Sunday, May 27, 2012

"A Series of Grammatically Well-Formed Strings Masquerading as Propositions"

That's Julian Sanchez describing Ross Douthat's attempt to respond to his question of whether morality is possible with religion, turning the old saw on its head. Sanchez is an agnostic, Douthat a Christian. What's interesting is that both of these people are fiscal conservatives known principally as political writers. These discussions are occurring out in the open by more and more types of people.

You may have had the experience of a religious person attempting to use reasoning (good start) to bring you around to their viewpoint, but often what results is just a re-phrasing of the assertion they're trying to get you to believe, which is what happened here. (A concrete poor man's version of this is trying to get you to believe the Bible by quoting the Bible.) Another pattern is jumping to an unwarranted specific conclusion, like the one in this excellent Jesus and Mo comic.

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