Yesterday, UD’s News announced a free chart of fallacies.
I thought, oh, yay, let’s download.
But, once I began to look at the chart, I noticed that it presented Plato, Socrates and Aristotle in a way that seemed to mock the orthodox Christian triune concept of God. (Did it ever strike the creator of the chart, that Plato is a foundational design thinker? Cf here on.)
Clue no 1.
Clue no 2 was that many fallacies seemed to have odd names. And, “thou shalt not commit logical fallacies” in that context suggests that, as with too many presentations on fallacies I have seen online, this is an agenda in disguise: you object to “our” views because you are dumb and/or dishonest.
Sadly, this also happens in print. Including in books from leading publishers.
In short, my spin-game meter was pegging.
Then, I saw the fallacy of personal incredulity — so-called — on the list, and the problem was suddenly quite clear.
Let me clip my comments on this in the “free chart” thread:
Saying that because one finds something difficult to understand that it’s therefore not true.
a –> EEP: nope, STRAWMAN: the issue is that claims must meet reasonable criteria of warrant, and that if a claim does not, then it has no right to command our assent
Complex subjects like biological evolution through natural selection require some amount of understanding of how they work before one is able to properly grasp them;
b –> Rubbish, the basic premise has long been that chance plus necessity working through variations and selection are sufficient to go from microbes to Mozart
c –> the issue is not that one does not UNDERSTAND — notice the snide insinuation of “your’e too dumb” i.e. a scapegoating caricature and atmosphere-poisoning ad hominem — but that this is not well warranted on empirical and observational grounds, and is in fact based in the end on philosophical a prioris that cut off facts pointing to design before they are allowed to speak.
d –> In particular, the issue is the origin of complex, functionally specific organisation and associated information. The ONLY empirically warranted source of such FSCO/I is intelligence, and we have abundant reason to see analytically that the atomic resources of the observed cosmos do not come anywhere near close enough to warrant the ideas that highly contingent and complex functionally specific entities can arrange themselves out of chance assemblies of components, by chance and blind mechanical necessity.
e –> Since this issue has been on the table for decades now, to duck it and set up a strawman is frankly dishonest. This fallacy so called is itself a fallacy.
this fallacy is usually used in place of that understanding.
f –> pride laced ideologically loaded ad hominem: if you doubt my “science” you must be too dumb to understand it
Kirk drew a picture of a fish and a human and with effusive disdain asked Richard
g –> Obviously Dawkins, i.e this is coming from the circle of the Dawkins sites. That is also reflected in the pattern of thought.
if he really thought we were stupid enough to believe that a fish somehow turned into a human through just, like, random things happening over time.
h –> Strawman, laced with ad hominems and set alight through snide insinuations
i –> Notice, it was led up to by way of a red herring distractor from the real issue, evidence of design based on empirically well supported signs of design.
j –> Do we see an explanation backed up by empirical observations on the origin of — for one instance — digital, algorithmic coded information and implementing machinery in the so-called simple cell? Of course not.
k –> In short, this is a trifecta fallacy exercise that reeks of self-puffery: we are bright, you are too dumb to understand if you dare object
So, sorry, this free chart is worth just what was paid for it.
Thanks, but no thanks, new atheists.
Phil Johnson suggests a wiser strategy:
“The late astronomer and popularizer of science Carl Sagan worried that an epidemic of irrationality is loose in the world . . . What we need to protect ourselves from such false beliefs, Sagan writes in his book The Demon – Haunted World, is a well-equipped ‘baloney detector kit.’ A baloney detector is simply a good grasp of logical reasoning and investigative procedure. Carl Sagan and I would agree about how to describe the principles of baloney detecting in general. We would disagree only about where the detectors are to be pointed, and especially about whether we should ever suspect the presence of baloney in claims made by the official scientific establishment.” [“Tuning Up Your Baloney Detector” in Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (Inter-Varsity Press, 1997), pp. 37-38.]
So does the recently late, great Christian spokesman, Chuck Colson:
“Carl Sagan was right: We do need baloney detectors. But we don’t need to beam them on Christian beliefs, as Sagan urged; instead, let’s use them to get an honest take on the fossil record and to separate science from philosophy. And we should encourage robust debate between creationists and evolutionists: It keeps both sides from ignoring evidence that does not appear to fit their theories.” – Chuck Colson, “Is Natural All There Is?”, Breakpoint radio transcript #80209, 1998.
And of course, the HT due to the Creation Safaris site for the two quotes points to a much better survey, one by those much despised Creationists, here.
For a more advanced, systematic survey, I strongly recommend the IEP’s fallacies page, here. 207 fallacies, alphabetically listed, plus a good introduction.
For starters on straight thinking and de-spinning, I suggest my own 101’shere and here. The discussion of selective hyperskepticism here will be helpful, that of how to develop a worldview foundation here and that on origins science here will also help.
New atheists: back to the drawing-board, please. END