Monday, February 27, 2012

Homophobes Have Nothing But Fallacies

If you’ll indulge me a moment let me insert a shocking disclaimer. I am not perfect. Although I try to formulate rational and consistent arguments there are bound to be holes in them. I may even, unwittingly, commit a logical fallacy on from time to time. However, I at least try not to do so (unless in jest). I don’t shoot off everything that runs through my head until it is somewhat vetted. This is for good reason. No human on the planet is infallible and always logically consistent. It is probably improbable.

Conversely, we have the following conversation between Joseph Backholm, Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington as well as the the Protect Marriage Washington campaign and Janet Mefford, a radio host. Both are Christian, anti-gay activists. Otherwise known as bigots and homophobes. The following conversation struck me as so astoundingly devoid of any meaningful thesis, but full of logical fallacies. In short, they have nothing to say except to make these empty, hateful statements.

So many fallacies. I don’t think I could get them all.

Backholm: Redefining marriage in this way, saying that there is no difference between men and women1, that it’s not important for children to have both a mother and a father2, that’s not just bad policy, it’s wrong in the eternal sense3. So because it’s untrue3, it will ultimately be proven as untrue4 and we will come around to recognize the error of our ways. We used to believe in bloodletting as good medical practice, culture has embraced a lot of things temporarily until they realized it’s based on things that are not true. This is one of those, it has to be temporary, not just because I want it to be temporary, but because it’s untrue in the eternal sense5.

1.  No one is saying there is no difference between men and women. The assertion by gay rights advocates is that it doesn’t matter if if the marriage consists of X+Y, X+X, or Y+Y. Backholm’s statement is, at best, a straw man.
2.  Not a fallacy so much as a lie. Some studies saying otherwise:  1, 2, 3, 4
3.  Nice ‘ipse dixit’ (bare assertion fallacy) statements. Basically is it a type of argument from authority statement. It’s untrue because they say it is untrue. This is also a mind projection fallacy in that they are making the assumption that it is true because they think it is untrue.
4.  Circular Reasoning based on an ispe dixit premise! It will be proven untrue because it is untrue.
5.  Actually just another ipse dixit.

Mefferd: That’s a good way of saying it. They have through their propaganda and the means by which they talk about this issue in the media all the time, won a lot of people over to the cause who aren’t thinking very deeply about it, part of the way they’ve done this is talking about equality and civil rights, trying to equate it with the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. The problem is back in the 1960s when we’re talking about the mistreatment of African Americans, that was something that was wrong to do, in this case we’re talking about legitimizing immoral behavior6 and calling it marriage. I don’t know how you get around the immorality6 angle of it unless you just say it straight out, this is immoral behavior, we are not going to legitimize this as a nation.

6.  ipse dixit. Why is it immoral? Exactly...why? I have yet to hear a single argument detailing how homosexuality is immoral that does not include or allude to a religious reference. None.

Backholm: Sure, it’s a very fair argument and there are a lot of people within the church who are moved by that. But when we talk about the civil rights issue, the reason these are different, today’s argument about the redefinition of marriage would be like the civil rights movement if the civil rights movement was an attempt to have black people be referred to as white people.7

7.  This one is a doozy.
a) There is the assumption that marriage must be defined as only between one man and one woman. In western civilization that is based on a Christian convention. There are plenty of other cultures that do not adhere to this. That is not to say anything is acceptable, but they never provide a legal basis for this assertion. It just ends up a “that’s how it’s always been!” argument and it is, of course, a logical fallacy. I guess it would be the psychologist’s or historian’s fallacy. Also an appeal to tradition.
b) Appeal to emotion. They don’t want to discredit the African-American Civil Rights Movement by equating it with “teh gays.”
c)  Hell, I know there are more, but this is getting old.

Now, I should point out that one cannot claim they are wrong simply due to their fallacious arguments. That itself would be an argument from fallacy. Their inability to form coherent arguments (did I just commit a subtle ad hominem?) does not prove them wrong. It simply means they haven’t presented anything to prove their argument.

And they won’t. Because they are hateful, bigoted, irrational idiots.

Now THAT’S an ad hominem!


Troythulu said...

Neat! Another good romp through the magical land of logical fallacies. I always have fun reading these.

Great post, Steve.