This listing of fallacies is made available to help you to learn about logic and logical fallacies. Home-schoolers may be able to use this as a homeschooling resource to teach logic. This may also be a resource for anyone who is active in apologetics. The links on the page are keyed to descriptions of the various fallacies.
There are many fallacies listed in this encyclopedia of logical fallacies. And there are many more fallacies than these, because there are many ways to be deceived in thinking. However, you don't need to memorize these. You just need to remember that reasoning can sound good and feel good and be wrong. Ask, "How do you know?" Is the answer solid and unmovable with no hidden assumptions, or does the answer depend on preconceived ideas, stories that can't really be verified, or any other flimflam?
Those who know Jesus Christ do not need fallacies. All others do:
A follower of Christ can know some things. As long as they don't go beyond those things that are revealed, they can be rational. Every time a follower of Christ adds to God's words or takes from God's words, they are just as irrational as anyone else.
All others have extreme limitations. This will be explained below, though it is common knowledge. You can search for information on the Münchhausen Trilemma and you will see that it is true that, without Divine revelation, it is impossible to know anything. All that is possible is unsupported assertion, which is a fallacy. This is a Secularist Trilemma. It affects all Secularists. This trilemma makes it irrational for any Secularist to attempt to come to a conclusion. They can have an opinion, but they cannot prove it. It is irrational for them to claim that no one can know anything, trying to put you, as a follower of Christ, in the same boat with them.
Warning! Through 1 Corinthians 1:21, God tells us that, in His wisdom, the world doesn't come to know God by means of human philosophy and reasoning, but it pleased God to save those who receive His supernatural belief and trust by what the ungodly call the "foolishness of the impartation of Jesus Christ through proclamation." Whenever you hear a philosopher, politician, theologian, scientist, or evangelist casting verbal arguments in the trappings of logic, you can be pretty sure that person is talking nonsense. As you read this page, you will realize the extreme weakness of the human mind. Theories can only give rules of thumb that seem to work in a pragmatic way, at least most of the time. This can allow us to wire a house, build a cellphone, or formulate a drug, but not to rationally talk of truth. When there is disagreement, it becomes very difficult to determine who is right by human reasoning alone. This is not surprising, since truth comes through the impartation of Jesus Christ through proclamation. No wonder the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
If you are analyzing a problem on your own, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to know the difference between actual perception and inner worldview. A worldview is so much a part of a person's innermost mind that it seems as if it is perception and reality. In fact, when real reality conflicts with worldview, worldview tends to filter out real reality. However, by continually, faithfully, patiently seeking revelation from the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will teach you line on line and precept of precept. You may have to sort through many fallacies that you have gotten used to using. Whoever continually seeks the truth will find it.
Then, there is the problem of Agrippa's Trilemma, which destroys all secular thinking. You may know this as Münchhausen Trilemma or Albert's Trilemma. If a naturalistic presupposition is any part of the foundation of thought, then Agrippa's Trilemma is in force. A chain of thought is as strong as its weakest link. This chain must begin with something that is absolute, but all that is available is infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. There is no way around it. All arguments, analysis, and reasoning beyond this is mere noise to hide the irrational reasoning, since Agrippa's Trilemma hits at the foundation of thought. All the fallacies of those arguments are mere smokescreens to cover these three fallacies of infinite regress, circular reasoning, and axiomatic thinking. It is fortunate that Agrippa's Trilemma is a false trilemma. There are two other options, and one of those is a solid foundation for thought.
If you are analyzing a problem/question with someone else, their own worldview may be deceiving them. They may seem very sure of themselves. One thing will eventually become evident. At some time you will realize that they are either sincerely seeking truth, or they may be debating you. If they are debating you, then it is a game to see who wins and who loses. If you have the truth and they are able to avoid finding the truth, then they will have considered themselves to have won, at least according to the rules of the game. In this case, the use of fallacies is a way to win the game. Accusing you of fallacies by shoehorning what you say into one fallacy or another is a way to win the game. You can see this attitude on websites that supposedly are teaching logic. Look for words like "opponent," "adversary," "combatant," "debate," "disputant," "fight fair," etc. Testifying about truth to a mind that is closed is fruitless.
Problems With Fallacies
- Different people have different definitions of what a fallacy is. The term, "fallacy," can mean an error in an argument, and error in reasoning, a false belief, or the cause of any of these errors in thinking. For the purpose of this discussion, the definition of fallacy will be anything that can lead to false beliefs. This is a broader definition than some people use, but we are concerned about knowing truth and spotting lies.
- While it is helpful to put fallacies into categories, it is not without problems. The fallacies don't always fit neatly into the categories. Many fallacies fit into more than one category. Other fallacies don't really fit into any category. These categories are not absolute and are only provided to help think of fallacies in more general terms.
- In addition, when listing fallacies, there is a question of how specific you want to become. In fact, as you go through these, you will find that some are a more generally defined fallacy that really contains one or more specifically defined fallacies. Other fallacies overlap.
- Fallacies are misused. They are often misapplied. This is fallacy abuse. Fallacy abuse can sometimes occur through a misunderstanding of fallacies, but, more often, it occurs because truth is not sought. The focus is on winning rather than finding truth.
- Fallacy / Paralogism: occurs when any error in thinking causes one to believe something that is not true or cannot be proven to be true.
- Vacuous Explanation / Vacuous Statement / Null Value Fallacy: occurs when a statement contains no meaningful information or a question cannot gain any meaningful information, especially when the illusion is given that information has been gained. A null value is an unknown value. It is not the same as an empty value. Every fallacy results in all or part of a statement/explanation being vacuous. Currently, "vacuous" means having or showing a lack of thought or intelligence; mindless. It used to mean empty or lacking content, but that is considered archaic usage according to some sources. To simply call something vacuous without stating why is, in itself, a vacuous statement in the form of a question-begging epithet. The statement contains no information other than a meaningless attack, unless the statement is further explained what fallacies have been committed. EXAMPLE Sandra: “The mechanism for evolution [molecules-to-man] is this. First, we have gene duplication. Then the duplicated gene mutates. That is how information is added to the genome for a small change. Then, if it is an improvement, natural selection selects it and eliminates those individuals that don’t have the new change. If it is a detriment, natural selection eliminates that change. This is proof of evolution [molecules-to-man].” Roxanne: “I don’t mean to be rude, but that’s a vacuous statement. The word evolution must be defined. How mutation provides information must be defined in detail, and the information must be shown to be capable of created changes from the most simple life to human beings.’” There is no evidence of actual information of the kind that would be needed for the smallest supposed step in molecules-to-man evolution to have ever happened. There is duplication. There are mutations. There is natural elimination in extreme cases. However, there is no evidence for information being added. Yet the story sounded real, didn’t it? Even if there were a way that information could be added, this is still vacuous. It is still a null value. That is because there is no evidence presented that molecules-to-man evolution actually happened. To show that something could happen does not in any indicate that it did happen. You should be glad about this, since there are murders committed that you would have had opportunity to commit. Fortunately, you are not going to be prosecuted for them, because there is no evidence that you did commit them.
- Deductive Fallacy: occurs when any fallacy of deductive reasoning is committed. This is a very broad term that would include all deductive fallacies.
- Inductive Fallacy: occurs when any fallacy of inductive reasoning is committed. This is a very broad term that would include all inductive fallacies.
- Secularist Trilemma / Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa's Trilemma / Albert's Trilemma: occurs when the Naturalistic assumption/axiom becomes the basis of thought. The Münchhausen Trilemma (sometimes called Agrippa's Trilemma) is an unsolved problem in Secular thinking that goes back to at least the First Century A.D. There are only three possible foundations for thought when trying to prove anything under Naturalistic assumptions. These are infinite regression, circular reasoning, and axiomatic thinking. For this reason, Naturalists, cannot speak in terms of truth. When they do, they run into the Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa's Trilemma. The Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa's Trilemma also invalidates the reasoning of Christians who deny Divine revelation as the foundation of their reasoning. EXAMPLE "Any reasonable person to reads the Bible will see that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days." The implication is that the human mind is capable of conjuring knowledge from reading alone, as if God was not involved. While God speaks personally to any person who reads the Bible, not every person acknowledges God. It is not about being reasonable. It is about having deep respect, a submissive attitude, sincerity, and it is about acknowledging Who is speaking to you through the Scripture.
Fallacies of Presumption, Bare Assertion, and Lies (using no evidence at all)
In the Secular worldview, there can be no deductive reasoning because of Agrippa's Trilemma. For this reason, there is always some form of presumption, bare assertion, or lie in every purely secular argument.
- Logical Fallacy of Ipse dixit /Just Because Fallacy / Trust Me / Mother Knows Best Fallacy / Because I Said So / You'll See: occurs when an arbitrary dogmatic statement is made and the speaker/writer expects the listener/reader to accept it as valid without conclusive evidence
- Logical Fallacy of Axiomatic Thinking, Unsupported Assertion / Alleged Certainty / Appeal to Common Sense / Bare assertion / Unprovable Statement / Groundless Claim: occurs when an assertion is made without any support or evidence for the assertion or any attempt to provide a reason. This is especially true when the statement makes the conclusion appear certain when, in fact, it is not. EXAMPLE “Theology is a study with no answers because it has no subject matter.” What is funny about this fallacy is that this quote appears in various sources that purport to be teaching logic. How can students learn logic when those who are trying to teach logic are themselves disabled by their own presuppositions. The presupposition here is the presupposition of either Agnosticism or Atheism. Both of these are self-refuting. They both depend on the logical fallacy known as universal negative. Dogmatic believers in Atheism/Agnosticism have pat answers for defending the fallacy of universal negative, but their pat answers are themselves fallacious.
- Secret Knowledge: occurs when knowledge is claimed that is only given to a certain person or group of persons, and there is no way that anyone else can check it out this secret knowledge. EXAMPLE Gnosticism FALLACY ABUSE Sandy: “You are claiming that God reveals to you that the Bible is His Word without error, and then He speaks to you through the Bible? That’s secret knowledge. I can’t check it out.” Rocky: “On the contrary, it is available to every person. Here is how you check it out. Just open your mind to Jesus Christ, sincerely, with respect, a will to obey Him, and persistence. Pray—just tell Him that you want Him to set you free from sin and you want to have the power to obey Him. You want to be cleansed. Ask Him to teach you and lead you. He will reveal the same things to you.” Sandy: “I’m not going to do that. I’m not having God telling me what to do.”
- Allness Fallacy: occurs when statements are made that imply totality, finality, or unequivocal certainty beyond what we can know. EXAMPLE “Evolution [meaning, molecules-to-man] is a fact.”
- Autistic Certainty: occurs when certainty is alleged based on the fact that the person believes it. This is a form of alleged certainty that gives a reason for the belief. However, it is circular in that the belief is based on the belief. It may include some sort of appeal to authority. "I would not believe something unless it is true. I believe X. Therefore, X is true." EXAMPLE A blog post: “We most assuredly do not know that life began due to chance. We know that natural selection can drive toward increasing complexity when the increased complexity provides a survival value. When viewed retrospectively, the evolutionary sequence looks determined – but this is not evidence of any design, natural or supernatural. Looked at retrospectively, your existence is the result of numerous chance events: millions of bondings between specific individual ova and sperms; any broken link in the chain and you would not exist.” Reading this paragraph, one wonders whether there is anything that this person doesn't know. There are many fallacies in this little paragraph, one being unsupported assertion. The odds against life starting by chance are astronomical--that's if you don't know Christ. If you know Christ personally and are taught by Him, He reveals to you that this entire paragraph is a lie. He created the first life, and He directly saw to it that you would be born. In fact, He knew you before you were born. The reason we know this is by Divine revelation, not by unsupported assertion.
- Counterfactual Fallacy / Logical Fallacy of the Outright Lie / Assertion Contrary to Fact / Lie / Untruth: occurs whenever an outright lie is used as a premise or just put forward as a conclusion without any premise, when statements are made or hypothesis are put forward that are contrary to known facts. Claims are made that cannot be true based on what we already know. EXAMPLE "The big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story has no problem with the Second Law of Thermodynamics because the Second Law of Thermodynamics only operates in closed systems, and the Earth is an open system since the Sun is pouring in energy constantly, which causes the mutations that lead to information being added to cells" This has several assertions contrary to fact. Molecules to man is scientifically impossible because of The Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law of Thermodynamics was developed theoretically using the example of a closed system, but it operates in all systems. If it didn't operate on Earth, life as we know it could not exist. The kind of information, known as universal information, have never been observed being added to anything by natural means. Every mutation observed to date has be a loss of Universal Information. EXAMPLE "I'm a good person." We know, by revelation, that there is not a just man on the Earth who does good and doesn't sin. God's standard for righteousness is the only one that counts, and God demands absolute perfection. No one can meet this high standard. God has a plan to get us out of this mess. He speaks about it though the Bible. EXAMPLE Lock Haven University Website: “The proofs of the existence of a god are pathetic attempts to justify an emotional commitment to a fantasy that is logically and scientifically impossible to prove. Once this fact is appreciated, all of these proofs of a god are seen to be totally empty of content.” The choice of the language is an outright lie, an appeal to emotion, and a question-begging epithet. It is also an attempt to prove a universal negative, which is a fallacy in itself. However, the reason that we (those who follow Christ) know God exists is because we know Jesus Christ personally. He leads us. We are learning to discern His Voice from all other voices, including the voices of our own fallen and deceitful mind. In other words, we know that He exists by Divine revelation. Therefore, this statement on the Lock Haven University website is a statement contrary to fact, and it is a statement filled with negative emotion. The writer may think that the web page is reasonable, however, it commits many fallacies, not the least of which is a fallacy of amazing familiarity.
- Misrepresenting the Facts: occurs when a premise is based incorrect information. It is a fallacy of misrepresentation. The straw man fallacy is also a fallacy of misrepresentation, but it misrepresents what someone else has said or what they stand for. The misrepresentation of facts fallacy affects the premises because the facts the are behind the premises are misrepresented. All misrepresenting the facts fallacies are counterfactual fallacies, but some counterfactual fallacies affect the premises and some counterfactual fallacies are given without any premises.
- Big Lie Technique / Staying on Message: occurs when a lie is confidently told in spite of all evidence against it. It helps to have the media (or a group of people in the corporate structure) who will repeat what you say as if it were truth. This is the counterfactual fallacy with political savvy and purposeful deception. EXAMPLE We see a lot of this in politics. EXAMPLE The debate mindset coupled with Post Modern morality leads to debaters saying whatever it takes to "win." The trouble is that the winner loses all.
- Appeal to Confidence: occurs when personal inner belief is the reason for believing. This is quite different from the kind of faith that God speaks of through the Bible, the faith of God. The faith of God comes when God speaks into the innermost mind. This is the opposite of believing because of conditioning. EXAMPLE “Why would you believe that God created the Universe when the scientific explanation [the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story (BBBoYNFMtM)] is much more compelling?” It (BBBoYNFMtM) is compelling because it is believed. It (BBBoYNFMtM) is believed because it is believed. It (BBBoYNFMtM) isn’t based on scientific method, that is, observation. It (BBBoYNFMtM) is based on interpretation, that is, stories.
- Logical Fallacy of Hypothesis Contrary to Fact / Argumentum Ad Speculum / Speculative Fallacy / "What If" Fallacy / Wouldchuck: occurs when a hypothesis is put forward but the hypothesis cannot be true. This is often connected with a meaningless question. EXAMPLE "What if you died and found out that there was no afterlife, then what would you do?"
- Logical Fallacy of False Prophecy / Argument to the Future: occurs when someone proclaims something to be true, especially some future event. They may claim divine inspiration, but, much more often, they just claim common sense. EXAMPLE "We do not yet have the answer to how the big bang could have happened or what was there before the big bang from which the big bang came, but science will find the answer to this mystery in the future." As far as what can be observed, we do know that the First Law of Thermodynamics tells us that neither matter nor energy are created or destroyed by any natural means. The big bang story is in direct conflict with this law, requiring a change in one of the most basic and proven laws of science.
- Argument to the Future / Escape to the Future: occurs when a conclusion is supported by evidence that will "surely" be discovered in the future. This is a variation of appeal to false prophecy. Often, this will take the form of stating that science will discover the solution to a certain problem with a favored theory.
- Escape Via Ignorance: occurs when a case cannot be made rationally, but it is asserted that other people could or that there is evidence, but the debater just doesn't happen to know what it is. EXAMPLE "I don't know the Bible, but, if I did, there are verses in there that prove my point, I am sure."
- Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ex Culo: occurs when someone uses any of the various forms of making things up or lying.
- Logical Fallacy of Blind Obedience / Blind Authority / Team Player: occurs when someone does something or encourages someone else to do something that they know to be wrong and justifies it with an appeal to blind obedience. EXAMPLE Thomas Bouchard: "Academics, like teenagers, sometimes don’t have any sense regarding the degree to which they are conformists." Thomas Bouchard is correct, and the blind obedience to the group-think is not without reason. They do so to protect their careers.
- Logical Fallacy of False Accusation / Finding a Fault Where None Exists / False Conflict / False Error: occurs when a problem is alleged but no evidence proves that the problem exists. This problem could be wrong-doing, fault, error, fallacy, inconsistency, or anything else. See Fallacy Abuse. EXAMPLE Sandy: "There are errors in the Bible." Rocky: "Name one." Sandy: "There are thousands of them." Another way that this comes up is that Sandy will name an alleged error. Then, Rocky will explain why it is not an error. Sandy will either dogmatically and irrationally defend his position that this is an error or will jump to another. When Rocky explains the arbitrary assumptions that are needed for the second false conflict or error, Sandy will bring a third. This can continue indefinitely with a person who doesn't like what God says through the Bible.
- Argument from Omniscience: occurs when a claim is made that could not possibly be known. The reason this is a fallacy is that only God is omniscient. Often these arguments from omniscience take the form of a universal negative. It would be an argument from omniscience to claim that the omniscient God of the Universe cannot reveal things that cannot be known by any other means. EXAMPLE “We know that evolution (meaning molecules-to-man) happened.” This is a statement about the past that cannot be observed, and the claim is an argument from omniscience. FALLACY ABUSE Roxanne: "Every person is aware of God, but some people refuse to acknowledge Him." Sandra: "You're claiming to be omniscient. You can't look into my mind. I really don't believe in God." Roxanne: "Christ reveals that those who love darkness are the ones who won’t come to the Light, Who is to Jesus. Christ reveals that those who label themselves as Atheists know that God exists but that they refuse to acknowledge Him. For someone to claim that they know something about history that is in conflict with what God is telling us through Scripture is an argument from omniscience fallacy. Bill Nye even claimed to be able to go back in time. To claim that God can't, or doesn't, reveal things to His people is to claim to know the inner spiritual experience of every person who has ever lived. God knows that, but I doubt that you know that."
- Logical Fallacy of Universal Negative: occurs when an assertion is made that something does not exist. That is a claim that something doesn't exist anywhere in the material realm or the spiritual realm in any sense. It is a universal claim. It is impossible to prove that dark matter or dark energy do not exist, since they cannot be tested. They are mathematical concepts developed as an ad hoc rescuing mechanism for the big bang story. It is impossible to prove that there is no spiritual realm without first having a way to test the spiritual realm. Atheism claims that God doesn't exist. Agnostics make an even more irrational claim. They claim that no one ever has had a spiritual experience, that no one has ever had a personal relationship with Christ where Christ leads them moment-by-moment, or that no one anywhere can know anything about spiritual things. This type of universally negative claim is always irrational despite the complaints of those who call themselves Naturalists, Materialists, and Atheists. The reason that it is a fallacy is that one would have to be all-knowing or receive divine revelation to make such an assertion. And, indeed, divine revelation is the only way to logically posit a universal negative. God says, "There is not a just human being on the Earth who does good and doesn't sin." There are many things that can be proven not to exist in a non-universal way. For instance, you may be able prove that you don't have Rolls Royce in their garage. EXAMPLE "God does not exist." EXAMPLE "There is no evidence for God." EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: "The idea that there is a higher power that has driven the course of events in the Universe and our own existence is one that you cannot prove or disprove."
- As Far As Anyone Knows Fallacy: occurs when the phrase (or equivalent) is used to present a premise on which a conclusion will be based. This is very similar to the best in field fallacy except that it assumes personal omniscience. It assumes that the person guilty of the fallacy is fully aware of what everyone in the world knows. That being said, it is a silly thing to say, but people get used to saying silly things. As with many claims, a good question would be, “How do you know that to be true?” Then just keep asking until you either get to something solid or you find out that the phrase is just being used as a figure of speech that means nothing. EXAMPLE “As far as anyone knows, no one has ever received a vision from God.” How about saying, “As far as I know.” That would be more accurate.
- Proving a Negative Fallacy / Negative Proof Fallacy: occurs when a claim is made (without Divine revelation) that something does not to exist anywhere, at any time, or in any realm. This is known as a universal negative. One of the problems of proving a universal negative is that it would require one of two things: personal omniscience (knowing everything) or Divine revelation. It is possible to prove that something doesn’t exist in a certain realm (say the material realm) at a certain time (say right now) and in a certain place. “There is no cereal in my bowl here.” That is not a fallacy. There is a formal way, known as modus tollens, to prove a negative: If God reveals that there is not a just person on Earth, then there is not a just person on Earth. God reveals that there is not a just person on Earth. Therefore, there is not a just person on Earth. On the other hand, Bertrand Russell told a famous teapot story about a teapot floating somewhere in space—you can’t prove that it isn’t true. Unfortunately, Russell used the teapot story to justify a fallacy of an argument from ignorance and a universal negative claiming there is no God. Russell’s irrationality goes something like this: “It is impossible to prove a universal negative. To say that God doesn’t exist would be to commit a universal negative. Since the proposition that claims the non-existence of God cannot be proven, it is therefore true.” That is an argument from ignorance fallacy. Funny how religious Atheism makes intelligent people foolish. The proving a negative fallacy is committed when an attempt is made to justify dogmatic statements of disbelief or skepticism. It is a fallacy of closed-mindedness. EXAMPLE “There is no God.” EXAMPLE “Science proves that there is no God.” EXAMPLE “The Biblical account of Creation is untrue.” We would need an eye-witness. EXAMPLE “The Biblical account of the Flood is untrue.” Actually, this could be shown to be untrue if there were absolute evidence in geology that the Flood didn’t happen. The evidence in geology, however, supports the Biblical account of the global flood to such an extent that willful ignorance is required for anyone to deny it.
- Claim of Unknowables: occurs when it is claimed that something or someone is universally unknowable. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: “The idea that there is a higher power that has driven the course of events in the Universe and our own existence is one that you cannot prove or disprove. And this gets into this expression, Agnostic. You can’t know.” Bill has correctly defined the philosophy of Agnosticism as originally coined by T.H. Huxley. It is not a statement of lack of knowledge. It is a statement that claims infinite knowledge of a specific kind. It claims to know the inner spiritual experiences of every person who has ever lived. It claims to know that every person who has ever claimed to have a personal experience with Christ, to be led by Him, to be taught by Him, to be comforted by Him, to have sensed Him in many ways; it is a claim that every one of these people is lying, deceived in some way, or crazy. Bill Nye is claiming to know all about this. Wouldn’t you like to ask him to demonstrate the method by which he has such amazing familiarity? Roxanne: “God reveals to me, through the Bible, that there was a great worldwide flood about 4,500 years ago, and geology shows evidence for this as well. God speaks through the physical evidence to confirm the Biblical account.” Sandra: "You can’t know that God is speaking to you through Scripture and through the Creation.” Roxanne: “What makes you think so?” In reality, those who believe in no-God are actually taught to avoid disclosing their position. What Sandra would be more likely to do is to try to ask question after question of Roxanne, looking for something where Roxanne can’t answer. By using this tactic, Sandra is committing the failure to state, argument from ignorance, and shotgun fallacies.
- Logical Fallacy of Presupposition: occurs when thinking is used that presupposes conclusions into the statements without first showing those statements to be true. A presupposition is rarely stated. It is just considered to be true without challenge or critical thinking. If there is an attempt to prove it, then it is not a presupposition. Presupposition tend to be hidden, unspoken, or else inserted into language that is unlikely to be challenged (in the case of grammatical presupposition).
- Irrelevant Purpose Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that something is not true because it has not fulfilled its supposed purpose, but the supposed purpose was never the real purpose. EXAMPLE "Total equality of outcomes has not been achieved in this society, so we need radical change." Total equality of outcomes was never the purpose. Equality of opportunity is an unrealistic purpose because of differences in people and environments. Freedom for each person to do the very best they can was the purpose, though that has been limited considerably in an effort to make all outcomes the same. EXAMPLE “If a good God created the world, then the world would be perfect and there would be no problems. The world is not perfect and it has many problems. Therefore, a good God didn’t create it.” This one is bit more subtle. The purpose is implied by innuendo rather than being stated plainly. This argument presupposes that God’s purpose was to create a world that is perfect, complete, and without any problems. In the end, that is probably pretty close to God’s ultimate purpose that will be accomplished at the end of the Ages of the Ages. However, His purpose right now is to find a group of people who will be willing to yield themselves to His Love completely so that He can form them into His Image and Likeness. Everything that He shows us through Scripture tells about the steps that He has taken to make this happen and the yet unfulfilled prophesies are about what He will do in the future to finish the work.
- Propositional Fallacy: occurs when an error is made in a compound proposition. A proposition is a truth claim statement. A compound proposition makes more than one claim but joins the claims into a single claim using words like “and,” “or,” “not,” “only if,” or “if and only if.” If the truth values that are proposed are not consistent with the joining words, then the propositional fallacy has been committed. Affirming the disjunct, affirming the consequent, and denying the antecedent are all propositional fallacies.
- Thompson Invisibility Syndrome: occurs when a frame-of-reference (worldview / paradigm / fake-reality) acts as a filter to make things and persons outside that frame of reference psychologically invisible. EXAMPLE Sandra: “It isn’t reasonable to say that God reveals things to you by Divine revelation.” Roxanne: “What principle of logic is being violated?” Sandra: “This is the God fallacy. There is no God, so God cannot reveal anything to you by Divine revelation.” If we had seen this entire exchange, we would see that Sandra is trying to prove her conclusion of supposed non-existence of God. Now, Sandra has come full circle in her reasoning. The truth is that she has built a worldview that includes naturalism and materialism, both of which make the unsupported assertion of presupposed non-existence of God and the spiritual realm. Now, she has encountered a person who is being led by the Holy Spirit moment by moment, and it conflicts with her inner fake-reality. For this reason, she is fighting desperately to get rid of the conflicting information.
- Logical Fallacy of Presumption: occurs when evidence or a conclusion is presupposed or presumed even though it doesn't exist in the real world or isn't shown. Premises or conclusions are put forward based on presumption/presupposition. EXAMPLE Sandy: “You are a fundamentalist Christian, Roxanne, and you say that man was created 6 days after the universe was. There is absolutely no evidence for this; rather there is a plethora of evidence for evolution, which you choose to ignore. [Roxanne probably uses logical fallacies to ignore said things.] In light of this, you are being a moronic fundamentalist Christian.” Roxanne: “The ad hominem attack doesn't hide the fact that you have shown no support for your assertions. There is absolute evidence that God created the Heavens and the Earth in just six days. God is saying that He did it. Divine revelation proves it conclusively.” Sandy: “You can't claim Divine revelation. You are assuming revelation but it is just presupposition, so we are on equal ground.” Roxanne: “Please explain the process by which you determine that Divine revelation is presupposition.” Sandy: “I just don't believe it.”
- Grammatical Presupposition / Assumptive Language: occurs when presuppositions are hidden in language. Words and phrases such as "when," "whenever," "how," "why," "obviously," or "where" become tools to insert hidden presuppositions. EXAMPLE "Obviously, when we discovered that we are all stardust . . ." This phrase has three nested presuppositions hidden in the words: "obviously," "when," and "we discovered." This is irrational and one of the hypnotic methods that are used on you. It works by overloading your ability to process information and to attempt to slip ideas into your innermost mind without your awareness.
- Arbitrary Thinking: occurs when any reasoning is based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system. This is the same, or very close to the same, as the unsupported assertion fallacy. EXAMPLE "Evolution is science." This statement doesn't prove anything. The word, "science" must be defined. The word, "evolution," must be defined as either unobservable molecules-to-man or observable changes in living things. The word has no meaning that is useful for such the discussion if it is defined as meaning both, since one is disputed and the other is not disputed. In addition, reason has to be given for saying that evolution is science.
- Reversible Logic: occurs when an argument is put forward as a reason to believe a conclusion, but that argument can be reversed and used as a reason not to believe the same conclusion. EXAMPLE Sandy: "You are an idiot. Evolution is a scientific fact. All the research points to evolution. There is no evidence for Creation." Rocky: "The problem with your reasoning is that it is reversible because it is arbitrary. You didn't really bring any reason to believe. Let me show you what I mean. I am aware that what I am now going to say is irrational, but I'm only saying it to reflect what you just said and show that it is arbitrary, therefore irrational. 'You are an idiot. Creation is a scientific fact. All the research points to Creation. There is no evidence for molecules-to-man evolution.'" Note how Rocky reversed Sandy's logic. Neither one brought any evidence.
- Floating Abstraction Fallacy: occurs when a conclusion is drawn from a concept that is disconnected from reality. Classes, where tests must be taken and passed, are good for developing and hardening this type of fallacy in the minds of students. A floating abstraction is not directly connected to anything that can be observed or sensed in any way, though observations or real research may be used to defend them. They are abstractions that are distinct from the actual observations, from material reality. Leonard Peikoff: “. . . it is a memorized linguistic custom representing in the person's mind a hash made of random concretes, habits, and feelings that blend imperceptibly into other hashes which are the content of other, similarly floating abstractions." EXAMPLE The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story EXAMPLE Atheism EXAMPLE Agnosticism
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Implied Unsupported Assertion / Implied Outright Lie: occurs when making the assertion directly would be unacceptable, but making it by innuendo allows a way out if called on the tactic. By using innuendo, it is possible to sometimes tell a very bold outright lie without being detected. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Ken Ham and his followers have this remarkable view of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced everything that we see in nature." This was a verbal tactic, a logical fallacy of proof by implied unsupported assertion or implied assertion contrary to fact (outright lie), that Bill Nye wove into his messages throughout his 2014 debate with Ken Ham. This is a nested fallacy, stacking more than one fallacy in only a few words, a practice that makes it more difficult to sort out the fallacy. The phrase, "Ken Ham and his followers," repeated in various forms throughout the debate, has the purpose of painting anyone who believes what God says through the Bible as being a very small band of renegades who are following Ken Ham. It paints Ken Ham as a cult leader. The phrase, "this remarkable view," gives the impression of weirdness to the view that there was a worldwide flood, something that is very difficult to miss in geology. The evidence for this flood is overwhelming. The remarkable view is the currently held paradigm that the flood didn't occur and that the sedimentary rocks were somehow formed over vast quantities of time. This was followed by a straw man fallacy in the phrase, "of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced everything that we see in nature," is an outright lie that is stated presumptively. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of extension, that is, exaggerating in order to make the Biblical account seem to be absurd. You can't tell it yet, since Bill very cleverly planted the seeds of his arguments early in these very vague terms. Later in the debate, he continues to build on the same idea until he finally (much later in the debate) says that the Bible claims that the flood affected the stars. This is an amazing stretch, even for Bill Nye.
- Spiritual Fallacy / Spiritual Excuse: occurs when any fallacy is committed that relates to the spiritual realm. EXAMPLE Sandra: “There is no spiritual realm.” Roxanne: “What makes you think that’s a true statement?” Sandra: “Science proves it.” Roxanne: “Can you explain the steps to the repeatable experiment by which I can prove that there is no spiritual realm?” In denying the spiritual realm without evidence, Sandra commits that spiritual fallacy. EXAMPLE Sandy: "There is no good and evil. There is no right and wrong. There is no truth and error. All of these are relative and each person must decide these for himself or herself.” This statement implies that Sandy knows all about the spiritual realm. He may even be claiming that there is no spiritual realm, which is a claim that he is omniscient. EXAMPLE Sometimes, spiritism is mistaken for spirituality. EXAMPLE Sometimes, arbitrary assumptions are claimed to trump Divine revelation in science. This assumes no spiritual authority exists and it assumes supernatural knowledge in certain selected humans who agree with the person making the claim. EXAMPLES Other examples would include claiming that Divine revelation doesn’t happen, creating special rules of logic that only apply to spiritual entities, experiences, concepts, etc.
- I Wish I Had a Magic Wand / Feigned Powerlessness: occurs when it is asserted or implied that there is nothing that can be done in cases where there is something that can be done. Note that there are times when a certain person cannot help. There are times when someone should not help. However, this fallacy only applies when someone can help but claims that they cannot help. EXAMPLE Sandra: “I would like to help you, but I just can’t this week. [Sandra could help, but she doesn't like the person who asked her to help.]” SCRIPTURE Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
- Pious Fraud: occurs when the end is said to justify the means. EXAMPLE International Planned Parenthood Federation: "The federation estimates that of 500,000 annual maternal deaths, complications from unsafe abortion account for approximately 70,000, or 13 per cent." No source is given for these figures, and mostly it is impossible to get these statistics. Pro-abortionists used the number, 5,000-10,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. due to illegal abortions prior to Roe v Wade. They later admitted that this was a useful number to win the court case when the actual number was 39 deaths. EXAMPLE In opposition to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, anti-Bible activists are launching a campaign of disinformation, even claiming that the amusement park is being built with public funds. In reality, any tourist attraction can apply for incentives that will eventually give them a portion of the State sales tax that they collect. For those who have an anti-Bible mindset, lying in this way is justified if it makes it harder to build the amusement part with a Noah’s Ark theme.
- Logical Fallacy of False Open-Mindedness: occurs when open-mindedness is claimed while also refusing to look at evidence supporting conclusions that differ from what is currently believed. This is a form of lie. Often, this false open-mindedness is used as evidence against any competing ideas or claims. The fact is that no one is open-minded to things outside their deep-rooted concept of reality. Each of us has such a thing, call it a paradigm, worldview, or world-perception, it is a fake-reality that seems more real to us that real reality. So, open-mindedness doesn't really exist. We are open-minded to things that don't violate our fake-realities too much. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "If you could find evidence of that, my friends, you could change the world.” "There is not a single place in the Grand Canyon where the fossils of one type of animal cross over into the fossils of another. In other words, when there is a big flood on the Earth, you would expect drowning animals to swim up to a higher level. Not any one of them did. Not a single one where the fossils of one type of animal cross over into the fossils of another. In other words, when there is a big flood on the Earth, you would expect drowning animals to swim up to a higher level." Throughout the debate, Bill Nye tried to make a case for message control and censorship of anything related to Creation science. He implied that anyone who doesn't just blindly accept the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story cannot be a scientist. He implied that those who don't believe this sacred cow story are dangerous to the future of America and the world. He implied that no one ought to examine the facts concerning Creation science or God. He stated that you can't know God, which would imply that Bill is omnicient. Yet, Bill tried to imply that he is open minded. Then, he said that his mind could be changed, but he brought fallacy-ridden examples of things that would change his mind. This is one of those, since fossils are found out of place all the time, but Bill doesn't change his mind.
Fallacies of Flawed Evidence (using evidence that isn't true or testable by anyone)
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Fallacy: occurs when there is no premise given in support of a conclusion that is not dependent on some fallacy. Note that just because there is a fallacy in an argument doesn't automatically eliminate the entire argument. A person may give two premises for a conclusion, one of them being fallacious and the other being valid. In this case, you throw out the fallacious premise and examine the one that appears to be valid.
- Proof Surrogate / Evidence Surrogate: occurs when evidence is mentioned, which gives the impression that there is evidence, when none has been provided. EXAMPLE Sandra: “We have evidence, scientific evidence for evolution [meaning the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-Molecules-to-Man story] I believe in evolution because of science and reason.” Roxanne: “You really think you have evidence that all of that happened?" Sandra: “Absolutely. We have the rock layers, the fossils, the distant starlight, thousands of transitional forms, the genetic evidence, and I could go on and on.” Nothing that is claimed to be evidence in any way shows that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-Molecules-to-Man story happened—and that goes for anything else Sandra might have brought up. All the so-called evidences for this story are based on assumptions. Additionally, none of them even attempt to prove that it actually happened, which is the claim that is supposedly being proved. They are all efforts to prove that it could have possibly happened, yet they don’t even prove that. The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-Molecules-to-Man story is just assumed to be true as a starting point for reason and it is thought that it is unnecessary to prove that it actually happened. In fact, the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-Molecules-to-Man story is plagued by the Agrippa's Trilemma.
- Error in Observation: occurs when observations do not reflect reality. It would seem that this would be impossible, but there are several ways this happens. 1. Failure to make the necessary observations. This usually happens because of carelessness, lack of access, or presuppositions that keep one from considering various possibilities. 2. Failure to observe because of a closed mind. 3. Inability to observe. 4. Mistaking an interpretation for an observation. This happens when the actual observation is not in line with the observer’s worldview or expectation. 5. The senses being unable to sense what doesn’t fit the worldview in the form of distortion of the senses. 6. Preconceived ideas, expectations, and worldviews that affect the concentration and the directing of attention in such a way as to skew the observation. 7. Failure to take into account observations that do not fit the expectations. Data is discarded, and observations are not recorded because it is thought to be an anomaly. 8. Observations that don't fit expectations may be rationalized away. 9. Failure to record an observation because of fear of consequences when the observation is not politically correct or violates some sacred cow of the culture. (The Elements of Logic, Theoretical and Practical, page 364) EXAMPLE Dinosaur soft tissue was not found until recently, and the fact that it was found at all was an accident. This is an example of the first way that mistakes in observation are made. EXAMPLE When a dogmatic believer in Atheism is told that He can find Jesus if he continues to pray to Him in sincerity, respect, and submission, the truly dogmatic believer in Atheism is likely to refuse to look at that evidence. This is an example of the second way that observational errors are made. EXAMPLE Up until recently, there was no technology that would allow viewing the DNA code. This brings up the question: what else are we missing? Many statements of scientists don't take this into account. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: “. . . what you can observe in nature, what you can find in your back yard in Kentucky.” What Bill is claiming as observable is the big bang, billions of years, the lack of a worldwide deluge, life coming from non-life, and molecules turning into people. This is an example of way number four. EXAMPLE It is very common to discard radiometric “dates” that don’t follow the expected timeline. This example uses five through nine of the ways that observational errors happen.
- Misrepresenting the Facts: occurs when a premise is based incorrect information. It is a fallacy of misrepresentation. The straw man fallacy is also a fallacy of misrepresentation, but it misrepresents what someone else has said or what they stand for. The misrepresentation of facts fallacy affects the premises because the facts the are behind the premises are misrepresented. All misrepresenting the facts fallacies are counterfactual fallacies, but some counterfactual fallacies affect the premises and some counterfactual fallacies are given without any premises.
- Logical Fallacy of Distorted Evidence: occurs when significant omissions or changes are made in the evidence of an argument that alter its original intent.
- Logical Fallacy of Unverified Evidence: occurs when overwhelming evidence for a conclusion is claimed, but the person making the claim has never really looked into the evidence, nor have they ever truly understood the supposed evidence to any degree of depth. EXAMPLE Some Christians claim that the scientific evidence for an old Earth is overwhelming, being too numerous and too convincing; however, they have never personally examined that evidence or been aware of the assumptions and other fallacies behind that evidence. see:Earth's Age: Science or Consensus?
- Logical Fallacy of Hysteron Proteron: occurs when a proposition that is yet to be proved is put forth as a true premise. Because a premise is sometimes called an assumption, some people get confused and think that arbitrary assumptions can be used premises in sound logic. However, premises must be shown to be true. Whatever shows them to be true must be shown to be true. Eventually, deductive reasoning must come to something solid that is not an assumption or any other made-up "fact." Inductive reasoning is another matter. Deductive reasoning cannot rest on an inductive reasoning and still be sound deductive reasoning. The best it can then be is as strong as the weakest link in the chain of logic. If that weakest link is an assumption that is not supported by something absolute, it is very weak indeed. Any premise that requires an assumption or a theory/story or that is based purely on inductive reasoning commits the logical fallacy of hysteron proteron. Inductive reasoning cannot prove something to be true. It generally will require assumptions to make a case.
- Unsubstantiated Inference: occurs when a premise is given but cannot be shown to be true. This is the same or very close to a hysteron proteron. An inference is a conclusion. Every premise is supposed to be a conclusion of its own logical reasoning. It must be true or the logic is not sound. To be true, it must not be dependent on axioms, assumptions, stories, the opinion of experts, or any other fallacious problem. If it is not true, then the entire argument is not sound. An unsubstantiated inference is a premise that cannot be shown to be true. EXAMPLE Sandra: "We have observed information being added to the genome. This information is what is needed to drive molecules to man evolution. Therefore, we know that evolution is a fact." Roxanne: "What makes you think that new information has been created and added to the genome, I mean information of the type that would be needed if there were to be such a thing as molecules to man evolution?" Sandra: "Viruses add new information all the time." Roxanne: "Actually, your premise is based on an unsubstantiated inference. The addition of new information would be needed. Viruses merely move existing information around." There are many other problems with Sandra's proposition. One of the problems is an unsubstantiated inference. Another is that the premises, if they were true, would only prove that information would not be a problem. Of course, the premises are not true, so it has not been shown that there is a way to solve the information problem. However, if information were not a problem, there are other problems with the story. And if those problems were all solved, that would not prove that molecules-to-man evolution actually happened. It would only show that it would be possible. Showing that something is possible is a far cry from showing that it happened. As it stands now, not only is there no evidence to show that it is possible, but there is also no evidence to show that it actually happened. At the same time, those who are listening to what Jesus Christ is saying know that God created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them in just six days.
- Assuming Facts Not In Evidence: occurs when premises are based on assumptions rather than something solid. It is very common to claim that there is evidence when what is called, “evidence,” is actually an interpretation of evidence. In other words, something is observed or experienced, and then assumptions are made to interpret the actual evidence. The interpretation is then labeled “evidence.” However, the supposed “evidence” is not really evidence. Another way this works is to simply make up facts without any observation, experience, or any such thing. EXAMPLE Sandra: “I know that the Earth is billions of years old. It is a known fact.” Roxanne: “Every so-called ‘evidence’ for billions of years is actually just an interpretation based on assumptions. If you take away the assumptions, the so-called ‘evidence’ disappears.” Sandra: “All real scientists believe that the Earth is billions of years old. They can show evidence.” Roxanne: “Have you seen this evidence? If so, can you show it to me?” Sandra: "I haven’t actually seen any evidence, but I assume that the scientists know what they’re talking about.” Roxanne: “I would need to see some evidence.”
- Logical Fallacy of Wishful Thinking: occurs when an appeal is made to whatever is pleasing to imagine rather than dealing with reality. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: ". . . in the explanation provided by traditional science, of how we came to be, we find, as Ken Ham alluded to many times in his recent remarks, we find a sequence of animals in what generally is called the fossil record. This is to say, when you look at the layers, that you find in Kentucky, you look at them carefully, you find a sequence of animals, a succession, and, as one might expect, when you're looking at old records . . ." This is the logical fallacy of wishful thinking. Bill Nye wishes there were a fossil record that would look line molecules-to-man with a few missing links, but there are no links. The fossils may be called a fossil record, but they aren't a record. We have fossils that we can observe. We can line them up according to similarity, just as we can line up any objects according to similarity. You can line up a knife, fork, and spoon according to similarity. All you need is a good imagination, but imagination is not the same as proof that what is imagined is real. Made up stories certainly are not science. Interestingly, the fossils show families of animals with variation within each family and no fossils between kinds (something close to genus or family). For instance, we see the canine family with a great deal of variation. And we can trace the lineage from one kind of canine to another, like a family tree. But the canine family tree is distinct from all the other family trees. The same is true of the horse kind, the cat kind, the ape kind, and the human kind. Many evolutionists have complained about this problem, but most of them keep their mouths shut about it.
- Logical Fallacy of Slippery Slope / Absurd Extrapolation / Domino Fallacy / Domino Theory / Camel's Nose / Thin Edge of the Wedge: occurs when someone takes a statement and extends the ramifications of that statement beyond what is reasonable.
- Logical Fallacy of Limited Scope: occurs when a theory can't logically explain all of what is observed. Of course, any story can be made up, even if that story is a lie, and a lie is simply a made up story or an assumption. EXAMPLE "Those are great mysteries that we don't yet understand concerning evolution and the billions-of-years-old-Earth, but one day, science will surely find an answer to this problem." (The theory doesn't explain so much. Declaring it to have any validity is the logical fallacy of limited scope.)
- Logical Fallacy of Mind Reading / Reading Into Things: occurs when the only possible source of the claim is mind reading. This is not to say that God cannot reveal what is in the mind of a person, in which case it is not mind reading, it is revelation. There are times when past conversations, body language, and other clues can give a pretty good indication of what a person is thinking, but it isn't usually wise to assume that such perceptions are an any way related to reality.
- Logical Fallacy of Shoehorning: occurs either when evidence is rationalized to support a conclusion or when a conclusion is rationalized to be supported by the evidence. In both cases, there is no real support. Other fallacies are generally used to perform the shoehorning: selective evidence, half-truth, outright lies, or just about any fallacy can be used. This shoehorning may involve distorting the argument and/or distorting the fallacy. This is a form of fallacy abuse. In the same way, shoehorning may be used to distort the argument and/or the fallacy so that it can be argued that an argument the truly commits the fallacy doesn’t commit the fallacy. This is why Jesus Christ is telling us, through 1 Corinthians 1:21, that the world will not know God through rationalized arguments, but they will know Him by His Proclamation. Proclamation is speaking by the Utterance of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit speaks through you, there is power. Faith (supernatural belief) comes from God by this Proclamation. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the rhema of God. Rhema means utterance. Those who reject His Word as He speaks through you are rejecting Christ, not your natural person. They are hearing His Voice and rejecting Him directly. You will find that there is no argument that can convince those who don’t want God and His salvation in their lives. They don’t want to be set free from sin.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Confirmation Bias / Fishing for Evidence: occurs when a worldview/paradigm/fake-reality is used as a filter to twist evidence to confirm the worldview even when the evidence actually conflicts with the worldview. The person committing this fallacy is generally fishing for evidence to support his or her worldview. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Sacred Cow Fallacy: occurs when a conclusion is considered off limits. Sacred cows are fiercely defended. Don't even question them. Most people have sacred cows, but organizations and peer groups are much more likely to have extreme sacred cows through group-think and confirmation bias. In some societies, anyone questioning a sacred cow is likely to pay with their lives. EXAMPLES In the secular scientific community, Naturalism, Materialism, and the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story are all sacred cows. Those who question these are dealt with by various means. It is generally known that if they don't comply, they suffer. In certain Christian denominations, there are theologies that go well beyond what Scripture says, yet no one is allowed to question them in any way. In extreme cases, those who question these theologies are ostracized.
- Fantasy Projection / Worldview Projection / Fake-Reality Projection / Paradigm Projection / Context Projection: occurs when it is assumed that one's own worldview is real reality but any conflicting worldview is fantasy. This is actually quite common for most, if not all, people. When asserting that another person is committing fantasy projection, care must be taken that the accuser is not guilty of the same fallacy. It would usually be an unsupported assertion to claim that another person’s worldview is a fantasy while one's own wonderful worldview is reality. Some logicians who define this fallacy use wording as follows to define the guilty party: “. . . closed his mind to reality and manufactured a fantasy, and expecting or demanding that others share the fantasy and help sustain it.” Such wording cannot be logically used unless it can be unequivocally proven that the person being targeted does indeed have a worldview that is fantasy while one's own wonderful worldview (fake-reality) is representative of reality. And there is the problem. How can such a thing be known unless the all-knowing Creator God reveals it? EXAMPLE Rocky: “You ask how I know that the Bible is accurate and without error. I know because God reveals it to me. I know by Divine revelation.” Sandy: “That revelation is just something you make up. If I had voices in my head, I would go to a shrink. All claims of revelation are merely assumptions.” Sandy seems very sure of herself. What scientific method do you think she uses to determine whether or not God reveals Himself and His knowledge to those who seek Him in sincerity? If Sandy doesn't have a method to know what she is claiming, then she is the one guilty of fantasy projection.
