|Logical Fallacy of Defining Terms Too Narrowly|
Logical Fallacy of Defining Terms Too Narrowly
Definint terms too narrowly is one of the many smokescreens that are used to cover the fact that the reasoning is based on one of the three fallacies of Agrippa's trilemma. Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma. All human thought (without Divine revelation) is based on one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. This problem is known as Agrippa's trilemma. Some have claimed that only logic and math can be known without Divine revelation; however, that is not true. There is no reason to trust either logic or math without Divine revelation. Science is also limited to the pragmatic because of the weakness on human reasoning, which is known as Agrippa's trilemma. This is a fallacy that superimposes another level of fallacy on top or one or more of the three fallacies of Agrippa's trilemma.
The logical fallacy of too narrow definition of terms occurs when terms are defined so narrowly that people, items, things, or concepts are excluded when they should not be. Note that this fallacy is very similar to the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. It's a way to manipulate the argument to exclude or omit relevant examples from a sample and create a false impression.
Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Too Narrow Definition of Terms
By limiting the definition of what can be a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Sandy is defining terms too narrowly. By doing so, Sandy creates the false impression that no scientific articles supporting creation are published in peer-reviewed journals, when, in fact, all that Sandy has done has been to use deceptive language.
Sandy's premise has become a circular argument through a very narrow definition of the word, scientist to only include evolutionists. Another example of this same argument is, "There is a test that real scientists must take to show that they are real, and the test requires that they recognize evolution to pass the test. Therefore, only evolutionists are real scientists."
Sandy is right. Rocky is defining Christianity too narrowly unless he begins by stating that only those who are led by Christ are part of Christianity. However, that is not how the word, Christianity is used in the culture. Christianity is a broadly defined word. It is too broad to have a meaningful conversation regarding it. Using the word, Christianity, is, in fact, the fallacy of using a word with too broad of a definition. It's the wrong term. Rocky should have used the term follower of Christ. He would have to first establish that Jesus Christ is not a theory or a religion. He is a Person, and everyone who follows Christ is led by Christ. Christ leads. Rocky would need to explain that he knows this by revelation, since Christ leads him personally. Then, with a sanely defined word, Rocky can say that Christ never led anyone to commit an atrocity. However, Rocky could not claim that no Christ-follower has ever committed an atrocity. When a person is following Christ, that person begins as a new-born baby in Christ. Over time, through repeated and constant submission to the Holy Spirit, the person is set free from fleshly passions that lead into sins/atrocities. Whether any Christ-follower has yet been set totally free is questionable.
In case you haven't noticed this already, the argument that Christianity is a historically positive or negative influence on society is an irrelevant point if the objective is to show Christ to be a real Person Who lives in every person who follows Him. Comparing governments that allowed freedom of religion and that were based on Biblical principles (Early U.S. government) to Socialistic governments (Nazi, Red China, North Korea, etc.) or strong central governments that are allowed to write laws regarding religion (the Holy Roman Empire), there is logical motivation for governments that allow freedom of religion and that were based on Biblical principles as opposed to Atheistic Socialistic governments or strong central governments that are allowed to write laws regarding religion (the Holy Roman Empire). To use it as a reason that a skeptic ought to come to Christ is the logical fallacy of appeal to consequence. The real point that Rocky ought to be concentrating on is the fact that Christ is, that Christ is good, that Christ is real, and that rejection of Christ is the most serious sin anyone could commit. All of these are easily verifiable, not to say that an skeptic will be willing to verify it to himself or herself.
Sandy's argument is actually taken from an atheist website on logical fallacies. Of course, a follower of Christ may indeed try to defend Christianity rather than speaking of Christ, and then that Christian would be committing the logical fallacy of too broad a definition to be meaningful.
Last updated: Sep, 2014
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The Logical Fallacy of Process-Product Ambiguity / Act-Object Ambiguity
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