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Common logical fallacies used by Atheists.

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Fibio12, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Fibio12

    Fibio12 Newbie

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    Hi Guys,

    I was just thinking fairly recently about starting a thread which discusses logical fallacies committed by atheists (or even theists) in debates and arguments. So then readers could then perhaps pick up knowledge about detecting these arguments. And then perhaps include many examples of each fallacy, so that not only could apologists detect these fallacies committed by the atheist, but also avoid falling into the trap of committing them.

    I'm going to list several fallacies that I am familiar with, please feel free to comment, perhaps list other fallacies not mentioned or give other examples or situations you have seen these fallacies being committed. If you have some spare time, also feel free to drop by my other two threads which discuss atheist arguments and their refutations.

    Genetic Fallacy
    ~The attempt to invalidate a position or belief, merely by showing how the position or belief originated.
    Example:"Christianity arose because people feared reality, because people were scared of death. Therefore Christianity is false."

    Ad Hominem Fallacy
    ~An argument that attempts to counter another's claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself.
    Example:"You're an Idiot, only gullible, ignorant fools believe in God."

    Argument from Personal Incredulity
    ~An argument thats attempts to disprove or negate a position because the individual either does not understand and/or explain and/or imagine it.
    Example: "God seems so illogical to me, he can't possibly exist."

    Appeal to Ridicule
    ~A fallacy where ridicule or mockery is substituted for evidence in an argument.
    Example:"You can claim that God exists all you want, the theistic position is still laughable and illogical."

    The Masked Man Fallacy (Illicit Substitution of Identities)
    ~A fallacy where an assumption is made that because something is known under one perspective, that it must also be known under a different perspective.
    Example:"Thousands of years ago people believed lightning, rain and droughts were caused by a/the God(s). This has been disproved by science. Therefore God played no role in the creation of the Universe."

    Appeal to Pity
    ~The receiver is urged to accept arguments based off an appeal to emotions or sympathy."
    Example:"How could you honestly believe in God when there are starving children in Africa?"

    Guilt by Association
    ~Rejecting someone's argument because of the person's friends, religion, topic standing etc.
    Example:"Why should I believe anything you say? You're a Christian after all!"

    Now I have listed several, please feel free to post other fallacies you know of. Perhaps you can offer better examples and explanations than I can. :p
     
  2. ddjones1230

    ddjones1230 New Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  3. beforHim

    beforHim Apologetical

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    . . .the same fallacies used by Christians?



    But yes, this is a good list. Mostly you don't want to become a debate champion, but just learn to point these out when people use them. I've found that most "deflating" antiChristians comes when you can show them that they are arguing all wrong. Half the time you don't even have to argue.

    But it takes awhile to learn all this and be able to spot it in conversations. Don't give up- it's for His glory. :)
     
  4. Fibio12

    Fibio12 Newbie

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    Thanks for posting! :D Yes, i have noticed that merely by simply pointing out the fallacies committed by the atheist is much more effective and a time saving way of showing the inadequacy of their arguments and conclusions.

    However it can be rather exasperating when one particular atheist I know disregards these logical fallacies, and once they are pointed out to him when he frequently commits them, he simply dismisses them as "fancy words" and "not a real argument"
     
  5. cowboysfan1970

    cowboysfan1970 Forum Regular

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    There is also simple denialism or cherry picking history. Many athiests will say that Christ never existed but they won't question the existence of other historical figures such as Ceasar. You can easily turn it around and ask them how do they know that Julius Ceasar wasn't just an urban legend or figment of historical imagination like King Arthur? If they respond by citing Roman historical record then they have just hung themself, which is what most athiests will do if you give them enough rope.
     
  6. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    Don't waste time refuting every point they bring up. That's seriously pointless. Like, honestly, that is the most pointless thing you can ever do. Instead, focus on pointing out how their entire position they're coming from is flawed. That right there does more than refuting point by point will ever do. Ravi Zacharias is a good example of that style of apologetica.
     
  7. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    I think that can apply to the "problem of evil" too. When they say that a good and powerful God is incompatible with the fact that there is suffering in the world, all they're really saying is that they can't understand how that situation could be possible, right?
     
