samedi 10 décembre 2011

'No-True-Scotsman' Argument?

I read this at Vox Day's book: "The Irrational Atheist" page 127-129.

You might find it interesting!

God bless you and have a productive week in Jesus' name.

When the deception is not so obvious, one way of detecting if someone is arguing in good faith or not is to see if his argument has been constructed as a tautology, or in other words, presented in the form "heads I win, tails you lose." Since a tautology cannot, by definition, be contradicted because it is universally true, presenting a tautology as if it were a legitimate matter for debate is inherently dishonest. One form of argument by tautology is known informally as the "No True Scotsman" argument, courtesy of a British philosopher named Antony Flew. It goes like this:

Assertion: No Scotsman drinks Jack Daniels.
Response: But my uncle Angus is from Glasgow and he drinks Jack Daniels.
Rebuttal: Then your uncle Angus is no true Scotsman!

Because the historical record of atheism is so bloody, so recent, and so well-known, Harris is forced to construct a No True Atheist argument in a preemptive attempt to ward off the inevitable response to his assertion that religious faith causes murder and genocide.

Harris: Atheists don't kill people because they have no good reason to do so.
Response: Stalin and Mao were atheists and they killed millions of people.
Harris: Then Stalin and Mao were No True Atheists.

Of course, Harris doesn't come right out and present this argument directly, because even a militant atheist would laugh in his face. Instead, he uses several deceptive techniques to try to disguise the fact that he is defending his thesis with a No True Scotsman argument.
The actual No True Scotsman example is as follows: 
"Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Press and Journal and seeing an article about how the `Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.' Hamish is shocked and declares that `No Scotsman would do such a thing.' The next day he sits down to read his Press and Journal again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, `No true Scotsman would do such a thing.'" Flew, Antony, Thinking About Thinking—or do I sincerely want to be right? London: Collins Fontana, 1975.

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