Introductory Logic (Poisoning the well)

I was debating some Pro-Life people on twitter about abortion. One of them, seeing my profile picture (which is two guys having a moment) thought that it’s a good idea to give me a link to his friends blog, because as he put it “she is WAY better” than him at this. “This” happened to be a post against Homosexuality, and she turned out to be one of the most irrational people on planet earth, of course, like many other fundamentalist religious people.

My point in this post is not to show what lies she has put there, and why she has failed in the most obvious facts known about homosexuality today (for instance “born this way” theory is not just about the gay gene). My point here is to point out one obvious fallacy in that post as an introductory example to logical fallacies, since it is a perfect text book example of such fallacy. The following paragraph is directly from the post linked above:

“But the proof offered, my dear friends, needs to be towards the unbiased side of the spectrum. This means that those pro-homosexuality and/or LGBT supporting websites shouldn’t be part of your argument, since – in most cases – the information is biased and misleading. A friend of mine told me she was reading a book on this type of research, for example, and the authors were a homosexual couple. One would assume that information might have been mishandled or the research conducted might have been leading (i.e. forced), for example.”

This is a text book case of “Poisoning the well” fallacy, in which instead of refuting one’s argument (in this case research or data), an attack is made based on “who” has said this and “why”, and claims are made like : “They are wrong (Their research, argument, statement etc. was wrong), because they are a Homosexual couple”. Logically speaking, it does not matter if a mad drunk Nazi has said it, or the Pope himself, a personal attack will never refute one’s argument, because it’s irrelevant.

_____________________________

One more thing for a good ending: In that post we read “I believe it’s wrong to want to have or defend the unnatural behaviour.”

Well, surgery is absolutely unnatural, therefore… it’s wrong to have it?!

Good Read on the subject: Crimes against logic by Jamie Whyte.

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thetruthfulheretic

Dear fellow Homo sapiens, or if you prefer conscious mammals! And of course, friends nonetheless: I created my blog in order to speak my very weird mind, mostly about three subjects (as I identify myself and my state of mind with them): Atheism, as I was born in the Middle East and saw and felt the affects of Islam; Homosexuality and equal rights, as a gay man who has tasted the Homophobia and also Sexism in that society; and Liberalism and political philosophy, which I think is a good ground for secular values and criticism of fundamentalism. If you wish, visit and join your state of mind to mine. I hope they don't short circuit!

6 thoughts on “Introductory Logic (Poisoning the well)”

  1. I recently wrote a post in which I applied the same logic Christians applied to the Canaanite slaughter of pregnant women and their fetuses to modern day abortion. That is, it could be “orchestrated by god” to prevent the birth of evil people.

    As for homosexuality–Jesus said nothing against the practice, and if one examines the biblical text closely, it implies that he may have participated in homosexual practices, as he lived in Hellenized world in which pederasty and homosexuality were considered normal. I have an entire chapter dedicated to this subject in the book I am currently writing.

    Ad hominem/poisoning the well are common tactics used by Christians, and when they attempt to do so, I tell them to stick to the arguments–as that is all that matters. It does not matter if the argument came from a Harvard scholar, or a derelict on the street–it is arguments that matter–not where they came from. I guess Christians should not be using Christian websites/books etc. because they too are “biased and misleading”–lol. This is why I use Reductio, in which I assume what they say is true, and then use arguments to show that it is not.

  2. Thank you for your comment dear Cathy.

    I read that post in fact yesterday, and it was very interesting, because as far as I know free will is very important for them. I think the free will was the answer to the problem of evil, and it would work against them if they try to defy it. And as for abortion this thing was going around about Steve Jobs and they were saying “Thank God he was adopted, not aborted.” In which I replied “Curse God that the Hillside stranglers were adopted, not aborted!”

    Ha! After reading your comment I sent this tweet: “Of course Jesus was gay: 30 years old, never married, living with his mom?! Give it up Christians! ”

    I think I’m going to continue posting text book cases of logical fallacies. I have seen too many of them around these religious blogs, and I think they could make a good combination of posts in elementary logic, and can show what faith can do to otherwise rational people.

  3. That blog post is revolting in how it tries to disguise bigotry and religious nuttery with academic-sounding arguments. Meanwhile the logical fallacies are, as you say, rife! I especially like the part where she warns you about getting your information from biased sources… as if her blog weren’t one! People who write in support of a religious agenda are some of the worst liars out there.

    So in a sense, I do agree with what she says – you need to check sources. You need to work the logic out for yourself. Don’t just accept what a writer has to say on a given matter. If you do this, you can tell who’s lying, and who is being honest. I’ll bet this Christian apologist doesn’t want you to even look at what pro-homosexual people are writing because she knows that they have facts and human decency on their side.

    1. Hi dear Tim,

      Yes, revolting is the word to describe it. And as you said it first applies to herself!

      This is again like creationism a rejection of science: The least these people do is to try and choose what they think to be those facts that match their beliefs. Of course then add lying and all these fallacies… It’s actually pathatic.

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