Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nadir Ahmed on “Dirty Tricks”: Part Two—the Tu Quoque Fallacy

Nadir Ahmed has accused Christians of forcing him to accept unfair debate terms in his recent debate with Sam Shamoun. As I showed here, the debate terms were entirely fair and reasonable, which means that Nadir was simply trying to justify his embarrassing performance by falsely accusing Christians of deception.

As I will show in this post, it was Nadir, not Sam, who resorted to “Dirty Tricks” (as Nadir calls them).

Prior to his debate with Sam Shamoun ("Is Islam a Religion of Peace?"), Nadir Ahmed agreed that he would not go off-topic by criticizing the Bible. However, when the debate started, he began attacking the Bible very quickly. Soon, the Bible became Nadir’s primary focus—in a debate about Islam!

It was obvious to everyone that Nadir was simply trying to draw attention away from Islam and to put Christians on the defensive. Yet if this was his goal, one wonders why he agreed to debate a Muslim topic in the first place.

Nadir’s tactic was a perfect example of the Tu Quoque fallacy. The Tu Quoque fallacy occurs when instead of answering an objection, a person points his finger back at his questioner and says, “Well, you’ve got problems too!”

This fallacy is quite common among Muslims. When a person asks a Muslim, “Aren’t you shocked by all the innocents killed in the name of Allah,” it is quite common for the Muslim to reply, “What about all of the innocents killed by the West?” As if this answers the question!

To give another example, suppose I were to tell you a vicious lie, and you realized that I had lied to you. “David, you just lied to me,” you respond. “Now explain yourself!” “Well,” I reply, “You’ve lied too.” As if this makes it okay for me to lie!

And that’s why this approach is fallacious. The question of whether you have lied is irrelevant to the question of whether I have lied. Whether innocents have been killed by the West is irrelevant to whether Muslims should be killing innocents.

Thus, in a debate titled “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” it makes no sense for the Muslim debater to argue that Christianity is a religion of violence. Indeed, if the evidence proved conclusively that Christianity is the most violent, bloody religion in history (silly, isn’t it!), this would not help us answer the question “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”

Hence, it was disturbing to see Nadir place so much emphasis on Christianity and the Bible in his debate about Islam. Indeed, on his webpage devoted to the debate, Nadir claims that there were five “Key Topics” of the debate: (1) “Islam condemns terrorism,” (2) “Bible accepts terrorism,” (3) “Challenge to Christianity,” (4) “The 4 arguments of why Islam is a religion of peace,” and (5) “Why Bible terror is relevant for this debate.”

Notice that, in Nadir’s mind, three out of five “Key Topics” in his debate about Islam revolve around Christianity!

However, Nadir has made an interesting (although horribly flawed) case for why the Bible was relevant in his debate with Sam. Nadir argues that since Muhammad came to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity (!!!), Islam must be a religion of peace.

Of course, it is obvious to every informed viewer that Muhammad didn’t come to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity (!!!), since Christianity doesn’t teach genocide and terrorism. In Christianity, we are commanded to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to never return evil for evil (ever heard of the “New Covenant?”). Hence, a person who looks at all of this and says, “Christianity teaches violence and bloodshed” is obviously biased against the truth.

It is also ridiculous to claim that Muhammad came to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity. When did Muhammad claim this? I challenge Nadir to show us that Muhammad claimed that this was his purpose. If Nadir cannot produce such proof, he is guilty of ascribing false motives to his prophet.

But let’s lay such issues aside and examine Nadir’s claim on logical grounds. The fact remains: Even if Christianity were the most violent religion on earth, this would have nothing to do with whether Islam is a religion of peace (even if it were true that Muhammad came to confront Christian violence).

To see why this is so, think about Nadir’s argument, which goes something like this: “Christianity teaches genocide. But Islam doesn’t allow Muslims to commit genocide. Thus, Muhammad was coming to confront Christian genocide. Therefore, Islam is a religion of peace.”

