Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – reminder to Christians who challenge me: do your research

A recent post of mine has been address by Jon, a Christian who I’ve repeatedly crossed swords with.  He has a blog “nonviolent Christians” which is always ridiculous considering how vicious their god is depicted in the bible.  You can see how things went there. He’s also commented here at the Boss’s Office.  One can see just how he avoids questions here and constantly offers excuses.  He has yet to explain his claim that Russell’s Teapot doesn’t work, among other things. Alas, Jon’s supposed “atheist friend” never came to support him or comment.

Let’s get to his comment (his is in italics):

“Is it true?

You have, in the past asked me to provide you with examples of your use of logical fallacies.

If I understand your post correctly, you are arguing that Therapist, Erica Komisar has reached conclusions that do not logically follow from the study funded by the Templeton Foundation.

Abductive Reasoning

I did not watch the video or read the study. I will attempt to determine if your conclusion that Komisar is in error is correct. I will use abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning is the type of reasoning that Darwin used to test his theory of evolution. “

Jon claims he is addressing what I’ve written ( is the blog post involved) but we start with nothing more than Jon referring to relatively obscure(at least for me) claims of logical fallacies.  As usual, Jon, cannot show where I’ve used this.  He cannot cut and paste these fallacies I’ve supposedly used. 

Jon also did not watch the video that I was tearing apart or read the study.  How interesting.  He claims that just by reading what I’ve said he can determine if I am correct.  How he think this can work is indeed a mystery.  He has no idea what Komisar claims which means he has no idea what I’m discussing.

For those of you who don’t want to bother going back to the original blog post, this is at the link for the video by “Prager U” and Komisar says this “As a therapist, Erica Komisar is often asked by parents, “How do I talk to my child about death if I don’t believe in God or heaven?” Her answer is always the same. Can you guess what it is?”  claims that one should teach their children about the Judeo/Christo/Islamo god since it is seen as beneficial by a study done at Harvard, even if you don’t believe in it.   Here’s a transcript of exactly what Komisar says

Now, abductive reasoning is little more than occam’s razor.  Merriam-Webster has a nice article on the differences between inductive, deductive and abductive reasoning.  This is the first paragraph there: “Deductive reasoning, or deduction, is making an inference based on widely accepted facts or premises. If a beverage is defined as “drinkable through a straw,” one could use deduction to determine soup to be a beverage. Inductive reasoning, or induction, is making an inference based on an observation, often of a sample. You can induce that the soup is tasty if you observe all of your friends consuming it. Abductive reasoning, or abduction, is making a probable conclusion from what you know. If you see an abandoned bowl of hot soup on the table, you can use abduction to conclude the owner of the soup is likely returning soon.”  

Darwin may have used abductive reasoning to arrive at his evolutionary theory, going from observations to a hypothesis that seems highly probable.  However, evolutionary theory did not stop being supported with Darwin.  This is an example of how some Christians must ignore the advances of science to try to claim that there is something wrong or unsupported by facts.  Abductive reasoning has long been left behind in favor of deductive reasoning thanks to direct observation of what is predicted by evolutionary theory.

“I did not watch the video or read the study. I will attempt to determine if your conclusion that Komisar is in error is correct. I will use abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning is the type of reasoning that Darwin used to test his theory of evolution.

Abductive reasoning typically begins with an incomplete set of observations and proceeds to the likeliest possible explanation for the set. Abductive reasoning yields the kind of daily decision-making that does its best with the information at hand, which often is incomplete.

With abductive reasoning, a person ascertains the known facts to determine the most probable conclusion.”

Jon then continues with plagiarized definitions of abductive reasoning.  Much of the above is plagiarized by many so it’s rather hard to figure out the original. 



1. You strongly feel that Komisar is in error in her conclusions.
2. You did not demonstrate that the Templeton financed study was incorrectly conducted. For example, was the correct sample size used? Where the question in the study leading questions? Etc.
3. You did not demonstrate that Komisar’s conclusions do not logically follow from the results of the Templeton financed study.
4. You use the ad hominem logical fallacy argument and the red herring logical fallacy argument to defend your position and make your arguments.”

