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Propositional Fallacy


Propositional Fallacy

Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma. All human thought (without Divine revelation) is based on one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regression, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. This is known as Agrippa's trilemma. Some have claimed that only logic and math can be known; however, that is not true. Without Divine revelation, neither logic nor math can be known. Science is limited only to pragmatic thinking because of the weakness of human reasoning, which is known as Agrippa's trilemma. The propositional fallacy, a form of axiomatic thinking, is one of these three unhappy possibilities.

The 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 any of the following: Conjunction ("or"), Disjunction ("or"), Negation ("not"), Conditional ("only if"), or Biconditional ("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.

Examples of the Propositional Fallacy

"Science is important, and evolution is science."

Science is important. The first proposition might be true. How is science being defined? Why is it important? How can we know that it's important?

Evolution is science. How are we defining evolution. How are we defining science in the second proposition? Why is evolution science? How can we know that evoluton is science?

"By observing, experimenting, designing, testing, and building, we have been able to make cellphones, computers, airplanes, and many other things, and we have also observed molecule-to-man evolution."

The first proposition is true. The second is false. The word, "and," is fallacious and negates the entire compound statement. This is a propositional fallacy.

"By observing, experimenting, designing, testing, and building, we have been able to make cellphones, computers, airplanes, and many other things, and changes have been observed from generation to generation resulting in new species."

This is not a fallacy. Both propositions are true.

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."

Bill is implying that there is some sort of relationship between eschewing the process of science and knowing the difference between an observation and an assumption. He is implying that, if you know the difference between and observation and an assumption, then you are eschewing (shunning or renouncing) the process of science. So, if you know the difference between making things up and observing things, then you are shunning science? that appears to be the statement.

Note that Bill's statement is not a syllogism, so this fallacy looks a bit different when compared to the first examples. Most of the time, syllogisms are not stated clearly. This one has a lot of complexity to it. There is a lot to analyze, and most people won't take the time. That's why lies work.

Is there any piece of technology that requires the lack of ability to discern between assumptions and observation? Is there something useful that could only be developed if the developer can’t tell the difference between made-up stuff and scientific observation? Bill has implied that knowing the difference between observational and historic science is the same thing as eschewing science and the scientific process. To state this another way, Bill is saying that if a student can recognize the difference between made-up stuff and actual observation and real logic, this is the same as the student shunning science and the process of carefully observing and recording facts. Historical science requires made-up stories and made-up assumptions. Revelation requires none of these. In the case of the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man sacred cow story, it also allows all sorts of logical fallacies. This, of course, is an assertion contrary to fact.


Last updated: Sep, 2014

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