Saturday

The Genetic Fallacy



Ever hear an atheist say, "You're only a Christian because you grew up with Christian parents" (a favorite by Richard Dawkins)? Or "You're only a Christian because you're lonely"? We've all heard arguments that come in this variety. Little do these atheists know they are committing the genetic fallacy. Just because it may be the case that Christian parents raised their child a Christian doesn't necessarily mean that Christianity is therefore false. If my English teacher acted like a jack ass that doesn't mean the rules of English grammar he taught me are therefore wrong. If a student had a pedophile mathematics professor teach him that one plus one equals two does that mean the equation is wrong? Of course not.

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Via John Piipoo:


Dinesh D'Souza, in his new book Life After Death: The Evidence, talks about the genetic fallacy as used, he feels, by certain atheists. For example, it is a sociological fact that the statement Religious diversity exists is true. If you were born in India, as D.Souza was, you would most likely be a Hindu rather than a Christian or a Jew (as D'Souza was). While that sociological statement is true, its truth has (watch closely...) no logical relevance as regards the statements such as The Hindu worldview is true, or Christian theism is true. D' Souza writes:

"The atheist is simply wrong to assume that religious diversity undermines the truth of religious claims... [T]he fact that you learned your Christianity because you grew up in the Bible Belt [does not] imply anything about whether those beliefs are true or false. The atheist is guilty here of what in logic is called the "genetic fallacy." The term does not refer to genes; it refers to origins. Think of it this way. If you are raised in New York, you are more likely to believe in Einstein's theory of relativity than if you are raised in New Guinea. Someone from Oxford, England, is more likely to be an atheist than someone from Oxford, Mississippi. The geographical roots of your beliefs have no bearing on the validity of your beliefs." (38-39)