Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Arguing From The Bubble

Recently, I was in a pseudo-debate with a Christian on an internet forum. After enduring several claims of "fact", appeals to emotion, and general lack of cohesive reasoning from said Christian, I reached the conclusion that he was either A) too ignorant--and too blissfully therein--to ever understand his fallacies, or B) he was simply disregarding logic and formal rules of argument for the, pardon the pun, hell of it. I hope the latter wasn't the case, but even the former brings me grief to consider. I also hope I planted at least one seed of doubt in him. Whatever the case, it spurred me to make this post.

Does Not Compute
Einstein once said, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." My Christian opponent had an expansive imagination. He didn't (or chose to discard) the basic principals of logical reasoning, and I'm sure other apologists don't either.

Logic, as the study of the rules of correct thinking have shown, is fundamentally necessary for an argument to hold any weight or be taken as true in any useful sense. For it to remain consistent, an argument must provide set of statements, one of which is the conclusion, and the rest as premises supporting the conclusion. In other words, a statement along with the evidence that supports it. If your conclusion isn't held up by evidence, you've committed some kind of logical fallacy; you've broken the laws of logic. I cover these fallacies on this blog every Friday, so I need not go into them now.

Above I stated that most apologists don't hold to these principals, though I'm sure they all disagree. One might wonder how this could be possible. How could any religion survive for centuries if they aren't logically sound? The answers to these questions cover an extremely large amount of topics that I am not qualified to discuss (biology, psychology, sociology, history, etc.), and besides that it isn't the purpose of my blog. A more simple and purposeful answer: they are.

Superman, Hands Down
Yeah. Some religions are logically sound, but (you really didn't think there wasn't a kicker, right?) they are only sound internally; on the inside. Here's what I mean: If, for the sake of this example, Jesus really was the son of God...

Sorry, I nearly passed out just thinking of the number of leaps of faith that would take to believe. Anyway:

-If Jesus really was the son of God, then walking on water would be simple. He could do it.

-If the Hindu gods really drink soma, the moon would naturally wane because the gods are drinking away some of its properties.

-The angel Moroni must have told Joe Smith the truth, because the angel was from God, and angels can't lie.

-If Adam and Eve were oblivious to their nakedness, then eating from the Tree would indeed open their eyes.

All of the above logically follow from the premise. The problem is of course that the premises must be rejected outright, or at least backed up by something that, in turn is backed up by another thing, which is in turn backed up by another, which is itself backed up by another--how ever many or few steps this takes--all with sound reasoning. This is the labyrinth of logic that theists get lost in.

The point here is that yes, you can argue just fine within the bubble of your religion. This same principle is the reason why Trekkies can argue to the point of exhaustion regarding the layout of the Enterprise, or the inner workings of hyperdrive or whatever the fuck it is. The same goes for arguing a case for Neville Longbottom fulfilling the prophesy instead of Harry Potter, or what would happen if Spiderman fought Superman. The point is: THE SHIT AIN'T REAL.

A Ship of Corn Flakes Upon a Milk Sea
I don't give a fuck if you can convince yourself and your 8-year old daughter that humanity is suffering, and the only way to not suffer for the rest of eternity is to find Jesus. You must still show how any of that shit makes logical sense IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

I'm sorry for this rather blunt way of putting things, but this stuff really gets in my craw. Of course it's fine to argue and speculate on who would win in a fight between superheroes, or even what would happen if Jesus came back. The problems arise when you take these fanciful arguments as truth without backing up their underlying proposition. Even worse when you start taking actions against others for not agreeing.

It is in the best interest of your children, your countrymen, and yourself to learn to think critically, and learn how to logically get from A to B.


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