- Logical Fallacy of Wordview as Proof / Appeal to Worldview / Appeal to Fake-Reality / Appeal to Paradigm / Mind Projection Fallacy Subjectivism: occurs when someone mistakes their own inner fake-reality for reality itself (we all do most of the time) and declares something to be true because it matches the inner fake-reality. Alternately, it occurs when someone declares something to be irrational or untrue because it does not match their inner fake-reality. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Group Think: occurs when an entire group is restricted in their ability to logically process thought because of a group-held paradigm that is reinforced by confirmation bias. A group-held paradigm (worldview or fake-reality) is much more limiting than an individual paradigm, since the group affirmations, repudiations, and coercions add to the problem of confirmation bias. EXAMPLE Denominational interpretations of Scripture often contain many fallacies, yet the denominational group think keeps members of the denomination from discerning that they are either adding to or taking from the Scriptures. Theologian: "I'm just quoting Scripture here." He just spent half an hour going over group-held speculations that go beyond what Scripture says about (you name it: end-times prophecy, salvation theologies , predestination theologies, Church authority, etc.) EXAMPLE Certain sacred cows have developed within the scientific community over time and are heavily protected by group think--so much so that anyone who disagrees is likely to be denied tenure, fired, or otherwise punished. Evolutionist: "We are simply looking at the scientific facts." When pressed, the evolutionist must admit that he or she is defining "scientific facts" as including stories and assumptions that are held by the insiders of the group of scientists with which he agrees.
- Context Imposition: occurs when argument is made from one’s own position without acknowledging the existence of other possibilities. This is an attempt to impose one’s own context on another person. EXAMPLE Rocky: “I know that Jesus Christ exists because I know Him. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can test it out. Anyone who sincerely prays to Him with a respectful and submissive attitude and an open mind to Him does eventually find Him. You might have to exercise a little patience, but I urge you to give it a try.” Sandy: “Look. Jesus doesn’t exist. I know it and you know it. You are just being insane. How anti-intellectual can you be?!” Rocky: “The fact is that God says that you and every other person knows that He exists. The basis of that statement is Divine revelation. What is the basis of your claim.” Sandy: “The basis of my claim is that there is no evidence for God. That is basic. Everyone needs to know that.” Here is an example that shows the difference. Rocky doesn’t try to impose his own experience on Sandy, but he instructs Sandy as to how Sandy can check it out. On the other hand, Sandy tries to impose his worldview and uncheckable assumption onto Rocky.
- Psychologist's Fallacy: occurs when an observer assumes that his/her subjective experience reflects the true nature of an event. This is closely related to the fallacy of using worldview as proof. This is an example of using worldview as proof.
- Amazing Familiarity: occurs when premises are presented that would be impossible to know except by Divine revelation. Often, such claims are made while denying the existence of God, eliminating the option of Divine revelation. EXAMPLE Sandy: "Your claim that Jesus Christ leads you is merely an assumption." Rocky: "What is the method, either natural or supernatural, by which you think that you know that Christ's moment-by-moment leading is mere assumption?" Sandy: "Simple! God doesn't exist, so He can't lead you." Rocky: "And what is the method by which you think that you know that God doesn't exist? You seem to think that you know things that cannot be known."
- Stolen Concept / Smuggled Concept: occurs when proof is presented that is dependent on the thing against which the argument is being raised. EXAMPLE Logic is used to argue against Creation by Almighty God and for the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. There is no reason to believe that logic would be valid unless we were created by God. The concept of logic must be smuggled into the argument, and it is smuggled from the God who created the person who is arguing against God. EXAMPLE There are people who refuse to acknowledge God who accuse God or Christians of being immoral People who refuse to acknowledge God have to borrow the concept of morality from God’s revelation to Christians. It is irrational for a person who refuses to acknowledge God to believe in a universal moral code of any kind. Killing, looting, etc. are just a matter of opinion. EXAMPLE Sandy: "I believe in science and the natural laws." Rocky: "There is no reason to believe that science can be valid if natural laws are not faithfully enforced. They cannot be faithfully enforced unless there is some means of enforcing them. God says the He enforces them faithfully. You are borrowing this concept from the Christian worldview when it has no rational place in your own worldview." The entire concept of science being possible is smuggled out of a Christian worldview.
- Logical Fallacy of Weak Inference: occurs when a conclusion is not shown to be true given the evidence or reasoning presented. This is closely related to hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Theoretical Stories / storytelling Presented as Scientific Evidence / Confabulation Fallacy / Argument by Scenario: occurs when a story is made up to fit the observations as much as possible, but somehow the fact that the story is just a story is forgotten, and too much weight is given to the story. The best that a theory can be is an explanation. It never can prove that the story actually happened. This is related to the fallacy of confusing the explanation with the evidence/proof. Sometimes, the story is even treated as if it had something to do with reality. This takes the form: I can make up stories about X. Therefore, X is true. This is a type of hysteron proteron. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: "This was the discovery. Things merge up. Whatever makes it keeps going. Whatever doesn't make it falls away." Bill Nye is giving us a story as proof of evolution. Just because you can tell a story does not mean that the story actually happened.
- Anecdotal Evidence Presented as Scientific Evidence / Personal Testimony Presented as Scientific Evidence: occurs when a personal testimony or an anecdote is presented as if it were using scientific method. This fallacy only applies to testimony when it is claimed to be following the scientific method. Circular reasoning, using a presupposition of Naturalism, can make it seem as if this fallacy is being committed. Naturalism is an arbitrary assumption that eliminates Divine revelation--and God, too. The testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of Prophecy. When a testimony of what Christ is doing in a person's life is given, this is the Spirit of Prophecy. Those who hear it are hearing God speak through the person, providing that it is a true testimony of Jesus Christ. In many cases, the testimony may be mixed with rationalizations. In these cases, those hearing the testimony are hearing God speak a bit and then hearing the human spirit speak a bit. Scientific process cannot be shown to be the best way or most sure way of knowing things, so that which is not by scientific process is not automatically a fallacy. Personal learning experiences are important in life. Revelation is real, even though it conflicts with the presupposition of Naturalism. Three related fallacies are scientism, dismissing all personal testimony (which is a form of selective evidence), and storytelling as proof. EXAMPLE "I have scientific evidence that Listerine cures the common cold. I had a cold. I gargled with Listerine, and three days later my cold was gone." This commits other fallacies, but is also an example of anecdotal evidence presented as scientific evidence because it claims to be scientific evidence. Scientific evidence would involve a double-blind test with a control group. FALLACY ABUSE Rocky: "My personal experience is that Christ speaks to me. He leads me and teaches me moment by moment. That is the proof that He has given me for His existence and His goodness." Sandy: "That is anecdotal evidence and you can't use that in a debate." Rocky: "First, I am not debating. You asked how I know that God exists. I answered. Second, I didn't give you this as a way that you can have proof. This is how I have proof, and it is not anecdotal as Christ shows Himself to me. It is experience. Third, you can test this yourself if you are willing to pray to Jesus Christ sincerely and persistently, in humility, repentance, respect, and with a will to do His will. If you do that, He will make Himself real to you. He will begin to lead you. He will show you that you need His redemption because your life is disgusting to God's holiness." Sandy: "Personal experience proves nothing." Rocky: "So you will not look at the evidence. That's normal for those who love to debate. They are not usually seeking truth. Let me remind you that every scientist who has ever made an observation has done so by personal experience. And this same experience with Christ is repeated for every person who has ever truly known Christ in a saving relationship. It is a growing relationship that goes from one glory to another. And it is a complex relationship of the complex Divine with the complex human, so you can't write a simple formula to define it. But it is real."
- Logical Fallacy of Dismissing All Personal Testimony: occurs when all personal testimony is dismissed because it is personal testimony. Keep in mind that every experiment that is recorded in a laboratory is a personal testimony. Since many people repeat the same procedure, the personal testimonies are confirmed. When dealing with material substances that have relatively simple reactions, the results can be readily repeated, and there is less chance for mistakes. The experience (for instance, burning sulfur) that is recorded in the form of a testimony of the scientist is more reliable if it is independently verified by others. That reliability does not extend to the speculations about what the observations/experiences mean. In other words, speculation by scientists is no more valid than any other speculation. Speculation by a majority of scientists is no more valid than any other speculation. Because of the weakness of the human mind, it is very easy to slip from observation to speculation without realizing that any change in the manner of thinking has taken place. This is one of the fallacies of observation in which an interpretation is mistaken for an observation. Some observations are more unpredictable than burning sulfur. For instance, how do two raccoons react when they meet each other in the wild? This is harder to observe. What will happen is a bit more unpredictable. It will be impossible to repeat the same experiment exactly each time as it was with the sulfur-burning experiment. It is a different kind of experiment as a result. How about the way that two people react in a certain situation? How do you test that? We even get different reactions from different people to chemicals that are injected into their bodies. Scientists can kind of get a range, but they also get used to expecting there may be unexpected results. What about the spiritual realm and experiments in these areas. Human beings seem to be handicapped when it comes to observing objectively in this area. Yet, people have many experiences. Many people experiment in this area. Those who experiment with the occult will testify that they have real experiences, though the experiences will vary somewhat with certain similarities. On the opposite side of the spectrum, those who experiment with Jesus Christ also testify that they have real experiences, though the experiences will vary somewhat with certain similarities. To use a presupposition of Naturalism to discount those testimonies while accepting the testimonies of scientists studying animals, people, or any experiment that cannot be easily verified personally is a fallacy of special pleading. To claim to dismiss all testimony is usually just a cover for special pleading. Besides this, Jesus Christ can be personally verified by any person who is willing to look at the evidence. Whoever seeks Him, prays to Him sincerely and with persistence, who comes in repentance and respect, with a will to do His will, that is, in submission to Him, will find Him. This is verifiable. Anyone can do it if they are willing. Those who really don't want God to rule over them will find an excuse.
- Logical Fallacy of Rewriting History / Have it Your Way: occurs when events of the past are distorted or just fabricated in any way to support any conclusion. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: "Edwin Hubble was sitting at Mt. Wilson (Some of the misleading vividness has been omitted here) sat there at this very big telescope night after night staring at the heavens, and he found that the stars are moving apart. Stars are moving apart. And he wasn’t sure why, but it was clear that the stars are moving farther and farther apart all the time. So people talked about it for a couple decades." Bill Nye uses a misrepresentation of what really happened, the logical fallacy of rewriting history. Edwin Hubble didn’t observe stars moving apart. The galaxies, not individual stars, appeared to be moving apart. Cosmic expansion would not appear between stars but between galaxies. Bill Nye repeated this claim 3 times, which makes it unlikely that it was a slip of the tongue. And, Bill Nye’s statement is a common misconception that is often erroneously taught, actually educating people into ignorance. If the galaxies are moving apart, this conflicts with nothing in the account of creation in the Bible, taking it as it is written. There is no conflict. Hubble only assumed a strong correlation between red shifts and distances of galaxies. He observed red shifts. That is all he observed. It is irrational to shoehorn this observation into support for the big bang story. This was actually work that started before Hubble in 1914. However, an important point is that the expansion of the Universe cannot be observed. It is an interpretation of observation. Astronomers are aware that there are other possible interpretations. So, Bill Nye commits the hysteron proteron fallacy by making such a rash claim. He could say that one of the interpretations is that the stars are moving apart but not that it was observed that stars are moving apart. Going on from there to attributing expansion to the big bang is the fallacy of non sequitur, a conclusion that does not follow the evidence. What was observed can be explained a few different ways through speculation, assumptions, and made-up stories. Made-up stories are very different from Divine revelation, though. We know, by revelation through the Bible, that God stretched out the Heavens, which is a better explanation that fits the observations better. Keep in mind that the Bible mentions, several times, that God stretched out the Heavens. (article)
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Model: occurs when models or reality are created but the fact that the model is only an abstraction of reality is forgotten and the model is treated as if it were reality itself--it is used to prove rather than to teach a concept. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Assumption / Proof by Presupposition: occurs when assumption is required to support a premise that is used to support a conclusion, or when assumption is the only thing that is supporting a conclusion. An assumption is an unsupported assertion fallacy. However, most assumptions are pulled from worldviews/fake-realities, which seem more real than reality itself. For this reason, it either seems to make sense to make the assumption or else the assumption is made without realizing that it is mere assumption and not part of reality. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument from Personal Incredulity / I Personally Don't Believe It / Argument From Personal Belief / Argument from Personal Conviction: occurs when someone asserts that his or her personal lack of belief makes something untrue or belief makes something true. What we believe or disbelieve has no effect on reality. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: "This is to say, nature has its mediocre designs eaten by its good designs and so, the perception that there’s a designer that created all this is not necessarily true because we have an explanation that is far more compelling" Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of personification. He is personifying nature, giving it the ability to design things. Bill Nye is also using the logical fallacy of personal conviction as proof. The fact that he believes, and that his followers (if I may borrow the expression) believe something does not make it true. Bill Nye is arbitrarily deciding that his preferred explanation is far more compelling. It is compelling because it fits his own worldview/fake reality. God also reveals to us why it is compelling to some people. God says: "They love darkness rather than light." "They don't want to acknowledge God or to serve Him." "Their deeds are evil." Of course, in their own minds, their deeds may not seem, to them, to be evil. Every person's way is right in his or her own eyes, but God reveals that He made us to be joined to Him in a union by which we are workers together with Him and He does His works through us. Anything else is sin. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
- Argument by Lack of Imagination: occurs when an argument is made that leaves out some possibilities, depending on the audience having a lack of imagination. The logical fallacy of argument by lack of imagination is a type of argument from ignorance. It claims, "If I can't imagine it, then it is impossible." It isn't that imagination can prove anything to be true. It certainly can't even prove something to be possible. EXAMPLE "Evolution is scientifically impossible." Well, it is scientifically impossible given what we currently know about science, but that is not a good argument against it. Someone could say, "Use your imagination. Every problem that evolution has could have a possible solution. Who knows?" The iron-clad argument against evolution is based on Divine revelation, the only sure way that we can know anything about the past. God reveals that He created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them in six days. He created humanity and all the kinds of animals at this time. We know it by revelation. Evolution didn't happen. The fact that there is no real evidence for evolution and that evolution is scientifically impossible is not a good argument because of imagination.
- Argument by Imagination: occurs when imagination is offered as the proof for a proposition. EXAMPLE Evolution-believing professor at a major university: "The problem with those who don't believe in evolution is that they don't have imaginations."
- Capturing the Naïve / Argumentum ad Captandum / Argumentum ad Captandum Vulgus: occurs when unsound reasoning is used to win popular acceptance. It is literally argument by capturing the naïve. Proverbs 9:14-18: “Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, ‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’ To those who have no sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!’ But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” EXAMPLE Many college classrooms have become platforms for deceiving young people by presenting partial evidence in a convincing way, knowing that most students will be ignorant of conflicting evidence.
- Argument from Personal Astonishment: occurs what wonder and astonishment is expressed as a reason to reject a proposition. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation Science: “Ken Ham and his followers have this remarkable view of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced everything that we see in nature.” EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation Science: “Billions of people, but these same people do not embrace the ‘extraordinary’ view that the Earth is ‘somehow’ only 6,000 years old.” EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation Science: “How would these things have settled out? Your claim that they settled out in an extraordinarily short amount of time is, for me, not satisfactory.” In addition to the words, remarkable and somehow, Bill used the word, "extraordinary," upwards of 20 times as the evidence for his assertions against the history recorded in Scripture.
- Ad Personam Fallacy: occurs when personal preferences, dislikes, or weaknesses are used as reasons to believe. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation Science: “A much better conclusion would be . . . “ The reason it would be a better conclusion is that it is the conclusion that Bill prefers to be true.
- Logical Fallacy of Special Pleading / Selective Skepticism / Selective Gullibility / Double Standard : occurs when standards, principles, and/or rules are not applied universally. This is often associated with a false open-mindedness or hidden bigotry.
- Variant Imagization: occurs when dissimilar images are created for similar concepts, situations, or people. It is a kind of special pleading using images. Images can be mental or actual. Imagization is pairing of a meaning or idea with a mental image. EXAMPLE The farming industry is planting and harvesting corn. The lumber industry plants and harvests trees; however, to associate this with an image like, “Lumber executives devastate the ecology.” Is the fallacy of variant imagization. No similar image is created when talking about corn. EXAMPLE “In mainstream science, we carefully observe the evidence and use rational thought to determine our scientific truths. By this method, we have determined that the Big Bang took place about 13.7 billion years ago and the Earth is about 4.7 billion years old. By the same processes, we know that there was a single organism from which all life evolved over millions of years here on Earth. On the other hand, creationism falsely claims that a god somehow created everything from nothing about 6,000 years ago and that there was a worldwide flood. There is no evidence for any of the claims of creationism, and all the evidence is on the side of the scientists.” These are two very diverse verbally created images; however, both evolution and creation are researched by the same kinds of scientists using the same observations. The presuppositions are very different for evolutionists versus creationists. Unfortunately, students are indoctrinated with this type of language. It is a form of being educated into ignorance.
- Self-Exclusion: occurs when rules, logic, standards of truth, etc. apply to other points of view but not one’s own. This is a form of special pleading. EXAMPLE Sandy: “Show me the evidence that Jesus Christ speaks to you and tells you that the history in the Bible is accurate.” Rocky: “Let’s discuss this and you can also show me the evidence that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story actually happened. Christ speaks through the physical evidence for the Creation and Flood, and it is the same physical evidence that assumption and storytelling attributes to the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. As far as showing you evidence that Christ is guiding me, this is similar to me asking you to prove to me that you don’t believe in the existence of God. Prove to me that you really don’t believe and you aren’t just refusing to acknowledge Him. However, you can verify Christ’s existence since everyone who sincerely continues to seek Him will eventually receive His leading and guiding. Some people don’t want this because they like things that aren’t good. So that’s my evidence in condensed form. Now, show me your evidence that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story actually happened." Sandy: “I don’t have to show you anything. The burden of proof is on you because the existence of God is an extraordinary claim.” Sandy excludes himself. This is a form of special pleading. EXAMPLE Sandra: “There are no absolutes.” Roxanne: “Are you absolutely certain of that?” Sandra: “No; I mean that nothing can be absolutely known, right?” Roxanne: “So you are saying that your statement can’t be absolutely known?” Sandra: “That’s not what I mean. I mean that there is no way to know whether something is right or wrong or true or false.” Roxanne: “Are you saying that you can’t know whether what you just said is right or wrong or true or false.” Sandra: “I see the problem.”
- Unintended Self-Inclusion: occurs when a statement is made that was meant to point to others and yet point to the one making the statement. There is an old adage that states: whenever I point a finger at you there are three pointing back at me. EXAMPLE Bertrand Russell: "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." Note how certain of himself Bertrand is in stating this unsupported assertion. Bertrand was always so careful to try to make himself seem rational, too. EXAMPLE Theologian: ”The trouble with people who don’t believe this theology is that they are twisting Scripture.” However, the particular theology to which he is referring adds a lot of assumptions to Scripture and it was derived by rationalization rather than Divine revelation. EXAMPLE Sandy: “There are absolutely no absolutes.” Rocky: "I understand. You are asking me not to believe you.” Sandy says there are absolutely no absolutes. She is saying that her claim is not absolute. It is not the truth. Truth, by its very nature, is absolute.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Repetition / Proof by Repeated Assertion / Argument by Repetition / Argumentum Ad Nauseam / Nagging / Argument to the Point of Disgust: occurs when someone simply repeats a conclusion when asked to supply some premise that would support the conclusion or when evidence is supplied that refutes the assertion.
- Cherishing the Zombie: occurs when ideas that have been previously shown to be wrong or false are still brought out as evidence. Of course, every argument for everything controversial is probably claimed to have been refuted by someone. There is likely to be someone who disagrees with it and who has provided what is called a refutation. However, this fallacy is only a fallacy if the zombie has been unequivocally shown to be wrong or false. EXAMPLE "The Urey-Miller experiment proves that life can come into existence by random chance." This has been shown to be false. No one who has any knowledge of science believes this any more. This is a zombie.
- Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Lapidem: occurs when someone dismisses a statement as absurd without giving proof of its absurdity. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Now, I just want to remind us all, there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community from their religion. They worship together. They eat together. They live in their communities and enjoy each other's company. Billions of people, but these same people do not embrace the 'extraordinary' view that the Earth is 'somehow' only 6,000 years old. That is unique." Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of Argumentum Ad Lapidem, with the word, "extraordinary," implying that a belief is absurd without proving it to be absurd. Here Bill Nye also employs the logical fallacies of marginalizing, bandwagon, and creating a false impression to manipulate the minds of the audience to his political view. Bill Nye also uses the logical fallacy of the outright lie, saying, "the extraordinary view that the Earth is 'somehow' only 6,000 years old. That is unique." This statement is made to marginalize, but it is clearly false. The belief that the Earth is 6,000 years old is shared by about half (46%) of all Americans. So this lie was perpetrated to activate the logical fallacy of bandwagon, but how many people believe something can have no possible impact on what reality is. Perhaps Bill is saying that anyone who disagrees with him is holding an extraordinary view.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Understatement / Misunderstanding by Understatement: occurs when an idea or concept is expressed as less than it is and that understatement is used as proof of something or otherwise gives a false impression. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community by their religion." This is a logical fallacy of understatement. Bill Nye is implying that the purpose of the church is to get enriched by the wonderful sense of community. The fact is that the purpose of the church is to so come to know Christ that we becomes transformed into His same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. And there is much more to it than that. When someone knows nothing about a subject, it would be helpful if they were to avoid speaking as an expert on the subject.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Logical Tautology: occurs when a statement is made that cannot be falsified simply because of its form. It isn't a fallacy unless it used as an explanation of something or proof of something since the statement contains no real information. EXAMPLES "The mechanism of evolution is natural selection, the survival of the fittest." The tautology here is "survival of the fittest." This is the survival of the survivors, or the fitness of the fittest. Natural selection has problems of its own. Defining natural selection as this tautology is a sure way to cause confusion. If the tautology is used as some kind of validation for molecules-to-man, then it is a fallacy. "Those living things that survive are more fit because they are more well adapted to live in the environment." This appears to give a conclusion that the fittest survive and a premise or proof that they are more well adapted for their environment, but all that has happened is that the same thing is repeated twice: to be "fit" is to be "more well adapted to live." Note that rhetorical tautology is not a fallacy, but is often confused with logical tautology. Rhetorical tautology occurs when repetition replaces significance. EXAMPLE "I went there personally." Sometimes, this is used for emphasis, but generally it comes from the Department of Redundancy Department.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by False Declaration of Victory: occurs when an announcement of victory is substituted for rational thought. This is very similar in effect to summary dismissal. This is often coupled with a straw man fallacy. EXAMPLE Sandy: "If creationists insist on God, I have every right to insist on a creator of that God. And you are wrong." Rocky: "Before declaring victory, what are the steps to your logic or science that lead you to believe that God didn't always exist, that He is not eternal? How do you determine such a thing?" Sandy gives us an example of a poor argument followed by a false declaration of victory in the form of "you are wrong." This argument of "Who created God?" is an irrational question. God has no creator and always existed. In our created world, we know that created things must have a creator and that effects must have causes. We also know that, in our sin-cursed world, the Second Law of Thermodynamics (the fact that we observe everything running down and deteriorating and we never see any exception to the Second Law) means that if the Universe had always been in existence it would now be in a heat death. It would be universally distributed heat at just over absolute zero. However, God is not subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics or the effects of sin on the creation. So, this is also the logical fallacy of faulty analogy.
- Assumption Correction Assumption: occurs when silence is assumed to be agreement. An unproven premise is called an assumption. If someone doesn't refute a false assumption, there is a tendency to assume that because the assumption was not refuted/corrected, the original premise/assumption can't be refuted. This is the assumption of the trolls on the Internet. However, they really are so closed-minded to truth that it is a waste of time conversing with them. EXAMPLE God addresses this as He speaks to us through Scripture: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." (Proverbs 26:4-5) So, this is the catch 22 when dealing with a fool. If you answer the fool, you waste your time and look as foolish as the fool. If you don't answer, the fool commits the assumption correction assumption.
- False Criteria Fallacy / Fallacy of Questionable Criteria: occurs when irrelevant standards are applied to test the truth or the falsity of a proposition. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "if you can find a fossil that has swum between the layers, bring it on. You would change the world." That is a false test, using questionable criteria. Clams don't actually swim very much. Once anything is buried in mud, it is difficult to swim. However, there are examples of clams moving up through tens of feet of mud. Those organisms in the lower layer of the flood sediments are of the types that are not generally mobile enough to escape, which is exactly what you would expect with a worldwide, catastrophic flood. So, this test is quite deceptive. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of the outright lie. Scientists find index fossils in the wrong place all the time, but that changes none of their minds. Once in a while a scientist begins to question the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story and the assumptions, cherry picking, etc. that are used in the aging methods, but they lose their jobs or are punished in other ways. Bill is also using the logical fallacy of non sequitur. When Bill Nye brought this up previously, he proposed that the only thing that Ken Ham could do was to prove that clams and microscopic organisms had swum up through the mud that was settling on them. Bill is also using a very common argument that is used by people who refuse to acknowledge God: prove this to me in this specific way or the default is to believe that it is not true. That is the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance and the logical fallacy of proof of falsity by failure to prove.
- Logical Fallacy of Cutting Off Discussion / Summary Dismissal: occurs when a summary dismissal by any means is used to simply cut off the discussion rather than addressing the issues. EXAMPLE Sandy: "There is no God!!! No discussion!!!" Rocky: "So that's your reason for believing that there is no God?"
- Thought-Terminating Cliché / Cliché Thinking: occurs when a commonly used phrase or some folk wisdom is used as proof. This is often accompanied by a summary dismissal to cut off the discussion. It is often used as a form of summary dismissal. Cliché thinking is reductionist. This is, it over-simplifies things to such a degree that they are difficult to understand. The reason that cliche thinking makes things hard to understand is that the cliche is thought to be a complete explanation. EXAMPLE "Evolution is science." The statement has the purpose of ending the discussion. It is false. Evolution is not science. Evolution is an intricate story. This thought-terminating cliché is designed to create a false impression and end discussion. It's purpose is end all questioning of the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. No thinking allowed.
- Truism: occurs when a statement is made the is held to be true by the vast number of people even if it cannot be logically shown to be either true or false. This is a type of either an outright lie or else an unsupported assertion. EXAMPLE Frans de Waal: “If we look straight and deep into a chimpanzee's eyes, an intelligent self-assured personality looks back at us. If they are animals, what must we be?” The unproven story of the 1% difference has helped to sell the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story. By publishing these figures widely using many avenues of communication, proponents have been able to create a truism. Many people still believe this is true, but they are unable to check out the facts to know for sure. Now we find that the DNA story was not derived honestly using all of the data. The data was pre-screened, and data that was too dissimilar was omitted, masked, and/or not reported. Genomic monkey business Not only that, but there are actually about 45 million DNA bases that are in the chimp but not in the human DNA. And there are about 45 million in the human that aren't in the chimp. The evolution model claims 300,000 generations caused this. That's about 133 locked-in mutations per generation. That is the problem known as Haldane's dilemma.
- Logical Fallacy of the Perfect Solution / Nirvana Fallacy / Perfect Solution Fallacy / Perfectionist Fallacy: occurs when that which is real is compared to unrealistic, idealized alternatives, then rejecting a conclusion or solution because it doesn't meet some definition of perfection. It is often suggesting that there is no sense in doing anything since it won't be perfect. It is also the tendency to think that there is a perfect solution when no such thing is available. Sometimes, it takes the form of simple complaining. Note that this does not mean that we can be dogmatic about conclusions that are based only on fallacies. EXAMPLE "You may as will prepare your kids to have sex before marriage. They're going to do it anyway." Some young people will do what is wrong, but many of those who have been taught right from wrong will stay on the right path.
- Just In Case Fallacy / Worst Case Scenario Fallacy: occurs when the worst case scenario is used rather than the most likely scenario in making an argument. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "What keeps the United States ahead, what makes the United States a world leader, is our technology, our new ideas, our innovations. If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we are not going to move forward, we’ll not embrace natural laws, we’ll not make discoveries, we’ll not invent and innovate and stay ahead." Bill is saying that we dare to know the difference between observational science and historic science or we will stop knowing about natural laws and all progress would cease. The difference between observational and historic science is the difference between observation and assumption. Bill doesn't tell us how knowing the difference between observation and assumption would stop us from knowing about natural laws. In a naturalistic worldview, natural laws must be assumed because of Agrippa's Trilemma. However, Christ tells us that we don't have to assume. We can know about natural laws. Christ tells us that He will faithfully enforce them, so we need not worry.
- Logical Fallacy of Unwarranted Extrapolation: occurs when known facts related to one set of circumstances are used to make predictions or judgments about another set of circumstances, but either too much weight is given to the extrapolation or the extrapolation goes beyond what is reasonable.
- Logical Fallacy of Untestability: occurs when a theory is put forward that cannot be tested.
- Logical Fallacy of Subjectivity / Relativist / Subjectivist: occurs when an objective fact is claimed to be true for one person or situation and not for another person or situation. This fallacy doesn't apply to personal taste but only to objective facts. This is not the same is the fallacy of relativism, which is a separate fallacy. It is not totally unrelated either. This is closely related to Agrippa's Trilemma, which states (from a secular standpoint) that all thought must rest on one of three equally unstable foundations. It basically states that no one can really know anything. The good news is that it is a false trilemma, since it assumes Naturalism/Atheism. It arbitrarily drops out the fourth and the fifth option. Only one option is trustworthy. That is Divine revelation. By Divine revelation, some knowledge is possible. Through Divine revelation, we can know that there are laws of logic and laws of nature. EXAMPLE Roxy: "God declares that every person knows that He exists; yet some refuse to acknowledge Him." Sandra: "That may apply to you, but it doesn't apply to me." God reveals, as He speaks through Scripture, that it does apply to Sandra as well as Roxy. His revelation is absolute.
- Logical Fallacy of Bizarre Hypothesis / Far-Fetched Hypothesis: occurs when a bizarre, far-fetched hypothesis is advanced as the correct explanation of what can be observed. EXAMPLE "It seems that all matter must have popped into existence one day and then it wasn't long before elements formed themselves and stars and planets and animals and people. I guess that hydrogen is an inert gas which, over time, turns into people."
- Least Plausible Hypothesis: occurs when a hypothesis that conflicts with known facts is chosen over one that doesn’t conflict with known facts or when a hypothesis that requires more arbitrary assumptions/stories is chosen over one that requires less arbitrary assumptions/stories. EXAMPLE The two main models for origins are the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story (BBBoYNFMtM) and the historical account of the Creation and the Flood revealed by God through the Bible (CF). BBBoYNFMtM requires countless assumptions and just-so stories to hold the hypothesis together and it violates several scientific laws, which requires even more just-so stories to explain away the evidence. CF requires no assumptions or just-so stories and violates no scientific laws. Yet some people prefer BBBoYNFMtM.
- Complex Hypothesis Fallacy / Extravagant Hypothesis: occurs when an explanation that requires more assumptions is chosen over those hypotheses that require less assumptions. This is difficult to analyze, since many, if not most, assumptions are never admitted to be assumptions. They are thought of as facts. They are parts of worldviews that seem more like reality than reality itself. Here, assumption is being defined as a proposition that cannot be absolutely proven to be true. The more complex the hypothesis, the more evidence is required, since more truth claims are being made. Evidence here is actual empirical evidence without interpretation. Interpretation turns into just-so stories very easily and includes assumptions. In science, theology, and politics, it is common to begin to have very complex structures of thought. In the process, problems are covered with just-so stories and assumptions. These just so-stories are ad hoc hypotheses or rescuing mechanisms to save the overall complex hypothesis. As various hypotheses are intertwined and become inter-dependent, they are sometimes presented as if one supports the other. Actually, they have become a single, highly complex, hypothesis. If part of this huge hypothesis falls, the entire thought structure is shaken. EXAMPLE The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man hypothesis is laden with many assumptions. It falls apart without them. Yet many of those who embrace this hypothesis and give it special privilege over other hypotheses are unaware of these assumptions. On the other hand, the Creation and the Flood are revealed by God as facts. There are no assumptions required so long as we don't go beyond what has been revealed. What has been revealed doesn't violate anything that can be observed or tested using scientific method.
- Privileging the Hypothesis: occurs when more than one hypothesis is possible yet one of the possible hypotheses is granted a privileged position and assumed to be true when there is no rational reason to give the hypothesis this status. EXAMPLE "The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man hypothesis is a better hypothesis than the Creation-Flood hypothesis since it doesn't leave the area of Naturalism." Both Naturalism (which is another word for Atheism) and the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man hypothesis are given privileged position without reason. Yes, Naturalism is given as the reason for the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man hypothesis, but then you must have a reason for Naturalism, which is an unsupported assertion. We know, by revelation, that the Creation-Flood hypothesis is actually the correct one. EXAMPLE ID Scientist: "There are problems with evolutionistic theories for which we have no possible solution. With what we now know of science, molecules-to-man is impossible. There is another theory that has none of these problems to the extent that Darwinism has them. We don't really know which theory is right, so maybe intelligent design is right." This really doesn't commit the fallacy of privileging the hypothesis, but it comes close. The real problem is that the ID Scientist isn't giving the real reason that we can know that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man hypothesis is false and the Creation-Flood hypothesis is true. That reason is Divine revelation. Of course, a person who refuses to acknowledge God would deny Divine revelation, using unsupported assertion, appeal to ridicule, or some other fallacy as proof against it.
- Canceling Hypotheses: occurs when a hypothesis that should have certain consequences but does not is defended by introducing a new hypothesis that cancels the effect of the first hypothesis. This is a form of ad hoc rescue. EXAMPLE Livescience.com article, Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained: "The controversial discovery of 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex finally has a physical explanation. According to new research, iron in the dinosaur's body preserved the tissue before it could decay." Livescience.com was more honest the talkorigins.org. Talkorigins.org, in a very wordy article, just denied that the blood exists as it attacked AIG as a source. Livescience.com, on the other hand, committed the logical fallacy of canceling hypotheses. The iron would have a preservation value, but to claim that blood and soft tissue could last millions of years with iron as a preservative is a stretch.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to False Faith: occurs when someone uses make-believe faith (not the same as biblical faith) as a premise to support a conclusion rather than using true premises. It is a misuse of biblical faith, which is legitimate. Biblical faith comes by hearing the word (Greek: rhema = utterance) of God. When God speaks and we acknowledge Him, biblical faith comes. So there is ample room for equivocation on the word, "faith," since the same word is used for both make-believe and God's imparted faith. EXAMPLE "Evolution is scientific fact." It's actually just a story that is being made up and modified constantly to try to explain creation without the Creator.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Heaven / Gott Mit Uns / Manifest Destiny / Special Covenant: occurs when it is claimed that a right is given by God, yet God did not give any such right. Sandra: "God doesn't care if I shack up with Steve. His command is that we should not judge each other." Roxanne: "What makes you think that God doesn't care?" Sandra: "He told me personally." God never contradicts Himself. He plainly speaks through Scripture. Through Scripture, He says not to commit adultery. Sandra is making things up and blaming God for it. Any time anyone says, "Thus says the Lord . . ." There is great responsibility to make sure that God's words are given purely.
- Logical Fallacy of Inaccurate Models: occurs when models of reality are created but the limits of the models leave out some element that is essential to understanding or add in some element that distorts understanding. EXAMPLE Dawkins' Weasel Program EXAMPLE Current models of variation in DNA
- Logical Fallacy of Hedging / Having Your Cake / Failure to Assert / Diminished Claim / Failure to Choose Sides / Talking out of Both Sides of Your Mouth / If by Whiskey / Weasel Words: occurs when a claim or theory is stated in an unclear way so that so that the position can be modified, refined, or changed if it is not accepted by the majority or if evidence against it is shown. This is very common when someone is trying to win an argument (like a game) rather than seeking truth, playing to the crowd, vying for popularity, or politicking. EXAMPLE Nature Journal: "Charles Darwin thought that the eye, which he called an 'organ of extreme perfection', was a serious challenge to evolutionary theory--but he was mistaken. Theory predicts that eyes can evolve with great speed, and now there is support for this prediction from the fossil record. Well-preserved fossils found in Early Cambrian shales from South Australia show that some of the earliest arthropods known had eyes very like those of some insects alive today, ..." Note how this Nature editor has spun very strong evidence against the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story into a fulfillment of a prediction made by the story. This was accomplished by the logical fallacy of hedging. This is a very common practice in this kind of pseudo-science. (reference)
- Preacher’s We / Salesman's We / Politician's We Fallacy: occurs when a word such as “we” or “us” is used to give a hedge when talking about a specific person (usually the audience). Often, this can be a veiled accusation. It is not always a fallacy. A politician's worth his salt will be talking about himself if he is talking about anyone else. In this case it isn’t a fallacy. It is dealing with reality in humility. However, there is something self-righteous about human nature that like to point fingers. When this is done, the “we” covers. In some instance, the word, "we" is a sly way of creating a bandwagon fallacy. The "we" can be used to create a false consensus or a false impression of consensus. When a false impression of consensus is created, this can be used to pressure dissenters into silence. EXAMPLE Teacher: “We seem to be having a problem over here, don’t we?” Student: “I wasn’t doing nothing.”
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Nature / Argumentum Ad Naturam: occurs when an arbitrary assumption (hidden or stated) is used that because something is natural it is OK or even preferred. Note that the word nature has several meanings. If this ever comes up, you might do well to ask how it is being defined. For instance, the apostle Paul used it in a non-fallacious way when he said, "Doesn't nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a shame to him?" (Looking at the word, "nature," in this instance, it means the nature of creation as opposed to what is a monstrous, abnormal, or perverse distortion of what God created.)
- Experimenter Bias: occurs when a measure or observation allows for leeway, and the person taking the measurement or making the observation is swayed by presuppositions, opinions, or worldviews. EXAMPLE The Piltdown hoax, Archaeoraptor, the peppered moth, the Midwife Toad, Haeckel’s embryos, Ancon sheep, the Tasaday Indians, Bathybius haeckelii, and Hesperopithecus (Nebraska Man)
- Fallacy of the Crucial Experiment: occurs when an experiment is claimed to have proved or disproved something. It is unlikely that a single experiment could do such a thing. In addition, some experiments are used to teach a politically correct, though untrue, doctrine. EXAMPLE “The Urey-Miller experiment proved that life can come into existence spontaneously.” Though this is taught to students as one of the crucial experiments, it doesn't prove what the teachers tell the students that it proves. In fact, the Urey-Miller experiment, along with much follow-up research, makes the feasibility of the idea of spontaneous life springing from non-living things so remote that some people are proposing the life came form outer space. Of course, the UFO hypothesis just moves the problem across space and doesn’t answer anything.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument from Hearsay / Telephone Game / Chinese Whispers / Anecdotal Evidence / Volvo Fallacy / Rumor: occurs when someone presents testimony other than eye-witness account, that is, personal testimony. The closer to the original observer, the more likely something is to be accurate. The more times it is re-told, the more likely it might be distorted. The more witnesses there are to give testimony, the more likely that the testimony will be accurate. If a personal testimony is written down, it is more likely to be accurate. On the other hand, if a testimony has been retold, that doesn't guarantee its inaccuracy.
- Logical Fallacy of Ad Hoc Rescue / Ad Hoc Hypothesis / Just-So Story: occurs when someone is desperate to hang onto some part of their worldview that is out of sync with reality, so, facing facts that contradict the worldview, they use ad hoc stories to rescue their worldview. In other words, they make up stories to explain away reality. EXAMPLE (The story of molecules-to-man evolution is constantly rescued by just-so stories whenever it runs into snags. Many of the things that formerly were claimed to be the very things, that, if observed, would falsify the story of molecules-to-man evolution have been observed but explained away using the logical fallacy of ad hoc rescue. This is also true of Big Bang stories, the Bible has errors stories, billions-of-years stories, etc.)
- Hindsight Bias / Knew-it-all-Along Effect / Creeping Determinism: occurs when an event is believed to predictable when, in fact, little or no objective basis ever existed for predicting it prior to its occurrence. Sometimes this is done when the group-held paradigm had previously ruled out the event happening. Suddenly, the event is added to that paradigm using ad hoc rescue stories. EXAMPLE Just-so stories to support evolution. Often, these just-so stories are later used as "evidence" for the big just-so story. Many unexpected observations are then explained with ad hoc rescue just-so stories and then claimed to be fulfilled predictions. "This is just what we would have expected from the (now modified) Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story." EXAMPLE Livescience.com: "Dinosaurs' iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier." That's what we surely would have expected. Still don't know how it could have lasted so long, but it obviously did. No need to challenge our age estimates, since that would challenge the big sacred cow, the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. Here are a few more examples: http://crev.info/2013/04/weekend-entertainment-evolutionary-just-so-stories/
- Logical Fallacy of Continuum / Continuum Fallacy / Argument of the Beard / Fallacy of the Beard / Heap Fallacy / Fallacy of the Heap / Heap Paradox Fallacy / Bald Man Fallacy / Line Drawing Fallacy / Line-Drawing / Sorites Fallacy: occurs when someone asserts that there is no definable moment or point on the line between two extremes.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument from Fallacy / Argumentum Ad Logicam / Appeal to Logic / Bad Reasons Fallacy / Fallacy Fallacy / Fallacist's Fallacy: occurs when someone asserts that a certain conclusion is false because one of the arguments that was presented to support it had a fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of Inflation of Conflict: occurs when it is assumed that incomplete knowledge of an issue means that there is nothing that can be known about the issue. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "The idea that there is a higher power that has driven the course of events in the Universe and our own existence is one that you cannot prove or disprove. And this gets into this expression, agnostic. You can’t know." What makes Bill Nye think that God cannot be proven or known? Often, people who claim that no one can know about God or spiritual things are guilty of the logical fallacy of inflation of conflict. This is the assumption that incomplete knowledge means that there is nothing that can be known. Of course, such people don't usually apply the same fallacy to science, claiming that we can't know anything scientifically because we don't know everything. Perhaps this is where Bill is coming from, or he may be making an unsupported assertion.
- Logical Fallacy of Infinite Regress / Homunculus Argument: occurs when an argument forms an endless loop of dependent premises, never reaching a premise that can stand as true on its own. If the truth of a premise P1 is proven by premise P2, and the truth of premise P2 is proven by premise P3, and this pattern continues without being resolved, this is infinite regress. The point of infinite regression is that it never provides any proof that does not itself need to be proved, so it appears to present evidence, yet the evidence is never shown to be valid. Infinite regression is one of the three possible invalid basis for secularist thinking, the other two are circular reasoning and assumption. All three leave the secularist with the problem of no real basis for making any conclusions. (see Agrippa's Trilemma) EXAMPLE The original homunculus argument in which it is stated that we see because there is an image projected in our head which a little man, a homunculus, sees. The question is, how does the little man see? He also has a little man inside his head, but how does this little man see? You guessed it. Another little man inside his head. And there is no end to it.
- The Logical Fallacy of Reification / Anti-Conceptual Mentality Fallacy / Attributing Concreteness to the Abstract / Concretism / Hypostatization Fallacy / Objectification: occurs when concepts, theories, assumptions, or abstractions are treated as concrete facts or realities. The fallacy is attributing concreteness to the abstract. People who commit this fallacy usually flow between actual evidence (observations and sound logic) into unsupported assertions, presuppositions, and fabrications without ever knowing that something has changed. They don’t perceive the difference between reality and storytelling. EXAMPLE John F. Kennedy:
"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country." EXAMPLE Seth et al., “Theories and measures of consciousness: “Given that consciousness is a rich biological phenomenon, a satisfactory neural theory of consciousness must avoid reductionistic excess.” This is reification of "consciousness," in this case, trying to make it into a biological phenomenon.
- The Logical Fallacy of Personification / Disney Fallacy / Anthropomorphism / Anthropomorphization / Pathetic Fallacy: occurs when someone speaks about concepts or inanimate objects as if they had intelligence and were persons. EXAMPLE "Evolution designed many interesting complexities into living things." Evolution is a concept, a story. It is not concrete. It actually doesn't exist if we are talking about molecules-to-man evolutionism. EXAMPLE "Science tells us that there is no God." Science doesn't talk. Some scientists may say that there is no God, but that is their unsupported assertion. The difference between this and reification is that personification adds human characteristics.(See Idola Fori.)
- Logical Fallacy Slothful Induction: occurs when the conclusion of a strong inductive argument is denied when there is absolutely no the evidence to the contrary and no competing possible conclusion. Inductive arguments are usually quite weak so we must be careful about putting much confidence in them. Often, they are only good for a working theory. If we are looking for truth regarding important issues, inductive reasoning is not an adequate tool for this purpose. If there is any deductive evidence against an inductive argument, then the inductive argument is weak. If the inductive argument repeatedly must resort to just-so stories and other rescuing mechanisms, as is the case with old Earth and molecules-to-man evolution arguments, the inductive argument is weak. If the inductive argument cannot be confirmed by conclusive deductive investigation, then the inductive argument is useless. It's also very difficult to find any subject about which there are no competing conclusions, so be careful of message control and brainwashing where one side of an issue is pushed hard until other sides of the issue are declared non-existent. EXAMPLE "The creation, as you call it, is not evidence for God. There are other, more compelling explanations for how everything got here." Every other explanation consists of arbitrary assumptions and made-up stories that violate known laws of science, so they are not rational. In addition, God reveals Himself to anyone who is willing to acknowledge Him, through His creation.
- Logical Fallacy of Superstitious Thinking / Magical Thinking: occurs when a belief does not follow from real evidence. EXAMPLE "Good luck with your interview." EXAMPLE "Mother Nature is sending us rain tomorrow." EXAMPLE "All living things have evolved from a single ancestor."
- Logical Fallacy of Meaningless Question: occurs when a question is asked that cannot be answered in a way that is rational. EXAMPLE "Can God create a rock so large that He can't lift it?" "What would you do if absolute proof was found that the Biblical history is in error?" Note that it could be possible that a given interpretation of that Biblical history may be in error, and asking whether an interpretation might be shown to be in error would not constitute the logical fallacy of meaningless question.
- Proving Non-Existence: occurs when a belief is held that something exists simply because it has not been proven false. The reality is that universal non-existence can never be proved. Non-existence can easily be proved for some things. I can prove that a blue dot doesn't exist on my kitchen ceiling in the material realm very easily. I cannot prove the universal, that a blue dot doesn't exist anywhere, in any dimension or realm. I cannot prove that that which cannot be seen doesn't exist. It is always irrational to claim non-existence unless you know by Divine revelation that something doesn't exist. It is the fallacy of the universal negative. This is one of the reasons that a person who refuses to acknowledge God may refuse to admit their contention that God doesn't exist. They will sometimes say that they don't disbelieve, but they simply don't have belief--but then why are they so angry? Or, they will use the word agnostic, meaning that no one can know God or anything spiritual. This is also a universal negative because they are claiming to know the inner spiritual experience of every person who has ever lived. EXAMPLE "We believe in God because you can't prove He doesn't exist." That is not why we believe in God. That is a fallacy, but the following is not a fallacy: "We believe in God because we personally know Jesus. He leads us and guides us moment-by-moment." Followers of Christ often commit this fallacy, but they never have to if they are willing to acknowledge the living Christ and confess that He is come in the flesh. There is a very similar fallacy committed concerning the Bible. The fact is that, if we know the Bible is the Word of God and without error, it is because the Holy Spirit speaks that into our innermost mind giving us this assurance. EXAMPLE "Atheism is the default until you give me physical evidence using repeatable scientific method that God exists." Again, this is the logical fallacy of proving non-existence.
