Friday, April 03, 2009

On open-mindedness

I would like to take this moment to introduce the logical fallacy of the circular argument. According to Douglas Walton:
"Arguing in a circle becomes a fallacy of petitio principii or begging the question where an attempt is made to evade the burden of proving one of the premises of an argument by basing it on the prior acceptance of the conclusion to be proved."[6]
The generally accepted format of the fallacy goes something like this

* 1. P.
* (any number of premises)
* Therefore, P.

Or, to put it more specifically

* The Bible is true.
* The Bible says it is true.
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. Something cannot prove itself)

* The Bible is true.
* Many people believe the Bible is true
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. Just because many people hold a belief, that does not make the belief true. Ask yourself this: Aprox. one billion people believe in reincarnation. Is that also true?)

* The Bible is true.
* The Bible has been around a long time.
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. Many writings have been around a long time. Are the Greek, Roman or Norse myths also true? Are Apollo, Poseidon, or Odin still up and about? Just because something has been published for a long time does not make it true.)

* The Bible is true.
* God says it is true.
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. The god in question is only mentioned in the Bible. This brings us back to our first argument.)

Now I am willing to remain open-minded, if you can come up with factual evidence. In the meantime, if you choose to believe it's true, go right ahead. I'm certainly not going to stop you. But do not expect me to bring my behavior in line with your beliefs. I'm not intentionally trying to, or trying not to. If it happens to happen, it is just a coincidence. Although it may be used as proof that even atheists can make good neighbors.



Anonymous said...

Awesome. I can always count on you to say exactly what I'm thinking.

jesse said...

Hey, Annie,

This isn't really about the post, but about PZ's visit. I would love to get in touch-- there aren't many folks I know who know who he is, much less who would be enthusiastic about meeting him.

It would be cool to exchange an email, maybe we can say "hi" after his talk!