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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Accomplishment

 

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Accomplishment

The 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.

Examples: Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Accomplishment

Sandra: "I have a doctorate in theology, therefore, I’m qualified to say that the Book of Genesis 1 and 2 is simply poetic."

Roxy: "I have a doctorate in theology too, which proves nothing. However, if you examine the structure or the Hebrew in Genesis 1 and 2, it is not typical of other Hebrew poetry, but it follows the style of Hebrew historical narrative."

Sandra tried to use her doctorate as a premise to support her conclusion, which is the fallacy of appeal to accomplishment. Roxy also mentioned her doctorate, but she didn’t use it as a premise. Perhaps she used it as proof that she knows the difference between Hebrew poetry and Hebrew historical narrative. If Sandra asked her to show proof, Roxy ought to be able to cite examples and compare them to Genesis 1 and 2.

Sandy: "I am a student in astronomy, and I’ll bet I know more about the Universe than you do. I can tell you that the Universe is billions of years old. You aren't as familiar with astronomy as I am, and you haven't even figured out that light goes one light year per year, so light would take billions of years to get to Earth from stars that are billions of light years away."

Rocky: "Actually, you have stated that you believe in Naturalism. Naturalism makes you blind to most of the Universe because this arbitrary assumption eliminates all of the spiritual realm so you aren’t even willing to examine it. I know that, at least from the standpoint of Earth, the Universe is only thousands of years old, since God has revealed this to me. I also know that the big-bang billions-of-years has many unsolved problems, and you probably know about them too, and it requires stories about mysterious energy and matter that cannot be observed or tested using science. In addition, if you read Humphrey’s work, you will see that the stretching of the Heavens and time dilation can explain distant starlight quite nicely."

Sandy tried to use his experience as a student of astronomy as an irrelevant appeal to accomplishment. Rocky stuck to the facts.

Roxanne: "God speaks through the Bible and tells us that Scripture cannot be broken. In addition, over the past two-thousand years, people have come up with many so-called errors or inconsistencies in the Bible, but they have always been based on human assumptions and faulty reasoning rather than the text itself. In other words, there has always been a way to understand the text that makes sense without distorting what is actually written."

Sandy: "That’s not true. I have taken comparative religions at Secular U, and I wrote my final paper, on which I got an A, on the FACT that there are errors and inconsistencies. How many papers have you written on this, and what grade did you get? I bet you never wrote a paper on these things so you have no right to be talking about them."

Sandy uses two variations on the logical fallacy of appeal to accomplishment in that he states that he should be believed because of the class he has taken and he also says that Roxanne’s evidence can’t be considered because Roxanne hasn’t had the same experience.

Rocky: "Actually, if you read the Bible as it is written, you will see that it does not condone selling your daughter as a sex slave."

Sandy: "You are misinterpreting the Bible. I have a Master’s Degree in philosophy from Secular University and am qualified to tell you this."

Rocky: "The problem is that the Bible is not just any book. God speaks through the Bible. If you are unwilling to acknowledge Him speaking to you, as you said earlier, then you are trying to analyze the Bible by your natural human mind. The natural human mind is deceitful and desperately wicked so that each of us cannot even know our own minds. For that reason, it is very easy to misunderstand the Bible and it must be read while asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its meaning to us. If you like, we could examine the passage in question, and you will see that you are adding something to the text that just isn’t there."

This example mentions one of many common fallacious attacks against the Bible. Nelson uses what he considers his trump card, a master’s degree in philosophy, thus introducing the logical fallacy of appeal to accomplishment. It is very common for an ungodly person to claim that they know the Bible better than Christians, since they have spent time learning skeptical fallacies about what is written in the Bible.

Note that when Bob mentioned that Nelson is trying to interpret the Bible by the natural mind rather than letting the Holy Spirit reveal it, he is not committing the logical fallacy of appeal to accomplishment. Bob is explaining how the Bible works. Had Bob said, “You aren’t qualified to understand the Bible since you haven’t completed training in Baptist theology,” he would have committed the fallacy of appeal to accomplishment. One is ad hominem against the person without accomplishment, and the other is explaining how a thing must be done and why it must be done that way.



Author/Compiler
Last updated: Aug, 2014
 
 




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