To those listening live or to our patrons, welcome back. For those listening weekly, welcome to Shift To Reason radio the Brainstorm production that focuses on science outreach and education. We’ll try our hand at teaching you a little bit about common skeptical topics, logical fallacies, errors in reasoning, as well as a bit about some religious apologetics. This episode is brought to you by audible.com, sign up for your free trial membership and free audiobook at audibletrial.com/brainstorm

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Breaking down the logical fallacies 16
fallacy of accent -

·         The fallacy of accent is a type of ambiguity that arises when the meaning of a sentence is changed by placing an unusual prosodic stress,[1][2] or when, in a written passage, it is left unclear which word the emphasis was supposed to fall on.[3]]

·         Prosodic stress, or sentence stress, refers to stress patterns that apply at a higher level than the individual word

·         It may involve a certain natural stress pattern characteristic of a given language, but may also involve the placing of emphasis on particular words because of their relative importance

·         The fallacy of accent occurs when the meaning of a text is changed by what word or words are stressed, and either (1) a word different than the author's intent is stressed or (2) it's unknown which word should be stressed. The meaning of a word or set of words may be drastically changed by the way they are spoken, without changing the words themselves.

Who took the test?

  1. I didn't take the test yesterday. (Somebody else did.)
  2. I didn't take the test yesterday. (I did not take it.)
  3. I didn't take the test yesterday. (I did something else with it.)
  4. I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took a different one.)
  5. I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took something else.)
  6. I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took it some other day.)[1]

Can you imagine?

Situation 1:
Amy: I can imagine Cal doing that; it's possible.
Bob: Yes, it's possible to imagine him doing that.

Bob is flatly agreeing with Amy.

Situation 2:
Amy: I can imagine Cal doing that; it's possible.
Bob: Yes, it's possible to imagine him doing that.

Bob is implying that it's possible, but unlikely, that Cal will do that.

Situation 3:
Amy: I can imagine Cal doing that; it's possible.
Bob: Yes, it's possible to imagine him doing that.

Bob is implying that it's impossible that Cal will do "that" outside of Amy's imagination.[4]


Atheism for Dummies part 19 – Apologetics part 7


Ontological argument – Argues that the very concept of God demands that there is an actual existent God




·         An ontological argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of God that uses ontology

·         Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations

·         So an ontological argument is an argument about the state of being or of existence

·         More specifically, ontological arguments tend to start with an a priori theory about the organization of the universe

·         priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience, as with mathematics (3 000 + 2 000 = 5 000), tautologies ("All bachelors are unmarried"), and deduction from pure reason (e.g., ontological proofs)

·         First introduced by Anselm of Canterbury

·         Defined god as "that than which nothing greater can be conceived"

·         Anselm’s argument is summarized like this

1.    It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
2.    God exists as an idea in the mind.
3.    A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
4.    Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
5.    But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
6.    Therefore, God exists.
•    My response- That’s stupid
•    You basically are saying that you can imagine a being so great that it must exist, which is utter nonsense
•    Worded another way the argument goes
1.    By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
2.    A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not necessarily exist.
3.    Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God.
4.    But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.
5.    Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality.
6.    God exists in the mind as an idea.
7.    Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality
•    Rational wiki presents a list of problems
o    The problems of Greatness
    greatness is not defined
    it’s assumed that something that exists is somehow greater than something
    that is only imagines
    it’s sloppy reasoning to assume a difference between a god that exists in reality and a god that exists only as imagination
    if god can be shown to exists through any means other than pure reason then it’s existence is automatically incorporated into the true concept of god
    we can have false concepts all we want but the true concept will always track the status of god in reality, whether it exists or not
    so it is never possible to demonstrate the existence of go purely by juggling our definitions of god and making a word salad
o    Strong atheism
•    One has no reason to accept the premise or part 3 of the argument
•    The premise being “3.    A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind”
•    The premise requires further argument and as a result is useless from a natural theological perspective
o    Counter proof
•    A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
•    A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
•    It is possible that there isn’t a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
•    Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being does not exist.
•    Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist. (axiom S5)
•    Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being does not exist.
o    Additional arguments against include
•    Maximal excellence
•    Begging the question
•    Metaphysical vs epistemic possibility
•    Specificity

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