- Argumentum ad Imaginibus: occurs when the identification of logical fallacies in one’s argument are dismissed solely because someone uses a prepared graphic to clearly explain the logical error.
- Statement of Conversion: occurs when a changed mind is used as proof for something. In sales, this is often taught as the feel, felt, found method. “I know how you feel. I felt the same way, but now I have found . . .” It is not a fallacy to give a testimony of a changed mind. In fact, if you are a Christian, testimony is the spirit of prophecy. Prophecy is the act of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you, a very important part of the Christian walk. It is a fallacy to say, "I changed my mind; therefore, I am now right, and everyone who believes what I used to believe is wrong." The fallacy is not committed when a person with intimate information about both sides of an issue can bring better information to the front. However, those who leave one position to take the opposing position often do so based on emotion and often have never really understood the position that they abandoned. Scientists sometimes cross over between the creation and evolution stances later in their lives. They are more likely to have a better understanding of both sides of the issue. When young people make the same conversion between religions or scientific worldviews (Atheism, Christianity, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Evolutionism, Old-Earthism, etc.) they are less likely to have a deep understanding of the religion or science that they are converting from simply because of lack of experience. In fact, among Christians who have converted to something else, you are unlikely to find one who had an intimate relationship with Christ in which they were constantly aware of Christ's moment-by-moment leading and teaching.
- Outdated Information: occurs when a premise is put forward in support of a conclusion, but the information has been since found to be false. Note that for any controversial subject, there will always be those who refute any information, either successfully or not so successfully. The outdated information fallacy is not committed just because someone has published a refutation. However, there are instances where a claim was made without observed facts (which is a fallacy in itself), and observation later shows the claim to be false in such a way that its falsity cannot be logically questioned. EXAMPLE "The fossil record supports [molecules-to-man] evolution." EXAMPLE "One day, a simple life-form came into existence by random chance."
- Argument by Laziness: occurs when a belief is held because of lack of ambition to look into the matter and understand the facts. EXAMPLE Sandy: “There is no God.” Rocky: “Actually, I have an ongoing, moment-by-moment relationship with Jesus Christ, and you can too. You don’t have to take my word for it. Everyone who seeks Him finds Him. If you would just turn your mind toward Him, acknowledge Him in respect and sincerity, He will reveal Himself to you. Would you like to do that? Sandy: “I’m not going to do that. I know that there is no God.”
- Alien Fallacy: occurs when aliens are used as evidence. I don’t have a good answer, but aliens could have done it. EXAMPLE Rocky: “How did the first life form by random chance on the Earth.” Sandy: “Scientists are working on this, and some think that perhaps life was first planted on the Earth by aliens from other planets.” How would moving the problem across the Universe with imaginary beings solve the problem?
- Quantum Physics Fallacy: occurs when quantum physics is offered as proof for a conclusion; however quantum physics doesn't support the conclusion. This is symptomatic of a whole class of fallacies the appeal to the unknown or what is not understood. It is also an example of grasping at straws. Some phrase that was once heard regarding quantum physics can be pulled out of context and used as bogus proof. EXAMPLE “Quantum physics proves that an infinite number of parallel universes exist, so it was inevitable that the complexity of the single cell would pop into existence in some of those universes.” Quantum physics proves no such thing. Quantum physics doesn’t prove the existence of non-existence of God. God’s holy Presence and moment-by-moment leading, along with His revelation of Himself through His Creation are the proof of His existence. Quantum physics doesn’t prove the big bang story, nor does it doesn’t prove any New Age dogma. Quantum physics is a working theory of operational science, a model that works to explain some things. A model or theory cannot be used as proof for anything. Something can be said to fit within the confines of the model. Secondly, very few people understand quantum physics, so it is a great place for an uncheckable lie or a false prophecy that science will eventually prove this or that. In any case, most claims that use quantum physics as a basis are speculations that go beyond what is presently known.
- Fallacious Abstraction: occurs when a quote or anything else is taken out of its full context resulting in a distortion. Keep in mind that all scientific models are abstractions. Language forces abstraction, since you can’t say everything at once. Abstractions can often lead to distortions.
- Appeal to the Untested / Appeal to the Unknown: occurs when a theory is claimed to be fact based on proof that lies in the realm of what has just been claimed but not proved to be true. The proof is hysteron proteron. This tactic is common in secular science where sacred cow ideas such as the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. EXAMPLE A transitional form between families of animals is claimed. Newspaper articles proclaim it to be absolute proof (when it would not be even be proof if such a thing were found) of molecules-to-man. These so-called transitional forms are always exposed after they are examined. One the so-called “transitional form” is found to be either a hoax or a mistake, some people keep using the fake “evidence,” but most of the secular community moves on to a new untested “transitional form.” Sometimes, a retraction is printed, but not usually.
- Grasping at Straws: occurs when a desperate attempt is made to find some reason to believe a desired lie. In these situations, reasons are given that don’t even come close to what could be considered rationality. EXAMPLE “The trend toward cooler temperatures over the last decade is caused by global warming. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand how science works.”
- Appeal to Pragmatism Fallacy / Pragmatic Fallacy / Appeal to Convenience / Pragmatism / Appeal to Utility / Argumentum Ad Convenientiam: occurs when what appears to be the easiest path/course is taken simply because it appears easy or when an argument is made that because something has a practical advantage it is true. This is not to say that there are not better, more efficient ways to do things. However, there are things that are wrong that seem to be easy. EXAMPLE “This is much more practical way. Just cheat (or steal/lie).” EXAMPLE Sandy: “Christianity is true because it preaches love and caring for other people. Virtually all the hospitals, universities, and organizations that help people were founded as Christian organizations. Therefore, Christ exists.” Sandy gave us a lot of true information, but the information doesn’t prove that Christianity is true or that Christ exists. Those who actually follow Christ know that He exists and the He is all that He says that He is. They know this because they know Him, not because of a theory that He is good for society—even though He is good for society.
- Appeal to Fake Hope: occurs when fake hope becomes the reason for believing something. This is related to wishful thinking. The hope that God gives is a vision of reality, of how things will be in the future. God’s faith and God’s hope are closely related, but both can be counterfeited. When they are counterfeited, a fallacy is committed.'
- Appeal to Intuition: occurs when intuition is the only reason for believing something that is either true or false. Intuition is one of the human senses and is not to be ignored. However, it must be checked using other sources of knowledge. Feelings, intuitions, reasonings, and observations can be tricked. The human mind can be easily deceived. Only by acknowledging the leading of the Holy Spirit moment by moment can we move toward understanding. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the intuition, but there are other things that can speak to us through the intuition. God has built into the Scriptural order of the Church, a system of checks and balances to prevent wild errors.
- Appeal to Mystery: occurs when the lack of understanding is given as the reason for believing. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, explaining how consciousness came to matter: “This would be a fantastic discovery that would change the world. The nature of consciousness is a mystery; I challenge the young people here to investigate that very question.” EXAMPLE Bill Nye answering the question, "Where did the atoms that created the big bang come from?": "This is a great mystery! You’ve hit the nail on the head. No. Uh, the, what was before the Big Bang? This is what drives us. This is what we want to know. Let’s keep looking. Let’s keep searching."
- Argument from Design: occurs when the only argument that something is designed (think of the space shuttle) is that it looks designed. This is a very targeted fallacy that is generally not used against the design of the space shuttle but against the Creation of the Universe by God. It is a fallacy in this sense: just because the space shuttle looks designed, we cannot say absolutely that it is designed based on how it looks. Perhaps it fell together by chance. However, we have other evidence. We have the testimony of the designers. In the same way, the reason we know that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days is because we know the Creator God. We know Jesus Christ. And those who won’t acknowledge Jesus Christ are without excuse because the Creator God has revealed Himself to them through the things that He created. They just refuse to acknowledge Him as He speaks to them through the Creation. EXAMPLE "The reason we know that God created the Universe is that everything looks designed." This is not how we know. We know because God reveals Himself through the Creation. He also reveals Himself through the Bible. This is so much the case that those who deny it are without excuse. God knows their innermost minds and reveals that they do so because they love darkness rather than light.
- Untestability: occurs when a theory/story is put forward, but there is no way to test the theory/story. Stories about history often fall into this classification, especially if they go beyond the written historical accounts and written artifacts of that day. EXAMPLE There is no way to test the big-bang story. There is no way to test the billions-of-years story. There is no way to test the no-flood story. There is no way to test the molecules-to-man story. FALLACY ABUSE Sandra: "The trouble with believing in Jesus Christ is that this is not testable." Roxanne: "Actually, it is totally testable, but you would need to look at the evidence. You see, everyone who prays to Him persistently and sincerely with respect, humility, and a will to do His will does find Him. You can test it any time you are willing." This is a very common fallacy abuse that is used against God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, along with interactions when God. It is actually circular reasoning, since it is presupposed that God doesn't exist, and then the presupposition is used to try to deny the experiences. Of course, once the presupposition becomes part of the worldview, anything that conflicts with the worldview will automatically seem bazaar. So, to a person who has adopted these presupposition into his or her worldview, it seems unreal to know that people are having real, ongoing leading and teaching from the Holy Spirit or that they really (not euphemistically) have Christ infused into them.
- Imaginary Evidence: occurs when evidence for a conclusion rests on something known to be fantasy. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "On CSI, there is no distinction made between historical science and observational science. These are constructs unique to Ken Ham. . . . I’m looking for explanations of the creation of the world as we know it based on what I’m going to call science. Not historical science. Not observational science. Science. Things that each of us can do akin to what we do, we’re trying to out-guess the characters on murder mystery shows, on crime scene investigation especially." Bill took an imaginary show and used it as evidence for real life. Using a fictional story as an illustration would have been fine, but he is using it as proof that there is no difference between observation and arbitrary assumption.
- Monopolizing the Question / Hypophora: occurs when a question is asked and then immediately answered by the same speaker/writer. This is not necessarily a fallacy, nor is it necessarily a method of deception. It is a presentation technique. If the answer given is not true, then it is a fallacy. It would be a fallacy to listen to the question and answer given and just take for granted that the answer given was the correct answer to the question. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "There’s a question that troubles us all from the time that we are absolutely the youngest and first able to think, and that is, ‘Where did we come from?’ Where did I come from? And this question is so compelling that we’ve invented the science of astronomy. We’ve invented life science. We’ve invented physics. We’ve discovered these natural laws, so that we can learn more about our origin and where we came from. To you, when it says, ‘He invented the stars also,’ that’s satisfying. You’re done. Oh! Good! To me, when I look at the night sky, I want to know what’s out there. I’m driven. I want to know if what’s out there is any part of me, and, indeed, it is." This is the fallacy of monopolizing the question because Bill is making a wild assertion, an outright lie. It is Carl Sagan's old lie that we are made of stardust. There is no scientific evidence for this, and God says that it's not true. God says that He formed us out of the dust of the ground on day six.
- Fallacy of Antecedent / Fallacy of Time: occurs when one of two things is assumed--"It never happened before, so it never will happen." or "It happened, so it will happen again. Neither of these can be proven to be true. (The only exception would be if God were to reveal something about the future.) The problem with these assertions is that they both assume that the future is identical to past. Also, to make any statements about the past that you cannot directly observe will require many assumptions. A good question to ask is, "What makes you think so?" EXAMPLE "God has not intervened in history by fire. We have no historical record of such a thing. Therefore, He will not judge the world with fire in the future.”
- Faulty Sign / Faulty Predictor: occurs when an observable event or circumstance is erroneously assumed to be a predictor of another event or circumstance.
- Pretentious Antecedent: occurs when the first part of a hypothetical proposition is either merely assumed momentarily or is just briefly mentioned then, later, it is treated as if it were a fully proven fact.
- Pretentious Premise: occurs when a premise (proof for something) is either merely assumed momentarily or is just briefly mentioned, then, later, it is treated as if it were a fully proven fact.
Fallacies of Limiting Presuppositions (Worldviews or presupposed assumptions severely limit the ability to perceive reality or to discern between reality and the presuppositions/worldview.)
- Flat Earth Navigation Syndrome: occurs when a false concept is still used as the presupposition for future solutions. In these cases, a lot of time and energy can be wasted trying to solve problems that don't exist. With this fallacy, the false concept must be actually proven false. Often, the "flat Earth" claim is merely a smear that is used by people who don't want to admit that the stories (evolutionism, big-bangism, no-floodism, Biblical-errorism, Atheism, etc.) they are promoting are nonsense. It takes the form of an appeal to ridicule fallacy. Yet, there is a real fallacy here when the facts are actually proven and not just stories based on arbitrary assumptions. EXAMPLE Sandy: “NASA computers, in calculating the positions of planets, found a missing day and 40 minutes, proving Joshua’s ‘long day’ and Hezekiah’s sundial movement of Joshua 10 and 2 Kings 20.” Rocky: “Actually, that kind of thing can't be calculated using scientific observation and rational thought, just as the age of the Earth or of the Universe cannot be calculated in this way. The reason that we know that Joshua 10 and 2 Kings 20 are true is by Divine revelation. God speaks the truth into our innermost minds about the accuracy of the Bible.” Sandy committed the flat Earth fallacy. Rather than discerning Christ, he was trying to rationalize from a story that he had heard, and that story was a hoax. FALLACY ABUSE Sandy: “God doesn’t exist. Belief in God is an archaic belief that is from the stone age.” Rocky: “You would need to show some evidence that there was a stone age and that God doesn’t exist if you are going to support your claim. I personally know Jesus Christ. He leads me and teaches me moment by moment. I’m learning to discern His Voice, to be attentive to Him, and to respond in obedience.” Sandy: “You flat-Earther!” The "flat Earth" idea is just an analogy taken from a flat Earth hoax that was perpetrated in anti-God books and people. At various times, there were a few people who believed in a flat Earth. Very few of that small subset of society have been Christians, Yet, people who don't want to acknowledge God like to use the flat-Earth myth as an appeal to ridicule when they realize that they have no rational reasons to believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. A person who refuses to acknowledge God will bring many pieces of so-called “evidence” to prove that God doesn’t exist. They will insist that belief in God is a flat-Earth claim. None of that so-called “evidence” can hold up to scrutiny, however. Christians will insist that Atheism is a flat-Earth claim. Christians will claim that they know that Atheism is a false concept by Divine revelation. They know that God exists because they know God in the Person of Jesus Christ Who leads them moment by moment. A person who refuses to acknowledge God will claim that this isn’t true because of their assumptions, fallacies, and worldview, which they call “evidence.”
- Jingoism: occurs when something is to be believed because not believing it would be unpatriotic. The term, "Jingoism," was coined by British Secularist George Holyoake (1817-1906) as a political label against those who favor a foreign policy that protects the rights of a nation. More recently, the term has been used in the U.S. press against conservatives. Now, the term has morphed into a fallacy in some sources. EXAMPLE "If you don't believe in universal healthcare, you are not patriotic. It is, after all, the law of the land." EXAMPLE "If you don't support abortion, you are not patriotic. It is, after all, the law of the land." EXAMPLE "If you keep violating the U.S. Constitution, you are not patriotic." For all of these examples, if there is any validity to the desired belief, there would need to give a better reason for it.
- Chronological Snobbery: occurs when it is thought that current technology, knowledge, understanding, etc., is better than that from the past. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, when he was arguing against Creation science, made his case that Noah could not have been able to build the Ark, since some recent wooden boat builders were not able to figure out how to do it.
- Retrospective Determinism: occurs when it is argued that because some event has occurred (or is claimed to have occurred), its occurrence must have been inevitable beforehand. EXAMPLE Stephen Hawking: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist,” It is inevitable that the Universe can and will create itself from nothing because there is a Law of Gravity. Really?
- Essentializing Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that whatever is always was this way and will always be this way. EXAMPLE The philosophy (used in Secular Humanist science) of Uniformitarianism EXAMPLE “The Second Law of Thermodynamics had to be in place as we see in now in the Garden of Eden or nothing would have worked.” There is no way to test a statement like that. We have no clue. God has not revealed it, unless the person saying this is claiming to have had a vision of some sort. Will the spiritual bodies we will receive in the Kingdom of Heaven need the Second Law of Thermodynamics to function? If so, how can we know such thing?
- Presentism / Historian's Fallacy / Hindsight / 20-20 Hindsight: occurs when it is assumed that elements of the present-day worldview were the same in the past; when it is assumed that decision-makers of the past held the same worldview as those decision-makers who followed. Presentism is uncritical adherence to present-day situations, technology, trends, or attitudes. If we interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts, we commit the fallacy of presentism. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "If you visit the national zoo in Washington D.C.--it's a hundred and sixty-three acres--and they have 400 species--by the way, this picture that you're seeing was taken by spacecraft in space orbiting the Earth. If you told my grandfather, let alone my father, that we had that capability they would have been amazed. That capability comes from our fundamental understanding of gravity, of material science, of physics, and life-science where you go looking. This place, as any zoo, is often criticized for how it treats its animals. They have 400 species on 163 acres, 66 hectares. Is it reasonable that Noah and his colleagues, his family, were able to maintain 14,000 animals and themselves and feed them aboard a ship that was bigger than anyone's ever been able to build?" Bill Nye is using the fallacy of presentism, projecting the knowledge and worldviews of the present into the past. We know almost nothing about the pre-flood culture and technology. However, there are many things that people did thousands of years ago that we aren't able to do today. The pyramids come to mind. And, there were ship-building techniques in the past, we have archeological evidence of this, that made stronger ships than the best wooden ships of the last two centuries. Ken Ham, of course, mentioned this. Through Scripture, God speaks to us of the design of the ark only at a high level. We don't have the details of the plan. There are design-features that could have been built in, some of which have been discussed in various articles that deal with the ark. And Bill Nye ought to keep in mind that the almighty, all-knowing, all-wise God knows more than present-day humans do, and may have incorporated design features that have been lost to human knowledge over the last 4,000 years. This is also the fallacy of reasoning. Bill Nye is assuming that on one, not even Noah, has ever built a ship this large. Then, Bill uses his assumption to prove what he is assuming, that Noah didn't build the ark. That is circular reasoning.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Appeal to Naturalism: occurs when naturalism, the unfounded assumption that there is no spiritual realm, is used as a base assumption or axiom and treated as if it were a known fact. Appeal to naturalism is not to be confused with the naturalistic fallacy or the appeal to nature. This is a type of hysteron proteron. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: “You can try this yourself, everybody. I mean, I don’t mean to be mean to trees, but get a sapling and put it under water for a year. It will not survive in general, nor will its seeds. They just won’t make it." Bill is assuming naturalism without stating the assumption. The assumption of naturalism is a hidden assumption upon which the rest of his argument rests. There are other problems with his proposition to be sure, but this is the most basic problem.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Appeal to Materialism: occurs when materialism, the unfounded assumption that there is no spiritual realm, is used as a base assumption or axiom and treated as if it were a known fact. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Uniformitarianism: occurs when uniformitarianism, the unfounded assumption that there was not catastrophic, worldwide, Genesis flood and that all processes have continued from the beginning as they are now, is used as a base assumption or axiom and treated as if it were a known fact. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Agnosticism: occurs when agnosticism, the unfounded belief that no one has or can know anything about the spiritual realm, is used as a base assumption or axiom and treated as if it were a known fact. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Atheism: occurs when atheism, the unfounded belief that there is no God, is used as a base assumption or axiom and treated as if it were a known fact. This is a type of hysteron proteron.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Relativism / Escape to Relativism: occurs when relativism is assumed and used to defend a conclusion. EXAMPLE "Post modernism proves that there is no right or wrong or truth or error. There are only winners and losers. One conclusion is as good as another, but it's a matter of who wins. Our side is winning. We have control of the media. We have control of the schools. We have control of the scientific journals. We have control of the courts to a large extent. Therefore, we can enforce our viewpoint, and that's alright because there is no right or wrong, only winners and losers."
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Rationalism: occurs when it is assumed that the human mind (particularly the minds of those who agree with the person using this fallacy) is capable of generating information and knowledge without the benefit of either observation or divine revelation. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, debating against Creation Science: "This is to say, when people make assumptions based on radiometric dating, when they make assumptions about the expanding Universe, when they make assumptions about the rate at which genes change in populations of bacterial in laboratory growth media, they’re making assumptions based on previous experience." Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of false cause and effect by saying that assumptions come from previous experience. If there is a previous experience, that is empirical. Empirical observation, that is experience of reality, is not assumption, nor can it generate assumptions. Assumptions come from the imagination, from the worldview/paradigm/fake-reality that is built in the human mind. They may be rationalized, but they cannot be proved. They are always arbitrary. On the other hand, Divine revelation has a source other than the human mind. It is not arbitrary. However, the human mind is very skilled at adding assumptions to Divine revelation or using assumptions to take some parts out of Divine revelation, and this is extremely deceptive. We see this at work in many of the interpretations of what can be plainly read in Scripture or plainly seen in creation around us.
- If God Exists Fallacy: occurs when logic similar to this is used, "If the all-powerful and benevolent God defined in the Bible exists, then (such and such condition) wouldn't exist. However, (such and such condition) exists. Therefore, God does not exist. The form of this argument is valid, but the two premises are not. A simple question will test both the major and minor premises and show that they are not known. "How do you know that this conditional statement is true?" "How do you know what God would do?" The answer is, "I made it up."
- Scientism: occurs when it is claimed that science is the best way to know anything. To claim that the scientific method is the best way to know anything is known as scientism, and it is self-refuting. It can’t be known using scientific method. It is also an unsupported assertion.
- Finish the Job Fallacy: occurs when work continues on a project because of duty to finish rather than for the purpose of the project.
- Concorde Fallacy / Sunk Cost: occurs when there is a temptation to continue defending or favoring a project, a line of research, a theory, an idea, an action or any other thing rather than admitting the error and dropping it. No matter how much time, money, or ego has been spent, this has no bearing on reality. EXAMPLE Rocky: “And what makes you think that is true?” Sandy: “I guess I’m making the whole thing up. . . . Wait! You have to convince me that Jesus Christ exists.” Rocky: “Why would you listen to me when He speaks to you all the time and you won’t listen to Him?” This is the end of an actual conversation where someone we will call Rocky was doing some active listening with a person who refuses to acknowledge God, whom we will call Sandy. Rocky just kept listening and drawing out Sandy to understand his reasoning as the two ate lunch at a local restaurant. Sandy ran out of gas about 60 minutes later and made this statement. However, the result was for Sandy to become a much more dedicated to his own rationalized belief system.
- Political Correctness Fallacy: occurs when political correctness is presented as proof for a conclusion. This would include trying to change the nature of a thing or situation by changing its name (euphemism) or thinking that a conclusion is true if it is political correct or false because it is not politically correct. There is a part of political correctness that is simply having good manners and not using words as weapons. It is not a fallacy to be considerate, kind, gentle, respectful, or civil. It is possible to tell the truth in love, with gentleness and respect.
- Just-World Hypothesis: occurs when an assumption is made that the world is just and what happens to us is justice--according to our own definitions of "just" and "justice." This is a statistical fallacy of looking at a small sample of the eternal continuum. Ultimately, there is justice. We know that by Divine revelation. However, there is much injustice along the way, so someone who does good may have some very bad experiences. EXAMPLE "Jim must not be walking right. God is judging him. See! He lost his job. Last week, he was swindled out of his business." There are many other reasons that God allows problems to come into our lives. One is to test us and prepare us of coming responsibility.
- Logical Fallacy of Abuse of Statistics / Lying with Statistics / Statistical Fallacy Misused Statistics: occurs when statistics are used to assert a falsehood.
- Misunderstanding the Nature of Statistics / Innumeracy: occurs when any of the statistical fallacies are committed due to ignorance of the math. These fallacies include the gamblers fallacy, hasty generalization, false precision, biased statistics, the ludic fallacy, and others.
- Clustering Illusion: occurs when the clustering of events that naturally takes place in a random process are not really random events. This fallacy is a statistical fallacy and usually occurs when the sample size is too small or non-representative. One thing that should be noted is the fact that God controls what we call random processes. He uses these processes to bless those who are following Him or to test them and prepare them to rule in the Kingdom of God. That means that there are no truly random processes. However, what we call random processes are merely examples of how, in His faithfulness, God is consistent. We know of God's active role through revelation.
- Bad Statistical Data: occurs when numbers are skewed, giving erroneous results. EXAMPLE When people are asked questions about their past, they may not remember or they may not want to answer honestly.
- Biased Statistical Method: occurs when the methods of getting the data are skewed, either intentionally or unintentionally. EXAMPLE Leading questions. EXAMPLE Making the desired choice the default or putting the desired choice in a position that makes it more likely to be selected. EXAMPLE Many things in science cannot be observed directly, so assumptions are made. Those assumptions may affect statistics.
- Biased Calculation: occurs when calculations are dependent on presuppositions. EXAMPLE In calculating gene mutation rates, secular scientists take the genome of a chimp and compare it to the genome of a human (which only makes sense if you presuppose Darwinism) and then divide the number of mutations by 6 million (the presupposed number of years since chimps and humans are presupposed to have diverged from some kind of unknown ape-like creature).
- Biased Conclusion from Statistics: occurs when presupposition leads the conclusion beyond what can be deduced from the facts.
- Biased Reporting of Statistics: occurs when reports that display statistical data are biased. EXAMPLE Graphics that are not proportioned to the numbers EXAMPLE leaving out vital information EXAMPLE using emotional language EXAMPLE over-stating the case EXAMPLE making ambiguous comparisons EXAMPLE neglecting the base line EXAMPLE playing with mean, median, and mode EXAMPLE misreporting the numbers EXAMPLE failure to report all (supposed) anomalies EXAMPLE failure to report all assumptions, alternative assumptions, and honest evaluations of the ramifications of using the alternative assumptions
- Logical Fallacy of Biased Statistics / Loaded Sample / Prejudiced Statistics / Prejudiced Sample / Loaded Statistics / Biased Induction / Biased Generalization / Unrepresentative Sample / Unrepresentative Generalization / Sampling Bias: occurs when a data set is chosen in way that is designed to get a certain result. EXAMPLE Durex going to popular spring break locations to ask about sexual habits.
- Generalizing from a Hypostatization: To hypostatize is to regard or treat a concept or idea as a distinct substance or reality. A hypostatization is something that is dreamt up and yet considered real: EXAMPLE the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story EXAMPLE Atheism EXAMPLE Agnosticism EXAMPLE Hedonism EXAMPLE Belief in natural human goodness without Christ EXAMPLE Theologies that rationalize beyond what God reveals to us through Scripture EXAMPLE “Theology is a study with no answers because it has no subject matter.” This statement makes the assertion that God does not exist and that God doesn’t speak to His people. It is an assertion contrary to fact. The reason that this assertion contrary to fact is made with such confidence is because of the hypostatization of Atheism or Agnosticism. Both Atheism and Agnosticism are concepts that are treated, by a few people, as facts. Since they seem to be facts to these people, they are very limiting. They disallow exploration of the real fact that everyone who seeks Christ in sincerity, humility, and persistence, and with a will to do His will does find Him.
- Error in Sampling:occurs when a bad data set is chosen, creating a false impression. A sampling error is defined by the differences between the sample and the entire group which the sample is supposed to represent. The sample can be of people's opinions, people's physical condition, people's characteristics, parts coming from an assembly line, plants in the wild, plants on farms, plants on a single farm, fossils, grains of sand, or any other thing. Errors in sampling fallacies can be committed accidentally or purposely for a nefarious purpose. The results of sampling cannot be used to determine truth. It can only result in inductive reasoning. If an attempt to use inductive reasoning as a basis of a premise in deductive reasoning, the deductive reasoning is unsound. EXAMPLE The Kinsey report is a famous example of error in sampling and one that did a tremendous amount of damage.
- Avoiding Specific Numbers: occurs when statistics are given with either hedging words surrounding them or using general terms. This is generally a hedging tactic when claims are supported by questionable evidence. EXAMPLE Newspaper Comment: "[a candidate for office] is stressing job growth, but religiously avoiding specific numbers. Evidently, if she wins, she will take a look-back approach in four years, declaring her jobs policy a success, whether 5,000 or 500,000 jobs are created." This is the use of the logical fallacy of avoiding specific numbers for the purpose of making it possible to later declare victory regardless of the outcome.
- Logical Fallacy of Fake Precision / Over Precision / False Precision / Misplaced Precision / Spurious Accuracy: occurs when the language to communicate statistics implies much more accuracy than the data allows. Sometimes, just the comment that one thing is more likely than another is false precision. The word, "likely," implies a percentage of probability. What is the exact percentage that was calculated? How was the research conducted? How were the numbers derived? In many cases, the numbers were pulled from the air (PFA). EXAMPLE “We know that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old.” The methods and the math don’t allow that kind of accuracy, and we know, by revelation, that this is wrong. However, a statistic like this to this level of accuracy sure implies a high level of confidence. EXAMPLE “We know that the Earth is 6,349.5 years old.” Taking the information that God is giving us through the Bible, we can only roughly estimate the time from Adam to Christ using genealogies. It is Divine revelation, but God doesn't get that specific. We cannot dogmatically claim to know that the Earth is 6,000 years old. We know that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and we know the number of generations between Adam and Christ. That's about it. Even though a plain reading of Scripture seems to indicate a young Earth; even though there is zero observed evidence and only circular reasoning and speculations that support old Earth stories, we can't even deny the possibility that God could have done something that Scripture doesn't hint at and that has left no scientific evidence. It is possible. It just is not worth the time to think about it.We really cannot estimate the age of the Universe except from the standpoint of Earth since God has not told us how He got distant starlight to the Earth. Using Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, God could have caused billions of years to pass in distant space while literally no time passed on Earth during the creation week, but we have no revelation on that. To say that this happened would be pure speculation. Some people speculate about a prior creation between the first and second verse of Scripture; however, there are severe problems with this speculation. It is fairly well falsified. Others speculate that the first few days of the Creation Week were billions of years long. Beyond being very speculative, this story doesn't work scientifically or logically. That being said, if God deems it important for us to know the exact amount of time that passed since the Creation (or any other event that has taken place), He is well able to provide the information. In the mean time, there is no need to commit fallacies of false precision.
- Self-Selected Biased Sample: occurs when return of a survey is voluntary, resulting in a biased sample with those people with strong feeling being over-represented (since these are the ones who are more likely to complete the survey). Internet surveys, texting polls, or phone polls are great for this, and those who want to sway the poll actively recruit people to take the survey. Certain people are less likely to cooperate with a phone survey. People taking surveys door to door are less likely to enter certain neighborhoods.
- Comparing Two Things Statistically that are not Technically Comparable / Statistical Apples and Oranges: occurs when certain element of two unrelated things are compared statistically. By the way, you can indeed compare apples to oranges, but not for some purposes. You can compare which one you would prefer to eat, for instance. You can statistically compare the financial return on farming them. However, there are many times where it is irrational to compare two things depending on what you are trying to prove. EXAMPLE Sandy: "I can tell you that I am a much better person than most Christians that I have seen." Rocky: "Based on what standard?" There are many things wrong with Sandy's claim. First, without God's Law, there is no absolute standard. Agrippa's Trilemma creates a situation in which (without Divine revelation) it is impossible to make any sound conclusion about anything. This is even more true when making conclusions about what is a valid standard of a "good person." Sandy's sample size is far to small as well. Regarding the comparison of two things that cannot be rationally compared, however, Sandy's statement falls apart.
- Logical Fallacy of Ludus / Ludic Fallacy: occurs when statistical models are constructed and applied in complex domains where there are too many variables to account for and know with certainty. It involves applying naive and simplified statistical models in complex domains. The ludic fallacy is very common in supposed predictions in the scientific community. From an anti-Christian website: "If all we have is “God” with no attributes, there is a 50% chance that this God exists. As soon as we add an attribute though, the chances go lower. If you have a God that created the universe for instance, you have a 50% chance that God created the universe and you have a 50% chance of God existing. That means that you actually have a 25% chance. If that God created man, suddenly it’s a 1/8 chance. If that God created dogs, it goes to 1/16 and so on. Let’s say that God created every atom in the universe. That alone is roughly a 1/10^80 chance that there is a god that created every single atom in the universe." That is what the ludic fallacy looks like. The reality is that God's existence is 100% because He has personally revealed Himself to us. Our own existence would be questionable except for the fact that He has revealed to us that we actually exist and that He holds us responsible for our thoughts, words, and deeds.
- Fishing for Data / Data Dredging / Data Fishing / Data Snooping / Equation Fitting: occurs when patterns in data seem to point to certain conclusions, but those patterns are actually the result of random chance. Data mining is used to uncover relationships. In this process, statistics can yield false relationships, patterns that just happen to fall together when no real relationship exists. This can be especially deceiving when it coincides with an unfounded belief—especially a group-held false belief, which just makes the confirmation bias problem more severe. Often, numbers will be crunched until something pops up that looks like it favors the desired conclusion. Those numbers will be given elevated status over all the other results to create the impression that the desired conclusion has evidence to support it. Another way of equation fitting is to make assumptions that make the data fit a desired conclusion. After crunching numbers, there are some numbers that aren't quite right. They do show promise, though. With a little tweak, they would prove the desired conclusion. Enter the magic of proof by assumption. If we make some assumptions, we can make the numbers fit the desired conclusion very well. Other techniques can be used, such as eliminating some of the results. They must be errors since they don't fit the desired conclusion. EXAMPLE All methods of trying to determine the age of things without an eye witness or written account of what happened and when it happened.
- Logical Fallacy of Base Rate Neglect / Base Rate Fallacy / Neglecting Base Rates / Base Rate Bias / Prosecutor's Fallacy / Ignoring Proportionality: occurs when someone uses specific instances or unrelated instances in favor of verified statistical information. The corresponding fallacy is to try to apply statistical analysis to something that does not yield itself to this type of analysis, such as miracles, God, the spiritual real, Heaven, Hell, etc. In this case, a person who wanted to prove a certain thing would dismiss any and all specific instances in favor of statistics that could not possibly measure what they claim to measure. This is sometimes called the prosecutor's fallacy, although it is not limited to prosecutors. It gets this name from prosecutors who sway juries by pointing out that the defendant matches a very specific description and a very small percentage of the population match that description. However, it doesn’t take into account the large population in which quite a few other individuals also match the same description. If only one in half a million people matches the description and there are 20 million people in the city, then there are 40 other people who also match the description.
- Logical Fallacy of Isolated Examples / Unrepresentative Sample: occurs when non-typical or non-representative examples are used to 'prove' a general claim. This is associated with hasty generalization. This fallacy involves giving some of the facts but leaving out pertinent facts that would change the conclusion.
- Logical Fallacy of Hasty Generalization / False Generalization / Glittering Generalities / Jumping to Conclusions / Hasty Decision / Leaping to Conclusions / Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire / Lonely Fact / Proof by Example: occurs when a claim is made based on an incomplete or insufficient amount of evidence, which may include claims based on a sample too small or not considering all the variables. Keep in mind that not everything is a debate. Sometimes, people just explain things. When someone uses an example to make an explanation more clear, it is irrational to start an argument with him or her about whether that proves his or her point. Also, making generalizations is always inductive reasoning, which is never as solid as deductive reasoning. And, you rarely (if ever) get to see the actual raw data before it has been monkeyed with, so you have to make decisions based on trust of people whom you don’t know. When generalizations are made that conflict with what God is telling you through Scripture, be very skeptical. You may be reading things into Scripture. Go to prayer about it and see what God says. Eventually, He will answer your question if you persist.
- Argument from Small Numbers / Small Sample Size Bias: occurs when a generalization is made from a small sample size. It is a hasty generalization and a statistical fallacy.
- General Rule Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that things are a certain way in most cases, and, therefore, it is that way in a particular case. It is a form of hasty generalization.
- Logical Fallacy of Specificity: occurs when an overly specific conclusion is drawn from the evidence. This is a kind of jumping to conclusions.
- Logical Fallacy of Overwhelming Exception: occurs when an accurate generalization is made, but it has qualifications that eliminate so many cases that what is left to generalize about is much less than one would be led to believe.
- Logical Fallacy of Stereotyping / Association: occurs when an assumption is made that what is considered to be true (or thought to be true) of a larger class/group is true for ALL the members of that class/group. EXAMPLE The liberal news media began using the same word, fundamentalist, to describe Christians who believe the Bible and Muslim terrorists.
- Logical Fallacy of Dicto Simpliciter / Sweeping Generalization: occurs when a statistical syllogism ignores or eliminates an exception that affects the conclusion.
- Gambler's Fallacy / The Monte Carlo Fallacy / The Doctrine The Maturity of Chances / Hot Hand Fallacy: occurs when the odds of a truly random event happening are thought to increase or decrease over time and events.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Possibility / Appeal to Probability: occurs when it is asserted that something is true because it is possible or to say that something is very probable when it is only remotely possible or even impossible.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Infinite Possibilities: occurs when it is asserted that something is possible because nothing is impossible.
- Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy: occurs when cherry-picked data, observations, quotes, etc. are selected and used to support a proposition. EXAMPLE A farmer takes a bunch of random shots at his barn, paints a target around the biggest concentration of bullet holes, and then claims to be a "Texas sharpshooter."
- Misuse of Averages Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that something is acceptable based on the mean or the average value of the total of all cases. EXAMPLE “Three days a week, I’m aggressive to the point of being obnoxious, and on the other days, I’m so passive that I won’t take action on anything. On average, I’m about right.”
Fallacies of Contradiction
- Logical Fallacy of Self-Refutation / Conflicting Conditions / Contradicto in Adjecto / Kettle Logic: occurs when a statement is made that is inconsistent with itself to the point that it refutes itself. EXAMPLE "All things are relative. There are no absolutes." That is an absolute statement, though. If the statement is true, then it is not true. That is the meaning of a self-refuting statement.
- Barking Cat: The Barking Cat Fallacy occurs when a proposition is accepted except for one thing, which is inherent to the solution. This is a specific kind of fallacy of self-refutation. You can't have a cat that barks. You cannot have a follower of Christ that is a follower of Satan with all the associated sins. There are many cats that claim to bark but that do not. EXAMPLE From "Free To Choose" by Milton Friedman: "I would like to have a cat provided it barked." This example is the one that gave the fallacy its name. Milton is describing a fallacy that affects many things, but his illustration is government. People would like government if it acted differently. Milton states that the principles and forces that determine the behavior of government agencies are just as constrained as the principles and forces that cause cats to be cats. When Israel demanded a King, Samuel told them what the kings would do. People in human government always end up doing the same types of things because they are humans. EXAMPLE Sandy: "I wouldn't mind becoming a Christian, but I'm not going to have God telling me what to do."Roxanne: "The truth is that the only way that anyone can ever find fulfillment is when they are directed by the Holy Spirit. For this purpose we were created."
- Logical Fallacy of Contradictory Premises / Logical Paradox: occurs when premise statements contradict each other, when they are mutually exclusive. EXAMPLE "I don't believe something written in a book" [meaning the Bible, which never needs to change]", but I believe in science" [meaning the constantly changing information in the science text books].
- Logical Fallacy of Inconsistency / Personal Inconsistency: occurs when contrary or contradictory statements are asserted to be true at the same time and in the same way. EXAMPLE "The body of scientific knowledge is constantly changing as we learn more." . . . (one hour later) . . . "It is unscientific and anti-intellectual to question the current body of scientific knowledge." Either it is alright to question and change the current body of scientific knowledge or it is not. This type of inconsistent thinking is almost universal among evolutionists. When anyone questions molecules-to-man evolution, millions of year, Big Bang, and Atheism/Naturalism/Materialism, they are likely to run into this inconsistency. One the one hand, trust what we believe because we believe it. On the other hand, it is trustworthy because it is constantly subject to challenge and change.
Fallacies of Comparison
- Logical Fallacy of Faulty Comparison: occurs when two unrelated entities are compared, creating a false impression about one or both of the entities that were compared. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "You can show the Earth is not flat. You Can show the Earth is not 10,000 years old." How do we know that the Earth is not flat? We can see that it constantly falls away to the horizon. We can calculate the way this happens and come pretty close to the circumference. We can go out in a spacecraft and look at it as we orbit it. That's how we know. What do we have to assume? We have to assume that we are observing what we are observing. That's it. But how does Bill Nye and his followers think that they know the age of the Earth? Can they go back in time and observe the age of the Earth? They have to assume whether or not there was a global flood. They have to assume a starting point for every so-called clock. They have to assume that nothing happened in between the beginning and the present for each clock. The clocks differ wildly when used with the same assumptions of no flood, and the vast majority of them give us a young age for the Earth. Since Bill Nye "and his followers" put only use the clocks that they can manipulate to give an old Earth, this is also the logical fallacy of cherry picking data. And then there is the fact that when dates using the favorite methods don't give the desired results, that data is thrown out, disregarded, and new tests are run until the desired results are obtained. This is an extreme example of the logical fallacy of stacking the deck.
- Incomplete Comparison Fallacy: occurs when insufficient information is provided to make a complete comparison, yet a comparison is proposed. The fact that a comparison is proposed isn't necessarily a fallacy. The fallacy would be in being unable to explain the difference and finish making the comparison. While some things are easy to compare because they are very simple, with more complex things, giving the entire comparison on every level and regarding every facet may not be possible. Incomplete knowledge is not a fallacy unless you claim to have all knowledge. Sandy: "Evolution is more scientific." What are we comparing evolution to? Does evolution mean the entire Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story, just the Molecules-to-Man story, the changes from generation to generation in living things, the equivocation that mixes all of these into a single definition of the word, "evolution," or something else? What is the definition of the word, "scientific." Does it mean the scientific method? Does it mean naturalistic and materialistic assumptions? Does it mean the bandwagon approach of the majority who are in control of scientific funding? It may be an equivocation between all of these meanings. The statement is meaningless as it stands.
- Inconsistent Comparison Fallacy: occurs when different methods of comparison are used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison. Generally, different elements of two or more objects or phenomena are compared, but not consistently, in order to arrive at a statement about one of them. If phenomena A is the focus, one of its features is compared to a similar feature of B. Then another of its features is compared to a similar feature of C (not B). Then, a statement is made from this inconsistency. Sandra: "OK. Let's compare faith to science. Science has facts and evidence. Faith is just belief with no evidence." Sandra is ignoring the evidence part of God-given "faith" and ignoring the make-belief "faith" part of science. Science must be based on assumptions that are taken on faith (make believe) or else on Divine revelation that creates the faith (supernatural, imparted belief in reality) of God. God speaks. If we acknowledge Him, God's faith comes and causes us to believe whatever God just said. Faith gives access to grace, and grace acts on what God just said.
- Package Deal Fallacy: occurs when things that are not necessarily connected are joined with a word such as “and” or a different technique of language. Sometimes these are totally different things or concepts, and sometimes these may be things or concepts that are often seen together but are not really associated with each other. They might even be opposites that are said to be the same thing, which is known as equating opposites. It can be a way of creating a halo effect fallacy, where one concept or thing reflects on another concept or thing. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "We want the ability to predict. And your assertion that there’s some difference between natural laws that I use to observe the world today and the natural laws that existed 4,000 years ago is extraordinary and unsettling." These two unrelated thoughts are joined by the word, “and.” The word, “and,” implies a relationship, but they are not related. Bill is trying to imply the outright lie that the Creation Model cannot predict and connect it to the straw man argument that Bill made up about the Creation Model demanding that natural laws changed.
- Equating Opposites: occurs when an argument is made that two opposites are the same thing. One of the ways this is done is by substituting nonessential characteristics for their essential characteristics until all differences are obliterated. See the fallacy of false analogy. This fallacy can be committed in a metaphor, a simile, an allegory, an analogy, an innuendo, or by making a plain statement of equality. EXAMPLE Sandy: "When you say Christ reveals things to you, that is the same as when I say I assume." What Sandy is saying is that the flesh (assumption) is the same as the Holy Spirit (Divine revelation. God reveals the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other. They are opposites. Of course, Sandy makes this unsupported assertion based on a worldview, a fake-reality that seems to Sandy to be more real than reality itself.
- Logical Fallacy of Ignoring Differences / Denying Differences / Overlooking Differences / False Equivalence / Ignoring Differences / Greyness Fallacy / False Equivalence: occurs when differences are overlooked, ignored, or denied, resulting in faulty comparisons of various kinds. This can result in faulty analogy, equating opposites, or the package deal fallacy. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "On CSI, there is no distinction made between historical science and observational science." CSI TV show isn't much of an appeal to authority. The main problem, though, is that Bill Nye is overlooking the differences between historical and observational science. The difference has to do with assumptions. Observational science is based on observations and that which can be logically inferred from those observations. Historical science (and some other kinds of science) rely on either assumptions and stories or Divine revelation. The result is that a Secular Humanist and a Christian are very likely to come to opposite historical conclusions from exactly the same observations. Observational science depends on observation. Historical science goes beyond observation using assumptions and stories. So, Bill’s conclusion is that there is no difference between observation and assumptions/stories. Is Bill right? If he is, then much of what Bill argues during the debate is valid. If assumptions of the majority are as valid as observation, then many of Bill’s claims that are based on assumptions are just as valid as observation. Of course, assumptions have exactly zero truth value. Agrippa's Trilemma takes its toll.
- Logical Fallacy of False or Faulty Analogy / Weak Analogy / Bad Analogy / Apples and Oranges / Appeal to the Moon / Ad Lunam /Spurious Similarity: occurs when two things are said to be like each other in a way that they are not like each other or an analogy is made between two things that are not similar enough to reasonably make the analogy. EXAMPLE Evolutionism’s analogy between speciation and molecules-to-man evolution: “We can observe changes in the present. Therefore, those changes would have led to molecules-to-man evolution over millions of years.” EXAMPLE Mentioning evolution in a list of legitimate science that is testable and verifiable, while evolution is a mere story that can be morphed to fit any evidence that may appear. This is a failure to distinguish between operational science and big bang, evolution, attacks on the Bible, Atheism, Uniformitarianism, Naturalism, and Materialism, none of which can be tested in the present using scientific method. EXAMPLE "If we can put a man on the moon, then we can certainly fix the problems with society given enough money and power." Putting a man on the moon is not similar to fixing society, which would involve changing human nature. EXAMPLE Dawkins' "weasel computer program = microbiology experiment" debacle: The program makes decisions that are not available in nature and yet is presented as a model of nature. It is a model of the personification of natural selection into an intelligent agent that has a goal in mind and a constant eye on meeting that goal. In nature, we only see a natural elimination that happens when a mutation occurs that causes a weakness great enough to disallow reproduction. EXAMPLE “To believe in evolution is the same as believing in gravity." EXAMPLE Wikipedia: "In the context of biology, homology is the existence of shared ancestry between a pair of structures, or genes, in different species. A common example of homologous structures in evolutionary biology are [sic] the wings of bats and the arms of primates." Homology is not the existence of anything. Homology is a claim that similarity equals relationship, in this case, the relationship of shared ancestry. There are other fallacies in this statement beyond faulty analogy.
- Logical Fallacy of Extended Analogy: occurs when two things that are similar to a third thing are said to be like each other without further proof of that fact. This is a type of faulty analogy.
- Logical Fallacy of Projection: occurs when a person projects his/her own traits, thoughts, or actions onto another person or persons. EXAMPLE Sandy: "I'm a Christian, a great teacher of righteousness, but I don't have any desire to hear God's Voice, and I don't think it is possible. You just read the Bible and use your own reasoning. That's it. I don't hear His Voice, and I don't believe that anyone else does." Rocky: "I'm a follower of Christ. Jesus says that His sheep hear His Voice. That has been my experience. I'm sorry that you don't have this experience, and it isn't my role to try to guess why you don't, but I can just tell you that it's available to you, if you love Christ and want to commit your will to following Him, even putting your most precious theologies at the foot of the cross so that the Lord can correct you if necessary. However, projecting your lack of real experience with Christ on every person who follows Christ is not right." (Sandy is guilty of the fallacy of projection, so much so that he would be willing to say that no one who actually has a personal relationship with Christ is a "Real Christian.")
