August 6, 2011

That Old "Jesus Myth" Nonsense

Buon girono. Modern Bible critics are copy-n-paste masters. Unfortunately, they are unskilled at rational thought. (I was hit again with that ridiculous claim that Hitler was a Christian, which is easily disproved with a search. Here is just one of the links I found against that rubbish.) They will pool their ignorance at God-hating sites and forums, find someone that supports their biases and then spread the disinformation.

Frankly, I'm surprised that people still go after the "Jesus was a myth, copied from older myths" stuff. This was popularized in the Zeitgeist film, notorious for its outright falsehoods and lack of references. I don't see how anyone who claims to be "rational", "skeptical" and "a thinker" falls for that, except that they are blinded by their own hatred of God and Christians. That's right, I said it! If you have a better explanation, I'd be curious about it. But one thing is for sure, this recycled myth business is not based in historical fact. It is both sad and intellectually dishonest that people will add fabrications to the ancient stories.

Here is one article about how to think. The principles in this article should be helpful not only in dealing with this subject, but in examining other claims as well. Here is another article showing the flaws in the "ripping off the mystery religions" stuff. And an article about resurrection accounts in non-Christian religions. CARM has a good summary of the whole thing as well.

Something occurred to me. Christians should be skeptics as well. Quite a few of us are skeptical, wanting "chapter and verse" for not only spiritual claims, but for evidence. For instance, when someone passes along an e-mail that an atheist professor was humiliated when he said, "If there is a God, this chalk will not break", he lets go and it does not break — I check it out and see that it's spurious, so it doesn't leave my e-mail as a "fact". People passing along false information like the recycled myth idea make me think of those gullible people who pass along something sensationalistic because they want it to be true, and not because of any verification. Doing a copy-and-paste job from one uninformed hit piece and passing it along is not "research", capice?

Here is a video that will take you about six minutes. Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason discusses the logic required to believe the other accounts of "resurrection":

August 3, 2011

Logic Lessons: Genetic Fallacy and Poisoning the Well

I have a pair of fallacies for you, where the person is attacked rather than discussing the ideas presented on their own merits. This pair works well together, and sometimes the distinctions are blurry (even some of my sources disagree, since the ad hominem can merge with the "red herring" distraction). Since I have been subjected to this kind of "reasoning" lately, I can draw from my own experiences.

But I have to be careful, because I have been known to mix up the Genetic Fallacy and its close cousin, the Fallacy of Composition

First, the Poisoning the Well fallacy. To "poison the well", someone wants to discredit a person and ignore whatever he or she is about to present; a pre-emptive strike, if you will. You look bad before you even begin to speak. When discussing Creationism and showing the flaws in evolution, people have said that "Your Creationist sources are all disproved". Also, my news sources in other articles have been rejected out of hand because they are by Christian organizations, or Fox News. My references are not even examined by most of the critics, and they poison the well against anyone else who may have been considering checking them.
Meet its cousin, the Genetic Fallacy. This says that something is true or untrue because of its source, instead of its merit. It is a kind of red herring argument, because the user seeks to distract from the points being raised. Two points to make this more confusing: It is not always a fallacy to question the source of an argument or proposition, and sometimes the Genetic Fallacy is an ad hominem, but not always. To stay with the Creationism example, I have had my arguments rejected simply because I am a Creationist. Also, my statements have been rejected because I am a Christian.
Two fallacies. The genetic fallacy is the arbitrary rejection of something because of its source, poisoning the well happens when attempting to negate what the opposition has to say before it is said.

Both Poisoning the Well and the Genetic Fallacy are often used as manipulations in an argument. Watch for them, and call "Foul!" because good reasoning, presentations, ideas and logic are rejected. If something is untrue or invalid, it should be discussed instead of the idea, its origin or its presenter being ridiculed, capice? To me, this stinks of intellectual cowardice.

Even if you cannot exactly identify if the fallacy is Poisoning the Well or the Genetic Fallacy, you will still be able to point out the fact that the other party is not exactly playing fair.

Now I have a bonus for you. Remember Norman the Paranoid Troll? (His response to me giving him that name was to call me "Norman" right back.) Take a look at this:
Your assignment: Spot the ad hominem, Poisoning the Well and Genetic Fallacies. Be forewarned, though. They blend.

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