Common Theistic Fallacies

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In this article we will address some of the common Fallacies that are used by Theists in arguments.

An important point to be made about fallacies is that it does NOT automatically mean that someone is wrong.

It means that the formulation of their argument is wrong, and that we can dismiss that argument until they can present it in a way that has been argued properly.

 

Argument From Incredulity:

Definition – This fallacy happens when one claims that something is impossible, just because they can’t imagine that it can be possible. This is very common when rejecting scientific claims.

Example – “Of course God created the Universe, I don’t see how it’s possible for it to come from nothing.”

Appeal to Ignorance
Definition – Appeal to ignorance happens when one individual utilizes another individual’s lack of information on a specific subject as proof that his or her own particular argument is right.

Example – “You didn’t even know about (insert piece of scripture). See, I’m right, The Bible promotes Love and Peace, not violence.”

Begging The Question:

Definition – The fallacy of petitio principii, or “begging the question” is committed when someone attempts to prove a proposition based on a premise that itself requires proof.

Example – It says in the Bible that God exists. Since the Bible is God’s word, and God never speaks falsely, then everything in the Bible must be true. So, God must exist.

Straw Man:

Definition – This fallacy is when someone attacks an argument that you haven’t actually made.

Example – You “We should stop schools from forcing children to pray.”

Theist “Stopping Christian children from being allowed to pray in school is religious discrimination !”

Ad Hominem:

Definition – This is an often misused accusation. This fallacy is when someone uses an insult to discredit your argument. it is NOT just insulting someone.

Example – You “Evalution has been completely proved to be true, look at the links that i provided for you.”

Theist “You can’t even spell evolution, of course you’re wrong about it, you’re an idiot!”

Equivocation:

Definition – The fallacy of equivocation occurs when a key term or phrase in an argument is used in an ambiguous way, with one meaning in one portion of the argument and then another meaning in another portion of the argument.

Example – “Everyone needs faith. You have faith when you sit down that your chair will hold you. You have faith in your friends, that they will support you. And I have faith in Jesus Christ.”

Correlation Equals Causation:

Definition – This fallacy is a deception in which the individual making the contention joins two occasions that happen consecutively and accepts that one made the other.

Example – “My Mother In Law had been diagnosed with glaucoma. After praying, she was given the all clear from her Doctor. That’s proof that prayer works.”

Fine Tuning:

Definition – This fallacy states that, because the Universe exists in a way that supports life, and that life as we know it wouldn’t exist if the Universe were different, then it must be designed for us.

Example – “Of course the Universe was intelligently designed by God. Didn’t you know that if even one of the forces was out by 10%, we wouldn’t exist?!”

Watch Maker:

Definition -This fallacy is the false assumption that something complex, such as the Universe, or life, is necessarily designed.

Example – “You can’t have something as complex as a watch without it being designed, and the eye is far more complex!”

Association Fallacy:
Definition – Sometimes called “guilt by affiliation,” this happens when somebody connects a particular thought or drill to something or somebody negative so as to infer blame on another individual.

Example – “Stalin was an atheist, so all atheists must be evil.”

Argument From Authority:

Definition – Instead of concentrating on the benefits of an argument, the arguer will attempt to append their argument to an individual of power or authority in an effort to give trustworthiness to their argument.

Example – “Of course contraception is evil. The Pope says so, and especially the leader of The Church”

Ad Populum:

Definition – This sort of appeal is when somebody asserts that a thought or conviction is correct since it is the thing that the general population accept.

Example – “There are billions of Christians in the world, the wouldn’t all believe it if it wasn’t true.”

Circular Reasoning:

Definition – This fallacy is also known as “Circulus in Probando”. This error is committed when an argument takes its evidence from an element inside the argument itself instead of from an outside one.

Example – “The Bible is the ultimate source of truth. It says so in the Bible, and the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, so it must be true.”

Argument From Ignorance:

Definition – This fallacy claims the truth of a premise is based on the fact that it has not been proven false, or that a premise is false because it has not been proven true.

Example – “If God wasn’t real, you’d be able to prove that he doesn’t exist.”

False Dilemma:

Definition – Sometimes called “Bifurcation”, this sort of error happens when somebody presents their argument in such a way that there are just two conceivable alternatives left.

Example – “People were obviously designed by God. It can’t have happened through random chance.”

False Premise:

Definition – This is a fallacy in which an argument is based around an untrue or unproven premise. This means that the argument itself can appear to be sound, even when it isn’t.

Example – “The universe began to exist” (Premise 2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.)

God Of The Gaps:

Definition – God Of The Gaps is a fallacy in which God is inserted as an explanation for something that cannot, at the time, be conclusively explained by something else.

Example – “Science doesn’t know how life came from non life. Therefore God did it.”

Moving The Goalposts:

Definition – This is when a challenge in an argument is changed after it has been met, in an attempt to catch one out, instead of conceding the point.

Example – Theist “Evolution is false. Show me an example of something evolving.”

You “It happens all the time. Look at breeds of dog, or domestic cattle.”

Theist “Yeah, but that isn’t a change in KIND is it?!”

Slippery Slope:

Definition – The error happens when one contends that an exceptionally minor movement will unavoidably prompt great and frequently ludicrous conclusions.

Example – “If we let gay people get married, we’ll be allowing people to marry their pets in no time!”

Cherry Picking:

Definition – This is when only specific parts of a source (The Bible, for example) are paid attention to. This is usually done due to liking what some parts say, but not others. It can also be used to understand how different denominations of the same religion believe in different things. As they naturally pick out the parts which gel with who they already are as a person.

Example – “The Bible is about peace and love. Jesus says Love thy neighbour.”

No True Scotsman:

Definition – Instead of acknowledging that some members of a group do indeed have undesirable characteristics, the fallacy tries to enforce purity by redefining the group to exclude them.

Example – “That murderer isn’t a Christian. No True Christian can kill people.”

Shifting The Burden Of Proof:

Definition – This fallacy occurs when the person making a positive claim tries to insist that they are correct, and that you have the responsibility to prove them wrong.

Example – “I don’t have to prove that God exists, you have to prove that he doesn’t.”

Anecdotal Evidence:

Definition – This, while not exactly being a fallacy as such, is still a flawed argument. It is stating that a personal story counts as proof. Even when there is no other data to support it, or when it can be explained by other phenomena.

Example – “I know that Jesus is real because I had a spiritual experience and heard him speak to me.”

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One Response to Common Theistic Fallacies

  1. Davidian says:

    Great list! – Some of these are also displayed by atheists, I think a comparison and crossover post would be great – Keep up the good work!

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