  8. Dmitry R.

    Dmitry R. Newbie

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    What disproved by science? Even this year: flood in Australia, drought in Russia, in China. No disaster was predicted by science. After the disaster starts we can pray only.
     
  9. rcorlew

    rcorlew Serving His Flock

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    You missed a biggie:
    Inferential Fallacy
    ~believing that if proposition A is true that proposition B cannot be true because they are mutually exclusive when they are not
    Example: Light and dark cannot exist in the same room (the light is in the room and the dark is in the box that is in the room)
    Example: A loving God cannot allow that to happen

    Of all the ones listed, I see inferential fallacy and ad hominem used the most; a loving God cannot let this happen and you can't believe him because he is a madman or idiot.
     
  10. god's_pawn

    god's_pawn moving as God wills

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    Beware the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Although it's not necessarily a fallacy, it is definitely a mental trick atheists like to play on some naive Christians. They use the same basic ideas we use to support the existence of God to support the existence of the supposed Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Christian they are arguing with will of course deny the existence of this creature for it's incredulity (yes, the same fallacy mention in the OP) and put themselves in a very awkward position. The easiest way out is to simply respond along the lines of, "Yes, it is possible for the FSM to exist, but I honestly don't believe it." Such a statement is indeed true as no one has ever disproven that the FSM exists, not that we believe it exists either way. It's a stupid idea, but atheists love it. The best part is when they can't respond because you didn't fall for their trick! :p
     
  11. Noxot

    Noxot Arcanist

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    to me, the flying spaghetti monster does not compare to what a concept of God means. it seems very illogical to me to put a flying spaghetti monster and God on the same level. for one a flying spaghetti monster is self defeating because it is such a stupid term. who would take the belief of a flying spaghetti monster to be a god when it is already defined as a monster? on the other hand God is a very logical first cause. FPM appears to be a creature and we know that God is not a creature, it appears that the atheist that speak of a FSM have no idea on what God is or means. they can not think outside of the box of creation and so they have to limit the concepts of God to their belief system and creation. at least that is how it appears to me. you can not confine the concept of God to what was made, even if it be some vast concept of manymanymany different dimensions.

    they already assume that God = fantasy and so they can pull fantasy beliefs about gods out of their fantasy. the FSM appears to me to just be a "lol FSM is stupid so God = stupid too" and I do belief to even speak of such concepts of FSM jokingly shows that they do not even want to consider god as real, since they already judge him as fantasy.

    to me, a key difference in what some atheist believe vs what I believe is that they believe that the first cause has no intelligence while I believe the first cause has intelligence (in as much as it is possible to define something about God who can not be defined) and God is also the cause of intelligence. i suppose some atheist do not even believe a first cause, which seems weird to me. some atheist want to put creation on the same level as God but creation and god are two very different things by their very explanation.
     
  12. god's_pawn

    god's_pawn moving as God wills

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    Point well made. Either way I think it is well that people understand what is going on when an atheist tries to use the FSM argument, however foolish such an argument may be.
     
  13. grace24

    grace24 New Member

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    How about this one with logic:

    What do you suggest that logic is based on God? God illogical just look at His actions throughout the bible. lol!
     
  14. beforHim

    beforHim Apologetical

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    Excellent point. :D
     
  15. rcorlew

    rcorlew Serving His Flock

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    Actually what Ravi does is to show that their conclusions based on their own premises is flawed, there is a subtle difference which is crucial in apologetics. To show them there position is flawed is to cause them to defend their position even if their position is wrong, to show them that their conclusion is wrong but their premises are correct is to have hope in debating them. In other words, they already have the substance of knowledge to create within them a belief in God but they have never viewed their own beliefs in that way.

    The total summation of the atheist position is completely incoherent, in fact, they [prominent atheist thinkers] have realized this and so to artificially create an apparent coherence of their beliefs have created the "Noble Lie"
    It is very interesting when the atheist finally sees the mess they have made and then try and fix it.

    The link is to Rue's book on Google books, very interesting stuff.
     
