Against Islam: Lying, Deceiving and Illogical Confusions

The following video is the perfect example of how many apologists try their best to hide behind lies and deception when trying to defend the indefensible (religion of Islam). The video is obviously scripted to serve as propaganda in defense of Islam, but it immediately backfires when one rationally considers its arguments:

As we can see, there are two people defending Islam here, the Professor (Let’s call him P) and the Student (S). Let’s tear into both of them, starting with P since his lie is obvious and straight forward:

Tearing P a new one: At the start P is seemingly addressing the relation between Islam and terrorism, claiming that “Because words Mercy, Peace and Compassion have been repeated much more than Jihad, therefore Islam is much more religion of peace than war (or terrorism)”.

Two things immediately dismantle this garbage:

(1) Did the good P forget to include words such as “Slay (قتل)”, which represent killing, being killed or fighting depending on the context and use, and have been repeated multiple times in the Quran? Of course he did not. After all why forget when you can be dishonest to the bone? (As an example look at chapter 9 of the Quran [Al-Towbah], and in particular vers 111)

(2) The context of words matter. How many times peace and mercy have been used for humanity, and not just for Muslims? The following is far closer to what the Quran suggests “Oh sure be merciful, just towards the other Muslims. And by the way kill all infidels and heretics wherever you find them!”

Pathetic try from the good P. Maybe next time he can sugar coat his lies better, so that someone will buy them.

Exposing S on all levels: Now, S is a bit more sneaky. He first comes up with a provocative statement “White superpowers are the biggest terrorists”. This of course is both racist and stupid. But does one very important thing: Diverts the conversation from Islam to US (or “white super powers”, whatever that means). We know this is scripted, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar situations play out in the real world.

The conversation about whether Islam is the religion of terrorism is completely irrelevant to what US or any advanced country does, or whether they themselves are terrorists or not. In any discussion of this sort one must stop these diversion tactics and stick to the point. That being said, a simple answer usually shuts this tactic down: “Yes, terrorism is bad, and whoever does it must be brought to justice. Now, let’s go back to our original topic: Islam”.

There is another important point about what S puts forward, which is worth mentioning. Consider the fact that S tries his best to confuse the issue, using “terrorism” to mean civilian casualties in general (though he does not specify even that much). But one immediately realizes what counties such as US do by no means resembles what Taliban, Al-Qaeda or ISIS do. These terrorist organisation kill indiscriminately, just to create fear. They deliberately kill civilians to terrorize those who they see as enemies, while US may be responsible for civilian casualties, but civilians are not US’s targets.

Final word: The Quran does contain statements that can be interpreted as invitation to pluralism or peace. Whether these verses are enough to cover the cruel and inhuman parts is a discussion for another time.

In the meantime, we should be vigilant about scum such as the likes of P and S who try to put up smoke and mirrors and claim this religion is an advocate of peace. Islam is “not” a religion of peace.

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How to “Not” Solve Euthyphro Dilemma

Well, many have tried. I cannot blame our friend in Here for doing so as well, though ultimately failing. Let’s see what’s given as the objection to the dilemma:

“The Euthyphro ‘dilemma’ is easily solvable in the context of the most basic understanding of orthodox Christianity when one realizes that moral goodness, commanded or un-commanded by God, is a reflection of His divine nature in humanity. Pursuing goodness, Christian or non-Christian, then becomes an existential condition as a result of God creating humanity “…in His image…”, His image being a reflection of His nature, one of perfect righteousness and thus perfect moral good.”

So many things wrong with this, one wonders where to start.

Firstly, ehm, I’m fairly sure there is no such thing as God so that “goodness” is his/her/its reflection. Wait, I can immediately hear religious people cry foul: That argument has no place here. Well it does, but since you insist, and since I can see a number of other things wrong with that “defence”, I’ll let it pass.

What next? Problem: “Your” god, assuming it exists, loves faxing down commandments left and right to his chosen prophets. “Kill gays”, “Beat women”, “Don’t eat shellfish”, etc etc. Are you telling me that these abhorrently stupid and immoral commandments are not to be followed? Obviously [hopefully!] we are aware that these are immoral. So, given that according to you we are reflecting his goodness, in “not” pursuing these we are reflecting “Your” god’s divine nature? So, somewho with a divine nature of goodness, commanded some rules that do not match his divine nature? Funny that.

