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The religious response to outspoken atheism


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Showing 1-25 of 78 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 8, 2008 7:58:28 AM PDT
L. Tupper says:
With the rise in popularity of books Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris, what has the mainstream religious response been? Let me make my point by analogy: If several books came out attacking a mainstream political position, you could be sure that there would be twice as many books published to refute the arguments. Is that happening in the case of religion? I contend that the mainstream response has been to condemn and censor the material rather than acknowledge it and refute it. That is, I don't believe that many churches are presenting e.g. Dawkins arguments and pointing out the flaws. Am I wrong? Would this change if atheists were more outspoken?
Along the same lines--most people with an interest in politics love tuning in for political debates. How many religious people genuinely enjoy tuning in for debates between atheists and believers(vs. people who see it and think, "how aweful and blasphemous")? How many atheists enjoy the debates?
Thanks for the comments!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2008 10:27:55 PM PDT
I must agree. Unfortunately, many hold religion on a pedestal (at least in the United States), such that critical thought and criticism are not tolerated. Thus, they get away with childish name-calling and basic logical fallacies posing as arguments against atheism. Unfortunately, most people prefer this form of argumentation to logic and reason. When was the last time you've seen real logical arguments made during a presidential debate or a campaign aid?

The church's greatest advantage is the fact that the masses approve of shoddy arguments and character attacks. If religious people or groups started making real arguments based on reason, most would have trouble continuing to hold their beliefs in the supernatural.

Another related question I often wonder is when more moderate religious people will start arguing against fundamentalists. Fundies are a small minority of religious people in the United States, and I would think that moderates would be tired of being represented by people like this. While I disagree with ALL supernatural beliefs and the virtuosity of faith, I am somewhat more tolerant of those who focus on the more positive aspects of their religion, and stay away from the bigotry being perpetrated by the groups with the loudest voices.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2008 12:44:43 PM PDT
My favorite saying sums it up: "God is my savior...He saves me from REALITY!"

This is why they don't like to directly debate or answer the critics in a meaningful way, because it would force them to face the reality they so desperately hide from.

Humans are still in the first stage of mourning the death of their Gods, DENIAL.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2008 2:06:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2008 2:07:13 PM PDT
Misty. says:
i never mind a debate, in fact i used to come here all the time and take about my religon. if you want an opinion from a christian i would have to say that most of the time we dont debate because we feel as if we are attacking you guys or something. God told us to love others as we love ourselves (( no offense if you dont believe in him in any way shape or form but this is just my opinion )) and by sitting here and arguing or "debating" we usually arnt very "tender" or "loving" with one another so its hard. idk, thats just one opiion from one christian, but i hope that helps.....

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008 1:35:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2008 3:48:46 AM PDT
[Here is something I posted at the Amazon / God Delusion site. I should note that I had posted on and off for over a year and a half, so I had a lot of experience with the theistic responses to Dawkins's book. I should also note that I occasionally read posts like the one above from Misty, but that she and those like her seem to be a small minority among those theists who feel impelled to write.]

This is a summary of my experiences exchanging posts with the theists at this site (I generally respected theists more when I started than I do now). The particulars supporting these contentions can easily be found among numerous strings. This list is meant, of course, for atheists only, since theists will likely deny or simply ignore all these points. It can be taken as a warning for those unfamiliar with certain kinds of theists, or as a confirmation of common experiences.

* Theists are often remarkably judgmental, condescending and patronizing. They often do not seem to notice when they are behaving offensively towards others. They often think their opinions are the final say on any matter. (Atheists have this problem too.)

* They are often naive about basic psychological research. They typically think, for instance, that their perceptions of facts can be totally objective. They seem to have little idea about how basic assumptions color perceptions and slant interpretations, and have little notion of cultural conditioning. They typically do not understand that the differences between theists and atheists are on the order of the differences between people from different cultures.

* They often lack knowledge of basic logic and commit numerous logical errors. The often play Humpty Dumpty with common usage, argue against strawmen, beg the question and so on. They love to equivocate, since they do not wish to admit there is anything at all meaningful in their opponents' viewpoints.

* They will not pay careful attention to atheistic arguments, but often reinterpret them to fit their ideas of the gross inadequacies of atheism. They usually do not let atheists speak for themselves. They typically will not grant that the ambiguity of information about complex issues allows for various well-informed interpretations. They often think atheism is "obviously" intellectually bankrupt.

* They usually think atheism breeds immorality. They seem to have little concept of philosophical or cultural (non-religious) moralistic schemes. They arrogantly assume themselves morally superior without even looking for the facts. They spread hatred of atheists even while they nominally adhere to teachings about loving others.

