Annoying April Fools Pet Peeve

There’s a concept in mathematics and logic called the bi-conditional logical connective. In short, it’s the idea of “if and only if”, as opposed to a simple “if” statement. It stipulates that of two connected statements, if one is true then so is the other, no matter which statement you start with. A simple “if” statement – “if A then B” – implies that B is true if A is true, but B is not dependent on A. B can be true even if A is false. The only requirement is that B is true when A is true¹. In the case of “if and only if” however, the dependence goes both ways (indicated by “iff”). Saying “iif A then B” sets up the requirement that A must be true for B to be true, and B must be true for A to be true. Either they are both true, or they are both false.

The difference is shown below:

“If an animal has fins and gills, it is a fish”
“All cows eat grass”

These two statements are “if” statements. You don’t get to assume that all fish have fins and gills, or that everything that eats grass is a cow.

There’s a point to this, I promise.

How many of your friends posted something Saturday about National Atheist’ day? The idea is that since “the fool says in his heart there is no God”² then April Fools day, a celebration of fools, is all about atheists.

In other words, people are taking the phrase “the fool says there is no God” and reversing the logical connective. They are inferring that someone who says there is no God is a fool, which is not what that verse says. There is no bi-directional implication to that rule. It’s not an IFF. It’s an if.

While it’s true that people doubt or reject God’s existence out of stubborn foolishness, fools aren’t the only ones. Do you know who else has reason to reject the idea of a loving, all-powerful God?

  • The rape victim who was told by a Pastor that God allowed her assault for His glory
  • The gay teenager who infers that if there is a God, then He created him defective on purpose in order to eventually condemn him to eternal torment for it
  • The 20-something who was raised by “God in human flesh”, a father who justified constant physical, emotional and psychological abuse with religion
  • The middle-aged man whose son died in a mass shooting, and who was shortly thereafter told that it was God’s will, because God works in mysterious ways
  • The masses of people who heard countless religious leaders in the months following 9/11 (and every hurricane or natural disaster since) decrying the moral decay of America and claiming God was punishing America.

There are other reasons people reject God. The fact that someone is so quick to push these aside and simply shout “Fool! Fool!” tells me said person may be one of those reasons.

¹ It is also implied by the statement “if A then B” that if B is false, then so is A.

² Psalm 14:1


2 thoughts on “Annoying April Fools Pet Peeve

  1. Good thoughts, and I share your pet peeve. Small correction: the shorthand is “iff,” not “iif.” What you are pointing out concerning “National Atheist’s Day” is also a case of “affirming the consequent”—a syllogistic fallacy. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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