Reductio Ad Absurdum
I’m going to pick on BibleAlsoSays, Twitter phenom, one more time tonight then I am going to bed.
Though I know that what I’m about to do commits the same fallacy, allow me to do it anyway:
Which, apparently, means that we should close every school. Because they inculcate our kids with math, science, history, language arts, and other truth. If it was true, it wouldn’t require so much inculcation, after all!
Okay, now that I’m done engaging in reductio ad absurdum, let’s unpack this a little bit better.
We need to look at inculcation. According to dictionary.com:
[T]he act of inculcating, or teaching or influencing repeatedly or persistently and repeatedly so as to implant or instill an idea, theory, attitude, etc. (source)
I fail to see why religion is wrong for doing that. Ever been to school? They drill math into your head, make you memorize dates in history, practice handwriting the same letters again and again; and frequently you are penalized for creativity or outside-the-box thinking.
I remember once I wrote a poem about the sunrise in English class. I tried to coin a word, which poetry is the medium for doing that. I got marked off for it!
This tweet fails as an argument against religion because it commits a category error. It assumes religion is self-evident truth.
There are truths that are self-evident, such as 2 + 2 = 4. No argument. A baby can see that if you take two walnuts, and put two more walnuts with it, you will have four walnuts.
On the other hand, a claim like E = mc2 requires a defense, or a persistent (and perhaps in-your-face) teaching or influencing to implant the theory. Matter is really energy? It defies casual observation. Yet, upon much, much, much examination and experimentation it does wind up being true.
Religion, or more specifically religious concepts, are not necessarily self-evident. The existence of God, I think, is self-evident. But that fact alone becomes a war of semantics to define God. Which god really exists, therefore, is not self-evident.
The deity of Christ is also not self-evident. It must be examined and wrestled with, as scientists did for years with E = mc2.
There is no education required for self-evident truth. However, there is much required for more subtle truths, and the truth of the Christian religion is one such subtlety that requires both a solid education and a firm defense.
A Question for John W. Loftus
Positively shocking. Loftus cough out a dumb argument? Unheard of.
Referring to this article, where scientists have discovered a gene that predisposes people to promiscuity, Loftus says:
While it isn’t a forgone conclusion that people with this gene will cheat on their mates, the presence of that gene makes such a temptation harder to overcome. Imagine that, some people (half of us) have a harder time overcoming such a temptation and yet God supposedly judges us all equally. That doesn’t seem fair now does it? I wonder if the incarnate Jesus gave himself that gene since he was “tempted in every way, just as we are.” (Hebrews 4:15) 😉 (source)
This argument (if you can call it that) is absurd.
This actually helps my position on homosexuality. I’ve argued that it is probably inborn, but by virtue of being inborn doesn’t automatically make it desirable. Nor should anything become socially acceptable based entirely on the fact that it is inborn.
Infidelity is a negative trait. So are addictive patterns of behavior, like alcoholoism. As is rage. So are many genetic illnesses like Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, emphysema, and heart disease. All of these things are hardwired into genetics, and no one is trying to argue for society to unconditionally accept people subject to those things on the basis of a genetic predisposition.
Things that are inborn, however, are undeniably part of the self. And what does Jesus call us to do when we become his followers? Deny ourselves (Lk 9:23).
And, turning to Paul’s writings, we see that sin itself is inborn: it is nature as well as action. Otherwise, the whole concept of the Christian becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) is meaningless drivel.
Loftus cranks out lots of posts, and most of them are mindless soundbite arguments. This is the dude who complained at Victor Reppert’s blog (in the comments here) that soundbites were all that comments allowed. Yet, when faced with the unlimited canvas of a blog post, he again argues by soundbite.
Perhaps that’s all he has?
It would seem since one of the arguments that he keeps harping on is that we can’t trust our brains to make sense of the world, since we approach everything with bias and defend that which we prefer to be true.
Which leaves us with a big question for Mr. Loftus:
Why should anyone believe that you offer the truth? You also approach with bias and defend that which you prefer to be true–being that you’re a human and accuse all humans of doing this. You admit it: “I have never claimed that atheists are more rational than believers” (source).
Two Great Posts from TurretinFan
When I read blogs, I have the tendency to skim my RSS readers rather quickly and read things based on titles. You’d think that that would mean I spend time and effort on each of my post titles, but the sad truth is that I don’t. That is really a topic for a different time. Two titles on TurretinFan’s excellent blog did catch my eye, and they were very much worth the time to read and consider, as they show some interesting holes in evolutionary theory.
I don’t believe I classify as either an evolutionist or a creationist, though I suspect that many would consider me a creationist. I think that evolution is certainly possible given that it is supported well as a scientific conclusion, but the necessity of God makes evolution a moot point. It is not necessary given God, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Neither does evolution, if true, falsify God.
Even though I must admit strong scientific evidence in favor of evolution, there are certain philosophical problems with it. TurretinFan calls attention to one such problem in this post. TF cites three scientific studies that create a problem for modern evolutionists. In the first, sea sponges are found to be 70% genetically similar to humans. This, combined with the other two studies that argue against familial ties (however distant) from chimpanzees, creates some reasonable doubt among the prevailing theory of evolution.
TF says that this information will be waved away by evolutionists. I think it is more likely that evolutionists will try to discredit either the research or the researchers, in that way they can safely ignore the conclusions altogether or at least minimize the impact of the study on their beloved theory.
In the follow up to the first post, TF recounts a comment from Peter Pike that creates serious philosophical problems with the theory of evolution. Genetics are used to trace the evolution of living species, but morphology is used for extinct species. The problem? Genetics is a poor way to predict morphology. What this means for evolutionists is that they are using one method on living species, and an incompatible method on extinct ones.
One method is going to be accurate, the other method is going to be inaccurate. As there is no way to reproduce evolution in the lab (there is a way to monitor it from this point forward), we don’t know which method is more accurate. Therefore, whole evolutionary trees are going to be dead wrong and we don’t know how.
Evolutionists, please don’t argue that my last point doesn’t matter one way or the other. With a little bit of Googling, I can find quotes from other evolutionists who argue that evolution is literally the pinnacle of modern science, and all other scientific advancements, theories, and discoveries rely on the truth of evolution. The point is that it does matter. If science literally depends on how accurately we are able to trace ancestry, then science itself is falsified on this philosophical point alone.