|Logical Fallacy of Equivocation / Bait and Switch / Amphiboly / Semantic Ambiguity / Type-Token Ambiguity / Vagueness|
Logical Fallacy of Equivocation / Bait and Switch / Lexical Ambiguity
Lexical ambiguity 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 equivocation occurs when confusion results from ambiguous meanings of words or phrases. Equivocation has to do with the use of words, but amphiboly has to do with the use of grammar. Two or more definitions exist for the same word, but the definition is adjusted to cover both meanings at once. In this way, an argument can be made in which one part of the argument uses one of the meanings and the other part of the argument uses the other meaning. An example would be the word, evolution. One meaning is an easily observed phenomenon that one generation is not the exact duplicate of the previous generation. The second meaning is the supposed gradual process that has never been observed whereby it is claimed that a very simple first life form morphed from generation to generation until there was a generation that was called human. These two meanings are combined into one word. Then, the argument goes, “We can observe evolution (first meaning); therefore, evolution (second meaning) is a scientific fact.”
Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Equivocation / Bait and Switch / Lexical Ambiguity
Let's examine these so-called assumptions.
"we assume that the bacteria can grow on the growth medium" Would they not have tested this to make sure it was true so they would not have to assume it? Of course, this is the case.
"we assume that substance B does not affect bacterial growth" So, do they just grab some random substance B, not knowing what it is so that they have to assume? Of course not. They use a substance that has been tested repeatedly using scientific method so that they can be sure that it doesn't affect bacterial growth.
"we assume that one day is long enough for colonies to grow" They actually might have to make an assumption like this if this is the first pass at this experiment and they know nothing about the bacteria. More likely, they set the time to a period that they know is long enough because they have already shown this to be long enough before they start adding other variables. To introduce too many unknowns at once is sloppy science.
"we assume that the color pen we use to mark the outside of the dishes is not influencing bacterial growth" This would not be an assumption. What kind of lab would through an untested pen into the mix so they wouldn't know if the experiment is bringing meaningful results or not?
Note that every one of these so-called assumptions is testable. None of these things requires assumption.
So, this definition of assumption is confusing. What is even more confusing is calling these testable facts "assumptions" while calling untestable, often impossible, proclamations to also be "assumptions." This is the logical fallacy of equivocation.
Here are some real arbitrary assumptions: "Natural processes are sufficient for understanding the natural world." "Nature operates uniformly throughout the universe in space and time." "It’s impossible to know if we have considered all possible alternative explanations." "Scientific knowledge is the most reliable knowledge we can have about the natural world and how it works." "There was no Genesis Flood." "There is no God. God cannot be known. God cannot reveal anything." "Science is the only way to know anything." "There is no spiritual realm." "God cannot have any effect on any scientific inquiry." "We can make valid assumptions without any proof or any way to test those assumptions." "All processes continue at the same rate from the beginning unless this assumption causes problems for the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story, in which case, other assumptions must be made to make the observation fall in line with the story."
Here are some revelations that conflict with some of those assumptions: "God is the cause of all of what we call natural processes, and He is faithful but unrestricted." "In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth--in six days, He created them." "The world as we know it will be destroyed and replaced with a new Heaven and New Earth." "God judges sin because He is just." "There is a spiritual realm." "It is possible to know God." "Everyone who keeps seeking to know Christ in sincerity, humility, submission, and respect will find Christ." "Everyone who follows Christ is led by Christ." "God works with us in unfolding revelation from glory to greater glory." "God has an order for everything that He has created; when we violate that order, we work against the purposes of God." "The big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story is a lie."
This is an example of the fallacy of Equivocation/Bait and Switch/Amphiboly. The so-called “evolution” that we see are losses of information or rearrangement of existing information. We never see the addition of new, innovative, universal information to living things by natural processes—which would be absolutely necessary for even the smallest step in so-called molecules-to-man evolution. The logical fallacy of equivocation seems to be something the Berkeley is using as a method for teaching evolution: see this analysis of Berkeley's Evolution 101
“I pray the prayer of faith for my children. And I have faith in my children that they will do what is right.”
There is an obvious mixing of two types of faith here, the faith that is a free gift from God, the faith of God, as opposed to human faith based on some observation and a lot of reasoning and wishful thinking. The faith of God is absolute, if it is faith. It comes when God speaks to us and leads us. This is the faith that gives us access to His grace so that He can do His Works through us—His works, such as praying the prayer of faith.
