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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Reductio Ad Absurdum

First, that title. It is a method of proving the falsity of a premise by showing that following the premise to its logical conclusion is absurd. Paul used it in his letter to the church at Corinth when he addressed the premise that some had that there was no resurrection of the dead.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor 15:12-19)
Classic reductio ad absurdum. That is, "Okay, so you see where we end up if we follow your thinking down to its logical conclusions? Can you see, now, that it's nonsense?"

This type of argument, of course, is lost on our world today.

"You know, if a biological male believes he is a female, then he is and we should refer to him with female pronouns and respect his ... oh, sorry ... her wishes to be considered female." So, you're okay with a big, hairy guy walking into your daughter's locker room while the girls are showering and changing on the basis of his "belief" that he's actually a girl? Based on this line of reasoning, why is Rachel Dolezal not the black woman she claimed to be? If this kind of reasoning is what we're going with on what possible basis can we exclude the 52-year-old man who left his wife and kids to live as a 6-year-old girl, a little sister to her adoptive parents' 8-year-old daughter? (And note the inconsistencies even there. He identifies as a 6-year-old but drives a car and works.) Reductio ad absurdum. If you follow the argument to its logical conclusion, it is unavoidable that men can be women, whites can be blacks, old people can be young people, and anyone at all must be recognized as whatever they think they are.

"We are redefining marriage to include two people of the same sex." Well, there's a premise that most of us have bought. But why is this a rational position? First, "two" is an arbitrary number to take. On what do we base that restriction of "only two"? There is nothing in the definition that requires it. There are certainly lots of cultures around the world that don't require it. We must not make it a matter of religion, but there are lots of religions that allow for it. Why only two? Well, then, clearly there should be polygamy. Hey, hang on a minute. If we're going to allow a guy to marry two or three women, why not a woman marrying two or three guys? Oh, hold it. We've already eliminated the "opposite sex" restriction, so why not allow three guys and two girls to marry? What possible basis would there be in restricting this since we've already redefined marriage to "either sex"? But it doesn't stop there. We've cut loose the traditional definition of one man and one woman for purposes of mutual support and for procreation, so on what basis do we limit it ... at all? Oh, well, perhaps we shouldn't allow kids to marry. That's an outrage, isn't it? Or is it? And incest is out for health reasons, right? Except what about if two brothers wanted to marry? They're not going to reproduce, so that is no longer a factor. Why not? There have been more than a few people who have sought to marry inanimate objects or even themselves. On what basis do we restrict it to people marrying people or "two" at all? These are simply the logical conclusions you'd have to come to based on the original premise of arbitrarily redefining marriage. So the redefiners staunchly stand their ground while arbitrarily denying "marriage equality" to all those other people who want what they got but don't fall into their narrow definition of "two and only two." How is that fair?

There is, of course, at the bottom of this discussion a primary error that I'm making. It is the idea that these types of positions need to be rational. It is the idea that they should be logical, make sense, or have some basis in fact. The simple truth is that when we're discussing issues of sex -- sexual orientation, gender dysphoria, who I want to have sex with or what I want to do once I have had sex, that kind of thing -- and the like, facts and logic have nothing to do with it. Get over it. There are times when the heart has to decide what's right without permission from the head, right? Good luck with that. Reductio ad absurdum just might come back to bite you. It hasn't stopped them yet. So all I'm asking, dear readers, is that you do the hard job of thinking rationally and reasonably, following the facts without being swayed by pure emotion to the absurd.


Bob said...

knock off all this gender coding....

David said...

I guess that's the other way they make the conversation impossible, make everything you used to know incorrect or inappropriate. Who needs rational thought?

Bob said...

i thought the video was pretty funny. in a sad kinda way....