Monday, July 03, 2006

Illogical Odds and Ends

Over the last few days I have encountered the same kind of bad reasoning in several, unrelated contexts.

It goes somethign like this (this is not one of the actual examples):

"The moon orbiting that distant star is too far away. It isn't important to life on earth."

"So is our moon. You need a telescope to see them both. There fore our moon is unimportant too. "

Now of course the comparison is ridiclulous. After all I can go to Zellers and pick up a cheap elescope and see our moon just fine; nothing short fo the multi-million dollar hubble is going to catch the moon around the distant star.

So what is this? It is ignoring the relevant differences, subsuming them under an irrelevant commonality.

Saying that two doctrines both require inference on our part to detect them and are therfore equally ambiguous in Scripture is a false argument when:

  • doctrine rests on 1 verse whch rests in a highly symbolic context (like Revelation)
  • the other docrine rests on 10 verses found in comapratively starightforward contexts (like letters)
Obvisouly this is ingoring the differnece in quantitiy and quality of evidence in favour of the fact that they both require inference.

But people do this sort of thing, and worse.

I also encounterd a situation where one person held that a new interpretive method was false because it was too subjective.

The oppsition came in the form of "well you have subjectivity too!" This commits two errors. The first is that described above (since the new method is used in addition to the old, yo are actually compounding subjectivity. You can't ignore that and say they are both equally invialid becuase they are both subjective when the amount of subjectivity in vovled in each is vastly different.). The second fallacy is accusing the eprson ofnot following their own advice. But that isn't an argument in favour of the new method.

I don't want every one to be a logician. I am not a logician myself. I would however like to see peple think just a wee bit more.

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