Theists actually believe this stuff!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fallacies of Ambiguity: The No True Scotsman Fallacy

Fallacies of Ambiguity: The No True Scotsman Fallacy:

"This is actually a combination of several fallacies, but since it rests ultimately on shifting the meaning of terms — a form of equivocation — and begging the question, it receives special attention.

The name “No True Scotsman” comes from an odd example involving Scotsmen:

1. Suppose I assert that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. You counter this by pointing out that your friend Angus likes sugar with his porridge. I then say “Ah, yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Obviously the original assertion about Scotsmen has been challenged quite well, but in attempting to shore it up the speaker uses an ad hoc change combined with a shifted meaning of the words from the original."

In discussions with theists, being able to pull them up on logical fallacies is important. If done gently, it can coax them towards a more logical, critical, skeptical world view.

If done roughly it can win a point in an argument but it will only strengthen their determination to be religious... that would be winning the battle but losing the war.

More logical fallacies on

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