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Logical Fallacy of Persuasive Definition / Appeal to Definition / Appeal to the Dictionary / Definist Fallacy (type of) / Rhetorical Definition


Logical Fallacy of Persuasive Definition / Appeal to Definition / Appeal to the Dictionary / Definist Fallacy (type of) / Rhetorical Definition

Persuasive definition 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 persuasive definition / definist fallacy (type of) / Rhetorical Definition occurs when someone defines a word in a way that helpful in persuading the audience to believe the conclusion but doesn’t really support the conclusion. The definist fallacy can mean the fallacy of persuasive definition, the definition of one property in terms of another, or the Socratic fallacy in which terms are required to be defined before use. Here, we are only dealing with the fallacy of persuasive definition.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Persuasive Definition / Appeal to Definition / Appeal to the Dictionary / Definist Fallacy (type of) / Rhetorical Definition

“Terms such as ‘natural laws’, ‘miracle’, and ‘methodological naturalism’ have been used in the public square very effectively by secularists to shut out any notion that God interacts with the real world. Some of these, such as ‘miracle’ and ‘natural laws’, were older terms given new meanings that ruled out theism. Others, such as ‘methodological naturalism’, are terms favorable to anti-Christian ideals coined to express the fundamental tenets of what scientists do in such a way that it makes science sound intrinsically anti-Christian and anti-Bible.” (read the entire article)

Secular Humanist / Atheist: "It's not that I believe God doesn't exist. It's just that I don't have enough evidence that God exists. Prove God to me."

Atheists have begun to try to change the meaning of Atheism from a belief that God doesn’t exist to just saying that they don’t have enough evidence for God. The reason for doing this is that they have become aware that the old definition commits the fallacy of universal negative. Yet, the new definition causes quite an equivocation when they argue as one who believes God doesn’t exist, yet maintain their new definition for argument’s sake. For example, why would anyone become dogmatic, upset, or angry if they felt that they didn’t know about something? Why not be open-minded to trying to seek and to find God?

Secular Humanists / Atheists when dealing with separation of religion and state: "Atheism is not a religion and ought to be able to get tax money to indoctrinate children in our non-religion."

Secular Humanists / Atheists to the tax man: "We are a religion and should not have to pay taxes."

There are many problems with this argument, but using the word, religion, as the reason that they should get tax money while other religions should not is an example of the fallacy of appeal to definition.

Evolutionist: “Wait one minute. We are not talking about abiogenesis. We are only talking about evolution.”

It is very understandable why an Atheist would want to dodge any discussion of the scientific Law of Biogenesis or any questions about specifically describing how they think that the first life began, however, this is an example of the fallacy of appeal to definition. Evolution has many definitions.

There are 6 phases of supposed evolution. Only one of them works scientifically.

Hesitant Christian: “Gay marriage is wrong because the dictionary defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”

Some followers of Christ use this example of the logical fallacy of appeal to definition because they are intimidated and don’t want to be called Bible-thumpers or worse. The correct premise would be something like, “Gay marriage is wrong because Jesus Christ, Who is God, says that marriage is defined as being a life-long union between one man and one woman. Marriage is holy and it is part of God’s plan for the Universe.”

Naturalist: “Miracles are a violation of natural law.”

This short sentence creates a misunderstanding of the word, miracle. To refer to natural “law” as a law is a metaphor. All metaphors break down at a certain point. Though they may help us to understand something complex, all metaphors break the law of non-contradiction. The word, law, refers to a stated restriction that prescribes a certain action. They can be broken. Natural laws are not that kind of law at all. Natural laws are behaviors in nature to which we see no exception. We never, for instance, see information being added to anything unless that information comes from other information. If God is the enforcer of the natural laws as He reveals that He is, then natural laws are simply how God almost always enforces that way that the Universe works. If, for some special purpose, He does something a little bit differently (heals the sick, raises the dead, gives information that can’t be gotten through observation of material objects, prepares a giant fish to swallow Jonah), that is not a violation of anything.

Last updated: Sep, 2014

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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


Shingle Speech

Use-Mention Error / UME

Double Entendre

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

Redefinition Fallacy

Middle Puzzle Part Fallacy

Idiosyncratic Language Fallacy

Type-Token Ambiguity Fallacy

Fallacy of Modal Logic / Modal Scope Fallacy / Misconditionalization

Modal Fallacy / Modal Scope Fallacy

Scope Fallacy

Ambiguous Middle / Ambiguous Middle Term

Logical Fallacy of Hypnotic Bait and Switch

Definist Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Defining a Word in Terms of Itself

Socratic Fallacy

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

Etymological 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

Disjunction 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

Conceptual Fallacy

Anti-Concreteness Mentality Fallacy / Attributing Abstractness to the Concrete / Mistaking an Entity for a Theory / Mistaking Reality for an Assumptions

Butterfly Logic

The Logical Fallacy of Process-Product Ambiguity / Act-Object Ambiguity



Answer to Critic

Appeal to Possibility

Circular Reasoning

Argument to the Future

Insignificant Cause

Word Magic

Love Between a Man and Woman


Colossians 2

Righteousness & Holiness

Don't Compromise


Proof by Atheism

Scriptures About Marriage

Genuine Authority

The Reason for Rejecting Truth

Witness on the Internet

Flaky Human Reasoning

How Do You Know?


The Real Purpose of the Church

The Real Purpose of Life

From Glory to Glory

REAL Faith--What it IS & IS NOT

REAL Love--What it IS & IS NOT

How to be Led by God

How to Witness

Wisdom: Righteousness & Reality

Holiness & Mind/Soul

Redemption: Free From Sin

Real Reality

Stories Versus Revelation

Understanding Logic

Logical Fallacies

Circular Reasoning-Who is Guilty?

How Can We Know Anything?

God's Word

God's Process

God's Pattern

Mind Designed to Relate to God

Answers for the Confused

Fossil Record Says: "Creation"

Avoid These Pitfalls

Public School's Religion

Twisting Science


Public School Failures

Twisting History

How can we know anything about anything? That's the real question

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