The French-Canadian Girlfriend Fallacy


I was asked the other night at a get together why I don’t believe in God.  It’s simple, I explained, there is no evidence that any God exists.  Of course, I knew what was going to come next so I wasn’t surprised when he said, “But you can’t disprove God.”  Yes, this is true.  I don’t base beliefs on whether or not things can be dis-proven though and really, other than when it comes to God, I don’t know anyone who does.  There are any number of things that can’t be dis-proven.  That does not in any way mean you should believe them.  In fact, I like to think of this kind of reasoning as the “French-Canadian Girlfriend Fallacy.”

The scenario goes like this.  You run into a random, super-nerdy, awkward, and pimple-faced young adult on the street.  He shows you a picture of a supermodel hot woman that he claims is his girlfriend.  You ask him to introduce you but he explains that she is from a remote part of French-Canada, unreachable at this time of year.  You ask him if they are Facebook friends and he explains she doesn’t have a Facebook.  You ask if she has a phone number and he explains that she is against phones cause they cause cancer and doesn’t speak English even if you could talk to her.  You go through all the ways that you might verify that anything he says is true and in all instances the only thing that can be verified is that his “girlfriend” can’t be verified through any known means.  If you now go by the standard for claims that can’t be disproved, you should go ahead and take on ‘faith’ that he is telling you the truth.

It gets even worse the more it starts to resemble a religion though.  For example, let’s say that he tells you that you can have a hot French-Canadian girlfriend too.  He explains that if you read this 3,000 page book that he has and pray to the French-Canadian Model Goddess, she will bless you with someone just as hot as her.  What?  No, he explains with conviction, “It’s true.”

He then takes you to a ‘church’ where multiple people claim that they were blessed with hot girlfriends they were introduced to over a special internet, only available to the people of their church.  They all have pictures of supermodel beautiful girlfriends, and with the exception of one guy, their girlfriends are all absent.  Their excuses for the absence are also very similar to the first guy you met on the street.

That one male, who is notably more attractive, dressed in much nicer clothes and whose ‘girlfriend’ is wearing a diamond the size of a small African villa, introduces you to his super hot girlfriend.  He claims the 3,000 page book you were given earlier was written by the Prophet Muhummus and it was passed down to him from three generations of holy men with hot girlfriends.  Although he happens to be the only one with a hot girlfriend present, he assures the people there that if they believe hard enough and follow the rules within his…um he meant to say, the Prophet’s book, their ‘girlfriends’ will be there to meet them soon.  He ends by passing around a basket for donations so that they can continue to search for their girlfriends, who you now find out, were taken by the demon Baal but can be brought back if they raise enough money and spread the word to enough people.

Starting to sound like a scam?  Keep this in mind.  You cannot disprove any of their claims.  Their girlfriends are not verifiable but they deeply believe they exist.  The existence of the Demon Baal is supposedly proven by their girlfriends’ absence, who they also deeply believe exist.  The passages of the 3,000 page book claim they have millions of witnesses to numerous miracles.  Within the book, the Prophet describes miracles at places like Alert, Nunavut, Canada, and even a supposed connection to the Mayans, as is evident from the words on page 316, “The star people, found at the southern most tip will lead you through time.”

Now, if you are thoroughly convinced this is a bunch of made up crap.  (Hint: It is.  I am making it up).  Stop and please take the time to really think about this scenario.  Try applying the same sort of logic and scrutiny you are using now to any religious claim that cannot be disproved.  Think about how disturbed you might be if these people not only made these claims but were influencing American politicians to send people to them for advice and help rebuilding their lives after some sort of tragedy.  What if they were the majority?  Would you be more apt to believe them?  What if they were part of your family?

Also, think about this.  Supposedly, according to the bible, miracles from God used to be the norm before we could record things, put them on the internet or in any way objectively verify them.  For example, when God came and asked Moses to be the savior of his people, Moses replied, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1)  God then goes on to bestow upon Moses things to prove God appeared to him.  Like the ability to turn his staff into a snake, changing his hand from being Leprous to not being Leprous, and turning water from the Nile into blood when he dropped it on the ground (Exodus 4:2-9).  Of course, Jesus is also supposed to have done all kinds of miracles like curing the blind (Mark 8:22-25), curing Lepers (Matthew 8:1-4), and raising the dead (John 11:42-44)  to prove he was the son of God.

So, if any of it is real, why should you have to believe it just because it can’t be dis-proven?  If it took miracles to prove it was real before, why are we now forced to believe on faith?  What do you think?  Leave a comment below so I can read about it.

About markecaddo

Mark Caddo is currently involved with many different aspects of the Cincinnati Community including advocacy for veterans, unions, non-profits, and understanding between those who don't see evidence for any God and those who do. He is a veteran of the United States Navy who was walking down the brow to go on leave when the second World Trade Center Tower was hit. He has done two tours overseas in support of both the war in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq and he even received two Navy Achievement Medals during the four years he served (Although they were both related to typing rather than Rambo style battles...). He is a Cincinnati, Oh native who grew up in the city's surrounding suburbs of North College Hill and Milford before settling in with his wife of two years a little closer to downtown Cincinnati. Finally, he spends his days working and his nights either writing, studying to finish college, discussing religion and politics on Facebook or doing what his wife orders him to in the kitchen.
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