Here, Jon tries to analyze what I’ve read, again with having no clue what Komisar said.  #1 is quite true.  2. He tries to claim that I should not consider the fact that the Templeton Foundation funded the report as suspect. 3. He tries to claim I haven’t shown that Komisar’s conclusions do not logically follow from the study.  4.  He yet again makes claims about ad hominem fallacies, and red herrings, but cannot show that these were used.  This is a very common action from Jon. 

When looking at studies, the funder is always to be looked at.  The Templeton Foundation is a well-known foundation that supports research in their attempt to validate religion, with a focus on Christianity.  I encourage folks to look at the wiki about the Foundation, and to look at the various links within it.  I find this one quite damning.  It tracks very well that the Foundation’s tactics go with the notorious “wedge document” written by creationists.   


I think that it is highly probable that Komisar’s conclusions do logically follow from the results of the study,

I do not know if your assertion about Komisar is correct. But, I think that if Komisar’s conclusion did not logically follow from the study, you would have shown the inconsistency if it existed. I think if the study had been improperly conducted you would have demonstrated that fact. When someone uses logical fallacies it immediately raises a red flag in my mind about the truthfulness of their conclusions.

If later, I want to determine with a higher probability if Komisar’s conclusions are true, I will need to listen to the video and read the study and then logically analyze them. I do not find your conclusions convincing.”

Now, there is a problem, that Jon has no idea what Komisar concludes nor can he show that anything follows “logically”.  He has already admitted that he has no idea what either say.  I’ve already show that Komisar’s conclusions do not follow from the study.  Right here: “The study was for all religions, not just christianity, so it is not the faith, but the community that is the influencing factor. “

“Ad Hominem Logical Fallacy Argument

You gave me a definition of ad hominem logical fallacy.

I agree with that definition.

Example of your use of the ad hominin logical fallacy.

“Komisar also goes on to try to lie and claim that nihilism is equal with non-belief in her god.”

Does nihilism equal non belief? You argue that Komisar is wrong because she is trying to lie.”

I am unconvinced. Based on my knowledge of the writings of philosophers such as Jean Paul Sarte, I am forced to conclude that there may be some truth in Komisar’s claim.”

So, again, we see no evidence from Jon that I used an ad hominem argument, nor has he shown anything from Sartre that nihilism is equal to nonbelief.  This is what the link to nizkor said “An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of “argument” has the following form:

  1. Person A makes claim X.
  2. Person B makes an attack on person A.
  3. Therefore A’s claim is false.


It *is* a lie (a false statement made to benefit the individual making the claim)  that nihilism equals non-belief.  Jon, unsurprisingly, cannot show otherwise.  His being “unconvinced” is no more than a baseless opinion.  

“Red Herring Logical Fallacy Argument:

Red Herring logical fallacy: A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion.

Example of your use of the Red Herring logical fallacy.

“Unsurprisingly, this research was funded by the Templeton Foundation who has an investment in wanting religion to be promoted.”

Instead of demonstrating that the study was improperly conducted you seem to be saying it is obvious the study was improper because the Templeton Foundation promotes religion.Where am I wrong?”

Jon presents the claim I’ve used a red herring fallacy  He plagiarized the definition from Wikipedia.  He returns to the claim that mentioning that the Templeton Foundation cannot be done, insisting it has no pertinence, which is false.  The Foundation’s stated intent is quite pertinent to the discussion.  The wiki article shows that there is reason to question their intentions.

I’m rather surprised at myself that I didn’t put a link to more about the study.  I can remedy that now.  Here is an article: Religious upbringing linked to better health and well-being during early adulthood | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  It says “One limitation of the study is that it consisted mainly of children of white females of relatively high family socioeconomic status, and therefore might not be generalizable to a broader population, though prior research by VanderWeele suggested the effects of religious service attendance for adults may be even larger for black versus white populations. Another limitation was that the study did not look at the influences of parents and peers on adolescents’ religious decisions.” 

That prior research has the conclusion “Conclusions and Relevance  Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”  Which is also ignoring that it is community, not religion, that could be the causing factor.  There is an assumption of correlation here that cannot be supported. 

This is what Jon harvests when he doesn’t even try to look at things but just to attack me.  So he is wrong in many places.  I have to wonder if he tried this to cast doubt on my methods so he could cling to his beliefs.  If so, that didn’t work so well.   

3 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – reminder to Christians who challenge me: do your research

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