Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
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20-08-2015, 07:06 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
All Scottish people were born in Scotland? Let's swap out America for that and see what happens: All Americans were born in America. Um, no.

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20-08-2015, 07:54 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
(20-08-2015 04:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  There continues to be misunderstanding of the application of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy at TTA:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

A logical fallacy does not exist in a vacuum. There must be a logical truth the fallacy is pitted (in error) against. In the NTS case on Wikipedia, there are two conflicting definitions, one stated, one implied:

False: All Scottish people avoid sugar on their porridge

True (not supplied by Wikipedia, but obvious): All Scottish people were born in Scotland

The problem of misapplication is how NTS is applied by TTA members to Christian definitions. It is wholly incorrect to claim that the informal logic rule known as the NTS fallacy supports this concept: that no person may apply any definition as to who are the members of the complete set of Christians in the world. Indeed, this in itself is an example of the NTS fallacy (no true logician may define what a Christian is). Here are two such examples of false definitions I've heard used at TTA, and frequently:

False: All persons who are born as Christians are Christians

True: All persons who trust Jesus's atoning death and resurrection to take their sin, guilt and shame--in hope of Heaven--are Christians

In the example above, if all persons born Christian are Christians, most TTA members who identify as skeptics are now... still... Christians.

False: All persons who profess to be Christian are Christians

True: All persons who trust Jesus's atoning death and resurrection to take their sin, guilt and shame--in hope of Heaven--are Christians

In the example above, another definition is supported that is unsustainable via the application of simple logic. Atheists believe that reincarnation is a false belief as it involves the sustaining of a person's id after death followed by total or partial metempsychosis. Are all persons presently in mental hospitals who claim to actually be Napoleon Bonaparte truly him? Are all persons in the general population who claim to be the reincarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte truly him? The answer from any atheist must be an absolute no in both cases, but only as far as they are willing to accept the true definition: Napoleon Bonaparte was a deceased historical figure who was emperor over a French empire. Likewise, it must follow logically that not all persons who say they are Christians must be Christians--even if many of them are Christians. Simple deductive logic tells us that a murderer hoping for clemency, for example, will claim to have found religion while on trial or in prison--some have, some really have not.

I personally agree with the TTA members that the NTS fallacy is a true logical fallacy, yet clearly we disagree not on the operation of the fallacy itself but on the definition of what a Christian is. One has to know that a true Scotsman is born in the country of Scotland to be able to say with impunity that sugar on one's porridge is not the real defining issue.

Likewise, there is a current thread where several people are avoiding entering the Boxing Ring with me to debate the existence of God as it is claimed that no true definition of God can exist. This is the kind of sophistry that frustrates those Christians who wish to debate atheists. You cannot logically hold both of the following positions simultaneously:

1. No god exists

2. No one can sufficiently define what a god is

Unless that is, there are no atheists, only agnostics (which would allow for #2 above, but still not offer conclusive proof for #1 above).

I am open to learn more, and I relish the opportunity to test my ideas here at TTA. I welcome your comments and pledge to read them with an open mind. Thank you.

And you continue to demonstrate that you do not understand what the No True Scotsman Fallacy is. Well done.Facepalm

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20-08-2015, 08:34 AM (This post was last modified: 20-08-2015 08:45 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
You see, you actually realized that definitions matter, and then you went full bullshit and forgot.

Never go full bullshit.

No, seriously. We can smell it a mile away and you'll never get the stink off of you.

(20-08-2015 04:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Likewise, there is a current thread where several people are avoiding entering the Boxing Ring with me to debate the existence of God as it is claimed that no true definition of God can exist. This is the kind of sophistry that frustrates those Christians who wish to debate atheists. You cannot logically hold both of the following positions simultaneously:

1. No god exists

2. No one can sufficiently define what a god is

Unless that is, there are no atheists, only agnostics (which would allow for #2 above, but still not offer conclusive proof for #1 above).

I am open to learn more, and I relish the opportunity to test my ideas here at TTA. I welcome your comments and pledge to read them with an open mind. Thank you.

As you by now well know and are deliberately misrepresenting because you remain a fundamentally dishonest person who will engage in any level of trickery, deceit, calumny, or dissembling that you can to advance your self-appointed task of apologetic evangelism, atheism is NOT defined by most self-identifying atheists as a positive position that no god exists. That is a subset of atheism known as strong or gnostic atheism. Relatively few people who identify as atheists mean this type of atheism, and even then they are identifying as atheists in respect to a specific concept of god or a specific class of gods.

Rather -- and again you already know this, but potential victims of your deceit unfamiliar with your character and methods simply browsing this forum might not -- most people who identify as atheists mean it in the sense that they do not believe a god exists. They may be inclined strongly against that position but may still acknowledge a possibility or room for uncertainty. Regardless, they are absent a belief to that effect. This broader definition is a position known as weak atheism or agnostic atheism. This is NOT the position, as you present it, that no gods exist, and you know full well that you are lying to as many people possible about what most atheists mean when they use the word "atheist" to describe themselves.

