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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Ignorance / Ad Ignorantiam / Argument from Ignorance / Argument from a Lack of Evidence

 

Logical Fallacy of  Appeal to Ignorance / Ad Ignorantiam / Argument from Ignorance / Argument from a Lack of Evidence

The logical fallacy of appeal to ignorance / ad ignorantiam / argument from ignorance / argument from a lack of evidence occurs occurs either when it is concluded that something is false because there is no proof that it is not false, or when it is concluded that something is true because there is no proof that it is not true. If you personally have no evidence, the best you can say is that your mind is open and you just don't know. This is the logical fallacy of proving that something is true by failure to prove that it is not true or the logical fallacy of proving that something is false by failure to prove that it is not false.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of  Appeal to Ignorance / Ad Ignorantiam / Argument from Ignorance / Argument from a Lack of Evidence

Sandy: "No one has ever shown that miraculous creation by God in six days is true using scientific method. Therefore, the Bible has an error because what it says about creation is false."

Rocky: "So are you saying that creation is not true because there is no scientific method that can be applied to anything that happened in the past that can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that one thing or another happened? If so, then why do you fight so hard for evolutionism?"

Sandy is guilty of the logical fallacy of the argument from ignorance.

Rocky: "To this day, scientists have not been able to create life from non-life. Based on this, it's safe to say that spontaneous life didn't pop into existence on its own by natural events. This is strong phyical evidence for the Creator God."

Sandy: "That is a clear example of an argument from ignorance. Science will find an answer to this great mystery one day."

Both Rocky and Sandy started off well, but then went off the rails. Rocky committed the logical fallacy of appeal to ignorance when he didn't have to. Rocky should have stated that the real reason that we know that God created everything in six days a few thousand years ago is the God tells us so. We experience His logos/rhema, His utterance, when we read Scripture. He also tells us that the Scripture cannot be broken, so we have first-hand knowledge. Why would we use inferior evidence? Now, if you, as a Christian, don’t have this first-hand experience of Jesus Christ, you can have that first-hand experience simply by acknowledging Him and persistently seeking Him with sincerity, humility, and submission.Actually, with all the effort and money put into trying to create life and the growing knowledge of just how complex life actually is, this would not be a bad circumstantial argument, but why would anyone use such a weak argument when there is a very strong one available. Evolutionists always hold out a hope that molecules-to-man evolution is possible, but they never try to prove that it actually took place. There just is no evidence of that—which is the point of this fallacy and why those arguments are not valid. The only reason you might mention these things is that Atheists make believe that there is all kinds of evidence, so you may want to refute that.

Sandy rightly pointed out the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance, but she then committed the logical fallacy of false prophecy.

Sandy: "If we have no compelling proof for a position then it is irrational to accept that position as true. We have no compelling proof for creation. Therefore, it is irrational to accept creation as true."

Rocky: "The fact that you don't acknowledge the evidence is no reason to believe that evidence doesn't exist. Even if no one else was aware of any evidence, it would be irrational to believe that the lack of known evidence would prove anything. If that were the case, the best you could do is to say that you don't know. People don't get emotional or take strong stands when they humbly admit ignorance. Of course, the fact is that there is a lot of evidence for biblical creation"

This is an interesting fallacy, containing an argument from ignorance, but the ignorance is claimed for evidence, not the conclusion. Claiming that there is no evidence is an assertion contrary to fact. That is not all that is wrong. “Compelling proof” would need to be defined. Proof is different from evidence. Very few things would qualify, although, revelation from God would qualify as compelling proof under any circumstance. It is impossible to prove that the Sun exists to someone who refuses to see it. The second premise, "We have no compelling proof for creation." is not true unless a special definition for "compelling proof" is used. This premise is also claimed for arguments against the flood, the existence of God, biblical morality, or biblical inerrancy. The problem is that there is amazing proof, both in the natural realm and by way of revelation. This is yet another commonly used irrational argument that you can hear in many college classrooms around the world.

 



Author/Compiler
Last updated: Sep, 2014
 
 




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