* They are often willing to lie about other people they do not really know or understand. They simply make up stories to fill in the gaps in their knowledge, apparently assuming they can intuit such things or can derive them from basic "reliable" beliefs.

* They often think they are worshipping God when they seem to some people (like me) to be the greatest idolators on the planet. They worship people, books, doctrines, ideas (even words) and so on, then call that religion.

[As one final note, this last point derives from the fact that we atheists simply do not believe that any god is really there.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008 4:31:54 AM PDT
Jam says:
Tupper,
I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you search Amazon for books on denying/refuting/responding to atheism you'll find bushels of them. Are you looking for some sort of public statement? I don't think that's likely because even Dawkins, the most well-known atheist on earth, very rarely gets a public platform in any environment beyond a university and when he does it's a platform he's sharing with a political pundit (moron) like Bill O'Reily.

To make a public statement attempting to refute atheism (which in and of itself wouldn't work because atheists and theists literally think in completely different ways and may as well speak different languages) would do nothing but create more attention for the position of the atheists.

Anyway, most atheists I've met really do enjoy the debate to a point. Most of us get irritated when we actually have to debate a fundamentalist because they are immune to logic and do nothing but quote their particular scriptures. Those debates are usually ones that happen on the minor stage though; debates between atheists and believers that happen on stage very rarely involve quotations.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2008 8:47:20 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 20, 2008 5:29:21 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2008 7:39:51 AM PDT
David,
Without quoting yourself, give one example of a "major thesis of the New Atheists" that has been refuted.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2008 6:33:04 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
"The real question is, which major thesis of the New Atheists has not been refuted, or at least placed in grave doubt?"

What is a "new atheist" and why do you capitalize it? Where does this term come from? I'm atheist and had no idea that "I don't believe in gods" was new. And "which major thesis"? Who new there was more than one? Cool. What is it?

So, did a bunch of atheists get together and form an organization calling itself "New Atheism"? If so, is it tax exempt? I might send a donation.

Or is there some atheist thesis, other than the whole not believing in supernatural stuff because there's no evidence for it business, that I haven't heard about that distinguishes "new" atheist from "old atheist"? I guess that also begs the question, what IS an "old atheist"? Should I be capitalizing that too? How do you tell the difference?

Just asking.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2008 6:33:27 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
cricket cricket

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2008 10:26:05 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jan 3, 2011 3:15:31 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 10:21:21 AM PDT
A. R. Baker says:
Butterfly, how are you so certain that Heaven and hell are reality? Is it based on what you have been told? On what you have read in your scripture?
What about evidence? or better yet, common sense or human intelligence? Is that where you got that idea?
Since when has it been a good idea to exchange reason for obedience?
Of course, you won't comprehend a single word I have written; you are too far gone, deeply mesmerized by the awesome power that you are now a vassal for. Power over the mind is a human endeavor, and can only be imposed upon humans by humans.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 12:01:02 PM PDT
Butterfly,
You wrote, "Well I don't believe in Heaven or Hell. "If I stood on top of a building and just before I jumped I yelled at the top of my lungs "I don't believe in gravity," that isn't going to change reality." The concepts of heaven and hell are not analogous to gravity. There is tangible evidence for gravity and everyone can observe the evidence. This is not the case with heaven and hell. One must have faith that they exist without having directly observed them. They may only exist for you because you believe. For you it is not a matter of "I'll believe it when I see it," but rather, "I see it because I believe it." Your beliefs are a product of your family, culture, location, and time. If you had been born somewhere else, raised differently, or lived in a different time period, then your beliefs would be different. Gravity, however, would be the same.

The question you should ask yourself is, "What would I have to observe (or what evidence could exist) that would lead me to change my beliefs?" If you cannot answer this, then your beliefs are unfalsifiable and may are based on blind faith, the proclamations of authorities, and/or delusion.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2008 12:09:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2008 12:12:06 AM PDT
K. Doyle says:
Butterfly777 writes:
<<So the truth is, if God gives you justice you are not headed for Heaven you are headed for Hell. Do you see your need for God's forgiveness?>>

No, there is no need for forgiveness. That would be counter to justice as you describe here yourself. It would be immoral for me to accept a pardon for a crime I did actually commit, and it would also be immoral for a being to pardon me for it as well. "Forgiveness" of an *actual* crime is not "justice."

