Tag Archives: Intelligent design

How to argue


I was looking for levels and kinds of arguments you could possibly have on internet, just to equip myself with information on how to answer “you are just stupid!” etc. I am still looking but, I found this categorisation on Paul Graham’s site about levels of disagreements. Worth bookmarking them:

DH0. Name-calling.

This is the lowest form of disagreement, and probably also the most common. We’ve all seen comments like this:
“u r a fag!!!!!!!!!!”

DH1. Ad Hominem.

An ad hominem attack is not quite as weak as mere name-calling. It might actually carry some weight. For example, if a senator wrote an article saying senators’ salaries should be increased, one could respond:

“Of course he would say that. He’s a senator.”

It’s still a very weak form of disagreement, though. If there’s something wrong with the senator’s argument, you should say what it is; and if there isn’t, what difference does it make that he’s a senator?

DH2. Responding to Tone.

The next level up we start to see responses to the writing, rather than the writer. The lowest form of these is to disagree with the author’s tone. E.g.
“I can’t believe the author dismisses intelligent design in such a cavalier fashion.”

DH3. Contradiction.

In this stage we finally get responses to what was said, rather than how or by whom. The lowest form of response to an argument is simply to state the opposing case, with little or no supporting evidence.

DH4. Counterargument.

Counterargument is contradiction plus reasoning and/or evidence. When aimed squarely at the original argument, it can be convincing. But unfortunately it’s common for counterarguments to be aimed at something slightly different. More often than not, two people arguing passionately about something are actually arguing about two different things. Sometimes they even agree with one another, but are so caught up in their squabble they don’t realize it.

DH5. Refutation.

To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a “smoking gun,” a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it’s mistaken. If you can’t find an actual quote to disagree with, you may be arguing with a straw man.

DH6. Refuting the Central Point.

Truly refuting something requires one to refute its central point, or at least one of them. And that means one has to commit explicitly to what the central point is. So a truly effective refutation would look like:

The author’s main point seems to be x. As he says:

But this is wrong for the following reasons…

The quotation you point out as mistaken need not be the actual statement of the author’s main point. It’s enough to refute something it depends upon.

Read complete thesis on original site.

Changing my religion


I am changing my religion, again. I am joining one of those intellectuals who chose to become religious for gaining access to lucrative heaven and avoid horrendous hellfire. I thank all my friends who continuously warned me and predicted “One day you will give up all Godless concepts, and start believing”. Well here I am, please applaud. I found a right religion for me – Pastafarianism.

<Satire>off<Satire>

Before I discuss further on this religion let me apprise you with my background. I’ve been a “devote” atheist my entire life. Well, not exactly “entire”. First few years of my life I was part of a religion which was inherited. Luckily, I was exposed to rational Ideas of Atheism through well-wishers, who I thank till date. Atheism came as good news to me; with this I dint have to follow all the rituals, rules and fears prescribed. It looked very logical and obvious.

<Satire>back on<Satire>

Then came a day a good friend of mine asked a million dollar question. “If there is no God, then who is David Gilmore?” I was speechless! I dint have an answer to it ever since. All my study of Holy Scriptures (Dawkins etc) went total waste. That day I realised there few things even atheism cannot answer, there is certainly something beyond these moral less, bloodthirsty atheism. So I had to look for new religion to follow, and I found this.

Pastafarianism is similar to all the religion we have around. It has a prophet, God, commandments, holy book, holidays and rituals. What’s missing here? If you find anything missing, just let them know they’ll create it for you. (See, it’s that flexible).

Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) came into existence (revelation) during dark ages of America when few of the religions try to invade the education system claiming their beliefs to be taught in science classes. Idea was to introduce intelligent design (previously creationism) along with evolution. This would also mean, eventual introduction of Alchemy with Chemistry, Astrology with Astronomy etc. Suddenly FSM came out of Chinese take-away box and instructed prophet on why he is created in first place, and asked him to spread the message.

Touched by His Noodly Appendage - Flying Spaghetti Monster

Touched by His Noodly Appendage - image via wikipedia

Then it all started a new religion. A simple open letter to school board of education has become a global phenomena and a new religion with all mandatory features. To provide an idea on vision of Bob (in turn FSM) I am pasting one of his statements here:

I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country. And eventually the world; One third of the time for Intelligent design one third of time to Flying Spaghetti monster, and one third of time for the logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence. – Bobby Henderson

Please read more about it in open letter, at least in Wikipedia.

Below, I am trying to list down some major features, to provide you an overall picture.

Name of the religion: Pastafarianism.

Deity: Flying Spaghetti Monster, referred as FSM hereafter. FSM consists of a portion of noodles with meatballs in it. Vegetarians can worship noodles with Veg Manchurian, I am pretty sure FSM won’t mind.

It’s a bizarre deity, but hey, no-one proved the FSM doesn’t look so.

First Prophet:  Bob Henderson. Physics graduate. Please don’t raise your eye-brows here!

First commandment: An open letter to Kansas Education board.

Holy books:  The Gospel of Flying spaghetti monster. The holy book of the church of Flying spaghetti monster

I am the Flying spaghetti Monster, Thou shalt have no other Monster before me (afterwards is OK; just use protection.) The only Monster who deservers capitalisation is me. Other monsters are false monsters, undeserving capitalisation. – Suggestions 1:1

Heaven: Beer Volcano with stripper factory

Hell: Beer Volcano with stripper factory (beer is stale, strippers have std)

Major belief: Global Warming is inversely proportional to the number of pirates in the world. Over the period of time pirates are extinct, increasing the greenhouse gases, thus increasing global warming. For example, if you look at Somalia which has most number of pirates, but minimum amount of per capita greenhouse gasses are emitted.  How true!

relationship between pirates and global temperature

relationship between pirates and global temperature - image via wikipedia

Atheist Barbie


Presenting Atheist Barbie, as an answer to various religious barbies in market, including few in Rev attire and Hijabs. Clever and creative on BlagHag by Jen. Remember Jen? One who also created boobquakes throughout the planet to disprove an Iranian “Intellectual”.

Anyways, here is the design, due to be released shortly, I think.

Atheist Barbie

Atheist Barbie

Among all features of this Barbie, I find ‘lunch bag’ as very hilarious. I am breaking it down for the Indian crowd, who may be unaware of the relevance.  This is “South Park” style satire for those who are always surprised of Atheists morals, “If you don’t follow a (read :‘our’) religion, where do you get morals from?”. It’s the same bunch of people (especially Americans) who believe morals were invented on the day “invisible space daddy” presented Moses with tablets of  Ten Commandments. Without this list people (Atheists, etc) tend to kill each other or even eat babies!!!

How many of us had trouble understanding Evolution taught in high school biology? I am sure we did not. Apparently a lot of Americans do!  Parents and teachers in some states in America are not comfortable to teach only science in science class. They claim other theories like Creationism, Intelligent design are as valid as science.

I wasn’t made this confused when I was a kid. I studied in Hindu (later Christian) administered schools. They taught me evolution as the way it is, no teacher ever disputed the theory. Creationism was never a logical way to look at life on earth, in academic circles.

BTW, Flying Spaghetti Monster has come down to earth to resolve all these disputes.

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