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Red herring

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A Red herring is a logical fallacy where irrelevant material is presented to distract readers/listeners from the real issues. A red herring is also a special case of a Non sequitur. [1]

Example

Premises

  1. I personally dislike the idea that consciousness ends with death.
  2. I personally find life meaningless without God.
  3. I personally would rather live forever and I personally would rather God gave meaning to my life.

Conclusions

  1. Therefore God exists.

Analysis
Put in this simple way the logical fallacy is clear.

  1. What the speaker personally likes or dislikes is irrelevant to whether or not God exists and is a red herring.
  2. You can't change the truth because you don't like where it leads.
  3. Despite this when seductive preachers tug at the heartstrings of gullible people preachers sometimes make converts.

What should give meaning

We evolved so we care about other people as well as ourselves. Improving life for ourselves and other people in this world can and should give meaning to our lives. The tyrannical God of Christian Fundamentalism demands impossible moral standards and threatens eternal torment when inevitably we can't reach those standards? Christian Fundamentalism can give meaning to people's lives but only when they deny the reality of what they believe. It's better to live with reality and accept there is no evidence for the God of Christianity.

References

  1. Red herring

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