Thursday, November 20, 2014

Falsehood of Compositional Homogeniety and Dichotomy Falacy

In preface, a link to this excellent article.

The title is a proposal for a new type of categorical, compound fallacy.

To start with, a common fallacy employed by lots of religious folks.
Without god, people would be evil.
 This is the basic point offered by most religious apologists.  As many have said before, if the presence of a god is what's stopping you from committing evil, then perhaps it's not the people without god (who are acting morally, generally) who are evil, but the people of god who would otherwise do all sorts of evil things.  This leads to a direct fallacy in itself.
With god, people are good.
This creates the implication (falsely) that anyone who believes in a god is inherently a good person, somehow.  It's as though, because you claim to be on the side of god, you are ineffable.  Clearly, a godly person and a not-so-godly person can commit crimes, in fact the same crime, and yet somehow it's only the 'godless' person who is evil, for some reason.  When presented with this point, some religious will point out something like the next fallacy.
Lots of atheists have done evil things, therefore atheists can't be moral.
Never mind that most of these 'atheists' are quite religious folks, usually.  And this is where we arrive at the title of the post.  Almost.  Usually at this point, it's simple enough to point out the Crusades, the various Holy Wars of the past, or any number of other things that are just as immoral or amoral. 
 Well, that's not how our religion is now.
Well, that's not what I believe. 
Well, that's in the past and isn't pertinent.
et cetera.
 And thus it comes full circle.  Atheists are, to these religious folks, a homogeneous group, and everyone shares the exact same ideology, regardless of the fact that there's no unifying principles laid out in a book that describes our... lack of belief?

So to the first point, the primary point, it's as though (for example) Christians are allowed multitudes of sectarian groups, all believing different things to different extents, are somehow still all 'Christians.'  If Atheists show such separation on issues, however, it's completely ignored for some reason I can't fathom.

If we reversed it, took the corollary, it would be saying that The Pope is a Christian and therefore every single Christian is Catholic and shares exactly the same morals as every pope who existed before.  I mean, if Hitler was an atheist (he was a christian, actually, but let's put that aside a moment), then atheists have no morality, goes the argument.  Ergo, the corollary is that various Popes were in power during the crusades, therefore Christians share that morality, or lack thereof.

In a roundabout way, this brings me to my next point: everyone is an atheist.  Let's break it down a bit.

(A)theism, regardless of your technical description of it, deals with belief in a divine being, usually a creator of the universe or the pantheon to which such beings exist.  So let's present an exercise for the reader.

Please check all of the gods you believe in:

  • Marduk / Gilgamesh
  • Ahura Mazda / Zoroaster
  • Allah
  • Jesus
  • Gaia
  • Zeus
  • Apollo
  • Odin
  • Raijin
Now, review those results.  Did you check all of them?  If not, congratulations!  You are an atheist!  You believe in all the ones you didn't check as much as I do.  In fact, most atheists are not thinking about the ones you didn't check any more than you are.  See, you've got something in common with those 'atheists' already.  
Be good, my friends!