Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!
Register!

one moment please...


Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

Contact Form



Send me a copy of this message
Send Message sending message...

Q&A Home Question

0

votes

image loading...
Joel Johnson

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Joel Johnson


Eager Newbie

About Joel Johnson

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 12:10 AM

Is something not right in this?

Person A- Religion that is just sentimentatlity is utterly worthless.
Person B- But religion isn't just that! It is more than that!





Quick Comment On This Question (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the question owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

5 Answers

0

votes

image loading...
Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

image loading...

Michael Chase Walker

Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

About Michael Chase Walker

Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Print Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 04:17 PM
Hey Joel,

Of course, we can evaluate the neuroscience behind the Evolution of Misbelief (See Dennett and McKay) which maintains that religions and beliefs
were (useful) 'cognitive mechanisms adapted for other purposes' i.e. pareidolia, Hyper active agency detection, mythology, storytelling, etc)

So, as far as evolutionary psychology goes understanding the beliefs, rituals, crafts and artifacts of the Past are extremely useful to a myriad of scientific disciplines, e.g. Archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, architecture, history, mythology, etc.

However, to determine the logical fallacy as you state it I'd break it down to something like this:

For the Past to be useful it must have staying power and affect our lives today.
Therefore, if past beliefs have no staying power or affect our lives, they are useless.

Off the bat I have no problem with the claims other than the conclusion of uselessness. I could interpret that as either a hasty generalization or the Pseudo-logical fallacy often referred to as chronological snobbery.

Chronological snobbery is an argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority or the belief that since civilization has advanced in certain areas, people of earlier time periods were less intelligent.




2

votes

image loading...
Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

Moderator

image loading...

Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

Moderator

About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 06:27 AM
Person A: Religion that is just sentimentatlity is utterly worthless.

This is just an opinion. One can agree or disagree, or perhaps ask for more clarification.

Person B: But religion isn't just that! It is more than that!

Seems like a reasonable response. Person A is specifically addressing one kind of religion (i.e., religion that is just sentimentatlity), which may or may not be the kind of religion that anyone actually practices. Person B's response implies agreement person A and continued to make a point. Technically, Person A could respond "I never said it wasn't." It is a strange initial comment by person A to which the point he or she is trying to make seems unclear.
Bo Bennett, PhD
Social Scientist, Business Consultant
Coaching / Consulting > https://tinyurl.com/coachingbybo
About My Businesses > http://www.archieboy.com
About Me > http://www.bobennett.com
Books I’ve Written > https://tinyurl.com/bosbooks
Courses I Teach > https://tinyurl.com/boscourses
Podcasts I Host > https://tinyurl.com/bospodcasts


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Joel Johnson

Eager Newbie

Print Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 10:04 AM
Conversation continues....
Person A- Its time for religion to actually have a connection to real life.
Person B- It DOES have a connection to real life!
Person A- We need to take what is so familiar to us and have it connect with us somehow today!
Person B- By being appreciative and accepting of our past, not disdain for it!


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

Print Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 10:19 AM
So Person A is essentially claiming.

Some religions are purely sentimental.
Sentimentality is worthless.
Therefore, religions are worthless

Following Dr. Bo's criteria:

It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error. I can't find any error in reasoning in the first statement. As Dr. Bo responds, it is merely an opinion.

Sentimentality is worthless. (Argument from Ignorance)

This is a sweeping over generalization, if not an outright falsehood (deception?) or false premise. I don't think we need to argue the usefulness of the wide range of human sentimentality. If we restrict this statement to mean religious sentiment ONLY we might point out that Stephen Jay Gould describes such religious sentiment as Non Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA). Joseph Campbell refers to it as the Mysterium Tremendum. The great ethnologist Leo Frobenius describes creative epiphany as an "eruption of emotion". William James regards them highly and includes such outlier revelations in his Varieties of Religious Experience. Certainly there is a solid argument that religious sentiment may be complex and subjective, but hardly worthless.

Therefore, religions are worthless.

Now, here, I think we have an ambiguity that assumes something true of the part is true of the whole or a Fallacy of Composition. (Of course, this applies more to my interpreted syllogism than the original question.)

BTW: I am reminded of a lecture on the Bhagavad-Gita by A.C. Bhaktivedanta where he similarly declared:

“Religion without Philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while Philosophy without Religion is mental speculation.”

0

votes

image loading...
Joel Johnson

Eager Newbie

Print Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 11:38 AM
Person A: But If there is no staying power in that Past, if what we see in It doesn't somehow affect how live: useless right?

Person B: If my doctor told me how to get better but I didn't let this inform me; it would be worthless because I decide not to let it, by my own choice. This doesn't Prove in itself that his advice is worthless. Objectively, it may have a positive affect but I'm not letting it have any.


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

Registered User Comments

Kaiden
Friday, March 08, 2019 - 04:34:33 PM
Hi everybody!

