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Logical Fallacy of Dodging the Question


Logical Fallacy of Dodging the Question

The logical fallacy of dodging the question occurs when the reaction to a question is avoiding answering the quesiton. This is one way of avoiding the issue. As with all fallacies, this fallacy can be consciously used for deception or the fallacy can be made because of misunderstanding or for some other reason. Here are some of the ways that this is done: refusing to answer the question, changing the subject, explaining redundant things or irrelevant things as a distraction, creating an excuse not to answer, repeating the question as a question, answering the question with another question, answering things that weren't asked, questioning the question, challenging the question, giving an answer in the wrong context.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Dodging the Question

Person from the audience: "How did the atoms that created the big bang get there?"

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "This is a great mystery! You’ve hit the nail on the head. No. Uh, the, what was before the big bang? This is what drives us. This is what we want to know. Let’s keep looking. Let’s keep searching. When I was young, it was presumed that the Universe was slowing down. Big bang, [simulated bang] ‘cept it’s in outer space, ‘s no air, so [silence and dramatic hand movements to simulate what Bill Nye claims to have happened] like that, and so people presumed that it would slow down, that the Universe, that gravity especially would hold everything together. And maybe it’s going to come back and explode again, and people went out and the mathematical expression is is the Universe flat. It’s a mathematical expression. Will the Universe slow down, slow down asymptotically without ever stopping? Well, in 2004, Saul Perlmutter and his colleagues, went looking to the rate at which the Universe was slowing down. Let’s go out and measure it. We do it with this extraordinary system of telescopes around the world, looking at the night sky, looking for super novae, these are standard brightness that you can infer distances with. And the Universe isn’t slowing down. The Universe is accelerating in its expansion, and do you know why? Nobody knows why. Nobody knows why. And you’ll hear the expression nowadays, dark energy, dark matter, which are mathematical ideas that seem to reacon well with what seems to be the gravitational attraction of clusters of stars, galaxies and their expansion, and isn’t it reasonable that whatever’s out there causing the Universe to expand is here also, and we just haven’t figured out how to detect it. My friends, suppose a science student from the commonwealth of Kentucky pursues a career in science and finds out the answer to that deep question: “Where did we come from?” ‘What was before the big bang?’ To us, this is wonderful and charming and compelling. This is what makes us get up and go to work every day is to try to solve the mysteries of the Universe."

This is an interesting dodge that highlights Bill's skill at this sort of thing. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of selling the defect as a benefit, false bravado, appeal to emotion, and declaring victory. He stated his lack of ability to even address this question with great emotion as if the fact that  that he had no clue proved his case. Bill Nye answers as if this is a wonderful answer, and this by a man who has been guilty of implying that unless Ken can answer all Bill's questions to Bill's satisfaction, this proves that Bill is right and Ken is wrong. These are the two sides of an argument from ignorance being used with special pleading. If Bill doesn't know, it proves Bill's story. If Ken doesn't know, it proves Bill's story. No matter what, it proves Bill's story. In reality, neither proves anything, but creation is proved by revelation. Revelation is proved by knowing Jesus Christ and His moment-my-moment leading. And now he acts like his inability is actually a victory. The concept of anything before the so-called big bang doesn't fit into the fake-reality of big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man. There are no answers in big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man to the difficult questions, but these same questions are easily answered by the creation model. Those questions that are answered by the favored story are only answered by stories and assumptions that are intellectually bankrupt. Since God reveals, followers of Christ don't need stories and assumptions. This is also an example of the logical fallacy of limited scope. All of this would not be so bad if Bill Nye had not been so arrogant, claiming that his Atheistic view of science is the only one that works and that the view that actually has answers to the major questions of life must be censored. Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of misleading vividness, giving a very entertaining story to distract from the fact that he is stumped. And Bill Nye is also using the logical fallacy of special pleading, with a very funny quirk. Usually the logical fallacy of special pleading occurs in a situation where both sides of the argument have the same problem, but, in this case, Bill Nye's side has the problem and uses the logical fallacy of projection to try to make it seem as if those who believe God have the same problem as he does. Bill Nye states that it's a wonderful thing that he doesn't know, and he absolutely has no answer to this question other than these dodges. And there are many other unsolvable problems with the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story. On the other hand, and here is the special pleading, the rules are very different for anyone who believes what God says about creation, the age of the Earth, or anything else that Atheists don't like. For them, even when Ken Ham answers Bill Nye's questions, Bill Nye ignores the answer and re-asks the question as if it had never been answered. Then, Bill implies (lies) that Ken Ham's failure to answer the question (which Ken had just answered. but Bill is lying by implying that Ken didn't answer) is proof that the creation model is not suitable for science. That is a perfect example of the logical fallacy of special pleading.

