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Logical Fallacy of Begging the Question/Circular Reasoning


Logical Fallacy of Begging the Question/Circular Reasoning

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 regression, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. This is known as Agrippa's trilemma. Some have claimed that only logic and math can be known; however, that's not true. Without Divine revelation, neither logic nor math can be known. Science is limited only to pragmatic thinking because of the weakness of human reasoning, which is known as Agrippa's trilemma. Circular reasoning is one of the three unhappy possibilities of Agrippa's trilemma.

The logical fallacy of begging the question / circular reasoning occurs when the conclusion, the very thing that is in question, is assumed in a premise. This is assuming the conclusion as a starting point, then working logic to arrive back at the conclusion. Begging the question usually uses valid logic in that the conclusion always follows from the premise, since the conclusion is simply the premise re-stated. The premise and conclusion are one and the same. That is why it's called circular reasoning. The rocks are used to date the fossils and the fossils are used to date the rocks.

Sometimes, the same word or phrase is used in the premise and in the conclusion, making the fallacy obvious. More often, different terminology is used or the assumption isn't even stated but is a prerequisite of one of the premises.

to assume as true the very point that is under discussion

It is not to try to evade answering a question.

It is not to bring a question to mind.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Begging the Question/Circular Reasoning

“In reality, evolution [meaning a philosophy of molecules turning into humans over millions of years] explains all of the evidence found regarding the diversity of life on Earth, where creationism explains none of it, instead replacing an explanation with ‘God it’, a decidedly non-explanation.”

This comment presupposes what it's trying to prove. It's pure circular reasoning. If there were no Almighty God, it would make perfect sense to say that Almighty God couldn't do anything. However, if the Almighty God is the One Who's now enforcing all of what we call the laws of science and if He's indeed the source of all the laws of logic, wisdom, knowledge and understanding, then what? And, we know, by revelation that the Creator, God Almighty is the only reason for the laws of science. However, this Atheist is using circular reasoning and writing about logic. Yes. Believe it or not,  this quote came from a website that is about logical fallacies. Not amazingly, this is typical of ungodly websites (and there are many) that are teaching logic.

Not only that, but this is also a straw man argument. The scientific evidence is on the side of creation and God. The Atheists push hard to control the message so that no one finds this out. Note also the special pleading by comparing evolution and creationISM. It is either evolutionism and creationism or evolution and creation.

"The Earth is old because the geological strata are old. The geological strata are old because the fossils are old. Fossils are old because the Earth is old. Therefore, many lines of evidence show us the certainty that the Earth is old."

This argument begins with the conclusion that the Earth is old and ends with the conclusion that the Earth is old. It argues in a circle.

"The fact that when mammal fossils are found in sediment that has been estimated as too old for the mammal fossil, the estimate of the age of the sediment is changed."

This is circular reasoning in action.

"We find similar biochemistry in all life.

Evolution [meaning a philosophy of molecules turning into humans over millions of years] is the cause of this.

Therefore, evolution [meaning a philosophy of molecules turning into humans over millions of years] happened."

This argument assumes evolution in the minor premise, but whether evolution created everything or God created everything is the question at issue. The person putting forth this logical argument is assuming what he or she is trying to prove. That is circular. The second premise could be stated as "Creation is the cause of this." which would also be circular reasoning. The second premise could avoid the circular reference by saying, "God says that He created everything in six days a few thousand years ago, so a common Creator would explain this nicely." Perhaps, it might be better to state it this way: "I know, by Divine revelation, that God and His revelation cannot lie. I also know, by Divine revelation, that a few thousand years ago, God created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them in six days. Therefore, a few thousand years ago, God created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them in six days."

"Tiktaalik is a transitional form between fish and terrestrial animals."

Stating that Tiktaalik is an example of a transitional form between fish and terrestrial animals requires an assumption of evolution to begin with and evolution is what it is used to prove.

“The Bible is full of errors. It violates all the laws of science.”

This bit of circular reasoning must be unpacked, since the logic isn't stated. As it is, it's an unsupported assertion. However, there's falacious logic behind it that gives the person saying this a false sense of rationality. Let's look at the seven steps of logic:

1. "We assume that science begins with the axiom of Naturalism." 

2. Anything that conflicts with the axiom of Naturalism isn’t science. 

3. Whatever isn’t shown to be true by science is not true.

4. There are examples of miracles in the Bible.

5. Miracles don’t follow the axiom of Naturalism.

6. Therefore, the Bible can’t be without error.

7. “The Bible is full of errors. It violates all the laws of science.”

Many ungodly thinkers begin with an assumption or presupposition of naturalism or materialism, both of which are alternate views of hard ungodliness. Then, they begin to reason from this point to prove either that there's no God or that there's no reason to believe that God exists--which is their starting presupposition.

"The Global flood never happened." [This is the presupposition of Uniformitarianism, but this statement is rarely stated.] "We can observe the current rates deposits of sediment, and calculate how long it would take to build up the deposits that currently exist using the present rates." [all based on the no-flood presupposition] "Therefore, we know that the Earth is billions of years old, not thousands of years old."

This is circular because the target is to prove the dates in the Bible wrong, but the Bible denies uniformitarianism, and asserting the catastrophic Genesis flood makes it irrational to extrapolate current rates of deposit any further than about 4,000 years.