To see why this is completely flawed, let us consider two analogies. Suppose the debate topic had been “Was Muhammad Polygamous?” In the debate, Sam would have provided numerous sources, proving that Muhammad had at least nine wives at one time. Sam would have concluded, “Thus, Muhammad was polygamous.” Nadir would have argued differently. He would have argued thus: “In the Bible, Solomon is said to have had 700 wives! But Muhammad came to confront this Christian [!!!] polygamy! Muhammad made it very clear that no one can marry this many wives. Therefore, Muhammad was monogamous!”

The fallacy here should be obvious. Even if Solomon had far more wives than Muhammad, this wouldn’t mean that Muhammad was monogamous. And even if Muhammad had come to confront this “Christian” (!!!) polygamy, this still would have nothing to do with whether Muhammad was polygamous or not. Hence, Solomon and the Bible would be entirely irrelevant to such a debate!

Consider another analogy. Suppose there were two religions: Religion X and Religion Y. Religion X teaches its followers that it is right to violently torture all non-members as much as possible. Religion Y comes along and agrees that it is right to torture non-members, but with one exception. According to Religion Y, “It is wrong to torture old ladies, even if they are not members of our religion.” What would be the difference between these two religions? One tortures all non-members, while the other tortures all non-members except old ladies.

Now suppose there were a debate titled, “Is Religion Y a Religion of Peace?” If he gets his logical training from Nadir Ahmed, the defender of Religion Y would argue: “We don’t torture old ladies. Our prophet came to confront the practice of old lady torturing! Thus, Religion Y is a religion of peace!”

But would this have anything to do with whether Religion Y is a religion of peace? Nothing whatsoever! Indeed, it would be impossible for any rational person to look at a religion that advocates torturing all non-members except old ladies and conclude that it is a religion of peace.

The point here is that even if Religion Y were more peaceful (comparatively) than Religion X, this would not mean that Religion Y is peaceful. Similarly, even if Islam were more peaceful than Christianity (doesn’t that just sound silly!), this would not make Islam a religion of peace.

Therefore, Christianity was entirely irrelevant to the debate between Sam and Nadir. They both agreed to debate whether Islam is a religion of peace. Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Buddhism, atheism, etc., had absolutely nothing to do with the debate. The fact that Nadir kept pointing his finger at Christianity, then, was an admission that he could not defend his religion without resorting to fallacious debate tricks. And the fact that, after the debate, he has tried so desperately to defend his fallacious reasoning shows that he will do anything to justify his weak, flawed arguments.

13 comments:

Nadir Ahmed said...

there are sooo many strawman fallacies and nonsense, that I don't even know where to begin.

Ok, let's start here.. why dont you answer the 3 deadly questions of why I say that Christianity embraces genocide and terror, you can find them listed here:
Genocide and terror of Jesus Christ


Thanks,
Nadir Ahmed
http://www.ExamineTheTruth.com

David Wood said...

Wow! You ignored the fact that I completely refuted your claim! You claimed that the Bible was relevant to the debate (so relevant that three out of five of your "key issues" were about the Bible). I showed quite clearly that Christianity was completely off-topic to the debate. And what was your response? "Oh, yeah, there's just too many straw men to answer." Well, let's start small. Give me ONE straw man. Surely, with so many to choose from, you'll be able to give me one! Unless, of course, you're just being deceptive again.

And instead of answering my objections, you tell me to answer your three questions, which I've already shown were utterly irrelevant! Amazing!

Bassam said...

David said...

Nadir’s tactic was a perfect example of the Tu Quoque fallacy. The Tu Quoque fallacy occurs when instead of answering an objection, a person points his finger back at his questioner and says, “Well, you’ve got problems too!”


Thats correct only if Nadir actually did that. Nadir refuted Shamoun's claims AND ALSO attacked the Bible. Big difference.

David said...

Thus, in a debate titled “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” it makes no sense for the Muslim debater to argue that Christianity is a religion of violence.


