Atheism and the no true Scotsman fallacy

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A common and legitimate criticism of the atheist worldview is that atheism is irrational.[1]

The no true Scotsman fallacy is a logical fallacy and more specifically a special case of circular logic. It involves dismissing any counterexamples.[2][3]

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes the no true Scotsman fallacy thusly:

No True Scotsman

This error is a kind of ad hoc rescue of one's generalization in which the reasoner re-characterizes the situation solely in order to escape refutation of the generalization.

Example:

Smith: All Scotsmen are loyal and brave.

Jones: But McDougal over there is a Scotsman, and he was arrested by his commanding officer for running from the enemy.

Smith: Well, if that's right, it just shows that McDougal wasn't a TRUE Scotsman.[4]

The no true Scotsman Fallacy was coined by the English philosopher Anthony Flew in his book Thinking about Thinking - or do I sincerely want to be right?. At the time Flew wrote the book he was an atheist, but he later became a theist.

A common and legitimate criticism of the atheist worldview is that atheism is illogical and irrational (See: Atheism and logic and Atheism and irrationality)[5] See also: List of logical fallacies that atheists commonly commit at: Atheism and logical fallacies

Below are examples of atheists using the no true Scottsman fallacy.

Atheists claiming ex-atheists were never atheists

Logo for the Shockofgod YouTube channel

John W. Loftus is one of the more prominent atheist in the atheist community. The ex-atheist Darrin Rasberry formerly wrote for the atheist John Loftus’ blog site Debunking Christianity.[6] After Rasberry became a Christian Loftus said that Rasberry “was never an atheist in the first place.”[7]

The popular Christian YouTube video creator Shockofgod is an ex-atheist who left atheism because it lacks proof and evidence that it is true, while Christianity offers an abundant amount of evidential support.[8] His YouTube videos have cumulatively received over 25 million views since his YouTube channel's inception.[9] Shockofgod won over 70 Christianity vs. atheism debates.[10] There are atheists who claim that Shockofgod was never an atheist.[11]

See also: Atheism and its retention rate in individuals

Atheist apologists and atheist atrocities

See also: Atheists and historical illiteracy and Atheism and historical revisionism

Atheist apologists commonly try to minimize or deny the role of atheism/atheists as far as atheist atrocites.[12] It is as if no true atheist could be involved mass murder (see also: Atheism and mass murder).[13]

Atheism was an integral tenet of Maxist-Lennism/Maoist/Stalinism communism (see: Atheism and communism).

Karl Marx said "[Religion] is the opium of the people". Marx also stated: "Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction."[14]

Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote regarding atheism and communism: "A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could."[15]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Chou En-lai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[16] In 2015, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[17]

Vox Day notes concerning atheism and mass murder:

Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism … .there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm … These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao …

The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation![18]

Richard Dawkins and historical revisionism

See also: Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism

Dinesh D'Souza took new atheist Richard Dawkins to task for engaging in historical revisionism when it comes to the atrocities of atheist regimes and declared Dawkins "reveals a complete ignorance of history". See: Atheists Dodge Their History of Atrocities

In a recent interview D'Souza declared:

Richard Dawkins argues that at least the atheist regimes didn't kill people in the name of atheism. Isn't it time for this biologist to get out of the lab and read a little history? Marxism and Communism were atheist ideologies. Stalin and Mao weren't dictators who happened to be atheist; atheism was part of their official doctrine.

It was no accident, as the Marxists liked to say, that they shut down the churches and persecuted the clergy...[19]

See also: Atheists and historical illiteracy

Dinesh D'Souza stated in another interview:

As one writer put it, “Leaders such as Stalin and Mao persecuted religious groups, not in a bid to expand atheism, but as a way of focusing people’s hatred on those groups to consolidate their own power.” Of course I agree that murderous regimes, whether Christian or atheist, are generally seeking to strengthen their position. But if Christian regimes are held responsible for their crimes committed in the name of Christianity, then atheist regimes should be held accountable for their crimes committed in the name of atheism. And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they did their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a “new man” and a religion-free utopia? These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration, they were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist.[20]

Atheist Daniel Dennet attempting to minimize the militant atheism of Joseph Stalin