"Without laws of logic, we could not make an argument. We can make an argument. Therefore, there must be laws of logic."

Can you spot why this next set of statements is circular? The conclusion is actually true, but the logic is circular.

"There is no evidence against molecules-to-man evolution. Therefore, molecules-to-man evolution actually took place."

The unstated presupposition is, molecules-to-man evolution actually took place, and that's exactly what the conclusion is--circular reasoning. Without that presupposition, it's irrational to claim that no evidence against a thing proves that the thing is true.

"Without the axiom of Naturalism, we could not do science. We can do science. Therefore, Naturalism must be an axiom of science."

This is circular and arbitrary. Don't worry. We can do science very well without naturalism. Most of the branches of science were founded by people who didn't believe the dogma of Naturalism. Naturalism offers no mechanism to enforce the scientific laws that we can observe. The Naturalist is forced to say something like, “That is just how it is.” However, the faithful Creator God does provide the mechanism for enforcing all the laws of science.

Notice the difference between circular and sound reasoning when making the same point in the following reasoning:

"The Bible says it is the Word of God. What the Bible says must be true, since God cannot lie. Therefore the Bible must be the word of God." This is circular reasoning

"God speaks to me through the Bible. God says to me, through the Bible, that the Bible is His very Utterance and that it can be trusted. God also says to me, through the Bible, that He cannot lie. Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God without error." This is not circular reasoning.

Circular Reasoning and the Bible

The examples to the right aren't circular reasoning. They're based on the only way that anything can be known: divine revelation. Someone may make the false claim that the reasoning on the right is trying to prove the existence of God by something that can't be verified by anyone else. The question was presented, "Why believe in God?" Another question was, "Why believe what the Bible says." These questions don't ask for proof of God. They ask the believer why the believer believes.

If the unbeliever wants proof, the unbeliever must look at the evidence. As with all true evidence about anything, ignoring the evidence can keep the unbeliever from verifying reality. Refusing to look at the evidence is a fallacy.

In this case, the evidence is in Jesus Christ Himself. Every person who seeks Christ in sincerity finds Christ. Those who don't want Christ to rule over them and who don't want to move in His love will refuse to seek Christ in sincerity. This isn't an intellectual problem. This is a spiritual problem of loving darkness rather than light.

Most of the so-called "evidence" for the stories of evolutionism aren't checkable by the ordinary person. That so-called "evidence" is just opinion about observation and not the observation itself. The way it's presented, we're just asked to believe without proof. The fact that the claim has been made is considered proof. Jesus isn't like that. Anyone can personally verify Him. No one has to take the word of any other person.

“The similarities between species are proof of molecules-to-man evolution.”

This is question-begging. It assumes evolution to prove evolution. If the same person were to assume creation, they could say, “The similarities between species is proof of creation and a common creator.”

"The rocks are used to date the fossils and the fossils are used to date the rocks."

This is never stated this clearly, but following the logic through its many contortions, this is how the dating methods actually work.

"We use the scientific method to judge the scientific method."

<We know that the Bible is God's Word because the Bible says that it is God's Word."

It isn't necessary to use circular reasoning. We know because God says so. How do we know that God is telling the truth? When we hear His Voice and acknowledge Him in submissive reverence, His faith comes to us and we believe. So, we believe God supernaturally because we hear Him and acknowledge Him. Then, we know that the Bible is God's word because God reveals this fact to us by Divine revelation. At a certain point, someone must be believed. Why do Christians believe? Because God has imparted His faith to them. Someone can shoehorn that into a logical fallacy, but doing so makes every observation of science a logical fallacy by the same definition. The choice is between Divine revelation and human fallacies, arbitrary assumptions, and stories. That isn't a false dichotomy. Another way is to say this is "You either believe God or you don't." Who will you believe? This is actually the root of arguments between those who follow Christ and other people, so it's a good conflict to understand. This is why God clearly states: "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of proclamation [literal] to save those who believe." God proclaims through His various methods. If we acknowledge, His faith comes as a free gift. This isn't circular reasoning, but it's a largely unrecognized law of how things work.

We know that these fossils with soft tissue in them are millions of years old because these fossils are millions of years old."

The problem is that this doesn't tell us anything. It is circular reasoning because the conclusion is the premise. If the conclusion had restated the premise using different words, it would still be circular reasoning.

We know that these fossils with soft tissue in them are millions of years old because of their place in the geologic column and radioactive dating."

The problem is that this doesn't tell us anything, because the proofs that are used for dating the fossils are all based on presuppositions of billions of years and no Genesis flood.

"We don't want to allow research into Creation science because it has no support in the scientific community."

This is a circular argument, because scientists who don't enthusiastically embrace the Big-Bang-Billions-or-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story (and denounce the Creation-Flood account) are routinely discriminated against in academia, and also in industry. Schools coerce science students on this issue. And then the word, scientists, is defined to exclude anyone who doesn't kowtow to the sacred cow story.

Last updated: Nov, 2016
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Logical Fallacy of Begging the Question/Circular Reasoning

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Logical Fallacy of Question Begging Analogy

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How to be Led by God

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Public School's Religion

Twisting Science


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Twisting History

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