I was never good at debating anyway.
Lately I’ve been wasting a lot of time with online debating of theists (as well as writing more in-depth argumentative pieces here) and finding it all very frustrating. In the last two days alone I’ve seen two variants of the argument from first cause – one of which concluded that Allah is the first cause – and three flavours of Pascal’s Wager. I’ve also seen many really stupid non sequiturs, slippery slopes, arguments from morality, cherry-picking, circular reasoning, and of course that old chestnut, the argument from ignorance. Two different Islam apologists found ways of reinterpreting the Qur’an such that clay is allegorical for sperm and the folding of cloth is somehow allegorical for the creation of space and time.
I write arguments against the common ones here because I’m passionate about critical thinking, logic and reason; but it’s annoying… Debunking just one brain-dead fallacious clause properly takes an essay of several hundred words, or maybe over 1000 like yesterday (when I got carried away), and for what? It changes nobody’s mind. Those people just carry on believing in bullshit, and writing their nonsense that justifies it in their minds, yet leaves the interesting part unstated – their cognitive dissonance that explains why the nonsense is enough to make sense to them. And such fallacies take seconds for the person to write, or more likely to copy and paste.
I now understand why so many respond to them with memes. They are often concise and effective, making or mocking a single point such that you can get it in only a glance. The problem is, those who get it are the sceptics and atheists. The people writing the nonsense don’t. Either they go away or they troll – where my definition of a troll is somebody who either doesn’t engage or who repeats the same point without any real discourse – and then get removed, only to be replaced by more lunatics who post similar nonsense, often copied and pasted from Islamic propaganda sites or Christian Creationist “Science” sites. What gets me is that they are not stupid but are wilfully ignorant, and they don’t want to learn. (For fuck’s sake, it is a privilege to learn that your reasoning is wrong. I relish the opportunity to learn, and try to learn something new every day.)
Anyway, I won’t stop writing my arguments against religious apologetics. But it does feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.
The in-line links in this post are to some of my own previous posts. I was going to link to explanations of the fallacies too, in the first paragraph, but it might be confusing to have links to my own posts and external sites all mixed together, so here are some links to the types of fallacies and bad arguments I’ve seen plenty of in the last two days alone:
- Argument from first cause
- Pascal’s wager
- Non sequitur
- Slippery slope
- Argument from morality
- Circular reasoning
- Argument from ignorance
And that was just in the last two days! The first two above are not fallacies – they’re commonly used apologist arguments, both of which contain fallacies in their reasoning, but they’re common enough that I now lump them in with all the other bad arguments and fallacies. (And of course most apologist arguments are arguments from ignorance after you remove the noise.)