Talk:Great Beethoven fallacy

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Nominating this for bronze. Why? Because I think it's at least somewhat good, so I want you to review it amongst yourselves so I don't come off as overtly arrogant. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 03:51, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

It was fine before you fucked with it. -- Seth Peck (talk) 04:05, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
What's less than copper? Tin? P-Foster Talk ""Santorum is the cream rising to the top."" 04:05, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
How about brass? -- Seth Peck (talk) 04:09, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
How about revert? ТyNo 04:14, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Already on it, keep up now TY--il'Dictator Mikal 04:15, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Ugh...I say revert it back to this revision. -- Seth Peck (talk) 04:41, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Analogous conversation (which might prove useful):[edit]

Person A: Let's go to the nearby store and buy lottery tickets!

Person B: You do realize that you're essentially throwing money away when you buy lottery tickets, right?

Person A: No! My ticket will have the right numbers on it, and I'll win a million dollars! I know it!

Person B: *Calls gambling addiction hotline* (talk) 06:23, 2 October 2014 (UTC)


Beethoven was great, but is this fallacy great? I think we should move this to Beethoven fallacy. SophieWilderModerator 19:59, 15 November 2014 (UTC)


While the argument is fallacious, we don't title it "Global flood fallacy" because we explain why it's stupid in-article. Maybe "Aborted Beethoven argument" or just "Aborted Beethoven" -- or just merge this into a larger article on abortion arguments. ʇυzzγɔɒтqoтɒтo (talk/stalk) 23:45, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Maurice Baring, not confirmed he's the creator of the legend[edit]

This anti-abortion argument was created by Maurice Baring, a prominent Roman Catholic. It was taken up by British MP Norman St. John Stevas and critiqued by Peter Medawar (who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1960) and Jean Medawar.

The origins of this statement is unsourced. I tried looking up Maurice Baring through a search engine, but I didn't find results relevant aside from RationalWiki's page and articles debunking the fallacy. Baring does have a Wikipedia article Maurice BaringWikipedia, but there is nothing in the article that mentions this fallacy. I also looked "great beethoven fallacy" and didn't find relevant results beyond "lol not a fallacy" by religious organizations and "lol fallacy" in blogs. I looked up "Maurice Baring abortion", that specific string. I found a result from titled "Did Beethoven's mother have syphilis" and the preview text was "Did Beethoven's mother have syphilis? ... she have an abortion? ... for versions of the story attribute it not to Maurice Baring but to a certain Professor L ...". I couldn't find the text after following the link, though it suggests a different attribution, thus casting doubt on the real origins of this kind of story. I'm not sure what "taken up" means in this context, but I assume he accepted to challenge the argument? Anyhow, this argument is ubiquitous online (IMO), and I find it surprisingly difficult to fact-check this simple statement.

The best I could find was a passage from Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion page 338). Passage:

Peter and Jean Medawar, in The Life Science, attribute the following version to Norman St John Stevas (now Lord St John), a British Member of Parliament and prominent Roman Catholic layman. He, in turn, got it from Maurice Baring[...]. He cast it in the form of a hypothetical dialogue between two doctors:
"About the terminating of pregnancy, I want your opinion. The father was syphilitic, the mother tuberculous. Of the four children born, the first was blind, the second died, and the third was deaf and dumb, the fourth was also tuberculous. What would you have done?
"I would have terminated the pregnancy."
"Then you would have murdered Beethoven."

What seems like a source would be The Life Science. That part where Medawar disparaged the argument is sourced (being citation 131) but I can't check that one out as I don't have The God Delusion. I also noted that The God Delusion mentions how the argument has also been attributed to L.R. Agnew at the UCLA Medical School (if we take his "forty-three" figure as literal, then that's pretty common and is notable to include in the article).

But anyhow, Dawkins ends it by saying that "I cannot discover whether it was Baring who originated the legend or whether it was invented earlier", which is in the same page. What I can garner from my research, then, is that Baring was one of the earlier users of the argument, but it's not confirmed a creator as this article says. I'd take Dawkins's word for it, though, and we can source that it was indeed critiqued by Medawar, who's the one who attributed it to Baring in the first place. But we also should mention L.R. Agnew.

More suggestions from me would be to bolster the Problems subsection with page numbers from Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion for the sake of fact checking not only this article, but Dawkins's claims. I also think that Dawkins drew his criticism from Medawar, so a quote from Medawar, from the Google Books source I put out, should be good too. Anyhow, I think these changes would be enough to remove the improvement template. Any other thoughts? --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 01:55, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Another example[edit]

Ghenghis/Chingis Khan: remove him and the entire history of Eurasia changes - including the vast numbers of people descended from him (through both genders). Anna Livia (talk) 11:10, 19 February 2020 (UTC)