Furthermore -- and again, you know this, but again, it falls to us to publicize your chicanery so that others do not fall victim to it -- agnosticism and this broader definition of atheism ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. Some initial confusion on this point is permissible, as people who identify primarily with the term "agnostic" usually use the narrower definition of the word "atheist" when they say that they are not one, and this multitude of definitions in play complicates things. But when you are offering a criticism for people identifying as atheists, the relevant definition is the one that THEY ARE EMPLOYING when they select the identifier. For that definition, agnostic atheism (not embracing certainty on the question and also not believing in anything they would call a god) is a possibility.

Finally, and most people would embrace this in principle, it is both the privilege and the responsibility of the person proposing the position for discussion to adequately define it before expecting or demanding others to take a stance on it. If I were to put the question point blank about whether they believe my theory of electrostatic migration is true, they would be well justified in asking what that theory was before having to take a position. If they have heard of ten separate theories of electrostatic migration, some subtly different, some wildly different, they would have to ask each person who put the question to them which one they were referring to. Until the phrase is defined clearly, it is not possible to have a discussion on the topic. Similarly, if a position's opponents were to blatantly misrepresent a position -- I would offer examples here, perhaps something out of the anti-evolutionist playbook, except you've already provided the perfect example -- then they have failed to actually address what they are purporting to address. They have missed the mark in favor of the straw man they have set up. It might make them look good to an undiscerning and gullible audience, and it might puff up their own vanity, but it doesn't actually speak to the topic at hand.

So if you want to debate the existence of a god, or any topic related to a god (such as instructions or actions or offspring of some god) -- THEN CLEARLY DEFINE THAT GOD! The one that YOU wish to discuss! Because you clearly have a particular one in mind. With a god clearly defined for the purposes of the conversation, the debate could freely move forward.

But if you don't want to, then here, use this definition:

"God is whatever bullshit pack of lies that might successfully justify worship leaders raping children." I am quite willing to argue that such a justification does not exist.

Don't like that? Is that not, perhaps, what YOU mean when you talk about a belief in a god? THEN DO YOUR OWN DAMN WORK AND SAY WHAT YOU MEAN! Either accept this definition, or provide your own precise definition of what you mean when you use the term in a debate, or sit your ass down at the kid's table until you are capable of articulating your ideas as an adult.

And don't expect us to let any of the kids come join you.

EDIT-ADDITION: BTW, the position that no one can adequately define what a god is is called IGNOSTICISM, not AGNOSTICISM. Agnosticism assumes a particular definition or class of definitions of god, and is about whether the truth of that proposition is known or knowable.
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20-08-2015, 08:40 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
(20-08-2015 06:47 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(20-08-2015 04:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  False: All Scottish people avoid sugar on their porridge

True (not supplied by Wikipedia, but obvious): All Scottish people were born in Scotland

The problem of misapplication is how NTS is applied by TTA members to Christian definitions. It is wholly incorrect to claim that the informal logic rule known as the NTS fallacy supports this concept: that no person may apply any definition as to who are the members of the complete set of Christians in the world. Indeed, this in itself is an example of the NTS fallacy (no true logician may define what a Christian is). Here are two such examples of false definitions I've heard used at TTA, and frequently:

False: All persons who are born as Christians are Christians

True: All persons who trust Jesus's atoning death and resurrection to take their sin, guilt and shame--in hope of Heaven--are Christians

In the example above, if all persons born Christian are Christians, most TTA members who identify as skeptics are now... still... Christians.

False: All persons who profess to be Christian are Christians

True: All persons who trust Jesus's atoning death and resurrection to take their sin, guilt and shame--in hope of Heaven--are Christians

Hey, guess what? In complaining about one fallacy, you committed another!

The Scotland example above works because we all work with a uniform definition of what Scotland is and what a Scotsman is. The same is not true with Christianity. See, if there were a thousand different "sects" of Scotland, you'd have a better analogy.

Stop equivocating. Your sect has never been able to prove its correctness, just like all the others. I guess there is one thing in common between them...

Um, I'm compelled to point out your logical error, Robby. Note that where you wrote:

Quote:The Scotland example above works because we all work with a uniform definition of what Scotland is and what a Scotsman is.

We can likewise write:

Accusing Q of NTS works because we all work with a uniform definition of what Christ is and what a Christian is.

However, you just equivocated the above to imply in my defense:

Accusing Q of NTS cannot work because we no one works with a uniform definition of what Christ is and what a Christian is.

Further, you are making a logical fallacy by asserting somehow (special knowledge, since you claim to not even be a Christian yourself?) that just because there are many definitions of Christianity taught, that not any one of them might be the correct definition.

The same goes for the mindless atheist slur on Pascal's wager--that because there are thousands of sects and gods that we may safely abrogate our need to select one, to discern one, to seek one, to find one. Not!

Having shared that, I can offer a different definition of Christianity, one rooted in the Greek word that means "Christian" in the Bible: "one who follows Christ".

