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I've been reading the questions here. Most of them are very rationally phrased with logic, like the way engineers think. The answers are also very rational, following causation and deduction.

However, as much as rational all discussion is in one aspect, as irrational it is in another aspect. This site reminds me of star wars fans who discuss their star wars series.

Compare these two:

Star Wars

Q: How come the Death Star could be destroyed with a single shot?

A: That's because of an early design flaw that Darth Vader mentioned in Chapter 2, Empire Strikes back. Also, it is entirely possible that the rebels depleted the energy shield of the Death star, creating a temporary energy shift where the missile of the X-wing could penetrate the outer layer, given e=mc2 the energy would be enough...

Real A: Because it's a movie and that's the climax of the plot.

Christianity

Q:Is incest a sin? If we all descended from one man and one woman then it's quite apparent that a third generation was not possible without the sexual union of close relatives.

A:The OT clearly condemns it "If a man takes his sister [...] and sees her nakedness [...] it is a disgrace [...] and he shall bear his iniquity. Perhaps in the early days God allowed such a practice.

Real A:This is a contradiction, and that's that. Everything else is speculation.

What I'm saying is that there's no point for a QA site like this, because there is no answering taking place at all. You cannot have discussion where you're a very rational and logical in one aspect, and totally irrational and speculative in another. This is toally inconsistent and lacks any integrity.

I can answer any question if I want to like this

Q: How could Santa Clause travel the entire world in one night?

A: Santa Clause had 8 reindeer that could run relatively fast (rational). He had a red warm coat that kept him warm (rational). He also lived at the north pole (rational). Perhaps the law of gravity did't affect him and his reindeer (speculation).

Here's a better one

Q: If X=false and Y=true, how can X==Y?

A: Perhaps X is equal to Y.

Well what do we have here? Did I just give a totally valid answer to a ridiculous question? Yes I did. Did I use logical fallacy. Yes I did. Did it make sense? No it didn't. Did people accept it as answer. Yes they did. Why? Because it doesn't matter what answer I give, people want to believe that it's true. I could give any bullshit answer, people would still accept it because they want to believe it. The competition is about who can give the most believable bullshit answer with the most authority. Everyone on this site needs to take Debate 101 and Argumentation 101 and read these links

List of fallacies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

25 rules of disinformation http://www.whale.to/m/disin.html

Influence http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psychology-Persuasion-Business-Essentials/dp/006124189X

I challenge one person to read all three links and still support this site.

  • 3
    I challenge you to spend an hour in adoration of Our Blessed Lord at your local Catholic Church remain a skeptic. – Peter Turner Sep 6 '11 at 14:40
  • 2
    Your first link is incredibly useful. Your second link doesn't apply. And your third link is a book. I can "read" the link, but that doesn't give the information in the book. – Richard Sep 6 '11 at 18:03
  • One of your alleged logic problems was in my answer. You commented there, but I don't think you took the time to look at the explanation of how those two things are not contradictions. Before you go telling people that it's as "simple as that", you should at least read up on what is actually being claimed. link. Thanks. – Caleb Sep 6 '11 at 21:28
12

While I don't deny there are a lot of bad questions with spurious answers, surely you understand affirming the consequent is in and of itself fallacious:

P1. If the site is useless, there are useless questions and answers.
P2. There are useless questions and answers on the site.
C. Therefore, the site is useless.

The conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. There's nothing shown here that demonstrates that useful answers based on actual citations (like the Star Wars example you provided) are impossible here. Indeed, we have many question and answer pairs that show the opposite:

These questions are all verifiable in principle: you can check to see if the answers are correct by looking it up yourself.

Where this site gets into trouble is when people start asking the popular, soft questions about Christianity, where anyone and everyone can provide their interpretation of the situation. "What is the Biblical basis for X?", "Can God do X?", "Is X a sin?" "Why do some Christians believe X?" These questions are bad because they aren't verifiable in principle: they provide no conditions or requirements for a correct answer.

We should be looking for ways to minimize the number of these questions while maximizing the number of the questions listed above, but the presence of bad questions doesn't make this experiment entirely futile.

4

If you are trying to make the argument that "all faith is irrational", you are going about it the wrong way. The very fact that this site exists shows that not everyone shares your assumptions.

For example, according to Luke 3:1, Jesus was born "[i]n the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene" There is a wealth of historical information there that can be rationally discussed.

I encourage you to stick around, ask some questions (without being subjective, insulting or vulgar) and read some answers. If someone is using flawed logic, point it out. You make other people smarter and more well-informed when you constructively point out errors. That is what this site (and Stack Exchange in general) is all about. Then judge objectively if everyone here is as idiotic as you think.

2

Premises.

There's no logic without premises, or a prioris. You can't start deducing without having something to start from.

Many of us obviously have different premises than you. The premises you use explain the data (the world, the empiric results) very well, I expect.

It's just that our premises explain our experiences of the world well enough for us. For me, they explain the data I have better than other sets of premises I've heard of. That's why I choose my premises.

Further reading: Bayesian networks might be interesting with regard to choosing the most believable set of premises.

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