Courtier’s Reply

Somewhere recently on one of the sites I love to read I learned about the Courtier’s Reply. As much as I read, I don’t remember this from anywhere. It was one of those “a-ha!” moments, as it is an effective way to draw attention to someone trying to make a bad argument.

Basically, the Courtier’s Reply is a “silencing argument,” especially when used in religious discussions.  It attempts to state that you aren’t allowed to comment or criticize an idea or religion unless you have studied it down to the most trivial level.

The article I read pointed out that in cases of religion, the Courtier’s Reply is all the more relevant once you point out that members of a particular religions are NOT required or even expected to have a requisite level of knowledge, much less exposure, to the same information that you are expected to have.

It’s great shorthand to remind myself when I hear this type of reasoning in arguments.