sad but true

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Alan Mackenzie at Rank Atheism has a great piece (h/t: Mojoey at Deep Thoughts) that uses formal logic to demolish some all-too-common anti-theism arguments. He then points out the “unfortunate fact” that:

most people do not reason well, and demonstrate an enormous capacity to employ fallacious reasoning during arguments. Likewise, those parts of the population who suffer from these shortcomings often fall prey to arguments that are superficially plausible, but in fact wrong, especially if those who put forth such arguments are highly skilled in debates. The most effective way to combat plausible, but poor quality arguments is to acquire a level of knowledge equal or superior to that of the people one happens to debate alongside. Once we gain sufficient knowledge to identify misleading premises due to rhetorical abuse, we become equipped with the requisite skill to inoculate debates from propositional logic, and so protect those who are less adept at formal and analytical reasoning from the influences of sophistry.

Propositional logic is a potent tool for sophists, especially when deployed carefully to those who lack formal critical thinking skills. Under such circumstances, students may hear 'both sides' of a manufactured argument, rationalise them, and then choose an answer based upon their preconceived beliefs, or prejudices. [emphasis added]

That describes any number of issues advanced by the Right-Wing Noise Machine.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 17, 2007 4:49 PM.

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