The new atheist Daniel Dennett attempted to minimize the atheism of the militant atheist Joseph Stalin. Dennett said, “ …it occurred to me—let’s think about Stalin for a moment. Was he an atheist? You might say well of course he was an atheist. No, on the contrary. In a certain sense, he wasn’t an atheist at all. He believed in god. Not only that, he believe in a god whose will determined what right and wrong was. And he was sure of the existence of this god, and the god’s name was Stalin.”[21]

Evolutionists who are atheists committing the no true Scottsman fallacy

See also: Christianity and science and Atheism and the suppression of science and Creation science

Evolutionists who are atheists often claim that there are no real scientists who disbelieve evolution.[22] In 2007, "Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...announced that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution."[23]

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief)[24]

Atheists, age of the earth and the no true Scotsman fallacy

Many atheists/agnostics who are evolutionist dogmatically assert that scientists know that earth is billions of years and that there is no evidence for a young earth. They also commonly claim that no real scientists believes in a young earth and that it is a fact the earth is billions of years old.[25]

Much scientific evidence points to a young age of the earth and the universe and the biblical creation organization Creation Ministries International published articles entitled 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe and How old is the earth? which summarize some of the evidence for a young age of the earth.

The Tekton Education and Apologetics Ministry on the no true Scottsman fallacy

See also: Atheists, Adolf Hitler and the no true Scottsman fallacy and Godwin's law

The Tekton Education and Apologetics Ministry says about the no true Scottsman fallacy (NTS fallacy):

So how does this relate to apologetics? Too often, the self-impressed Skeptic will operate, or expect others to operate, under the misimpression that the NTS fallacy refers to ANY instance of eliminating an object (Y) from set(X). But as demonstrated above, the fallacy is becomes valid when set (X) and (Y) are nonintersecting! Since “Scotsman” has no relation to culinary tastes, the sets are capable of intersecting...

So when one says that Adolf Hitler is no true Christian, one is not committing the NTS fallacy. “Christian” is a label referring to religious and philosophical beliefs being held by the believer. Since Hitler’s actions, words, and expressed philosophies and professed beliefs are outside of, and in many cases contrary to, the belief set of Christianity, it is (barring a deathbed conversion for which there is no evidence whatsoever) valid to say that Hitler was not a Christian. Set X (Christianity) does NOT intersect set Y (Hitler’s beliefs [ Nazism ]), and thus object Y (Adolf Hitler) is not an object X (Christian).

In conclusion, Skeptics need to either learn to understand the basics of the logic they claim to be able to hurl about, or find a different field to criticize from. Of course, the more likely outcome is that they will claim I’ve committed the NTS fallacy upon the fallacy itself!

The No True No True Scotsman fallacy, perhaps? No, just Skeptics who need to either understand logic or abandon attempts to use it as a criticism![27]

Jesus Christ's gospel of love contrasted with Adolf Hitler's Nazism

Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:

The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he, after all, is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development (Hoherentwicklung) of organic living beings would be unthinkable.[28]

Joseph Goebbels wrote in 1941 that Hitler "hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity."[29]

Jesus Christ and his apostles taught a gospel of love.[30]

Jesus Christ's gospel of love

In his article The Triumph of the Gospel of Love, Monk Themistocles (Adamopoulo) wrote:

It is generally agreed by scholars and saints that the teaching of "love" and charity represent one of the essential dimensions of the Gospel of Jesus and the Gospel of Paul. Accordingly, from the extant words and parables of Jesus many concern themselves with the message of love. For example on the Sunday of Meat Fare, from the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus identifying Himself and in solidarity with the destitute, the suffering, the rejected and the oppressed, calling for and rewarding altruistic philanthropy:

"... I was hungry and you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, when I was a stranger you took me in, when naked you clothed me, when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me ... I tell you this anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did it for me." (Matt 25:35-36, 40)...

