- Religion and Philosophy
Common Mormon Logic Fallacies
I am not a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Members of said faith are often refered to as Mormons or LDS, I am not. These hubs include ideas, concepts, and precepts that I was taught that may or may not be official church doctrine (people like to teach what they feel, often times not in line with official doctrine).
If you try to strike up a debate in the comments section, I will likely allow it if you are not racist, sexist, or militantly vegan. No threats, though I find condemnation a little funny. "F-bombs" will not be tolerated, even though it is my favorite four-letter word. Keep in mind this is the internet and people will say what they want to say, to whom, and when they see fit. If you get your panties in a wad, start a hub and tell people about your feelings.
Logic Fallacies and How they Play into Mormonism
According to Wikipedia, there are eight major groups of fallacies, and what looks like a hundred individual fallacies.
A fallacy is when a logic process and/or conclusion is flawed. The person might come to the right understanding for the wrong reasons or to the wrong understanding with the right reasons. Some are fallacies in how people process information, other in how people present information.
Take for example, a Verbose Logic Fallacy (Proof by Verbosity), as described in Wikipedia. People will place more trust in a message that sounds sophisticated and educated. Does that necessarily make the message true? No. Now try reading Neal A. Maxwell. Did you understand half of what he said? Most Mormons place(d) a lot of trust in him just because he is a deceased apostle, one whose words are not to be questioned. Others placed more trust in him because he speaks highly educated jargon.
Another logic fallacy is the "argument from ignorance". In different words than Wikipedia, the logic fallacy goes as so: if one can't deny the negative, then the positive must be true. Mormons take this as "Since you can't disprove us, we must be true." Certain aspects of their religion have been rigorously disproven, so they narrow it down until they find an unproven aspect and start the argument over again. Now it's "Since you can't prove God doesn't exist, he must exist".
Ad Hominem fallacy is one of my favorites! Not only does it satisfy the craving to exert dominance over my opposition (I am a bit of a narcisit, admittedly), but is one of the most common logic fallacies I encountered in my household. Upon asking a question about a point of religion... "If god created earth in six days and mankind has been here ever since, how did dinosaur bones get here?" To which the response was something like: "Doubter! You childish fool! Go to your room and ponder your sins like all the other ingrates should!" Does that make the question invalid? In the mind of a ten-year-old mama's boy, yes. Of course when I was older and asked the same question, the answer was a little more calm: "They were put here to test our faith. God didn't want to make it too easy on us mortals to believe in him. There had to be a little push in the opposite direction to see how committed we are." No matter how much evidence there is supporting the argument the world was no created in six days, Mormons will still believe it was created in six days. This strongly implies an abundance of fallacies regarding the formation of the earth and the time in which it happened.
Upon asking my authority figures if it were possible that we had been mislead, the response was something like so: "A person is easy to mislead. But hey, there's 13 million Mormons. You can't fool 13 million people." Bandwagon fallacy. Not to mention the other 7 billion people on the planet apparently can be fooled.
Appeals to Tradition are huge in Mormon culture. Case in point, gay marriage is not traditional. Therefore it is considered wrong. There are other reasons Mormons don't believe gays should marry, but in almost every debate I've ever had with Mormons on the topic, tradition is presented as if it is evidence.
Appeals to Emotion are common in that fear of hell is driven into the followers. Ever read Dante? Mormons don't subscribe to Dante, but similar ideas do float around. I had one friend that freaked when he read Brigham Young's statement that there is no music in hell. OH DAMN! No music in hell! Please, god, have mercy on me! You read my example above for Ad Hominem, which also doubles as an example for Appeal to Emotion. Shame and guilt are HUGE in Mormon culture. They will often try to name it differently as "Godly Sorrow", but in all reality that's a euphemism for shame or guilt and they drill it into day and night for even being human. Incredible manipulators, be warned.
Let's see, I was told that I could not be a good Mormon and a Democrat. I was told there was no music in hell. I was told heaven was infinitely rewarding. It was strongly implied that god was perfectly moral and that any exceptions are allowable because he is god. I was told to respect my elders as if they were somehow more respectable people. I was told to honor my mother and my father even though my mother was a horribly dishonorable person. I was told to be honest by liars. I was told to pay tithes to an organization that's a scam. I was told to be faithful to my spouse by elders who bragged about their infidelities. Mormons preach acceptance but will turn their back on you for something as simple as what clothes you wear. They will tell you to love your fellow man, but "please" and "thank you" are reserved only for other Mormons. They will shit on your beliefs and play the victim when you retaliate. Your kids will be an unfit and undesirable influence on their kids just for being different. They will ignore all and I mean ALL contradictory evidence to their beliefs. They will take questioning as either interest (an opportunity to convert you) or as an attack on their beliefs and will jump to all sorts of conclusions about your intentions and moral standing. They believe that if you don't believe as they do, you are at least a little wrong and thus listening to you will make them vulnerable to fallable logic (The devil will tell you nine truths and one lie). They claim to be the only religion with the whole truth, yet provide you with more questions than answers ALWAYS and questions are of the devil! Don't question authority and all authority rests with god and the priesthood.
If I were creative and motivated enough I believe I could name all the fallacies and give examples.