Reason Evidence and Politics – or when Atheists behave like religious extremists.

Many of my cohorts give high regard to reason and evidence, ‘let the facts lead where they may’ could be a mantra or prayer.

But when it comes to applying this heuristic to certain domains, skeptics may show as much resistance to evidence as anyone they might otherwise mock as a religious kook.

A popular scientific model holds that existence, reality itself is composed of matter + energy + the interactions or effects thereof – e.g. angle, momentum inertia etc.

So, buy definition things that ‘exist ‘ only in the mind, or imaginary things regardless of how vividly held or popularly believed, do not exist, they are not real.

For example, many people believe in ghosts, and yet the skeptic would point out that there is no empirical evidence that ghosts exist, they are held to be imaginary by Science.

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” – Hitchens

So what of states or countries – do they hold an independent existence outside of the mind?

Certainly they are not the land itself, as the land has been here long before the invention of states and will persist in our absence.

What we have here is an example of a near universally held and rarely challenged logical fallacy.

The fallacy is termed nominalization in NLP (Neuro  Linguistic Programming), or Reification (also known as concretism, hypostatization, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating something that is not concrete, such as an idea, as a concrete thing. A common case of reification is the confusion of a model with reality: “the map is not the territory”.

Reification is part of normal usage of natural language (just like metonymy for instance), as well as of literature, where a reified abstraction is intended as a figure of speech, and actually understood as such. But the use of reification in logical reasoning or rhetoric is misleading and usually regarded as a fallacy – (Wikipedia)

Next post : Why this matters, a lot.