|Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma which is simply the fact that the foundation of all human thought (without Divine revelation) is one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regression, circular reasoning, or bare assertions without any evidence.
Fallacies of Non Sequitur (Using evidence that doesn't prove the point)
Non Sequitur: It does not follow. The conclusion does not follow from the evidence provided.
- 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.
Last updated: Sep, 2014
Logical Fallacy of Non Sequitur
Sherlock Holmes Fallacy / Process of Elimination
Availability Heuristic Fallacy
Blind Men and an Elephant Fallacy
Idola Fori Fallacy
Idola Theatri Fallacy
Idola Specus Fallacy
Idola Tribus Fallacy
Loki's Wager Fallacy
Proving Too Much Fallacy
Relative Privation / Greek Math Fallacy
It Could Be Worse Fallacy
It Could Be Better Fallacy
Retrogressive Causation Fallacy
Alternative Syllogism Fallacy
Golden Hammer Fallacy / Persimplex Responsum Fallacy / Very Simple Answer / Maslow's Hammer
Exception That Proves the Rule Fallacy / Exception That Tests the Rule Fallacy / Exceptio Probat Regulam Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Selling the Defect / Marketing the Objection as a Benefit
Ignorance of Refutation Fallacy
Proving a Premise from a Conclusion Fallacy
Encyclopedia of Logical Fallacies
Fallacies of Non Sequitur
Toons & Vids
Fallacies of Presumptions, Bare Assertions, and Lies (using no evidence at all)
Fallacies of Flawed Evidence
Fallacies of Limiting Presuppositions
Fallacies of Contradiction
Fallacies of Comparison
Fallacies of Choice
Fallacies of Cause
Fallacies of Circular Reasoning
Fallacies of Non Sequitur
Fallacies of Invalid Form
Fallacies of Ambiguity
Relevance Fallacies of Authority
Relevance Fallacies of Emotion
Relevance Fallacies of the Source: Person, Organization, Book, etc.
Relevance Fallacies of Pressure
Relevance Fallacies of Distraction/Misdirection
Fallacies of Omission
Tactics and Mind Games
Faulty Conclusions that Affect Future Reasoning
Answer to Critic
Answer to Critic
Appeal to Possibility
Argument to the Future
Love Between a Man and Woman
Righteousness & Holiness
Proof by Atheism
Scriptures About Marriage
The Reason for Rejecting Truth
Witness on the Internet
Flaky Human Reasoning
How Do You Know?
The Real Purpose of the Church
The Real Purpose of Life
From Glory to Glory
REAL Faith--What it IS & IS NOT
REAL Love--What it IS & IS NOT
How to be Led by God
How to Witness
Wisdom: Righteousness & Reality
Holiness & Mind/Soul
Redemption: Free From Sin
Stories Versus Revelation
Circular Reasoning-Who is Guilty?
How Can We Know Anything?
Mind Designed to Relate to God
Answers for the Confused
Fossil Record Says: "Creation"
Avoid These Pitfalls
Public School's Religion
Public School Failures
How can we know anything about anything?
That's the real question