Popular Culture: Harry Potter: July 2005 Archives

July 22, 2005

It takes one to know one

Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wildhunt Blog is having fun with fundies who are eager to accuse him of all the things they do.

A few days ago I wrote an entry pointing out a logical fallacy in a article about Christian reactions to Harry Potter. But author Richard Abanes (whom I quote in the post) feels that I am the one committing a fallacy, specifically that I have set up a strawman to tear down.

Those of us who are thoughtfully concerned about Harry Potter are NOT committing the loigical fallacy you cite. Instead, we are saying other things that you apparently missed in your rush to find a logical fallacy.

Actually, this is the fallacy I pointed out:

According to Retail Trends, interest in Wicca materials, schools, spells has doubled since the release of the Harry Potter series.

There is no hard evidence linking a rise in the interest in Wicca to the popularity of Harry Potter. No matter how much correlation (including Wiccans who believe the books lead seekers to them) you document it still doesn't imply causation. That is a fallacy. In pointing out this fallacy I wasn't trying to erase the validity of concerned parents, I was pointing out that Harry Potter can't be used to claim a spike in sales and interest in Wicca. There is no strawman there.

His fundie correspondent, who apparently writes books on the evils of Harry Potter, then proceeded to accuse Pagans and Wiccans of specifically targetting children, because (unnamed) books on Paganism happen to mention Harry Potter. Of course, this is just an excuse to promote his book.

you quote me as saying: "Many real-world occultists and Wiccans are using the popularity of Harry Potter to bring kids into their practices." But this, my friend, is not a logical fallacy, it is a statement of fact--big difference. If you were to do a little research, you would find that Wiccans, occultists, and assorted neopagans have now produced books and other non-fiction (and fiction-based) materials that target children and use Harry Potter as a lure of curiosity (explicit references to HP, etc.). Documentation is in my book "Harry POtter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings" (I assume you DID read it before commenting, right?).

You can line up a hundred real-world (as opposed to what, imaginary) occultists and Wiccans but it still doesn't imply causation in the issue of Harry Potter driving people to Wicca. I know that there are books that use Potter-influenced themes written by Wiccans and occultists but that is mostly a case of Harry Potter becoming such a hugely popular book, before Potter Wiccan authors referenced other works of fantasy to make a point or to sell more books. Also is every book referencing Harry Potter targetting children? Harry Potter is also hugely popular with adults (so I hear).

Of course, Christians would never countenance targetting vulnerable members of society who are only learning to think for themselves and distinguish good information from bad. Not like those evil Wiccans who are only slightly more evangelical than Zoroastrians.

My Fallacy Is Made of Straw? - The Wildhunt Blog, 19th June 2005. See also Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind - Pagan Prattle, Samhuinn 2002.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Popular Culture: Harry Potter category from July 2005.

Popular Culture: Harry Potter: September 2004 is the previous archive.

Popular Culture: Harry Potter: August 2005 is the next archive.

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