Monday, 1 November 2010

Fuzzy logic

The following arguments are all wrong.  

Argument 1: Tony Blair misled a liberal democracy into voting for war in Iraq.  Therefore democracy is fundamentally evil. 

Argument 2: The Pope may have colluded in covering up cases of priestly paedophilia.  Therefore the Catholic Church is fundamentally evil.

It's amazing how many people, generally liberal in outlook, who are sensible enough to recognise the flaws of the first argument, fail to see the fallacy of the second.  

And how few of those same liberals, ever apologists for Islam, would argue:
Argument 3.  Leading Muslim clerics have promoted terrorism.  Therefore Islam is fundamentally evil.

All three arguments are based on the same logic and equally wrong.   If arguments 1 and 3 are bad arguments (and they are!), then surely argument 2 is equally so?


  1. Liberals make sweeping generalisation and judgments based on little information. Therefore liberals are fundamentally evil?

  2. Conservatives can be at least as sweeping and judgmental, to be fair, and there is a fair number of very coherent and well-informed liberals. The more reasonable voices just tend not to be the loudest ones, unfortunately.
    The English are also prone to be suspicious of public intellectuals, which is presumably why Stephen Fry was picked to speak in the recent debate on the Catholic Church rather than, say, an historian or philosopher. The sad thing is that so many people took him seriously.