Oh but wait, there is something even better, you didn’t solve the dilemma at all! As soon as you make that statement, someone is bound to immediately ask the following: So, basically, whatever your God’s nature is, goodness is? What if you God happens to be jealous (in Exodus for example)? What if he is Murderously Homophobic (Leviticus) or a Misogynist (I’d give Islam as an example here)?

Is it so, that you believe your God has all the attributes of being good, or, is it so that whatever attributes your God happens to have are attributes of goodness? If the latter is true, then goodness is arbitrary to your God’s nature. If the first is true, then those attributes are separate from your God’s nature, thus there is no relevance between them.

Also, another might ask a different question: Can your God alter his own nature? If not, then omnipotence goes down the drain, if yes, then morality goes… Oh wait, he already did alter his own nature between the old testament and the new one. Well, I guess nothing else left to say.

I suppose this is enough. For now…

Humor, the Greatest Enemy of Fundamentalism (2): Voltaire

Candide having a curiosity to see the priests asked where they were. The good old man smiled.

“My friend,” said he, “we are all priests. The King and all the heads of families sing solemn canticles of thanksgiving every morning, accompanied by five or six thousand musicians.”

“What! have you no monks who teach, who dispute, who govern, who cabal, and who burn people that are not of their opinion?”

“We must be mad, indeed, if that were the case,” said the old man; “here we are all of one opinion, and we know not what you mean by monks.”

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Source:

Voltaire (2011-03-30). Candide (p. 67). . Kindle Edition.

Introduction to Logical Fallacies (Workshop Style): Ad Hominem (Poisoning the well)

Ad Hominem simply means personal attack. It is the argument that someone is wrong because there is something wrong with him/her. This fallacy is essentially the fallacy of attacking the arguer instead of the argument.

Example: This is a paragraph of a blog post by a user named “The answer girl”. She obviously is far from having any answers, because of the following post, which is about the rejection of homosexuality being natural:

“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 couples. One would assume that information might have been mishandled or the research conducted might have been leading (i.e. forced), for example.”

One must be very careful regarding the notion of “bias”. In research method there is indeed a serious case for being biased, but the nature of the research itself is very determining in such cases. As you can see above, our answer girl is not trying to go after any evidence to suggest the results of research done by LGBT supporting websites or books are indeed biased, she is doing the very basic case of Ad Hominem attack: The information is biased because it is given by LGBT supporters.

It does not matter who gives the information, a Nazi may claim racism true, but he or she is not wrong “because” he is a Nazi. If we wish to prove anyone wrong, we need to prove their claims or arguments wrong.

This fallacy could be very tricky at times. In a lot of TV shows we can more or less hear things like “You are a member of party X, obviously you agree with anything that your party says!” Of course, a person’s political party is irrelevant to the truth value of the claims they make, or the structure of their arguments. The following conversation between Rachel Maddow and Nick Gillespie in an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher”:

“You will always take the side of a Democrat over a Republican,” Gillespie replied.
“No, I won’t,” Maddow shot back. “You don’t even know me.”
“I’ve seen your show,” Gillsepie said.

The first line has nothing to do with the truth value of the claims given in one’s show or made in any other program, aside from the fallacious line of reducing one’s arguments or claims (in this case in their show) to their position or political party.

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Reference:

Thought on Homosexuality. The Answer Girl. 12/1/11. [ http://theanswergirl.tumblr.com/post/8790361207/thoughts-on-homosexuality]

Rachel Maddow, Nick Gillespie Have Intense Argument On ‘Real Time’ (VIDEO). huffingtonpost. 06/23/2012. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/rachel-maddow-real-time-nick-gillespie_n_1620826.html]

Introduction to Logical Fallacies (Workshop Style): Appeal to force/emotions

Trying to persuade others by means of coercion or by appealing to their emotions. This is a more obvious form of appealing to consequences.

Example: There may be a lot of cases in which this fallacy happens in our ordinary lives. I remember my own dad’s response to my question of “Why?” was usually given as a shout of “Because I say so, and you know what happens when you don’t listen to me boy!”. It was obvious to me, even at my very young age, that his way of coercion does not make things he wanted right. There must have been reasons behind them other than his sheer force[1].

Perhaps the simplest and most common examples are some students at the end of the semester “You cannot fail me Professor Smith, if that happens I’ll be expelled/ My dad will kill me.”

