Introductory Logic: Basic Reasoning (2) (Or, How to ask a Question and Not Look Like a Moron)

The following video is the response of the Atheist experience show (Matt Dillahunty) to this question from YouTube user “Shockof god”. The response is of course like most of what Mr. Dillahunty comes up with was brilliant, both in wording and logic, but I thought I may be able to add something to it.

Before I start, I would like to clarify something. The meaning of what we say in our ordinary lives is sometimes (or perhaps most of the times) understood differently from the structured language of logic. We may use “and” or “or” out of their place and not care. But to ask a question repeatedly and act like it is a very important one, is to confirm that one has thought about it carefully in logical terms as well.

That being cleared, and of course having that brilliant answer above as well, we can analyse the question: “What proof and evidence do you have that Atheism is accurate and correct?”

Very well, what is the problem with the structure of such question? the problem is logical conjunction (and (∧)). The person asking this question is looking for “proof (and) ∧ evidence”. He is not looking for “proof (or) ∨ evidence”. The logical implication of that is, the person answering the question needs to both “prove” and provide “evidence” for both “accuracy” and “correctness” of atheism.

Now, what’s the problem with that? After all it seems reasonable to ask someone for “proof and evidence” for their beliefs, does it not? The problem with that comes from a mindset of theism, that things (like the existence of god(s) for example) can be “proven”. Anyone a little familiar with philosophy of knowledge knows that “proof” is a concept for math. There is no scientific theory or factual statement about reality of the world that can be proven. Whether it’s the existence of god(s) or the Genie of the lamp (who is frankly far better than a lot of these so called gods).

If the person who answers the question gives evidence, which is what most rationalists do, pointing out the fact of absence of any evidence for the existence of god(s) (absence of evidence is itself evidence of absence). The one who asked the question immediately shifts into saying “But that’s no proof.”

Either way, the question is posed to always have a loophole for the escape of the one who asks it, and I believe only intellectual cowards or extreme morons are capable of asking such nonsense.

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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!

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