Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Word Salad

A phrase we often hear when speaking to fundie atheists is 'word salad'.

The usual routine is something like this:

Fundie atheist: **Question about scripture/faith/religion.**
Believer: **Reasoned but perhaps complicated response with examples and evidence.**
Fundie atheist: "Word Salad!"

What 'word salad' actually is is when somebody talks a lot, but doesn't really say anything. They might seem to be skirting around the issue and giving anecdotes in order to actually avoid answering a tricky question.
This is rarely what is happening when the fundie atheist calls "word salad" though. Usually, when they call it, it actually means that they don't understand what's being said, and because they don't understand, they think the question hasn't been answered.

Ironically, one of the masters of word salad was one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism: Christopher Hitchens. In pretty much every debate with a studied philosopher/theologian (e.g. William Lane Craig, John Lennox, or Frank Turek to name a few) you'll see him being asked a straight forward question (sometimes only needing a yes/no answer) and him heading off on an irrelevant tangent so that he could get in a jab about genital mutilation.