Introductory Logic (Appealing to Consequences)

I believe watching “Expelled: No intelligence allowed” could probably be fun, although I’ve never watched it! As far as the trailer shows, and as far as what can be read in reviews (such as in Scientific America) it shows such a disgraceful dishonesty in presenting science and evolution that we should call it a fun fictional movie instead of a documentary!

But aside  from such sack of lies and propaganda, there is a huge flaw in the argument presented by the movie: “Evolution is wrong (and cannot be accepted), because it leads to Fascism.”

Of course it does not, but for the sake of this post, let’s assume that it does. Fascism is obviously very wrong, but interestingly enough, even if evolution “does” lead to Fascism, no one can possibly suggest that it is wrong based on that assumption. This is what is called “Appealing to consequences” or “argumentum ad consequentiam”, and in this case comes from the fact that scientists did not derive the theory of evolution from Fascism, nor did Darwin himself, but they conducted probably thousands of scientific experiments in order to verify (or falsify) evolution.

If anyone wants to challenge evolution, he/she should either conduct a scientific experiment that can falsify evolution, or reject the scientific method entirely. This movie does neither, therefore it’s attack on evolution is the perfect textbook case of appealing to consequences, and can be used as a good example in teaching of fallacies.

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But no. There is actually another perfect example of such fallacy done by the infamous “Bananaman” (Ray Comfort), when he published a “modified” version of Darwin’s “The Origin Of Species”. He wrote an introduction on the book, full of his usual stupidity and ignorance, and our example is from there:

“In promoting the idea that humans were merely animals and accidents of nature, the natural consequence of Darwinism was to overturn the traditional Judeo-Christian values on the sacredness of human life. The legacy of Darwin’s theory can be seen in the rise of eugenics, euthanasia, racism, infanticide, and abortion.”

Well, even better: This guy goes exactly by the textbook case of the fallacy, trying to discredit the first statement (which is an ad hominem by the way) by asserting what he thinks are its undesirable immediate consequences.

The only people able to present this kind of childish sheer ignorance, even on the most basic level of thinking, are fundamentalist zealots like Ray Comfort or Ben Stein.

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