If I am in fact a criminal, then I deserve punishment and I am willing to accept it in the spirit of justice. That is because I accept responsibility for my own actions, and do not ask for, nor will I accept, special favors that I do not deserve. And I'm not trying to claim that I'm not guilty of anything, undoubtedly I am, perhaps most of all of not being perfect.

<<"If I stood on top of a building and just before I jumped I yelled at the top of my lungs "I don't believe in gravity," that isn't going to change reality.>>

As you imply here, what's true is true whether we believe it or not. Only things that *aren't* true need to be believed in. I don't need to believe in gravity, as I can plainly see that when I drop something it falls down. I don't "believe" in it, I can simply observe it. I prefer to allow reality to be whatever it is, and not presume my preconceived notions about it are necessarily accurate. The idea that I should pretend I'm certain (have faith) in order to ingratiate myself into heaven or out of hell would be ridiculous if it wasn't plainly amoral. Whether God exists or not, Religion is spiritual welfare for those too poor to accept responsibility for themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2008 6:41:49 PM PDT
P. Trafford says:
"Jesus said whosoever has looked upon a woman to lust after her has already commited adultery with her in his heart" How about women lusting after men?? Is that bad too? Or do I have to lust after a woman to be guilty? How about both at the same time...that's probably REALLY bad. *Sigh* If God and Jesus didn't want me to lust after people he wouldn't have made them so darned sexy!!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2008 4:15:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 12, 2008 4:18:01 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 10:21:18 AM PDT
Give me a break. If you knew what "debate" really is, you would not be concerned about hurting anyone's feelings. Debate is logical argument and does not involve attacking anyone.

I would be happy to hear what your logical arguments for the existence of God are. If you have ever studied mythology, you know that human beings have long attributed to "the gods" anything that they could not explain. Before there was a scientific explanation for thunder, the ancients believed it was caused by the god of thunder, etc. Similarly, religions attribute to God anything for which there is no scientific explanation, or anything else that seems unfair or illogical.

Next you can give me your logical evidence for the existence of heaven and hell, and perhaps tell me exactly what qualifies one for heaven. How many people do you know of that you imagine would go to heaven when they die? Why?

And by the way, as a female, maybe you can tell me why women are excluded from the highest positions in every major religion. Do you consider yourself less holy? less intelligent?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 10:26:42 AM PDT
Ummm, tell me just exactly how do you prove the exisitence of God? Heaven? Hell?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 10:31:04 AM PDT
If you want to pray for me, go for it. It's just that I don't think it will do any good, because there's nobody listening!
And by the way, there is scientific proof for the existence of gravity; do you get my drift?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 2:02:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2008 2:03:50 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2008 2:19:53 PM PST
K. Benty says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2011 3:33:31 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2011 3:37:23 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2011 4:21:53 PM PDT
Christina says:
David Marshall - You're saying that "miracles" provide evidence of god? That's truly priceless! I have had some very close calls with death (including when I almost died in childbirth) and I absolutely do not believe in god.

Please refrain from giving me the all-too-familiar, "well, god loves you so he saved you" argument. I have was raised Catholic, converted so that I could be "saved" when I attended Christian camp, attended Christian school and finally realised that I was being brainwashed - so I know all about how you operate when people say such things.

I was wearing a Pentacle around my neck as a Pagan woman when I was saved the both times from near death. So by your "logic", if I were a Gaia influenced Pagan (of which I am not) then my Goddess would have saved me and it would be irrefutable proof that she existed. Correct? Or will you go down the road that nearly all Christians go down when presented with that kind of question and make it so that the statement only pertains to your side of the issue?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 28, 2011 6:27:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 28, 2011 7:38:26 AM PDT
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Thank you for the discussion topic L. Tupper.
As a Christian, I am eager to address your understanding of these events and ideas, as they pass
before us in the social landscape.

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ISSUE THE FIRST
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=======================================================

"I contend that the mainstream response has been to condemn and censor the material rather than acknowledge it and refute it."-----sentence 4 of paragraph 1, from the comment of L. Tupper in the Initial Post of 8 July 2008 @ 7:58:28 AM PDT regarding the discussion topic,
"The religious response to outspoken atheism" on Amazon.com

=================================================

.

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(1) First my friend, it is unclear what your point of reference is, when you refer to MAINSTREAM.

It is not clear where the MAINSTREAM and its conceptions is to be found, in your arguments.
If I were arguing a religious mainstream, as a Christian, I would be referring to the publications and doctrines of the Catholic Church.

However, I would also include all publications which have addressed and refuted the ideas associated with the New Athiest authors, which include:

(A) Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith"

(B) Daniel Dennett, author of "Breaking The Spell".