Professor Smith may be quite sorry that these things may happen, s/he may even consider passing the student, but there is absolutely no logical reason for that. The argument is flawed since it only appeals to emotions and abandons the reason behind a fail grade, that the student simply does not know enough about the subject at hand[2].

Propaganda is another less common form of this fallacy. It is a media based movement devoid of any substantial reason, but based on excitation of the feelings that people may have on a particular subject. An example for movement is the so called “pro-life” movement in US. Most of what is presented by the pro-life could be considered as propaganda. Read a part of the poem written from an unborn child’s mouth against abortion:

please don’t let them kill me,
it wasn’t my fault mommy.
and if you think you’re doing what’s right
then ask yourself, what if it was me?

Remember that no argument is presented, if one tries to argue against abortion, one has to do so by means of reason and evidence, not just by writing poems of this sort, designed only to provoke emotional response instead of giving a message by means of reasoning. Most propaganda exists exactly because there are no good reasons to appeal to, only emotions.

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[1] My father died some years ago, it’s a pity he died as the same person as is portrayed here.

[2] There is a humorous story based on this fallacy: There was a very poor writer who lived in a very bad state. He wrote a book and took it to a publisher as a last ditch of effort to earn some money. The publisher asked: “What’s the book about?” to which the writer responded: “It’s a story about a woman who’s in love with a young man. They marry each other, and she gets pregnant, but the man is eaten by a shark, the child is born dead, and she finally commits suicide from heart-break. Also, if you don’t publish the story, its writer will die of hunger!”

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?

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[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 (Workshop Style)

Introduction:

We are human beings. We used to be Homo erectus, we surpassed our other homo cousins (such as Neanderthals), and now we are homo sapiens. Without a doubt, we progressed. A painful, slow and most of the time dangerous progress, but progress nonetheless. And now that we are here, we may as well ask the question which perhaps enabled our ancestors to reach here: “Why?”

There are a combination of reasons for why we progress; why we, human beings, are beyond any other living creature on this planet. Even the smartest species of mammals, even the closest to us, our Chimpanzee cousins, have not been able to know more and be more than our children of a very young age.

We may have gained a lot of advantages in our path of evolution, but one advantage remains the reason why we evolve, even today. That is our language, our ability to make a claim, say what we think, and reason for its truth value. The way of the argument and reason. The ability to agree or disagree with each other, to ask “Why?” and to answer it. It may have all started with that first homo[1] who around two million years ago, suddenly[2] ask that very same powerful question: “Why?”

Good vs. Bad argument:

A logical argument is not simply a discussion between two or more people, it is a set of statements together, but in a certain structure. It is the support of one statement (conclusion), based on some other statements (premises)[2]. A good argument is those set of premises which will necessarily result the conclusion, and has to meet certain criteria:

  • Well formed structure,
  • Relevant premises,
  • Reasonable, clear and sound premises,
  • Internally consistent,

A fallacy on the other hand is an argument that does not meet the criteria above. Any problem with what came above will result in a faulty argument, and faulty arguments do not result in giving an acceptable conclusion. Keep in mind that this does not mean the conclusion is necessarily “wrong”, it means that the conclusion cannot be accepted in the light of the presented argument.

Before going ahead with introduction of the logical fallacies, it is worth mentioning the number zero fallacy, and that is making a claim without an argument to support it. We all at some point have heard the phrase “But that’s just my opinion”. An opinion is not an argument, and that statement is in fact “the” none-argument. It s a way of running away for those who wish never to give any reason for what they perceive to be true. Those who only wish to have conclusions, and only wish to stop any progress which could be achieved through conversation[3].

Logical fallacies, bad arguments:

What comes in each of the next follow up parts is a rough list of the most common fallacies which we hear nowadays from homophobic groups, religious fanatics and of course politicians[4]. Each fallacy is briefly defined and is accompanied with related examples. I have tried to find at least one example from the real world of news and politics for each section, since they are much more interesting than a made up  example, and frankly easier to find.

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[1] Literally!

[2] I do not know, but maybe he was washing himself and suddenly it clicked. Maybe he jumped up, and maybe, maybe, he shouted “Eureka! Eureka!”.

[3] “They” usually tend to be religious fundamentalists, fanatics or politicians. Of course it could indicate a comfortable delusion or utter dishonesty.

[4] Of course, politicians are a perfect source for fallacies. Their dishonesty is astonishing, their ability to deceive almost unmatched by any other profession.