It is relevant if the person who is arguing is a Christian and is using his religion as a standard or base in order to judge Islam.


David said...

Notice that, in Nadir’s mind, three out of five “Key Topics” in his debate about Islam revolve around Christianity!


Yeah, because it was assumed that Shamoun is a Christian who distinguishes between what qualifies as violence and peace from his Bible. Thus, Nadir showed that Islam is quite angelic according to the standard that Shamoun was using.

If Shamoun was not using his Bible as a standard then Nadir would thus be throwing red herrings by bring the Bible into the discussion. However, since Shamoun did not indicate any other standard (e.g. Geneva Convention, UN Resolutions, etc.) then it was assumed that he was using the Bible since he is a Christian.

David said...

Of course, it is obvious to every informed viewer that Muhammad didn’t come to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity (!!!), since Christianity doesn’t teach genocide and terrorism. In Christianity, we are commanded to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to never return evil for evil (ever heard of the “New Covenant?”). Hence, a person who looks at all of this and says, “Christianity teaches violence and bloodshed” is obviously biased against the truth.


Well why not address our arguments and prove us wrong? Why not make your next post 'Refuting Allegations that the Biblical God is a God of terror' and shut us 'uninformed viewers' up.

David Wood said...

Bassam said: "Thats correct only if Nadir actually did that. Nadir refuted Shamoun's claims AND ALSO attacked the Bible. Big difference."

Wrong. You don't understand the Tu Quoque. Anytime Nadir points a finger back at Christianity, as if it relates to the topic, he is committing the Tu Quoque. At best, you could say that there is a difference between offering the Tu Quoque fallacy alone and offering the fallacy along with some arguments. And here I would not disagree. The point is that whenever Nadir pointed to Christianity, his reasoning was fallacious.

Bassam said: "It is relevant if the person who is arguing is a Christian and is using his religion as a standard or base in order to judge Islam."

Sam doesn't need Christianity as a standard to report what the Qur'an and Hadith say. If the question is whether Islam is a religion of peace, one doesn't need to be a Christian in order to report the facts.

Bassam said: "Yeah, because it was assumed that Shamoun is a Christian who distinguishes between what qualifies as violence and peace from his Bible. Thus, Nadir showed that Islam is quite angelic according to the standard that Shamoun was using."

Do you hear yourself? Nadir and Sam agreed to debate a single topic: "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" Nadir acts as if Christian issues should dominate the debate! And you agree!

You say that Islam is angelic compared to Christianity!!! Here's a pop quiz, Bassam. Christians are commanded to (a) Pray for their persecutors, (b) Love their enemies, (c) Never return evil for evil, (d) Kill in the name of God, (e) All of the above except (d). If you answered (e), you're right!

Now Muslims are commanded to (a) Pray for their persecutors, (b) Love their enemies, (c) Never return evil for evil, (d) Kill in the name of God, (e) All of the above except (d). If you answered (d), you're right!

Bassam said: "Well why not address our arguments and prove us wrong? Why not make your next post 'Refuting Allegations that the Biblical God is a God of terror' and shut us 'uninformed viewers' up."

Bassam, have you been paying attention? Sam has agreed to debate the issue of violence in the Old Testament. (I have also agreed to debate the issue.) But he insists (as I would also), since this isn't a central issue, that his Muslim opponent also be willing to take on a tough issue. Hence, Sam said that he would debate Nadir on OT violence, provided that Nadir is willing to debate the Prophethood of Muhammad. Yet Nadir has rejected Sam's offer! Then Nadir runs around on the internet and says that Sam is the one who is scared! Amazing! Sam agrees to the debate, Nadir backs down, and Sam is the one who is scared!!!

Florin said...

