Thursday, August 07, 2014

An Atheist's Irrational Response to Me

I am always looking for fresh examples of illogicality to present in my MCCC Logic classes. I saw two good ones today.

I made a comment on a thread by an atheist called "What I Learned About Atheism from God's Not Dead." 

1. The entire thread commits the informal fallacy of composition. This fallacy makes the mistake of assuming some attribute of part of the whole is therefore an attribute of the whole. Here's an example:

Every brick in this wall is 8 inches high.
Therefore the entire wall is 8 inches high.

The fallacy that undergirds this atheistic article is:

The movie "God's Not Dead" presents an atheistic philosophy professor as evil.
Therefore, all atheistic philosophy professors are evil. 

That does not follow. And, the movie is not claiming that it does. Will some people "jump" to that conclusion? Of course, just like people can take a movie about an "Elmer Gantry" religious con man and conclude all pastors and evangelists are con men. 

But are some atheistic professors like this? Of course. In my doctoral program at Northwestern University I encountered one. I wrote about this here, and put the link in the thread cited above.

This caused one atheist to respond with the next example of illogic, which I'll be able to use in my Logic classes.

2. This atheist (I assume) replied to me:

"If that were true,you would have had grounds to sue,sounds like you are lying for jesus here,but thats ok as long as its for jesus right?"

My reply to this atheist is this:

There is no logical claim of inference from:

1. You did not sue.
2. Therefore you are lying.

This irrational leap of faith then gives us Premise 1 in the following argument.

1. If you did not sue then you are lying.
2. You did not sue.
3. Therefore, you lied.

Premise 1 is obviously false. If it were true, then anyone who can sue someone but chooses not to is "lying." Which is absurd.

And, BTW, nearly all of the philosophy professors I had in my undergraduate and PhD programs were fair and kind to me, whether atheist or theist.