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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Contempt

 

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Contempt

The logical fallacy of appeal to contempt, a variation of the logical fallacy of appeal to emotion, occurs when contempt is give as a reason to either believe of disbelieve a conclusion rather than sound reasoning. This fallacy is usually closely associated with appeal to ridicule.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Contempt

Richard Dawkins: "Show contempt' for faith" "Show contempt' for faith" "mock them, ridicule them in public... with contempt."

Here, Richard Dawkins is urging his followers to use the logical fallacy appeal to contempt.

David Silverman: "Maybe it's Thor up on Mount Olympus who's making the tides go in and out…"

David Silverman is using a common Atheistic contempt technique, referencing false gods. Another is to fail to capitalize proper names like Bible, God, Christian, etc. The problem is that contempt, being used as proof against Jesus Christ, is irrational. It works in concert with the logical fallacy of appeal to ridicule.

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: “Ken Ham and his followers have this remarkable view of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced everything that we see in nature. Five-hundred-foot wooden boat, eight zoo-keepers for 14,000 individual animals, every land plant in the world under water for a full year. I ask us all, is that really reasonable?”

This is an appeal to contempt fallacy. Although a good actor can use a contemptuous attitude to manipulate people’s minds, contempt proves nothing. It is mere emotion. It has no impact on reality. None.

There are other fallacies in this short paragraph:

“Ken Ham and his followers have this remarkable view of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced everything that we see in nature.”

 “Ken Ham and his followers" Bill Nye is marginalizing and using a bandwagon fallacy. Bill makes Bible-believers sound like a strange group hiding out in the woods--almost dangerous. Why would Bill Nye use such verbiage? Bill Nye is using the ad hominem fallacy to try to portray Ken Ham as someone very weird, a sort of guru over a cult of followers. This was not a slip of the tongue but became a mantra of Bill Nye's throughout the debate. It is a tactic that works. It is a kind of demonizing rather than dealing rationally with the subject at hand. As a side note, according to recent polls, about 46 percent of Americans believed in creationism, 32 percent believed in theistic evolution and only 15 percent believed, as Bill Nye believes, in evolution without any divine intervention. These are productive contributors to society and many are scientists in such fields as chemistry, physics, engineering, medicine, etc. (source)

"this remarkable view of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced" Bill Nye uses the logical fallacy of appeal to ridicule or reductio ad absurdum, by trying to use verbiage to define the worldwide flood as being “this remarkable view/” The word, "somehow," is used to further make this view seem weird, a belief in something that is impossible. It is a fallacy of question-begging epithet, since emotional language is used rather than rationally considering the evidence for/against the cataclysmic worldwide Genesis flood.

Again, staying in the realm of innuendo rather than direct statements, Bill Nye uses the word, somehow. “a worldwide flood that somehow influences everything that we see in nature.” This is the logical fallacy of the question-beggingcircular reasoning. Bill Nye is assuming the non-existence of the very thing he is arguing against. A reasonable man would show his reasons for not believing that the flood occurred rather than resorting to circular reasoning. (It should be noted that Bill Nye did later give some reasons for his disbelief, none of which held water, but the point is that this remark, at this time, without having proved anything, was inappropriate and was a logical fallacy.

"somehow influenced everything that we see in nature.” Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of extension, that is, exaggerating in order to make the Biblical account seem to be absurd. You can't tell it yet, since Bill very cleverly planted the seeds of his arguments early in these very vague terms. Later in the debate, he continues to build on the same idea until he finally (later in the debate) says that the Bible claims that the flood affected the stars. Yikes! His object is to convince everyone that there is no known way that the worldwide flood would influence what we see in nature. This is also the logical fallacy of appeal to extremes when Bill Nye claimed that the flood models claim that the flood “influences everything that we see in nature.” By overstating in this way, taking it to the extreme which was never intended by those scientists who have developed the various flood models, Bill Nye uses the logical fallacy of appeal to extremes. This is used as a logical fallacy of appeal to emotion and an appeal to ridicule.

Bill Nye is using irrational thinking and innuendo to argue against what God is telling us all by divine revelation. Since God has revealed these things to us, the fallacy is also counterfactual fallacy. We have to be careful in revelation, since we are only learning to hear God's voice and to respond in submission. We can make mistakes. Our own ideas can mix with what God is saying to us. This is seen in the many theological divisions in the Church. In fact, someone may accuse us, saying that we are assuming that the revelation that we receive is from God. To assume this is as wrong and dangerous as any other assumption. We know by revelation, that we don't know as we ought to know--not even those things of which we are most sure. We are dependent on the Holy Spirit to continually teach us. If we continue to walk, the Holy Spirit will make the Truth ever more clear to us line on line and precept on precept, here a little and there a little.

“Five-hundred-foot wooden boat, eight zoo-keepers for 14,000 individual animals, every land plant in the world under water for a full year" Bill Nye is using a straw man fallacy. There would not have been 14,000 animals. Every land plant would not have been under water. Skeptics tend to make the most bazaar assumptions when thinking about things that they don't want to believe. On the other hand, they will make bazaar assumptions in favor of those things that they want to believe. They aren't skeptical about everything, but their skepticism is selective and irrational. It involves the logical fallacy of special pleading.

"I ask us all" This rather strange grammar is the beginning of an argument that Bill Nye builds throughout the debate. He is including himself in the us as he makes his unsupported assertion that it is the world against Ken Ham. This is an extreme form of bandwagon fallacy.

"is that really reasonable?” Bill Nye is building his reasonable man argument early in the debate in which he makes the unsupported assertion that he is reasonable while asserting that Ken Ham is not reasonable. Again, this is an implied statement, asking a rhetorical question. The way that the question is asked, the tone of the way Bill asked it, dripped with contempt. The obvious statement was that this is not reasonable. 



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Last updated: Sep, 2014
 
 




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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Emotion / Emotional Appeal / For the Children

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Slogan / Simplistic Slogans

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Force / Argumentum Ad Baculum / Argument to the Cudgel / Appeal to the Stick / Argument by Vehemence

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Vehemence

Logical Fallacy of Argument to Veneration / Appeal to Respect

Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Invidia / Appeal to Envy

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Anger / Appeal to Spite / Argumentum Ad Odium / Appeal to Hatred / Appeal to Loathing / Appeal to Outrage

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Spite

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Guilt / Appeal to Shame

Logical Argument of Appeal to Fear / Argumentum In Terrorem

Logical Fallacy of Pollyanna's Ploy, Unbridled Optimism

Logical Fallacy of Chicken Little's Fear and Pessimism

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Complexity

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Poetic Language

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Contempt

Logical Fallacy of Bluffing / Appeal to False Bravado / False Show of Confidence / Turning Up the Rhetoric / Bluster

Logical Fallacy of Hifalutin' Denunciations

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Flattery / Apple Polishing / Wheel Greasing / Brown Nosing / Appeal to Pride / Argumentum Ad Superbiam / Appeal to Snobbery / Appeal to Vanity / Proof Surrogate

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Pride / Argumentum Ad Superbiam / Appeal to Vanity

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Humor / Appeal to Ridicule / Reductio Ad Ridiculum

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Emotive Language

Logical Fallacy of Emotion-Biased Decision-Making Phenomenon

Logical Fallacy of Loaded Language

Logical Fallacy of Magic Words

Logical Fallacy of Motivated Reasoning

Logical Fallacy of Guilt Induction Fallacy / Appeal to Guilt

Logical Fallacy of The Norm of Reciprocity / Reciprocity Norm


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