Saturday, January 10, 2015

Re:Re: Logical Fallacies Atheists Make (Part 1)



Fans of my blog will recall in March 2013 I made a list of fallacies atheists tend to make in their arguments against religious people. Every now and then since that posting, I've had atheists message me on their take and why what they do are not fallacies. Naturally, all of them failed to prove their point  so I thought that was that…

Until one day I came across an atheist writer on Reddit who put a little more effort in their rebuttal…but winds up failing all the same.  Never mind the writer thinks I'm a woman (which I'm not; how he got that idea, I don't know) so let's instead look at what he wrote and why it doesn't really work: (For the link to the article, click here.)

From the Argumentum ad antiquitatem part:
"Atheism being the default position means no one is born believing in a god or gods. That belief must be instilled and the type is usually determined on a geographic basis. Atheism has nothing to do with tradition or history; the theist, however, will happily argue that "people couldn't have gotten it wrong for 2000 years."

Oh, me oh my…where do I begin to point out the illogical, hypocritical blather from him? First, not being born with a belief doesn't count as a default anything. That's not even the right definition of default. Second, you commit a category mistake by saying "babies are born atheist" because babies by their nature don't have that trait anyway. They aren't even capable of believing in their own existence. 
Third, "belief must be instilled"? How does the writer think atheism is spread? By osmosis?
Fourth, that "geographic basis" might have worked if we didn't live in a globalized world and immigration wasn't as common as it is now, but it's a meaningless take now.
Fifth, I'm not sure what atheism having nothing to do with history is supposed to mean. Is the writer saying there have been no atheists in history? I'll remember that next time.
Sixth, I'm sure the writer will think of some supposedly brilliant notion they believe no one has tried before…but trust me: it's all been tried before.

From Argumentum ad hominem:
"I would fault the atheist who employs an ad hominem attack because it implicitly detracts from our position of arguing from logic. That said, I am most put off by the author's exceptions to the rule. That the label matches the fats or if the trait can be proven has no relevance to the argument unless it is the point of the argument, (see,religious people tend to have a lower IQ.") So no, you can't get away with saying atheists are idiots."

By the way, this was the exception I used:
if the label matches the facts given about a person, or if a certain trait may very well be relevant to the issue, or if the trait can be proven, then no fallacy was committed. Hence, why I can get away with saying atheists are idiots.

If one looks close enough, you'll find the author proved my point for me:

-he typed fats when he should have typed facts.
-Could the author explain to me and anyone else for that matter how a proven trait or a proven fact (see? I can spell fact correctly) can hold relevance to an argument but not be the point or have anything to do with the point?
-Religious people also have a higher IQ than atheists (more on this to come)

Argumentum ad ignorantiam:
"There is obvious hypocrisy here, since the theist will gladly assert since it cannot be disproved, god must exist. There are also corollaries to the "Therefore, God" conclusion. However, an atheist may not assert gnostically that god does not exists because it has never been proven there is one. Argumentum ad ignorantiam leads to a false dichotomy of true/false. It neglects the viable conclusions of "unknown" and "unknowable"."

What hypocrisy? Atheists say all the time "I'm not convinced of the notion of God existing". Why can't Christians not be convinced of the atheist stand? This has nothing to do with "therefore God" conclusion. Not even close. gnostically is also not a word, unless they meant agnostically in which case you can't say in one breath you're an atheist then say in the next an agnostic stand. The two don't have the same meaning. 
Clearly, the author missed my point in reaching a conclusion based on the evidence we have. And with that, maybe there is some hypocrisy, but if in fact there is, it's clearly from the atheist, not me.

Argumentum ad nauseam:
"I can't think of, and the author gives no example of, what types of arguments atheists tend to repeat ad nauseam. On the other hand, being told that I must have faith has frustrated me on numerous occasions. "Overwhelming evidence" strikes me as misused, as does the burden-shifting."

I may have been in a hurry to get the post up at the time, so that explains why I didn't give any actual examples, but in spite of that
REALLY? You can't think of anything atheists repeat over and over?
With luck, someone else has put together notions atheists seem to be stuck on:

And the writer wants to get into an argument with me about frustration? No one truly knows frustration until you hear "God is imaginary" or "Jesus is a myth" over  4000 times.

Argumentum ad populum
Another clear example of hypocrisy. Christians, will often argue that 2 billion people can't all be wrong. The dicto simpliciter hypothetical regarding growing philosophical movements is intellectually bankrupt--I see no need to comment further. And what utility is there in saying that Christianity is a matter of culture?"

Here is what Christians REALLY argue:
If about 45% of the world hold belief A, but at best 2% of the world hold belief Z, then there must be something to A that makes it more convincing than Z. 
He won't comment further because he may have realized he himself used a  dicta simpliciter here.
What utility? Wasn't the writer the same person who earlier said religion is just from where people grew up? Doesn't that make it part of their culture? The writer seems to want it both ways, ignored the five points I brought up and fails on all counts.

Begging the question
I'm going to go with Welton's definition on this: petitio principii occurs "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof". I see no need to go further than pointing out that the theist assumes that there is a god, yet offers no proof beyond logical fallacies. There is nothing outside of the bible that would prove the bible to be true."

Uh….hello? What was that you were saying about hypocrisy? 
The last sentence is flat out false. Here are a few links that show the writer doesn't know what he's talking about:

The foolish atheist then blathers one about moving on to another article, so I'll refute everything he says in Part 2. 


  1. Hello, I was just having a discussion with an agnostic in my class, (as I write this, he's sitting in front of me). My big point that I was pushing was the cosmological constants argument. I explained it to him, then gave him the odds of the universe happening by chance: 1 in 10 to the 315 (this is quite a generous number for chance). His response was "ok". He continued to insist that it could still happen, and that he would supposedly bet his life, and the universe on these odds. Do you have any advice for how to deal with such a refusal to listen to logic, or should I just let it go?

    1. You should never let it go. The odds are clearly not in the agnostic's favor so clearly it must be hammered home until they finally get it.

  2. gnostically is actually a word. It derives from gnostic.