Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Naturalistic Fallacy -- Anti Muslim Rhetoric

During this article I'd like to touch upon a specific fallacy and also three specific video case studies of people either not being logical or making logical leaps that are improper or false.

To decode them we will look at their foundations and analyze their assumptions, assuming they bothered to provide any evidence for their arguments in the first place.


1) An interesting video I stumbled across including a man named Mark Steyn:


Mark Steyn: "Would you want to raise a family in Cairo? Which currently Muslim city would you live in?"

Philosophical Summary/Breakdown:

"This religion is bad(worrisome to the west) because no city in our natural world in the control of a Muslim is currently good. Therefore, because a large amount of Muslims are ruled by evil people, they themselves must have an evil religion which fosters evil leaders."(It sounds absurd, I know, but that is what he is arguing.)


Naturalistic Fallacy

Just because nature or the world shows us something, does not necessarily mean that is a proper representation of it.

An easier and nuanced approach would be to use the "is... Ought" method taught by Hume.

Just because something IS a certain way, doesn't mean that is how it OUGHT to be.

So it may be circumstances, outside the control of Muslims(lurking variables), have led to corrupt governments, and that those factors that created these kings have no bearing on the religion itself.

That is why you can't say, this is how it is, and that is how it AUGHT to be, because it might not have to be that way. It might be forced that way by other variables outside your control.


Judging Religions or Principles by their Followers

At the end of the day you can't judge a religion by a country or a group of people. The group of people may be in stark contrast to what the religion says. It's best to just be critical of the religion on it's own grounds and it's own tenants; that alone is sufficient.

Also, any tendencies we may see in those people, should not lead us to say, "that is what this religion creates, and because it is this way, that is how it ought to be, and therefore I consider all of this wrong and evil."

Those types of arguments are nonsensical, illogical, and are littered with a bigoted and intolerant attitude.


2) A similar intolerant and hate ridden speech was given by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, promoting Christians to convert Muslims.

She says:
"How can we get the 1.57 billion Muslims to believe in something other than what the radical Muslims are proselytizing because they are winning the argument"

This alone is a baseless fact, and to even say 1% of Muslims are radical equates to:

15.7 MILLION Radical Muslims, WAY above any FBI or CIA estimate. She is simply out of touch and shows no evidence to suggest that the radicals are winning the arguments, EXCEPT for her own word, which is baseless without evidence.


She continues:

"...and yes there are Christians who are radicals, there are Christians who are.... I wouldn't say... just... they're absolutely not as violent but intolerant and narrow, but that is not the Christianity that I have seen."

So what she's implying is that Christianity is better than Islam, and isn't as radical, because, that's not what she's "seen".

Naturalistic error, once again.

(Nice video trying to stem some of the fanatical hate speech and islamophobia)

She finishes her speech off with:

"The Catholic churches and the Protestant Churches, the moderate ones, are already established and know how to do that(convert people), they're just being intimidated either by the PC people or people like you who think they're all radical. I think that we should stop doing that. I think that they should start competing"

She has made it clear what side she sits on. She wants a competition, and she prefers Christians to Muslims because of what she has "seen", again a naturalistic fallacy because she may not have seen many proper moderate Muslims.

If you notice her speech is all, "My, I think, We should, that's how it is".

She's manipulative, without actually accruing any facts besides saying "1.57". What actual fact based arguments is she making?

This is all sensationalism. It's an attempt to emotionally drive you to believe something without logically informing you as to why; without giving sound evidence to support a proper argument on a firm foundation.

The truth is:

All people that feel conversion is necessary, and that we should convert others, regardless of the rudeness and enmity it entails, are radicals.

It's why MOST churches and Mosques do not proselytize and do not go door to door preaching.

Let each pray and follow whom they will, and account to their Lord. That is the American way. America was founded by people seeking religious asylum. This principle of religious freedom is INGRAINED in our country and in the constitution.

If we want to have a civilized and logical debate between the religions, that's all good and well, and substantive.

Sensationalized drama asking us to come to arms, to convert 1.57 billion people, is nonsense and the fuel for anti-Islamic sentiment and hatred.
(The consequence of not doing so is an army of Radical Muslims and a WWIII military ending....
Again sensationalist propaganda that has absolutely no fact based merit and should be taken on her "word" and what she's "seen")

Shame on her for such sensationalism. She would be shamed by her Alma mater and whatever University named her a Scholar, if she even is one or has any degrees to her name.