Last updated: Aug, 2014

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Toons & Vids



Logical Fallacy of Avoiding the Issue / Avoiding the Question / Missing the Point / Straying Off the Subject / Digressing / Distraction

Logical Fallacy of Misleading Vividness

Logical Fallacy of Dodging the Question

Logical Fallacy of Ignoratio Elenchi / Irrelevant Conclusion

Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Question

Logical Fallacy of Proof by Consequences / Argument from Consequences / Parade of the Horribles / Argumentum Ad Consequentiam / Appeal to Consequences of a Belief / Argument to the Consequences

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Bribery / Appeal to Motives in Place of Support

Logical Fallacy of Red Herring / Digression / Diversion / Evading the Issue / Side-tracking

Dodge of Answering a Question with a Question

Dodging by Answering a Different Question / Answering a Question That Was Not Asked

Logical Fallacy of Non-Support

Logical Fallacy of Logic Chopping / Quibbling / Quibble / Splitting-Hairs / Nit-Picking / Trivial Objections / Smokescreen / Blowing Smoke / Befogging the Issue / Clouding the Issue / Megatrifle / Trivial Objections / Cavil / Spurious Superficiality

Admitting a Small Fault to Cover a Big Denial

Logical Fallacy of Arguing a Minor Point and Ignoring the Main Point

Logical Fallacy of Ad Misericordiam / Appeal to pity / Appeal to Sympathy / The Galileo Argument

Galileo Wannabe Fallacy / Galileo Argument (Appeal to Pity)

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Novelty / appeal to the New / Ad Novitam

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to High Tech

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Tradition / Argumentum Ad Antiquitatem / Appeal to Common Practice / Appeal to Antiquity / Proof from Tradition / Appeal to Past Practice / Gadarene Swine Fallacy / Traditional Wisdom

Logical Fallacy of The Way We Have Always Done It

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Desperation

Straw Man Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Extension

In a Certain Respect and Simply / Secundum Quid Et Simpliciter Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Extremes

Logical Fallacy of Taking a Quote Out of Context / Contextomy (type of) / Abstraction / Quote Mining

Logical Fallacy of Misquoting

Logical Fallacy of Accent / Accent Fallacy / Accent by Emphasis / Emphatic Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Accent by Abstraction / Emphasis by Abstraction

Misleading Context Fallacy / Contextomy

Logical Fallacy of Misinterpretation

The Mind Game of Playing Dumb

Logical Fallacy of Arcane Explanation

Logical Fallacy of Hyperbole

Logical Fallacy of Exaggeration / Stretching the Truth / Overstatement

Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Thesis

Logical Fallacy of Burden of Proof / Shifting the Burden of Proof

Logical Fallacy of Demanding an Uneven Burden of Proof / Demanding Uneven Standards of Acceptance

Burden of Proof Fallacy Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument to Moderation / Argumentum Ad Temperantiam / Middle Ground / False Compromise

Logical Fallacy of False Fallacy / Fallacy Abuse

Logical Fallacy of Confusing an Explanation with Proof

Logical Fallacy of Moralism

Logical Fallacy of Ought-Is / Moralistic Fallacy / Moral Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Is-Ought / Is-Ought Fallacy / Arguing From Is to Ought / Is-Should Fallacy / Hume's Law / Hume's Guillotine

Naturalistic Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Notable Effort

Logical Fallacy of Political Correctness / Political Correctness Fallacy / PC Fallacy

False Compromise Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Lip Service

Logical Fallacy of Tokenism

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Denial / Paralipsis Attack / Paralepsis / Apophasis

Diminished Responsibility Fallacy

Contrarian Argument Fallacy



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