Monday, October 31, 2011

Top 5 Philosophies that Make no Logical Sense

Okay, so my first real post. There are certain philospohies that are either self-defeating or simply illogical, yet people believe in them because they fail to see them through to the logical end. So, let's take a look at a few of them.

#1. Relativism
Our working definition1 will be this:
The belief that there are no absolutes.

Why it doesn't make sense:
I've actually heard relativists say that, by the way. I have had somebody who doesn't believe in absolutes tell me, with certainty, that there aren't any. I'm going let you think about that for a second.

Here's an adorable picture of a cat while you think

So, in rhetoric, there are two kinds of statements: absolute statements and relative statements. A relative statement is one that applies in certain conditions. I like people when they aren't talking. An absolute statement is one that applies regardless of condition. The flying purple people eater eats people. Anybody want to guess which kind of statement "there are no absolutes" is?

Yep, it's an absolute statement. By not giving conditions on the existence of absolutes, and by simply claiming there aren't any, the relativist is making an absolute statement. This violates one of the logical fallacies we learned about last post - specifically, the one regarding consistency, or the fallacy of contradiction. There cannot be absolutes and not be absolutes simultaneously. Since, by making an absolute statement, the relativist confirms the existence of absolutes, their philosophy must be incorrect.

This philosophy would be akin to being anaerobicist2 - believing that there is no air. The believer would need to believe in air to make his argument. Firstly, he would need air to breathe to remain alive to make the argument. Also, he would rely on the air to transmit the soundwaves carrying his argument.

#2. Prophetic but Amessianic Religious Sects
Working Definition1 - the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was a Prophet of God, but not Divine

Why it doesn't make sense:
Consider the definition of prophecy, according to most religions that fall into this category (Islam, Judaism, certain sects of Christianity), it is "something declared by a human under divine inspiration"3 - in other words, the person is told their God's will by their God.

Now, these people claim Jesus was a prophet, but not the son of God. Don't you think somewhere along the way, the following conversation would have taken place?

Hey Jesus, good work with the miracles.
By the way, you aren't my son.
You really need to stop saying it, it'll get you crucified one day.
Plus, people are gonna be jaded when the real messiah comes, now.

Seriously. But clearly, Jesus believed what he was saying, since he freaking died for it. I think "believed" qualifies as "not having been corrected by God." Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant, since the point is looking at the system of beliefs, from within the system. Believing Jesus was a prophet, but not the messiah is ridiculous.

#3. Old-Earth Creationists
Working Definition1 - the belief that Genesis is true, but not literal.

Back in the good ol' days (the early 20th century), there were two thoughts on origins:
Creationism - the belief that God created the entire universe in 6 ordinary days, and mankind is about 6000 years old4.
Evolution - the belief that the universe is billions of years old, and mankind evolved from single-cell organisms.

However, some Christians, in order to try to seem educated, decided they'd take both and roll them into a Frankenstein's monster, pissing people in both camps off. Biblically, it is clear the two sides are mutually exclusive - in Matthew, Jesus says He who is not for me is against me and in Revelation God says He who is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, will be spewed from my mouth. In the secular side of things, there is the false neutrality fallacy - trying to find a common ground between two mutually exclusive issues.

Here's the thing, they believe evidence supports evolution, but still want to be Christian.The problem is, they're wrong. Evidence can support either side, depending on the interpretation. Let's take a look:

Fossil Layers:
Evolution: They were deposited over millions of years.
Creation: They were deposited there by the flood described in Genesis.

Evolution: The distance stars are from us prove the universe is billions of years old (as a star that is a billion light years away could only be seen by us a billion years later)
Creation: Comets cannot survive more than 100,000 years, so the universe cannot be older than that.

Evolution: See! Man is God! Look at what we can do!
Creation: See! The universe behaves uniformally! Just like God promised after the flood!

I think you get the picture.

If not, here's a different picture: a cat doing science.

So, old-earth creationists are ironic in a sad sort of way. They think they're intelligent by adhering to science, but instead they are blindly following instead of looking at the evidence and interpreting it themselves, and then falling on whichever side they may.

#4. Empiricism
Okay, who's sick of talking about religion?
Working definition1 - the belief that there is no knowledge outside of what can be observed.

Small disclaimer - there are some who believe empiricism only applies to scientific procedures, and that's fine. This post isn't about those people.

At first, this seems okay. I mean, emotions cannot be observed, and what can we really know about the emotions of others? The same could be said of thoughts, or dreams. So far, so good. It would seem this philosophy holds some water, so what is doing on a list with philosophies that make no logical sense5?

Well, you know what else is knowledge? Knowing that there is no knowledge outside of what can be observed. The problem is, that can't be observed. Nor can any philosophy. Or the laws of logic. Yet the empiricist uses and believes in the laws of logic, and in empiricism itself. Yet, empiricism is a belief and cannot be observed. So really, this is a self-annihilating6 philosophy just like relativism.

#5. The Infallible Pope
Ah, back to religion. I figure, to try and be fair, since I've talked a bit about Christianity, it was only right to pick on one of their philosophies, and the mormons are too easy7.
Anyway, on to the working definition1 - the belief that the Pope is absolutely trustworthy and sure, as well as exempt from liability to error8.

Why is this lunacy?
Because the Catholics are a Christian lot, and as such they really ought to read the Bible more. Their own religion teaches that nobody is righteous (Romans 3:10). That means everyone, absolutely every single human being, has fallen short of the glory of God - who is infallible. So clearly, their own religious text annihilates this strange philosophy. I doubt even the Pope would agree that he is infallible.

Additionally, there are some Catholics who claim to disagree with this because the Pope isn't the true heir of Saint Peter. But guess what? Peter was human too, so that argument is also slaughtered by their own holy text. Heck, their holy text even SAYS Peter sinned - he denied Jesus three times. It gives a specific example of Peter being fallible. So, Catholics, this one is for you:

Read. Your. Bibles.
-His Holiness

1. Working Definition - The definition I will be using for the purpose of the post. Obviously, some of these items have multiple sub-categories. The ones I am referring to are the ones that fit the definition I give.
2. I just made that word up. Right now. Seriously, google it.
3. Paraphrased from (
4. Or, almost as old as yo' momma.
5. I win, because I used part of the title of the blog in the post.
6. I just made that term up. I'm brilliant.
7. I know. Personal experience.

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