Logical Fallacy Series -- Part 20: Appeal To Ridicule
This is part 19 in a series I'm writing on logical fallacies. I'm nearly done with the informal fallacies and I'm about to move onto talking about formal fallacies. The informal fallacies that I have yet to talk about are: Appeal To Ridicule, Shifting The Burden Of Proof, and Argument From Ignorance.
There are actually a lot more informal fallacies than the ones I've talked about so far plus the ones listed above, but they rarely if ever come into discussions about God's existence, the resurrection of Jesus, or any other topic relevant to Christian Apologetics, and my goal in each of these posts was to give 2-3 examples of these fallacies occurring in conversations between the apologist and the skeptic or between 2 disagreeing Christians. Since the fallacies not mentioned in this series don't occur -- at least in my experience -- in apologetic discussions, I would have a hard time coming up with examples on that theme. Secondly, there are so many of the informal type that this series could potentially run into late August ((that's my guesstimate, I haven't actually run the numbers)). You can see how many articles I would have to write by looking at this list on Wikipedia.
So let's now move onto....
The Appeal To Ridicule
As the name suggests, this fallacy is when one simply makes fun a view without actually putting forth any arguments. It's ridiculing a view but not actually giving any reasons to believe it's false. LogicallyFallacious.com defines this fallacy as "Presenting the argument in such a way that makes the argument look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or the use of exaggeration."
It looks like this in logical form.
Person 1 claims that X is true.
Person 2 makes X look ridiculous, by misrepresenting X.
Therefore, X is false.
Do I really need to show examples of this? Over 90% of anti-Christian and pro-atheist memes on the internet commit this fallacy. All you have to do is Google "Anti-Christian Memes" or "Christianity Memes" or "Christianity Is Stupid" and you'll find lots and lots of examples of this fallacy. Internet Atheists are prone for committing this fallacy more than any other group I've come across. They make memes that do nothing but mock Christianity and over half of the time, the points they're trying to make are bad because they attack straw men or grossly distort what Christians believe.
Just click on this sentence to get a big sample size of atheists appealing to ridicule.
Again, LogicallyFallacious.com defines the Appeal To Ridicule as "Presenting the argument in such a way that makes the argument look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or the use of exaggeration." Just take a look at a few of those memes on Yahoo images and you'll find out that that's exactly what those memes do. They make Christianity look ridiculous most often by attacking straw men, oversimplifying the issue, or exaggerating.
If I were to give one specific example of an atheist committing this fallacy, it would be the following statement: "It takes faith to believe in God just like it takes faith to believe in the Easter bunny -- but at least the Easter bunny is based on a creature that actually exists!" -- This isn't a good argument, it's an appeal to ridicule. It gives us no reason to believe that God does not exist. Moreover, the statement that the faith children have in the Easter Bunny is the same type of faith that Christians have in God just is not true. We have good arguments for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. Whether you believe these arguments are sound or not is another story, but we do have reasons, a lot of us do base our belief on arguments. It's not based on blind faith or wishful thinking. If you just go to "The Natural Theology Library" and the "The Historical Jesus Library", you can check out these arguments for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus respectively.
Atheists will always mock misrepresentations of Christianity. That's not going to change until Christ returns and every knee bows before Him (Philippians 2:10). But what you can do is set the record straight by correcting their faulty eisegesis of "evil passages" in The Bible, or tell them what Christians really believe, or letting them know that the issue isn't as simple as their 30 character meme makes it out to be.
That does it for this logical fallacy. Come back tomorrow to read about another one.