Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Tebowological Argument

People play a lot of games, things that are just a bit of horsing around; and one of the games people are playing right now online is the construction of Tebowological arguments. That is, they take some fact or other about Tim Tebow, or the Denver Broncos and their unexpected knack of suddenly winning when Tebow is on the field despite the fact that everyone agrees that Tebow looks like a combination of how not to do things as a quarterback, especially when it comes to passing. And, of course, other people argue that the Tebowological argument fails in some respect or others. You can find a large number of things just by googling Tebow "existence of God". Most of them are just slapped together, but some of the arguments are actually pretty ingenious in their own way; and it's always amusing at how heated some of the arguments get over a bit of sophistical exercise.

But I think there are probably connections between this bit of light horseplay and less fun things. Tebowological arguments are, after all, design arguments -- artificially manufactured design arguments, but design arguments nonetheless. And arguments that they fail are arguments from evil -- artificially manufactured ones, again, but still arguments from evil. It's not difficult to find the parallels. I'm interested in philosophical folklore, so if I had the time, it would be interested to look at the phenomenon more closely as a way of getting insight into how people process and construct philosophical arguments, even if only jokingly, on this subject outside the usual limited treadmill of arguments. This would be potentially valuable both for getting a better idea of how people think when dealing with the topic and for studying the potential structural variations of this general kind of argument, since people are constructing them under conditions that are less constrained than real arguments for and against the existence of God. And both of these are interesting for understanding how arguments work in practice.

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