I saw Nadir defending Jews,and accusing the Christian committed genocide against them, and I saw how Kaiwaig,who is Jewish defended Nadir against Christian. Well, this is not new for Muslims and jews to be allies against Christians. Look in this country, when government trys to protect this country from Muslim terrorists, the Jewish lawyers stand up beside those terrorists against this country, and as usual Jews did in other countries. And I know the conflict between Muslims and Jews is only land not because of the religion, becuase in Quran is mentioned names of all Jewish prophets or Old Testement prophets. on the other hand none of the disciples of Lord Jesus name was mentioned. Jews believe in one God,so is Muslim, as the Jewish believe. So,not only Muslims believe we, Christians, are infidels, but also, Jews think same about us, becuase we are worshiping 3 gods, as they, Muslims and Jews, believe. I understand why Mr. Kaiwaig is supporting Mr. Ahmed, and specially, the messenger of Islam, Mohamad, was taught by Jewish Rabbies in Al-Madina,or Yathreb, that Jesus is not Son of the God and not divine Person. If anyone read the Old Testement and the Quran can see similarity between them. Actually,Most of Al-Shariah, the Islamic law, is taken from Deuteronomy and Joshua,which Mr.Ahmed did like it, and kept asking brother Sam repeatedly about it. I know many of the audience, who were clapping to Mr. Ahmed, were either Muslims or Jews, because Christ is thier common enemy. That is what they believe both, so both, Jews and Muslims try to uproot the Christianity each in its own method, and in different place. The Muslims are enforcing Christian in thier countries(Middle East) to leave by terroize them. And the Jews are obligating the Christian to change thier way of life by imposing these liberal laws, and destroying the family life of Christians. Could anyone tell me why all who talk against religion are Jewish, ACLU are Jewish, the lawyers who defence the terrorists are Jewish, and those who hide behind and under none profit organizations name are jewish. It is a big conspercy against Christians, and unfortuantely Christians are in deep sleep. God bless this Christian country and protect it from the Evil in Jesus' name Amen.

ben malik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nadir Ahmed said...

Dear God, I already refuted this nonsense
in this link:


As we saw in the Is Islam a religion of peace debate, Sam Shamoun ran away when confronted with the genocide and terrorism of the Bible, and falsely claimed that it was off topic. The topic of the debate is not "let's criticize Islam", but rather is "Islam a religion of peace". Nadir Ahmed is free to produce evidence to support his case from whatever source he sees fit, from Archaeology, history, hadith, Quran or the Bible. The Christian ministry has no right to restrict Nadir Ahmed on where he can produce his evidence.



Nadir Ahmed pointed out the reason and purpose of why Jihad verses were revealed in the Quran - to correct Biblical terrorism and genocide. If this argument was incorrect, then Sam Shamoun should have argued, "no, these Quran verses do not point to the Bible's verses for correction or should have argued the Quran is wrong, the Bible does not promote terrorism and genocide. But he did not.



Many Quran verses were revealed to correct the teachings of the Bible. One of the most important aspects of Jihad in Islam, is that it provided a more humane code of ethics and rules of war time engagement than that of the Christians and Jews during the life of Prophet Muhammed(P). Sam Shamoun is well aware that verses of the Quran were revealed to address Biblical teachings. Muslims should be free to argue this case to show the peacefulness of Islam.

Thanks,
Nadir Ahmed
www.ExamineTheTruth.com

David Wood said...

Nadir,

All you did here is repeat the arguments I've already refuted. Now please, answer my refutation.

Also, you said that my response is full of strawmen. I asked you to show me one, yet you haven't done it. Am I to assume that you were bluffing?

Sunil said...

David writes:
>> It is also ridiculous to claim that Muhammad came to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity. When did Muhammad claim this? I challenge Nadir to show us that Muhammad claimed that this was his purpose. If Nadir cannot produce such proof, he is guilty of ascribing false motives to his prophet.


