly outrageous thing to deny. It would leave me wondering, though, *why* we don't see Him.

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    1. LOL... Good try buddy. Apparently the author is incorrect about which fallacy is which, but his example is still a fallacy. This is called "Denying the Consequent" aka "Modus Tollens" :) Have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens

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    2. Nope, I apologize to you. You are correct. I looked into it further and Denying the Consequent is a valid form of arguing. I thought that it was not. The author needs to get his logic correct; because atheism, as he has defined, is not a logical fallacy.

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  5. Tautologies: ...most, if not all atheists are darwinists. The darwinian principle is: "Survival of the fittest!" Who survives? The most fit. Who are the most fit? Usually Those who survive. Think of it like a running race: Who wins? “The fastest runner” Who is the fastest runner “The winner” this is simply a case of two terms meaning the same thing, please correct me if I am wrong,

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  6. Can you make any more generalizations? Also, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. We make no claims. We do not believe in a deity. Period. You, a theist, say that there is. So, who needs to find the evidence (NO bible using, that's just circular logic and a fallacy).

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  7. You've got the "argument from ignorance" fallacy totally wrong. An argument from ignorance would be "here's something we don't yet know, so I'm free to attach any explanation I like to it, regardless of whether there is corroborative evidence for my explanation". Such as "God did it".

    I see nothing actually wrong for having no reason to believe something without evidence, do you??? Do you have a reason to believe that my cat created the universe from a garden shed? No? Well, how dare you refute the suggestion just because I've given you no evidence!

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  8. You've got the "argument from ignorance" fallacy totally wrong. An argument from ignorance would be "here's something we don't yet know, so I'm free to attach any explanation I like to it, regardless of whether there is corroborative evidence for my explanation". Such as "God did it".

    I see nothing actually wrong for having no reason to believe something without evidence, do you??? Do you have a reason to believe that my cat created the universe from a garden shed? No? Well, how dare you refute the suggestion just because I've given you no evidence!

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    1. Because their "personal feelings" matter more to them than the "Facts of Life". This post does well to show how well CitizenFitz and others have been so well indoctrinated to believe the, rather, unbelievable.

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