October 15, 2011

Mosque, Meet My Pig Farm!

Here's a good one. Muslims buy some land and want to build a mosque (a symbol of Islamic victory). A guy has owned land there for some time. He is a pig farmer. They have the audacity to ask him to move. Nothing doing. So, he gets creative:

Atheist "Poes": They Make Their Own

“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.” The General Case of Poe's Law is "It is impossible to tell for certain the difference between genuine stupidity and a parody of stupidity." [1]

It is a common attack at someone who uncompromisingly stands for their Conservative and Christian convictions to call him or her a "Poe". That is, someone is accused of being so ridiculous in their beliefs, he or she is essentially acting like a fool and cannot be taken seriously. It is usually just another attempt at the Appeal to Ridicule fallacy in an effort to dismiss the person instead of dealing with the argument itself.

Modern fundamentalist atheism creates its own "Poes". They are hateful and angry, and put people off by their vituperation, lack of logic, constant protests and so on. (And they wonder why they are the least liked group?) I have been hit with loaded questions and venomous attacks that have stunned me with not only their viciousness, but their absurdity: Did I really read or hear that? I thought it was a joke at first!
A tirade was published last month by Al Stefanelli, the Georgia State Director of American Atheists, Inc, entitled Taking the Gloves Off.
In it, Al starts with this…shall we say “provocative”…statement:
It should come as no surprise that the individuals who abide by fundamentalist Christian and radical Islamic doctrines would be the first to cry out that they are being persecuted when their dangerous, damaging and disingenuous beliefs come under attack. Most of these people lack the maturity and intelligence to act in a socially acceptable manner. Many of them are sociopaths and quite a good number of them are psychopaths. All of them are clearly delusional.
Naturally, when I read this, I assumed it was a parody. Here’s someone who likes to poke a little fun at New Atheists by writing a piece that almost could describe their position if it weren’t so extreme. But it’s just a bit too absurd. Obviously an attempt at humor. You know, like Landover Baptist.
Turns out…not so much. Apparently Al is serious. And a lot of appreciative comments indicate he’s not the only one. Which is a bit sad for New Atheism, since if your position is indistinguishable from a parody of itself, then you’ve got a problem.
OK, Edgar Allen. Read the rest of "New milestone: fundamentalist atheism now indistinguishable from parody of itself" here.

Video: Fallacy of Proof by Assertion in Action

Atheist Michael Shermer caught making things up, click here for the video.


October 13, 2011

Logic Lessons: Proof by Assertion


As usual, the more I examine logical fallacies, the more I see how people blend their fallacies into dreadful monstrosities. I have had many experiences where people will attack by asserting that they have a bad or ulterior motive, so be careful of Proof by Assertion because it lends itself to reinforcing other fallacies.

"Proof by Assertion" (sometimes "Proof by Repeated Assertion", a relative of Circular Reasoning) is one of my favorite fallacies because I encounter it so very often. In its simplest form, Proof by Assertion happens when someone declares a "fact" without offering supporting evidence:

This is similar to the mantra, "Evolution is science, creation is religion".

An assertion with an excuse. I still say, "Disingenuous".

That was a very strange assertion and cop-out.

Another reason that I like "Proof by Assertion" is that it is conveniently linked with other fallacies (quite often with Appeal to Motive):
  • He is stupid, and blocked me on Twitter because he can't support his view (includes similarity to Argument from Silence)
  • Creationists are not scientists (includes Genetic Fallacy)
  • Creationists are liars (insipid attempt to manipulate by someone who is unable to distinguish between disagreement on the interpretation of facts, and evidence)
  • It's too bad you can't deal with reality (ad hominem, plus what I think of as, "My belief can beat up your belief")
  • Republicans only care about helping the rich get richer (includes Appeal to Motive)
  • The Bible was written by an evil spirit (No, I am not making up that absurdity)
  • I know what you're gonna say, and you're wrong (Poisoning the Well is in this, I think)
  • Osama bin Laden was a harmless old man that never hurt anybody (Yes, I've seen that foolishness, too)
  • Anyone who understand evolution accepts it, or, nobody who understands evolution denies it (seems to have a bit of Appeal to Ridicule
Although I may have used this before, here is one of the most wicked assertions and dishonest ad hominem attacks that I have ever encountered, from Norman the Paranoid Troll:

Although in an admittedly heated discussion,
this was exceptionally vicious and petty.

I have noticed that assertions are often linked to questioning (or maligning) someone's motive. In addition, this fallacy is very manipulative, and often used to provoke emotions in an attempt to gain control of the situation; it can be a great red herring to distract you from your purpose in the discussion. They not only contain "facts" that exist only in the imagination or worldview of the user, but often contain value judgments.

There is a version that I call, "You can't get there from here". It is based on a clash of worldviews, when evidence presented will require someone to shed their preconceptions and actually follow where the evidence leads. People have asserted that evolution is a fact, and then appealed to a kind of ad populum or Appeal to Authority with, "Scientists believe it." For example, "Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists, not because it has been observed to occur or can be proved by logically coherent evidence, but because the only alternative - special creation - is clearly unthinkable." People who think like this are unwilling to abandon evolution, with all of its flaws and intellectually dishonest baggage, because the Creator does not fit with their materialistic uniformitarian presuppositions. But they stand by their declarations and appeal to "scientists" despite the evidence to the contrary.

Many times,  I have seen opinions asserted as fact in matters of morality and philosophy. For example, someone who says that the atonement of man by God through Jesus Christ is "immoral" because they do not like it is asserting an opinion as a fact.

The basic Fallacy of Assertion is easy to spot. It becomes more confusing when it is a part of another fallacy. Asking for supporting evidence or references can show that you are not falling for it. However, be careful not to call a foul when someone is simply expressing an opinion and not attempting to present an argument. You can avoid this mistake yourself by adding, "I believe", "I think", "It seems to me", "In my opinion", and so on.

October 10, 2011

I Have a Question


Buona sera. Before I ask my question, I need to give some background information.


My regular readers know that I am very annoying to certain people because I am not only an unashamed follower of Jesus, but I am also a Biblical creationist for our origins (evolution is untrue, evidence points to God of the Bible). Naturally, I have some vituperative atheist stalkers.


One in particular has a phone-in podcast where they malign Christians. He and his cronies have attempted to have me call their "show" through various means:
  • Appeal to pride
  • Appeal to cause (ie, "Don't make Jesus cry by refusing")
  • Repetitive attempts at bullying
  • Attempts at humiliation
  • Ridicule
  • Libel
The one that is probably their ringleader has consistently shown himself incapable of understanding basic logic;  insists that I call "The Atheist Experience" because he called Matt Slick at CARM (I do not see much point in debates, and do not seek debates); is unnaturally obsessed with me (having written numerous posts on his "I hate Christians" Weblog); has libeled me to my online friends and acquaintances; attempts to spread what he thinks is my personal information (accurate or not, it shows particularly vicious level of insanity); can find nothing good about me (my regular readers know that I'm not only charming, but rather clever at times); has wished violence on creationists; has even told me that I should commit suicide.

I have stated several times that for me to be on this "show" would look better on his CV than on mine, and I am not interested in supporting his relentless drive for self-promotion.

Here's the question: Does anyone else think that calling this "show" is a bad idea? (For a few days, there's a survey gadget near the top of the Weblog.)
Alex Botten, Jim Gardner, Fundamentally Flawed

Subscribe in a reader