Monday, March 16, 2009

Muslim Logic: Is Sami Zaatari Satan?

Over at Muslim Responses, Sami Zaatari has tried his hand at the commit-as-many-fallacies-as-you-can-in-a-syllogism challenge (this is an unexpressed challenge that many Muslims seem to be aware of, at least if we may judge by their actions). His attempt goes like this:

(1) -A Christian lies
(2) -The Christian clams to have the Holy Spirit
(3) -The Christian claims that the Holy Spirit works through him/her
(4) -The Christian claims that the Holy Spirit guides him/her
(5) -Therefore the Holy Spirit causes the Christian to lie
(6) -The Bible states that satan is a liar and is the father of lies
(7) -The Holy Spirit is satan

[The words are Zaatari's; the numbering is mine - SP]

This argument has two parts. The first part, where (5) is concluded on the basis of (1-4), and the second part, where (7) is concluded on the basis of (5-6).

I won't bother listing all the errors...indeed, that would take away all the fun from others who may want to find some errors on their own, but I will note here that neither (5) nor (7) follow in any wise, even if we grant that all of the premises Zaatari has supplied are true.

The conclusion that the Holy Spirit causes the Christian to lie (5) doesn't follow from the claim that a person has the Holy Spirit who guides and works through him (2-4), at least not on any normal meaning of the relevant terms.

And the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is Satan (7) doesn't follow even if we pretend that Zaatari has established that the Spirit causes a person to lie (5) when taken together with the fact that Satan is the father of lies (6), for just becase Satan is the originator and approver of all lies, doesn't mean that he is the only one who can or does lie.

Simply put: at both stages of his argument Zaatari is guilty of a non-sequitur, asserting something in his conclusion that does not at all follow from his premises.

And by the way, when a person asserts something on the basis of demonstrably faulty reasoning, it is either due to a mistake, or it is intentionally designed to deceive. If the above is chalked up to a mistake in reasoning on Zaatari's part, then it is an egregious one that not even a freshman should make (and surely Zaatari considers himself a step above freshman status); if it is a case of willful deception, then shall we conclude that Zaatari is Satan? Zaatari's reasoning suggests that we should.

Putting all this together would mean that Zaatari is "the Holy Spirit" who in turn is Satan (on Zaatari's reasoning, of course). [And wouldn't this also mean, if we grant the Muslim claim that the angel Gabriel is the Holy Spirit, that Zaatari (i.e. Satan) is the one who brought the "revelation" to Muhammad? Certainly it would.]


Que te vaya said...

For some reason Sami Zaatari seems almost obsessively focused on calling the Holy Spirit "evil" as often as he can.

Not a wise decision Sami.

Semper Paratus said...

Yes, Que. And when you say "Not wise", you are putting it lightly.