Muhammad himself sought to be a legitimate continuity of prophets of OT/NT (if that continuity is not there, he has no ground to stand on and the new religion founded would be a false religion proclaiming a false god). So, Nadir is not only ascribing false motives to Muhammad, he is also ascribing false motives to the prophets on which Muhammad sought to base his legitimacy on. But Nadir has no option either way. If Nadir agrees to the teachings of Jesus, then there is no answer to why Muhammad and his companions violated the teachings of Jesus (on what constitutes the kingdom of God, commandment of love, use of sword in religion, expansionist wars to impose rule of law based on religion across the world etc). But if Nadir does not agree to teachings of Jesus, he is going against what Muhammad himself sought to be a continuity of.

blue said...

u know what guys,i had certain questions regarding my religion in my mind,Hinduism, i started researching it from the follower's and your Islamic and Christian perspective. Having researched on what all has been said by dr. Zakir, mr. White,mr. Craig Winn,dr. Ali Sina, all the revelations,torah,genesis,NT,OT,Ramayana,the satanic verses on the net ,all the arguments and the counter 1's, going over and over each other.
first of all i would like to adress you miss sana and maryam by saying that You both are wrong in saying that jesus(pbuh) was a lier,just because some1 was abusing your prophet(pbuh),you said that,is it.you know your qur'an believes in jesus as a prophet. by condemning him you are condemning your own religion. go and read qur'an, don't get angry,because your religion teaches peace and tolerance.
i would like to thank you all, because all your bickering and biting taught me that none other than the torah,genesis,and vedas,(maybe,i have'nt got no chance yet to read them) are true. both islam and christianity borrows heavily from sanatan dharma and judaism. everything you say and believe is being proved false by the other.
I am better off with my religion. it atleast believes in your choice, u can be a polytheist hindu and likewise be a monotheist or an atheist hindu. no compulsion on being,except humanity. i also started respecting jews.'love thy neighbor.'
i will see you all on the judgement day,the apocalypse,or the revelation as it would be. i believe that no religion but humanity alone will lead you to heaven,jannat or moksha. i don't want any virgins for me up there,nor i wish to follow jesus. its not whom u believe,its what you believe,just,
praise God....( whether he is ALLAH,YAHWEH,SHIVA, is your choice only)

blue said...

u know what guys,i had certain questions regarding my religion in my mind,Hinduism, i started researching it from the follower's and your Islamic and Christian perspective. Having researched on what all has been said by dr. Zakir, mr. White,mr. Craig Winn,dr. Ali Sina, all the revelations,torah,genesis,NT,OT,Ramayana,the satanic verses on the net ,all the arguments and the counter 1's, going over and over each other.
first of all i would like to adress you miss sana and maryam by saying that You both are wrong in saying that jesus(pbuh) was a lier,just because some1 was abusing your prophet(pbuh),you said that,is it.you know your qur'an believes in jesus as a prophet. by condemning him you are condemning your own religion. go and read qur'an, don't get angry,because your religion teaches peace and tolerance.
i would like to thank you all, because all your bickering and biting taught me that none other than the torah,genesis,and vedas,(maybe,i have'nt got no chance yet to read them) are true. both islam and christianity borrows heavily from sanatan dharma and judaism. everything you say and believe is being proved false by the other.
I am better off with my religion. it atleast believes in your choice, u can be a polytheist hindu and likewise be a monotheist or an atheist hindu. no compulsion on being,except humanity. i also started respecting jews.'love thy neighbor.'
i will see you all on the judgement day,the apocalypse,or the revelation as it would be. i believe that no religion but humanity alone will lead you to heaven,jannat or moksha. i don't want any virgins for me up there,nor i wish to follow jesus. its not whom u believe,its what you believe,just,
praise God....( whether he is ALLAH,YAHWEH,SHIVA, is your choice only)

blue said...

Know your religion and love it.

maddy sam said...

Challenge Nadir to show a single versus as like in Quran which shows to kill or torture non-believers. Quran teaches to kill Non-Muslims. 8:12(cut fingers, kill etc), 47:4(release by taking money as somalian pirates), 2:191, :: Teach people to Kidnap for money,loot and Kill. NO versus in Bible to Kill or loot Non-Christians or even to avoid them.