I don’t see anything that isn’t right with this exchange, so far, if by “not right” you mean “commits a fallacy”. Indeed, neither Person A nor Person B have even spoken an argument in this exchange, so there is no place for a fallacy. They may have arguments for the claims they make here, but the claims they make here are not arguments. (You could make a case that Person B is presenting a circular argument by giving his first sentence as a reason for believing the second, but really I think he’s only adding emphasis, rather than arguing.) I see two people who are providing the raw material for further engaging in an exciting and deep discussion about religion and value.

I’m curious what Dr. Bo Bennett and Michael Chase Walker mean by “opinion”. Dr. Bennett describes Person A as “just” stating an opinion and that our response to it is to “either agree or disagree.” Michael Chase Walker agrees with Dr. Bennett on the understanding that Person A’s statement is an opinion, and uses the word “merely” to claim that Person A is “merely” stating an opinion.

Due to the language being used when these two gentlemen speak about Person A’s statement, it appears they both think that Person A‘s claim is an opinion in the sense that it is not worth debating and that it is only something like an expression of his attitude towards religion. But l think Person A should be taken more seriously than that. What Person A’s statement expresses is a proposition about sentimental religions. It is either a true or false proposition and it makes sense to give and assess reasons in support of it or in opposition to it. I think what is happening is that Person A is opening up a dialogue potentially involving a rational treatment of religion and value, and not starting “just” or “merely” an exchange of opinions.

Person A is not making the argument that Michael Chase Walker attributes to him. Again, I don’t see an argument coming from Person A, at all. Nonetheless, here is Michael Chase Walker’s formulation:

Some religions are purely sentimental.
Sentimentality is worthless.
Therefore, religions are worthless

Joel Johnson, if Person A were a real person whom you were speaking to and you wanted to address the statement that he or she makes in your post, do not address it in terms of the argument that Michael Chase Walker formulates. This formulation does not accurately represent Person A’s position because neither the first premise nor the second nor the conclusion can be gleaned to be what Person A believes.

In regards to the first premise of Michael Chase Walker’s formulation, Person A does not speak with an existential quantification attached to his claim—he does not claim that there IS something that is ‘a religion that is sentimental.’ Instead, he speaks using a universal quantification—he claims that IF anything is a religion, then if it is just sentimentality, then it is worthless. Or, in First Order Logic:

Domain: religions

For all x, (Sx —> Wx)

Key:

Sx: ___x is just sentimentality
Wx: __x is worthless

I do not have an upside down ‘A’ symbol, so I must go with spelling out “for all”.

In regards to the second premise, it is not known to be believed by Person A. He does not say that sentimentality is worthless. As clarified above, the domain is religion. Any thing that is a religion is worthless if it is just sentimentality. For all we know, nonreligious things that are just sentimentality are not considered worthless by Person A.

Furthermore, the conclusion that Walker writes is not what Person A claims to believe, either. Person A speaks about the worthlessness of “religions that are just sentimentality,” which says nothing about religions that are not sentimentality. For all we know, Person A may believe that religion is not worthless if it is not just sentimentality.

I’m also curious why Walker states that the premise “sentimentality is worthless” commits the fallacy of appeal to ignorance. A fallacy can only be committed in the course of an argument or inference—and a premise is neither of these two. (That’s why you couldn’t find any error in reasoning in the first premise, Walker.) Furthermore, no arguments are made nor inferences drawn to the second premise. So there is nowhere for a fallacy to be committed at or to the second premise. Besides, Person A may be unbothered by anything that is said against premise 2 because, as I have shown, he has not claimed to believe premise 2.

The rest of Walker’s post evaluates his formulation of the argument. That is fine practice, but does not interest Person A, as far as we can tell, because Person A has not claimed any agreement to the premises or conclusion of the argument.

In sum, my answer to the question is that there isn’t anything wrong so far that I can see. It looks like a subject is being opened between two people who are about to enter a deeper discussion about it. So far, they have offered claims for which reasons and arguments can be given, and have not offered mere opinions, at least from my understanding of “opinion” as it was being used in the contexts of Dr. Bennett’s and Michael Chase Walker’s posts. Again, I am interested in a clarification of their notion of “opinion” in regards to what Person A states.

Thank you, Joel Johnson, Dr. Bo Bennett and Michael Chase Walker, all of whose posts I addressed.


From, Kaiden

login to reply
0 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...

Joel Johnson
Thursday, March 07, 2019 - 09:44:10 AM
Conversation continues....
Person A- Its time for religion to actually have a connection to real life.
Person B- It DOES have a connection to real life!
Person A- We need to take what is so familiar to us and have it connect with us somehow today!
Person B- By being appreciative of our past not disdain for it!

login to reply
0 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...



About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Software Copyright 2019, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.