The Aron Ra Fallacies
The Aron Ra Fallacies
Aron Ra has two significant fallacies that don’t really have a name, however I have coined two fallacies that I think best explain what I believe are significant conceptual errors that Aron Ra and other New Atheists™ often have when discussing atheism on social media.
1) “Argumentum ad Praescriptionem“: The fallacy of attempting to derive a prescription from a description.
Aron Ra and other New Atheists™ do not seem to understand what is actually meant by the term “descriptivism” vs the term “prescriptivism”…which is ironic since many New Atheists™ will say English is a descriptive language and dictionaries merely describe usages (in the sensu lato sense), but they will still argue from a dictionary as if it was prescriptive!
If the dictionary says:
Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
“Disbelief” means to believe something is false (another error Aron Ra makes, but I think he *may* have corrected that one)….but both “disbelief” and “lack of belief” *DESCRIBE* an atheist.
Given the “Google definition” of Atheism: The belief that God does not exist OR the lack of belief that God exists.
Does the lack of belief that God exist describe an atheist? YES
Both *DESCRIBE* an atheist.
Does someone lack a belief God exists, then they are an atheist. CLEARLY the dictionary is DESCRIPTIVE, and not prescriptive as English is not a prescribed language.However, Aron Ra et al assert that if someone “lacks a belief God exists” that they are an atheist…and even claims this to be true by by some logical necessity that doesn’t exist.
Thus the fallacy of Argumentum ad Praescriptionem, as Aron Ra et al are making the DESCRIBED RENDERING into a PRESCRIPTIVE RENDERING.
So if the dictionary *DESCRIBES* an atheist as “disbelieves God exists”, that implies that they lack a belief that God exists…so the atheist both “believes God does not exists” *and* “lacks a belief that God exists”. The “OR” means both phrases “describe” an atheist, which they do!
It does not prescribe that who ever disbelieves OR lacks a belief is an atheist!
Just like you can say:
Theism: disbelief or the lack of belief in the non-existence of God or gods.
as that *DESCRIBES* a theist. A theist both “disbelieves God does not exist” and “lacks a belief of the non-existence of God”. It would not prescribe that who ever “disbelieves the existence of God ” *or* “lacks a belief in the non-existence of God or gods” is a theist.
2) Duplex negatio affirmant fallacy: Aron Ra’s and New Atheists’™ confusion on what a double negative means in sentential logic as compared to intuitionist logic, and failing to understanding contradictory negations vs contrary negations as they apply to atheism and theism.
Aron Ra and other New Atheists’™ for some bizarre reason seem to think that the sentence “I do not believe that God does not exist” is a “double negation”. They do not seem to understand that one negator is in the non-subordinate part of the matrix clause of “I do not believe”, where the word “believe” is an intentional verb followed by the subordinate clause “that God does not exist”. These two negators do not cancel each out as they are neither contradictory nor contrary negations.
Aron et al do not seem to understand how double negations actually work logically, nor grammatically, as typically a double negation is in the form of:
¬¬p = p
Example: In the sentence “I do not believe that God does not exist”, assuming the indexical of “I” it can be denoted as:
~B~p or “it is not the case that I believe that God does not exist”
This is logically and grammatically equivalent to:
“It is not the case that I believe p is false”
Since if you believe that p is false or you do not believe that p is false. Clearly if you do not believe that p is false, that does not entail you believe p is true as you could believe neither p is T nor F (accepting of course that it must be one or the other, but holding no belief as to which truth value that it actually holds).
However, this is not found in all forms of logic. There is a difference in negations between “not not hot”, and it is not-hot (where the negator is prefixed). So double negation does hold the same in intuitionistic logic as it does sentential logic and here is why:
Not not-hot = hot
(Where the negation is prefixed)
however “not not hot” morphosyntactically does not by logical necessity mean “hot”…here is why:
Given g is the proposition “it is hot”:
Using Stoic and Fregean logic one can replace negation with “it is not the case” where “¬ ” represents a logical contradiction negation:
g= it is hot
¬g = it is not the case that it is hot
¬¬g = g (in sentential logic)
So ¬¬g = it is not the case that it is not the case that it is hot = not not hot = hot
However, ¬¬g ≠ g (in intuitionist logic) since the rules in intuitionist logic are Φ ⊨ ¬¬ Φ, but ¬¬Φ ⊭ Φ.
This can be seen by contrary negation given:
If g is = it is hot then:
©g =it is not the case that it is hot, which could mean it is warm or cold as both “warm” and “cold” are “not hot”.
¬©g = it is not the case that it is not the case that it is hot = it is not not the case that it is hot ≠ it is hot
Since if it is not the case of “warm” as “warm” is “not hot”, that does not necessitate that “it is ‘hot'” as it could mean “it is ‘cold'” as both “hot” and cold” are both “not hot”.
This is the case as if it is not hot, that does not necessitate that it is cold, it could be “lukewarm” or just call it “warm” to make it easier.
Now apply the same reasoning to atheism and theism and you have the Aron Ra fallacy:
Just replace “hot” with “theist”, “cold” with “atheist”, and “warm” with “agnostic”:
g= it is theist
©g =it is not the case that it is theist
¬©g ≠ it is theist
This is the case since double negation of a contrary negation such as ”it is not the case that it is “not theist”, that does not necessitate that it is the case that” it is atheist”, it could be it is the case that “it is agnostic”.
It follows then that:
©g =it is not the case that “it is theist”, which could mean “it is agnostic” or “it is atheist”, as both “agnostic” and “atheist” are “not theist”.
The negation of the contrary negation would be ¬©g and ¬©g ≠ “it is theist”, since if “it is not the case of ‘it is agnostic’ ” that does not mean “it is theist”, as it could mean “it is atheist”.
So Aron Ra Fallacies in summary would be:
The fallacy of thinking descriptive dictionaries are prescriptive, and for thinking that “I do not believe that God does not exist” is a double negative. Aron Ra doesn’t understand contradiction negation vs contrary negation, and does not understand that atheism and theism are logical contradictories where if one is false, the other must be true, both can not be false, and both can not be true….e.g. if God exists then theism is true and atheism is false, but if God does not exist then atheism is true, and theism is false, but the “beliefs” of atheism and theism are contraries as you can fail to believe g is true and fail to believe g false…ergo, “agnostic”.
Note: Aron Ra is great at explaining phylogeny as that is his niche, but he is absolutely intransigent on other subjects even when the logic clearly demonstrates he is incorrect. I believe that he will never recognize either of his errors, no matter how many people who understand the logic tell him he is wrong, which leads to him make bizarre claims like “Rocks are Atheists”.
When you start with faulty premises you can end up with faulty conclusions.
(This post may contain errors and has not been proofed by an expert in the related areas. If any errors are found, please let me know directly via DM or email and I will promptly correct them! Thank you!)
“Unfortunately the New Atheist activist who calls himself “Aron Ra” is all too typical of this kind of polemicist – he does not let his profound ignorance of history stop him from pontificating about it. In a recent debate he put this on full display, with a remarkable burst of pseudo historical gibberish proclaimed with supreme confidence and smug self-assurance. Yet virtually everything he said was wrong..” – Tim O’Neal (HistoryForAtheists.com)