(C) Christopher Hitchens, author of "God Is Not Great"

(D) Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion"

These are referred to as "The Four Horsemen" of New Athiesm

Other prominent New Atheist authors are philosopher Richard Carrier, and author John Loftus, who has published an anthology of New Atheist essays in "The Christian Delusion".
.

.

(2) Your contention is that the New Atheist publications and their ideas, have been CONDEMNED.
Unfortunately, you have produced no objective evidence which supports your assertion.

.

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(3) Moreover, you are contending that the ideas of the New Atheist authors have been CENSORED,
but you have produced no objective evidence of a CENSORSHIP.

In point of fact, in the United States, the First Amendment clauses, in relation to the Five Fundamental Freedoms, still apply to the rights of the citizenry, such that Americans are still enjoying
Freedom of Religion (which includes the Freedom to be an Atheist), Freedom of the Press,
Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom to Petition the Government.

So it is not clear how you have deduced that CENSORSHIP is being practiced in the United States.

.

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(4) There is an abundance of publications which articulate rebuttals of the New Atheist arguments.
Here are a few of the most prominent titles.

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###############################################

*"Who Made God" by Edgar Andrews

*"Answering the New Atheism" by Hahn & Wiker

*"The Last Superstition" by Edward Feser


* "God Is No Delusion" by Thomas Crean ( of Cambridge University)

"The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions" by Davide Berlinski

*"Modern Physics and Ancient Faith" by Stephen M. Barr

"The Science Before Science; A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century" by Anthony Rizzi

"Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies" by David Bently Hart



*"Why There Almost Certainly Is a God: Doubting Dawkins" by Keith Ward
( Degrees from Oxford University and Cambridge)

*"The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens" by Vox Day (MENSA member)

*"God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens"
by John F. Haught

"The Truth Behind The New Atheism" by author David Marshall

####################################################

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.

.

Moreover, there exist other refutations of the New Atheist arguments, such as that from
Agnostic philosopher of Science, Michael Ruse, who offers the following assessment of the New Atheist arguments, and I quote:

.

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.

===========================================

"Let me say that I believe the new atheists do the side of science a grave disservice. I will defend to the death the right of them to say what they do - as one who is English-born one of the things I admire most about the USA is the First Amendment. But I think first that these people do a disservice to scholarship. Their treatment of the religious viewpoint is pathetic to the point of non-being. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing. As I have said elsewhere, for the first time in my life, I felt sorry for the ontological argument. If we criticized gene theory with as little knowledge as Dawkins has of religion and philosophy, he would be rightly indignant. (He was just this when, thirty years ago, Mary Midgeley went after the selfish gene concept without the slightest knowledge of genetics.) Conversely, I am indignant at the poor quality of the argumentation in Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and all of the others in that group------------Agnostic philosopher and author MICHAEL RUSE, argues against the extremes of both creationism and "new atheism" in the online essay, "Why I Think the New Atheists are a Bloody
Disaster" Friday August 14, 2009 (found @ beliefnet)

==========================================

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.


.

ISSUE THE SECOND

=======================================================

"That is, I don't believe that many churches are presenting e.g. Dawkins arguments and pointing out the flaws."------------- sentence 5 of paragraph 1, from the comment of L. Tupper in the Initial Post of 8 July 2008 @ 7:58:28 AM PDT regarding the discussion topic,
"The religious response to outspoken atheism" on Amazon.com

=======================================================
.

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(1) You can argue your BELIEF if you prefer, but modern people I think, are far more interested in seeing a discussion of objective Facts, and since you have not cited any facts, your personal BELIEFS may be addressed by simply indicating that they are not founded upon any facts.

.

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(2) You mention Richard Dawkins, the foremost of the New Atheist authors, as representative of a New Atheist whose arguments ought to have been analyzed, so as to discover the flaws.

You would be deficient in your studies and reading indeed, if you suppose that Dawkins published arguments have not been refuted by Christians.

(3) Let me offer a couple of quick examples of the evident flaws in the published work of Richard Dawkins.

(A) His chapter nine argument, in "The God Delusion" is contradicted by Dawkins himself, who argues, stunningly, that Minor Children in the United States have the Right (or ought to have the Right) to Choose their own Study Curriculum. The contradiction occurs wherein Dawkins insists that the Minor Children possess such a Right, WHEN THE COME OF LEGAL AGE.

It doesn't require a Degree in Rocket Surgery to comprehend that the argument in Chapter Nine is entirely moot.