- Logical Fallacy of Reductio Ad Hitlerum / Ad Nazium / Hitler Card: occurs when associating a position/person/concept with someone or something that is universally reviled is used as a faulty analogy in place of sound reasoning. This fallacy has been used politically to the point where it is quickly pointed out. At the same time, it is sometimes abused. Greg Laden: "Germany was a Christian nation long before the Nazi’s came along in the 1920s. When the Nazi’s [sic] took power in Germany, they were widely and generally supported. Even after the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, a majority of the German People (in a survey conducted by the US military) remained sympathetic to the Nazis and wished for a return of surviving Nazi leaders. Most Germans were either active members of the Nazi party or were sympathetic, and most were Christians, mainly Catholic. (There were a lot of non-Christian Germans at the beginning of this period, but the Christian Germans killed or drove away most of them.) Most Germans were anti Semitic and many were directly involved in the slaughter of over six million Jews and other “undesirables.” The Holocaust was a perfectly logical extension of over a century of increasingly bitter and obsessive anti Semitism evolving hand and hand with German Catholic political ideology and white supremacist doctrine in Germany and elsewhere. There were no Atheists involved in any of this. None." This is an attempt to associate Christianity with the Nazis and to dissassociate Atheism with the same. The conclusion is not spoken, but, judging from the site, it would be about the same as the rest of the articles: therefore, there is no God and Atheism is fact. Racism cannot be said to be compatible with Scripture without extreme use of fallacies. Through the Scripture, God reveals to humanity that there is only one physical race, the human race. In the spirit realm, there are two families, those whose Father is God and those whose father is Satan. Racism is incompatible with Scripture and the revelation that God is giving us. However, racism is compatible with evolutionism and the rationalizations that spring from it. For these reasons, this is the Hitler card fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of Distinction Without a Difference / Phantom Distinction / Sham Distinctions: occurs when language is used to imply a difference between two things, and yet those two things are exactly the same. EXAMPLE Bo Bennet: “We are comparing a method of knowledge (science) to a system of belief (faith), which is not known for revising itself based on new evidence. Even when it does, the “wrongs” are blamed on human interpretation. Science is all about improving ideas to get closer to the truth, and, in some cases, completely throwing out theories that have been proven wrong. Furthermore, the claims of religion are virtually all unfalsifiable, thus cannot be proven wrong. Therefore, comparing religion and science on the basis of falsifiability, is a faulty comparison.”
Here, Bo is using this as an example of faulty comparison, saying that you can’t compare faith and science. He decides to define science as a method of knowledge and faith as a system of belief. However, faith is a method of knowledge, and science is a system of belief. In a recent, well-publicized debate, Bill Nye defined science as both a method of knowledge and a body of knowledge (system of belief). Faith, if we are talking about Christian faith, is a way to know. It works this way. God speaks. Faith comes as a free gift from God to believe what God just said. This is a method of knowledge. When human beings presume to fabricate knowledge (a function of Agrippa's Trilemma), then both science and faith fail.
Bo contends that science is supposed to be a moving target but faith is not supposed to. He may have never read the Bible, because the God speaks through the Bible and reveals to us that we are to go from faith to faith and from glory to glory. We are supposed to be pressing toward the mark. He may have just seen the example of many lukewarm Christians who think that they are rich and increased of God and in need of nothing. There is no difference between faith and science. Both rest on Divine revelation if their reasoning is sound. There is no way to have sound reasoning if they do not. In fact, it is impossible to know anything scientifically without Divine revelation. God’s rain falls on the just and the unjust. God reveals through His Creation. He reveals much about Himself, and He says that those who refuse to acknowledge Him are without excuse.
Fallacies of Choice
- Correlative Based Fallacy: occurs when two statements are mutually exclusive (both cannot be true) and one of several fallacies is committed. A correlative is conjunction is a relationship between two statements in which one must be false and the other must be true. A false dilemma is a false correlative. When a true correlative is denied by suggesting that there may be another possibility, this is called denying the correlative. When one of the two options is irrationally defined to encompass the other option, this is called suppressing the correlative.
- Logical Fallacy of Denying the Correlative Conjunction / Denying the Correlative / Suppressed Correlative Fallacy: occurs when two statements where one must be true and the other must be false (the correlative conjunction), but a third, unreal option is introduced. This is fallacy abuse of the false dichotomy fallacy. It is a fallacy of claiming that a false dichotomy has been committed when a true dichotomy exists. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Either God created everything or He did not.” Sandy: “There could be other possibilities.”
- Suppressing the Correlative / Suppressing the Correlative Conjunction: occurs when two statements where one must be true and the other must be false, but then one of the options is irrationally defined as encompassing the other. Sometimes two things are contrasted that really could be part of the same thing, depending on how they are defined. Often, such redefinition is a tactic of quibbling to avoid getting down to the truth. EXAMPLE Rocky: “It is a matter of Divine revelation versus arbitrary assumption. I believe in Jesus because He has revealed Himself to me and He leads me moment by moment.” Sandy: “What you are calling Divine revelation is merely arbitrary assumption.” Of course, Sandy’s redefinition is based on the presupposition of no God, which is what Sandy is trying to prove. This constitutes circular reasoning. Therefore, Sandy has irrationally defined arbitrary assumption as encompassing Divine revelation.
- False Dilemma: occurs when two things are presented as being mutually exclusive or as negating each other; however, they can both coexist without conflict. The word, dilemma, indicates a decision between two equally undesirable choices or where a difficult choice must be made. Especially in logic, "false dilemma" is a term that indicates one person trying to force another person to choose between two unfavorable alternatives, when either both could be true or there are other alternatives available. A dichotomy, on the other hand, is a division or contrast between two things that are, or are represented as being, opposed or entirely different. All dilemmas are dichotomies. Dichotomies may or may not be dilemmas. Some sources lump false dilemma in with the following labels for false dichotomy fallacies: black-and-white thinking, bifurcation, denying a conjunct, the either-or fallacy, false dichotomy, fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses, the fallacy of false choice, the fallacy of the false alternative, and the fallacy of the excluded middle. None of these, however, are necessarily dilemmas. This means just means that you will do well to clarify terms if the word, "dilemma," is used. While these other terms would encompass dilemmas, all examples of these other terms are not necessarily dilemmas. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Creation Model is based on the Old Testament. So when you bring in, I’m not a Theologian, when you bring in the New Testament, isn’t that a little out of the box?" The reason this is a false dilemma is that Bill is trying to force a decision between the New and the Old Testaments, which is an untenable choice. This may have been said in ignorance, but the New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is a necessary foundation for the New Testament. There is no dilemma here. It isn't even a dichotomy.
- Logical Fallacy of False Dichotomy / Black-and-White Fallacy / Black-and-White Thinking / The Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis / Bifurcation / False Correlative / False Either-Or /Either-Or Fallacy: occurs when it is falsely assumed that there are only two mutually exclusive choices when in fact there is at least one additional possibility. There are instances where the choice is either-or. For instance, God either created the Universe or not. Natural causes (without God) either created everything from nothing or they didn't. In any moment, we either acknowledge God's leading, receive His faith and hope and allow His grace to do His Love/Righteousness through us, or we do not. EXAMPLE "You either accept science or the Bible." This is an obvious either-or fallacy, since we accept both and scientific observation has always confirmed the Bible.
- False Excluded Middle / No Middle Ground / Polarization: occurs when the two extreme positions are presents and an either/or proposition, but it excludes the middle ground of everything between the extremes. This is a type of false dichotomy. EXAMPLE "I am a failure." This could stated as, "I always fail," or, "Every time I try to do something it doesn't work out," or "Nothing works for me." It is a polarization fallacy. It excludes the middle ground.
- All-Or-Nothing Mistake: occurs when a continuum is stated as a black and white issue. There are things that are black or white. A switch is on or off. You have a car or you do not. But a person is not either gifted or non-gifted. This is a type of false excluded middle.
- Limited Alternatives Fallacy / Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis: occurs when it is assumed that all of the possible choices have been stated, but one or more choices have not been stated. This is a form of false choice in which all the possible choices are not offered. This is a form of cherry picking in which alternatives rather than data are cherry-picked. It is not the same as a false dilemma in that the choices are not necessarily negative, but the choices are negative in a false dilemma. The alternatives are not necessarily implied to be mutually exclusive, so this is not the same as an exclusivity fallacy. In fact, the alternatives may or may not be mutually exclusive when the fallacy of exhaustive hypothesis is committed.
- Exclusivity Fallacy: occurs when a limited number of options are presented, but the options are not exhaustive (no other options are available), or exclusive (multiple options can’t be chosen together), yet the conclusion would require exhaustive and exclusive options. If the reasoning fails to prove that the list of options is exhaustive or if the reasoning fails to prove that the options are exclusive, then it cannot be asserted that they are exhaustive and exclusive. EXAMPLE Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to eternal life. There is no other. So, declaring Him to be exclusive is simply a statement of reality. We have that by Divine revelation, so it is firm. EXAMPLE The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is not exclusive. It cannot be presented as exclusive without committing this fallacy. EXAMPLE The other problem that can come up can be illustrated with this statement: "We are saved by grace so there is no place for works in the life of a Christian." This statement strikes deep into the heart of a huge misunderstanding of exclusivity. It pits works against grace. However, it doesn't give the choice that there is a difference between human-generated works and God-generated works. The apostle Paul said that he doesn't do the works, but rather it is grace doing the works through Him. Grace does the works of God through Christians. They are not mutually exclusive.
- False Trilemma Fallacy: occurs when only three of four or more possibilities are presented as the only possibilities. EXAMPLE The Münchhausen Trilemma (sometimes called Agrippa's Trilemma) is an unsolved problem in Secular thinking that goes back to at least the First Century A.D. When the spiritual realm is artificially ommitted by assuming that it doesn't exist, there are only three possilble foundations for thought when trying to prove anything. These three are infinite regression, circular reasoning, and axiomatic thinking. For this reason, For this reason, Secularists, Atheists, Agnostics, Materialists, Naturalists, and any others who assume no spiritual realm cannot speak in terms of truth. When they do, they run into Agrippa's Trilemma. This trilemma is sometimes called the Münchhausen Trilemma or Albert's Trilemma. Agrippa's Trilemma also invalidates the reasoning of Christians who deny Divine revelation as the foundation for their reasoning. The two missing parts of reality are Divine revelation and demonic influence. God can never lie. Demons give you enough truth mixed with their lies to fool you. This can be confirmed through Divine revelation to anyone willing to seek God in respect and sincerity while reading the Bible.
- Short Term versus Long Term: occurs when a false dichotomy is presented that we must either address the short-term need or else the long-term need. It may be possible to address both. If this is an either-or, then it may be that neither has to be addressed at all, since one or the other of them could have been pushed off to the future.
- Logical Fallacy of Magician's Choice / Closer's Choice / Fallacy of False Alternatives / Fallacy of False Choice / The Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypothesis: occurs when a certain number of choices are implied, but either more or less choices are available. You are given limited choices when there are other choices available.
- What Else Could Explain it? / TINA / There Is No Alternative: occurs when only one alternative is claimed when other alternatives exist. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "In other words, the explanation provided by Evolution made a prediction, and the prediction’s extraordinary and subtle, but there it is. How else would you explain it?" Here, Bill gives one choice and then asks a rhetorical question as proof. However, there is a very good second choice that makes a lot more sense than a story that violates several scientific laws, requires several ad hoc hypotheses, and requires many assumptions. God created these fish and gave them this ability to adapt. It is built into them by their Creator God. This second option violated no scientific laws and requires no ad hoc hypothesis or assumption. We happen to have absolute evidence that God did create them. We know this by Divine revelation.
- Alternative Advance / Lose-Lose Situation: occurs when more than one choice is supposedly offered, but the choices offered are actually the same choice. EXAMPLE "Heads I win. Tails, you lose."
- Morton’s Fork: occurs when different observations lead to the same conclusion. EXAMPLE “If the radiometric dating agrees with our preconceived age for this fossil, then we know that the age of the fossil is exactly what we thought it should be. However, if the radiometric dating methods don’t yield the result we want, then, even though something happened to give a false reading, the age of the fossil is exactly what we thought it should be.”
- Hobson's Choice: occurs when a choice is offered between one thing and nothing. It is a take it or leave it ultimatum. While this is not necessarily a fallacy, it can be used as a fallacy. EXAMPLE Ravi Zacharias was challenged by a professor on a U.S. campus. The professor insisted that Eastern logic was "both-and," but Ravi was using "either-or" logic. Of course there are many things that are "both-and," and also many that are "either-or." However, this particular professor wanted to convince Ravi that the only option was "both-and" in Eastern logic. After listening to the professor give a long dissertation, Ravi said, “Professor, I think we can resolve this debate very quickly with just one question.” The professor said, "Okay, go ahead." Ravi asked, "Are you saying that when I’m in India, I must use either the ‘both-and' logic or nothing else?” The professor didn't answer, so Ravi asked the question once again. The professor finally answered weakly, “The either-or does seem to emerge, doesn’t it.” Ravi returned, “Yes, even in India we look both ways before we cross the street because it is either me or the bus, not both of us!”
- Barefoot Fallacy: occurs when an argument is made that only the government can provide a certain product or service. Originally, it was stated as, “If the government doesn’t provide shoes, all but the wealthy will go barefoot.” This is an unsupported assertion in all cases. It certainly is a false choice, giving only one choice when there are other options.
- Wicked Alternative: occurs when the first position/alternative is denounced in order to support the second when the two positions/alternatives are not opposites. When this fallacy is in play, choosing the second position/alternative would not solve the problems of the first. Just because one thing is bad, some other thing is not automatically good. This may also use false dichotomy, when other options may be available.
Fallacies of Cause
- Causal Fallacy / Gratuitous Inculpation / Spurious Causation / Logical Fallacy of Questionable Cause / Causal Fallacy / False Cause / Assuming the Cause / False Cause and Effect / Phantom Cause / False Cause / Non Causa Pro Causa: occurs when any error is made in trying to find the reason why something happened. This term includes all causal fallacies. A certain cause and effect relationship is claimed but no cause and effect relationship can be proven to exist. Questionable causes include circular cause and consequence, insignificant cause, cum hoc, ergo propter hoc (correlation implies causation), fallacy of the single cause, elephant repellent, post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this), regression fallacy, Texas sharpshooter fallacy, third-cause fallacy, and wrong direction.
- Logical Fallacy of Limited Depth: occurs when a theory does explain what can be observed but doesn't appeal to the underlying causes.
- Logical Fallacy of Causal Reductionism / Causal Oversimplification / Fallacy of the Single Cause / Simplistic-Complexity: occurs when a complex cause is reduced to a subset of its components as if it represented the whole. As with many fallacies, reductionism is often used as a tool for thinking, since the human mind is so limited. It is called abstraction in certain disciplines. We usually can't think about everything at once. A model, or abstraction, abstracts certain elements so that we can think about those elements and try to do analysis. However, the problem is that we sometimes forget that the model is not reality itself, and then we add it as confirmation bias to prove to ourselves that some parts of our worldview/paradigm/fake-inner-reality are real, though they are not.
- Inevitability / Retrospective Determinism / Path Dependency: occurs when an excuse is made for behavior that there was no choice in the matter, since what happened had to happen. Some may argue that God reveals predestination through Scripture. Take the verses that are thought to say this. Do those passages read exactly that way, or are some assumptions needed. If this is an interpretation of Scripture, can you be certain that you have not used assumptions to add to Scripture or to eliminate Scripture to come up with this conclusion, or is it merely human reasoning added to Scripture? Keep in mind that the word that is translated as “predestination” is actually “set ahead of time” in the same way that God would set an elder. EXAMPLE "The devil made me do it."
- Determinism / Determination / Determinist Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that free will/agency is an illusion. There is no way to come to this conclusion without making assumptions; therefore, it is irrational to use it as a basis for further thought. EXAMPLE “The devil made me do it.” The devil can’t make you do anything and God won’t make you do anything. We know this by Divine revelation: Every person has free will. God holds each one responsible for how they use this free will. This doesn’t mean that there is no world outside of each person’s free will, and it doesn’t mean that God is not in control of all that happens to us. He allows some things. He doesn’t allow others. That means that things happen to us that we didn’t will. It means that people get Alzheimer disease that they didn’t want to get, and that their thinking is affected. It means that people are killed in car accidents that they didn’t personally will. And God knew all about the whole mess before any of it happened. None of this conflicts with what God has revealed about free will.
- Furtive Fallacy: occurs when outcomes are asserted necessarily to have been caused by the malfeasance of decision makers. This is generally applied to history.
- Fallacy of Multiplication: occurs when extra non-causes are included in the actual causes. Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: “If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we are not going to move forward, we’ll not embrace natural laws, we’ll not make discoveries, we’ll not invent and innovate and stay ahead.” It is probably true that we might stop inventing, innovating, and staying ahead if we were to eschew the scientific process. However, knowing the difference between historical and observational science involves knowing the difference between creative imagination and observation. It would seem that that might actually help inventing, innovating, and staying ahead to be able to know the difference between make-believe and reality. Bill added this extra cause. He also added a cause that he called “eschewing science.” Looking at the bulk of Bill’s talk, he was on both sides of the issue of challenging scientific traditions. On the one hand, he said that challenging old ideas is what science is all about. Then, he made remarks like this one in which he defines “science” as the process and the old ideas, and he defines “eschewing science” as challenging old ideas. Every scientific breakthrough happens because someone challenges old ideas. But Bill was really only talking about the old idea of the sacred cow known as the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story.
- Logical Fallacy of the Conspiracy Theory: occurs when someone assumes that there is a conspiracy of one or more people, but there is no evidence for it because they are so good at covering up the evidence. Of course, conspiracies are going on all the time. Most of us have been part of at least one and probably many. Perhaps they were not dangerous conspiracies, but they were conspiracies nonetheless. EXAMPLE Sandy: "From the very beginning of our quest to unravel the Christ conspiracy, we encounter suspicious territory, as we look back in time and discover that the real foundation of Christianity appears nothing like the image provided by the clergy and mainstream authorities." Rocky: "That is amazing that you could say that, given that Jesus Christ, including His birth, ministry, and resurrection, is by far the most documented human being of ancient times. However, I know that the account of Jesus Christ in the Bible is real and actual because I know Jesus Christ personally. He is the One Who guides me moment by moment, and I'm learning to hear His Voice and to respond in obedience." Sandy: "See! You are in on the conspiracy!!!" (There are many conspiracy theories concerning Christ with one ungodly person trying to out-do the last one. They write books about their silly theories, but the real problem is not that they don't know that Christ is their God. It is not a problem of the intellect but a problem of rebellion against Christ. They don't want Christ to rule over them. We know this by revelation. God says that everyone knows.)
- Unnatural Fallacy: occurs when an argument that something (object, being, phenomenon, etc.) in existence is not a result of natural causes. This argument is most often used when comparing man-made phenomena to those that occur without human intervention. With this definition of natural and unnatural, humanity is not part of what is natural. In another sense, what is natural is what is according to the design and plan of God. Without acknowledging God and His will as it has been revealed, there is no rational way to say what is natural and what is not natural in this sense. However, God does reveal His will to whomever will acknowledge Him and stand in His Presence. This is available only through Jesus Christ. Those who do acknowledge Him are given His faith by which they can believe and trust Christ. This gives them spiritual senses that can be developed by listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit and keeping step with that leading.
- Blame a Scapegoat / Scapegoating / Framing / Blame A Non-Factor: occurs when a person/organization/concept/factor is blamed for an error or problem that was not caused by the person/organization/concept/factor. Framing here is not to be confused with the framing fallacy. The framing fallacy has to do with asking the wrong question. Framing has to do with trying to place blame wrongly.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Coincidence / Appeal to Luck / Appeal to Bad Luck: occurs when a certain effect or result is attributed to chance even though the evidence strongly points to another cause.
- Logical Fallacy of Subverted Support: occurs when an explanation of the cause of a phenomenon is given, but there is no evidence that the phenomenon happens. EXAMPLE Marshall Brain: "The theory of evolution further proposes that billions of these mutations created all of the life forms we see today. An initial self-replicating molecule spontaneously formed. It evolved into single-cell organisms. These evolved into multi-cell organisms, which evolved into vertebrates like fish, and so on." There is no evidence that any of this happened. Nor is there any evidence that a similar thing is happening today.
- Lurking Variable / Confounding Factor: occurs where incorrect assumption regarding one or more variables results in a spurious correlation of cause and effect. In other word, there can be another undetected variable that makes it seem like two other things are related in a cause and effect relationship. EXAMPLE Age of the Earth calculations often leave out certain variables such is the fact that data is cherry-picked, and there are various ways of rationalizing to deal with “unexpected” results. These are lurking variables that are seldom openly discussed.
- Taking Undeserved Credit: occurs when credit is taken for work by a minor contributor (or non-contributor) with power or opportunity to take the credit. This is a false cause fallacy. EXAMPLE Uri Geller, the illusionist, was adept at taking credit for phenomenon that happened around him. At Waterstone's Bookshop in Manchester, UK, a banging noise came from upstairs. Geller stopped and said, "I hope that wasn't me." EXAMPLE It is very common for human beings to take the credit for their own success (of for politicians to take credit for God's blessings) when the success was a gift from God.
- Logical Fallacy of Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc / Post Hoc Reasoning / After This; Therefore Because of This: occurs when it is assumed that just because something follows something it is caused by whatever it follows.
- Correlation Proves Causation / Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc / Coincidental Correlation / Correlation Implies Causation: occurs when a statistical correlation between two variables is thought to be proof that one causes the other, but there is no proof that one causes the other. This fallacy is often applied very selectively for political reasons. It can sweep away a lot of evidence. Correlation, however, does have some significance. It is just not conclusive.
- Logical Fallacy of Reversing Cause and Effect / Wrong Direction: occurs when two things happen together and the real cause is seen as the effect and the effect is seen as the cause. The cause and effect are swapped, what was thought to be the cause is actually the effect and what was thought to be the effect was actually the cause.
- Logical Fallacy of Ion / Regression Fallacy: occurs when cause is claimed when none exists in reality. It is a failure to acknowledge natural fluctuations, and it is a particular type of post hoc fallacy. This fallacy applies to such things as golf scores, the earth's temperature, and chronic back pain. In medicine, the natural regression toward the mean makes it difficult to know whether a given treatment is the cause for improvement. Ion is a particular kind of post hoc fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of Joint Effect / Common Cause / Confounding Factor: occurs when one thing is thought to cause another, but, in reality, both are caused by a third thing.
- Logical Fallacy of Insignificant / Insignificant Cause / Genuine but Insignificant Cause: occurs when the thing that is identified as the cause is a genuine cause but not the main cause.
- Elephant Repellent: occurs when a claim is made that one thing prevents some other thing that doesn’t happen anyway. It is a false cure based on a false cause for a non-existent problem. Often, this fallacy is confused with a fallacy of solving a real problem with a radical action (such as gun control or wealth redistribution) that is not going to solve the problem (such as violent crime or poverty). That would be a fallacy of a wrong solution, an ineffective solution, or a harmful solution. Elephant repellent refers to non-existent problems such as global cooling and the coming ice age, which was thought to be a problem by most scientists between 1970 and 1980 and was reported in the media (at least 65 articles still exist on the Internet). EXAMPLE “We must give up freedom to stop the imminent disaster.” Generally, the disasters are not elephant attacks, but other kinds of non-existent problems.
Fallacies of Circular Reasoning (Assuming the conclusion as a starting point for proving the conclusion)
- Logical Fallacy of Circular Reasoning / Petitio Principii / Circulus in Demonstrando / Paradoxical Thinking / Circle in Proving / Circular Logic / Circular Argument / Circulus in Probando / Meatpoison: occurs when the premises are accepted as true only because the conclusion is desired. There are several forms of circular reasoning as this section points out. In some form, circular reasoning is assuming the conclusion as a starting point, and then working logic to arrive back at the conclusion. Begging the question usually uses valid logic in that the conclusion always follows from the premise, since the conclusion is simply the premise re-stated. The premise and conclusion are one and the same. That is why it is called circular reasoning. EXAMPLE "The rocks are used to date the fossils and the fossils are used to date the rocks." This is never stated this clearly, but following the logic through its many contortions, this is how the dating methods actually work. EXAMPLE "We use the scientific method to judge the scientific method." EXAMPLE "We know that these fossils with soft tissue in them are millions of years old because of their place in the geologic column and radioactive dating." The problem is that this doesn't tell us anything, because the proofs that are used for dating the fossils are all based on presuppositions of billions of years and no Genesis flood. EXAMPLE "We know that the Bible is God's Word because the Bible says that it is God's Word." It isn't necessary to use circular reasoning. We know because God says so. How do we know that God is telling the truth? When we hear His Voice and acknowledge Him in submissive reverence, His faith comes to us and we believe. So, we believe God supernaturally because we hear Him and acknowledge Him. Then, we know that the Bible is God's word because God reveals this fact to us by Divine revelation. At a certain point, someone must be believed. Why do Christians believe? Because God has imparted His faith to them. Someone can shoehorn that into a logical fallacy, but doing so makes every observation of science a logical fallacy by the same definition. The choice is between Divine revelation and human fallacies, arbitrary assumptions, and stories. That is not a false dichotomy. Another way is to say it is that you either believe God or you don't. Whom will you believe? This is actually the root of arguments between those who follow Christ and other people, so it is a good conflict to understand. This is why God clearly states: "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of proclamation [literal] to save those who believe." God proclaims through His various methods. If we acknowledge, His faith comes as a free gift. This is not circular reasoning, but it is a largely unrecognized law of how things work.
EXAMPLE "We know that these fossils with soft tissue in them are millions of years old because these fossils are millions of years old." The problem is that this doesn't tell us anything. EXAMPLE "We don't want to allow research into Creation science because it has no support in the scientific community." This is a circular argument, because scientists who don't enthusiastically embrace the Big-Bang-Billions-or-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story (and denounce the Creation-Flood account) are routinely discriminated against in academia, and also in industry. Schools coerce science students on this issue. And then the word, "scientists," is defined to exclude anyone who doesn't kowtow to the sacred cow story.
- Circular Generalization Fallacy: occurs when an exception to a conclusion (which would normally mean that the conclusion was not true) is claimed to be compatible with the conclusion and even proof of it. Generally, this involves a just-so story, which is an ad hoc hypothesis to explain away the contradictory evidence. The real problem is when the contradiction is then used as proof for the conclusion with which is conflicts. EXAMPLE The Inflation story is an ad hoc hypothesis designed to rescue the Big Bang, and then is sometimes used as proof for the Big Bang, but it's just a story. EXAMPLE The Dark Matter-Dark Energy story is an ad hoc hypothesis designed to rescue the Big Bang, and then is sometimes used as proof for the Big Bang, but it's just a story.
- Logical Fallacy of Begging the Question / Vicious Circle / Chicken And Egg Argument: occurs when the conclusion of the argument is one of the premises/axioms/principles on which the argument itself rests. That is, when the conclusion, the very thing that is in question, is assumed in a premise. The presence of the conclusion being the basis for the premise is usually well concealed and difficult to detect. This is a form of circular reasoning.
- Logical Fallacy of Circular Reference: occurs when a series of logical arguments are stated, one depending on the other until the final argument supplies the premises of the first argument. This is a type of circular reasoning that is very difficult to detect, since most people don’t even follow their own reasoning back more than a few arguments.
- Question Begging Analogy: occurs when an analogy is made between two things, but the analogy rests on an assumption that amount to circular reasoning. It is a type of circular reasoning. INVALID FORM “A is similar to B (the similarity is dependent on an assumption which is dependent on the conclusion]. A is C. Therefore, B is C.” EXAMPLE “Creation scientists are like uneducated people. [assumes the conclusion]. Uneducated people don’t understand science. Therefore, Creation scientists don’t understand science.” The false assumption is that Creation scientists are like uneducated people. Since this is an assertion contrary to fact, the only way it is supported is by the conclusion of the argument--for which it is the premise. EXAMPLE “The Bible is similar to an anvil that can’t be broken. When you hammer on anvils, they are strong enough to take a beating. Therefore, when you hammer on the Bible, it is strong enough to take the beating.” This is an example of the fallacy where the conclusion is actually true despite the fact that the logic is flawed. And flawed logic is totally unnecessary to defend the Bible. Without the word, "therefore," the analogy would have been a good, but limited, analogy. We don’t believe that the Bible can stand up to any attack because it is like an anvil, though. We know, by Divine revelation, that the Bible is God’s Word without error. God speaks this into our innermost minds. Then, He speaks the same thing through the Bible. People with a dogmatic belief in not-God will assert that God doesn’t reveal anything, but they are basing this on a use-mention error. If they were interested in the truth rather than just winning an argument (what is the prize?) they would simply test Him by praying to Him with persistence, sincerity, humility, repentance, and a will to do His will. They would need to want to leave sin behind, though.
- Logical Fallacy of Question-Begging Epithet: occurs when biased, often emotional, language is used to persuade rather than logic. To be question-begging, it must presuppose the thing that it is trying to support or prove. Question-begging epithets are attempts to stir emotions in order to distract people's attention from the meat of the logic--especially when playing to the crowd. Question-begging epithets can include claims with no support for the claims, rhetoric, empty words, or any remarks without substance. The other part of the problem is that the entire communication is based on circular reasoning or question-begging.
- Logical Fallacy of Question-Begging Complex Question / Framing Fallacy / Loaded Question / Not Understanding the Problem / Defining the Problem Incorrectly / Trick Question / Multiple Question / Plurium Interrogationum / Fallacy of Many Questions / Surfeit of Questions: occurs when a question that requires several answers is asked. Often, a single simple answer is demanded. The question or problem is often posed in a way that steers the conclusion or when a solution or answer is sought without first correctly defining the problem/question. These types of questions have presuppositions hidden within them, are asked. The problem is being misunderstood because of presuppositions. Presuppositions are hidden in words and phrases like obviously, why, when, how, we already know, or anyone can see that. Presupposition is a powerful method of deception and one of the tools of the hypnotic technique of neuro linguistic programming. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Then, uh, by the way, the fundamental thing that we disagree on, Ken Ham, is this nature of what you can prove to yourself. This is to say, when people make assumptions based on radiometric dating, when they make assumptions about the expanding Universe, when they make assumptions about the rate at which genes change in populations of bacterial in laboratory growth media, they're making assumptions based on previous experience. They're not coming out of whole cloth" Bill Nye is focusing on the wrong problem. It is not what you can prove to yourself. It is about what you can really know. If you allow yourself the leeway to make just one assumption, you can prove anything to yourself. Anything! This is why two people can look at the same creation (or the same Bible) and come to radically different conclusions. Bill sees a small part of it, but is still defining it incorrectly, so he can never solve it from that mindset. The problem is a comparison between two things, yes. One of those things, as identified, is whether it is valid to think "you can prove things to yourself" that is, know anything by making assumptions. The other thing, which Mr. Nye has not identified, is whether you can know anything by revelation. This brings us to the old philosophy of rationalism. Unfortunately, the word, "rationalism," and the word, "rationalize," sound a bit like the word, "rational." However, they are the opposite. To rationalize is to think something irrational and make believe that it is rational. Rationalism is an assumption, a philosophy, a religion, that says that the human mind can create knowledge, miraculous revelation, without the benefit of either observation or revelation. Stating the thing that we fundamentally agree on in simple terms, it is about the nature of what you can know (not what you can prove to yourself, since you can prove things that are untrue to yourself) is it more reasonable to say that the human mind miraculously reveals knowledge or that God miraculously reveals knowledge? The question stated another way is this: Is the human mind a god, or is God God? And this is the argument in a nutshell. Both are looking at the same creation and using the same scientific method and scientific tools. Mr. Nye worships his own mind and the minds of those who tell him what he wants to hear. Mr. Ham worships God.
- Circular Cause and Consequence: occurs when the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause.
- Logical Fallacy of Question-Begging Rejection of Faith: occurs when faith is rejected based on a presupposition. EXAMPLES Atheism, Naturalism, Materialism, or Scientism when they are taken as presuppositions without verifiable, deductive proof are philosophies based on the question-begging rejection of faith.
- Self-Referential Fallacy: occurs when a sentence, idea, or formula refers to itself. Example: Picking oneself up by one's own bootstraps. EXAMPLE "The Universe (creation) created itself from nothing."
- It Ought To Be True, So It Is: occurs when an arbitrary assumption is made about what ought to be true and this assumption is used to reason that it is true. This is a form of circular reasoning, since it assumes the conclusion in the premise.
Fallacies of Non Sequitur (Using evidence that doesn't prove the point)
- Logical Fallacy of Non Sequitur / Inductive Fallacy: occurs when the conclusion does not follow from the premise, that is, the premise does not prove the conclusion. A conclusion is made of premises that don’t really support it in a way that the conclusion can be said to be true. Many kinds of fallacy fall under the Inductive Fallacy: availability heuristic fallacy, blind men and an elephant fallacy, cherry picking , fallacy of composition, confirmation bias, counter-induction, false analogy, faulty generalization, hasty generalization, idola fori, idola theatric, idola specus, idola tribus, Loki's Wager, McNamara fallacy, misleading vividness, motivated reasoning, overwhelming exception, slippery slope, slothful induction. EXAMPLE Bill Nye interview on CNN, January 3, 2014: ". . . my concern about science literacy and people who want to teach that the Earth might be 10,000 years old in science class and how this would not be in the best interest of the United States, or, really, of the world . . ." The conclusion doesn't follow from the evidence given. "For the people who live in that area, the Kentucky area adjacent to Cincinnati, you don't want science students exposed to the idea of, not exposed, given the idea that the Earth might be 10,000 years old . . . this is an economic concern." Now there is a leap of irrationality. The age of the Earth affects the economy? Really?
- Sherlock Holmes Fallacy / Process of Elimination: occurs when the method of thinking is to find every possible explanation and to disprove all but one. This is a claim to omniscience. Sherlock Holmes sometimes called this deduction. It was not. With this type of method, you can come up with explanations such as aliens, Big Bang, Molecules-to-Man, No Flood, Abiogenesis, Naturalism, Materialism, etc. Since some of these things are taught to students, it’s no wonder that many students have no idea how to make rational decisions. EXAMPLE “I believe that God exists because there are only two theories of the existence of the Universe, evolutionism and creationism. Evolutionism must be eliminated because it is unscientific. Therefore, the remaining theory is true: creationism. Creationism requires a creator; therefore, God exists.” Why go through all those mental gymnastics. Get to know the Creator God. The door is open through Christ. Everyone who seeks Him finds Him. Everyone who prays to Him and asks Him to be their own Lord and to forgive their wandering from Him will find out that He exists and that He is good. They will know this by personal experience. Of course, they must come in reverence, or respect. They must come with a will to do His will. They must be humble before Him. And they must be willing to acknowledge Him. In other words, they can’t come insincerely. Evolutionism is often defended using the Sherlock Holmes fallacy. FALLACY ABUSE Adapted from an evolution website: “The Sherlock Homes fallacy is how belief in gods/evil spirits develops.” To say that the Sherlock Homes fallacy is how belief in the true God develops is a claim based on the presupposition of no spiritual realm. To base a claim on an unproven assertion is not rational. Evil spirits do manifest themselves without deduction or inductive interpretation. There may be interpretation afterward. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit manifest themselves. We are now dealing with raw fact without the vagaries of human thinking. After the fact, theologies creep in, and these theologies are human interpretations. Those who follow Christ do so because they know Him, and because they are led by Him and are taught by Him. Not only that, but whoever seeks Him (prays in sincere submission, respect, humility, repentance with a will to do His will) finds Him, so this is testable. And those who are following Christ are learning more about this continually. The statement on the evolution website was later modified to say, "Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, ended up believing in spiritualism and fairies, using the Holmes method." This is also untrue. Doyle belonged to an organization that stated that took the following as principles: The Fatherhood of God. The Brotherhood of Man. The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels. The Continuous Existence of the human soul. Personal Responsibility. Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all the good and evil deeds done on earth. Eternal Progress open to every human soul. How he came to join this group is unknown. He was a Christian. Whether he knew Christ personally would be difficult to determine. Doyle seems to have looked into psychics (not something that a Christian ought to do since psychics are either fakes or are dealing with demons) and he questioned the religion of Naturalism. Even to this day, Naturalists are constructing scenarios and accusations against him.
- Availability Heuristic Fallacy: occurs when whatever comes to mind is thought to be the most important information for decision-making.
- Blind Men and an Elephant Fallacy: occurs when partial information is used to make dogmatic claims. Note that each of the blind men would have been able to make a logical claim of partial knowledge, but none could make a claim of complete knowledge.
- Counter-Induction: occurs when a conclusion is thought to be supported by the opposite of what inductive reasoning would suggest. While you cannot positively prove something by inductive reasoning, it is irrational to become dogmatic about something when all the inductive evidence is against it. EXAMPLE "Although the Universe and all life appear to be designed, we must resist the temptation to think that they are, since these things all came into being by natural processes."
- Idola Fori: occurs when words are used that give a false impression of reality. There are two kinds of idola fori. One consists of names for things that don't exist, such as evolution (when it is used to describe small steps of living things transforming from one kind (family or genus) to another) or big bang. The other is names for things that exist, but yet confused and ill-defined, and hastily and irregularly derived from realities, such as the various equivocations with words like evolution, science, evidence, or logic. EXAMPLE “Life may appear to be designed, but it is just a product of random changes over millions of years of earth history.” EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: “. . . to be more respected than what you can observe in nature, what you can find in your backyard in Kentucky.” In context, Bill is claiming that the people of Kentucky are able to observe the Universe beginning with a big bang billions of years ago, life springing into existence in the form of a single-celled living thing, and the gradual changes that supposedly happened over billions of years of Molecules-to-Man evolution. Giving the name, Big Bang, to an event that never happened gives the false impression that there was such an event. In addition, Bill is claiming that they, in their back yards, can observe that the Genesis Flood didn't take place. Bill doesn't seem to realize that he has moved from observation of what is concrete to the abstract world of imaginative storytelling. This is a very common phenomenon when it comes to the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. There are a few other highly political areas of the scientific community where this is true as well, such as the global warming issue.
- Idola Theatri: occurs when the human mind seems drawn to believe fallacies rather than truth. Sir Francis Bacon: “because in my judgment all the received systems are but so many stage plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion.”
- Idola Specus: occurs when the peculiar biases of individuals lead them to errors.
- Idola Tribus: occurs when a tendency of human nature, to prefer certain types of incorrect conclusions.
- Loki's Wager: occurs when it is unreasonably insisted that a concept cannot be defined and therefore cannot be discussed.
- Proving Too Much: occurs when a premise is used that, if the premise were valid, could be used more generally to reach an absurd conclusion.
- Relative Privation / Greek Math: occurs when a something is made to appear better by comparing it to something that is worse or when something is made to appear worse by comparing it to something better. This fallacy is often described in such a way that it makes being thankful for whatever you have a fallacy, or it makes trying to improve your situation a fallacy. Neither of those are fallacies. To say to your friend who just got a new car, “I’ve seen better cars.” is rude to be sure, but it isn’t a fallacy. To say to your friend whose wife just was hit by a car and killed instantly, “Oh well, at least she didn’t suffer.” is terribly insensitive, but it isn’t a fallacy. Relative privation, as a fallacy, is trying to give the illusion that something is better than it is or worse than it is through comparison to something else. EXAMPLE “I’m so poor. I have to use food stamps and get a check from the government twice a month. And then I see these guys making all this big money at their posh jobs, driving around in company cars. It’s just not fair.” Making that comparison in that way makes a good “poor me” story, but there is only one person on the planet who makes the most money. We can’t all be that person, and it’s irrational to feel sorry for ourselves because someone else is making more money. EXAMPLE Wife: “We have a major problem. I made a math error and we are overdrawn in the checking account. We have to get fifty dollars in there before the check clears. Do you have any ideas where we can get that money quickly?” Husband: “Oh, don’t worry about it. Jim, at work, just overdrew his checking account by one-thousand dollars.”
- It Could Be Worse: occurs when a problem is presented, but, rather than solve the problem, it is suggested that it could be worse. This is a type of the relative privation fallacy. EXAMPLE Parent in the 1960s: “Why are you teaching my child that he should experiment with sex?” Teacher in the 1960s: “At least I didn’t teach your child that he should experiment with homosexuality.”
- It Could Be Better: occurs when there is something to thank God about, but, rather than being thankful, it is pointed out that things could have been better. EXAMPLE Sandy: “Ha! If there were a God, He certainly should have designed the human body better.” Rocky: “Let me see your working model of your own design and we’ll do a comparison. Um, you have to create your own atoms from nothing.”
- Retrogressive Causation: occurs when it is assumed that doing more of the something (call it X) will negate or reduce the effect that comes from X. EXAMPLE Sandy: “Don’t you know that it has been scientifically proven that the human mind cannot be trusted. It is easily fooled. How then can you trust your mind to discern between Divine revelation and your own mind?” Rocky: “What are you proposing as an alternative?” Sandy: “You cannot trust in Divine revelation. The human mind can't be trusted, since it can be easily fooled. So, you cannot possibly discern between your own mind and Divine revelation. The only hope is to trust what you can observe and reason.” Rocky: “So the human mind can’t be trusted. Therefore, I need to trust the human mind more? I don’t think so. Revelation doesn’t depend on my own human mind. By its very nature, Divine revelation depends on God. It’s a stepwise process where God is constantly correcting. My only part is to trust Him and depend on Him. He provides the discernment. I trust that He is able and willing to continue to correct me and lead me in the right ways.” EXAMPLE Sandra: "My boyfriend and I decided to live together for a while just to make sure that we are compatible before making a commitment to marriage. If we are going to get married, we need to make sure it will last." The problem is that couples who live together before getting married are much less likely to stay married--probably because they don't understand what marriage is. Marriage is instituted by God. It has a form and structure that God designed. People who live together before they marry are already distorting this order.
- Alternative Syllogism Fallacy: occurs when one of two choices is true, and it is known that one of those choices is true, so it is concluded that the other choice is false. There is not enough information to declare the second choice to be false. Perhaps both choices are true. INVALID FORM "Either S or P. P. Therefore, not S." EXAMPLE Sandy: “One of these is true: there is an all-powerful, all-wise, all-good God or there is suffering. There is suffering. Therefore, there is not an all-powerful, all-wise, all-good God,” Rocky: “That's known as the alternative syllogism fallacy. Your logic fails because not only is one of those options true but both of them are also true.”
- Golden Hammer Fallacy / Persimplex Responsum Fallacy / Very Simple Answer / Maslow's Hammer / Universal Reply: occurs when the wrong reasoning (or tool) is used because it is the only reasoning (or tool) known. It is non-sequitur. The premise doesn’t support the conclusion. EXAMPLE “The only tool I own is a hammer, so every problem looks like a nail.” EXAMPLE “Unfortunately, assumptions are a part of science. We cannot do science without making assumptions.” Why not? How about Divine revelation instead of assumptions? If every argument for evolutionism is dependent on assumptions, and assumptions cannot prove anything, then this is a golden hammer. It is irrational. EXAMPLE “Naturalism is a necessary presupposition for science.” Why? Naturalism provides no method by which we can say that the natural laws we now observe are the same natural laws that will exist in an hour from now. However, God reveals that He enforces the natural laws faithfully. This gives us a reason to believe that we can do science. If Naturalism is the foundation of every conclusion, then it has become a golden hammer. It doesn't work for any conclusions at all, since it is an arbitrary assumption. To be arbitrary is to be irrational. EXAMPLE Christian: "You just need to read the Bible to understand Jesus and God's word." We know Jesus through His Utterance, whether He speaks to us (Christ-followers) through the Bible, through the Creation, through a brother or sister in Christ, or through personal revelation. God never contradicts Himself. So, a rational statement would be, "To know Jesus, you must seek Him in sincerity and with persistence. You must come in deep respect with a desire to be freed from your current bondage and a desire to do His will. If you don't have this mindset, you may not be ready, but every person who does this does find Him and begins to understand Him. Knowing Christ is a process of first being born and then growing into maturity in Him. Maturity comes slowly, from glory to glory. There are no fully mature Christ-followers yet. We are all growing. That is to say, we are all learning to hear His Voice and learning to respond in submission. You are welcome to come join us if you are ready and searching for truth. If you just want to justify yourself, then you aren't ready." The example (in red) was taken from a particularly irrational book named, "Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians," in which the author called the quote (in red) the "universal reply." God does address every human situation (universal) through Scripture. Of course, God is the only legitimate universal reply, since only that which comes through the Holy Spirit is truth. Anything that conflicts with what God is saying comes from the father of all lies. FALLACY ABUSE Sandy: “If you think that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story isn’t scientific fact, then how do you propose that everything got here?” Rocky: “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them in six days.” Sandy: “There you go. Your only answer is that God did it. You get the golden hammer award.” Sandy is committing fallacy abuse. Rocky knows what he knows by Divine revelation. There is no non-sequitur on Rocky’s part. Sandy’s story, on the other hand, is not known. It is made up.
- Exception That Proves the Rule Fallacy / Exception That Tests the Rule Fallacy / Exceptio Probat Regulam Fallacy: occurs when an exception to a conclusion (rule) is seen as evidence for the rule. This is a cliché that is used to defend a position that has flaws. The correct response would be to investigate the matter more carefully, find out why there are exceptions and if there really is a rule at all. EXAMPLE Sandra: “All real scientists embrace the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story.” Roxanne: “Really? I have heard of scientists and engineers who are doing important work who don’t buy into the story.” Sandra: “That’s the exception that proves the rule.” Roxanne: “There are thousands of them.” Sandra: “Those are the exceptions that prove the rule.”
- Logical Fallacy of Selling the Defect / Marketing the Objection as a Benefit: occurs when the most negative thing about a belief, system, method, or product is presented as the greatest benefit. EXAMPLE Roxanne: "People who believe that science is the best and most accurate way to know anything tend to claim that whatever the majority of scientists are currently saying should be trusted. However, the story keeps changing. The Bible doesn't change and there is nothing in actual observed science that conflicts with it. The science books come out and are out of date before they hit the classroom, but the Bible has always been up to date with what can actually be observed. I would believe what the Bible says before I would believe these constantly changing books." Sandy: "You don't understand that this is the strength of science and why science can be trusted. This system works because we are constantly adapting as new data comes in." (Sandy is selling the defect of science as the benefit and using this fallacy as a reason to trust what is not trustworthy. Science alone can never deal with truth, because it is not absolute. That is not a strength of science. It is a weakness.)
- Ignorance of Refutation: occurs when a set of facts lead to one conclusion perfectly, yet another conclusion is forced to fit the facts. EXAMPLE Creation and the Worldwide Flood fit what can be observed perfectly without any violations of scientific laws, yet the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is chosen, mostly because of an arbitrary rule that claims that God cannot be included. This leads to an ever-more-bazaar story and ever-more-bazaar justifications for it (including intimidation, use of force, message control, persecution, banning, and coercion).
- Proving a Premise from a Conclusion Fallacy: occurs when a premise is claimed to be true because the conclusion is true. The conclusions may be true or it may seem to be true. That conclusion is used to demonstrate that one of the premises is true, but the premise is not necessarily true. EXAMPLE “We know that natural selection takes place because evolution produces small changes that add up into bigger changes and then natural selection gets rid of the less fit.” The conclusion is that natural selection takes place. Few would argue. However, the conclusion is being used to prove the premise about molecules-to-man evolutionism, which is very debatable.
