Religion Magazine

Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies

By Ldsapologetics
My wife shared Rock Waterman's post "The hidden reason for the policy change on baptism." And some very orthodox LDS friends predictably argued with the facts presented. However, in so doing they failed to present facts of their own. What they succeeded in doing however, was committing a host of logical fallacies.
When debating, arguing, or otherwise trying to open minds on an issue there are things one should do and things one should not do. I have noticed those who defend the brethren's every word or move tend to justify themselves and the brethren with heaping piles of festering logical fallacies.
Here are a sample of the Facebook thread:
Regarding Rock Waterman's writing and the claim that the LDS church is legally registered in the United States as a corporation "Tyler" said this: "I'm familiar with his arguments. I've been studying anti-Mormon propaganda (which is what his blog posts amount to) for most of my life.
And you'd be hard—pressed to find a church that is not a corporation. In fact, CoC is set up legally as a "fictitious name" for the corporation that is known as RLDS."
So the first logical fallacy is an ad hominem attack. Tyler attacked Rock Waterman instead of his argument. He then attacked the Community of Christ church ad hominem style, by stating they are the same type of legal entity as the LDS church, rather than acknowledging the point that the LDS church is registered as a corporation sole. He is intending to mislead and deceive people into thinking there is no difference and yet there is a difference and it is quite striking.

"corporation soleis a legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") person. Acorporation soleis one of two types ofcorporation, the other being acorporationaggregate."

The LDS church registered as a corporation sole in order to protect its assets both financial and property and buildings following the government possession of all its assets in the early 20th century. It registered as such in order to protect its assets.

"A nonprofit corporation is a corporation formed to carry out a charitable, educational, religious, literary, or scientific purpose. A nonprofit corporation doesn't pay federal or state income taxes on profits it makes from activities in which it engages to carry out its objectives."The Community Of Christ on the other hand is registered as a nonprofit meaning its mission is one of a church. It is operated as a church in the service of all people rather than just its own, or in the mission of business investments and acquisitions of financial and property assets for example.Tyler then went on to link to an article at stating "It is not my interpretation, it is the church's interpretation."This comment, and his others like it, are a two fold logical fallacy; one is an appeal to authority and the other is a bandwagon fallacy.An Appeal to Authorityis a fallacy with the following form: Person A is (claimed to be) anauthority on subject S. Person A makes claim C about subject S. Therefore, C is true.So in other words, if the prophet, Apostle, or another General Authority makes a claim about gay people for example then since his every utterance is the word of God, ya know because he is scripture, then those claims are of God and true. Regardless of any lack of evidence or plentiful evidence to the contrary. The argument is based on a persons authority rather than being based on facts or any actual argument. One must take their word for it. There is no logical argument.The second logical fallacy is the bandwagon fallacy. The Bandwagon Fallacy is committed whenever one argues for an idea based upon an irrelevant appeal to its popularity.So Tyler is saying that since the new handbook policy about children of gay members is approved and therefore popular among the leadership and General Authorities of the LDS church that that proves its validity. Which it does not. The argument is basically since they think this idea is great it must be because they can't be wrong they are God's mouthpieces. Which circles back to the appeal to authority fallacy.There is another logical fallacy that Tyler uses, the circular logic fallacy. I think at this point it is just the way his mind works as it is a rampant fallacy among LDS members. It is culturally popular and accepted to the point that many of those who are guilty of it refuse to see that it is fraudulent logic. 
"Circular reasoning(Latin: circulus in probando, "circle in proving"; also known ascircularlogic) is a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with. The components of acircular argument are often logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true."Here's an example we have all heard at one point;"Can the Prophet ever lead the church astray?No. 

Why not?
Because he's the Prophet.
How do we know that to be true?
Because the Lord will never let that happen.
Who Says so? 
The Prophet says so.
Why should we believe him? 
Because the Prophet will never lead the church astray. 
Why not?
Because he's the Prophet."It's technically both an appeal to authority fallacy AND a circular logic fallacy.I called out Tyler on his logical fallacies and he denied those claims. Even though, as I did here, I can prove my claims logically, he refused to admit that and refused to make solid arguments based on reason and logic.He insisted that the Prophet and Apostles were correct in their new policy (because of their authority)and in pretty much everything they've ever said or done. You would think he writes for FAIR.
At there is an article titled "The Brethren Are Not Bigots." Now I've traveled a lot. I've met many, many people. Many of them were in fact bigots. And yet none of them have identified themselves as racist, or homophobic, or otherwise bigoted. I find that when people make the claim that they are not bigots, it's usually because they have been saying or doing things bigoted people do and say.
What killed me about that article is that the author pushes the reader to dismiss conventional wisdom and not listen to antiMormon lies. AntiMormon is now defined as anything, opinion or fact, that makes the brethren or institutional church look bad. 
If things like facts make you, your politics, or theology look bad then you may want to revisit your politics, your theology, or take a good long look in the mirror. I would be very weary of trusting people who want you to dismiss inconvenient facts or history.
The thing is that Tyler and the article rely on authority for truth whereas I rely on truth for authority. The truth has nothing to fear from criticism, critiques, or the white hot spot light of investigation.Lies on the other hand crimble in the face of criticism, critiques, and inconvenient facts.
The following quote from Galileo describes my ethos towards questioning everything and accepting nothing at face value. It is why I could no longer support the LDS church. Because I felt that I was being forced to forgo my reason, my logic, my intellect, and my agency to continue being a member.
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."But the LDS church and members like Tyler and the author of the article I mentioned demand us to forgo our agency and our God given ability of reason and logic as well as our agency and rely on theirs. We are being asked to give up or trade our reason for theology, doctrine, and policies that are so often only backed up only by logical fallacies. If it feels wrong, it's usually because it is. If it doesn't feel right trust your feelings. If it doesn't make sense don't doubt facts doubts the lies but don't doubt logic, reason, and facts. If someone makes a claim make them prove their claim without the crutches of logical fallacies. Argue the facts, not the authority, not the person but the facts.Above all trust yourself.If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's usually because....IT'S A DUCK!!Someone on Facebook reported my wife's blog as being pornographic and now she cannot share it so I'm sharing it here. the post she wrote tonight is called "Finding Acceptance" and though some consider it antimormon or pornographic, it's only because she discusses the dark side of Mormonism. It makes the leadership look bad and any fact, historical aspect, or doctrine that makes the church look bad is taken as antimormon because that label deflects inconvenient facts and uncomfortable truths.When you can't refute facts you can always report a post or blog and get them banned from sharing. It's the last refuge of an intellectual coward. Banning books is a bad as burning books. The only people that hate the truth are those who love and cherish lies.
Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies

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