Friday, October 8, 2010

When They Try to Befuddle You With Bullshit

Theistic arguments are almost always so chock full of illogic and factual inaccuracies that one is left trying vainly to pick one's jaw up off the floor, astonished that so much bad reasoning can be packed into so few words.  I don't know how often they do this deliberately--because I really don't think they see what they are doing--but they certainly enjoy and misinterpret the result.  As you stand there, dumbfounded and wondering where to begin, they interpret your silence as "proof" that their argument struck home.

Classic examples of this are the argument from existence and the argument from authority.  But, even their simpler arguments contain an array of errors if one thinks about them a bit.  Unfortunately, one doesn't have time for that.  As I pointed out before, if you don't reply with a snappy, hard hitting comeback right away, then they think they have won the point.  You have but a second or so to start your comeback and you have only a total of about seven seconds to get the whole thing out.

When you are presented with one of these boneheaded boatloads full of blunders, it is best to focus on the core of the argument if you can identify it.  If you are not sure what that is right away, a good first thing to say is:

"There are so many things wrong with that statement that I hardly know where to begin."

Follow that up immediately with a list of the most obvious problems.  This should give you time to think about it and come up with the core point the theist "thinks" he was trying to make and your response.  If you are still not sure, then take him through your list of problems and make him face each one.

Make your point about each one in as hard-hitting a manner as you can, then move on to the next one.  Don't let them get started down the primrose path of their rationalization of any one of them.  Those are all just dead ends and letting them go there will just reinforce their canalized thinking.

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