Fallacies of Invalid Form (Formal Fallacies: Getting mixed up in thinking)
- Formally Correct Fallacy / According to the Rules Fallacy (type of): occurs when it is thought that logic is sound because it is valid. Sound logic has true premises and a true conclusion. The formally correct fallacy results from two errors in thinking. One is an ambiguity of context regarding the kind of logic. The other is an ambiguity regarding how truth can be known. Some teachers of logic give the impression that a formally valid argument, that is, a set of statements that follow a valid form, is necessarily true. Part of this problem may stem from symbolic logic, e.g. Boolean algebra, since in these, the word, "true," is simply a "logical state." This definition for the word, “true,” is so distant from the normal usage of the word that it is a homonym that is both a homograph and a homophone. It sounds the same and is spelled the same, but it is a different word with a different meaning altogether.
- Logical Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent / Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle Term / Converse Error Fallacy / Fallacy of the Converse: occurs in a categorical syllogism, when the middle term is not distributed. According to the rules of logic, a term is "distributed" when a sentence says something about everything the term designates. A syllogism is invalid if both middle terms are undistributed. INVALID FORM "If P then S. S. Therefore, P." EXAMPLE "If big bang happened, then we would expect to find cosmic microwave background radiation. We do find cosmic microwave background radiation. Therefore, the big bang happened." There are many examples of this fallacy being used to "prove" things that are not true.
- Logical Fallacy of Commutation of Conditionals / Fallacy of the Consequent / Converting a Conditional / Switching the Antecedent and the Consequent: occurs when it is reasoned that since one thing being true means that a second thing is true, this means that when the second thing is true, that means that the first thing is also true. That doesn't always work. INVALID FORM "if P is true, then S is true; therefore, if S is true, P is true."
- Logical Fallacy of Affirming a Disjunct / Fallacy of the Alternative Disjunct / False Exclusionary Disjunct / Affirming One Disjunct / Logical Fallacy of the Alternative Syllogism / Asserting an Alternative / Improper Disjunctive Syllogism / Fallacy of the Disjunctive Syllogism / Fallacy of Excluson: occurs when it is assumed that if one of two options is true then the other must be false. This only applies when the or is not an exclusive or. INVALID FORM "A or B. A. Therefore, not B."
- Logical Fallacy of Denying the Antecedent: occurs when the inverse is inferred from the original statement. INVALID FORM "If A, then B. Not A. Therefore, not B."
- Illicit Process: occurs when a term which is distributed in the conclusion is undistributed in the premise of any categorical syllogism.
- Logical Fallacy of Illicit Major / Illicit Process of the Major: occurs when a premise is stated referring to only part of the class, but the conclusion refers to the whole class. Another way to state this is that a major term which is distributed in the conclusion is undistributed in the major premise of any categorical syllogism. INVALID FORM "All A are B. No C are A. Therefore, no C are B."
- Logical Fallacy of Illicit Minor / Illicit Process of the Minor: occurs when the minor term of any form of categorical syllogism is distributed in the conclusion, but not in the minor premise. INVALID FORM "All A are B. All A are C. Therefore, all C are B." INVALID FORM “All A are B. All A are C. Therefore, all B are C.”
- Logical Fallacy of Invalid form using "Some": two ways that people get their logic off base using the word, "some." INVALID FORM "Some A are B. C is an A. Therefore, C is B." INVALID FORM "Some A are B. Some B are C. Therefore, some A are C."
- Unwarranted Contrast / Some Are-Some Are Not: occurs when it is assumed that because some of one thing have a certain characteristic, then some of that thing must not have that characteristic or vice versa. INVALID FORM “Some A are B. Therefore, Some A are not B.” “Some A are not B. Therefore, Some A are B.”
- Logical Fallacy of Denying a Conjunct: occurs when someone makes a statement that two things cannot both be true and then concludes that because one of the things is not true the other has to be true. INVALID FORM "Not both S and P. Not S."
- Logical Fallacy of Negative Premise / Illicit Negative / Drawing a Positive Conclusion from Negative Premises / Drawing an Affirmative Conclusion from Negative Premises Fallacy: occurs when the conclusion of a standard form categorical syllogism is affirmative and one or more of the premises are negative. To be valid form, a categorical syllogism that has a negative premise must have a negative conclusion. INVALID FORM "A is not a subset of B." "B is (is not) a subset of C." "Therefore, A is a subset of C."
- Logical Fallacy of Drawing a Negative Conclusion from Affirmative Premises / Illicit Affirmative: occurs when a negative conclusion is drawn when both premises of a categorical syllogism are not also negative, that is, one or both premises are positive. INVALID FORM "All A is B. All B is C. Therefore, some C is not A."
- Logical Fallacy of Existential Instantiation / Existential Fallacy: occurs when a conclusion that is known to be in existence is drawn from premises that cannot be shown to be part of reality. This is a little complex to understand, and the fact that some textbooks get it wrong doesn’t help. This is talking about something called categorical form of a categorical proposition. A categorical proposition is made up of a subject and a predicate that are joined by a verb: "All S are P, No S are P, Some S are P, Some S are not P." They don’t include a verb that indicates existence. If you want to talk about existence, you must put it into the predicate. For instance, “All real things are in existence. ” INVALID FORM "All A are B. All C (not able to establish the existence of any C) are B. Therefore, some C are A." (This is only an existential fallacy if the word, "some," is understood to mean at least one. If we have not established that even one C exists, then we cannot conclude that some C exist.) EXAMPLE "All fossils are the remains of dead things that once lived. All transitional forms are fossils. (No transitional forms have ever been confirmed to exist.) Therefore, some transitional forms are the remains of dead things that once lived." This conclusion implies that there is at least one instance of a transitional form, but, while at any point in time, there are several claimed instances, over time, these claimed instances are abandoned as mistakes and new ones are claimed.
- Fallacy of Exclusive Premises: occurs when a syllogism has two negative premises. Only one premise can be negative if the conclusion is negative. With two negative premises, you cannot support a negative conclusion or a positive conclusion. If both of the premises are positive, you cannot support a negative conclusion. If the conclusion is positive, both premises must be positive. If the conclusion is negative, one of the premises must be negative and the other premise must be positive. INVALID FORM "No A are B. Some B are not C. Therefore, some C are not A." INVALID FORM "No A are B. No B are C. Therefore, no C are A." EXAMPLE "No Christians are Atheists. Some Atheist are not Evolutionists. Therefore, some Evolutionists are not Christians." The conclusion may be true, but the logic is not sound.
- Logical Fallacy of Four Terms: occurs when a fourth term is included in a syllogism.
- Logical Fallacy of Necessity / Felacia Necassitas: occurs when the conclusion of a syllogism indicates necessity, but this same necessity is not stated in both premises. INVALID FORM "A is necessarily B. C is B. Therefore, C is necessarily B."
- Logical Fallacy of False Conversion / Illicit Conversion: occurs when the terms of a premise are switched in the conclusion when the premise uses the word all, some or no. INVALID FORM "All A are B. Therefore, all B are A." INVALID FORM "No A are B. Therefore, no B are A."INVALID FORM "Some A are B. Therefore, some B are A."
- Logical Fallacy of Illicit Contraposition occurs when the subject and predicate terms of a categorical proposition are swapped and negated (adding not or no). INVALID FORM "No A are B. Therefore, no non-B are non-A."INVALID FORM "Some A are B. Therefore, some non-B are non-A."
- Logical Fallacy of Negating Antecedent and Consequent / Improper Transposition: occurs when the antecedent and consequent are transposed in the conclusion and the negation is reversed in propositional logic. INVALID FORM "If A then B. Therefore, if not-A then not-B."INVALID FORM "If not-A then not-B. Therefore, if A then B."
- Illicit Substitution of Identicals / Hooded Man Fallacy / Masked Man Fallacy / Intentional Fallacy / Leibniz' Law Fallacy: occurs when the two ways of knowing: knowing of a thing and the knowing of the thing under all its various names or descriptions are mixed in a logical argument. EXAMPLE "My biology professor says that evolution is fact. My philosophy professor says that, if evolution is fact, then God doesn't necessarily exist. Therefore, God does not necessarily exist." The most that could be concluded would be to say, "Therefore, I think that God does not necessarily exist." Two opinions cannot produce a fact.
- Confusing "if" with "if and only if": occurs when, during the course of reasoning, an "if" changes its meaning to "if and only if." A conditional statement can be made to claim that one thing is true/false if a second thing is true/false. The form would be, “If A, then B.” This is different from saying that one thing is true/false if, and only if, a second thing is true/false. The form would be, “If A, then B, but if not A, then not B." which is equivalent to "If, and only if,
A, then B." INVALID FORM “If A, then B. Not A. Therefore, not B.” The problem is that we don’t know that B is not true from this logic. EXAMPLE “If I heard God leading me, and He would give me anything I asked for when I pray, then I could know that God exists. I have never heard God’s Voice, nor do I get what I pray for. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.” Of course, the real fallacy here is the false statement that this person has never heard God’s Voice. The difference is between hearing and ignoring or hearing and acknowledging/obeying. Getting back to this particular fallacy, the statement should have been, “If and only if . . .”
- Logical Fallacy of Invalid form using "Or" / Confusing "Inclusive Or" with "Exclusive Or": occurs when an inclusive or is confused with an exclusive or. Another way to state this is that it occurs when an "or" changes its meaning to "exclusive or" during the process of reasoning. INVALID FORM "A or B. A. Therefore, not B." EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: “There is a large variety of skulls shapes or God created Adam and Eve and everyone descended from them. There is a large variety of skull shapes. Therefore, God didn’t create Adam and Eve and everyone did not descend from them.” Bill didn’t state this logic plainly as this example paraphrases it. He used innuendo. If Bill could have proven an exclusive or for this statement, then he could have avoided this fallacy.
- Confusion of Necessary with a Sufficient Condition: occurs when something that is necessary for an event or condition is sufficient to assure that the event or condition will occur. INVALID FORM "if A is true, then B is true; B is true, therefore A is true." EXAMPLE “They said that if I pray to Jesus, He will make Himself real to me. I knew that was false because He doesn’t exist, so I prayed just to prove it. He didn’t make Himself real to me just as I thought. And I even crossed myself and held some Rosary beads! See. Jesus doesn't exist. This proves it.”
- Galileo Wannabe Fallacy / Galileo Argument (Formal): occurs when an appeal to pity fallacy is committed while making a comparison to what Galileo went through. Of course, this is very rarely done, but it perhaps has happened at least once. More often, this fallacy is used for fallacy abuse. The Galileo Wannabe Fallacy / Galileo Argument can take one of two different forms. One is to state it as a fake formal fallacy and the other is to state it as an informal fallacy of appeal to pity. EXAMPLE "Galileo was ignored, suppressed, and censored and he was right. I am ignored, suppressed, and censored, therefore, I am right." Of course, if this statement were ever made, it would be a fallacy. The statement was never made. It is a straw man argument. The fact is that anyone who doesn't bow to the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story will be ignored, suppressed, and censored. That proves that something is dreadfully wrong with the system. It proves that the scientific system is still in the same status as it was when Galileo was ignored, suppressed, and censored. Human nature has not changed. FALLACY ABUSE Sandy: "If the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story isn't the only possible answer to the history of the Universe, then why are there no articles defaming it in the Secular Humanist scientific journals." Rocky: "Because, just as in Galileo's day, the ruling elite among the scientists protect their sacred cow theories." Sandy: "So, your reasoning is: Galileo was ignored, suppressed, and censored, and he was right. You are ignored, suppressed, and censored. Therefore, you are right. That is faulty logic." Rocky: "That is not my reasoning. That is your straw man argument." In this case, the Galileo Argument or the Galileo Wannabe Fallacy is being used to commit fallacy abuse. Here, it is merely a defense for an appeal to tradition fallacy. One website titled their article: "The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus." Think about that, "the denigration of scientific consensus." Strange that consensus means that everyone is in agreement at least to the point that they are willing to sign off on it. "It," in this case, may be the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story or "it" may be the Global Warming story. The two stories are not unrelated, since the Global Warming story assumes that Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. This "consensus" is achieved by eliminating anyone who openly disagrees. That is not a consensus. It is similar to the consensus that Mussolini achieved through fascism. In fact, it is a form of fascism where control is maintained by getting rid of anyone who voices opposition. So, it's not surprising that a person who refuses to acknowledge God would want to cover their tracks with a smoke screen on this one by creating a new fake-fallacy.
- Four Terms Fallacy / Quaternio Terminorum occurs when a fourth term is introduced into a formal syllogism. This can also happen in informal logic, but it is harder to detect. If we think of a categorical syllogism, there must be three, and only three, terms. They must be unambiguous. The form is something like this: “All S are P. All S are M. All S are P.” Note that there are only three terms; S, P, and M. If the fallacy is committed, a fourth term is introduced. This is often done through equivocation. EXAMPLE “Nothing is more important than love. Crackers and cheese is better than nothing. Crackers and cheese is better than love.” That was easy, so it’s simple to see what happened. The word, “nothing,” has two meanings, so it introduces the fourth term. Love has several meanings and could fall into the same trap. EXAMPLE “Love fulfills all the Commandments. I want to love you tonight [They are not married.]. I want to fulfill all the Commandments tonight.” Actually, the second meaning of love doesn’t even have an overlap with the first meaning of love as the two are used in these statements. This is actually a common mistake with the word, “love,” though a syllogism is seldom used, and the logic is usually covered with innuendo or unstated. EXAMPLE “Science is observation. Evolution is observed. Therefore, Evolution is science.” It sounds good on the surface, and the logical form actually looks good. But let’s examine the reasoning: “Science is observation. Evolution [meaning any changes from generation to generation] is observed. Therefore, Evolution [meaning changes between families of living things such as felidea (cats), rodentia (rodents)] is science.” Now, we can see that it doesn’t make any sense.
Fallacies of Ambiguity (being unclear)
- Logical Fallacy of Ambiguity / Vagueness / Doublespeak: occurs when communication is unclear, whether intentional or accidental. This includes lexical, syntactic, and every other form of ambiguity. It also includes missing information such is specifically what, when, how, how you know, where, or who specifically: the actor, the receiver of the action. The conclusion is not proved, or a false impression is created, due to vagueness in words, phrases, or grammar. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "So, your view that we’re supposed to take your word for it—this Book, written centuries ago, translated into American English is somehow more important that what I can see with my own eyes is an extraordinary claim." Bill's argument is that he can see something (we don't know what, so this is ambiguous.) with his own eyes that refutes the history that God is giving us through Scripture. At no time, during the debate from which this quote came, did Bill Nye give any credible evidence that in any way could back up his claim.
- Barnum Effect / P. T. Barnum Effect / The Fallacy of Personal Validation / The Forer Effect: occurs when vague descriptions are regarded as accurate, though they can be interpreted in different ways. Horoscopes and fortune-telling often work this way.
- Ambiguous Assertion: occurs when claims are sufficiently vague as to allow more than one interpretation. Sometimes, statements are so vague the audience is forced to guess what was meant. As with all fallacies, this may be a calculated technique or an error in communication, but the result is that some people may be influenced to believe something that isn’t true.
- Logical Fallacy of Innuendo / implication: occurs when a conclusion is suggested to be true without directly stating the point. This is a fallacy because it is a deceptive tactic. Innuendo is generally used as a substitute for evidence. In other words, the innuendo technique is used as the only proof for a claim. It is often more persuasive than a straightforward statement because a clear statement is easier to evaluate for logical fallacies, to realize that a claim (implied) has no basis, no proof.
- Sly Suggestion: occurs when innuendo is used to suggest claims, but no statement of the claim is made without the hedge of innuendo. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: ". . . we can compare Mr. Ham’s story to a story from what I will call the story from the outside, from mainstream science." There are a few sly suggestions in this statement. This is just one of the ways that Bill attempted to prove that only Ken Ham, and a few people who work at the Creation Museum, believe what God is saying about history through the Bible. Here, Bill carries this sly suggestion by referring to Creation science as "Mr. Ham's story." Ken Ham is a science teacher who has branched out. The scientific Creation Model is developed by PhD scientists throughout the world, not by Ken Ham. Bill used the phrase, "the outside," throughout the debate as a way to imply that the Creation Museum is some sort of a little secret society. Then, Bill used the term, "mainstream science," to imply a bandwagon fallacy and a no true scientist/Scotsman fallacy. In this short statement, Bill also used the label, "Mr. Ham," to make Ken seem less human and more rigid while Bill portrayed himself as fun-loving and charming. While all of this is great propaganda technique, Bill never proves anything during the debate other than that he is good at propaganda.
- Syntactic Ambiguity / Structural Ambiguity / Grammatical Ambiguity / Amphiboly / Semantic Ambiguity / Semantical Ambiguity Fallacy: The Syntactic Ambiguity Fallacy / Structural Ambiguity / Grammatical Ambiguity occurs when two or more meanings are possible because of the arrangement of words and phrases. Amphiboly occurs when a statement can have more than one meaning, often through a modifying expression, syntax or punctuation. Amphiboly is often confused with equivocation, which has to do with the meaning of a word or phrase rather than an entire thought. Often, this results in something being unclear. Often, it results in a bit of humor. Sometimes, it results in irrational thinking that leads to false conclusions.
- Lexical Ambiguity: occurs when there are two or more possible meanings within a single word.
- Homonymy: occurs when a word is a homonym, having two meanings, and either meaning could make sense in the sentence. This is a type of lexical ambiguity.
- Shingle Speech: occurs when a case is made in an unorganized way so that it is impossible to tell assumptions and stories from observations, and it is difficult to tell what the relationships are between ideas and things. This is not a fallacy, but it may contain some. The fact that it is unorganized makes it harder to understand and more difficult to spot truth or fiction. When confronted with a shingle speech, try drawing out the person using and open mind, questions, kindness, and active listening. You may find some insights you hadn’t known existed. You may help uncover hidden fallacies. In either case, you can show the compassion of Christ.
- Use-Mention Error / UME: occurs when the word that is used to describe an entity is confused with the entity itself. In writing, it is common to put the word in quotes when it is being used to mean the word rather than the entity. This fallacy becomes very deceptive when thinking about God. God is an entity. He is three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Son, Jesus Christ, is the Word. When God spoke, the Universe came into existence. It is impossible to read the Bible without experiencing the Spirit of Jesus Christ, since the words of the text are infused with His Presence. However, UME is committed when the Spirit is resisted and an attempt is made to give an interpretation of what God is saying through the Bible without listening to the Voice of God through the Bible. God speaks through the Bible; yet, it is possible for human beings to refuse to acknowledge Him and to depend on their own understandings. EXAMPLE The person of Jesus Christ is often confused with theologies, theories, or concepts by believers and unbelievers alike. For instance, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” and “the Mind of Christ” are sometimes thought to be creations of humanity in the human mind rather than the Essence of the Living God abiding within. Thinking about God as a concept creates a block to understanding that God speaks to His people. This makes real faith impossible, since faith comes by hearing the utterance of God. When UME is in play, all that is left is a rationalized faith that is powerless. EXAMPLE Sandra: “There is no 'god' [meaning a word to describe an entity]. Roxanne: “I actually know God [meaning the person of God, not the word, 'god'] personally. Jesus Christ [meaning His person] leads me and guides me daily, moment by moment.” Sandra: “That can’t be true. 'God' [meaning the use of the word, “god”] has changed over history.” Roxanne and Sandra think they are having a conversation. Sandra thinks she is trying to win an argument. Roxanne is trying to tell about her ongoing experience. They are actually talking past each other because Sandra is talking about “god” [mention], while Roxanne it talking about God [use]. EXAMPLE The book, “A History of God,” describes various definitions people have had for the word, “god.” It is not a history of God, the Almighty Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. It is the history of the word, "god."
- Double Entendre: occurs when a word or phrase that can be understood in two ways is used for the purpose of articulating something perfectly and indirectly. Double Entendre is generally used to articulate an insult, insinuation, or something off color. It serves as a hedge if it becomes necessary to retract the statement. If the double entendre isn’t too obvious, the person using it may claim innocence. Otherwise, the person can say that they were only kidding. It was a joke.
- Misuse of Etymology: occurs when it is assumed that the oldest or original meaning of a word is its true of proper meaning. Another way to state this is that it is believed that the present-day meaning of the word should be the same as the original meaning of the word. This is a form of appeal to definition. It is also a kind of genetic fallacy. If we are trying to find out the intent of the original author, then the definition that the original author used would be important. For instance, pursuit of happiness, in the philosophy of the period when the U.S, Declaration of Independence was written would have meant pursuit of wisdom. Another example would be in understanding Scripture, it is sometimes good to look up the word in the original language and find out what it means, since the translations are often inaccurate and conflicting. However, the fallacy of misuse of etymology is in insisting that the meaning for present-day use must be the same as the oldest meaning known. EXAMPLE A politician used the word, "hysterical," to describe the woman against whom he was running. The news media immediately attacked him for the sexist remark. You might ask how they could do that. It turns out that the word, "hysterical," once meant "of the womb." Who knew?
- Garden Path Ambiguity: occurs when a thought is temporarily misunderstood but then is made clear as the complete sentence or idea is expressed.
- Squinting Modifier: occurs when a modifying word, usually an adverb, could be modifying more than one word.
- Quantifier Fallacy / Quantifier Shift Fallacy: occurs when the scope of the quantifiers is shifted in the middle of a logical argument. This is a particular type of scope fallacy. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Every person who follows Christ is led by Christ to a certain place of service, to manifest the love of Christ in a certain way.” Sandy: “So you are saying that there is a certain place of service, a certain way of manifesting the love of Christ that is universal to all who follow Christ. So everyone has the same calling and ministry?” Rocky: “No, I didn’t mean to have the scope of the word, ‘every,’ apply to the phrases, ‘certain place of service,’ and ‘way of manifesting,’ implying a universal calling and ministry for most people. I meant to apply the quantifier, ‘every,’ only to ‘person who follows Christ,’ stating that each person who follows Christ has his or her own specific, individual calling and place of ministry.”
- Quantificational Fallacy: occurs when the quantifiers of the premises are in contradiction to the quantifier of the conclusion. Quantifiers are words such as "all," "none," "many," or "some."
- Illicit Observation Fallacy: occurs when two terms are used in a way that implies that one negates the other but they don't or that they are opposites when they are not. This fallacy often involves that distinction between contrary and contradictory terms. This is a type of ambiguity fallacy.
- Metaphorical Ambiguity: occurs when a metaphor is taken literally.
- Euphemism: occurs when a softer, vaguer, or even pleasant expression is used for something that is a negative or unpleasant. EXAMPLE Pro-choice means pro-abortion. When politicians invest, it means they are going to spend more money.
- Quantifier Shift: occurs when two quantifiers are reversed. EXAMPLE "Everyone has a moral value system. Therefore, there is a moral value system that everyone has."
- Logical Fallacy of Equivocation / Bait and Switch / Lexical Ambiguity / Ambiguous Terms: occurs when a word is given more than one definition in the same argument. This is often confused with amphiboly. The difference is that amphiboly consists of confusion of the meaning of an entire statement due to grammar or syntax. Equivocation, or bait and switch, has to do with changing the meaning of a word or phrase. Equivocation can take the form of changing the meaning of a word within a single syllogism, semantic shift where the meaning is slowly changed throughout a presentation or dialog, changing the referant (the person or thing to which the word or phrase refers), or switching between a metaphorical meaning and a literal meaning. The two meanings can be very close to the same and yet drastically destroy the logic.
- Redefinition Fallacy: occurs when a word is redefined in order to prove a point. This is very different from clarifying the meaning of a word so that a point is not misunderstood. It is also not a fallacy to redefine a word for a specific purpose as in applying a common word to a specific technical discipline in which the word takes on a meaning that is very different from the common meaning of the word. It can be confusing, though. EXAMPLE Roxanne: “When you say that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is science and the Creation-Flood account is not science, how are you defining science? Is it a process, knowledge gained by this process, or opinions drawn from arbitrary assumptions and presuppositions, and the opinion of the majority of scientists?” Sandra: “I am defining science as all of those things. Evolution [the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story] is science. Creation [the Creation-Flood account] is not science. Therefore, Evolution [the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story] should be taught in schools, and Creation [the Creation-Flood account] should not.” Here, the redefinition is purposely made broad enough that you don’t know if something is merely an opinion of a select group or it has real observed evidence without opinion behind it. That being the case, the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises. EXAMPLE Fuzzy: “Only God can create something from nothing.” Sandy: “How are you defining nothing?” Fuzzy: “Nothingness is that from which only God can create something.” This definition actually is circular. It simply restates the first proposition. God reveals to us, as He speaks through Scripture, that, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” He also reveals that He made everything through His Word, and then He further says that Jesus Christ is His Word. This is not the same as nothing. Why not just say, “I know, by Divine revelation that comes from the indwelling Christ, that God created the Universe and everything in it in six days through His spoken Utterance, Jesus Christ, and there is nothing that is excluded from this Creation other than God, Himself.”
- Middle Puzzle Part Fallacy: occurs when a spurious connection is made between different things by changing the meaning of words.
- Idiosyncratic Language: occurs when words or phrases are loaded with personal meanings rather than what those words are commonly known to mean. This is sometimes just a mechanism to create interest. However, it causes misunderstanding. Sometimes it is a mechanism to deceive. EXAMPLE A premise is known as an assumption in logic-talk. If a logical argument is to be sound, then its premises must be true. An assumption is something that is assumed to be true without knowing that it is true. In science and logic, no difference is made between assumptions that are known to be true and assumptions that are not known to be true. This is very confusing to students who ask questions about it and generally receive very confusing or misleading answers. EXAMPLE Rocky: "Do you believe Jesus is God?" Sandy: "Yes, I believe that Jesus is God." Sandy is a Mormon. What he means is that he believes that Jesus is a god, one of many. EXAMPLE "Fundamentalist Christians gathered with just one goal . . . " "Fundamentalist Muslim terrorists attacked the World Trade Center." The word, "fundamentalist," was coined by Christians. Applying the word to Muslims, particularly Muslim terrorists, is deceiving.
- Type-Token Ambiguity: occurs when a statement is made that is ambiguous because the same word can mean either a type or a token. For instance, a car manufacturer may put out six cars in a year, meaning six models or types of cars. However, someone hearing this may think it is impossible for a car manufacturer to put out only six cars in a year, meaning six actual cars (tokens).
- Fallacy of Modal Logic / Modal (Scope) Fallacy / Misconditionalization: occurs when the scope of what is necessary of possible (in a statement or argument) is confused.
- Modal Fallacy / Modal Scope Fallacy: occurs when the modal operator of necessity is applied to the consequence instead of the conditional. This fallacy is a confusion of the necessitas consequentiae with the necessitas consequentiis, the necessity of the consequence with the necessity of the consequent. EXAMPLE “Necessarily, whatever happens, happens. Therefore, whatever happens, necessarily happens, so that whatever occurs could not have been otherwise.” EXAMPLE “If John is a bachelor, then he must be single. If John is single, he cannot be married. Therefore, John can never marry.” The modal fallacy is to say that since John must be single, he can never get married.
- Scope Fallacy: occurs when the scope of a modifier is changed during an argument. Scope fallacy is a type of amphiboly. EXAMPLE “All that glitters is not gold. This rock glitters. Therefore, this rock is not gold.” The troublesome modifier is negation: the word, “not.” In the first premise, “not” has a narrow scope, applying only to “not … gold.” In the conclusion, “not” is applied to the entire sentence of the first premise. In other words, the first premise can be interpreted in two different ways by varying the scope of the word, “not.”
- Ambiguous Middle / Ambiguous Middle Term: occurs when the middle term of a syllogism has more than one possible meaning. EXAMPLE "We can easily observe evolution (adaptations and mutations) taking place. Molecules turning into humans over millions of years is evolution (evolution has just changed meanings). Therefore, we have observed molecules turning into humans over millions of years."
- Logical Fallacy of Hypnotic Bait and Switch: occurs when certain terms, having more than one meaning, are continually used to plant seeds of association (where no real association exists) in a way that molds that inner worldview of others without them ever knowing that a hypnotic technique is being used. Hypnotic bait and switch is part of a complex hypnotic technique known as Neuro Linguistic Programming that is actually a collection of techniques that were collected, documented, and taught by Bandler and Grinder during the 1970s. The techniques are nothing new, but they are now documented. These techniques are used in politics, marketing, and religion, including Atheism. They are also used in psychotherapy.
- Definist Fallacy: occurs whenever the definition of a term, word, or concept is used in a way that hinders reason or communication. Examples are equivocation on a word, the fallacy of persuasive definition, defining a word in terms of itself, the definition of one property in terms of another, failure to elucidate, distinction without a difference, Socratic fallacy, defining a term too broadly, and defining a term too narrowly.
- Logical Fallacy of Defining a Word in Terms of Itself / Appeal to Definition / Appeal to the Dictionary / Definist Fallacy: occurs when someone defines a word in a way that helpful in persuading the audience to believe the conclusion but doesn't really support the conclusion. The definist fallacy can mean the fallacy of persuasive definition, the definition of one property in terms of another, or the Socratic fallacy in which terms must be defined before use. Here, we are only dealing with the fallacy of defining a word in terms of itself.
- Socratic Fallacy: occurs when a false claim is made that terms are required to be defined before examples of those terms can be given. This is not to say that it isn't vital that everyone is using the same definition of a given term. EXAMPLE Rocky: "God speaks to me through my soul, my innermost mind." Sandy: "You can't speak of either the soul or the mind until you can give a comprehensive definition." The problem is one of circularity. We have to know enough to give a comprehensive definition before we can know anything. We know in part. Often, we don't know enough to define a matter, but God reveals by degrees in unfolding revelation. This is true of natural things and of spiritual things. If we apply this logic to everything, then we can't talk about anything until we know everything about everything. However, when challenged, Sandy is likely to commit a special pleading fallacy to make exceptions for the things that he knows something about.
- Logical Fallacy of Defining Terms Too Broadly / Discarded Differentia: occurs when the definition of a term is too broad so that it includes people, items, things, or concepts that should not be included. This is only a fallacy when it causes confusion or creates a false impression. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "I’m looking for explanations of the creation of the world as we know it based on what I’m going to call science. Not historical science. Not observational science. Science." Bill is defining science as not only careful observation and recording of data but also arbitrary assumption and storytelling. In this way, we cannot tell when Bill is talking about something that was actually observed and something that was just made up.
- Logical Fallacy of Defining Terms Too Narrowly: occurs when terms are defined so narrowly that people, items, things, or concepts are excluded when they should not be.
- Logical Fallacy of Failure to Elucidate: occurs when the definition of a word or concept is more difficult to understand than the word or concept itself or a definition that is doesn't describe the word or concept in a realistic way.
- Logical Fallacy of Persuasive Definition / Appeal to Definition / Appeal to the Dictionary: occurs when someone defines a word in a way that helpful in persuading the audience to believe the conclusion but doesn't really support the conclusion. This is a type of definist fallacy. EXAMPLE "there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community by their religion." Bill Nye, in this quote, is defining the word, "religion," in a way that includes everyone but people who refuse to acknowledge God's Divine revelation. However, their belief in not God or belief that no one can know God is based on vapor, made up stuff. It is held on make-believe faith. And, a person who refuses to acknowledge God does "get enriched by the wonderful sense of community by their religion." Atheism is a philosophy about God. It is a belief that God doesn't exist.
- Logical Fallacy of Composition / Exception Fallacy / Categorical Error / Category Error: occurs when the properties of parts are confused with the properties of the whole. In this fallacy the properties of the parts are assumed to be the properties of the whole.
- Logical Fallacy of Division / False Division / Ecological Fallacy / Ecological Inference Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that what is true for the whole must be true of the individual parts.
- Etymological Fallacy: occurs when someone fails to realize that the meaning of a certain word has changed. This is sometimes confused with the fact that those people who have the power to do so may begin to deliberately change the meanings of words for their purposes.
- Logical Fallacy of Nominalization / Misnomer / Labeling: occurs when someone makes an action (or other part of speech) into a noun. That is, someone is doing a certain thing, and someone else or the same person identifies the person with the action as if the person were the action or had become the action. On the other hand, our own actions do change us. We eventually become what we repetitively do. That is true of doing/being anything, for instance: Christian, homosexual, thief, murderer, idolater, or ungodly person.
- Inference from a Label: occurs when it is assumed that labels attached to people/things/concepts/organizations are accurate in defining them. Labels are not always accurate. EXAMPLE "Come to beauty science. We will make you beautiful scientifically." The label, “science,” has been successfully used to promote many scams and lies. EXAMPLE "We are going to a Christian concert tonight. I'm sure that the Holy Spirit will be moving there." The label, “Christian,” is applied to many things that have nothing to do with Jesus Christ, not just music. Discernment is required. Sometimes all you get is emotion or worse. When a conclusion is drawn from the label, a fallacy has been committed.
- Pigeonholing Fallacy / Ahistoric Fallacy: occurs when something or someone is sorted into a category incorrectly or inaccurately. Pigeonholing means either to categorize or to put off to a future time. The fallacy applies to faulty categorization. A large part of understanding has to do with categorizing things and people. This is part of how you can tell the difference between things and make decisions. So pigeonholing is not a bad thing. It means to sort things out. When this is done incorrectly, it is a pigeonholing fallacy. The pigeonholing fallacy is generally seen in assigning a person, organization, or concept into a category that doesn’t fit. Sometimes, this is done by name-calling/labeling. Often, this is associated with faulty generalization. Often, it may be associated with the fallacy of undistributed middle. EXAMPLE Sandy: "I used to be a Christian, and I never had any experience with Christ, nor did I ever have an answer to prayer. Finally, I discovered that Evolution was a fact of science, so I stopped the religious thing. Don't tell me that you are a follower of Christ and that Christ leads you. My life proves that to be impossible." Sandy is pigeonholing someone into Sandy's own lack of experience. Who knows why Sandy failed to make contact. Most likely, he was a hypocrite, insincerely doing religious form and ritual. However, from what was said, it would be impossible to know. What is true is that just because someone has failed that person cannot pigeonhole everyone else into his or her own failure.
- Category Mistake / Category Error: occurs when one or more qualities are assigned to an object/person/organization/concept that cannot possibly belong to it. This could be ascribing motives to a person that are not that person’s motives. This could be ascribing attributes to God that are not God’s attributes. It could be ascribing qualities to a made-up story that made-up stories cannot have. EXAMPLE “Evolution [molecules to man] is science [observation and rational thinking].” Molecules-to-man is a story. Like all science fiction, it is written in a way that fits the known facts. As the known facts change, the story morphs. No one can observe molecules turning into people over billions of years. There is no rational way to get the molecules-to-man story from what we can observed. It requires many fallacies, arbitrary assumptions, and made-up stories. EXAMPLE Sandra: “The way the world looks, God is either powerless or evil.” Roxanne: “To make a comment like that requires some arbitrary assumptions. Fortunately, your arbitrary assumptions are not true. God hasn’t revealed the fullness of what He is doing, but He tells us enough so that we can trust Him. We know that the present situation is just a step in God’s process to finish something glorious and wonderful.” Sandra: “How do you know that?” Roxanne: “I know that because I know Jesus Christ. In fact, whoever is following Christ knows His Voice. You can too.”
- Logical Fallacy of the Conjunction Effect / Conjunction Fallacy: occurs when a person thinks that a more specific condition is more likely than a more general condition. The conjunction fallacy is similar to the disjunction fallacy except that the conjunction fallacy mistakes a super-set for one more alternative of equal standing while the disjunction fallacy mistakes a subset or member of the more general class for an alternative of equal standing with the class.
- Disjunction Fallacy: occurs when a subset or member of the more general class is mistaken for an alternative of equal standing with the class. The Disjunction Fallacy is similar to the Conjunction Fallacy, but with the difference that the falsely chosen "alternative" is a subset of or member of, rather than a superset of, the correct choice. That is, the correct choice includes the incorrect choice. The disjunction fallacy mistakes a subset or member of the more general class for an alternative of equal standing with the class while the conjunction fallacy mistakes a superset for one more alternative of equal standing.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument by Fast Talking / Information Overload: occurs when someone speaks too quickly for the audience to process or keeps asking questions without allowing time to process and answer. This may involve moving from subject to subject with glittering generalities each of which would take hours of research to verify or refute.
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Verbosity / Argumentum Verbosium: occurs when a conclusion is supported with an argument too complex and verbose to reasonably deal with in all its intimate details. This fallacy is similar to the fallacy of information overload. Sometimes, verbosity can be a means of intimidation, especially when insider jargon is used to confuse and overwhelm the listener/reader.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument by Gibberish / Bafflement / Snow Job / Prestigious Jargon: occurs when obscure language is used or normal words are used in an uncommon way without defining the words. The result is that concepts become incomprehensible. Trying to overwhelm with unnecessary facts can be a pressure or deception technique. Some people may be intimidated into accepting whatever they conclude as being true, not wanting to admit that they don't understand the premises. This is the use of ambiguity to persuade. At other times, people get used to using jargon and then apply this specialized language outside of their domain. Sometimes, gibberish is a way to cover when someone doesn't have a clue and is trying to appear knowledgeable. Sometimes gibberish and bafflement is a technique for appeal to self-declared authority.
- Logical Fallacy of Confusing Contradiction with Contrariety: The fallacy of confusing contradiction with contrariety occurs when something, because of lack of knowledge or understanding, seems to be a contradiction, but, in fact, is not a contradiction. EXAMPLE "If God is good, then how can there be evil in the world?" Following Christ is a life of both extraordinary joy and peace on the one hand and sorrow and persecution on the other. There is no contradiction, even though we sometimes don’t fully understand God’s purposes.
- Ambiguous Collective / Type-Token Ambiguity: occurs when a collective term ("you,” "we,” “everyone,” "the people") is used without defining exactly who or what is included in the term. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: “This is what geologists on the outside do, study the rate at which soil is deposited at the end of rivers and deltas, and we can see that it takes a long, long time for sediments to turn to stone.” Who specifically can see this? Bill can’t be referring to the geologists, since he is not a geologist. Bill seems to be implying that he and the entire audience do this, but they don't. Who does this? This is an especially important question since stone can form very quickly.
- Conceptual Fallacy: occurs any time that concepts are misused in any way.
- Anti-Concreteness Mentality Fallacy / Attributing Abstractness to the Concrete / Mistaking an Entity for a Theory / Mistaking Reality for an Assumptions: occurs when facts or entities are treated as perceived concepts, theories, assumptions, or abstractions. A reality is declared to be an assumption, concept, theory, or abstraction by unsupported assertion. EXAMPLE Rocky: “The reason that I believe in Jesus Christ is because I know Him personally. He leads me moment-by-moment.” Sandy: “So you just assume that God exists!! I would worry if I heard voices talking in my head. Ha! Ha! Ha!” Generally, ungodly people need to throw in more than one fallacy, so, Sandy gives us not only Anti-Concreteness Mentality but also unsupported assertion and appeal to ridicule.
- Butterfly Logic: occurs when thoughts are joined in ways that are serendipity. When there is no foundation for thought, this is one of the problems that can result. Jesus Christ is the foundation, and no other foundation can be laid that that which is laid. Without Jesus, thoughts may jump like a butterfly flies. EXAMPLE “Mutations are the source of new information in the genome that adds complexity and causes one kind of living thing to change into another kind of living thing like bacteria gaining immunity to antibiotic or beetles who lose their wings; then natural selection selects those that are more fit and we have a new species.” Mutations don’t cause new information. “Kind” is being used as “species,” which is a loss of information, but the Biblical “Kind” is closer to the level of “family” of living thing. The two examples given are losses of information. New species do not support molecules-to-man but are the road to extinction since they have lost some of their built-in ability to adapt.
- Process-Product Ambiguity / act-object ambiguity: occurs when a statement is unclear as to whether it is referring to a process or the product of the process. EXAMPLE The word, "work," could refer to the work someone does or the results of the work someone did.
Relevance Fallacies of Authority (using authority as evidence when the authority doesn't prove the point)
- Logical Fallacy of Faulty Appeal to Authority / Argumentum Ad Verecundiam / Argument from Authority / Argument from False Authority / Ipse Dixit / Testimonials / False Attribution (type of) / Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Improper Authority / Appeal to Unqualified Authority / Unqualified Source: occurs when a truth claim is made based on a person or other source (movie, publication, book, etc.) making the claim rather than on a true premise, which is a fallacy unless the source is qualified to make this assertion and cannot be wrong. No one is qualified to make an assumption as if it were a fact. No group of people can make assumptions or make-up stories that then facts. If a person does have vast knowledge in an area of expertise, that doesn't allow the person to simply say, "Take my word for it." Any knowledgeable person can explain his or her position and why he or she believes it to be true. If the authority is all-knowing and never lies, (God) then there is no fallacy of faulty appeal to authority. There is only One like this, God. Knowing that God speaks to us through Scripture and that God cannot lie and is all knowing, it is not faulty appeal to authority to quote Scripture when the Holy Spirit brings it to your consciousness. Of course, we humans can misunderstand God, just like we can misunderstand other human beings. “Amazing! I gave you the actual paper of Mary Schwarzer. Add 'logical fallacy' to the list of terms you don't understand.” Note that this is not only an example of the fallacy of question-begging epithet, but it is also an example of the logical fallacy of faulty appeal to authority. This is in response to a statement that there was a logical fallacy in Mary Schwarzer’s paper. The implication is that Mary Schwarzer is the very Oracle of God and cannot make logical fallacies. "My teacher is a Christian. My teacher says it’s OK to believe in evolution. Therefore, it is OK to believe in evolution." Just because a person is a teacher and also a Christian does not make that person infallible. "Mr. Big is a famous theologian. Mr. Big believes that evolution and billions of years are both compatible with Scripture. Therefore, evolution and billions of years are both compatible with Scripture." "Ms. Big is a famous biologist." Being a famous biologist makes a person a legitimate authority on living things today, but not on how living things originated." Being a biologist doesn’t mean the Ms. Big isn’t biased or that she doesn’t have an inner paradigm/fake-reality. Being an expert in biology doesn’t make Ms. Big infallible or all-knowing. "Every biology text book I have every read says that molecules-to-man evolution actually happened. Therefore, molecules-to-man evolution actually happened." Unless they are Divine revelation, what books say holds no weight. There must be reason given and credible, conclusive evidence without dependencies on assumptions or stories. There is only one Divinely inspired book. That is the Bible. Yet, even the Bible, unless it is made alive by the Holy Spirit as it is being read or heard, does not have authority. The dead letter can be misleading. Rationalizing the meaning of Scripture through the filter of the natural human mind is a major cause of division (denomination) in the Church. "The consensus of the scientific community believes this." First, a consensus includes every person in the group, but thousands of scientists disagree openly, and it's impossible to know how many scientists disagree silently for fear of coercion. Second, if every person on the planet believes something, that doesn't make it true. A consensus is a false authority when there is no real proof.
- False Attribution: occurs when a quote or opinion is attributed to a source that is not the true source in order to lend false credibility, false authority, or ad hominem attack. EXAMPLE “Mom said you should give me five dollars so I can go to McDonald's." EXAMPLE “The Bible says that Iraq will be the center of the economic world in the end." The Bible doesn't talk. God speaks through the Bible. This isn't in the text, so it is either extra-Biblical Divine revelation or human speculation. Denominations are formed because people get into the habit of saying that the Bible says what is not written in the Bible. The Bible can say anything you want it to say if you allow yourself even a single assumption. EXAMPLE “Science says that evolution [molecules-to-man] is a fact." Science doesn't talk. EXAMPLE The hoax email falsely attributes a statement to a famous person or a publication that never published such a thing. EXAMPLE Washington Irvin, Auguste Comte, Antoine-Jeane Letronne, and Andrew Dickson White used their combined influences to perpetrate a hoax complete with false attribution of something that never existed: the flat Earth belief. There was never a general acceptance of a flat Earth. Not only did they make up the idea that it was generally believed that the Earth was flat, but they also attributed this belief to the Church. This is now known as "the flat Earth myth." Using the false attribution fallacy, some teachers and textbooks that are in existence today are educating people into ignorance using this is also a hoax, made up by a few people in the 1800s and 1900s. They attribute the claims of the hoax to the Christian Church, to the Bible, and to anyone who won't believe whatever hoax they are currently trying to perpetrate. When you hear a slur using the term, "flat Earth," it is a signal to be very skeptical of the claims of the person using the slur.
- Pretentiousness: occurs when more knowledge, authority, understanding, etc. is claimed than is warranted. Claims may be made that would require omniscience. There may be the implication (innuendo) of speaking for the entire human race. EXAMPLE “All we want, and I speak for the entire human race here, is . . .” Can this person really speak for the entire human race? By Divine revelation, there are some things that can be known about the entire human race; for instance, we know that there is not a just person upon the Earth who does what is right without sinning. Yet, could we possibly speak for the entire human race on anything? EXAMPLE “We know that the Big Bang took place.” Who is "we?" All scientists? All human beings? This person and some close friends? How do these people know this? Were they there? Can they demonstrate the truth of the statement without any assumptions or stories or fallacies?
- Ad Verecundiam Fallacy: occurs when tactics are used to make someone feel shame or lack of confidence because they are not qualified to speak on a subject. It’s good to know what you are talking about, but a certificate doesn’t guaranty that you know what you’re talking about. And the lack of a certificate doesn’t mean that you are not qualified. EXAMPLE “How can you talk about this? Are you a biologist?” This is different from pointing out that someone is basing his or her argument on the testimony of others. For instance, it is legitimate to ask, “What evidence have you personally seen that you think proves molecules turned into people over long periods of time?”
- The Semi-Attached Figure / Superficially Convincing Fog: occurs when a true premise is given, but the implication is not true. In statistics, a semi-attached figure/number is a number that appears more relevant than it is. EXAMPLE "Certs with Retsyn!" Retsyn is there, and it sounds important, but it's just a bonding agent. It doesn't make your breath smell better. "Certs with mint" just doesn't sound as exciting.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Biased Authority: occurs when someone insists that a biased source of information is the only legitimate source, when an expert is given as the source but not all experts in the field agree, or when a person is quoted who is not an expert in the field. Appeal to authority is always somewhat subjective unless God is given as the authority. Even in giving God as the authority, we must not become so sure that we know God's will that even He can't correct us, but there are many things we can know--just not completely. When claiming that all experts agree, that would offer a fair amount of certainty if we can be certain that all the experts do, indeed, agree and that all the experts have complete knowledge. Eliminating the experts who disagree on the basis that they can't be experts if they disagree, as in saying that real scientists all support evolution/global warming/billions of years/big bang, and those who don't support these are not real scientists, is not legitimate.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Anonymous Authority: occurs when the source of an authority is not mentioned. All appeal to authority as a final word is fallacious unless the authority cannot be wrong. The fallacy of appeal to anonymous authority uses words like, "a wise person once said," "scholars tell us," "scientists say," "it has been said." If the source is unimportant to what is being said, then this is not a logical fallacy. Appeal to authority is usually not valid anyway unless the authority is God. This is a fallacy of missing information that makes it more difficult to evaluate a claim. EXAMPLE "Science says there is no God."
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Self-Declared Authority / Self-Sell: occurs when a claim is made by a person that he or she is an authority, but no legitimate reason is given to take the person's word. There is no one, other than God, who can declare himself or herself an authority and be rational in doing so.
- Authority of the Select Few: occurs when the evidence is said to be best interpreted by a group that is said to be elite or in the know. It may be true that there is a select group that is in the know; however, if they are in the know, then they can surely show the process by which they think that they know. EXAMPLE “The majority of secular scientists believe in Darwinian evolution.” OK, but that is not proof of anything. It is a claim about what happened in the past. Fossils don’t reflect minute changes between families/kinds of living things. No one has ever observed this happening. Where is the evidence beyond assumptions and storytelling?
