You don’t seem to know what the ad hominem fallacy is. Stating facts doesn’t necessarily mean the facts are logically relevant. If the facts are “directed to the man” and yet you insinuate they undermine the person’s statements, you’ve likely committed the fallacy of mistaking a personal attack for a relevant criticism of the person’s ideas or statements.

So yes, your entire article is ad hominem in that it’s written deliberately and explicitly to show that Dawkins is a hypocrite, that he says he’s being scientific when really he’s not. And that, you now say, is aimed at less informed fans of his, to get them to have less esteem for Dawkins and—by fallacious association—for new atheism and the theory of natural selection. It’s fallacious through and through.

That’s because it’s possible to be a bad person and yet to state the truth or to put forward a good argument or explanation. Undermining the person doesn’t necessarily undermine the argument—except in the kangaroo court of public opinion where fallacious thinking is unfortunately normal, and in trials where the issue is whether a witness’s testimony can be trusted, so the lawyer impeaches the person’s credibility.

So it’s not just up to me whether your article is fallacious. It’s up to the logic textbooks. I didn’t write them. Showing that Dawkins is a hypocrite would have no logical impact on natural selection, since that theory is foundational to numerous sciences all around the world.

I feel like shouting: Hello, McFly! Craig is a charlatan because he’s a philosophy professor at private evangelical Christian universities, which force their faculty members to sign pledges that they’re born-again Christians.

Are you unaware of the fact that in the enterprising US, evangelicals have set up chameleonic academic institutions to hand out bogus credentials and hoodwink secular professions into hiring those wolves in sheep’s clothing? That’s how fundamentalist conservative judges get onto courts. Craig is part of that fraud just because of where he works. (See the link below for info on Craig’s fake credentials, including his Ph.D. in philosophy.)

He’s a good debater in the technical sense. That doesn’t mean anything he says is rational. He routinely appeals to intuition and to common sense in philosophical and empirical matters as if that were still sufficient after the Copernican Revolution. Craig’s an apologist pretending to be a philosopher. He’s committed to Christianity more than to reason, so he’s not a philosopher in the ancient Greek sense: he doesn’t love knowledge more than opinion.

The issue with Sheldrake isn’t whether his “theory” is well supported in biology. The issue is whether the theory is even scientific.

Look at what David Jones said in The Times about morphic resonance: morphic resonance ‘is so vast and formless that it could easily be made to explain anything, or to dodge round any opposing argument. Sheldrake has sadly aligned himself with those fantasists who, from the depths of their armchairs, dream up whole new grandiose theories of space and time to revolutionize all science, drape their woolly generalizations over every phenomenon they can think of, and then start looking round for whatever scraps of evidence that seem to them to be in their favour.’

If Sheldrake’s explanation isn’t scientific or falsifiable, any extant scientific explanation becomes preferable by default, by way of applying Occam’s razor.

Quantum mechanics was accepted because it explained strange evidence that couldn’t be explained any other way. Heisenberg was a trained physicist who was talking about physics. Sheldrake is a biochemist who’s dealing with parapsychology and trying to rewrite all of science. That’s what megalomaniacs and cranks do. What’s the anomalous datum that only Sheldrake’s “theory” can explain?

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store