Topic A: What is the fallacy of Straw Man? How is it different than simply disagreeing with someone else’s point of view? Use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you give a detailed explanation of what the mistake in a Straw Man is. To demonstrate your understanding and to teach the idea to the rest of the class, provide a relevant real-life example of the logical mistake. (You MAY use an outside source to help you present your example; be sure to summarize or paraphrase, cite, and use announcing verbs.) Choose carefully – consider whether your example does a good job of illustrating a Straw Man. Compare it to similar fallacies, and show why your example is a Straw Man rather than another fallacy like an Appeal to the Person. Your discussion of your example should be detailed so that readers can evaluate the fallacy. Argue the case for why your example is an example of Straw Man.

QUESTION

See the general instructions in the Essay Discussion Instructions section of the course menu. Once you choose which question you’d like to write about, write your essay and post it in the discussion board and also save it as a Word document.

To create your post, click the blue Create Thread button. To be able to read and respond to others’ posts, you will first need to publish your own post. Your first post is the one that will be graded–a blank post WILL be graded if it is your first post in the board. You can save your post as a draft, but it will not be published for students to view, nor will it be queued for grading until you click the Submit button.

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Topic A: What is the fallacy of Straw Man? How is it different than simply disagreeing with someone else’s point of view? Use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you give a detailed explanation of what the mistake in a Straw Man is. To demonstrate your understanding and to teach the idea to the rest of the class, provide a relevant real-life example of the logical mistake. (You MAY use an outside source to help you present your example; be sure to summarize or paraphrase, cite, and use announcing verbs.) Choose carefully – consider whether your example does a good job of illustrating a Straw Man. Compare it to similar fallacies, and show why your example is a Straw Man rather than another fallacy like an Appeal to the Person. Your discussion of your example should be detailed so that readers can evaluate the fallacy. Argue the case for why your example is an example of Straw Man.
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When you refresh the board, after you publish your post, it will allow you to view everyone’s posts. If you hover your cursor at the bottom of a post, the button to reply to that student’s post will appear.

Use your course texts to help you respond to the topic, and when you quote and summarize from the course texts, include information about the page reference.

You are discouraged from using additional sources. If you do choose to use an outside source, be sure to cite your source, just as you do when you use the course texts. If you use a quotation or an example from a website, cite the website’surl and the date accessed.

Once you are ready for your classmates to read it, post the thread containing your essay. Then go to the TurnItIn dropbox section here in Blackboard and post your Word document into the dropbox. You do not need to include your response to another student in the file that you upload to TurnItIn.

Finally, read your classmates’ posts. A complete assignment includes your written responseto at least one essay besides your own–part of your score is based on your reply to at least one of your classmate’s posts. It should be a meaningful reply that continues the discussion, points out something good about the post, and makes a constructive suggestion for improvement.

Topics for your Essay, Choose A or B

Essay Length tips–To answer these topics completely, it takes about 2 pages – 8-10 paragraphs. Use the topic questions and the scoring rubric to see if your draft responds fully to all parts of the question. A complete thoughtful answer is more important than word count.

Topic A: What is the fallacy of Straw Man? How is it different than simply disagreeing with someone else’s point of view?

Use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you give a detailed explanation of what the mistake in a Straw Man is. To demonstrate your understanding and to teach the idea to the rest of the class, provide a relevant real-life example of the logical mistake. (You MAY use an outside source to help you present your example; be sure to summarize or paraphrase, cite, and use announcing verbs.) Choose carefully – consider whether your example does a good job of illustrating a Straw Man. Compare it to similar fallacies, and show why your example is a Straw Man rather than another fallacy like an Appeal to the Person. Your discussion of your example should be detailed so that readers can evaluate the fallacy. Argue the case for why your example is an example of Straw Man.

Topic B: Is it morally permissible to believe in God just because it is to your practical advantage to believe? Why or why not? Use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you explain how Pascal argues for belief in God. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of other thinkers have identified in his reasoning.

What does the argument against believing in God without sufficient evidence look like? Is it plausible that God would look kindly on atheists and agnostics to because they refuse to believe without evidence? After all, aren’t they simply using God’s gift of reason to arrive at their decision?

ANSWER

Topic B: Is it morally permissible to believe in God just because it is to your practical advantage to believe? 

Why or why not? Use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you explain how Pascal argues for belief in God. Explain the strengths and weaknesses other thinkers have identified in his reasoning.

Belief in God has been a subject of philosophical and moral debate for centuries. Blaise Pascal, a renowned mathematician and philosopher, presented an argument known as Pascal’s Wager, which asserts that it is morally permissible to believe in God even if there is no definitive evidence. In this essay, I will examine Pascal’s argument, as explained in Vaughn’s book “The Power of Critical Thinking,” and discuss the strengths and weaknesses identified by other thinkers.

Pascal’s Wager is based on the idea that belief in God yields practical advantages, regardless of whether God’s existence can be proven or not. According to Pascal, one should consider the potential outcomes of belief and disbelief in God. He argues that if God exists and an individual believes in Him, they stand to gain eternal salvation (Pascal’s Wager About God | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d.). On the other hand, if God does not exist, the believer loses nothing compared to the non-believer. Therefore, Pascal posits that the potential reward of belief in God outweighs any potential cost, making it rational and morally permissible to believe.

One strength of Pascal’s Wager is its recognition of the practical benefits that belief in God can provide. It acknowledges that religious beliefs often bring comfort, a sense of purpose, and a moral framework to individuals’ lives (Pascal’s Wager About God | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d.-b). Additionally, Pascal’s argument appeals to the concept of risk and reward, which is a familiar principle in decision-making. By framing belief in God as a rational choice with potential positive outcomes, Pascal offers a pragmatic perspective on religious belief.

However, Pascal’s Wager has also been criticized for several weaknesses. One significant criticism is that it presents a false dichotomy by considering belief in God as the only viable option. It neglects the possibility of multiple gods or the absence of a god altogether (Pascal’s Wager (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), 2022). This narrow focus limits the applicability of Pascal’s argument in a world with diverse religious beliefs and philosophical perspectives.

Furthermore, Pascal’s Wager has been criticized for its emphasis on self-interest. Critics argue that basing belief in God solely on practical advantages undermines the authenticity and sincerity of religious faith. They contend that genuine belief should be rooted in personal conviction and evidence rather than calculated benefits. Therefore, from this perspective, it is not morally permissible to believe in God solely for practical advantage.

Moreover, the argument against believing in God without sufficient evidence questions the intellectual integrity of blind faith. It asserts that individuals should not accept beliefs without rational justification or empirical evidence (Atheism and Agnosticism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), 2022). Atheists and agnostics are often seen as using reason and critical thinking to arrive at their decision, rather than relying on dogma or tradition. This perspective suggests that God, being an entity associated with reason, would appreciate the exercise of critical thinking and the pursuit of evidence-based beliefs.

In conclusion, Pascal’s Wager presents an argument for the moral permissibility of believing in God based on practical advantages. While it acknowledges the potential benefits of religious belief, it has faced criticism for its narrow focus, reliance on self-interest, and failure to account for alternative perspectives. The argument against believing in God without sufficient evidence raises important questions about intellectual integrity and the role of reason in forming beliefs. Ultimately, the question of whether it is morally permissible to believe in God solely for practical advantage remains a complex and multifaceted issue, with differing viewpoints among philosophers and thinkers.

References

Atheism and Agnosticism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2022, March 22). https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/ 

Pascal’s Wager (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2022, September 11). https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/ 

Pascal’s Wager about God | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (n.d.). https://iep.utm.edu/pasc-wag/ 

 

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