|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.
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.
Last updated: Sep, 2014
Logical Fallacy of Avoiding the Issue / Avoiding the Question / Missing the Point / Straying Off the Subject / Digressing / Distraction
Logical Fallacy of Misleading Vividness
Logical Fallacy of Dodging the Question
Logical Fallacy of Ignoratio Elenchi / Irrelevant Conclusion
Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Question
Logical Fallacy of Proof by Consequences / Argument from Consequences / Parade of the Horribles / Argumentum Ad Consequentiam / Appeal to Consequences of a Belief / Argument to the Consequences
Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Bribery / Appeal to Motives in Place of Support
Logical Fallacy of Red Herring / Digression / Diversion / Evading the Issue / Side-tracking
Dodge of Answering a Question with a Question
Dodging by Answering a Different Question / Answering a Question That Was Not Asked
Logical Fallacy of Non-Support
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
Admitting a Small Fault to Cover a Big Denial
Logical Fallacy of Arguing a Minor Point and Ignoring the Main Point
Logical Fallacy of Ad Misericordiam / Appeal to pity / Appeal to Sympathy / The Galileo Argument
Galileo Wannabe Fallacy / Galileo Argument (Appeal to Pity)
Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Novelty / appeal to the New / Ad Novitam
Logical Fallacy of Appeal to High Tech
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
Logical Fallacy of The Way We Have Always Done It
Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Desperation
Straw Man Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Extension
In a Certain Respect and Simply / Secundum Quid Et Simpliciter Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Extremes
Logical Fallacy of Taking a Quote Out of Context / Contextomy (type of) / Abstraction / Quote Mining
Logical Fallacy of Misquoting
Logical Fallacy of Accent / Accent Fallacy / Accent by Emphasis / Emphatic Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Accent by Abstraction / Emphasis by Abstraction
Misleading Context Fallacy / Contextomy
Logical Fallacy of Misinterpretation
The Mind Game of Playing Dumb
Logical Fallacy of Arcane Explanation
Logical Fallacy of Hyperbole
Logical Fallacy of Exaggeration / Stretching the Truth / Overstatement
Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Thesis
Logical Fallacy of Burden of Proof / Shifting the Burden of Proof
Logical Fallacy of Demanding an Uneven Burden of Proof / Demanding Uneven Standards of Acceptance
Burden of Proof Fallacy Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Argument to Moderation / Argumentum Ad Temperantiam / Middle Ground / False Compromise
Logical Fallacy of False Fallacy / Fallacy Abuse
Logical Fallacy of Confusing an Explanation with Proof
Logical Fallacy of Moralism
Logical Fallacy of Ought-Is / Moralistic Fallacy / Moral Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Is-Ought / Is-Ought Fallacy / Arguing From Is to Ought / Is-Should Fallacy / Hume's Law / Hume's Guillotine
Logical Fallacy of Notable Effort
Logical Fallacy of Political Correctness / Political Correctness Fallacy / PC Fallacy
False Compromise Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Lip Service
Logical Fallacy of Tokenism
Logical Fallacy of Argument by Denial / Paralipsis Attack / Paralepsis / Apophasis
Diminished Responsibility Fallacy
Contrarian Argument Fallacy
Encyclopedia of Logical Fallacies
Relevance Fallacies of Distraction
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