Has anyone ever noticed how much Richard Dawkins loves the Genetic Fallacy?

Him, along with many other atheist, claim the reason Christians believe what we believe because we grew up in a Christian home. This is called the Genetic Fallacy.


@Reilah, It seems you have no idea what the Genetic Fallacy means. A quick google search would do you some good.

Update 2:

@Jaiett, Either way it's still the Genetic Fallacy, to say a belief is untrue based on how it originated.

Update 3:

@Saint Nary, I'm not the one committing it. I don't say atheist are atheist because they grew up in a secular household.

Update 4:

@Aaronsml, I know that people who grow up in Christian homes are likely to be Christians. However, Richard Dawkins brings this up in a way to invalidate Christianity, which is the Genetic Fallacy. You can't invalidate a belief, based on how it originates.

Update 5:

@Donna, I say this because I've heard many people on this site commit the Genetic Fallacy, as well.

Update 6:

@Jamie, It's defiantly a fallacy. It's not an observed fact. There is no way to know if a Christian would be a different religion if he grew up in a different home.

Update 7:

@? The Genetic Fallacy is when you try to invalidate a belief based on it's origin. Richard Dawkins has done this time and time again, and so has many other atheist.

Update 8:

@Mia, just pointing out a fallacy committed by your beloved Dawkins, the truth hurts.

Update 9:

@Leonard, there is no statistics on it because there is no way to know. I'm not arguing that Christians usually grow up in a Christian home. I'm saying Richard Dawkins uses this in a way to invalidate Christianity, which is the genetic fallacy.

Update 10:

You're only Christian because you grew up in a Christian home, you would be Muslim if you grew up in a Muslim home= genetic fallacy because you are attacking the origin of the belief in a way to invalidate it. It isn't that difficult to understand.

Update 11:

@Aggy, Once again, I'm not arguing the statistics of a Christian growing up in a Christian home, I understand this. I'm saying if you try to invalidate Christianity based on this though, like Dawkins, then this is the Genetic Fallacy.

Update 12:

Okay people, who clearly don't understand what a fallacy is. The Genetic Fallacy is when you try to invalidate a belief, based on the origin of the belief. When Richard Dawkins says: You're Christian because you grew up in a Christian home; if you grew up in a Muslim home, you would be Muslim. This is the genetic fallacy. As he is trying to invalidate your belief, by attacking the origin of your belief.

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Atheists are quite capable of committing every fallacy they accuse Christians of, plus some others besides.

  • Mia
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Hmm, are you actually an atheist trying to make Christians look dumb or the actual stereotypical not that bright theist? The example you use doesn't involve genetics and would not be a genetic fallacy. It's a possible example of environment NOT genetics playing a role in development. Dawkins clearly doesn't believe theists inherit belief via their genes as he credits that many do grow up in a religious household and decide they don't hold those beliefs. Statistically though most people have the religious beliefs they were taught or programmed to believe growing up.

  • 8 years ago

    Empirical evidence suggests this claim is likely to be true, thus the genetic fallacy doesn't apply as the claim can be assessed on evidence, not just assertion.

    You might also note that the 'genetic fallacy' is an informal logical fallacy, meaning that while the argument may be weak, it isn't necessarily incorrect merely because it is fallacious.

    Edit... Um, that's not actually true.

    The argument, I assume (I rarely read anything Dawkins writes on religion) is this:

    1. Christians tend to come from Christian households.

    2. If Christianity were true, we would expect God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit to make some effort to reach those who were not raised in Christian households or Christian areas (like, say, those in rural India or Amazonian tribes).

    3. Many people have no such effort expended on them in order to show them the love of Jesus.

    4. It seems reasonable to conclude based on this that, in fact, Christianity is just a regional superstition, rather than a universe-encompassing truth.

  • G
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    I seriously think that you need to learn about Genetic Fallacy.

    There is a great amount difference between Richard Dawkins' postulation and that.

    Anyways, it is a proven fact that the family into which one is born contributes to the mental conditioning of the child.


    What you are saying is that Dawkins did not arrive at the conclusion correctly, because "arrived" is derived from "a rive" or "by river", hence a boat, while he drove to the conclusion by a car.

    Now, do you see what the non sequitor of the Genetic Fallacy is?


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  • Aggy
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    That is NOT a genetic fallacy as it is supported by statistics. Children of Christians are more likely to be Christian, Hindu children more likely to be Hindus etc.

    A genetic fallacy in Christianity would be to say, for example, that Christians wear instruments of torture around their necks. The cross has now taken on a totally different meaning to Christisans so it is a genetic fallacy to assume the cross has the same meaning now as it did 2,000 years ago.

    Edit: Not at all - his position is perfectly correct. The assertions of Christianity are more likely made for social reasons than for factual reasons. i.e. a child from a Christian home will believe in Jesus not because he has studied and found the facts to be true but because he is born into that environment. That means that the basis for Christianity is eroded as it comes not from reason but from environment.

  • Jamie
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Is it a fallacy? Rather it's an observed fact. People who grow up with Christian parents will most likely (not always) become Christians themselves. Likewise, people with Muslim parents will most likely becomes Muslims.

    Do you really deny this?

    If it were a fallacy, we should expect to see a far more general spread of religion all over the world rather than concentrated groups of Christians in religious countries, Muslims in Middle Eastern countries and Hindus in India etc.

  • 8 years ago

    hi there.

    I've heard very little from him. but I noticed a tu quo que.

    the question was "what if you're wrong about god?"

    the answer "oh no what if you're wrong about the great juju under the mountain?"

    what do you expect from a guy who wrote a book trying to debunk Christianity but nowhere does this book address or even use the word "prophecy".

    if you can't deal with prophecy you can't deal with Christianity.

    btw i'm from a non Christian house from pagan ancestors who were new zealand maori. clearly a fallacy in reference to people like me.

    according to this theory I should be praying to the tane the forest god or tangaroa the sea god and if necessary tu the war god.

  • 8 years ago

    Let me get this straight.

    You want to claim you would have been a Christian even if you had not grown up in a Christian home?

    Strictly speaking, that can be true, since some people are not trapped until later in life. However, I would really like to see some statistics on that.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    He actually refers society; not households. And, statistically, he's correct. =P

    That said, I dislike listening to him. He's not on the same level of awesome that Hitchens was, or Harris is.

    He's apparently quite successful in his field, however. Not that I'd know anything about that. :P

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Religion is wrong because................. it comes from bronze age goat herders (genetic fallacy)

    Religion is wrong because................. Stephen Hawking says so (argument from authority)

    Religion is wrong because................. most FRSs are atheists (argumentum ad populum)

  • Donna
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    You say this like he's the atheist version of a god, guess what? He's not.

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