Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Bwa-Ha-Ha Argument

Occasionally, someone attacks something I say, using what I call the Bwa-ha-ha argument. It happened recently, in response to my chapter on marriage in my book Deconstructing Progressive Christianity. (It is probable that the attacker has not actually read my book.)

The Bwa-ha-ha argument provides evidence of possible cognitive incapacity. A possible inability to think critically. Or, it is revelatory of someone swimming uncritically in the sea of their social imaginary. This means Bwa-ha-ha-ing someone is a hierarchical, oppressive power move.

I had fun in my MCCC Logic classes when I taught on informal logical fallacies; especially: 

1) fallacies of irrelevant premises; 

2) fallacies with unacceptable premises; and 

3) persuaders (rhetorical moves).

I really liked teaching this section. The text I used was excellent on, e.g., my favorite all-time informal logical fallacy: the genetic fallacy. What a cool failure of reasoning! What a great example of ill-logic (yes, two 'l's).

Ad hominem fallacies abound on the internet. Facebook is a breeding ground for them; log in and watch them multiply like bunnies. Ad hominem arguments have irrelevant premises. So, I present to you the irrational, but emotionally appealing, Bwa-ha-ha argument. 

1. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaa!
2. !!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Therefore, (Belief X) is stupid. (More bwa-ha-ha-ha-ing...)

When exposed, my class seemed to enjoy this form of irrationality. Premises 1 and 2 are irrelevant to the truth of Belief X (whatever X signifies). Hopefully my students understood this part!

(For an example of an atheist who stands with me on this, see Steven Pinker's Rationality: What It Is. Why It Seems Scarce. Why It Matters.)