Ridicule and the Strawman

January 12, 2007

Continuing the science theme of my last post, I am grateful to P Z Myers for this great cartoon. He quotes an obvious nutter who thinks the global warming can only be stopped “if the whole planet got baptized in the Holy Spirit and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior within the next 2 years”. Said nutter also suggests that a holding operation, pending this change “would be to build several huge nuclear power plants in the polar regions and install several freezer coils at the edges of the polar glaciers to begin expanding the size of the ice and begin making more ice”. Now to ridicule this is obviously sensible, but it does not follow that we should ridicule christianity (or any religion for that matter). Myers gets carried away and says “don’t spare the ridicule of Christianity, either”. It’s a pity as the post is otherwise sensible and well argued. The fact some some people who are idiots claim Christianity as their authority, does not mean that you can assume that Christianity is the cause of their idiocy. I am currently reading Dawkin’s latest polemic which commits the same error to excess. I haven’t finished it yet, but the style of argument so far is that of a religious fanatic in its anti-religious Zealotry. More on that in a future blog, but for the moment I think that Myers and Dawkins both need to check out the strawman falacy in a basic book of logic.

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