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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Rationalism


Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Rationalism

Appeal to rationalism 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.

The logical fallacy of appeal to rationalism occurs when it is assumed that the human mind (particularly the minds of those who agree with the person using this fallacy) is capable of generating information and knowledge without the benefit of either observation or divine revelation. Unfortunately, the words, "rationalism," and "rationalizing," sound like the word, "rational," when they mean the opposite. To be rational is to be sane. To base your thinking on rationalism is to be insane. To rationalize is to try to make the insane seem to be sane.

Note that it is rare for any person to rationalize on purpose. Rationalism happens naturally. It is part of the human mind's tendency to try to get closure, to fill in the blanks of knowledge. There is a philosophy of naturalism that claims that the human mind is capable of generating sound knowledge without the benefit of observation of Divine revelation. This can be tested by putting on a blindfold and driving your car. Observation will guide you in driving. Divine revelation will guide you so that you don't put the blindfold on and so that you don't test the Lord, your God. Rationalism will get you into trouble in many ways--and it does, even when you are aware of the danger. It is the source of many conflicting doctrines, dogmas, and Scriptural interpretations. It is the source of many scientific theories and models that go beyond what can be known. It is the source of many conflicts in business, marriage, friendships, and government/politics. It is the reason that people disagree about morality. It causes people to say that darkness is light and light is darkness, that sin is righteousness and righteousness is sin.

What an example of Agrippa's Trilemma applied to life. Without Divine revelation, every person is totally lost and in a mental fog. In fact, rationalism can make persons in total mental fog feel as if they are very wise and knowing. In reality, they know nothing. They cannot know anything. They have cut off the only source of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, love, and peace.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Rationalism

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "This is to say, when people make assumptions based on radiometric dating, when they make assumptions about the expanding Universe, when they make assumptions about the rate at which genes change in populations of bacterial in laboratory growth media, they’re making assumptions based on previous experience."

Bill Nye is using the logical fallacy of false cause and effect by saying that assumptions come from previous experience. If there is a previous experience, that is empirical. Empirical observation, that is experience of reality, is not assumption, nor can it generate assumptionsAssumptions come from the imagination, from the worldview/paradigm/fake-reality that is built in the human mind. They may be rationalized, but they cannot be proved. They are always arbitrary. On the other hand, Divine revelation has a source other than the human mind. It is not arbitrary. However, the human mind is very skilled at adding assumptions to Divine revelation or using assumptions to take some parts out of Divine revelation, and this is extremely deceptive. We see this at work in many of the interpretations of what can be plainly read in Scripture or plainly seen in creation around us.

Isaac Asimov (the inventor of the Agnostic fallacy): “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”

Poor Isaac Asimov based all his thinking on rationalism. He was stuck in this mode of thinking because he rationalized that God could not reveal anything to anyone. In making this claim, Isaac was himself claiming to know the inner spiritual experience of every person who has ever lived. This is an insane claim. Poor Isaac!

Last updated: Sep, 2014
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