Elven Rain Switch

I like how some bad argument forms are given names, like the Courtier’s Reply or the Brine Shrimp Gambit.  It makes it easy for me to spot these fallacies and easy to point it out to others by just stating the name.

I’d like to put a name to one because I don’t think it has a name of it’s own.  It’s more of a method really that I often employ, but certainly didn’t come up with.

It goes like this.  Someone makes a statement, and if you can substitute the subject of that statement with something absurd or with something you just invented in your head right then and there and this new ludicrous statement is just as valid at the original, then you know it’s not a good argument.

I don’t think I’m wording this right, so here’s the example that I think best illustrates this.  There’s a saying, “If you believe elves make it rain, you’ll see proof of elves every time it rains.”  I don’t know who first said it so I’m not certain what it was meant to show.  But I imagine it was to counter an argument like, “God made the world and proof of that is that the world exists.”  So I call this the Elven Rain Switch.

So let’s try the Elven Rain Switch on something.  How about the ontological argument!  That goes we define god as having the property of being a perfect being, and we define something as perfect as it exists, among other things about perfection, since if something didn’t exist it wouldn’t be as perfect.  We’re allowed to make definitions, right?  So by definition, god exists!  This is one form of the ontological argument, but same idea as the others for the most part.

Simply defining something as existing shouldn’t seem right.  Doing an Elven Rain Switch, let’s say the being is a 50 foot tall purple rabbit and we define it as having the property of floopityboop, something I just made up in my head.  I define a part of the floopityboop property as whatever has that property must exist.  So there you go, worship the big purple bunny now since it exists.

Other problems with the ontological argument that I can see are you’re making the statements god exists and god is perfect as equivalent, god exists if and only if it’s perfect, so a claim of one of those needs as much proof as does the other claim.  So it must be shown that a god does indeed have that property of perfection, and being perfect doesn’t matter if god doesn’t exist.

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How do you know God is on your side and not his?

The city of Cleveland for once actually wants to preserve some historic buildings.  I’m usually for that, we tear down too many awesome buildings.  But a pastor of the church that happens to own some of them is upset because they wanted to tear them down.

If we have a government in the city of Cleveland that says we can’t exercise our constitutional right to the free practice of religion, there’s something wrong with our government.

The city isn’t impeding your right to practice whatever magic you want.  That is a totally separate issue.  The councilman simply sees a historic building he has a duty to protect and is doing that.  I don’t know why you’re yelling at that straw man, the argument is over here.

Then he pulls his special pastor privilege.

You can’t fight God and prevail,” Sadler said. “He’s not fighting me. He’s not fighting the church. He’s fighting God.

Ok, he’s not fighting you, so just sit back and do nothing.  Don’t impede the councilman in anyway.  Just sit tight and wait for your magic bearded sky fairy to bring this fight into the courts.

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So it’s her fault really

Since Republicans treat women as second class citizens under the law, it’s not surprising some do it in their own house.

State Sen. Kris Jordan won’t face criminal charges because his wife has asked prosecutors not to pursue charges after a domestic dispute at their home last month.

Delaware County deputies went to the couple’s home on Stonebend Drive the night of July 11 after Melissa Jordan called 911, saying her husband was pushing her around and throwing things.

“She got a little upset,” Sen. Jordan told a deputy on the recording. “Girls do that.”

And the ten to fifteen guns laying around the house?  He’s just expressing his right to bear them.

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I guess credible just means less crazy

We all heard about Harold Camping claiming the world would end May 21.  And look at that, we’re still here (but he said it really did happen “spiritually,” what ever that means.)  This all seemed to upset one local shaman. Continue reading

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