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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DisComforting Logic: False Analogy

I have proposed a new Raytractors project over at our blog. This will be the prospective post in the DisComforting Logic series -- albeit a lazy one as it is based on my Theist Test. The goal of this series is to educate people on various logical fallacies using some argument or statement by Ray Comfort as the example.

Logical Fallacy: False Analogy
Type: Informal
Source: The Atheist Test
An analogy is when you have two proposed things, A and B, similar in some respect(s) and argue that since A has property X, B must also have property X as A and B are assumed similar. A false analogy occurs when they are similar in one respect but do not share the X as a common property.

Ray's Statement/Argument
Billions of years ago, a big bang produced a large rock. As the rock cooled, sweet brown liquid formed on its surface. As time passed, aluminum formed itself into a can, a lid, and a tab. Millions of years later, red and white paint fell from the sky, and formed itself into the words "Coca Cola 12 fluid ounces."

Of course, my theory is an insult to your intellect, because you know that if the Coca Cola can is made, there must be a maker. If it is designed, there must be a designer. The alternative, that it happened by chance or accident, is to move into an intellectual free zone.
Summary of Statement/Argument
Coke cans are like biological organisms.
Coke cans could not have evolved.
Therefore biological organisms could not have evolved.
The false analogy occurs as Coke cans may be similar in some respects (they exist and have functioning components), but that does not warrant the assumption that they had the same origins. Biological organisms are subject to biological processes whereas Coke cans are subject to manufacturing processes.

Example of Similar False Analogy -- "Fallacy of the Pepsi Can"
Decades ago, two Pepsi cans were in close proximity to one another. One's tab grew erect, perpendicular to its can, and penetrated the perforated opening to the second can. In the process, some of the first can's liquid shot through the small opening at the base of the tab into the opening of the second can. Nine months later a miniature Pepsi can was produced. Over time, it grew into a regular sized can and arrived in your hand.

Of course, my theory is an insult to your intelligence. Only a fool would believe in sexual reproduction if sexual reproduction doesn't work for Pepsi cans!
Summary of Similar Logical Fallacy
Pepsi cans are like biological organisms (they exist and have functioning components).
Pepsi cans could not have been sexually reproduced.
Therefore biological organisms could not have been sexually reproduced.

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