Are Weak and Incorrect Arguments Acceptable?

Continuing the discussion from Torley on The Resurrection: Take Two:

For the record, I absolutely do criticize apologists for putting forward weak arguments. If you haven’t noticed, I’m spending quite a bit of time arguing against bad apologetic arguments for God. Here are a few examples:

  1. Which Irreducible Complexity Argument?

  2. Computing the Functional Information in Cancer

In my view, this is an issue of trustworthiness. No one should put forward weak or false arguments. Anyone who knowingly does this should not be trusted. This goes both for people on my “side” and those who are not. The fact that we argue for the “right” conclusions is not a valid or correct or acceptable reason for putting forward a bad argument.

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5 posts were merged into an existing topic: Torley on The Resurrection: Take Two

I completely agree with this, as a general statement of principle, and I think it applies not only to arguments about origins but arguments in all areas of life – arguments about politics and economics, for example.

I might disagree with Joshua and others about which arguments are weak or false, but I think the principle is sound.

I haven’t followed the long discussion about the Resurrection, but my own view is that some weak arguments are frequently offered for it. One of the arguments I find weak is the argument that if the Resurrection were not an objective historical fact, the early Christians would never have behaved in the way that they did. This is weak, because religious people have all kinds of motives for their behavior. I don’t trust such psychologizing as a means of establishing historical truth.

Of course, I also think that trying to “prove the Resurrection” is in general the wrong apologetic approach, given the way the typical modern person understands “proof”, but that’s another point. My main point here is that if I were trying to “prove the Resurrection” I wouldn’t use weak arguments such as the one I’ve just mentioned.

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If weak and incorrect arguments ought not be acceptable, what do you make of the following argument?

IC2 – systems too complex (somehow) to evolve by positive selection alone (e.g. the long falsified theory of Darwinism).

Specifically, why would anyone attempt to label as Darwinian or as Darwinism the belief that evolution takes place by positive selection alone?

For example, what are we to make of Darwin’s use of sexual selection? Or of the role of negative selection in evolution? And are we to simply ignore the modern synthesis or is it not Darwinian or neo-Darwinism?

So I would go a step further and propose that weak and incorrect arguments ought to be abandoned, not repeated. There comes a point, doesn’t there, at which they become spam?

Hi, Mung. I was more interested in the question of weak arguments used in Christian apologetics. As for whether Joshua’s argument about IC systems is weak, that would take us into the discussion of Behe, and I really was interested in making a brief comment on weak arguments for the Resurrection, not in getting back into that IC business.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Mung asks Eddie about Darwinism

Thanks @eddie sounds like we are entirely on the same page. Of course there will be different assessments about what is or is not a weak argument. One the signs of an intellectually mature community is that we can work out those disagreements together. It has been good having you here to encourage that process.

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