Saturday, May 12, 2007

Why Logical Fallacies Are So Popular?

As everyone knows, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and a handful of other atheists have recently published books taking religion to task for its crimes against reason and humanity. And one of the ways some (but not all) religionists have responded to those books is to call the authors "whiners".

As you know: Besides being tacky, it's also a classic fallacy of logic to dismiss someone's arguments by attacking the author of the arguments. Yet, such is the habit of many people these days, and I sometimes think the popularity of logical fallacies must have something to do with the fact so many people listen to bimbo talk show hosts. Presumably, a goodly number of those people learn what logic is all about from listening while the bimbos routinely commit genocide against sound logic and reason. That at least is what I think some days.

On other days, I think the reason so many people employ logical fallacies must have something to do with how poorly community is felt and understood these days.

A sense of community is very likely one of the keys to moral behavior. It seems intuitive that if one thinks he or she is only in it for themselves, they are more likely than someone else to use what intelligence they have to fool others. But if you realize the truth we are all in this together, and that what happens to your neighbor in some way happens to you, then perhaps you are more likely to use your intelligence to help your neighbor understand things than you are to use your intelligence to make a fool of him or her. At least, that's what I think some days.

On still other days, I realize people have routinely massacred logic and reason since time immemorial and that nothing much ever changes about that. The person who 2000 years ago put into Jesus's mouth the words, "Whoever is not for me is against me", was just as much a bimbo as any talk show host of today. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

So, I have at least three speculative views to dance between on the issue of why so many people resort to fallacies of logic. I suspect those three are my favorites because each in some way amuses me. Enough about me, though. Why do you think people resort to logical fallacies?

1 comment:

steppen wolf said...


I think logical fallacies are an easy way to go, because they are less time consuming, and because such arguments are usually aimed at a target population that already agrees with you - i.e. the arguments are framed for the typical audience.

For most people, it is obvious that God should exist because...they believe in it! And though this is another logical fallacies, it does not affect their life practically in any way, and it is comforting to hear from other people who agree with you, no matter how fallacious their argument is.

We like listening to what we already believe in - logic just does not play anything into this. Logic is about finding out about the truth, the facts. And most people are just not interested in those -

- otherwise marketing would not work!