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


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

The logical fallacy of red herring occurs when an attempt is made to divert the discussion away from the point by bringing up some topic that is not relevant.

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

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "Well, let’s take it back around to the question at hand: Does Ken Ham’s Creation Model hold up? Is it viable? We’re here in Kentucky on layer upon layer upon layer of limestone. I stopped at the side of the road today and picked up this piece of limestone that has a fossil right there. Now, in these many, many layers in this vicinity of Kentucky there are coral animals, fossils, zooxanthellae, and when you look at it closely, you can see that they lived their entire lives, they lived typically 20 years, sometimes more than that if the water conditions were correct, and so we are standing on millions of layers of ancient life. How could those animals have lived their entire life and formed these layers in just 4,000 years? There isn’t enough time for this limestone we’re standing on to have come into existence."

  1. Bill Nye is using the ad hominem fallacy, a fallacy of irrelevancy by making this about Ken Ham rather than using sound logic with true premises, true conclusion, and sound reasoning. When he modifies the debate question to “Does Ken Ham’s Creation Model hold up? Is it viable?” and when he speaks of “Ken Ham’s flood,” this is an awkward form of ad hominem fallacy. There is a theme throughout the debate of tending to use this ad hominem to jump-start a logical fallacy of appeal to emotion, making Ken Ham out to be someone bad or weird for believing what God says. This is a fallacy because it distracts from the real issue, though it may be convincing, especially to someone who doesn’t want to know about God and His will.
  2. Bill Nye uses the logical fallacy of misleading vividness, adding many pieces of unnecessary information, and this fallacy works to make people think that there is actually substance to what he claims because of the details given in spite of the fact that both the premises and conclusion are false.
  3. Missing from the argument is that most of the stone is just limestone, not dead zooxanthellae. Bill states that there is not enough time after the flood, a red herring, since the deposits were most likely from the flood.  The flood is obvious. These are deposits that were laid down during the flood, as are most of the sedimentary deposits around the world. This is the logical fallacy of suppressed evidence.

Bill Nye arguing against Creation science: "If there are 4,000 years since [the] flood, today, the very, very lowest estimate is that there are about 8.7 million species, but a much more reasonable estimate is it’s 50 million or even 100 million when you start counting the viruses and bacteria, and all the beetles that must be extant in the tropical rain forests that we haven’t found, so we’ll take a number which I think is pretty reasonable, 16 million species today. If these came from 7,000 kinds . . . we would expect to find 11 new species every day. So you’d go out into your yard. You wouldn’t just find a different bird, a new bird, you’d find a different kind of bird—a whole new species of bird. Every day a new species of fish, a new species of organisms you can’t see, and so on. And this would be enormous news. The last 4,000 years? People would have seen these changes among us. . . . There just isn’t enough time.

Bill Nye is using a red herring fallacy. The real question is, “How many species of air-breathing land animals now exist compared to an original 1,000 or so kinds (at that time, there were not species per se. Each kind only contained two animals that were one species--a very few would have fourteen animals) at the time of the flood, 4,000 years ago?" Moses didn’t get two of every insect, bacteria, and virus. He only got those animals that had breath. Bill Nye is also using the logical fallacy of biased statistics. He is talking about the few air-breathing land animals that were on the ark. He then compares that to all the species that might exist, though only a small percentage of the supposed species have been identified. Noah didn't bring every kind of bug, bacteria, or fish for example, yet Bill Nye includes these in his calculation. Vertebrates, minus the fish, are estimated at 30,000 species. Using the correct numbers in the calculation brings the total new species to about 7 per year, which is realistic. These biased statistics are used, by Bill Nye, to try to discredit those who follow God--to try to discredit God's divine revelation.

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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