This is a word I had never heard before – but instantly understood its meaning, and usefulness, when I did come across it. It leapt off the page while reading Steven Pinker’s book How the Mind Works. Talking about religious food taboos Pinker describes the ingenious justifications rabbis offer for Jewish dietary laws. He refers to elders cloaking them “in talmudic sophistry and bafflegab.”
I had been looking for a word to describe the gobbledegook that aggressive religious apologists often come out with to justify their claims. Some of these religious spokespersons seem to have training in philosophy, logic, debating and presentation and put these all to use in justifying the unjustifiable. Plenty of form but horrible content.
Anyone following the religion vs science debates will be familiar with the justifications of Alister McGrath (usually preceded by “I would argue that ..”) and John Lennox (especially in ustifying his belief in miracles). I don’t know whether their fellow religious thinkers can understand and agree with these justifications but they certainly cause my eyes to glaze over.
It’s all bafflegab to me. Continue reading