  16. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

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    Yeah, the Noble Lie idea is fascinating. I was listenting to a Dawkins talk on YouTube, and when he was asked a question about ethics and Social Darwinism he said (verbatim): "If there's anything that we have to learn ethically from Darwinism it is do the exact opposite of what Darwinian worldview would tend to suggest." A moment later he said "If you look...you can provide a rather good Darwinian account of where human ethics come from."

    Talk about incoherence. He's even preaching Christianity without knowing it. :)
     
  17. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    What is fascinating to me is that Darwin never really talked about humans...folks to his ideas of Natural Selection, etc ad applied them to humanity. "The Noble Lie" is interesting, too...I'll be reading this in depth for sure.
     
  18. rcorlew

    rcorlew Serving His Flock

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    The atheists who favor scientific proofs for their belief structure commit the largest logical fallacy possible. The ultimate truth of atheism is nihilism, that is a total destruction of all that exists and that there are no objective purposes or value to anything. They however value knowledge for their beliefs and claim that this then gives life purpose because there is value in knowledge (that is the "Noble Lie" in summation), if nihilism were true belief would be pointless and knowledge would be nothing more than being blindfolded and strapped to a rocket hurdling towards a brick wall and moments before impact having the blindfold fall off so that you can now see that you are strapped to a rocket hurdling towards a brick wall; the knowledge of your situation is valueless as you can not ultimately do anything with it.

    To sum it all up from the atheist view which culminates in nihilism which denies objective purpose and meaning and value I pose this:
    If you say that there is value in knowledge and that this value applies to all people (the more they know the better off they can be) then you have asserted an objective value which defeats the position that proves it, in other words, a philosophical black hole!

    You get into even more trouble when you try to assert that humans are valued along with defining the origination of that value. If you don't believe me just ask any firm atheist about human value and see what they say.
     
  19. rcorlew

    rcorlew Serving His Flock

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    To quote from my own paper for philosophy class "How to give somebody inferential knowledge which is not coherent with their noetic structure; knowledge that will cause a paradigm shift of the most basic belief. 'How to get an atheist to become a theist by inference of their own true knowledge"

    What that all means is simple, you cannot win over an atheist by debating proofs as they already have a complete belief structure which has answered all the questions in a way that is coherent with their atheistic view; I will be so bold as to say even the most basic questions of the sort like "Why am I here" "Is there purpose" and so on. Your argument for God will be defeated by a fence of protective beliefs, you will not be able to get at the core of their atheistic belief that there is no God.

    However, as this "Noble Lie" example shows, they already have the ingredients to hold a theistic view which actually fits with all they actually know to be true, not necessarily with their beliefs though. I use an analogous paradigm example to set the scene for showing them that they have looked at the information they have incorrectly. I pose a story of two kids, one a cancer patient and another a nerdy kid who gets picked on and has no friends. In the story the two become best friends and 2 years later the kid with cancer dies. This makes the nerdy kid so mad at cancer and ultimately God that he becomes driven to the point of near lunacy to cure cancer. The nerdy kid ultimately finds a cure for cancer after devoting his entire life to that cause. So what you have here is a kid with cancer who wants a friend to be there for him with all he has to go through (he thanks God for a friend as good as the nerdy kid) and a kid who hates that his friend (only friend) died from cancer and hates that other people die so he wants a cure.

    Now the question of inference:
    Would a loving God not appoint the bullies and situation that produced the friendless nerdy kid in order to befriend the kid with cancer, and, would a loving God who loves the whole world not appoint the only friend for the nerdy kid to have cancer in order that cancer would be cured?

    As is the case most of the time, people look at the right information yet ask the wrong questions and thus draw the wrong conclusions. They will know by inference of what they know to be true in the story (which is the analogous paradigm example) that a loving God (if He existed) could and should appoint those events to happen in that manner. Now to show them that this case parallels actual events you could talk to them about Clara Maass
     
  20. The Outlier

    The Outlier Regular Member

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    I would say an appeal to science without clarification such as :science disproves that" without saying how science disproves it.

    An ever bigger logical fallacy is the idea that there is no faith involved in science.