I’ve been down for three days with a muscle spasm in my lower back. So, since the pain is still significant even though I can walk now, here’s the shortened version of this post…
Although I don’t participate in atheist vs theist debates any longer, I am still a member of a couple of debate groups, and this dumb argument shows up from time to time, always presented by a man (we are the dumber gender, seriously) who is pretentious, smug, and arrogant… and keen to show how clever he is with overly verbose arguments.
Since I’m in pain and lazy, I’m going to illustrate how stupid the argument is by putting it in a table, side by side with a similarly lame argument.
|Law of Conservation of Energy lame argument for an afterlife||Example of begging the question|
|Premise||Assume the existence of a “mind” separate to the brain, that controls the brain. (Let’s call this a soul, shall we?)||Assume A.|
|Inference||Energy is never lost, blah blah blah, some verbose crap here that distracts you from the assumption made up front.||Introduce B, C, & D.
Remove B, C, & D.
|Conclusion||Therefore a soul exists and lives on after the body dies.||Therefore A.|
If you can’t see what’s wrong with that argument, you have “issues” with your logic. To be fair, the argument is normally sneaky about the assumption made up front, but it’s always there. The person making the argument puts a lot of effort into their argument inference… a lot. So much that it may be difficult to read, what with all the scientific jargon and elaborate sophisticated language. But none of that changes the fact that the energy lost in death can be perfectly explained by decomposition… or combustion in the case of cremation. Bullshit baffles brains but any argument that assumes its conclusion in the premise is wrong.
To clarify, this argument pretends to be scientific and logical because the argument inference tries to make out that some mysterious energy must be left over after a body dies, and that energy is the soul. Normally people respond only to the argument inference, as the writer intended, but the problem is that the argument always assumes this mystical energy existed separately from the body to begin with. Take away the entire argument inference, as lengthy and verbose as it is, and you will observe that the soul was already assumed to exist in the premise. It just wasn’t called a soul.
Edit… Here’s a real world example of a variation of the above argument, and as I explained in the post, it’s by a man who is as smug as he is stupid, but is keen to show how clever he thinks he is. From a debate group I was added to without asking a while back, so I tend to respond there but treat everything I see as fair game to share outside the group.