Whether you’re arguing with theists (or even other atheists), you’re going to see the same kind of logical fallacies used time and time again. Cracked has a list of five of them that people all too often:
#5. We’re Not Programmed to Seek “Truth,” We’re Programmed to “Win”
#4. Our Brains Don’t Understand Probability
#3. We Think Everyone’s Out to Get Us
#2. We’re Hard-Wired to Have a Double Standard
#1. Facts Don’t Change Our Minds
Here’s how things would work in a perfect world: You and your friend are on opposing sides of an issue. After reaching an impasse, you pull out a piece of information so precise, so compelling, so perfect, that your buddy does a 180 and completely changes his mind. You high five and skip off into the distance.
And this probably has happened … as long as it was a subject that neither of you particularly cared about. But if it was some emotionally charged issue, like abortion? God help you.
In addition to examples of each, there’s also the science behind what’s going on in your mind and what to remember the next time you’re in an argument.
I know it’s easy to believe no one ever changes their minds about opinions they hold so tightly, but — as many, many, many atheists can attest to — it happens all the time. You just need enough of a nudge to get you thinking a little more critically about your position. Once that first brick comes down, it’s not very long before the whole house tumbles.
That’s why we have to keep making our case, even when it doesn’t seem like it’s getting through to religious people.
(Thanks to Darrell for the link!)