The Foot Soldiers of Illogic: A Game of Words

Whether it is in physical sports, scientific studies or even simple activities like board games, doing simple exercises is almost always helpful for everyone. One does not need to be a professional to enjoy benefits of exercises in simple activities of all shapes and forms.

Word replacement is a fun and light hearted exercise one can do to have some laugh while simultaneously practice one’s mental ability to understand language and word-play. So, let us have a read of the following text and then play the word game [1]:

You may think it’s unfair that we have to counteract and adjust ourselves for the ill behavior of other men. You know what? You’re right. It is unfair. Is that the fault of women? Or is it the fault of the men who act abysmally and make the rest of us look bad? If issues of fairness bother you, get mad at the men who make you and your actions appear questionable.

Exercise: Let’s put “black men” instead of the underlined “men”, and “white men” instead of “women”.

Not so fun now, is it?

I wonder if the author of those words does much brain exercise of this type. If the author was aware of the unfairness of such judgments as he claimed to be, he would have realized that the unfair judgement does not belong to men who do bad things, but [in that text] to some women.

If the judgement is unfair, the blame is with those who issued it, not those who have done nothing wrong but to share the same gender with “men who act abysmally”.

Obviously, not all women are insane or idiots who merely judge men based on their gender. Nor all men must be shunned or blamed for the things some other men do. We all are individuals with separate lives and will, separate cognitive faculties and separate agency. Gender, along with color of one’s skin or one’s sexual orientation cannot be the determining factor or a relevant category to judge all human beings, men or women.

There is a strong suspicion that most people, especially the feminist and SJW bunch, find the exercise text highly offensive. Then how is it the case they not only don’t find anything wrong with the original, but also re-blog and write the likes of it frequently in their weblogs and other published articles [2][3]?






Introduction to Logical Fallacies (Workshop Style): Appeal to Authority

The fallacy that the notion X is true, only because authority Y says so. No matter who the authority is, God, Prophet, holy book, the President, or Mr. John Smith; the authority still needs a reason to believe the notion, and that reason has to be clear. Sometimes, the reason is perfectly clear. A doctor has a specialty and a definite insight into the illnesses s/he has specialized in. It is perfectly reasonable to assume a specialist has good reasons for her claims. Therefore it won’t be fallacious to back a claim about one’s health and cite the doctor as the source of it.

To make this more clear, we could put it this way: Authority cannot be replaced as a premise of an argument, or as the reason behind a claim. However, a legitimate authority can be put as the source of reasons behind a claim.

Example: There is quite an interesting issues on morality which could be pointed out under this fallacy. A lot of moral claims given by fundamentalists turn out to be purely fallacious, on both fronts: replacing the authority with reason, or appealing to an authority which by no means is even remotely close to being a specialist on the subject of moral claims. Sometimes it is even worse, the authority turns out to be completely devoid of any sense of morality.

One of these particular issues is the law itself, when the law is presented as the only reason for the correctness of a notion. In a back and forth conversation with some pro-guns after the shooting in Sandy Hook elementary school (in 2012), they kept pointing out that “We have the right to have guns, our constitution is clear about it.” and I kept asking them “It’s true that the law in US allows people to have weapons, but why do you think it’s the right thing to do? Why the law is right? What is the reason?”

The law does not make a notion automatically right simply because it is “the law”. There are reasons behind what our politicians decide to legislate, and simply pointing at a certain law does not make a similar claim right.

Perhaps the worst of all appeals to authority are the claims from religious fundamentalists on the subject of moral values. In arguments with religious fanatics, “X is wrong” is a notion that is usually backed up by “Because God has commanded it”. Obviously God (any God) is by no means a legitimate authority on moral subjects. Most of it could be because God never seems to clearly answer questions about his reasons for a particular commandment[1]. And moreover, by reading most religious books we immediately realize that most Gods are worse than psychopaths, how could they ever be a legitimate authority on moral subjects?


[1] Compare this with the case of  legitimate authority who specializes on a subject. For example a scientist on his/her specialty  A legitimate authority is always prepared to provide reasons for what s/he believes.

Introduction to Logical fallacies: A More Organized Approach

As you may have noticed, I have written a series under “Introductory Logic” about fallacious argument, something that later I used into a small workshop on logic. I decided to take a more comprehensive and organized approach to each fallacy and publish it again under “Introduction to Logical Fallacies (Workshop Style)”. Each post will be about a particular wrong method of argument, and in each post the logical face of the problem will be included, along with simple examples to accompany it.

I hope to get feedback on the blog for the shortcomings of my writings on the subject, and with the help of the readers perhaps later fully expand this to a small e-book useful for high school to college students.

On a side note, I have opened a Facebook page under the name “Ben Sephran”, an alias I have chosen since I believe working with a name, even a fake one, may be easier.


Arguing With Theists (3)

This argument was far different from the others, and what made it different was that I had to argue with my housemates. I usually avoid that, and the reason is simple: If they turn out to be too unreasonable, I would lose my respect for them. It is something to lose intellectual respect for someone you don’t know, but to lose it for a housemate is going to be problematic, especially since I’m not good at hiding my feelings.

Three of them tried to gang up on me, A girl and her husband (the husband was silent the whole time), and another guy, and for an hour and a half I tried to explain the basics of logic, science and thinking to them. I will not write the whole thing here, because it is somehow even below elementary logic.

The fallacies that the girl made: Appealing to emotions: “God exists because deep down everyone can feel him.” And also begging the question: “God exists because this world has rules, and those rules are there because God has put them there.”

And to think she is studying for a PhD… How much intellectual respect should I lose for her?

The other guy was a disaster: You don’t expect someone to give a good argument, when that person does not know the difference between logic, science and technology! Actually, the things that he said were so bizarre that made me say “Oh my God!”.

His fallacies? Well, I don’t remember all of them, but he made the textbook case fallacy of appealing to ignorance numerous times “There are many things in the world that we don’t know, and that shows there is a God.”

Each time, I tried to tell them about the fallacies they made. And each time the girl said: “But God loves you!” and the other guy called me “Narrow minded.” How much intellectual respect do you think is left there?


But since I was mostly arguing with myself, I had to answer some questions. The other guy asked me: “Why do you think God should be rationalized?” and that was he had asked me some questions about the world and “Is there anything that cannot be rationalized?” which my answer to it was “Yes, like music.”

He refuted himself at the exact next sentence “The nature creates this feeling…”. Well, then that’s nature, not God, right?

But, that question about rationalizing God made me think about something else. See, it is true that music, love, art, literature etc… are idealistic feelings. But doesn’t that make the whole idea of God idealistic too? Let’s take love for example here: Love is an idealistic feeling, but yet everyone talks about it, and everyone knows what it is. Why isn’t God in the same category?

It seems fairly simple: Because God is supposed to be a “being” not a “feeling”. And of course we know that all major religions say that “he” exists in reality, not just in dreams with a Nimbus around his head.

But, what would our answer be to someone, who actually reduces his or her God to just a feeling?

My answer would be “Good luck my friend, I have nothing else to say!” But, not before I give them a piece of my mind: “If you were born deaf, you’d never have stood a chance in understanding the feeling of listening to music. The same goes for being blind and Mona Lisa: You will never know that feeling of mystery, or any other kind of feeling that looking at that painting creates. But if you insist on love, then castrate yourself and let’s see if you can feel love again!”