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Quick Rant: Domestic Violence & Christian Logic


Guest anon hiding from lynchers
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Guest anon hiding from lynchers

I'm sure that most of you have at some point or another stumbled across the website of the Christian Apologetic & "Research" Ministry. I know that I routinely visit christian websites or news sources, both to keep up with the latest fundie news and to get a strange mixture of disgust and humor. Anyway, a few months ago I posted about my de-conversion, which talks about a preacher who regularly abused his wife and son.

 

Therefore, while reading the CARM's explanations of Logical Fallacies or Fallacies in Argumentation, I was particularly shocked by the example used for one definition:

 

False Dilemma - Giving two choices when in actuality there could be more choices possible. Example: Do you still beat your wife?

 

I was under the impression that a physical act of violence either does or does not exist. Notice that the example refers to beating one's wife; it doesn't even bother to use a more appropriately complicated and nuanced term like domestic violence, in which case the comparison would have more merit. I guess that if you're a christian and the wife must submit to the husband, beating your wife isn't just beating your wife. After all, what if she tried to run away rather than submit to your gawdly wrath? What if she deftly dodged your bolo punch with a sly fall down the stairs? Can we call that a beating?

 

Of course, gawdly websites like Bible.ca implicitly condone domestic violence anyway: "The wife must submit to her abusive husband in the same way that a slave submits to an abusive master. The wife is to submit in the same way a slave submits to a master." Why? "[The Bible reveals that the] purpose of woman's creation... is to help the husband. [The] helper role [is] lost, even ridiculed in modern marriages. Instead, women [are] urged to actualize themselves, fulfill their own goals." The nerve!

 

Logical Fallacies or Fallacies in Argumentation is intended as a tool for christians to use against atheists and prick holes in their rationale. Based on [not just] the above, I won't worry too much about hoards of christians overwhelming me with their infallible logic. A better example of something that is at once false and a dillema? I would offer christianity, but hey, that's just me.

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Hmmm.... Maybe they mean these options:

 

(1) Yes, I still beat my wife.

(2) No, I no longer beat my wife.

(3) No, I never did beat my wife.

 

I don't know, though. They shouldn't give an example without making it clear what they mean by the example. But, hey, this is Christian apologetics we're talking about. ;)

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Guest anon hiding from lynchers
I recognize this example as the fallacy of many questions from my very secular critical thinking book and other secular sources on fallacies. "Do you still beat your wife" is the commonly used example for illustrating this fallacy. If you have an issue with it, you'll have to take it up with the body of logicians and critical thinkers, not the Christians.

 

 

Ah! Sorry. In my limited years of experience I'd simply never heard it before. Thanks for pointing that out.

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You know, I had never heard of CARM until I joined this forum. Christianity is just another religion that started off in a desert patriarchal society where women are thought of nothing more than just toys.

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False Dilemma - Giving two choices when in actuality there could be more choices possible. Example: Do you still beat your wife?

 

I was under the impression that a physical act of violence either does or does not exist.

The problem with the phrase, "Do you still beat your wife?" is that there's not a single answer to it. It asks two different things in one question, so the answer would have to be several answers.

 

Personally, I have never hit or hurt my wife, in any way or form, and if I would get that question and then answered: "No," then I would be indirectly admitting to have beaten my wife in the past, which is a lie, so "No" isn't a good answer. But if I answer, "Yes," then I admit to be beating my wife right now, which is also a lie. So how can you answer that question with a yes or no? So how about a "maybe"? Or a "never"? "Never" could work, but the question was an "yes" or "no" question. It's tricky, and that's the purpose of False Dilemmas.

 

The proper way to ask would be:

1) have you beaten your wife in the past? If no, that's good, but if yes, there's a follow-up question:

2) are you still beating your wife?

 

Do you see why the example is an example of the so called "False Dilemma." The dilemma is created by the questioner, on purpose.

 

There's another example: "What would you prefer--you can only choose one or the other--to beat your wife or to beat your kid?"

 

It's a false dilemma, since you do not want to beat either one, but the person asking demands you to only answer one or the other.

 

Did that make it clear to you?

 

Another false dilemma would be: You can only be a Christian or an atheist.

 

It's not true, since you can be a Jew, Hindu, agnostic, pagan, ...

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Pretty much all men who beat women are cowards of the lowest sort, scum essentially. The kind of guy I would get a hard on by kicking his ass all over the place. If one is angry then it's not hard to do some exercise or go outside and smash something where she can't see/hear. Even if the idea was just put forth by a guy, that he would hit a woman, this shows he is weak and of low moral character, religion or not.

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Guest anon hiding from lynchers

I guess due in part to my personal history with "wife beating", I reacted too emotionally to the statement, instead of reacting rationally. For some reason, I viewed the question solely in regards to a husband with a previous history of domestic violence, adding my own context based on the wording, instead of considering it as a question in regards to any potential individual. Therefore, I see that my interpretation was off and my entire rant essentially invalid. Sorry for the wasted words and thanks for pointing this out to me! Hey, we're all human! :)

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At least you now should be able to spot a false dilemma (it has many other names as well) when you come across one. :)

 

mwc

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Take it even farther, just to make it more fun:

 

Do you walk to work, or do you take your lunch?

 

 

Rob

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