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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Raytractors Project: DisComforting Logic

I was thinking of a new Raytractors project for us, in addition to some of the ones proposed in the past. This stems from the new Atheist Starter Kit on the right of his blog and some of the discussion here about it.

How about we publish a series of blog posts entitled DisComforting Logic where we do a short educational blurb about some logical fallacy and give some statement or argument of Ray's as an example?

I decided to give an example of what I was thinking with a post on the false analogy in my blog. These posts would state the fallacy, the type, the definition, Ray's argument, a summary of why it is a fallacy, and demonstrate a fallacy that is similar. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following that he uses:

Ad hominem
Ad ignorantiam
Appeal to authority
Bare assertion
Begging the question (circular logic)
False dilemma
False premise
Loaded question
No true Scotsman
Non sequitir
Proof by assertion/argumentum ad nauseam
And....... STRAW MAN :-)

Remember, it's any statement/argument of Ray's from his blog, tracts, shows, etc. Thoughts?


  1. I think it's a great idea and I think you could literally compile volumes of info, given that almost every sentence he speaks is riddled with logical fallacies.

  2. I love it. I also think it's a great idea and nonmagical is right: He is literally a walking, talking example of logical fallacies in use. I've used him as an example in discussion in my Critical Thinking class.

  3. Don't forget the red herring, the argumentum ad populum, and the argument from incredulity.

    Is the loaded question actually a fallacy? I regard it more as a rhetorical device. But it can also be used as a red herring.

  4. I started to make a list of all the other fallacies that Ray has been guilty of perpetrating at one time or another, but after the eleventh or twelfth fallacy, I realized that examples can be found in Ray's writings of just about every kind of logical fallacy there is.

    To poisonously disingenuous people like Ray, logic is not a tool...it is an enemy. Logical fallacies are the tools he uses to keep logic at bay.

    My standard go-to list for logical fallacies is here. With the possible exception of Appeal to Novelty, I'm fairly sure he has committed every single one of the listed fallacies at least once, and commits probably a third of them on a weekly basis.

  5. We'll have to define some new terms to cover all of the Rayniac fallacies. I propose these to start:

    Argument by cartoon

    If it can be represented in a cartoon at the beginning of Ray's post, it must be true.

    Argument by Blogger profile

    I have a Blogger profile and you don't, so I'm right and you're wrong.

    Argument by FIENANA

    Fingers in ears, NaNaNaNaNaNaNaNaNaNaNaNa

    Argument by closing remark

    This argument is characterized by using a polite sign-off to make bitter attacks sound like thoughtful, well-reasoned posts:

    --You atheists are the slaves of Satan and will be tortured for eternity.

    Sincerely, Curtis

    --People who believe in evolution are idiots.

    Warmest regards, Emily

    --Go fuck yourself.

    Blessings, Terry.


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