Monday, 12 November 2012

Faulty Analogy Fallacy #1- God & Air

The Faulty Analogy fallacy* is a common logical mistake, and for that reason, employed with astonishing frequency by theists. Analogies are not a strong argument in the first instance, and the Faulty Analogy inflates this weakness by claiming two things are more alike than they really are.

One instance of this is the argument that because I believe air (or oxygen) even though I can’t see it, it is reasonable to also believe that god exists even though I can’t see this either.

The first problem is we’re not talking about related things.  The god-claim has far more properties to it than just lack of visibility. It branches deep into supernatural properties.  Air and god are not similar things.

The second problem is that is also absurd. It uses a strawman fallacy as well. I accept things exist on the basis of the evidence that support it. I don’t use a visible/invisible criterion.  I accept music exists, not because I can see notes but because I can hear them. Evidence isn’t defined as only that which can be seen.

For this reason, it fails utterly. There is evidence that air (and oyxgen) exist.  Air has many physical properties. Descend rapidly and you’ll notice the air-pressure changes as your ears pop. We map out air-pressure on weather maps. Photographers know that air will change light.  You can see the effect of haze if temperatures are too high.  You can see colour shifts as sunlight hits air at different angles. The low angles of sunrise and sunset accentuate the red tones.

Rust is visible evidence of oxygen
Similarly, you can see oxygen.  In liquid form its actually a pale blue colour.  But it also interacts with iron.  Anytime you see rust forming on iron, you can see oxygen.  It’s combining with the iron atoms to form that orange residue.

* This post is copied from my Tumblr site.

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