- Invincible Authority Fallacy / Appeal to Invincible Authority: occurs when a false claim is made that a source of information cannot be questioned. The only invincible authority is God. All others must prove their statements. If God reveals something, He is the Invincible Authority, and the fallacy has not been committed. EXAMPLE Sandy: "The scientists [What is unspoken is that this term, the scientists, only includes those scientists who buy into the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story] agree that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is a scientific fact." Rocky: "Have you personally examined the evidence?" Sandy: "I have no access to it. Besides, the evidence is vast. No one person could personally examine it all. And, it requires expertise that I don't have. But I trust the scientists." Rocky: "So you base your belief in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story on a kind of rationalized faith and trust in these particular scientists?" Sandy: "I guess so, but they can't be wrong. Are you suggesting a conspiracy theory?" This is probably the main fallacy that is taught at the Secular Humanist, government-run schools. No one gets to check all the actual evidence. Most of the presuppositions, assumptions, and fallacies are hidden from the students. It's like taking candy from a baby to fool them. EXAMPLE Sandy: "There is no God." Rocky: "What makes you think so?" Sandy: "My professor at school says so." Rocky: "What if your professor is wrong?" Sandy: "That isn't possible." How easy it is to look at professors as invincible gods. When you have many in a phony consensus, it's even easier to put them on this pedestal. FALLACY ABUSE Rocky: "I know that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days because God reveals that fact to me. I know it by Divine revelation." Sandy: "How does He reveal it? Does He text you a message?" Rocky: "He reveals to my innermost mind that the Bible is His Word and that it is without error. Then, He speaks to me through the Bible. He confirms this through His creation, through science." Sandy: "So, you are claiming that the Bible is an invincible authority. That is a fallacy." Rocky: "That is a straw man argument. In fact, God is the only invincible authority. He wrote the Bible through holy men of God. He preserved it to us through His power. He reveals to us that it is His Word without error. He speaks through it. He is the invincible authority, not the letter of the Bible." Sandy is committing fallacy abuse in accusing Rocky of having unwarranted trust in the Bible. In fact, since God wrote Bible, preserved the Bible, and speaks through the Bible, what He says can be trusted. He doesn't play word games with the Bible. What He says through it is what He means. But we don't have faith in the Bible. We have the faith of God that comes by hearing His rhema (utterance).
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Celebrity: occurs when the celebrity status of a person or thing is used as a premise, either implied or stated, for some conclusion. This is a form of the logical fallacy of false appeal to authority.
- Appeal to the Exotic: occurs when something is seen to be better or more to be trusted because is comes from a distant place. Often this fallacy is coupled with the fallacy of misleading vividness to create a false aura of believability. EXAMPLE A prophet is not without honor except in his own country. EXAMPLE There is something called the expert from afar syndrome, where someone who is flown in from a distance is seen to be more authoritative. EXAMPLE "The wood for this table was imported from the forests of Brazil." Why is that better?
- Appeal to Gravity: occurs when personal seriousness or conscientiousness is given as proof. EXAMPLE “Look! I’m serious about this.” Personal gravity will cause more people to believe you, but it doesn't make your case. You must know why you believe what you believe, and it must make sense.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Accomplishment: occurs when someone uses his or her level of accomplishment as a premise rather than presenting a valid premise to support a conclusion. This premise is not true in support of a conclusion, but this premise may be true in support of a premise.
- Appeal to Control of Scientific Journals: occurs when the lack of related articles in scientific journals is used as evidence against any who threaten that are sacred cows of those who control the scientific journals. This is a form of circular reasoning. Those who control the journals will publish only those articles with which they agree. That proves nothing about either the articles with which they agree or with which they disagree.
- Appeal to Control of Scientific Funding: occurs when the lack of government scientific funding is used as evidence against any who threaten that are sacred cows of those who control the funding. This is a form of circular reasoning. Those who control the funding will fund only those projects with which they agree. That proves nothing about either the projects with which they agree or with which they disagree.
- Appeal to Control of News Media: occurs when the preponderance of news articles in a tightly controlled news media are used to defend the same opinions that are sacred cows of that news media.
- Spotlight: occurs when it is assumed that all members or cases of a certain class/type are similar to those that receive the most attention or coverage in the media. This could be events, people, organizations, or just about anything else. Some of the spotlight effect happens in the news media, and is not without bias. However, the entertainment industry does at least as much to mold public opinion.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Age / The Wisdom of the Ancients: occurs when a person's age is given as a premise in support of a certain conclusion. It is true that experience is important, but what has the person been experiencing during his or her lifetime? Is this a person who has walked with God? If so, that person will also be able to give a reason for any conclusion.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument to the Purse / Appeal to Wealth / Appeal to Money / Argumentum Ad Crumenam / Appeal to Poverty / Argumentum ad Lazarum: occurs when a conclusion is said to be true because a person who endorses it has money or possessions. This wealth could include such things as tenure at universities or government grant money. "If you're rich they think you really know."
- Logical Fallacy of Halo Effect / Honor by Association: occurs when one or more desirable traits of a person influence opinions of that person for traits that are not actually known. There is also a reverse halo effect or a devil effect. Appearance is very powerful at creating a halo effect, but it could be any trait. A smooth speaker is thought to know what he or she is talking about. The attempt is to make the thing, whether a product, a story about a Big Bang, a story about molecules turning into people, or some other thing, seem more credible. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "and I look like nobody, but I attended a lecture by Hans Beta who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the process by which stars create all these elements." By associating himself with a Nobel Prize winner, Bill is hoping for a little halo effect. EXAMPLE The halo effect is used whenever something that cannot be known by observation is called "science" to gain the halo effect of the word, "science." EXAMPLE Charles Lyell used the halo effect when he told his stories about an old Earth.
- Reverse Halo Effect / Devil Effect: occurs when a negative association is made between a negative thing and a second thing, and the attributes of the negative thing are attributed to the second thing. EXAMPLE When the Muslims began their jihad against the U.S., the majority of sources in the news media began to use the same word, fundamentalist, for Christians who believe the Bible as written and for violent Muslim terrorists. Often, they run two stories back to back, one that mentions a fundamentalist Christian group and another that uses the same word, "fundamentalism," to describe terrorists. The word, "fundamentalist," was coined by Curtis Lee Laws of the unofficial Baptist publication, Watchman-Examiner, as a term for those who believe the fundamental truth of the Bible. It later came to refer to anyone who believes what God is saying through Scripture. During the period from 1910-1920, two separate movements, known as fundamentalism, were developed. Both of them attempted to bridge denominationalism (the separations in the Church) by identifying the fundamental elements of the faith in Scripture. These fundamental elements were then presented as the basic theologies that one must believe to be born again. People who identified themselves are fundamentalists opposed modernism's attempt to disconnect the Church from Biblical truth. They also unsuccessfully tried to oppose the indoctrination into the dogmas, such as evolutionism, of Secular Humanist religion through the public schools. It was a way to try to discern who was part of the Church Universal and who was not, without reference to the confusing denominational lines.
- According to the Rules Fallacy: occurs when it is asserted that an action is right or statement is true because it conforms to formal or official rules (laws, standards, protocols, or procedures); however the specific case at issue is an exception or not specifically covered by the rules. This is one that has to be watched very closely because of special pleading. Though there is a problem with special pleading, there are instances where the according to the rules fallacy is committed. EXAMPLE Sandy: “If God is good, why do babies sometimes die?” Rocky: “First, God looks at the death of a baby much differently. He is taking that baby to be with Him. In fact, God addresses that question directly, stating that He is sparing these little ones from having to go through all the evil that is in the world. Second, God has a right to take anyone home at any time. Third, God knows all things and is able to make those decisions. Fourth, there would not even be death if it weren’t for sin entering the world. God made a law regarding the taking of a life. He applies that law to restrict mankind. This law doesn’t apply to God for these reasons.” EXAMPLE OF SPECIAL PLEADING: Rocky: "No one has ever seen evolution occur. How can you then call it science?" Sandy: "Scientific conclusions are not limited to direct observation but often depend on inferences that are made by applying reason to observations." Rocky: "You stated, and I quote, 'But science cannot test supernatural possibilities. ... Because such appeals to the supernatural are not testable using the rules and processes of scientific inquiry, they cannot be a part of science.' Isn't that inconsistent?" Sandy: "No. Evolution is an exception to that rule." Rocky: "What makes you think it's an exception? This seems like special pleading." And it is special pleading hiding behind fallacy abuse of the according to the rules fallacy. This example is actually adapted from a book, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, which is critiqued by http://evolutiondismantled.com/special-pleading.
- Word Magic: occurs when the existence of an entity, event, or concept exists simply because there is a word for it. EXAMPLE Events like the Big Bang, Molecules to Man, Abiogenesis, etc. are constantly spoken of as if they actually happened. EXAMPLE Atheism is spoken of as if there are really people who don’t know that God exists; however, God reveals that they know but choose not to acknowledge Him as God. God speaks this through the first chapter of Romans. FALLACY ABUSE A person who refuses to acknowledge God may say that reference to God is word magic; however, that claim is based on a presupposition. That presupposition is based on an assertion contrary to fact. Those who follow Jesus Christ know He exists because they know Him and are led by Him moment by moment.
Relevance Fallacies of Emotion (using emotion rather than reason)
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Emotion / Emotional Appeal / For the Children / Play On Emotions: occurs when an emotion-inducing statement is used to support a conclusion rather than a true premise. There is nothing wrong with emotion. Almost all decisions seem to be made based on emotions and the rationalized to make them seem as if they were logical decisions. And there are many emotions. Appeal to fear is one of the kinds of logical fallacy of appeal to emotions.
- Argument by Slogan / Simplistic Slogans: occurs when a slogan is (or slogans are) used as proof for a conclusion. Slogans are short statements with an emotional punch. They constitute an appeal to emotion.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Force / Argumentum Ad Baculum / Argument to the Cudgel / Appeal to the Stick / Appeal to the Stick / Appeal to Power: occurs when coercion or force is used to bring compliance rather than sound reasoning. EXAMPLE "If you don't believe in evolution, then you will not get tenure and you will be out on the street." Note that this is only a fallacy because it is given as a reason to believe. If we were to say, "If you steal, you will eventually be caught and go to jail. You don't want to go to jail; so don't steal. Another example of what is not a fallacy would be, "If you reject the offer of Jesus to save you from your sins, you will go to Hell. You don't want to go to Hell; so don't reject the offer of Jesus to save you." Sometimes, this is presented as a reason to believe in Jesus, but the reason to believe in Jesus is that He reveals Himself to you in many ways. He speaks to you through the Creation, and you can sense His Presence. He speaks to you through Christians when they are speaking by the Holy Spirit.
- Argument by Vehemence: occurs when vehemence is used as support of a conclusion. Vehemence can be expressed by raising the voice, speaking with more emotion, using exaggerated body language, and many other ways.
- Argument to Veneration / Appeal to Respect: occurs when respect for a person or a group is the reason to believe a proposition.
- Argumentum Ad Invidia / Appeal to Envy: occurs when envy is stirred up in order to influence. Envy is an empty emotion. It is not so much interested in having what others have but in seeing them not have something that you don’t have. Appeal to envy is used a lot in politics as one of the main motivators to elect certain politicians. EXAMPLE Politician, after raising taxes on 77% of wage-earners: “I’m willing to do more, as long as we do it in a balanced way that doesn't put all the burden on seniors or students or middle class burdens but also asks the wealthiest Americans to contribute and pay their fair share.”
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Anger / Appeal to Spite / Argumentum Ad Odium / Appeal to Hatred / Appeal to Loathing / Appeal to Outrage: occurs when someone presents anger as a premise rather than sound reasoning with a true premise to support their conclusion. EXAMPLE "We are outraged that ax murderers aren't afforded the same rights as other citizens."
- Appeal to Spite: occurs when the proof for a given conclusion is stirring up bitterness or spite against whoever or whatever is opposing the conclusion. Appeal to spite is a specific type of appeal to emotion.
- Appeal to Guilt / Appeal to Shame: occurs when guilt or shame are used as a reason to believe in something. This is generally used in concert with another fallacy such as unsupported assertion or outright lie. EXAMPLE “Can you believe it? He said that homosexuality is a sin. He ought to be ashamed!” The implication is, “and so should you if you believe what God is saying through Scripture.” This is not evidence. This is guilt mongering combined with lying.
- Logical Argument of Appeal to Fear / Argumentum In Terrorem / Ad Metum: occurs when someone uses fear to coerce someone into accepting some statement. There are ways that fear is used to persuade that are not good. Sometimes, this appeal to fear is connected with ultimatum. Scripture tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. John the Baptist wouldn't accept the Pharisees because they were simply trying to avoid the wrath of God but didn't truly want to serve Him. EXAMPLE "What cannot be mistaken is the fact we have evolved. Even if the argument becomes macro v. micro evolution - no one can deny we have evolved, and if they do, they are extremist and dangerous." This remark was taken from a blog. First, we have a claim with no proof. There is a band wagon fallacy. Following that, is the logical fallacy of appeal to fear. The way this is used to coerce is two-fold. First, if you don't believe the story, then you will be labeled as extremist and dangerous as a punishment. Second, it is playing to the crowd to try to muster up political energy to use the government for physical coercion.
- Pollyanna's Ploy, Unbridled Optimism: occurs when warnings, reprimands, signs of danger, etc. are ignored. This is the opposite side of the appeal to fear fallacy. There are times to change course because disaster is imminent. Risk management can sometimes avoid or mitigate future problems. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Look out. The cliff is right behind you. It’s time to stop walking backwards.” Sandy: “Nothing bad will happen.” EXAMPLE Rocky: “Since you have already admitted that you don’t meet God’s acceptable level of righteousness (you have used the name of Jesus as a curse word, stolen, lusted after women, and hated people), and God is a righteous judge, if you would die tomorrow, would God give you Heaven or Hell?” Sandy: “Hell, but I would be fine in Hell.” Rocky: “One who becomes stiff-necked, after many reprimands will be shattered instantly-- beyond recovery. Proverbs 29:1”
- Chicken Little's Fear and Pessimism: occurs when a vision of hope is given, yet fear and bitterness persist.
- Appeal to Complexity: occurs when lack of understanding of a topic is brought as proof that one argument is as good as another. There may or may not be others who do have an understanding of the topic. EXAMPLE Rocky: “The Molecules-to-Man story is so unlikely that it is statistically impossible just because of what has been learned regarding information theory.” Sandy: “Information is still so poorly defined that it cannot be used as an argument.” The fact that Sandy doesn’t understand information theory is not an argument against the knowledge that has been discovered..
- Argument by Poetic Language: occurs when beautiful language is used as proof for a conclusion or premise. EXAMPLE "It can't be wrong when it feels so right. You light up my life." It can actually be very wrong when it feels so right.
- Logical Fallacy of Bluffing / Appeal to False Bravado / False Show of Confidence / Turning Up the Rhetoric / Bluster /: occurs when a theatrical false show of confidence is used as proof for a conclusion rather than real evidence and rational thought. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Tiktaalik, this fish-lizard guy. And they found several specimens. It wasn’t one individual. In other words, they made a prediction that this animal would be found and it was found. So far, Ken Ham, and his worldview, the Ken Ham creation model, does not have this capability. It cannot make predictions and show results." This is a perfect example of shoehorning the evidence to fit the predication. What is the prediction? That intermediate forms will be found between kinds of living things (cat kind, dog/wolf kind, etc.) The search has been constant since Darwin. There should be millions of these intermediate forms in the fossil record, not just tons of fossils that show interesting variations within existing kinds. The prediction was that a missing link to fill in a gap in the story of molecules-to-man, however, calling this a missing link would be a bare assertion, an unfounded notion. It is just like so many other so-called predictions that didn't pan out but were publicized as victories (declaring victory) anyway. Tiktaalik has already been debunked. Using such a counterfactual tale as this as a premise to support molecules-to-man would be a hysteron proteron fallacy. So Bill resorts to false bravado/bluffing. Just pump it up and step up the rhetoric. One of the ways that Bill does this is to make a rather strange claim, strange in the light of the fact that Ken Ham actually showed him a slide of 20 predictions in his opening talk, which amounts to denialism. Bill made a great show of superiority, give a whole series of bogus claims of evolutionistic "predictions" that are to verbose to list here. That is false bravado instead of proof. If someone puts on an air of self-confidence, people are much more likely to believe what is said. However, a show is not proof of anything. It has no impact on the reality that the so-called predictions for evolution are mere confirmation bias.
- Hifalutin' Denunciations: occurs when vague, but grandiose, language is used to speak against something or someone. EXAMPLE Harvested from Youtube: “[Ken Ham] doesn’t even try to understand science; he even said during his debate with Bill Nye that nothing would change his mind. Ken Ham is a closed-minded bigot.” The phrase, “doesn’t understand science” is one of the meaningless cliches used by those who are trying to make a case against God, Jesus Christ or the Bible. In fact, there is no information in this personal attack. Science is undefined and probably means "Atheism." The debate was largely about what science is. Ken Ham contended that assumptions are not a good basis for science. Bill Nye contended that the assumptions that he believes are facts of science. Bill was hypocritical in his closed-minded bigotry and pretended to be open-minded, so this part of the hifalutin' statement has no content either. The funny part is that Bill wants to make it illegal to teach Creation science, yet Bill is claiming to be open-minded to it. The specifics of what Ken would not change his mind about are left out of this statement. That is a very important issue. Ken will not change his mind about the Bible being the word of God that is without error. This fact is by Divine revelation and cannot be set aside. It would make sense for Bill to change his mind about agnosticism, naturalism, materialism, uniformitarianism, evolutionism, etc., because all of those philosophies are based on arbitrary assumptions and all have fatal flaws.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Flattery / Apple Polishing / Wheel Greasing / Stroking / Stroking the Ego: occurs when a person uses flattery to disrupt that ability of one or more other people to make rational decisions regarding truth or validity. A closely related fallacy is Appeal to Pride (Argumentum Ad Superbiam, Appeal to Vanity). EXAMPLE "Students, remember to pity those who are not as intelligent as you. You, however, are the intellectuals, since you believe in evolution, the billions-of-years old Earth, and the big bang."
- Appeal to Pride / Argumentum Ad Superbiam / Appeal to Vanity: occurs when the reason for acting of believing is pride or vanity. One way this is done is through flattery (apple polishing, wheel greasing, stroking the ego). Another is to imply that believing a certain thing or taking a certain action makes sense because of how wonderful you are. This can also be used by implying that believing or acting will make you look good to others.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Humor / Appeal to Ridicule / Reductio Ad Ridiculum / Appeal to Mockery: occurs when humor is used to divert attention away from the discussion or to make the other side appear foolish. EXAMPLE The liberal press knew that Scopes would be found guilty at the Scopes Monkey Trial, so they created a very successful attack using ridicule rather than dealing with the facts.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument by Emotive Language: occurs when someone substitutes emotive language for true premises that support the conclusion. Example: "I don't believe in the magic man in the sky or in fairies or leprechauns, and that's why I don't believe in God."
- Emotion-Biased Decision-Making Phenomenon: occurs when a decision is influenced by emotion and then rationalized to make it appear to be based on facts and logic. Keep in mind that it is also a fallacy to claim that emotions have no place in decision-making. A false dichotomy is often made between emotion and rational thought. What is important is the source of the emotion. For instance, when you get a certain check, often a feeling, in your innermost mind (heart), it is very foolish to ignore it and blunder forward. If you cannot get peace about a certain decision, it is very foolish to ignore the apprehension and rush in having only what you can rationalize. There may be times when you have fear and yet you know that God’s will is for you to do something such as to confess that you have done something wrong. In these cases, you must obey God. Yet, there are also times where you have constructed an amazing mathematical case for making a certain decision, but every time you think about it, you can’t seem to feel right about it. In those cases, you must go to the basis of your amazing mathematical case. Have you made any assumptions (something we do without thinking about it)? Are you sure that this is the exact decision that God has led you to? How do you know?
- Logical Fallacy of Loaded Language / Colored Words / Colored Phrases / Slanted Language / Slanting (type of): occurs when presuppositions or emotional connotations are attached to language. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "I mean, it’s very reasonable perhaps to you that Noah had super powers to build this extraordinary craft with seven family members" Bill Nye uses the logical fallacy of loaded language, using the term, "super powers," and calling the craft "extraordinary" to imply that it would be impossible. Super powers are not required to be led by God--just a humble and submissive spirit. This is a type of straw man fallacy since Ken Ham didn't refer to super powers, nor has Bill Nye demonstrated that super powers would be necessary to build such an ark. It is also a fallacy of extension, exaggerating Ken Ham's point to make it seem weird or impossible. EXAMPLE Wikipedia: “During the debate, Ham advocated the legitimacy of a Young Earth creationist model of the universe's origins, while Nye cited observations from a variety of scientific fields to defend the scientific consensus that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old." Note that both Bill Nye and Ken Ham "cited observations from a variety of scientific fields," but the quote slants the language to make it appear that only Bill Nye cited observations. Note also the slanted language that uses a bandwagon fallacy coupled with an untrue statement: "scientific consensus." First, this is how the bandwagon fallacy looks. Second, a consensus consists of agreement by all parties. This is why the debate happened. Consensus doesn't exist. Thousands of scientists courageously and openly disagree. An unknown number remain silent about their disagreement for fear of losing their jobs. Majority exists. Coercion, lack of scientific freedom, and message control exist. However, to use the word, "consensus," is hyperbole.
- Logical Fallacy of Magic Words: occurs when certain words are used as proof rather than providing actual proof. Magic words tend to give automatic credibility. Magic words include the following: Biblical, science, research, experimentation, scientific fact, logic, reason, and scientist. EXAMPLE The word, "science," is used to sell products, sell political ideas such as global warming, and to sell religious ideas such as big bang, molecules-to-man, or no-floodism. EXAMPLE Entertainer, Michael Gungor: “Do I believe that God literally drowned every living creature 5,000 years ago in a global flood except the ones who were living in a big boat? No, I don’t. Why don’t I? Because of science and rational thought.” Michael uses that magic words, science and rational thought rather than answering his own question in a rational way. He did follow this up with many irrational arguments against the flood, of course. Article
- Motivated Reasoning: occurs when those things that disagree with our preconceived notions are more carefully scrutinized and rejected, a kind of emotion-driven and selective skepticism. It is an extreme form of confirmation bias, where the worldview, or fake reality, is the filter that determines what reality is. Motivated reasoning confirms what is already believed, while ignoring contrary data. Motivated reasoning drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong or at least unsupported. Motivated reasoning responds defensively to contrary evidence, actively discrediting such evidence or its source without justification from logic or evidence. EXAMPLE Emotion-driven defense of the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story despite the fact that it violates several known laws of science and all the evidence is against it.
- Guilt Induction Fallacy / Appeal to Guilt: occurs when guilt is used as a reason to believe a proposition. Guilt is a very real thing, and it is helpful. It lets us know when we have violated our consciences, our innermost sense of right and wrong. However, consciences can be seared. Right can begin to seem like wrong, and wrong can begin to seem like right. Rhetoric can be used to induce guilt for things where guilt is not an appropriate response. EXAMPLE "Did you say that homosexuality is a sin against God? You ought to be ashamed. You ought to feel so guilty." This is one of the ways that consciences become seared. In the Bible, the word, "sin," is translated largely from a word that means to miss the target or stray from the pathway. Jesus reveals to us that He is the pathway and the life. He teaches us that the pathway is narrow and restricted and it is the pathway that leads to life. Other paths lead to death. So, Jesus is both the way and the destination, being the pathway and the life. Guilt would cause us to wake up and return to the path to life. Lies take us off the path and onto one of the paths to death. Whatever is not of faith is sin--leaving the path that leads to life. Jesus Christ leads us. He speaks His will into your heart. When you hear it, that is, listen and acknowledge Him, faith comes. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the utterance of God. Faith gives access into grace and grace does the works of God. This process crucifies the fleshly nature and builds up the mind of Christ in you. It changes your nature, making you holy and setting you free from slavery to sin (redemption). Sin reverses this process. EXAMPLE Many non-profit organizations use guilt to shake money out of people, yet the top officials are sometimes making huge salaries and only a small portion of the donations go to the cause. EXAMPLE Guilt (along with envy) is a huge political motivator.
- The Norm of Reciprocity / Reciprocity Norm: occurs when some positive action is done merely to influence either the person who benefits from the action or some group of people (or animals or plants) that will be highly visible. EXAMPLE A young man interested in a young girl's body for personal gratification befriends her, spends money on her, and gives her flowers so that he can use her. EXAMPLE Owners of a manufacturer do things to push for environmental issues and even spend some of their own money so that more people will buy their product.
Relevance Fallacies Against the source (attacking the Person, Organization, Book, etc. rather than using reasoning to find truth)
- Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Hominem: occurs when an attempt is made to discredit the person rather than addressing the evidence. These are very common. The only type it may be rational to question the person is when the person alone is the premise for the argument. When someone uses authority as a premise, that authority can be brought into question. EXAMPLE "Did it ever occur to you that you are a crazed religious nut?" The most important message here is that this person is not going to listen to a word you say. This person just doesn’t want to think about it.
- Logical Fallacy of Abusive Ad Hominem / Character Assassination / Smear Campaign / Throwing Stones: occurs when the person or persons having an opposing view are defamed, mocked, or dishonored as an argument against their position. Sometimes, an attempt is made to discredit the person through tactics such as name-calling or character assassination rather than addressing the evidence. Often, this takes the form of trying to embarrass another person or group of persons rather than dealing with the evidence in a rational way.
- Name Calling / Nominalization / Labeling / Nouning: occurs when a faulty label (either positive or negative) is applied to a person, organization, or concept. Labels are powerful. They change attitudes of people who are labeled and of people who hear/see the label being applied. EXAMPLE The fact that you have committed a sin doesn't make you the sin. If you make an error, that doesn't doom you to being the error. However, if you use the sin/error as a label for yourself (or accept the label from others), it can be made part of your innermost mind. It is a lie, but it can blind you and enslave you to thinking that this is what you are and must remain--that you cannot be set free. The work of Christ is to set you free. He does this by telling you the truth through Divine revelation. Lies bind and enslave. Here are a few of the labels that are applied in this way: clumsy oaf, idiot, ignoramus, agnostic, goof-up, atheist, skeptic, homosexual, and kleptomaniac. EXAMPLE Putting a positive name on a person, organization, or concept can create a halo effect. Here are a few labels that are sometimes applied in this way: idol, good person, intellectual, and authority. EXAMPLE Zombie nouns are labels that are given to things that don't exist. These labels (especially if descriptions are also included) make the non-entity seem more real. Here are a few of these labels: evolution [meaning molecules to man], the big bang, and theory [rather than story].
- Creating Misgivings: occurs when tactics are used to instill irrational doubt or fear into the minds of a group of people. The most common way this is done is through character assassination; however, the tactic can be used against a concept, organization, class of people, or anything else. Note that there are times when misgivings are rational. To warn a friend against doing business with a known con artist is not a fallacy. This fallacy refers only to stirring up misgivings that have nothing to do with the topic of discussion.
- Logical Fallacy of Circumstantial Ad Hominem / Ad Hominem Circumstantiae / Appeal to Motive / Appeal to Conflict of Interest / Argument from Motives / Questioning Motives / Appeal to Vested Interest: occurs when someone suggest that something is not true because of some circumstance such as personal bias, personal gain, or self-serving interests. EXAMPLE "Evolution is fact and there is no Creator God. You just believe in creation because you have been looking at creation websites."
- Ad Hominem Ridicule: occurs when an appeal to ridicule fallacy is committed where the person is ridiculed rather than the idea. The appeal to ridicule fallacy occurs when ridicule or humor is used rather than rational thinking.
- Ad Hominem Tu Quoque: occurs when an attack against the person is included while dodging an argument by claiming that the other person has the same problem. Tu quoque means you too. Ad hominem means against the person. Neither of these addresses the issue at hand. They are irrelevant noise. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Every so-called evidence for the molecules-to-man story is based on arbitrary assumptions. By Divine revelation, God declares that He created all the basic kinds of living things, plus the entire Universe, in just six days.” Sandy: “You are just assuming that.” Notice how easily Sandy directed the subject so that it was about Rocky. Sandy then made the unsupported assertion that revelation is assumption, and, in effect, said, “Well, I may be making up everything that I believe, but so are you.”
- Logical Fallacy of Demonizing / De-legitimize One's Opponent: occurs when an ad hominem attack is made in such a way as to portray the opposing side as wicked or threatening rather than discussing the issue at hand using sound reasoning. EXAMPLE Richard Dawkins: "It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, mad cow disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate." ~ Richard Dawkins is using the logical fallacy of demonizing. He does this quite frequently. What he doesn't realize is that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot fight and beat his Creator God. When he uses the word, "faith," he doesn't use it as God uses it through the Bible. There are various kinds of faith. The faith of God, the real faith, comes by hearing and acknowledging God as He speaks.
- Logical Fallacy of Demagoguery: occurs when attacks against others are used as a way to build up either the doctrine/belief/philosophy/dogma, or an organization.
- Logical Fallacy of Dehumanizing: occurs when an ad hominem attack is made in such a way as to portray the target of the attack as not really human rather than discussing the issue using sound reasoning.
- Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Fidentia / Against Self-Confidence: occurs when a person's self-confidence is attacked in place of a sound argument. Note, that there is nothing fallacious in pointing out that someone's stand is not logical or based in fact. Sometimes, that is actually merciful as in the case where someone presents an argument that there is no spiritual realm and no God. Pointing out the fact that there is no evidence to support such a claim is not fallacious. EXAMPLE "How do you know that it's God speaking to you. Perhaps it's just your own minds Neurons firing. Everything is random and there is no God, and I would say that you're crazy and you ought to be hauled you away for saying such things. In fact, you are dangerous to yourself and to others!!!!"
- Logical Fallacy of Tu Quoque / You Too / Appeal to Hypocrisy: occurs when someone tries to turn an accusation back on the accuser rather than addressing the issue. Turning back the accusation, even if it's true, never answers the accusation. EXAMPLE Rocky: "Every so-called evidence for evolution or billions of years, and every evidence against the Bible or Jesus Christ is based on some combination of arbitrary assumptions, made-up stories, irrationality, or outright lies." Sandy: "Oh yeah? Well, every so-called evidence against evolution or billions of years, and every evidence for the Bible or Jesus Christ is based on some combination of arbitrary assumptions, made-up stories, irrationality, or outright lies." (Sandy's response has the added problem beyond tu quoque in that the logic is not reversible. Revelation is not the same as the Sandy's preferred method of reasoning.)
- Hypocrisy: occurs when virtue is claimed that is not really there. Basic to this is the fact that there is none good but God. We have that by revelation. A person who thinks that he or she is a good person is mistaken. A follower of Christ who thinks that his or her own fleshly nature is better than someone else's fleshly nature is mistaken. The fleshly nature is evil, Christian or non-Christian. However, if Christ lives in you, He is virtuous. He cannot sin. The fleshly nature can do no good. The real question is, "Who will you hear, acknowledge, and obey?"
- Logical Fallacy of Origins / Genetic Fallacy / Fallacy of Virtue: occurs when a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself. It is a logical fallacy because it fails to assess the claim on its merits.
- Knights and Knaves Fallacy: occurs when some people are identified as consistently truthful and others as consistently untruthful without evidence that this is the case. Generally, this is coupled with an ad hominem fallacy or a genetic fallacy. EXAMPLE Rocky: "If you want proof of this, just read (such and such article) at Creation.com." Sandy: "I'm not reading that trash. All they do is lie. I only read the Secular Humanist scientific journals." EXAMPLE Sandy: "If you want proof of this, just read (such and such article) in the Secular Humanist scientific journals." Rocky: "I'm not reading that trash. All they do is lie. I only read articles at Creation.com." You probably won't run into the second example too often, but you will find the first one to be very common. It is good to hear the other person's point of view. Because of the way that logic works, it has to be based either on something solid or something that is not solid. Assumptions are not solid. Stories are not solid. Divine revelation is solid. Those who deny Divine revelation have a problem in that they cannot come to anything solid. All that is left is infinite regress, circular reasoning, stories, arbitrary assumptions, or some other fallacious basis of thought. It is time-consuming ferreting this out, however. And fallacies can be very deceptive. On the other hand, a follower of Christ ultimately has no basis other than Jesus Christ Himself. There is no foundation other than Christ that they can depend on.
- Group Fallacy: occurs when a person is discredited because he or she belongs to a certain group. Membership in any group would not negate every statement made by a person from that group simply because the person belongs to the group. There are certain things that are likely when someone belongs to some groups, however. It is likely that someone who belongs to a group with the word, "skeptic," in its name is going to be skeptical about God and the Bible and very open to concepts such as Atheism, Agnosticism, or the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story for instance. Similar things could be said about various religions. Yet these stereotypes don't always hold. Evolutionists are not all people who refuse to acknowledge God or racists, though the theology of Evolutionism is associated with these sometimes. You can know that the group of people who believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story, for instance, do not accept the Bible as it is written. This is because the Scriptural account, taken as it is written, is mutually exclusive to the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. A person who is a member of the group that doesn't know Jesus Christ personally cannot be depended on for understanding Scripture. This is because understanding of Scripture must be revealed by the Holy Spirit. EXAMPLE "You are an evolutionist. Therefore, you aren't qualified to discuss the evidence regarding origins." Evolutionists look at the same evidences that Creationists look at. They just interpret the evidence based on assumptions and stories rather than Divine revelation, and some of them have trouble discerning between what has been observed and what has been made up. However, many evolutionists have a great understanding of the actual evidence. Some of them realize that their stories are just stories and their assumptions are just assumptions.
- Not Invented Here: occurs when anything that originates from outside of a certain defined category (this could be an organization, a nationality, an ethnic group, a gender, and age group, or any such thing) is false or less acceptable based on its origin. This is a variation of the genetic fallacy. Because it is obviously irrational, this fallacy may be hidden. Another reason is likely to be given to conceal the fallacy. If this is done, it is a form of rationalization.
- Corrupt Source Fallacy: occurs when a corrupt source (not true information attributed to the source) is used to support a proposition. Beware of the genetic fallacy in which data is dismissed because of its source. There is only one source of information that provides a basis for believing the information simply because it came from that source. That source is God. Every other source is corrupt to some extent and cannot be trusted. This definition doesn't presuppose God. God reveals His existence and trustworthiness, so no presupposition is required. The Bible is written by God and preserved by God, yet it can either be understood by the fallen human mind or by Divine revelation. It is very easy and common to have the human mind get in the way of Divine revelation. EXAMPLE Sandy: “I read in the paper that evolution is a fact.” Rocky: “What makes you think that’s true?” Sandy: “I told you; I read it in the paper.”
- Psychogenetic Fallacy: occurs when an attempt is made to psychoanalyze a person who holds a certain view and this psychoanalysis is used as a reason that the person’s view is not correct. This is a combination of the genetic fallacy and an ad hominem fallacy. It is failure to deal with the issue at hand. EXAMPLE “You are a Christian because you like the idea the God takes care of you and is watching over you. Therefore, there is no God.”
- Logical Fallacy of Poisoning the Well / Discrediting: occurs when an ad hominem attack is launched by exposing negative information (whether true or false) about the other person/position in hopes of swaying the minds of the audience against the other person/position rather than relying on sound argument.
- Logical Fallacy of Guilt by Association Ad Hominem / Bad Company Fallacy / The Company that You Keep Fallacy / Ex Concessis: occurs when an attempt is made to associate a person with something or someone negative (or seen to be negative) to discredit the other person/position rather than using sound reasoning.
Relevance Fallacies of Pressure (using pressure rather than reason)
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to the People / Appeal to the Public / Argumentum Ad Populum / Ad Numerum / Bandwagon / Appeal to Common Belief / Appeal to Popularity / Appeal to Mass Opinion / Appeal to Numbers / Arguing by the Numbers / Argument by Consensus / Consensus Gentium / Appeal to the Gallery / Appeal to the Majority / Appeal to the Masses / Appeal to the Mob / Appeal to the Mob Instinct / Appeal to the Multitude: occurs when someone references the popularity of a statement to support the truth of the statement. The truth is rarely popular. The logical fallacy of appeal to the people is irrational thinking. It is used because it is very persuasive in that it creates pressure to be part of the "in crowd." Don't be swayed by it and don't use it to try to persuade people to come to Christ. Those who come to Christ because they think the majority are coming to Christ will also turn from Christ if they become convinced that the majority are turning from Him. EXAMPLE "There's really no disagreement among reputable scientists when it comes to evolution." EXAMPLE The use of polls to sway public opinion is an example of this fallacy.
- Fake Consensus: occurs when consensus is claimed, yet the consensus is gotten through intimidation, firings, and other random acts of terrorism. This is both the tactic of message control and the logical fallacy of bandwagon. The idea is to create the illusion of consensus as a way of creating pressure. First, artificial means are used to eliminate anyone who speaks against the sacred cow, and then the fact that all dissenters have been banned is used as proof for the sacred cow. EXAMPLE It is often claimed that there is a consensus among scientists regarding absolute belief in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. However, that so-called consensus has been gained by nefarious means. (reference)
- Packing the House Fallacy: occurs when an audience is chosen that will be supportive to one side of an issue as opposed to other sides. EXAMPLE When Bill Nye and Ken Ham scheduled a debate, both sides of the debate moved quickly to buy tickets. The tickets sold out within minutes.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Self-Interest / Appeal to Desire / Appeal to Personal Interest / Homily Ad Hominem (type of): occurs when an appeal is made to the personal the likes, interests, preferences, prejudices, predispositions, fears, etc. of others so they will accept the conclusion and self-interest is the reason for believing something to be true. This is a fallacy only when those personal interests are not relevant to the truth or falsity of the argument. Argument from consequences is a negative form of this fallacy. There is a positive form where something is believed because of what will be gained by believing. EXAMPLE "Jesus exists because if you don't believe this you will go to Hell." Obviously, this appeal is seldom made in this way, but the same type of argument is made in a more subtle way. The fact is that Jesus Christ speaks through Scripture. If God gives you a Scripture, and you quote it, whoever you are talking to will hear His Voice. They may not acknowledge Him, but they will hear Him. Any time you speak by the Holy Spirit, whoever hears you is hearing Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:3) So the reason for believing that Jesus exists is because we are hearing Him speak. And faith comes by hearing and hearing by the rhema (utterance) of God. EXAMPLE "I believe in Jesus because I want to go to Heaven." Your desire to go to Heaven can't make Jesus exist. You believe in Jesus because you know Him. You continue to listen to His Voice leading you because you have come to trust Him. EXAMPLE "I don't believe in God. I'm not going to follow any God Who wants to restrict my passions." Many unbelieving people are not this honest. God reveals that those who love darkness refuse to come to the light.
- Marginalization: occurs when it is implied that people holding a certain viewpoint are a fringe group and that their viewpoint is therefore false. The logical fallacy of marginalizing is an extreme form of the bandwagon fallacy. As with all bandwagon fallacies, this one uses popular opinion (or implied popular opinion) as the measure of what is true rather than using evidence and logic. Marginalization is a kind of peer pressure. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Here tonight, we're gonna have two stories and we can compare Mr. Ham's story to a story from what I will call the story from the outside, from mainstream science. . . . the story from the outside, from mainstream science. . . . This is what geologists on the outside do. . .Now out there in regular academic pursuits, regular geology" . . . "if as asserted here at this facility . . . Ken Ham's Creation Model . . . There are billions of people in the world who are devoutly religious. They have to be compatible because those same people embrace science. The exception is you, Mr. Ham, and that's the problem for me. You want us [the entire population of the world other than Ken Ham?] to take your word for what's written in this ancient text to be more compelling than what we see around us. . . . science, I mean in the mainstream" Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science, is using the logical fallacy of bandwagon with a particular twist known as marginalization. The very term, "mainstream science," implies there is a mainstream group. This implies anyone who disagrees with what those folks say is the minority and should just fall in line with the old ideas. This censoring of disagreement within the scientific community was a difficult picture for Bill Nye to paint while still maintaining that Bill Nye's definition of science is open to new ideas. However, Bill Nye did irrationally maintain both mutually exclusive views throughout the debate, which is the logical fallacy of internal inconsistency. He was plainly holding two mutually exclusive, conflicting, views at the same time.
- Appeal to Rugged Individualism / Appeal to the Minority: occurs when an appeal is made to the personal the likes, interests, preferences, prejudices, predispositions, fears, etc. of a small nonconforming group (perhaps even one person) so they will accept the conclusion. This is a kind of appeal to the people but to a very select group that doesn’t go with the flow. It is a kind of peer pressure.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Common Folk / Plain Folks / Appeal to the Common Man / Argumentum Ad Populum: occurs when a person tries to appear more like the people he or she is trying to convince of some conclusion rather than supplying true premises in support of the conclusion. EXAMPLE "While secularists sleep well-funded creationists are on the march in Europe." says Peter C Kjrgaard Those "well-funded creationists" fighting against the poor "REAL scientists" who only have billions of dollars in government grants and almost total control of every conceivable form of communication: public schools, all forms of media, and organizations similar to the ACLU. Appeal to common folks is a kind of peer pressure.
- Applying Time Pressure: occurs when time pressure is used as a negotiating technique. "Make up your mind. My clock is ticking." We tend to do this to ourselves more than having it come from the outside. It is unwise to go ahead with a decision if you can't get peace about it.
- Contrarian Argument Fallacy Abuse: occurs when a bandwagon fallacy is defended by labeling those who disagree as contrarians and accusing them of the contrarian argument fallacy. This is an example of a fallacy fallacy, a bandwagon fallacy, marginalizing, appeal to tradition, and an ad hominem fallacy. Rather than examining all sides of the issue, one side is defined as true because the majority supports it. Just because most scientists, most theologians, or most lawyers believe something, that doesn’t make it true. Every true breakthrough in technology comes from someone thinking something new.
- Logical Fallacy of Peer Pressure: occurs when pressure is brought to bear by actions or speech to squeeze you into the same mold as the pressuring people. Peer pressure differs from appeal to the people/bandwagon in that peer pressure works based on a desire to fit in where appeal to the people/bandwagon works by appearing to prove a truth when no real proof has been offered. Peer pressure doesn't care about truth. It cares about fitting in and being accepted. EXAMPLE “Virtually all earth scientists accept that the Universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. It would be wise for you to believe them because they will be able to eliminate your career. And, even if they don’t, it is miserable working when you are socially ostracized.” There is no consensus, so that part is a lie. The fact that most scientists accept this story is largely due to coercion, and artificial attempts to get false consensus. Even the most dogmatic believers of this story are not able to present objective and empirical evidence as to why they believe. Every so-called evidence falls apart under scrutiny.
- Social Conformance: occurs when fitting in and getting along requires irrational thinking. EXAMPLE Tremendous pressure is brought against young people (and older people) to disobey the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit urges us to keep our language clean, speak of our experiences with Christ, walk in holiness, and spend time in the Scripture and in prayer. Social conformance pushes against all of these. EXAMPLE “Let’s go to a movie. Which one would you like to see?” It had better be socially acceptable, even if it is downright evil. EXAMPLE There is tremendous social pressure brought against those who disagree with the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story on most college campuses. Arguments that are brought for the story are easily shown to be irrational. Yet most students do conform.
- Cool Idolatry Fallacy: occurs when reality and truth are defined as what fits into the approval of others, what is considered cool. The cool god is a puny god. This is a type of the appeal to bribery fallacy. From a person who is deceived by this fallacy, the necessary changes are just added to the inner fake-reality or worldview, and they seem to be part of reality. There is usually no attempt to lie in order to fit in. This behavior comes naturally and is outside of consciousness. EXAMPLE A teenager wants to fit in with everyone else, and all his friends are doing drugs. EXAMPLE A college student wants to go into the sciences, but it is difficult to get a degree in the sciences without believing in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. The student has never thought of the fact that students are simply learning the story so they can be tested on it in the same way they might learn about the mythical Greek gods. The tests are developed to see if they understand the stories not as confirmation that the stories are true. (This is not to say that there are no professors that are anti-theists or anti-creationists.) EXAMPLE Scientists who want to fit in and not be ostracized and marginalized must believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. Here is an example. Keep in mind that it is difficult to know one’s own motives let alone the motives of someone else.
- Appeal to Common Practice / Everybody’s Doing It: occurs when peer pressure and what people are doing around you has an influence on your own thoughts, words, and actions. This is related to the Cool Idolatry fallacy. EXAMPLE You know that the speed limit is absolute and you want to obey the laws, but everyone else goes seven miles over. Pretty soon, you find yourself going seven miles over as a regular way of driving. EXAMPLE At first, you hate the taste of alcohol and have no desire to drink it; but all your friends go out drinking, and you don’t want to be left out. In a short time, drinking is just part of your life.
- Logical Fallacy of Snob Appeal / Snob Approach / Appeal to Snobbery: occurs when a certain conclusion is supported by a premise that implies that you will be more popular or people will think better of you because you believe the conclusion or take action as a result of the conclusion. EXAMPLE "You have to be kidding. You believe the Bible? Do you realize how silly that sounds. I was hoping you would be a little bit more sophisticated."
- Logical Fallacy of Proof by Intimidation: occurs when any of the many forms of intimidation are used rather than a rational reason. One is to cloud the issue with jargon or confuse with technicalese and complexity in order to intimidate the audience into compliance lest they be shown to be ignorant--sort of an emperor's new clothes technique. Another is to demonstrate that those who don't bow down to the sacred cow story will be ostracized or lose their jobs. It would be nice if people were more civilized, but this goes on a lot. Intimidation can also be generated by implying stupidity unless you agree, a very common tactic of those supporting Atheism, Uniformitarianism, Naturalism, Materialism, Darwinism (molecules-to-man evolution), or old Earthism. People using these techniques often don't understand the words they are saying, but they have memorized them to use them to try to win debates. EXAMPLE Slaughter of the Dissidents: "Philip Bishop is a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Alabama. He has over 300 publications in refereed journals and conference publications, and was recommended for early tenure. When the University learned that he informed his students that his field provides abundant evidence for intelligent design, they forbade him from doing so. On the other hand, William Provine of Cornell boasts that the percentage of theists among his students drops from 75% at the beginning of the course to 50% at the end."
- Forestalling Disagreement: occurs when tactics are used to make raising an objection seem to be contrarian or otherwise embarrassing, and thus to try to keep others from disagreeing. EXAMPLE “The only way you can deny evolution [meaning molecules to man] and/or the age of the Earth [meaning billions of years] is to blatantly turn a blind eye to proven fact.” There is no proven fact, and this is simply bluster to forestall disagreement.
- Appeal to Patriotism: occurs when truth is determined by what makes one feel and look patriotic. Often, the term, "unpatriotic," is used. EXAMPLE "This new bill is the law of the land. It’s unpatriotic to think that it’s a bad bill." When a law promotes sin, it’s a bad bill. EXAMPLE “The Supreme Court has passed Roe versus Wade. That should be the end of the discussion. To oppose abortion is unpatriotic.” Courts become corrupt in a country that drifts away from God. We know that by revelation. And what some politician declares to be patriotism does not have any effect on what God calls right and good.
Relevance Fallacies of Distraction/Misdirection (Causing the focus of attention to move to one thing in order to avoid detection of another thing)
- Logical Fallacy of Avoiding the Issue / Irrelevant Evidence: occurs when there is an attempt to prove the conclusion with irrelevant evidence, like emotion. Often, fallacies of distraction use the other person to create the open distraction by needling until the other person becomes angry and then looks ignorant and out of control. EXAMPLE Sandra: "You are a Christian because you were born into a Christian family. Had you been born in Iraq, you would have been Muslim." [The implication is that God is unfair and arbitrary.] Roxanne: "Well, that didn't happen. I was born in a Christian family." Sandra: "My point is that it's not fair that anyone should be judged just because of where they were born." Roxanne: "I don't worry about that." Roxanne is avoiding the question and the various implications and probably hurting Sandra in the process. Roxanne should have noted that she probably would have been a Muslim, but there is no conclusion to be drawn from that since it is a hypothetical. Instead of refusing to answer Sandra's concern, Roxanne should have told her the truth: "If you are concerned about the fairness of God, here is what He reveals to me. God is good and knows every circumstance. Don't you think the One Who is the Source of all love, fairness, righteousness, justice, mercy and wisdom would be wise and fair enough to do what it right? God has revealed to me that He is a righteous judge and that I have to leave the work of judgment to Him. Hypotheticals are not only unproductive in trying to figure this out, but God hasn't even given us the task of judging everyone."
