I’ve just had this Twitter conversation with @Adam4004 about Reductio Ad Absurdum:
Michael: Children have a human right to a neutral studying environment, even in denominational schools http://bit.ly/1pynTek
Evert Bopp: That’s not a human right. What’s next, a “human right” to clean socks?
Michael: There is no human right to clean socks, but there is a human right to clean water.
Adam: Where is that human right derived? Not saying it’s not something that’s a good thing but where is the right derived?
Adam: So the UN are where human rights are derived?
Michael: Philosophically, they are notional concepts. Legally, they are derived from international treaties and national laws.
Adam: So in reality human rights derive from no real absolute. They are just current en vogue concepts
Michael: No absolute, that’s right. “Just current en vogue concepts” is wrong.
Adam: Why is it wrong?
Michael: It implies random fashion tastes, like punk taking over from disco, not a consistent refinement of personal rights and duties.
Adam: A relative refinement currently (@ this time in history) the view of some higher cognitive animals. Nothing more ultimately
Michael: I agree, nothing more ultimately. But still very helpful here and now in minimising suffering.
Adam: But the idea suffering is wrong is merely a response to chemical stimuli that causes a negatively interpreted reaction in some
Michael: That’s true, but you would also have some extra thoughts about it if I punched you very hard in the face 🙂
Adam: True. But they wouldn’t be anything more than reaction of an animal to stimuli 🙂
Michael: So why do you belittle it, given your philosophy that it is all that we have got? Surely it is everything to us?
Adam: It’s not my philosophy. 🙂
Michael: So (a) what is your philosophy and (b) why are you arguing something you don’t believe?
Adam: Reductio ad absurdum 🙂
Michael: Is that your answer to both questions?
Adam: Oh no. Sorry. I’m a theist. A Christian to be exact. 🙂
Michael: Okay, fair enough. So how does your reductio ad absurdum show that anything false or absurd follows from my argument?
Adam: You are consistent. Just pointing out that if ur right water is a human right only ultimately in the manner I noted. 🙂
Michael: But for your reductio ad absurdum to work, it would have to show my consistency to be false or absurd. It hasn’t.
Adam: Not at all. Reductio merely means I take a position to its logical conclusion (which some would find absurd). You are consistent
Michael: That’s not what RAA means. It means taking it to a conclusion that shows that it is false or contradictory or absurd.
Michael: You seem to be inventing a new test of reductio ad consistency 🙂
Adam: I noted that to some it’s absurd. Not to you.
Michael: Again, that’s not what RAA means. it means showing objectively and logically that there are untenable conclusions.
Adam: In reality more debating for fun 🙂 Gotta run now:)
Michael: Okay, let me know if you would like me to test your Christianity using Reductio Ad Absurdum 🙂