Christians undertook a great deal of almsgiving to the poor not only to fellow believers but to pagans as well. So amazed was the anti-Christian pagan emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD), with the sheer benevolence and excellence of Christian philanthropy that he was forced to admit in wonder their superiority over paganism in matters of charity:

"These godless Galileans (ie. Christians) feed not only their own poor but ours: our poor lack our care" (Ep. Sozom. 5:16).[31]

Jesus Christ was a creationist while Adolf Hitler was an evolutionary racist

Jesus Christ was a creationist who believed men were created in the image of God, while Adolf Hitler was an evolutionary racist.[32][33][34]

Adolf Hitler admired the work of the atheist Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "But now God is dead. You superior men, this God was your greatest danger. Only since he is in the grave, have you risen again. Only now comes the great noontide; only now the superior man will be – Lord!"[35]

The picture of Nietzsche above was taken in 1899. Nietzsche died in 1900.

The atheist Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "But now God is dead. You superior men, this God was your greatest danger. Only since he is in the grave, have you risen again. Only now comes the great noontide; only now the superior man will be – Lord!"[36]

The Princeton University Press said about Adolf Hitler and the atheist Friedrich Nietzsche:

Thus the picture of Hitler gazing at Nietzsche's bust had more to do with a carefully orchestrated cult, one aspect of which was to connect National Socialism with the philosopher's legacy, at least by association. On October 1944, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Nietzsche, Alfred Rosenberg, the leading Nazi party ideologist, delivered an official speech in Weimar, seeking to reinforce this impression: "In a truly historical sense, the National Socialist movement eclipses the rest of the world, much as Nietzsche, the individual, eclipsed the powers of his times."....

Nietzsche was clearly an elitist who believed in the right to rule of a "good and healthy aristocracy," one that would, if necessary, be ready to sacrifice untold numbers of human beings. He sometimes wrote as if nations primarily existed for the sake of producing a few "great men," who could not be expected to show consideration for "normal humanity." Not suprisingly, in the light of the cruel century that has just ended, one is bound to regard such statements with grave misgivings. From Mussolini and Hitler to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein, the last eighty years have been riddled with so-called political geniuses imagining that they were "beyond good and evil" and free of any moral constraints. One has to ask if there is not something in Nietzsche's philosophy with its uninhibited cultivation of a heroic individualism and the will to power, which may have tended to favor the fascist ethos. Musssolini, for example, raised the Nietzschean formulation "live dangerously" (vivi pericolosamente) to the status of a fascist slogan. His reading of Nietzsche was one factor in converting him from Marxism to a philosophy of sacrifice and warlike deeds in defense of the fatherland. In this mutation, Mussolini was preceded by Gabriele d'Annunzio, whose passage from aestheticism to the political activism of a new, more virile and warlike age, was (as Mario Sznajder points out in his essay) greatly influenced by Nietzsche. Equally, there were other representatives of the First World War generation, like the radical German nationalist writer, Ernst Jünger, who would find in Nietzsche's writings a legitimization of the warrior ethos (as David Ohana makes clear).[37]

Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot, who were mentioned above the Princeton University Press, were all atheists. The Muslim dictator Saddam Hussein greatly admired Joseph Stalin (Stalin was one of his heroes) and borrowed many of his ideas.[38][39]

Jesus Christ often quoted Scripture while Adolf Hitler tried to marginalize Scripture

Christ And The Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann (1824–1911), 1889.

Jesus Christ often quoted Scripture and when He was tempted in the desert by the devil, he rebuffed the devil using Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).

On the other hand, Adolf Hitler tried to marginalize Scripture via his "The Nazi Bible"/"Hitler's Bible".

Creation Ministries International writes about Hitler's Bible:

The Institute’s most notorious publication was its dejudaized version of the New Testament (NT), titled Die Botschaft Gottes (The Message of God), and released in 1940. This was a book of some 304 pages, with about 60% fewer words than in the German Luther NT. The Foreword by Grundmann and others said it was a selection from the NT which had shed new light for them. It contained no OT books, and was never called a Bible, let alone Hitler’s Bible.

The text was divided into four sections (p. 109 ff.):

1. Jesus the Saviour — a life of Jesus based on excerpts from the synoptic Gospels, expunged of OT prophecy fulfillment, and reorganized to present Jesus as a warrior, not a servant or meek or the Lamb of God.

2. Jesus the Son of God — a condensed version of the Gospel of John to show the theological significance of Jesus’ actions.

