Question

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Jordan Pine

Spot the Fallacy: God & Geography

I'm posting two today. My other one is here. (The original entry and explanation of the game is here.)

I came across this one recently from a post titled: "10 ways to prove that a god doesn't exist."

#2 - A god belief is simple geography. Being raised in a religious home decides which god you believe in.

Spot the fallacy.

asked on Saturday, May 01, 2021 01:03:04 PM by Jordan Pine

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Answers

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Rationalissimo
5

Um...how does this prove that any god doesn't exist?

All it demonstrates is that your environment determines (in part) your beliefs.

non sequitur ?

answered on Saturday, May 01, 2021 03:42:09 PM by Rationalissimo

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Jordan Pine writes:

Nice catch. Thank your for playing! One minor adjustment. You wrote:

it demonstrates...that your environment determines (in part) your beliefs.

But the arguer intended more. He intended to demonstrate geographic origin (hint) is the sole reason for a person's "god belief." What's that fallacy called?

posted on Sunday, May 02, 2021 11:38:32 AM
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Rationalissimo writes:

[To Jordan Pine]

The statement would be faulty. It's implying that if the person didn't grow up in that area, they wouldn't believe in that god. This ignores the fact there are multiple ways one can come to believe in a god.

Could be denying the antecedent 

If P, Q

Not P (did not grow up in that area)

Not Q (does not believe in X god)

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, May 03, 2021 03:05:45 AM
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Rationalissimo writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

Been thinking about this a lot more than I should have.

I was also thinking "origin...hmm...genetic fallacy?"

But it didn't seem right. The OP said "where you live determines what god you believe in."

I inferred that the argument was something along the lines of, "since everyone has their own god (because people live in different places) it is less likely that one single god exists, therefore God doesn't exist". Sorry if that's confusing.

Hence, I went for  non sequitur  and now I feel like an idiot.

[ login to reply ] posted on Friday, May 07, 2021 07:48:35 PM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To Rationalissimo]

Hey, no worries! Thanks for playing.

[ login to reply ] posted on Saturday, May 08, 2021 10:53:52 AM
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Dr. Richard writes:

Richard Dawkins clearly explained this issue in both his lectures and his books. I see no need to rehash the issue here.

posted on Sunday, May 02, 2021 12:21:04 PM
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skips777 writes:
[To Dr. Richard]

Yep, Dawkins was and still is a logically inept buffoon. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, May 02, 2021 10:41:46 PM
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Dr. Richard writes:
[To skips777]

Your ad hominem statement is unbecoming this forum which deals in logic.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, May 03, 2021 10:25:28 AM
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Dr.Bruce Barron writes:
[To skips777]

That he is

[ login to reply ] posted on Thursday, May 06, 2021 01:22:12 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD
3

We can say that this claim, as it is written, is an insignificant cause . But I would argue that not only are not being very charitable in our interpretation, but we are also showing a lack of common sense if we take this claim literally. No mentally-stable person would actually believe that where you were raised "decides" (100%) your religion - as this is clearly disproved by countless examples. This is a case of sloppy wording from a non-logician (and perhaps someone who doesn't debate much).

The fact in sociology of religion is that geography and culture are significant factors in religious belief. If a child is raised by two protestant parents, they have a roughly 80% chance of being protestant as an adult. This number goes down significantly if just one of the parents is protestant and the other is unaffiliated (63%). 63% is also the percentage of people who identify as "unaffiliated" who were raised by two parents who also identify as "unaffiliated."

https://www.pewforum.org/2016/10/26/links-between-childhood-religious-upbringing-and-current-religious-identity/

When we look globally, the influence on culture and geography is even more clear. For example, if you are born and raised in China, there is a 3% chance that religion would be important to you compared to being raised in Indonesia where that changed would be 93% (and you would be Hindi).

https://www.pewforum.org/2018/06/13/why-do-levels-of-religious-observance-vary-by-age-and-country/

I write this to demonstrate that the big blunder here is in the letter (wording) rather than the spirit (meaning). "A god belief is simple geography" is rhetoric that oversells the influence of geography. The use of "decides" is also too strong a word that fails to accurately communicate the level of influence geography actually has.

answered on Monday, May 03, 2021 08:19:26 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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Jordan Pine writes:

Thank you, sir. Well explained. You also hit on the answer to the "bonus question" (How might reversing the argument reveal its fallaciousness?) in citing the China statistic.

Using the arguer's (flawed) logic, one could simply reverse the argument on him: Skepticism about God is simple geography. Being raised in a secular home (or secular nation or nation in religious decline, etc.) is why you don't believe in God.

posted on Monday, May 03, 2021 11:58:49 AM
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skips777
2

A god belief is simple geography.....genetic fallacy

Being raised in a religious home decides which god you believe in.....stupidity fallacy...lol

No intelligent rational logical etc. person would ever assert those two "claims".

 

answered on Sunday, May 02, 2021 10:40:06 PM by skips777

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Jordan Pine writes:

Ding, ding, ding! You got it. It's the genetic fallacy. Nicely done. 

posted on Monday, May 03, 2021 11:53:05 AM
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Kaiden
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Hi, Jordan!

The argument's conclusion is that there is no god. The reason given is that a person's belief in god is just a matter of his or her upbringing. It looks to me that the argument's thrust is that god does not exist because no person's belief in god is justified. That is an argument ad ignorantiam. Here is what I think the arguer's thought process looks like:

A belief in a god is formed simply by social pressures, such as the influence of the person’s household when growing up. The arguer has stated that premise clearly enough. What seems to be an implicit premise is that social pressures are not a kind of justification. Since social pressures do not justify beliefs and beliefs in a god are formed simply by social pressures, no belief in a god is justified. Therefore, god does not exist.

The arguer is reasoning fallaciously with an argument from ignorance. A belief in a god is not proven false just because the belief is unjustified. 

Thank you, Jordan.

From, Kaiden

answered on Saturday, May 01, 2021 08:26:16 PM by Kaiden

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Jordan Pine writes:

Thank you for your analysis and participation. I like your reasoning -- although this is a bit of a circuitous way to get to a fallacy (i.e. the argument from ignorance).

There is a more direct way to get to a fallacy with this one. I'll give you the same hint as I gave Rationalissimo: The arguer is claiming geographic origin is the sole reason for a person's "god belief."

What's that fallacy called?

Bonus points: How might reversing the argument reveal its fallaciousness? ;-)

posted on Sunday, May 02, 2021 11:48:32 AM
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Kaiden writes:

[To Jordan Pine]

         While the argument would commit the genetic fallacy on your interpretation, and your interpretation is straight-forward, I am not convinced that the author endorses the seamless inference that being raised to believe in a god entails that the god does not exist. When critics of religious belief stress the influence that upbringing has on which god you believe in, typically the attack aims to undermine knowledge of a god’s existence because the belief was formed in a social way rather than a rational way. So, although your interpretation is straight-forward, I don’t opt for it.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, May 03, 2021 09:22:06 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To Kaiden]

Interesting analysis. Also: You got it! The fallacy is the genetic fallacy. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, May 03, 2021 11:51:26 AM