She does not act in accordance to the principles of a Scholar. Instead she look more the part of a political pundit, manipulating their audience using scary WWIII undertones; similar to the likes of Glen Beck.

But definitely not a Scholar, which would come forward with coherent arguments, strong supporting facts, and a logical framework.


3) Last Video, this time by Sam Harris:

He argues:
"So the problem is not Religious extremism, because extremism isn't a problem if your core beliefs are truly non violent."

He makes a lapse in judgment here. Although he's being very methodical in this video and at least using a reasonable argument, he says something which can be disproven easily.

He is basically saying if your core beliefs are non violence than that leads you to never having evil and extreme radical believers; but then what about Christianity?

  • Isn't Christianity the ultimate Peaceful religion?
  • If Jesus is slapped, did he not say turn to thy other cheek?
  • What wars or conquests did Jesus fight?
  • Did Jesus not allow himself, according to christians, to be tortured and killed?
  • What more better a shining example than Jesus himself, the pinnacle, the IDOL of Ghandi, and of pacifists.

  • "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
  • And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
  • And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
  • Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Source (Athiests for Jesus, an essay by Richard Dawkins praising Jesus)

So I'd say at the CORE of Christianity is peace, and yet there are Christians that bomb abortion clinics and start world wars like Hitler.

What? You say Hitler wasn't a Christian. Have you not seen his Nazi Belts or read his manifesto?

It says Gott mit uns, or God with us. Are not Hitler and Jesus polar opposites?

That fact alone destroys Sam Harris' argument.

It has been shown that a religion with a peaceful core, can still be manipulated into a radical and violent one.

It just takes a number of centuries, a good head on your shoulders, and lots of charisma.

Sooner or later, even Sam Harris' example of Jainism will be shown to be fallible, once 1 follower of Jainism does something evil in the name of his religion, or an evil person joins Jainism with the intent to manipulate the religion to meet his own needs.

The reason why Jainism has been left untouched until now is it's power pales in comparison with that of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Why hijack a hardly known religion, with few followers, when you can spend your energy and manipulate millions of people.

That's why Jainism has been left alone.


For Sam Harris to argue this is impossible, destroys his argument, rendering it useless.

He cannot argue that Jesus and Christianity, at their core, is not peaceful, because every sign even by atheistic writers like Dawkins have attested to the pacifism of Jesus and his true followers.

So what we are left with is an empty shell of an argument and the ability for peaceful religions to be manipulated.

But isn't that fairly obvious.... that anything can be manipulated. There are no holy untouchable organizations today that do not fear corruption.

Everything can be manipulated.
Because people are not perfect creatures, and our own inner faults pave the room for manipulation. These are all common sense conclusions to get to with just a bit of time and contemplation.


For his second point where he says Osama isn't fudging the facts, and is simply painting the truth about Islam, he simply gives no evidence.

  • No Quotes by the Prophet of Islam.
  • No Quranic Verses.
  • No statements by Osama.
  • No lines from books of scholarly analysis.
  • Nothing.
  • He just says it as a fact, paraphrasing him: Obama and Islam are one, and he doesn't fudge the facts.

Sam Harris goes so far as to say:

"He(Osama) is giving a truly straightforward version of Islam and you really have to be an acrobat to figure out how he's distorting the faith"

To make such an amazing claim, that more than a billion Muslims have a religion that encourages Terrorism(or Murder), or that would allow such a thing, REQUIRES evidence to prove.

As the famous scientist Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require Extraordinary evidence". This supposed scholar gave none...

On that point alone, his argument is without foundation, and fails.
It's a point that even seems absurd to think about, that a billion murderers exist in this world, commanded to fight holy wars around the earth. That's 1 in every 6 people...


Final Thoughts

The authors of these videos grasped the hands of hatred, for their own reasons, be it ignorance or a lack of will to seek out the truth(laziness).
Either way they did a disservice to themselves to not educate themselves properly before spreading false propaganda.

In Sam Harris' case where he actually tried to make a logical argument, he failed to contemplate on his thesis, and allowed a large hole to remain in the heart of his argument, easy to unveil, causing the whole theory to fall apart.

As we saw, even though his original point had some logical reasoning, his second point had no merit and was simply a bigoted slap in the face to every Muslim that prays peacefully on this Earth. Not even did he attempt to support his extraordinary and inflammatory claims.

At it's core, all we got here, from these three videos, was xenophobia, ignorance, a lack of reasoning capability, and hatred.

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