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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ignorance and other things

Apparently I'm not done. So now we're moving on to ignorant people who claim to know things. Here, we shall take an example from Tumblr which was extracted from Facebook originally. The person states:

"Saying your Atheist or that there's no god or higher power is like saying you don't believe in ghosts, which is like saying you don't have a soul, which is also saying you don't have dreams, which would mean your a Zombie or Vampire, so unless your a Magical made up being, dont say your Atheist, you sound fucking retarted"

Spelling and grammar mistakes aside, this is chock-full of logical fallacies, namely non sequitors. Those are statements that are made that do not logically follow the previous statement. In saying them, the author expects the reader to come to the same conclusion they did, because it simply "makes sense." It is best understood, I think, through example. Like above, how he jumped from an atheist's lack of belief to saying that it means they don't believe in ghosts. Basically:

  • A person does not believe there is a God or higher power
  • Therefore, that person does not believe in ghosts
If you are going to make that connection, at least provide evidence that higher powers and ghosts are related somehow. Fully. One honestly cannot expect the audience to draw those same conclusions, which is why that is considered a non sequitor. 

He goes on.
  • A person does not believe in ghosts
  • Therefore, that person does not have a soul
Which actually implies that the lack of soul is due to the fact that the person does not believe in ghosts, which is due to the fact that the person does not believe in a higher being. There is a "missed connection" here, which makes this argument even more weak. 

He then says that no soul = no dreams. No evidence to support that, since when is the biological process of dreaming directly linked to having or not having a soul? And then the zombie and vampire thing has a similar issue. If you do not have dreams, this automatically means you are other than a human? I am impressed by how far this person managed to stray away from reason. This is meant to raise awareness about all future "because", "therefore", and "thus" statements. A lot of people don't catch these, because we're so used to using those words as a way to transition. But "because" has a lot more weight than what it has become. 

Let's also visit Twitter. Tonight, there is another debate, which means that uninformed teenagers attempting to sound super informed will be voicing their opinions. There are fewer people talking about it. I take it a lot of people hopped on that "fad" to sound intelligent. However, now some of the interest has died down and only a few remain. This lowered the amount of ignorant vocal people, but not by much. 

A lot were guilty of the ad hominem fallacy, where they pointed out an unrelated characteristic of one of the candidates in order to take away the value of their arguments. They would point out accidental characteristics, instead of their substance as a candidate. 

On the side, a lot of the people getting involved with this are doing it for appearances. They want to seem involved or intelligent. There are a few who are genuinely interested, and personally, I appreciate their interest. But to do it just to flaunt it is rather pointless. One, in my opinion, should learn for the sake of learning, not for other people to see how many big words and policies you can list off. I done? 

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