This is equivocation on the word, hope. The hope that the Bible speaks of is a vision of reality given from God. It’s not the hope-so, human hope that is mentioned in the next three sentences. When God speaks to us and leads us, He speaks a vision of His hope, the reality of how things really are. We see who we were created to be in Him and we see the church as it was created to be. We don’t obviously see it all, but just a little glimpse, as much light as we can stand.
This argument equivocates the changes within a kind of living things with the stories about one kind--like the amoeba kind or the cat kind that includes kitties, lions, and tigers, or the dog kind that includes wolves, coyotes, and spaniels--to another kind, which is often called macro evolution. Adaptation can be observed. Living things changing from one kind is neither observed in living things nor in the fossil record.
Sandy doesn't really understand God, since he is one who refuses to acknowledge Him. So, it's not surprising that Sandy would say something so irrational.
It may be a moot point whether or not the life that is passed from generation to generation is actually the same as the life that was passed from God to Adam, but it is likely that it is the same in that Adam is called the son of God. Whether life was passed in the same way to every animal in the same way is unknown, but it certainly is nitpicking fallacy abuse to target this point, especially when Sandy's point rests on a straw man argument, a misquote. Sandy further introduces emotional language, playing to the crowd. What makes matters worse is that this example was taken from an Atheist website that is supposedly teaching logic but it full of these kinds of errors in logic.
On the other hand, the scientific Law of Biogenesis could be much more clearly stated, for instance:
“The scientific Law of Biogenesis states that life never comes from non-life and only comes from other life. There are no exceptions, though considerable money and effort has been spent in an effort to find an exception. On the other hand, those who follow Christ have revelation that shows us that God is the originator of life, the He created life just a few thousand years ago. Therefore, God is the originator of life.”
Last updated: Oct, 2014
Toons & Vids
Logical Fallacy of Ambiguity
Logical Fallacy of the Barnum Effect / P. T. Barnum Effect / The Fallacy of Personal Validation / The Forer Effect
Logical Fallacy of Ambiguous Assertion
Logical Fallacy of Innuendo
Sly Suggestion Fallacy
Syntactic Ambiguity Fallacy / Structural Ambiguity / Grammatical Ambiguity / Amphiboly / Semantic Ambiguity / Semantical Ambiguity Fallacy
The Logical Fallacy Lexical Ambiguity
Use-Mention Error / UME
Logical Fallacy of Misuse of Etymology
Logical Fallacy of Garden Path Ambiguity
Squinting Modifier Fallacy
Quantifier Fallacy / Quantifier Shift Fallacy
Illicit Observation Fallacy
Metaphorical Ambiguity Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Equivocation / Bait and Switch / Amphiboly / Semantic Ambiguity / Type-Token Ambiguity / Vagueness
Middle Puzzle Part Fallacy
Idiosyncratic Language Fallacy
Type-Token Ambiguity Fallacy
Fallacy of Modal Logic / Modal Scope Fallacy / Misconditionalization
Modal Fallacy / Modal Scope Fallacy
Ambiguous Middle / Ambiguous Middle Term
Logical Fallacy of Hypnotic Bait and Switch
Logical Fallacy of Defining a Word in Terms of Itself
Logical Fallacy of Defining Terms Too Broadly
Logical Fallacy of Defining Terms Too Narrowly
Logical Fallacy of Failure to Elucidate
Logical Fallacy of Persuasive Definition / Appeal to Definition / Appeal to the Dictionary / Definist Fallacy (type of) / Rhetorical Definition
Logical Fallacy of Composition / Exception Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Division / False Division / Ecological Fallacy / Ecological Inference Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Nominalization, Misnomer, Labeling
Logical Fallacy of Inference from a Label
Pigeonholing Fallacy / Ahistoric Fallacy
Category Mistake / Category Error
Logical Fallacy of the Conjunction Effect / Conjunction Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Argument by Fast Talking / Information Overload / Bang-Bang-Bang
Logical Fallacy of Proof by Verbosity / Argumentum Verbosium
Logical Fallacy of Argument by Gibberish / Bafflement / Prestigious Jargon
Logical Fallacy of Confusing Contradiction with Contrariety
Logical Fallacy of Ambiguous Collective / Type-Token Ambiguity
Anti-Concreteness Mentality Fallacy / Attributing Abstractness to the Concrete / Mistaking an Entity for a Theory / Mistaking Reality for an Assumptions
The Logical Fallacy of Process-Product Ambiguity / Act-Object Ambiguity
Answer to Critic
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Love Between a Man and Woman
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Scriptures About Marriage
The Reason for Rejecting Truth
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REAL Faith--What it IS & IS NOT
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Stories Versus Revelation
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How Can We Know Anything?
Mind Designed to Relate to God
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Fossil Record Says: "Creation"
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