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Logical Fallacy of Argument by Demanding Impossible Perfection / Unfalsifiable Claims / Demanding Impossible Evidence

 

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Demanding Impossible Perfection / Demanding Impossible Evidence

The logical fallacy of argument by demanding impossible perfection / demanding impossible evidence occurs when a proposition is presented with a claim that it is falsifiable, but the proposition is maintained as true no matter what evidence is presented. Keep in mind that falsifiability cannot prove that something is true. The fact that something is genuinely not falsifiable doesn't prove it to be false, either. For instance, if you tell someone that your toe hurts you, and it does, can the other person cannot test whether you feel pain--yet you do. However, it is a fallacy to claim that something is falsifiable when it is not. This fallacy is a type of argument from ignorance. The fallacy may take the form of stating that a certain thing can only be proved or falsified by some standard that is impossible. Often, the evidence asked for is a form of straw man argument. At the same time, it is not a fallacy to demand absolute proof before believing something absolutely. It is not a fallacy to reject any assumptions or stories as proof--we don't even have to accept hidden assumptions. We can ferret those hidden fallacies out and expose them and reject them. Using fallacies, assumptions, or stories as proof is still always irrational.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Argument by Demanding Impossible Perfection / Demanding Impossible Evidence

Member of the audience: "What, if anything, would ever change your mind [about dogmatically believing in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story]?"

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "We would just need one piece of evidence. . . . We would need evidence that the Universe is not expanding. We would need evidence that the stars appear to be far away but they’re not. . . . We would need evidence that somehow you can reset atomic clocks and keep neutrons from becoming protons."

"We would need evidence that the Universe is not expanding." Bill Nye uses a red herring fallacy. Which young Earth cosmology says that the Universe is not expanding? He probably meant to say that if someone were to absolutely prove that the big bang had not happened by going back in time--and they would have to take Bill Nye with them--and they watched God creating everything just about 6,000 years ago, that would be scientific evidence that he would except. Bill Nye is moving the goal posts, setting up a fictitious test, a kind of straw man, an impossible goal that must be reached in order for him to change his mind.

"We would need evidence that the stars appear to be far away but they’re not." Bill Nye again uses a red herring fallacy. Which young Earth cosmology says that the stars are not really all that far away. Well, there is one, but not a major contender. This is a straw man argument. What Bill Nye probably meant is that someone would have to take Bill Nye back in time with scientific test equipment that has not yet been developed to see that God used some method to get the sunlight to the Earth, either one of the workable cosmologies that are now on the table or something we have not yet thought of. This, of course, is special pleading for molecules-to-man, big bang, and billions-of-years, since Bill Nye is so closed-minded about these three dogmatically-held beliefs that he wants all other ideas silenced and all research on other ideas stopped, but he requires no such absolute physical evidence for Bill's three dogmas. A reasonable man would ask for the same kinds of evidence, without using bare assertions or worldview as proof, for both the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story and the creation-flood account. And a reasonable man would ask for the same kinds of evidence, without using bare assertions or worldview as proof, for naturalism, materialism, uniformitarianism, and any other assumption or story. By the way, the rescuing mechanisms (stories) are numerous for the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man religion.

"We would need evidence that somehow you can reset atomic clocks and keep neutrons from becoming protons." Bill Nye is again using a red herring fallacy, or, perhaps, a straw man fallacy. No one talked about resetting atomic clocks or keeping neutrons from becoming protons. Bill Nye is supposed to be a science guy, so he must have understood when Ken Ham explained the various assumptions that are made in radio carbon dating to get the "extraordinarily" old age estimates. Obviously, Bill Nye must know about these arbitrary assumptions, and he knows that different assumptions could be made. So Bill Nye is not willing to change his mind even though he knows that the dating methods are rigged.

None of these criterion for falsification are necessary or even helpful in falsifying the story. If the Universe is expanding (it may not be), it neither proves the big-bang story nor falsifies God, creation, a young Earth or the flood, but it would be impossible, with what we now know scientifically to disprove that Universe is expanding. The stars are far away, but that fact neither proves the big-bang story nor falsifies God, creation, a young Earth or the flood. The problems with the so-called "atomic clocks" are much deeper that Bill Nye implies by this demand. Bill Nye mentioned two other criterion. 

"We would need the fossil that swam from one layer to another." "We would need evidence that rock layers can somehow form in just 4,000 years . . ." Both those criterion have been met, and yet Bill has not changed his mind.



Author/Compiler
Last updated: Aug, 2014
 
 




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