3. Jesus the Lord — brief excerpts from various Epistles concerning hope, comfort, community of God, etc.

4. The Emergence of the Christian Community — based on Acts, Paul’s Epistles (without his Jewish biography), his mission to the Gentiles, and his break with the Judaizers of Palestine.[40]

New atheist Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler

Evolutionist and new atheist Richard Dawkins said in an interview: “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question." [41]

See also: Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler

When asked in an interview, "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?", Richard Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath."[41]

Larry Taunton, the interviewer wrote, regarding Dawkins' Hitler comment:

I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point.

Dawkins proceeded to cite the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement as examples of Western moral advancements, but would not credit Christianity in the slightest.

“Now you have to remember where I am from,” I objected. “Birmingham, Alabama—the home of the civil rights movement. Many there would argue that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was motivated by his Christian convictions. And what of William Wilberforce?”

But Dawkins would have none of it. Christianity, in his view, had contributed nothing worthwhile to Western civilization, morally or otherwise. Moral advances—and, curiously, he did consider them advances—were matters for further scientific inquiry.[41]

Defending the Bible website on the no true Scotsman fallacy

The website Defending the Bible offers these examples of atheists/evolutionists using the no true Scotsman fallacy:

A common example:

Atheist: "No scientist believes that there is a God."

Creationist: "I'm a scientist and I believe that there is a God."

Atheist: "But no true scientist believes that."

Another:

Atheist: "No peer-reviewed science journal would accept creation."

Christian: "The Answer Research Journal accepts creation."

Atheist: "Maybe, but no real peer-reviewed science journal accepts creation."

Lastly:

Atheist: "No scientist would believe in miracles."

Christian: "Dr. Jason Lisle is an astrophysicist and he believes in miracles."

Atheist: "Then Dr. Lisle isn't a real scientist."[42]

See also

References

  1. Atheism by Matt Slick
  2. No True Scotsman Fallacy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  3. The "No True Scotsman" Fallacy, Idea Channel - PBS Digital Studios
  4. No True Scotsman Fallacy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  5. Atheism by Matt Slick
  6. Arguments for God’s existence leads former “Christ-hater,” Darrin Rasberry, to Christ follower by James Bishop
  7. Arguments for God’s existence leads former “Christ-hater,” Darrin Rasberry, to Christ follower by James Bishop
  8. Ex-atheist shares why he left the lie of Atheism
  9. http://www.youtube.com/user/shockofgod
  10. Atheism loses a shocking 71 debates in a row
  11. Mailvox: the "No True Atheist" defense
  12. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm
  13. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1909/may/13.htm
  14. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  15. China's Communist Party Bans Believers, Doubles Down On Atheism
  16. Ammi, Ken (June 11, 2009). "Atheism [quoting Vox Day]". Creation Ministries International. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.
  17. http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1053&Itemid=48
  18. http://www.churchinhistory.org/pages/atheism/805-answering-atheists-regarding-war.htm
  19. Atheism
  20. Many Scientists Do Not Accept Evolution
  21. http://www.discovery.org/a/2732
  22. Age of the earth
  23. Darwinism and the Nazi race Holocaust by Jerry Bergman]
  24. No true scotsman fallacy and skeptics by Thomas Shirk
  25. http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=268
  26. Fred Taylor Translation; The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; ISBN 0-241-10893-4; pp. 304 305
  27. The Triumph of the Gospel of Love by Monk Themistocles ((Adamopoulo)
  28. The Triumph of the Gospel of Love by Monk Themistocles ((Adamopoulo)
  29. Darwinism and the Nazi race Holocaust by Jerry Bergman]
  30. Made in the image of God by Russell M. Grigg
  31. Jesus on the age of the earth by Carl Wieland
  32. Militant atheist arrogance and pride by Michael Caputo
  33. Militant atheist arrogance and pride by Michael Caputo
  34. Godfather of Fascism? On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, Edited by Jacob Golomb & Robert S. Wistrich
  35. Tales of the Tyrant by Mark Bowden, The Atlantic, May 2002 Issue
  36. Stalin and Sadaam
  37. Did Hitler rewrite the Bible? by Russell Grigg
  38. 41.0 41.1 41.2 http://byfaithonline.com/page/in-the-world/richard-dawkins-the-atheist-evangelist
  39. "No True Scotsman" Fallacy