(A) There is no such Rigt accruing to Minor Children in the United States, and no such conceptions exists in American jurisprudence.

(B) It wouldn't matter if such a Right did exist, because such a right, obtained when one is
OF LEGAL AGE, wouldn't matter to a legal minor to begin with.

.

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(4) Here is another example of an overwhelming Flaw in Richard Dawkins arguments.

The author argues in chapter six, that a Moral Conception objectively exists, which Dawkins refers to as
THE GOLDEN RULE.

(A) The Flaw in that argument is that at no point in his book, does Dawkins produce a Scientific Evidence which demonstrates that THE GOLDEN RULE exists.

(B) At no point in his book, does Dawkins demonstrate that THE GOLDEN RULE is Logically Coherent in the context of that author's arguments for the Scientific Theory of Natural Selection,
as well as the Scientific Theory of Evolution.

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(5) Moreover, the other inconsistency in you contention, is that the religious, (Christians and others) ought to be providing REFUTATIONS of the published Atheist arguments.

The problem with this in part, is that you seem not to recognize that to date, no Atheist using the Amazon forums for example, is adopting any of Richard Dawkins arguments in the expectation of advancing any of those arguments.

Why? Because all of Dawkins' arguments have been refuted in the published literature of Christians, Philosophers, Literary Critics, Theologians, Book Reviewers, and other persons interested in analyzing these ideas.

Not a single one of Richard Dawkins' ideas has been adopted for argument in the Amazon forums, nor have they been for the past couple of years. There may have been, at the further extreme of that time, some instances of Atheists trying to advance Dawkins' ideas, and every one of those has been soundly refuted.

.

.

ISSUE THE THIRD

======================================================

"Along the same lines--most people with an interest in politics love tuning in for political debates.
How many religious people genuinely enjoy tuning in for debates between atheists and believers
(vs. people who see it and think, "how aweful and blasphemous")? How many atheists enjoy the debates?"--------paragraph 2, from the comment of L. Tupper in the Initial Post of 8 July 2008 @ 7:58:28 AM PDT regarding the discussion topic,
"The religious response to outspoken atheism" on Amazon.com


=======================================================
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(1) First of all, I would indicate that you haven't answered your own questions.
In that regard, your ideas are indeterminate.

(a) For example, you have neglected to identify objective criteria by which ENJOYMENT is measured or identified.

(b) You have not demonstrated that ENJOYMENT is specifically relevant to the understanding of, or the address of, New Atheist ideas.

.

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(2) Moreover, you offer the idea, composed as follows:

"How many religious people genuinely enjoy tuning in for debates between atheists and believers...etc."--------L. Tupper

This is demonstrative of the common logical error designated Argumentum Ad Populum
("The---Popular---Fallacy"). This is the fallacy of trying to prove something by showing that a majority of a population agrees with your ideas, so as to determine the veracity of a conception, by an appeal to the popularity, or the unopopularity of the conception.

.

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONCLUSION

Basically, New Atheism is a failed social phenomenon, heading for a complete demise, for
Four (4) objective failings.

(A) New Atheism has failed to produce Scientific Evidence for any Moral Tenet, Moral Term,
Moral Principle.

.

.

(B) New Atheists fail consistently, to articulate their conceptions on the basis of Fact and Logic, so as to obtain a Logical Coherence in regard to their Conclusions and their Premises.


.

.

(C) New Atheists are overwhelmingly uninformed and naive, as to the premises of New Atheism
as they are established in the philosophy of Ontological Naturalism, and in particular, in regards to the Doctrine of Causal Closure which is an essential Premise in that philosophy.

.
.

(D) New Atheism has failed to supplant the conceptions of Classical Christian Dualist Philosophy, and has
failed to prove New Atheism to be a dynamic and vital Worldview with genuine explanatory power.

New Atheism is in fact, a confused array of conceptions, involving a pastiche of Ideas which fail to obtain to Logical Coherence.

Finally, there is the general observation, those Atheists who read the New Atheist publications, and subscribe to the ideas of these authors, are poorly and inadequately informed, and are unable to engage in Dialectical Method in public media, without resorting to a very pedestrian invective, in which they propose that their Christian counterparts suffer from some sort of Mental Illness, Delusion, or similar invective, all of which fall into the category of logical error designated Argumentum Ad Hominem
("Abuse---of---The---Person").

.

.


Remember; it is incumbent upon you to offer a Logical, rather than an Illogical argument.

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Latest post:  Dec 16, 2011

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God is not Great How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (Paperback - 2007)
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