Monday, May 05, 2008

Turning off your brain

Suppose somebody were to ask you an interesting thought provoking question. If you were willing to have an open minded discussion about the issue both sides might learns something and at the very least you could have a stimulating discussion. I enjoy these types of discussions even if we never come to anything that resembles an answer. It's just fun to ponder the things that we don't quite understand.
Now suppose that every time an interesting question was asked you simply redefined the subject as something that does not require and answer. Well there goes any kind of discussion.
Q: What color is that book?
A: That book does not require a color.
Q: How fast is that car?
A: It is, by definition, speedless.
Q: What time is it?
A: Time is irrelevant.
You see what I mean? Granted these are just silly examples, but all to frequently people apply this same linguistically hopscotch to avoid interesting questions. Over the weekend I was mass CC'ed on an email that answered the question, "Who created God?" The answer given: "God does not require a creator." Huh? What kind of an answer is that? It isn't an answer at all. It's simply defining your subject as something that does not require and answer. This isn't a new concept. This is Aristotle's Cosmological argument just put into simpler English and distributed by email rather than toga clad sages.
What bothers me about this type of an argument is the finality of it. There's nothing left to think about. It's over. The discussion has stopped. Just when we get close to an interesting discussion they simply define the argument as out of bounds. Technically this is a form of the special pleading logical fallacy. If you have to make special exceptions to your subject that you wouldn't allow for other subjects, in this case the well establish concept of cause and effect, then your argument is fallacious. I guess I don't fault them too much. Some people are just more comfortable with concrete truths. I'd just rather have an open-minded discussion.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like we need to take another walk! ;)

    Great post...thought provoking...Oh, stop that thinking stuff already. :)