- Logical Fallacy of Misleading Vividness: occurs when many details are included in a description of something, which has the effect of making it seem more likely or probable.
- Dodging the Question: occurs when the reaction to a question is avoiding answering the question. This is one way of avoiding the issue. As with all fallacies, this fallacy can be consciously used for deception or the fallacy can be made because of misunderstanding or for some other reason. Here are some of the ways that this is done: refusing to answer the question, changing the subject, explaining redundant things or irrelevant things as a distraction, creating an excuse not to answer, repeating the question as a question, answering the question with another question, answering things that weren't asked, questioning the question, challenging the question, giving an answer in the wrong context. EXAMPLE Person from the audience: "How did the atoms that created the big bang get there?" Bill Nye: "This is a great mystery! You’ve hit the nail on the head. No. Uh, the, what was before the big bang? This is what drives us. This is what we want to know. Let’s keep looking. Let’s keep searching. When I was young, it was presumed that the Universe was slowing down. Big bang, [simulated bang] except it’s in outer space, ‘s no air, so [silence and dramatic hand movements to simulate what Bill Nye claims to have happened] like that, and so people presumed that it would slow down, that the Universe, that gravity especially would hold everything together. And maybe it’s going to come back and explode again, and people went out and the mathematical expression is is the Universe flat. It’s a mathematical expression. Will the Universe slow down, slow down asymptotically without ever stopping? Well, in 2004, Saul Perlmutter and his colleagues, went looking to the rate at which the Universe was slowing down. Let’s go out and measure it. We do it with this extraordinary system of telescopes around the world, looking at the night sky, looking for super novae, these are standard brightness that you can infer distances with. And the Universe isn’t slowing down. The Universe is accelerating in its expansion, and do you know why? Nobody knows why. Nobody knows why. And you’ll hear the expression nowadays, dark energy, dark matter, which are mathematical ideas that seem to recon well with what seems to be the gravitational attraction of clusters of stars, galaxies and their expansion, and isn’t it reasonable that whatever is out there causing the Universe to expand is here also, and we just haven’t figured out how to detect it. My friends, suppose a science student from the commonwealth of Kentucky pursues a career in science and finds out the answer to that deep question: “Where did we come from?” ‘What was before the big bang?’ To us, this is wonderful and charming and compelling. This is what makes us get up and go to work every day is to try to solve the mysteries of the Universe." This is an interesting dodge that highlights Bill's skill at this sort of thing. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of selling the defect as a benefit, false bravado, appeal to emotion, and declaring victory. He stated his lack of ability to even address this question with great emotion as if the fact that he had no clue proved his case. Bill Nye answers as if this is a wonderful answer, and this by a man who has been guilty of implying that unless Ken can answer all Bill's questions to Bill's satisfaction, this proves that Bill is right and Ken is wrong. These are the two sides of an argument from ignorance being used with special pleading. If Bill doesn't know, it proves Bill's story. If Ken doesn't know, it proves Bill's story. No matter what, it proves Bill's story. In reality, neither proves anything, but creation is proved by revelation. Revelation is proved by knowing Jesus Christ and His moment-my-moment leading. And now he acts like his inability is actually a victory. The concept of anything before the so-called big bang doesn't fit into the fake-reality of big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man. There are no answers in big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man to the difficult questions, but these same questions are easily answered by the creation model. Those questions that are answered by the favored story are only answered by stories and assumptions that are intellectually bankrupt. Since God reveals, followers of Christ don't need stories and assumptions. This is also an example of the logical fallacy of limited scope. All of this would not be so bad if Bill Nye had not been so arrogant, claiming that his Agnostic (as he labels himself) view of science is the only one that works and that the view that actually has answers to the major questions of life must be censored. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of misleading vividness, giving a very entertaining story to distract from the fact that he is stumped. And Bill Nye is also using the logical fallacy of special pleading with a very funny quirk. Usually the logical fallacy of special pleading occurs in a situation where both sides of the argument have the same problem, but, in this case, Bill Nye's side has the problem and uses the logical fallacy of projection to try to make it seem as if those who believe God have the same problem as he does. Bill Nye states that it's a wonderful thing that he doesn't know, and he absolutely has no answer to this question other than these dodges. And there are many other unsolvable problems with the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story. On the other hand, and here is the special pleading, the rules are very different for anyone who believes what God says about creation, the age of the Earth, or anything else that people who refuse to acknowledge God don't like. For them, even when Ken Ham answers Bill Nye's questions, Bill Nye ignores the answer and re-asks the question as if it had never been answered. Then, Bill implies (lies) that Ken Ham's failure to answer the question (which Ken had just answered. but Bill is lying by implying that Ken didn't answer) is proof that the creation model is not suitable for science. That is a perfect example of the logical fallacy of special pleading.
- Logical Fallacy of Ignoratio Elenchi / Irrelevant Conclusion: occurs when it is assumed that proving an irrelevant point has proved the point of the issue. EXAMPLE "Of course we have evidence that molecules-to-man evolution actually happened. We have observed speciation."
- Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Question: occurs when a question is asked that changes the subject, switches the focus, or otherwise misdirects the discussion to an irrelevant issue. This is a kind of red herring. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "How could those animals have lived their entire life and formed these layers in just 4,000 years?" This is an irrelevant question. The layers would not have been laid down during the 4,000 years following the flood but they would have been laid down very rapidly during the flood. Bill implies that there is not enough time after the Flood, a red herring, since the most rational explanation for the deposits is that they were laid down during the Genesis Flood. The Genesis Flood is obvious. The evidence for it is overwhelming. Following the links will show the details of why this is true. These layers are deposits that were laid down during the Flood, as are most of the sedimentary deposits around the world. We know that the Genesis Flood occurred. We know it absolutely by divine revelation. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of suppressed evidence, since Bill doesn't even mention or evaluate evidence for the Genesis Flood.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument from Consequences / Parade of the Horribles / Argumentum Ad Consequentiam / Appeal to Consequences of a Belief / Argument to the Consequences: occurs when someone argues that something is false because believing in it would have negative consequences or that something is true because not believing in it would have negative consequences. This argument is irrational because it gives a consequence (often imagined) and says that because of this consequence, something is true or false. Consequences prove that there is motivation to act on something (providing that the consequences are real and probable), but consequences do not prove something to be true or false.
- Appeal to Bribery / Appeal to Motives in Place of Support: occurs when an incentive, possibly financial, is a major part of the reason for believing something. This is a form of appeal to self-interest. EXAMPLE A salesperson must believe in what is being sold, and no one wants to be out of a job. EXAMPLE Scientists who want to make the big money must believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. Keep in mind that it is difficult to know one’s own motives let alone the motives of someone else.
- Logical Fallacy of Red Herring / Digression / Diversion / Evading the Issue / Side-tracking: occurs when an attempt is made to divert the discussion away from the point by bringing up some topic that is not relevant.
- Answering a Question with a Question: occurs when a question is dodged by asking another question. This isn’t a fallacy if it is used to stop the tactic of asking one question after the other. It isn’t a fallacy if the question actually answers the question that was asked or is part of the answer to the question that was asked. It is possible to teach using questions. However, when a question is asked as an answer to a question for the purpose of deceit, to dodge the question, this is a fallacy.
- Dodging by Answering a Different Question / Answering a Question That Was Not Asked: occurs when a question is dodged by answering a different question. Often, this is accompanied by misleading vividness, false bravado, and red herring fallacies.
- Non-Support: occurs when an event or situation is being explained, yet the evidence that the event or situation exists is flawed. EXAMPLE Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "The other thing I just want to point out, what you may have missed in Evolutionary explanations of life is the mechanism by which we add complexity. The Earth is getting energy from the Sun all the time, and that energy is used to make life-forms somewhat more complex." There is no evidence that this "mechanism" does this. Information of the type that would be needed to add complexity has not been observed.
- Logical Fallacy of Logic Chopping / Quibbling / Quibble / Splitting-Hairs / Nit-Picking / Trivial Objections / Smokescreen / Blowing Smoke / Befogging the Issue / Clouding the Issue / Megatrifle / Trivial Objections / Cavil / Spurious Superficiality: occurs when a diversion is created to make discussion of an issue difficult. The diversion is a specific kind of red herring that acts as a smokescreen to make it difficult to analyze the issue at hand. This diversion may be quibbling about the meaning of a word, nit-picking grammar, splitting hairs on unimportant details, or a seemingly unlimited other tactics. When quibbling takes the form of nitpicking language, this is sometimes called the language trap, which would be a specific kind of logic chopping. EXAMPLE Sandy: "Your belief is based on an old book that has been translated thousands of times over thousands of years." Rocky: "I don't mind talking to you about the basis of my belief. The fact is that my belief in Jesus Christ is based on my personal relationship with Him. He leads me moment by moment." Sandy: "Specifically, how does He lead you? Does He send you a text message?" Rocky: "He speaks to me in my innermost mind and assures me that the Bible is His Word and that it is without error. Then, He speaks to me through the Bible. He also speaks to me through His Creation. It may be most important that He speaks to me through other Christians who have Christ living in them as well." Sandy: "Christ living in them? What is Christ like a little person bouncing around inside their bodies?" And so the non-communication continues in endless insincerity. These kinds of tactics are never used by people who actually want to know the truth.
- Admitting a Small Fault to Cover a Big Denial: occurs when a minor issue is conceded in order to be dogmatic about a huge error. This is a fallacy of distraction. EXAMPLE “We [those who hold the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story as a sacred cow] don’t know the exact way that life started yet. However, we know that life started spontaneously.” The thing that is being covered up here is the fact that they are making the whole thing up. It's just a story with the magic word, science, and the magic word, evidence, applied to it. EXAMPLE “Yes, I smoked marijuana, but I never inhaled.”
- Logical Fallacy of Arguing a Minor Point and Ignoring the Main Point: occurs when a minor point is given the focus so that the main point is ignored.
- Logical Fallacy of Ad Misericordiam / Appeal to Pity / Appeal to Sympathy / Appeal to Misery: occurs when pity is used rather than truth to support a conclusion.
- Galileo Wannabe Fallacy / Galileo Argument (Appeal to Pity): occurs when an appeal to pity fallacy is committed while making a comparison to what Galileo went through. Of course, this is very rarely done, but it perhaps has happened at least once. More often, this fallacy is used for fallacy abuse. The Galileo Wannabe fallacy / Galileo argument can take one of two different forms. One is to state it as a fake formal fallacy and the other is to state it as an informal fallacy of appeal to pity. Example "Don't you feel sorry for me. I am being treated just as Galileo was treated. Therefore, the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is a bunch of baloney." That would indeed to an appeal to pity if someone were to do that. More likely, the dogmatic Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man believers interpret what was said to be an appeal to pity. FALLACY ABUSE Sandy: "If the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story isn't the only possible answer to the history of the Universe, then why are there no articles defaming it in the Secular Humanist scientific journals." Rocky: "Because, just as in Galileo's day, the ruling elite among the scientists protect their sacred cow theories." Sandy: "Don't cry on my shoulder. That is just the Galileo Argument Fallacy, an appeal to pity." Rocky: "You brought up the scientific journals as evidence. They are corrupt and cannot be used as evidence in the way that you are attempting to use them. In other words, your argument is circular" In this case, the Galileo Argument or the Galileo Wannabe Fallacy is being used to commit fallacy abuse. Here, it is merely a defense for an appeal to tradition fallacy. One website titled their article: "The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus." Think about that phrase, "the denigration of scientific consensus." Note that consensus means that everyone is in agreement at least to the point that they are willing to sign off on the proposition. "It, in this case, may be the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story or "it" may be the Global Warming story. The two stories are not unrelated, since the Global Warming story assumes that Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. Consensus is achieved by eliminating anyone who openly disagrees. That is a pretty weak consensus. It is similar to the consensus that Mussolini achieved through fascism. In fact, it is a form of fascism where control is maintained by getting rid of anyone who voices opposition. So, it's not surprising that a person who refuses to acknowledge God would want to cover his or her tracks with a smoke screen on this one by creating a new fake-fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Novelty / appeal to the New / Appeal to Modernity / Appeal to Progress / Appeal to the Modern / Ad Novitatem: occurs when someone asserts that something is better or true simply because it is new. Some new things are good. Some are not. Some old things are good. Some are not. If we are walking with God, He is continually showing us new things, as He says to us, "Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know."
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to High Tech: occurs when it is assumed that something is true or good simply because it is the newest thing.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Tradition / Argumentum Ad Antiquitatem / Appeal to Common Practice / Appeal to Antiquity / Proof from Tradition / Appeal to Past Practice / Gadarene Swine Fallacy / Traditional Wisdom / Appeal to the Old: occurs when someone uses past practice or tradition as a truth statement rather than an actual truth statement.
- The Way We Have Always Done It: occurs when any new idea, concept, revelation, or any such thing is rejected because it is new. This is a variation of the appeal to tradition fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Desperation: occurs when a person uses the fact, or supposed fact, that something must be done, and the proposed conclusion/solution is the something that must be done.
- Logical Fallacy of Straw Man / Putting Words in Other People's Mouths: occurs when a statement or argument is misstated and then the misstated version of the statement or argument is refuted rather than dealing with the real statement or argument. EXAMPLE "Creationists claim that God made the Earth appear old." Maybe some creationists claim this, but the statement cannot be generalized in this way. In general, creationists don't claim that God made the Earth appear old, and the Earth doesn't appear old. Age cannot be seen. The Earth appears created completely. God has revealed that the Earth was fully functioning from the beginning. The actual observation/science is very compatible with an Earth that is only a few thousand years old.
- Logical Fallacy of Extension: occurs when a statement or argument is exaggerated and then the exaggerated version of the statement or argument is refuted rather than dealing with the real statement or argument. This is a type of straw man argument. EXAMPLE "Cahn is advocating Replacement Theology. He is reading America into Isaiah 9:10. He is equating Israel's covenant with God with the covenants made by American founders." These claims are false straw man fallacies, specifically, fallacies of extension. Cahn does nothing of the kind. The truth is that The Harbinger is stating that what Dr. Lutzer is saying about how the Old Testament also applies to America or any other nation. Source: http://watchpraystand.blogspot.com/2012/09/brannon-howse-now-consorting-with.html
- In a Certain Respect and Simply / Secundum Quid Et Simpliciter: occurs when an attribute of a smaller domain is assumed to apply to a wider domain. EXAMPLE “We can observe evolution [meaning small changes from generation to generation that can be observed] happening, so just extending this over millions of years, evolution [meaning changes between kinds/families that cannot be observed in the fossil record or anywhere else] is a scientific fact.”
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Extremes: occurs when a premise or conclusion is taken to an extreme that was not intended by the person who originally stated the premise or conclusion. This is a type of the extension fallacy, which is a type of straw man argument. It is similar to the fallacy of slippery slope in that they both use emotion to extrapolate beyond what is reasonable. The difference is that slippery slope gives an imagined sequence of events leading to the extreme where the fallacy of appeal to extremes doesn't necessarily do so. Appeal to extremes can take the form of arguing against something by calling it "extreme," or it can be erroneously attempting to make a reasonable argument into an absurd one, by taking the argument to the extremes. The appeal to extremes fallacy is not the use of examples that are perceived to be extreme, nor is it holding a position that the other person considers extreme. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "we’re supposed to take your word for it—this Book, written centuries ago, translated into American English is somehow more important that what I can see with my own eyes, is an extraordinary claim." The problem is that this claim was never made. This is an example of the logical fallacy of appeal to extremes.
- Logical Fallacy of Taking a Quote Out of Context / Contextomy (type of) / Abstraction / Quote Mining: occurs when a quote is taken out of context. This can take the form of a straw man argument or it can be used to lie about someone's opinion to make a certain conclusion seem to make more sense. It is often used in quoting the Bible, either to discredit it or to "support" a theological idea. This is sometimes called quote mining, though the term quote mining is less clear since it can be applied to finding quotes that are taken in context but that show that the same source is not totally coherent and consistent. Sometimes, it does help to take something out of context for analysis. This is often done for creating models of things that are too complex to model as a whole. However, it is important to remember that the model is just a model and is not real reality.
- Logical Fallacy of Misquoting: occurs when a quotation is cited with small changes that completely change the message. This fallacy can be used as a straw man argument or as a way to make a certain point that lacks real evidence or truth. EXAMPLE The Bible is often misquoted either to discredit it, straw man style, or to support an extra-biblical theory. Politicians often misquote each other as a straw man argument.
- Logical Fallacy of Accent / Accent Fallacy / Accent by Emphasis / Emphatic Fallacy: occurs when a word or a phase is emphasized by any means to change what the statement actually says. The logical fallacy of accent is a type of misquote, though the words of the quote stay the same. Some may be left out. Some words may be said slower or in a louder voice or an unpleasing voice. A small portion may be repeated while commenting on "what it really means." Twitter is actually a great place to see this fallacy in action because the restriction on the length of message creates some opportunities to re-tweet a small part of a conversation and create a false impression. There are many ways to commit the emphatic fallacy.
- Accent by Abstraction / Emphasis by Abstraction: occurs when the meaning of an idea or statement is changed by taking it out of its context.
- Misleading Context Fallacy / Contextomy: occurs when a word, phrase, concept, quote, entity, or proposition is taken out if its context. Taking a quote out of context is one of the examples of this fallacy. However, many things can be distorted by taking them out of their context. Accent by abstraction is another type of this fallacy that deals with using emphasis as the way to distort a quote or something else. There are many ways to distort. Sometimes, it does help to take something out of context for analysis. This is often done for creating models of things that are too complex to model as a whole. However, it is important to remember that the model is just a model and is not real reality. Treating a model as if it were reality is a fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of Misinterpretation: occurs when a statement is interpreted, but the interpretation was not what was meant. Many statements can be taken more than one way because of the nature of language. The way we can find out what something means is to ask the person what they mean by what they said. If the person is not available, then it is best to put the best construction on everything. People misinterpret the Bible. The best way to understand what God is saying through Scripture is to acknowledge His Presence and His Voice and to spend time in His Presence so that He can teach us.
- Mind Game of Playing Dumb: occurs when a mind game of fake lack of understanding is used as a dodge to avoid dealing with issues rationally. This is used a lot by Internet trolls. EXAMPLE Rocky: "The argument is not between science and religion. It is between assumption and revelation." Sandy: "What is assumption?" Rocky: "Assumption is made-up stuff. Made-up stuff is a lie." Sandy: "You still haven't told me what assumption is." Rocky: "The dictionary says that an assumption is a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof." Sandy: "That doesn't make any sense to me." At a certain point, you realize that Sandy is playing dumb. The best way to handle this is to point out what Sandy is doing, but Sandy is deep in denialism at this point, and is resorting to mind games.
- Arcane Explanation: proposing an explanation while noting that it can only be understood by very few people or that it is a mystery that no one can understand. This is very similar to appeal to mystery. Some things are difficult to understand. For all things, you must look at the evidence, and, until you do, it will be a mystery to you. It will seem arcane. For instance, everyone who seeks Christ does find Christ. Everyone who follows Christ is led by Christ. But, unless you are born again you can’t see the Kingdom of God, so it will seem arcane to you even though it is not arcane. Anyone can check it out by simply coming to Jesus in humility and submission. However, there are appeals to arcane explanations, saying that there is no way you can understand, so just believe it. EXAMPLE Rocky: “What evidence do you have that shows that evolution actually happened?” Sandy: “Your problem is that you don’t understand science. It can’t be explained easily. You need a PhD in biology to understand it. I don’t even understand it, but the PhDs do. And I trust them.”
- Logical Fallacy of Hyperbole: occurs when a claim is made with extreme exaggeration. EXAMPLE Huffington Post: "However, I am dismayed (though perhaps I should not be surprised) by the request by Answers in Genesis for equal time in Cosmos for creationist viewpoints." Not surprisingly, this quote was linked to an even more bizarre quote in the ultra-left-wing Salon: "Creationists’ absurd “Cosmos” demand: Give us equal airtime!" Patheos, Right Wing Watch, Secular Humanism, and many others parroted the same hyperbole. What really happened? A reporter, Janet Mefferd, asked whether they would interview scientist themselves during the show or do they ever give a creationist any time. Danny Faulkner, a scientist, answered, "Well, no, the creationists aren't even on the radar screen for them. They wouldn't even consider us plausible at all. I don't recall having seen any interviews with people. That may yet come. But it's based upon the narration for the host and various types of little video clips of various things, cartoons and things like that." All of this was very matter-of-fact. There was no whining or lamenting as the hyperbole stated in many major media outlets. Janet Mefferd redirected, thinking that it would make more sense to say something like, "Some scientists say this. Others disagree." Then, she notes that that's not even allowed. Danny Faulkner answered, "No, not even the recognition that abiogenesis, that belief in that is contrary to good science. I was struck in the first episode where he talked about science how that all ideas are discussed; everything's up for discussion; it's all on the table. And I thought to myself, No. Consideration of special creation is definitely not open for discussion." Faulkner was simply pointing out the obvious. It's a big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man show. Why should they allow any other views? No TV Christian preacher would allow a big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man evangelist to use the preacher’s airtime.
- Logical Fallacy of Exaggeration / Stretching the Truth / Overstatement: occurs when a point is made by saying something that would be true, but the truth has been distorted in some way.
- Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Thesis: occurs when a premise is not relevant to the conclusion. "The fact that many types of flagella exist proves that these developed by natural processes." Premise: Many types of flagella exist. Conclusion: Therefore, these flagella developed by natural processes. The fact that many types of flagella exist is irrelevant to the conclusion provided, so this claim is based on a fallacy.
- Burden of Proof Fallacy / Onus Probandi: when a claim is made but the person making the claim refuses to give the reasoning behind the claim or when a claim is challenged but the person challenging the claim refuses to give the reasoning behind the challenge. If logic were a game to be won rather than a way to find truth, then shifting the burden of proof would make sense. It's about winning, not finding truth. When it does become a game, it can get really interesting. Neither side wants to make a claim and neither side even wants to say a claim isn't true, since then reason for belief needs to be given. The burden of proof fallacy may be a misnomer, since you cannot prove something to a person who does not want to believe it. And there are many things that cannot be proven, but a reason for belief can always be given. For instance, you cannot prove that you have no malice to a person who doesn't want to believe you. You can't prove that you are seeing something that someone else isn't seeing (for instance, over the Internet). The following quote was taken from the ever-changing Wikipedia: "The burden of proof is on the individual proposing existence [of God], not the one questioning existence." Actually, God holds both individuals responsible for knowing the truth, which He is perfectly willing to reveal to whoever will come to Him in submission and respect. EXAMPLE Rocky: God exists. Sandy: What makes you think so? Rocky: How dare you question God! What makes you doubt God? You must prove God's non-existence to me. Then we can talk." The problem is that Rocky isn't able to give a reason for his belief, so he tries to shift the burden of proof. Perhaps Rocky just has a rationalized faith and doesn't really know Jesus personally. Whatever the reason, God instructs us to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us. Here is an example of a better exchange: Rocky: God exists. Sandy: What makes you think so? Rocky: I know Jesus Christ personally. He leads me moment by moment. He instructs me in God's ways, and He has revealed to me that He is God." Rocky's answer comes right to the point. There is no other foundation that can be laid that that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Rocky cannot directly prove this to Sandy if Sandy is unwilling to look at the evidence objectively. If Sandy is seeking the truth, not just arguing to protect a belief in Atheism, Sandy doesn't have to take Rocky's word for it. However, Christ lives in Rocky and has just spoken through Rocky in our example. If Sandy rejects that, he is rejecting Christ. But Sandy has the option of being open-minded and seeing God's mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Sandy has the option of opening his mind to Christ, being respectful to his Creator God, and sincerely asking Jesus to reveal Himself to him.
- Demanding an Uneven Burden of Proof / Demanding Uneven Standards of Acceptance: occurs when the person on one side of an issue demands proof but refuses to demand the same level of proof from himself or herself. This is a form of special pleading and is generally used when debate is the goal rather than finding truth. It can take many forms. One is failure to state one’s own position, so there is nothing to defend. Another is to ask for physical proof for the other side while only providing proof-based-on-assumption for one’s own side. EXAMPLE Sandy: “You will have to give me physical proof that Christ exists.” Rocky: “Christ makes Himself obvious in the things that He has created. And, He manifests Himself to every person who seeks Him. You can check this out yourself by praying to Him in sincerity, respect, and a will to obey Him. Just ask Him to take away your tendency to step off of the path that leads to eternal life. That’s what sin is. And ask Him to deliver you from your sinful nature so that you do His will and not your own.” Sandy: “You can’t use the Creation as proof of the Creator. We have a better explanation [the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story because it is naturalistic, and naturalism is the inner fake-reality by which much of the world is deceived.] that makes more sense.” Rocky: “Do you have physical proof that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story actually happened—I mean proof that doesn’t depend on assumptions and stories? Do you have any proof for the philosophy of naturalism?” Sandy: “You have the burden of proof here.” Sandy is not only demanding an uneven burden of proof, but she is also ignoring the strongest argument and attacking a straw man of the weaker argument. Rocky didn't say that you can figure out that God exists through His Creation. Rocky said that God makes Himself obvious through His Creation. When you look at it, God reveals Himself through it. Those who don't want God to exist can make up stories
- Burden of Proof Fallacy Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that something is either true or false unless proven otherwise. This often takes the form of claiming that the person making a claim has the burden of proof and the person denying the claim has no burden of proof. However, the denial is a claim. It is a claim that the other claim is not true. Therefore, by the same rule, the denier has the burden of proof as well. The problem with the burden of proof idea is that there is no desire for truth, but only a desire to win an argument by any means possible. This results in insincere people trying to phrase their statements in ways that only demand evidence from others without ever denying any claims. At the same time, when someone makes a claim, that person ought to be able to articulate why he or she believes the claim to be true. They have no responsibility to prove the claim to anyone. In fact, you cannot prove the existence of the Sun to someone who doesn't want the Sun to exist. When "burden of proof" is used as an argument from ignorance and a way to avoid truth, then it is the Burden of Proof Fallacy Fallacy. EXAMPLE "Naturalism (or Atheism/Materialism/Evolution/Big Bang) is the default. You have to prove to me that it isn't true. The burden of proof is on you, not me." The logical fallacy here is the assumption that naturalism is true without any proof. What the person making this claim ought to do is to either demonstrate that naturalism is absolute and true (don't know how one would do that, though) or else to admit that it is irrational to believe in naturalism. If naturalism were reality, why would anyone who believed in naturalism try to shift the burden of proof?
- Logical Fallacy of Argument to Moderation / Argumentum Ad Temperantiam / Middle Ground / False Compromise / Gray Fallacy / Golden Mean Fallacy / Fallacy of the Mean / Splitting the Difference: occurs when someone asserts that between any two positions/conclusions, there is a correct or true position/conclusion. EXAMPLE "A literal reading of Genesis is too controversial and it causes divisions, so we need to take a more tolerant view that allows for billions of years." God tells us, through the Bible, that He created everything in six days a few thousand years ago and that there was a worldwide flood in which everything that breaths was killed except for those preserved in the Ark. Someone said that science says that the Earth is billions of years old and evolution created all life and there was no worldwide flood, since that would have destroyed the fossil record from the billions of years. We don't want to be unscientific, so there must be a way to imagine billions of years and evolution into the Bible and to imagine the global flood out. Sadly, this happened, and all the so-called science was not science at all. Truth is always exclusive by its very nature. This is basic to logic.
- Logical Fallacy of False Fallacy / Fallacy Abuse: occurs when occurs when something is claimed as a fallacy that is not a fallacy. EXAMPLE Rocky: "God created everything in six days." Sandy: "Intelligent design is almost entirely based upon the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. The core argument for intelligent design is that there are biological structures that have not been fully explained by evolution, therefore a powerful intelligent designer must have created them. In order to make a positive claim, however, positive evidence for the specific claim must be presented. The absence of another explanation only means that we do not know; it doesn't mean we get to make up a specific explanation." Rocky: "The reason that I know that God created everything in six days is not what you have stated. God reveals this to me, actually, to all who are following Jesus Christ." (We could go on with what Sandy would say, but this is enough for the example of the false fallacy. In this case, the false fallacy is kind of a straw man argument.)
- Confusing an Explanation with Proof: occurs when one person offers an explanation for a conclusion or event and the other person interprets the explanation as a premise for a conclusion. This confusion usually results from one person asking for proof or evidence and the other person explaining something instead of providing proof. This is more of a misunderstanding, but it can get in the way of communication, so it is offered here. EXAMPLE Sandy: "You said that God leads His people even today. Please explain." (He means that he wants proof, but he wasn't explicit.) Rocky: "Whenever someone reads the Bible or hears it read or quoted, they may not acknowledge it, but they are hearing God speak. It is His logos, which literally means, His utterance." (Rocky didn't give proof. Rocky gave an explanation of how God leads. For proof, Sandy would need to be willing to sincerely seek Christ with a willingness to submit to Him. Everyone who seeks Him finds Him, and faith comes by hearing His Utterance.)
- Logical Fallacy of Moralism: occurs when it is assumed that morals or good works can be rationalized without the Creator God of the Universe. A variation occurs when it is assumed that moral behavior can be self-generated to please God or prove personal goodness. Both of these occur when revelation is disregarded and rationalization is considered to be valid. Oddly enough, this is very popular among people who refuse to acknowledge God as sort of their ace in the hole. It is also near the root of every other cult as well. The problem is that these assumptions go directly against what God has revealed, so this is a hypothesis contrary to fact.
- Logical Fallacy of Ought-Is / Moralistic Fallacy / Moral Fallacy: occurs when what should be moral is assumed a priori to be naturally occurring. What actually happens is that a person reaches into his or her own worldview/paradigm/fake-reality and, from this source, formulates assumptions about what ought to be moral. There is only one way to be logical when determining what is right and what is wrong. That was is divine revelation. The most authoritative written source of divine revelation is the Bible, and Jesus Christ speaks through the Bible. However, not everyone listens to Him.
- Logical Fallacy of Is-Ought / Is-Ought Fallacy / Arguing From Is to Ought / Is-Should Fallacy / Hume's Law / Hume's Guillotine: occurs when is statements are used as premises (for conclusions) that use ought statements as their basis and no reason is given for the ought statements. The problem is that there is no logical way to get from descriptive statements to prescriptive statements. This is related to the naturalistic fallacy.
- Naturalistic Fallacy: occurs when evaluative conclusions are drawn from purely factual premises. This is related to the is-ought fallacy. Some say that the naturalistic fallacy consists of defining a non-natural property like "goodness" or "happiness" in terms of natural (as opposed to spiritual) properties. Others say that the naturalistic fallacy consists of defining one property, such as "goodness" or "happiness" in terms of other properties. Others say that the naturalistic fallacy consists of defining an undefinable property. (There are serious fallacies inherent in this definition, however.) Another definition of the naturalistic fallacy defines it as occurring when two words are thought to be synonyms simply because they are used to define the same object. There is a tendency to focus on "good" as one of the words that is used to define said object. There is a relationship between the naturalistic fallacy and the is-ought problem. Sometimes, it is thought that they are one and the same. In reality, there is none good but God, which makes this a terrible problem for Atheists to make any rational statement regarding good or evil. Sometimes, the naturalistic fallacy is defined as trying to draw ethical conclusions from observations in the material realm. Sometimes, the naturalistic fallacy is defined as a claim that what is good or right is natural or inherent. Without Divine revelation, it is truly a fallacy to make any statement in regard to truth, morality, ethics, theology, Biblical study, or anything of this sort. It is impossible to know anything about ethics or morality except by Divine revelation. In fact, Agrippa's Trilemma makes all knowledge outside of Divine revelation impossible. This is because a chain of thought is as strong as its weakest link. This chain must begin with something that is absolute, but all that is available is infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. These three have exactly zero truth value.
- Logical Fallacy of Notable Effort: occurs when effort is used as proof of a claim rather than sound reasoning.
- Logical Fallacy of Political Correctness / Political Correctness Fallacy / PC Fallacy: occurs when it is assumed that something is true or right because of the political messages (based on nothing absolute) of some people who think that it is true or right.
- False Compromise: occurs when a compromise is suggested as the best solution even though there is a right position and a wrong position. EXAMPLE Theistic Evolution is a compromise that was made when the Atheist lawyer, Lyell, used the magic word, "science," to convince many people that the Earth was very old, and then the theology student, Darwin, also used the magic word, "science," to convince many people that molecules turned into people over long periods of time. Some, who wanted to conform to the world, tried to insert long ages and evolutionism into the Bible--to make a compromise between Divine revelation and human assumptions and fallacies.
- Lip Service: occurs when verbal agreement/commitment is given but action or true conviction is lacking. EXAMPLE A young man goes up to the front during the church service, confesses his adultery, and commits to living a life dedicated to the Lord. He leaves the service and goes to bed with his live-in. EXAMPLE Sandra: "I was a Christian, and I went to church service and youth group all the time. I went to prayer meetings with my parents. I even gave money to church. I don't see any evidence for God. I'm now an Atheist and I spend every free minute trying to warn others not to be fooled by religion." Roxanne: "Christian is a word that means different things to different people. Tell me about your relationship with Christ. For instance, did you experience the Presence of the Holy Spirit? Did the Spirit of Christ lead you, guide you, warn you, and teach you on a moment-by-moment basis? Were you making progress in learning to discern His Voice from all the other voices?" Sandra: "I don't know about that, but I can tell you that I never had an experience of being led by the Holy Spirit or any of that." Sandra paid lip service, but she never really knew the King of kings.
- Tokenism: occurs when verbal agreement/commitment is given, and a token effort is made, but there is no follow-through. EXAMPLE A young man goes up to the front during the church service and confesses his adultery and commits to living a life dedicated to the Lord. He leaves the service and discusses this with his live-in. They decide that they will get married and not have sex again until they are married, but they still live together. Afterward, they have sex about as often as they did before. EXAMPLE The person who has been enslaved by alcohol receives Christ as Savior. He is set free. He says, "I'm going to give up alcohol completely as soon as I finish up what's in the house."
- Argument by Denial / Paralipsis Attack / Paralepsis / Apophasis: occurs when an attack (usually ad hominem) is made through a mechanism of pretending to pass over the matter. Both paralipsis and apophasis are arguments by denial. Apophasis is mentioning by not mentioning. Paralipsis is mentioning by saying that it should not be mentioned. These are not always fallacies, but they are always ways of distancing the communicator from what the communicator is saying. EXAMPLE “I don’t want to bring up the fact that you don’t have a degree.” EXAMPLE Richard Dawkins: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).” When Richard says, “but I’d rather not consider that,” he is using paralipsis to cover his ad hominem fallacy and his appeal to ridicule fallacy.
- Diminished Responsibility Fallacy: occurs when it is falsely claimed that the offender is less responsible because of some factor. EXAMPLE Sandra: “I’m not responsible if I don’t really know that God exists. I would need to see some evidence first, so it’s not my fault. God can’t judge me for that if He’s just.” Roxanne: “Didn’t you know that when I’m speaking to you I’m not speaking my own words? God says that you are without excuse if you refuse to acknowledge Him after He sent me to talk to you plus He gave you all the evidence in His creation. Had I not spoken to you about this, your responsibility would have been less.” Sandra: “No. I just can’t know whether God exists. He should have done better.” The reality is that those who are committed to following Christ also struggle with the fleshly nature that doesn’t want to acknowledge Christ and His leading and wants to rationalize it away and not give Him the glory. Yet, each of us is responsible.
- Contrarian Argument Fallacy: occurs when a contrary argument is presented merely to be disagreeable, but there is no rational reason given for the argument. It seems that it has become popular to troll for arguments just to get a reaction. Trolling on the Internet often involves pretense. Perhaps the people who used to deface buildings are now finding joy in disrupting communication on the Internet.
Fallacies of Omission (leaving out important information)
- Logical Fallacy of Stacking the Deck / Card Staking / cherry picking / cherry picking Data / Suppressed Evidence / Selective Evidence / Cover Up / Fallacy of Incomplete Evidence / Argument from Selective Observation / Argument by Half-Truth / Fallacy of Exclusion / Ignoring the Counter Evidence / One-Sided Assessment / Slanting (a type of) / One-Sidedness / Eclecticism / Eclectic Fallacy / Exclusion / Concealed Evidence / Ignoring the Counterevidence / Under-Reporting the Facts: occurs when someone consciously or unconsciously eliminates or is unaware of information that is relevant to the conclusion. As can be discerned from the various names for this fallacy, it can take place at the point of observation, recording, organizing, or reporting evidence. Eclecticism is the idea that it is possible to select the good evidence and discard the bad evidence. Invariably, this selection of evidence will be guided, probably unconsciously, by presuppositions that are determined by inner paradigms (worldviews or fake-realities). In other words, the selection will be biased by circular reasoning. EXAMPLE Sandy: "Radiometric dating proves that the Earth is much older than a few thousand years." Rocky: "Were you aware that the scientists stack the deck by cherry picking the dates that they want and throwing out all the dates that disagree with their favorite theories? The dates that are determined by radiometric dating are routinely discarded if they are not the expected dates. This is a huge problem, but students aren't informed of these problems until they are so thoroughly brainwashed that they are willing to accept just about anything as evidence for evolution." http://creation.com/flaws-in-dating-the-earth-as-ancient - http://creation.com/radioactive-dating-anomalies
- Ambiguity Effect: occurs when several options are given, but most are left with an ambiguous description. The tendency is to consider the more carefully explained options and to dismiss the ones that seem ambiguous.
- McNamara Fallacy: occurs when a conclusion is made based solely on quantitative observations and ignoring all others. The reason given is often that these other observations cannot be proven. “The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is suicide.” Daniel Yankelovich
- Head in the Sand / Ostrich Fallacy: occurs when a problem is ignored. EXAMPLE Sandra: “It’s not necessary to know about the facts in support of creation. All kids need to know is that they believe in the Bible.” Roxanne: “You are sending your children into a den of wolves without any defense. They don’t even know Christ personally. They don’t even know the sound of His Voice. They don’t even know that God speaks through the Bible. They are not filled with the Spirit. All they have is a rationalized faith that is worthless against this enemy.” Sandy has his head in the sand. He personally is too wrapped up in himself to spend any time learning the facts. His kids won’t know that the professors are blowing smoke, because they have not been taught. He ignores the fact that the enemy of our souls is successfully using lies about science and logic to convert 80% of Christian college students into Atheists. EXAMPLE Sandra: “It’s not necessary to know anything about logic. Logic is a tool of the devil.” Roxanne: “Are you saying that God is irrational, or that belief in God is irrational?” Sandra: “Faith has nothing to do with being rational.” Roxanne: “God is telling you and me, through the Bible, that faith is a gift of God? Actually, the Bible doesn’t say anything. God says it through the Bible. There is a different kind of faith, sort of a rationalized human faith. On the other hand, real faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The Greek, rhema, is translated as “word,” but it means utterance. Faith comes by the utterance of God. That is why it is the evidence of things not seen. If God didn’t say it, then it would not be evidence. If you don’t stand in the Presence of God and listen to His direction in your life, you cannot have real faith. But since we hear His Voice, there is evidence.” Sandy has his head in the sand. He personally is too wrapped up in himself to spend any time learning the facts. His kids won’t know that the professors are blowing smoke, because they have not been taught. He ignores the fact that the enemy of our souls is successfully using lies about science and logic to convert 80% of Christian college students into Atheists.
- Suppression of the Agent: occurs when the person or thing doing the acting is not specified in such a way that it creates a false impression, acts as a hedging mechanism, avoids detection of what is really being implied, or commits some other fallacy. This is one of the problems of using passive voice. Passive voice makes it hard to identify the agent.
- Fading Affect Bias / FAB: occurs when the details/information associated with negative autobiographical emotional experiences fade from memory more quickly than the details/information associated with positive emotional experiences. In other words, when one remembers the details of those events that describe one's life, one is more likely to remember the positive things about one's past than the negative things. FAB becomes a fallacy when the remembered details are used as proof of one's own goodness or the goodness of one's life.
- What I Don't Know Is Not Important / Unteachable: occurs when arrogance or laziness cause a lack of desire to move forward in understanding. EXAMPLE Sandy: “I don’t know about the Scriptural order of the Church, but I don’t think that is important to my Christian walk.” Rocky: “Do you think that God might have had a reason for designing His Body a certain way?” EXAMPLE Sandy: “I don’t know about the Scriptural order of the Church, but I don’t think that is important to my Christian walk.” Rocky: “Do you think that God might have had a reason for designing His Body a certain way?” When the Holy Spirit speaks to us, our place is to listen and to learn.
- Argument by Selective Refutation: occurs when several arguments have been put forward to support a given conclusion, but the strong arguments are ignored while the weak ones are refuted. Often, when two people are discussing an issue that has thoroughly discussed by others, one person will bring up a strong argument. The other person, rather than dealing with the strong argument, will pull a very weak argument from a book or other source and address that. This is a form of straw man. It is also a red herring.
- Logical Fallacy of A-Priorism: occurs when reasoning begins with abstract principles to come up with facts rather than beginning with facts that lead the way to conclusions. When a concept is the starting point, any evidence against that concept is discarded without any rational reason for discarding the evidence other than that it conflicts with the desired concept. This is often mixed in with a failure to state the starting assumptions. If, for instance, naturalism (no God) is silently assumed, then all evidence for God must be discarded by some means. This usually happens outside of the consciousness of the person committing the fallacy. EXAMPLE Sandy: "Prove that God exists." Rocky: "It's impossible to prove anything to a person who will not objectively look at the evidence. God says that He made Himself so obvious through the things that He created that anyone who refuses to acknowledge Him is without excuse. I know that Jesus Christ is God because He has revealed that to me personally, and He leads me and teaches me moment by moment. You can verify this to yourself by seeking Him sincerely in humility with a will to do His will and to submit yourself to Him as your God." Sandy: "That's all personal experience and I'm not going to submit myself to any God."
- Audiatur Et Altera Pars / Failure to State Assumptions: occurs when a logical argument is stated without divulging the assumptions (things believed to be true without evidence) or the premises (premises must be known to be true) on which the argument is based. A deductive argument always requires a number of core assumptions or else Divine revelations. When assumptions are used, these assumptions are called premises, and are the assumptions the argument is built on. Premises are the reasons for accepting the conclusion. These premises may have been derived from previous reasoning that had its own premises. However, that reasoning also has premises. Unless something concrete is found, all premises are simply assumptions. They have zero truth value. It is a fallacy to give a conclusion without going down to the core assumption and admitting that it is just an assumption with no truth value. Without Divine revelation, all human conclusions are based on assumptions. Eventually, truth must be based on something beyond an assumption. Assumptions are arbitrary unless they can be proven to be true, in which case, they are not really assumptions any more. They would be facts. The only way to prove anything to be true is through pure Divine revelation. (You can read more about this here.) EXAMPLE Discussions of morality or ethics must be based on either assumptions or Divine revelation. Either source needs to be disclosed or the discussion is irrational. One of the problems is that most assumptions are buried and hidden. Assumptions happen naturally in the human mind without conscious effort. Your own assumptions are generally not something you think about. In fact, you are likely to think of them as being part of reality, which they are not. For this reason, you probably never consciously think about them or admit them.
- Ignoring Historical Example: occurs when the lessons that God has given in the past are not applied to the present. If we don’t know what has happened in the past, we have trouble understanding what is happening in the present. Failures of the past are lessons. Successes of the past are lessons. God can speak to us through history (His story). Reading through the Old Testament history, the Holy Spirit can speak into our minds the applications of these truths. We see the scoffers of the past and compare them to the scoffers of the presence and see that not too much has changed. We see the people of God being sidetracked on many things, things in which God has not called them to walk. We see the many times when decisions were made without asking God what to do along with the disaster that follows. In the same way, we can look at more recent history and see the Hand of God. However, people with personal agendas have stripped out most of that from the Secular textbooks, so you have to dig deeper to find out what really happened. EXAMPLE The Hebrew people decided that they needed to serve their idols rather than God, repeating the same mistake that had gotten them into trouble in the first place. They did this by re-writing history to suit themselves.
- Overlooking Secondary Consequences: occurs when only the immediate effects of a decision are taken into account while other ramifications are ignored. EXAMPLE “It’s my body. I can have an abortion if I like.” This statement doesn’t take into account that a baby is being murdered. It ignores the guilt of this act and the effect on the mother: hardening of the heart, the abortion-breast cancer link, the abortion-depression link, the abortion-suicide links, risk to future ability to have children, or Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS), which may be emotional, physical, psychological, social, moral, or medical.
- Uncontrolled Factors Fallacy: occurs when some factors are compared between two or more groups, but other factors are left out, which means the results could be due to those factors rather than the factors that were counted for comparison. In other words, you haven’t learned anything if you have uncontrolled factors. EXAMPLE “Looking at the demographics, there is no difference between the behavior of teens who define themselves as Christian and teens who don’t define themselves as Christians. Therefore, Christianity doesn’t make any difference in behavior.” It would be interesting to bring in factors like frequency and length of prayer, fervency of prayer, desire to serve Christ, understanding that the Bible is the Word of God without error, whether the teen has a real, living experience with Christ in which Christ leads the teen moment-by-moment, whether there is a firm commitment to serving Christ, time spent per week reading Scripture, daily family devotions, ability to speak freely in the home about doubts, fears, and other faith issues, and experience of the power of God to impart righteousness.
- Missing Link: occurs when reasoning leaves out critical information (missing link) that would change the outcome of the reasoning. EXAMPLE “We can line up fossils according to similarity. Therefore, one-celled simple living things evolved into ever more complex living things until we have all the variety we see today.” There are many missing links in this argument. One of them is the fact that we can line up 100 pieces of assorted kitchen utensils and silverware (or any other objects) according to similarity. This proves nothing. Another is the fact that Darwinism predicted finding many transitional fossils between kinds (families) of living things. To date, not one indisputable example has been found. Another missing link is the fact that a common designer would explain similarities and many of the designs that don't fit the molecules-to-man story. Missing from this argument is the fact that God says that He created all things. One thing that this argument fails to point out (missing link) is that the entire argument is actually just creative storytelling based on arbitrary assumptions, and the competing account is by Divine revelation. Therefore, the entire argument comes down to made-up stuff versus Divine revelation.
- Logical Fallacy of Moving the Goal Posts / Raising the Bar: occurs when the criteria of proof keeps moving repeatedly. The goal posts keep moving for what would falsify evolution. Several have been published, but when they have been met, they went away and new ones were established.
