Image by Vainsang via FlickrThe Philosophy ProFeser on the misuse of the accusation of logical fallacies:
As I have often complained, certain atheist philosophers ritualistically present the cosmological argument for the existence of God as if it went like this: Everything has a cause; so the universe has a cause, namely God. After raising the obvious objections (“If everything has a cause, then what caused God?” etc.), they then treat even the most sophisticated defenses of the cosmological argument as if they were desperate attempts to patch up this transparently feeble line of reasoning. But as I noted in several earlier posts..., none of the major philosophers who have defended the cosmological argument – not Plato, not Aristotle, not al-Ghazali, not Maimonides, not Thomas Aquinas, not John Duns Scotus, not G.W. Leibniz, not Samuel Clarke, not Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, not Mortimer Adler, not William Lane Craig, not Richard Swinburne, and not anyone else as far as I know – ever put forward this silly argument. It is the philosophical equivalent of an urban legend – an argument that “everyone knows” has been defended for centuries, which in fact has never been defended. And yet such ludicrous caricatures are frequently put forward as “evidence” of how lame the traditional arguments for God’s existence are, and used as an excuse for not bothering even to read work done in the philosophy of religion. (“If the main arguments are that bad, what’s the point?”)Feser concludes:
In this way, the study of logic becomes precisely the opposite of what it is supposed to be – a rhetorical gimmick, a cudgel with which to beat opponents and advance agendas rather than an aid to the disinterested pursuit of truth. In the name of attacking sophistry and fallacy, a higher-order sophistry – a “meta-sophistry,” if you will – is perpetrated.The whole article may be viewed here.