Paul Harvey: If I Were the Devil


It sounds like Paul Harvey knew what was coming, but we refused to listen.

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3 Comments

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Current Events, Religion

3 responses to “Paul Harvey: If I Were the Devil

  1. This is nothing more than a seductive rhetorical device. You can substitute just about anything for “If I were the devil…” and list as many negatives as you want, making it appear to link the former to the latter.You can also do the reverse, suggesting we can link something with positives. And this is what advertising is all about.

    Of course, this is just plain dumb for anyone to fall for it. Linking cause with effect is not nearly so easy in reality; it’s only easy if you remove the discipline necessary to isolate the variable (the devil in this case) and allow reality to establish if there is or is not a causal link. This, Harvey cannot do because he cannot isolate ‘the devil’ as an agency of effect. One must assume the causal agency and this is a critical mistake. And that’s why the message is so seductive… not because it’s true or right but because it’s easy and pious and adds confirmation to the bias believers already have that such agencies are causal.

    • So you are saying that in 1965, when Harvey gave this warning/message, he was somehow suggesting that if things turned out the way he was suggesting they might, with the hypothetical cause of the devil, he was just performing a future advertisement for religion?

      • It’s not that things ‘turned out this way’; you seem quite willing to give him the power of prognostication! But this isn’t true, is it? What he was talking about was already around him. What he wasn’t commenting on were all the positives, nor was he attributing all the positives to the devil. He was selecting what he considered immoral and attributed it to some evil plan rather than what it is: typical problems in any society with the freedom to do so. But if you look at how ‘awful’ the results turned out to be, you will see the rise of the social safety net state wherever religion receded. That’s why the quality of life that Harvey suggests will only decrease has in fact massively increased across all the board. But because the US is still so religious, it ranks near the bottom of all these comparisons with more secular democratic states around the world. That reality just doesn’t fit into Harvey’s model, now does it? In fact, it lays bare the disassociation with reality that Harvey’s beliefs supported.

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