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Fallacy of Equivocation

Why did Morey go to such great depths to invent daughters for the Moon-god? Because the pagan Arabs just before Islam believed that their gods al-Lat, Uzzah and Manat were daughters of Allah. If Morey can convince his readers that the Moon-god had daughters he might just be able to confuse them into thinking that the pagan Arabs believed in the Moon-god and his daughters. And this is the point he tries to drive home. Notice his following claim which we find on pages 7-8 of his book:

Thousands of inscriptions from walls and rocks in Northern Arabia have also been collected. Reliefs and votive bowls used in worship of the "daughters of Allah" have also been discovered. The three daughters, al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat are sometimes depicted together with Allah the Moon-god represented by a crescent moon above them (Morey, pp.7-8).

He does not quote any authority for any of the above claims. The only thing he has in quotes is "daughters of Allah." Well this is nothing new and I do not need to see an authority cited for it. What I want to see an authority for is Morey's allegation about "Allah the Moon-god" (Morey, p.8). But these are Morey's words, and he can find no authority to connect the name Allah with the Moon-god. Surely Morey can do better than that. For this important claim he offers no quote of an authority, no diagram, no illustration, no map, and no specific detail. He does not say when, where or by whom the inscriptions were collected.

He does tell us in his footnotes where we can find more information about this. But after discovering
Morey's misquotes one after another I lack the time and energy to check out these writings from which he did not have the time or energy to make a direct quotation. I did notice, however, that one of the authorities mentioned has nothing to do with a discussion about Allah being a Moon-god of any sort. It deals with the goddess Atirat and her relation to the Moon-god and the Sun-goddess. But this goddess Atirat is related not to the Moon-god Allah, for there is no such being. From an ancient Qatabanian inscription discovered at Timna, we know that the goddess Atirat was related to the Moon-god `Amm (see Pritchard, The Ancient Near East: A New Anthology of Texts and Pictures, vol 2, p. 237). So I am not prepared to go on any more wild- goose chases than what Morey has already sent me on.

If there is something significant in those writings why does Morey not make a direct quotation? Then we can check again for the accuracy of his quotations. I don't think this is an unreasonable demand. When Morey was proving less significant and what I call highly irrelevant points he was busy quoting authorities. When he told us about Moon-god worship everywhere else he furnished us with names of discoverers, dates of discoveries, names of discovery cites, and lots of pictures to boot.

Why is it that when it comes to Northern Arabia he offers not a shred of evidence? Does Morey expect his readers to accept his most important point on faith alone? Usually we take at face value what a writer says, because we expect him to tell the truth. We have been seeing again and again that with Morey we cannot afford that risk. Morey has committed here what in logic is known as the fallacy of eqivocation. He takes a term which meant one thing in a certain context and the same term which means another thing in a new context and pretends that since the term is the same the meaning is also the same. He argues that the Moon-god of the South Arabians had daughters, and the High God Allah of the Mecca Arabs had daughters, therefore they are one and the same god having daughters.

To see how this fallacy works, consider this argument for illustration:

The Japanese believed their emperor to be the son of God. Christians also believe in the Son of God.

That way of saying things imply that Christians believe in the Japanese emperor. That, of course is not true. Now consider Morey's argument:

The South Arabians believed that the Moon-god had daughters. The pagan Arabs of Mecca also believed that Allah had daughters.

Morey implies that Allah was therefore the Moon- god. But this is no more true than to say that Christians believe in the Japanese emperor. Morey should know better than to commit such a fallacy. As a teacher of a course on logic, he should be trained in spotting such fallacies rather than committing them. But Morey's misuse of this knowledge reminds us that good knowledge can also be used for evil purposes.

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