Now, are you still thinking I have no right to say, "Some people profess to follow Christ but do not"? Robby, I appeal to you to use your experience and logic to answer this question:

"Is a person typically everything they say they are or everything they indeed are?"

Depending on your answer to that question, we can then logically decide if everyone who says they are a Christian is one or whether everyone who follows (who imitates, who pursues, who obeys) Jesus Christ is a true Christian indeed.

Thanks.

PS. If you are that emotionally stunted that you don't want to admit the difference between someone who outwardly professes adherence to Jesus and who truly adheres to Him, then how the heck can I know whether anyone at TTA is an atheist or a Poe?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-08-2015, 08:48 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
Quote:As you by now well know and are deliberately misrepresenting because you remain a fundamentally dishonest person who will engage in any level of trickery, deceit, calumny, or dissembling that you can to advance your self-appointed task of apologetic evangelism...

Wow. I'm uncertain how you arrived at that conclusion. It is illogical for the following reasons:

1. I get a lot more converts and fruit off the TTA forums. If I wanted to "lure 'em in with tricks" what in the Sam Hill would I be doing on an atheist forum?!

2. I show the gospel and love of Jesus to do so. There's no need to resort to trickery with lost persons.

3. You don't know me, at all.

4. Are you accusing me of fraud or deceit in a self-preservation mode to avoid addressing the truth claims of Jesus Christ? Or are you calling me nasty things because I respond with patience, love and logic to a bunch of TTAtheists who constantly curse and mock me? Because I'll sit and write a 600-word post describing my position with care and patience to someone who hits me with a thoughtless one sentence, nasty post? Really?

PS. You couldn't possibly be this angry because I was excited to post a careful, thoughtful post on a logical fallacy, one that is a mere informal fallacy at that. I mean, could you? Is that the "peace that passes understanding" that one gets from deconversion? I'd want no part of that.

PPS. You couldn't possibly be this angry because I implied that atheists have no right to the title and must choose either agnosticism or logical consistency regarding logical fallacies, could you? Don't you think you are overstating your case? I personally deal with TTA'ers who call me a non-Christian hypocrite and or a Christian hypocrite with a lot more tact than you've displayed here.

...But I forgive you.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-08-2015, 08:57 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
(20-08-2015 08:48 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
Quote:As you by now well know and are deliberately misrepresenting because you remain a fundamentally dishonest person who will engage in any level of trickery, deceit, calumny, or dissembling that you can to advance your self-appointed task of apologetic evangelism...

Wow. I'm uncertain how you arrived at that conclusion.

Your past behavior on this forum. You have extensively and persistently twisted and misrepresented the statements of others to advance your own claims, and you are doing so again here. Wrapping this in the mantle of "Jesus's love" or "logic" soils both by association and doesn't make your style or tactics the slightest bit more justified.

In any event, I am not really speaking to you, because there's not much point having a conversation with someone so dishonest. I was providing a warning to your potential victims, and now I've done that. Mission accomplished. Toodles.
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20-08-2015, 09:13 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
(20-08-2015 08:40 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Depending on your answer to that question, we can then logically decide if everyone who says they are a Christian is one or whether everyone who follows (who imitates, who pursues, who obeys) Jesus Christ is a true Christian indeed.

To follow, to imitate, to pursue, to obey; these are all very ambiguous actions. This information does not allow one to discern true christians from non-true christians.
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20-08-2015, 09:58 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
Particularly given the tendency of each of the Christian sects to NTS each of their fellow "Christian" sects as "not really Christians".

It's practically all I heard about, growing up: the Catholics aren't really Christian, son, they worship Mary. The Mormons aren't really Christian, son, they think Jesus came to earth twice. The Calvinists aren't really Christian, kid, since they don't believe in God's grace granting us free will. The scientists who claim to be Christian aren't really Christian, son, because without the Fall and Original Sin, there would be no need for the sacrifice of Jesus.

Et cetera, ad nauseam.

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20-08-2015, 11:14 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
(20-08-2015 09:13 AM)Gilgamesh Wrote:  
(20-08-2015 08:40 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Depending on your answer to that question, we can then logically decide if everyone who says they are a Christian is one or whether everyone who follows (who imitates, who pursues, who obeys) Jesus Christ is a true Christian indeed.

To follow, to imitate, to pursue, to obey; these are all very ambiguous actions. This information does not allow one to discern true christians from non-true christians.

How is it ambiguous? You follow the tenets of atheism, I follow the tenets of Christ. If someone said "I'm an atheist!" and then 30 seconds later you heard them praying the rosary, you would accept them as an atheist? Really? Be consistent.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-08-2015, 11:15 AM
RE: Misuse of the No True Scotsman Fallacy
(20-08-2015 07:06 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  All Scottish people were born in Scotland? Let's swap out America for that and see what happens: All Americans were born in America. Um, no.

Very well. I appreciate your insight. True Scotsmen have Scottish citizenship. True Christians have heavenly citizenship.

Thanks.

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