Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh Dear.

Well, I think I just lowered my I.Q. by half and lost about 10 Tolerance Points today.

Without telling where it was that I found it, I laboured through an article attacking 'religion'* in a local newspaper. I don't like to come to these sort of things with precognitions, since they prevent honest understandings, but the article was everything I feared it might be: It was full of non-sequiturs,contradictory arguments, false generalisations and facts that anyone with a Wikipedia article could disprove. Things like the idea that religion kills, while scientists never kill over science. Of course, most of us know that quite a few things done in the name of religion were mainly done of ulterior motives, with religions used as an excuse (e.g., the crusades, the Hundred Year's War, Manifest Destiny, etc.) And I need not mention the whole eugenics debacle and the Cold Spring Harbor lab as proof that scientists do kill over science.

There were non-sequiturs like the idea that we know that religions are false because we can't prove their claims. (Despite the fact that any right-thinking man knows that it's wrong to argue from silence) Further to that, the author used that line of logic as evidence that souls don't exist.(Which doesn't follow because if you're working within the framework of a theology that says that souls are invisible, intangible, and unprovable, stating that souls are invisible, intangible, and unprovable doesn't do anything to help your case. )

There was the whole "Religion X did wrong thing 'A', therefore, religion Y is bad!" thing. Failing to note distinctions among theologies and equating them with one another to the point that one attributes the actions of one to another is an illogical generalisation. It's as if one stated that all systems of government are exactly the same, therefore, the fact that fascist and communistic governments killed, tortured, and otherwise maltreated their citizens proves that a minarchist or anarchist system is evil!

Sometimes it seem that the best way to strengthen the theological virtue of faith is to read an introduction to logic and then browse through books and articles from the other viewpoint.

(Now, before someone gets their knickers in a knot, I know full well that not all scientists, agnostics, or atheists are like this, and I wouldn't dare argue something like that. I say only that it sometimes appears that most vocal supporters of atheism are often the least logical, and therefore, most ineffective people for the job.)

*That ought to have been a sign that this was going to be a Fallacy Fest.

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