Two Edged Sword: Loftus and Logic Don’t Mix
In a recent post on his blog, John W. Loftus made a very interesting assessment: People believe and defend what they prefer to be true.
While Loftus is only including believers in his argument by implication, he fails to provide a compelling reason to exclude atheists from this argument. Now, I’m well aware that Loftus claims that he doesn’t defend atheism purely because he wants it to be the case. John writes:
It’s argued that I reject Christianity because I prefer to live my life apart from God. Balderdash! Do I really prefer to live in a universe that is cold and uncaring, having only blind indifference toward me as a human being in which I can count on no divine help from outside of it, and no hope of an eternal life with my loved ones? Not a chance. Do I really prefer to reject the dominant religion of my culture to be ostracized by believers and hated for what I believe? No, not at all. (source)
However, a quick scan of some of his recent behavior would seem to contradict that assessment. After behaving like that in public, I’m assuming that John doesn’t want there to be a higher authority to whom he is answerable, since he has shown himself to be a jerk. More examples toward the bottom of this item, both of his lack of moral principles and his lack of honesty in arguing.
Loftus then follows it up with what can only be described as the most ironic post ever from an atheist. He says that the only two responses from believers either committed the ad hominem tu quoque fallacy, or took the form of “I’m the exception to the rule.”
I almost hit the floor laughing so hard. Hypocrisy within Christianity is one of the most frequent charges leveled at it in an attempt to discredit it, or else totally falsify it. That is the same fallacy that Loftus is accusing us of!
The problem is that as an atheist, there is no objective for moral standards. There is no way to appeal to a higher, transcendent authority since none can exist. There is only what is in atheism, not what ought to be. So, what standards can Loftus actually be held to? Hard for us to commit this fallacy when there are no standards of behavior inherent in an atheistic worldview.