USA Today recently reported that “not all Christians believe there is a War on Christmas.” Most who don’t have this belief have the contrary belief – that not only that there is not a war on Christmas, but that the holiday is doing just fine and one doesn’t need to force it on the non-believers.
But Larry Thornberry at AmSpec sees a fallacy:
A recent USA Today story carried the headline “Not all Christians believe there is a ‘War on Christmas.’” Hardly surprising. Not all Christians believe Elvis is dead. The obvious escapes many, pious or heathen.
The title of the piece is “Objection, Your Honor. Relevance?”
Two important things. First, ad populum arguments are not failures of relevance. Otherwise the fact that something is ‘traditional’ or ‘common sense’ wouldn’t lend any support to anything. But it does – else conservatism would, at it’s core, be a fallacy. Ad populum arguments suffer, instead, from problems of weak authority – the matter is whether there are other reasons undercutting the authority or the accuracy of those attesting.
Second, the analogy between those who don’t believe in a War on Christmas and those who believe Elvis is still alive is mighty ridiculous. The difference between the two is that Elvis-death-deniers fail with empirical evidence. War-on-Christmas deniers distinguish being oppressed from tolerance.