- Gravity Game Fallacy: occurs when there is no competing proposition, yet the validity of a proposition is considered unacceptable even after it has been proven repeatedly and there is no other competing proposition. Keep in mind that this is inductive reasoning, and, if there were two explanations for the same test results, it would be irrational to say that one of the explanations commits the gravity game fallacy. As the Law of Gravity has been proven, the various theories of gravity have not been proven. They are propositions about what has been proven, but these propositions have not been proven. The gravity game is named for the way that a child will knock a ball off a table and watch it drop. The child will then seemingly test to see if gravity always works. What it proven is that the ball drops and how it drops, not why it drops. The fallacy is to continue to believe that something is likely to happen after it has been tested repeatedly and never found not to happen without any exception. At a certain point, you stop denying The Law of Gravity and The Law of Biogenesis. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "You said, you asserted that life cannot come something that’s not alive. Are you sure? Are you sure enough to say that we should not continue to look for signs of water and life on Mars, that that’s a waste? You’re sure enough to claim that? That is an extraordinary claim that we want to investigate." We cannot say for certain that life could not possibly ever spring up spontaneously, just as we cannot say for certain that things cannot fall up. However, the chance is remote for either one of these. To spend tax dollars researching either one is a waste.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument by Demanding Impossible Perfection / Impossible Conditions / Demanding Impossible Evidence: occurs when impossible evidence is demanded to believe or disbelieve something. This fallacy is a type of argument from ignorance. The fallacy may take the form of stating that a certain thing can only be proved or falsified by some standard that is impossible. Often, the evidence asked for is a form of straw man argument. At the same time, it is not a fallacy to demand absolute proof before believing something absolutely. It is not a fallacy to reject any assumptions or stories as proof--we don't even have to accept hidden assumptions. We can ferret those hidden fallacies out, expose them, and reject them. Using fallacies, assumptions, or stories as proof is still always irrational. EXAMPLE Member of the audience: "What, if anything, would ever change your mind [about Bill's dogmatic belief in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story.]?" Bill Nye: "We would just need one piece of evidence. . . . We would need evidence that the Universe is not expanding. We would need evidence that the stars appear to be far away but they’re not. . . . We would need evidence that somehow you can reset atomic clocks and keep neutrons from becoming protons." Bill is applying the question to his belief in the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story. He is trying to create the false impression that he has an open mind. None of these criteria for falsification is necessary or even helpful in falsifying the story. If the Universe is expanding (it may not be), it neither proves the big-bang story nor falsifies God, creation, a young Earth or the flood, but it would be impossible, with what we now know scientifically to disprove that Universe is expanding. The stars are far away, but that fact neither proves the big-bang story nor falsifies God, creation, a young Earth or the flood. The problems with the so-called "atomic clocks" are much deeper that Bill Nye implies by this demand. Bill Nye mentioned two other criteria. Bill Nye: "We would need the fossil that swam from one layer to another." "We would need evidence that rock layers can somehow form in just 4,000 years . . ." Both those criteria have been met, and yet Bill has not changed his mind.
- Logical Fallacy of Unfalsifiable Claims / Unfalsifiability / Untestibility / Undisprovable Statements: occurs when a proposition is presented with a claim that it is falsifiable, but the proposition is maintained as true no matter what evidence is presented. In other words, it is a fallacy to claim that an unfalsifiable proposition is falsifiable. Keep in mind that the fact that something is falsifiable cannot prove that something is true. The fact that something is genuinely not falsifiable doesn't prove it false either. For instance, if you tell someone that your toe hurts you, and it does, the other person cannot test whether you feel pain--yet you do. However, it is a fallacy to claim that something is falsifiable when it is not. It is a political move to try to create the illusion of open-mindedness. The fallacy may take the form of stating that a certain thing can only be proved or falsified by some standard that is impossible, in which case, it would be an impossible perfection fallacy. EXAMPLE Evolution has proven to be unfalsifiable, yet it is claimed to be falsifiable. The body of "knowledge" surrounding it has always claimed that it would be falsifiable by certain criteria. When those criteria are met, the story is changed slightly and new criteria are established. FALLACY ABUSE Rocky: "I know Jesus Christ personally, and you have the opportunity to know Him too. Everyone who seeks Him in sincerity, respect, and submission does eventually find Him." Sandy: "That can't be verified. No one can falsify that, so it's not rational for you to experience it." Sandy is committing fallacy abuse. He is committing a fallacy by falsely asserting that Rocky is committing a fallacy. It is a fallacy to claim that something that cannot be falsified is fallacious.
- The Invincible Ignorance Fallacy: occurs when real evidence and real reason are ignored. EXAMPLE Rocky: “You don’t have to take my word for it. You can know Christ. He is real, a Person, not a theology, feeling, religion, or any such thing. All you need to do is to pray to Him in sincerity, respect, and submission with a will to do His will.” Sandy: “You need to prove that God exists. I want to see physical evidence using repeatable experiments that I can do to personally verify your theory about a god.” Sandy isn't willing to look at the evidence. She is committing the fallacy of invincible ignorance.
- Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Ignorance / Argument from Ignorance / Argument from a Lack of Evidence / Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam: occurs either when it is concluded that something is false because there is no proof that it is not false, or when it is concluded that something is true because there is no proof that it is not true. If you personally have no evidence, the best you can say is that your mind is open and you just don't know. EXAMPLE Rocky: "To this day, scientists have not been able to create life from non-life. Based on this, it's safe to say that spontaneous life didn't pop into existence on its own by natural events. This is strong physical evidence for the Creator God." Sandy: "That is a clear example of an argument from ignorance." "Science will find an answer to this great mystery one day." (Actually, with all the effort and money put into trying to create life and the growing knowledge of just how complex life actually is, this would not be a bad circumstantial argument, but why would anyone use such a weak argument when there is a very strong one available. Evolutionists always hold out a hope that molecules-to-man evolution is possible, but they never try to prove that it actually took place. There just is no evidence of that--which is the point of this fallacy and why those arguments are not valid. The only reason you might mention these things is that people who believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story make believe that there is all kinds of evidence, so you may want to refute that. However, the real reason that we know that God created everything in six days a few thousand years ago is the God tells us so. We experience His logos/rhema, His utterance, when we read Scripture. He also tells us that the Scripture cannot be broken, so we have first-hand knowledge. Why would we use inferior evidence? Now, if you, as a Christian, don't have this first-hand experience of Jesus Christ, you can have that first-hand experience simply by acknowledging Him and persistently seeking Him with sincerity, humility, and submission.) EXAMPLE "Absence of proof is proof of presence." EXAMPLE "Absence of proof is proof of absence." EXAMPLE "You can't prove that God doesn't exist, therefore, He does exist." For a follower of Christ, it is never necessary to commit this fallacy, though the fallacy is often committed. If a person knows Jesus and follows Jesus (obviously not the same as claiming to be Christian), then Jesus is leading and teaching that person. This disproves Atheism. But, what of the poor Atheist who is not being led by Christ? How is the Atheist to know that Christ exists? Everyone who persistently seeks (a focus of the mind) Christ with respect, submission, and sincerity will find Christ. God reveals that those who refuse to do this have this motivation: they love darkness rather than light. EXAMPLE "You can't prove that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story didn't happen; therefore, it happened." Actually, those who follow Christ know that this story didn't happen. They know this by Divine revelation. However, if this were not the case, the story would still not be shown to be true. (See universal negative fallacy.)
- Logical Fallacy of Ad Ignorantiam Question: occurs when a question (sometimes unanswerable such as a request to prove a universal negative) is used as proof of a claim rather than giving a reason to believe the claim. The logical fallacy of ad ignorantiam question claims that something is either true or false based on another person's ability or lack of ability to answer a certain question. If someone makes a statement that is a universal negative or other statement cannot be proven, there is no fallacy in asking for proof of any claim. It is also not a fallacy to ask a question that points out that a dogmatic belief cannot be defended. This fallacy occurs only when a question (that can't be answered, at least not at the moment) is taken as proof that a claim is true (or false). This is a very common form of ad ignorantiam argument, so it gets its own definition. EXAMPLE "God exists! What proof do you have that He doesn't?" Of course, no one can prove that God doesn't exist, but that is not why we believe. We believe because we know Him personally.
- God of the Gaps Fallacy: occurs when an argument from ignorance is used to prove the existence of God. This is generally pointing to the gaps in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. Many of these gaps make the entire story impossible and require that additional stories be made up (stories known as ad hoc rescue fallacies). The gaps only prove that it is irrational to claim that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is scientifically known. Who knows whether some of these seemingly insurmountable problems with the story may actually be solved? Christians never need to resort to fallacies because God has made His necessary truth obvious. Those who want to disprove God but resort to fallacies since they are trying to disprove truth. Concerning science, God has made His existence and his nature obvious through the things that He has created. There is no need to resort to arguments from ignorance. Jesus Christ also makes Himself known to everyone who genuinely and persistently seeks Him in respect, submission, sincerity. In fact, every person who follows Christ is led by Christ. We know Christ personally. He leads us moment-by-moment. And He reveals to us that the Bible is His Word and that it is without error. Then, He speaks to us through the Bible. And He speaks to us through others who are speaking by the Holy Spirit. "No on can say that Jesus is accursed by the Holy Spirit. And no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit." So this fallacy is never needed and Christians ought to avoid it. EXAMPLE "If life never comes from non-life by natural means, then life must come from supernatural means (God). Life never comes from non-life. Therefore life must come from God." While the notion that life could come from non-life is a bazaar hypothesis, the anything is possible fallacy tells us that it is still possible. And the proof by Naturalism fallacy tells us that the naturalistic (no God) solution is always the best answer. So, a confirmed believer in the sacred cow story of Big-Bang-Billions-or-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man would claim that life had to come from non-life. However, faith comes by hearing the rhema (Utterance) of God. God speaks into our innermost minds. When you look at creation, when you do science, you cannot help but hear His Voice. However, some people refuse to acknowledge Him because they love darkness rather than light.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument from Silence / Argumentum Ex Silentio: occurs when a conclusion is drawn from the absence of comment. This can be applied to a conversation or debate, if one person doesn't answer the other person's point, this does not prove the other person's point. Historians often fall prey to this fallacy, when an event or person is mentioned in one source but is not found in other writings. Some historians then make the mistake of claiming that the person never lived or that the event never took place. EXAMPLE "We can't find a record of King David anywhere but in the Bible. Had he actually existed, he would have been mentioned in other ancient texts." Now, evidence has been found, pointing out the fallacious nature of this type of thinking.
- Logical Fallacy of No True Scotsman (a type of stacking the deck): occurs when someone tries to place artificial limits on what will be accepted as a true statement. The no true scientist fallacy is a type of this fallacy. EXAMPLE Sandy: "No scientist believes in creation." Rocky: "Well, Werner Gitt is a scientist and he believes in creation." Sandy: "He obviously doesn't count as a true scientist because he believes in creation. No true scientist believes in creation." This is a very common argument of anti-creationists. One could tend to believe that someone is perhaps teaching this fallacy in schools somewhere, it is that common. Of course, "believes in creation" is often swapped out for "believes in a young Earth", "rejects billions of years", "rejects big bang", "rejects molecules-to-man evolution", "rejects global warming", and the list goes on.
- No True Scientist Fallacy: occurs when a subset of all scientists is selected, and then an attribute of those selected scientists is added to the definition of the word, "scientists." This is a targeted application of the no true Scotsman fallacy.
- Fallacy of Opposition: occurs when it is asserted that anyone who disagrees is not credible—the fact that they disagree is proof of that fact. EXAMPLE Sandra: “Show me one article written by a PhD scientist that refutes evolution [meaning the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story].” Roxanne: “You can go to Creation.com, AnswersinGenesis.org, or ICR.org. There are thousands of articles if that’s what you’re looking for." Sandra: “I refuse to look at anything on those sites. They are not credible. If they knew anything, they would be supporting science [meaning the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story]. EXAMPLE Roxanne: "If evolution is true, there is no need for Christ. We know, from what God is saying through Scripture, that sin is the cause of death. Christ is the cure. Molecules-to-man evolution puts death before sin. Evolution, as it is believed by some to have happened, is a cruel process where only the meanest and toughest survive and the weak are exterminated. That is not what my God tells me through Scripture." Sandra: "That's ridiculously hypocritical. It also means you don't know a thing about evolution. Christian Evolutionists believe God used evolution to create the Earth and guided evolution [meaning molecules to man] along. It has nothing to do with Christ." Roxanne: "You are assuming that I don't know about evolutionism's claims just because I don't believe the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood story.” This is the essence of the fallacy of opposition. "You disagree with me. Therefore, you know nothing." FALLACY ABUSE EvoWiki, giving an example of the Fallacy of Opposition: “'The only reasons for excluding intelligent design from science are self-serving ones. Philosophers of science who remain fully committed to evolutionary theory, but know the difference between a good and a bad argument admit as much.' In other words, people that do not consider ID to be scientific are themselves using wrong argumentation according to William Dembski.” [This was given as an example of the fallacy of opposition] The thing that exposes EvoWiki's misunderstanding of this fallacy is that William Dembski didn’t say they were wrong because they oppose ID. He pointed out their reasoning is not rational but based on self-serving biases. There is no fallacy involved in pointing out that someone else is using a fallacy. EvoWiki, in this case, is committing fallacy abuse. The problem is that the people who go to a site like EvoWiki and read a definition of a fallacy that is written like this may get the erroneous impression that they are reading something that is supposed to be rational. While they can't understand it, they think that they are supposed to, so they shoehorn it into their worldview and end up losing the ability to know the difference between reality and make-believe.
- Frozen Abstraction Fallacy: occurs when a personal view of what a given thing is (a subset of the class), for what the thing actually is (the wider class). This is very similar to or the same as the no true Scotsman fallacy. EXAMPLE "Only those scientists who accept the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story as fact are scientists in a real sense." Note that the wider class would include all scientists; however, the personal view of what that class ought to be is used to filter out all the scientists except those who hold certain unproven presuppositions to be true. EXAMPLE The No Child Left Behind program was designed to make certain that every U.S. child would be educated. However, it only covered government-run schools, and failed to help all the other ways that children are educated outside of the government system.
- Falsified Inductive Generalization: occurs when a class is defined too narrowly to omit certain members that are removed to make a point about the class. This is a form of circular reasoning. It occurs when a wide abstraction (such as scientists) is restricted to a narrow set of particulars (only those scientists who believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story) and then it is concluded that an attribute of these particulars (the scientists without the thousands who reject the story) must be definitive of the abstraction (scientists), thus negating the entire principled structure underlying the abstraction (scientists are people who do science: observe, record, make conclusions based on observations, etc.). Falsified inductive generalization looks a lot like the no true Scotsman fallacy or the frozen abstraction fallacy. It is one of the ways that a term can be defined too narrowly, and it is a persuasive definition fallacy. The no true scientist fallacy is a type of this fallacy that has become very popular among zealots of the Secular Humanist religion. Falsified inductive generalization is the counter fallacy to package dealing or equating opposites. Falsified inductive generalization omits part of a class. Package dealing and equating opposites fallacies include things that are not part of the class.
- Logical Fallacy of Argument from the Negative: occurs when someone asserts that if one conclusion is false, then another one is automatically true. This is very similar to the black-and-white fallacy.
- Logical Fallacy of A Dicto Simpliciter Ad Dictum Secundum Quid / Accident Fallacy: occurs when a rule is applied generally, ignoring the fact that there are exceptions to the rule; an exception is applied in circumstances where a generalization should apply (converse accident). EXAMPLE "Scientists have the rocks and fossils tested using radiometric dating methods and all the dates concur." (The logical fallacy here is that the exceptions and occurrences of cherry picking of data, which are many, are not mentioned.)
- Converse Accident / Reverse Accident: occurs when an entire rule is rejected based on the exceptions from a rule. EXAMPLE “God doesn’t answer prayer. I have never gotten an answer to prayer.” This person prayed once just to show that God doesn’t answer prayer. He prayed for a new Porsche to appear before him. It didn’t happen. There are many exceptions to God’s promise to answer prayer. Many of them have to do with our own obedience to Him or our attitude or whether or not He sanctions the prayer.
- Logical Fallacy of Best-in-Field: occurs when it is assumed that the "best" theory is accurate or even a good theory. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "So, everybody, just take a little while and grasp this fundamental idea. It’s how you fit in with nature around you. So, as the world changed, as it did for the ancient dinosaurs, they were taken out by a worldwide fireball, apparently caused by an impact." Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of unsupported assertion. The fireball story is just a story. It ought to be stated as a belief without any proof that this was the cause of the death of the dinosaurs. "That’s the best theory we have." Bill Nye is using the best-in-field fallacy. Here, Bill gives his proof that this is what happened to the dinosaurs. His proof is that this is the best theory that they have. That is a fallacy. It proves nothing. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the dinosaurs gradually went extinct, largely by being killed by humans.
- Abductive Fallacy / Retroduction Fallacy / Retroductive Fallacy: occurs when a best-in-field fallacy is committed. The conclusion of a good abductive argument is merely the best explanation we know of. Who gets to define best? If abduction is presented as deduction, a lie has been told.
- Logical Fallacy of Denialism: occurs when known reality is ignored or denied. EXAMPLE Rocky: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. If you pray to Jesus Christ, He will make Himself real to you and you will be saved." Sandy: "I don't care about those Bible verses. I'm a good person. There is no such thing as sin or Hell, and every person is basically good. No one has to be saved." Sandy is in denial of the facts. To qualify as denialism, it must be a denial of things that can be defined as known facts, and the facts must have first been presented. It is a fact that God speaks through the Bible and through believers who are speaking by the Holy Spirit. When anyone will not acknowledge what God is saying, that person is denying Him.
- Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification: occurs when a complex concept is reduced to a subset of its components as if it represented the whole. This often results in an oversimplified understanding of causes and possible solutions. It can also lead to questions being answered in ways that are too simple. That is, when a complex question is asked that requires several answers, a single simplified answer may be provided, but that answer isn't helpful. As with many fallacies, reductionism is often used as a tool for thinking, since the human mind is so limited. We usually can’t think about everything at once. A model, or abstraction, abstracts certain elements so that we can think about those elements and try to do analysis. However, the problem is that we sometimes forget that the model is not reality itself, and then we add it as confirmation bias to prove to ourselves that some parts of our paradigm/fake-inner-reality are real, though they are not. EXAMPLE “The human body is just a combination of a few dollars’ worth of chemicals.” EXAMPLE “The fetus is just a blob of tissue.” EXAMPLE “The Constitution is merely a piece of paper.” EXAMPLE Sandy: "Of course life can form by random chance. Richard Dawkin’s Weasel program proves that." Rocky: "Richard Dawkins' Weasel program actually doesn’t even replicate the part of reality that it was supposed to because it not only abstracts a subset, but it also adds in a mechanism that is never found in nature, a component that targets the desired string of letters and saves them if they fit the target. There is no mechanism like this in nature." Richard Dawkins' Weasel program is a joke of irrationality. It's a wonder that anyone could take it seriously.
- Persimplex Responsum Fallacy / Very Simple Answer Fallacy / Very Simple Solution Fallacy: occurs when a single and simple answer is provided to a very complex problem that requires answers to multiple questions. Sandy: “In the beginning there was nothing. Then, nothing compressed to a dot smaller than a period on this page. Then it exploded and became everything.” What is the method by which Sandy thinks that he knows this? God says that He did it. He doesn't give us the details about how He did it, but we can see, from Creation, that there is nothing simple about God. FALLACY ABUSE Sandy: "OK, then, how do you think that the Universe came into being." Rocky: "Actually, I know how it came into being because God has revealed it to me. It came into being by God speaking it into existence. That doesn't give the detail about how that exactly works, but it does say something about the power of God's Utterance." Sandy: "There you go. God did it. That's such a simple answer for you, isn't it?" Rocky: "It is very foolish to begin to speculate beyond what you know and then call that knowledge or science. With deep history such as the origins of the Universe, we go beyond what we can observe. There are only two possible ways we can say what happened. One is arbitrary assumptions or storytelling. The other is Divine revelation. Can you think of another way to know what cannot be analyzed using scientific method?"
Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification:
Taboo Fallacy: occurs when certain subjects, standpoints, people, or concepts are off limits for thinking, then other options are assumed the default. Note that taboos are a fallacy when they are used to persuade by eliminating conflicting points of view with taboos. Otherwise, they are simply a tactic of message control. However, message control is usually for the purpose of promoting only one side of an issue. EXAMPLE “Don’t discuss your Christian beliefs around me. Now, back to the subject of the Big Bang.” EXAMPLE Law suits are brought if Creation science is taught in schools, yet the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story receives almost no resistance. By making Creation taboo and teaching a lie as if it were a fact, indoctrination takes place in public schools.
occurs when someone reduces a complex concept to a subset of its components as if it represented the whole. As with many fallacies, reductionism is often used as a tool for thinking, since the human mind is so limited. We usually can't think about everything at once. A model, or abstraction, abstracts certain elements so that we can think about those elements and try to do analysis. However, the problem is that we sometimes forget that the model is not reality itself, and then we add it as confirmation bias to prove to ourselves that some parts of our paradigm/fake-inner-reality are real, though they are not. EXAMPLE "The human body is just a combination of a few dollars' worth of chemicals." EXAMPLE "The fetus is just a blob of tissue." EXAMPLE "The Constitution is merely a piece of paper."
Tactics and Mind Games (using deceptive tricks of various kinds that go beyond statements)
- Message control: occurs when attempts are made to keep any conflicting information, opinion, or comment from being made. The ACLU is actively involved in message control, limiting the information about the severe problems with the story of evolution as much as possible.
- Sanctioning the Devil Fallacy: occurs when a debate or discussion is avoided on the rationale that debating or discussing would give undue credit to an opinion. This is a form of the message control tactic. It is also a form of declaring victory fallacy. In effect, it is saying, “I’m absolutely right. They are absolutely wrong. End of discussion!” That would be a summary dismissal. As a side note, one would think that the fallacy would be named “Avoiding Sanctioning the Devil,” since the fallacy is avoiding sanctioning. EXAMPLE “We are not going to give those heretics a platform.” Keep in mind that the word, "heretic," has to do with causing division, not with doctrine. Speculative doctrine can be divisive, however. In fact, most denominations/divisions in the Church exist because of speculative doctrine of one kind or another. EXAMPLE Those who believe the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story tend to avoid open-forum discussions with those who don’t believe it. They have the political advantage and seem to prefer to present both sides of the issue from a slanted viewpoint, often to a captive and intimidated audience. Bill Nye took a lot of heat from the Secular Humanist community for debating Ken Ham on Creation-Flood versus the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story simply because the Secular Humanists have been able to control the message to a large extent.
- Dominating the Conversation: occurs when one person or group of persons attempts to eliminate opinions other than their own by talking non-stop or interrupting constantly. A filibuster is a tactic by a minority party in politics, and is more of a way to stop an action by force than a deceptive practice. Each use of this tactic would need to be evaluated for other fallacies. Dominating the conversation is a deceptive practice, or tactic, of message control. EXAMPLE A talk-show host has a guest, and there is sharp disagreement. The guest tries to talk over the host and the host tries to talk over the guest. EXAMPLE There is a group discussion and one of the people in the discussion begins interrupting whenever any of the other participants say anything with which they personally disagree. Eventually the other participants keep talking even though the other person is talking over them, so the person interrupting raises his/her voice and both talk together, so that no one can discern what either of them is saying. EXAMPLE A rally is held in the public square and a speaker is shouted down by a small group of protestor with megaphones continually repeating a simplistic chant, usually a rhyme that goes, “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! And then a line that rhymes with Ho!” The poetry is sad, but the other message cannot be heard and evaluated and that's all that counts when knowing the truth is not the goal.
- Spamming: occurs when one side of an argument is stated universally across many forms of communication to the exclusion of the other sides of the argument. This is a form of message control and the opposite side of quenching. EXAMPLE If you use a search engine, for instance, Google, to search on anything related to the creation versus evolution debate, you will find one or two pages that favor creation and all the rest of the pages will favor evolution. This is interesting since the population is about equally divided on these two issues. What is really interesting is the preponderance of Atheistic pages among the search results when believers in atheistic philosophy represent such a small portion of society. What the cause of this imbalance is would be hard to determine, but the fact that it exists indicates tremendous effort on the part of the Atheistic community.
- Quenching: occurs when a deliberate attempt is made to keep any opinions other than the favored opinion from receiving any attention rather than rational discussion. This is a form of message control and the opposite side of spamming. EXAMPLE Self-Declared Atheist, Jerry Coyne: "... he [Bill Nye] should just continue to write and talk about the issue on his own, and not debate creationists. By so doing, he gives them credibility simply by appearing beside them on the platform." The debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham was met with great resistance from the Atheistic community. This is one example. There used to be substantial debate on this issue. The evolutionist didn't do well. Then the people who refuse to acknowledge God began refusing to debate decades ago as if an agreement had been made among the people who refuse to acknowledge God that they would not debate Creationists. While debates have no effect on reality and generally are won by the more skilled debater rather than the one who is right, evolutionism does much better when it can sensor the information presented.
- Propaganda: occurs when a massive amount of disinformation is put out supporting a certain view without giving any alternative view or showing the problems with the favored view, repeating a false or unproven message through many outlets (for instance, museums, schools, seminars, news, movies, songs, Internet trolls, disproportionate representations in webpages, and even churches). This is a form of spamming. Evolution, old Earth, relativistic morality, concepts of a powerless god or many gods, dependence on rationalism as the basis of logic rather than revelation, Naturalism, Materialism, and the concept of supposed error in Scripture being propagated through museums, schools, seminars, news, movies, songs, Internet trolls, disproportionate representations in webpages, and even churches. EXAMPLE PBS show, Evolution.
- Subversion: occurs when attempts are made to subvert loyalty or belief. EXAMPLES The public schools and Universities have systems and teachings in place that result in students feeling pressured to commit sexual sins. When the young people yield to the pressure, their faith is subverted. Baalim taught Balak that he could subvert Israel and take away their blessing by having Balak's young women seduce the Israelites.
- Needling: occurs when one person tries to make another person angry rather than dealing with the issues being discussed.
- Infiltration / Hostile Takeover: occurs when an organization is infiltrated or taken over by those opposed to the organization's purpose. Non-Christians have infiltrated the Christian churches and organizations with various motivations. A common battle cry is, "If you can't beat them, join them and then beat them." EXAMPLE At one time, most, if not all, major universities were Christian, but they were subverted from within. At one time, both the YMCA and the YWCA were Christian organizations but they were subverted from within.
- Intimidation: occurs when any of the many forms of intimidation tactics are used rather than rational reasoning. This is not to be confused with the logical fallacy of proof by intimidation / argument from intimidation. The movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and the book, Slaughter of the Dissidents, give many examples.
- Argument by Question: occurs when a question is asked that isn’t easily answered. It is an argument from ignorance. This tactic is often used in front of an audience, since the audience is able to understand the question but is sometimes not able to understand the answer. It usually takes longer to answer a question than to ask the question. There are several related fallacies, including tossing the elephant, failure to state, and argument from ignorance.
- Argument by Rhetorical Question: occurs when a question is asked, but an answer isn’t expected. The question is asked to make a statement rather than to learn anything.
- Discrimination: occurs when systematic discrimination limits those in control of an organization (that claims to be neutral) to only those who are sympathetic to a certain point of view. Professors who question evolution are freely discriminated against in most Universities and scientific journals.
- Popular image: occurs when a popular image is cast for a person or an opinion rather than dealing with the soundness of the argument. EXAMPLES Politicians, televangelists, and movie stars who carefully guard their public image using many presentation and public relations techniques. Wendy Davis glamorizing her life story with a few tweaks to reality. Al Gore wearing stage make up to resemble Ronald Reagan and platform shoes to appear taller than his debating opponent. see The Baloney Detector
- The Tactic of storytelling: occurs whenever stories are used to bypass critical thinking. EXAMPLE Movies produce a true trance state and allow for hypnotic suggestion. Every movie has at least one theme. The theme should be recognized and then scrutinized for validity. This is one of the skills taught in Neuro linguistic programming.
- Misreporting in Mass Media: occurs when various forms of large-scale communication are used propagate a lie. EXAMPLE A.P. reporter claims that George W. Bush thought it was funny when Bill Clinton had a health issue, when, in fact, the rally that Bush was leading stopped at the news for prayer for Bill Clinton. When the reporter told the lie, news agencies around the world propagated the story without checking it.
- Suggestion: occurs when certain ideas are implanted in minds indirectly through suggestion rather than being plainly stated. http://creationsafaris.com/crevbd.htm#suggestion
- Neuro Linguistic Programming: is a complex hypnotic technique (combination of techniques) that can be learned for sales, politics, personal agendas, flimflam, or mental therapy. EXAMPLE Sandy: "Obviously, you already may be having an increasing desire to consider alternative ideas to those that you had read in the Bible." Rocky: "But, to whom is this obvious? And what make you think that I know this? And isn't the word, 'already,' also a hidden presupposition? And isn't the phrase, 'may be having an' used for suggestion? And isn't the word, 'increasing,' assuming that I have any desire at all to consider what you are pushing? And isn't the word, 'ideas,' used to equate revelation with the ideas that humans come up with?" This nesting of techniques to overload the mind is one of the techniques of neuro linguistic programming that is used by those who want to influence others to their own ways of thinking. It would be very difficult for anyone to sort all this out during a conversation as Rocky did, however.
- Fear Mongering/Scare Tactics: occurs when fear is used to persuade masses of people. EXAMPLE Network news, movies, University classrooms, and all forms of media are used to try to stir up fear of Bible-believing Christians. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "Creationism frightens me." creationsafaris.com fear mongering
- Hate Mongering: occurs when hate is used to persuade masses of people. Network news, movies, University classrooms, and all forms of media are used to try to stir up hate for Bible-believing Christians. EXAMPLE Dawkins compares creationists to Holocaust-deniers. By the way, this is reversible logic. Creation-deniers and Flood deniers could also be compared to Holocaust-deniers. Dawkins again resorts to fallacy.
- Stonewalling: occurs when communication is blocked by refusing to answer questions or giving evasive replies. EXAMPLE Rocky: "If you are really intent on convincing me that molecules-to-man evolution actually happened, just provide absolute prove that it did happen." Sandy: "You obviously don't understand science. I would not honor such a stupid request by answering it."
- Politicking: occurs when political games are played to bring support from a larger population than those involved in the discussion. The problem is that tricks and deceptions are used to persuade rather than open-minded exploration of the truth and the reasons to believe the truth. Other logical fallacies are usually involved, especially appeal to ridicule. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "The question tonight is, does Ken Ham's Creation Model hold up? Is it viable?" Continuing the fallacies of marginalization, ad hominem, and bandwagon, Bill Nye misstated the debate topic. The question tonight had just been repeated by the debate moderator as: "Is creation a viable model of origins?" This has nothing to do with Ken Ham. However, fallacies are used because they are effective in manipulating people's minds. Bill Nye was obviously playing to the crowd for political purposes (politicking). Of course, the actual topic would require Bill Nye to show that creation of the Universe by the Creator God is impossible, could not possibly have happened. Viable means possible or workable. There is nothing that is observed using the scientific method that in any way conflicts with divine, supernatural creation. So, as you will see, Bill Nye had to resort to tricks and fallacies to push his political agenda.
- Failure To State / Arguing for a Position While Insisting that there is No Position / "Prove Your Belief, BUT My Belief Is Not Disclosed": occurs when the position of one or more people is not stated. Various techniques are used to accomplish this. One is to ask so many questions or make so many fallacious attacks (such as ad hominem) that the questioner/attacker never states his or her own position. Often, this is done on purpose. It is a tactic that is used in contrarian arguments on the Internet. This is closely associated with the burden of proof fallacy. "If I never state my position, I don't need to defend it."
- Lobbying: occurs when appeals are made to power, particularly governmental power, to support one's own opinion, oppose other opinions, or both. EXAMPLE Lobbying for laws to limit the rights of Christians to minister the Truth.
- Brainwashing: occurs when any of a variety of techniques are used to short-circuit reason. Brainwashing is always a systematic process and often involves forcible pressure. EXAMPLE The public school system, from pre-school through post-secondary, quietly brainwashing students into believing relativism, evolutionism, old-Earthism, and liberalism.
- Tossing the Elephant / Throwing Mud at the Wall to See What Will Stick / Shotgun Argumentation / Ad Infinitum: occurs when so many arguments are given in a way that makes it impossible to respond to all of them in any detail. Sometimes, this is accomplished by asking one question after another. Sometimes, it is by making one statement after another. Often it may be done with a combination of statements and questions. It can be accomplished in relatively few statements/questions when there is a constraint, such as a time constraint. Generally, claims can be made rather quickly, but answering the many claims takes much more time than making the claims. The tactic is effective because people lose interest, are not committed enough to truth to take the time to check it out, don't have the resources to check it out, or some other factor limits answering the claims. This tactic is often used in playing to a crowd. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "It means that Ken Ham's word, or his interpretation of these other words, is somehow to be more respected than what you can observe in nature, what you can find in your backyard in Kentucky. It’s a troubling and unsettling point of view and it’s one I very much would like you to address when you come back." Bill Nye said, knowing that the format would not allow time for an answer to Bill Nye's obvious logical fallacies. Bill is using this tactic of tossing the elephant repeatedly, asking questions knowing that there won’t be time to answer. This tactic can take many forms. In this case, Bill Nye knew that the format was going to change and that there would be questions from the audience. He repeatedly asked unrelated questions so that Ken Ham would not have time to answer in this format, and, in this way, Bill Nye could create the false impression that Ken Ham didn't have answers to his many questions. It's a clever tactic that works to fool people, but it is dishonest communication.
- Debate Rather Than Trying to Find the Truth / Debate Mindset: occurs when logic is used to win debates or to defeat opponents rather than to find the truth. This typically happens when a person is more interested in "winning" rather than finding truth. Sadly, many formal classes and books dealing with logic commit this fallacy as an underlying theme. There is no desire to find the truth. The emphasis is on winning the debate.
- Obtuseness / Willful Ignorance / Willed Ignorance: occurs when, rather than discussing the issue or misunderstanding, there is a deliberate effort to appear not to understand. This fallacy is difficult to understand because of the universal human problem with paradigms. We humans all have a paradigm (worldview, fake-reality, filter) that is a complete representation of the real world in our minds. It acts as a filter to filter out anything that we don’t already believe about life. This makes us obtuse. On the other hand, when someone who loves to argue has run out of things to say, sometimes, they will drop back into consciously pretending not to understand the other point of view.
- Logical Fallacy of Refusing to Look at Evidence: occurs when someone simply will not examine the evidence. EXAMPLE "No, I will not look through your telescope, Galileo!" EXAMPLE "No, I will not seek the Lord in sincerity, humility, and a will to do His will, and I will not taste and see that the Lord is good."
- Pious Fraud / The Ends Justify the Means Fallacy: occurs when a fraud is committed for a supposed “good” result. EXAMPLE "We don't have any real evidence for evolution, but we must give the impression that we do. Eventually, science will show that molecules turned into people. Until then, we need to keep the funding coming."
- Demanding Impossible Conditions: occurs when a false impression of open-mindedness is portrayed while demanding impossible conditions to either prove or disprove a proposition. “My mind is open, just meet my impossible conditions and stop being so closed-minded.” This is often accompanied by an argument from ignorance. “I can easily be convinced. Simply supply this impossible and irrelevant evidence or else it proves that I am right and you are wrong.” This is generally a dishonest negotiation tactic and usually involves playing to the crowd. The impossible conditions can be conditions of an agreement or any other conditions. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, when arguing against Creation science, said that he would change his mind on the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story if certain conditions were met. When he laid out his conditions, they were filled with many fallacies from outright lies to red herrings.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: occurs when a false prophecy is given, but by its very nature, it tends to be fulfilled, so it is used for proof that the original claim was true. This principle operates in positive mental attitude or in fear and pessimism. Words have power. Words that do come from God have power for blessing, life, peace, and fulfillment—if they come from God, they are truly in the Spirit of prophecy. For those who don’t want God to exist or don’t want God to have power, this fallacy can be abused to explain away the power of God and to avoid giving Him glory for what He does. Words that don’t come from God have power for deception, pain, and death. EXAMPLE “This is going to be one rotten day.” EXAMPLE “There is an archaic idea that young people can keep themselves sexually pure until marriage. This doesn’t work. For this reason, we are going to teach you how to keep yourselves from getting pregnant or getting diseases.” Of course, this story has worked to get young people more sexually active, and, of course, more diseases and pregnancies have been the result.
- Self-Sealing Argument Fallacy: occurs when an argument is made that no evidence can possibly refute, and yet there is no evidence that proves that the conclusion is true. This can be accomplished several ways. One is to claim that the other person has some insurmountable deficit that prevents him/her from being able to understand the argument. Another way this is accomplished is by making the proof and the conclusion say the same thing. Another way is to rationalize away any evidence that conflicts with the argument, often, with just-so stories. Self-sealing arguments are actually implemented by other fallacies. EXAMPLE Sandra: “Evolution is settled science." Sandra uses the word, "settled." She means that the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is self-sealing. There is no evidence that can disprove this story (in the minds of adherents). At any given time, it is said that there is something that would falsify the story. However, when those criteria have been met, they are discarded and a new set of criteria for falsification is going. By constantly moving the goalposts, there is never any evidence that can possibly refute evolutionism. The story merely morphs to fit whatever facts are found. Historically, whenever evidence is found against it, a new just-so story is made up to explain away the evidence. If the many just-so stories are pointed out, then it is claimed that this is how science works. Evidence that cannot be explained away is ignored. Coercion is used to eliminate any dissenters from the discussion. EXAMPLE Sandra: “I know that my doctrine is correct and complete because it is based on the Bible, and there is no evidence that would sway me." Sandra's statement about doctrine cannot be correct if she based it on the Bible, since the text of the Bible says that if any person thinks that he/she knows anything, that person doesn't know it as they ought to know it. The walk with Jesus is a progressive walk from glory to glory. It is a walk of unfolding revelation. It is a walk of ever-deeper personal intimacy with God. It is a journey that consists of constant life-changing experiences in which the human self dies and Christ is built up in the follower of Christ. As a result, when we walk with Him, we don't stay in the same place. We don't base this walk on the foundation of the Bible as Sandra said. The walk with Jesus is NOT about figuring out new theologies. It is about knowing the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus speaks to us through the Bible and says, "There is no other foundation (basis) that can be laid than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Doctrine is revealed line on line and precept on precept. When any person stops receiving revelation, that person stops moving on with God. FALLACY ABUSE Sandra: “When you say that I must be born again to see the Kingdom of God, you are committing the self-sealing argument fallacy. According to you, there is no way to debate you, since you claim that I have an insurmountable deficit that keeps me from seeing or understanding.” Roxanne: “There is nothing insurmountable here unless you refuse to look at the evidence. If you had the proof, and you told me that unless I looked through your microscope I would not be able to see the evidence, this is very similar to what I am telling you. You can easily examine the evidence, but you would need to be willing to be born again. If you realize that you have fallen short of perfection, I am telling you, by the revelation of God, that you deserve God’s judgment and God is just and will judge you because He is just. You owe a debt you cannot pay. Fortunately, Jesus paid the debt. He is willing to both pardon you and to deliver you from your sinful nature. If you accept this, then you will be equipped with vision to begin seeing the Kingdom of God.”
- God Wildcard Fallacy: occurs when Divine mystery is used as an excuse for errors in logic. This is not to say that there are not things that we don’t know, either by Divine revelation through scientific observation, Divine revelation through Scripture, Divine revelation through dreams and visions, and so forth. And, this fallacy is largely abused to try to eliminate God without evidence by using a special pleading fallacy and an argument from ignorance fallacy. That being the case, the God wildcard fallacy cannot be used to cover bad logic such as speculation that is presented as fact. EXAMPLE Sandy: “The Father is the Son. There is no Trinity.” Roxanne: “Then how do you explain that Jesus ascended into Heaven and sat at the Right Hand of the Father?” Sandy: “Jesus ascended into Heaven and sat at the Right Hand of the Father, Whom He is.” Roxanne: “That seems irrational and very speculative.” Sandy: “No. It’s absolutely true. It is a great mystery.” Of course, it is actually an unsupported assertion. God hasn’t revealed any such thing. FALLACY ABUSE “I choose not to acknowledge the existence of God, and to that end, I will believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. Here are the rules. If you can’t answer every question I ask you concerning God, the Creation, the Flood, Salvation, or any other thing, I will accuse you of the God Wildcard Fallacy. However, these rules do not apply to me and my belief in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. They are specific laws of logic that eliminate God without having to show any evidence.” Here, a special pleading fallacy and an argument from ignorance fallacy are used to deceive. Note that this fallacy is usually veiled in innuendo and other fallacies so that it is harder to detect. No one is likely to state it just this way, because it is too easy to see that fallacies.
- Science Wildcard Fallacy: occurs when scientific mystery is used as an excuse for errors in logic. This is not to say that there are not things that we don’t know, either by Divine revelation through scientific observation, Divine revelation through Scripture, Divine revelation through dreams and visions, and so forth. God provides many benefits to the human race through science, but sometimes the word is used as a magic word to gain unwarranted credibility for irrational thinking such as the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story and other scams. EXAMPLE Roxanne: “If, as you say, there is no God, and the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is fact, then some questions must be answered before you can state this as fact. For instance, where did the matter come from to create the Big Bang? How did consciousness develop from matter? How did the first life form? How did the laws of nature develop? There are many other unanswered questions that should make you very skeptical of your claim.” Sandra: “Actually, I can remain certain of my claim. Science will eventually find the answers to all these questions. There is no evidence for God.” Roxanne: “I know Jesus in the same way that you know that the real world exists around you. I know Jesus Christ, not the theology or the theory, but the Person of Jesus. This is how I know He exists. However, your philosophy about the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story is no more than a story. And this story doesn't even answer the important questions of life. Yet, based on this story, you continue to claim that I am not experiencing what I am experiencing. Do you realize how crazy that is?" Sandra cloaks her assertions in mystery using the science wildcard fallacy along with the magic word, science.
- We Have to Do Something / Moving the Overton Window: occurs when a crisis (possibly created) is used to push for a change (new normal). Joseph Overton originated the idea that at any moment there is a window of politically acceptable policies, but that window can be moved during a crisis. Seminars are given in the public sector on how to do this. EXAMPLE White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you thought you could not do before.”
- Monopolizing the Conversation / Filibustering: occurs when a conclusion is promoted to the point where any conflicting information is buried and thus not seen. EXAMPLE You get into a conversation with someone. They have a strong opinion. And they talk over you every time you try to get a word in.
- NIGY / Now I’ve Got You: occurs when one question is asked after another, usually with rapport-building techniques to reduce apprehension, until some piece of information is turned up that can be used against you in some way. This technique works well when coupled with an argument from ignorance mentality. NIGY is a common debating technique used by those who are not interested in knowing the truth. When debate is a game with winners and losers, it is unlikely to ever lead to knowledge. This type of debate is a way that a person can think that they are “winning” and someone else is “losing.” As an interesting twist, the person asking questions will sometimes pretend to be open-minded.
- Fait Accompli Tactic / Easier Asking Forgiveness than Permission: occurs when an action is taken without agreement, and then the result is presented with the attitude of, “Now, I’ve done it; what are you going to do about it?” This is a great way to ruin relationships. Often, the action will be taken in secret. Sometimes, it is taken by power. It is a fallacy to say that the action is justified because it is already accomplished and difficult to reverse. EXAMPLE Many laws are passed this way and gridlock usually follows. EXAMPLE “Oh! The Corvette in the driveway? Yeah. I saw it and couldn’t resist buying it. I hope you don’t mind, dear.”
- Spin Doctoring: occurs when information is presented in a way that leads people to conclusions that aren’t necessarily true. Spin doctoring involves many, perhaps all, fallacies. EXAMPLE This is generally done in public relations or politics. EXAMPLE Since the news media and the Universities have become political organizations, it is seen in these. EXAMPLE Each human being is his or her own personal spin doctor.
Faulty Conclusions That Affect Future Reasoning (They become part of the inner paradigm or presupposition and are not challenged again because they are thought to be part of reality.)
- Revenge: occurs when something is done with the motive of getting even. There are many reasons that this is irrational. One is the two wrongs do not make a right. Another is that justice finally belongs to God, and He will repay. Taking vengeance is a fruit of lack of trust in God. This doesn't mean that legal systems should not be just or that there should not be punishments. It doesn't mean that Churches or families should not have discipline. These are orders set by God, and one of their responsibilities is to maintain order and to teach order.
- Self-righteousness: occurs when it is assumed that the self can be righteous. God has revealed that this is not the case. Part of the problem is in the definition of righteousness. One person says, "I'm righteous. I don't kill and rape. Those are the only two rules." Another, who can't meet that standard, loosens it up a bit. The fact is that whatever is not of faith is sin. Faith is a supernatural belief and trust that comes with God speaks/leads/teaches, which gives access to grace to that God's grace can to works of righteousness through people. Nothing else is righteousness ever according to God's definition or the word.
- Instantiation of the Unsuccessful: occurs when what has not worked in the past is blindly repeated. EXAMPLE Renaming Communism, which has worked nowhere, and calling it Progressive. EXAMPLE Shacking up before marriage to make sure the marriage will work. The reason that people who do this are so much more likely to divorce is partly because they don't know what marriage is. God set up the ordinance. It is an order before God in which a man makes a life-long commitment to a woman to love her and give himself for her just as Christ did for the Church and a woman makes a life-long commitment to a man to respect him and submit her talents and ministry to his guidance as he is learning how to be guided by Christ. Sex is part of all of this, and it is reserved for marriage. When people get married without knowing what marriage is, they miss the point and can never really reach a level of fulfillment that God intended.
- Government Solipotence: occurs when it is assumed that only the government can solve some problem. God has set the governments of the world in place. Sometimes, they fulfill their role well. Other times, they either overreach or do less than God asked them to do. Sometimes, they fail to protect the citizens and yet want to micromanage the citizens, so the under-perform while they over-reach. Sometimes, they try to do what God has given to the Church, and sometimes, the Church fails to do those same things because the Church is doing things it was never called to do.
- The Experiential Blank Argument Fallacy: occurs when it is claimed that death is not a problem because "we" won't be around to experience it. The problem with this claim is that it is an assertion contrary to fact. We know, by revelation, that there is a second death, and that God has a plan to save whoever will come from the second death. God's plan is this: He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt for us and to set us free from the sinful nature.
- Undoability Fallacy: occurs when it is claimed that something cannot be done. This is the fallacy of universal negative. Sometimes, this is claimed based on personal failure: I failed; therefore, it can't be done. EXAMPLE Sandra: "It is impossible for anyone to hear from God. I tried just ten minutes ago, and you know what I got? Just what I expected. Nothing! See, this proves there is no God and I can keep doing the self-serving things that I have been doing." God is not mocked. He knows the thoughts and intents of the innermost mind/soul. All who come to Him in deep respect and persistence do find Him, so long as they are committed to doing His will and they want their sin taken away by the blood of Jesus.
- Tooth Fairy Science: occurs when research is done on a phenomenon before establishing that the phenomenon exists. EXAMPLE The Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story has not been established to have happened, yet it is used as a presupposition for further research.
- Paralysis of Analysis / Procrastination: occurs when no decision is ever made because, at any point in time, not all the data is in. The other side of this fallacy is jumping in and making a bad decision. If we are to be followers of Christ, then we need to hear His Voice leading us. As Jesus said, "My sheep hear My Voice." Moving forward without seeking God for the answer/decision is very dangerous. The paralysis of analysis fallacy is a function of fear and leaning on one's own understanding. The companion fallacy is jumping in without any analysis of the situation. EXAMPLE Sandra: "I know that what you say is true, but I don't think that I can make a decision for Christ right now." Roxanne: "OK. Will you think about it though?" What if something happened and Sandra died an hour later? What is the advantage of waiting? SCRIPTURE "The slacker says, There's a lion in the road-- a lion in the public square!" Proverbs 26:13 Fear can paralyze. When God is leading, He gives peace and confidence. God leads everyone who yields to His will--who wants to do His will.
- Sour Grapes: occurs when that which is out of reach (even if only by currently choosing something else) is depreciated or despised. EXAMPLE Question on an Answers Site: "Why do non-virgins get mad at virgins for being a virgin?" Envy is the culprit. The virgin can become a non-virgin anytime she decides, but a non-virgin has already lost it and cannot get it back. EXAMPLE Roxanne: "I want you to know that Jesus loves you, and He is willing for forgive every sin you have ever committed. The life you have now is empty and useless. With Christ, you will find meaning and value." Sandra: "I have no desire to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. You can't do what you want. I can. You Christians are missing out on all of the fun." Yet, Sandra is envious of Roxanne, because Sandy knows her life has no meaning or purpose. Hedonism isn't getting any satisfaction for Sandra.
These are the types of fallacies by which we fool ourselves. People who have been fooled will try to fool you with these. Some people even know that they are using logic to fool you and they go right ahead and do it anyway.
For much more examples of fallacies and tactics, see the Baloney Detector.
Last updated: Oct, 2014
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