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Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification


Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification

The logical fallacy of reductionism / oversimplification occurs when someone reduces a complex concept to a subset of its components as if it represented the whole. As with many fallacies, reductionism is often used as a tool for thinking, since the human mind is so limited. We usually can't think about everything at once. A model, or abstraction, abstracts certain elements so that we can think about those elements and try to do analysis. However, the problem is that we sometimes forget that the model is not reality itself, and then we add it as confirmation bias to prove to ourselves that some parts of our paradigm/fake-inner-reality are real, though they are not.

Examples of the Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification

"The human body is just a combination of a few dollars' worth of chemicals."

"The fetus is just a blob of tissue."

"The Constitution is merely a piece of paper."

These three statements are all examples of reductionism that oversimplify the concepts, creating a false impression.

Sandy: "Of course life can form by random chance. Richard Dawkin's Weasel program proves that."

Rocky: "Richard Dawkin's Weasel program actually doesn't even replicate the part of reality that it was supposed to because it not only abstracts a subset, but it also adds in a mechanism that is never found in nature, a component that targets the desired string of letters and saves them if they fit the target. There is no mechanism like this in nature."

Richard Dawkin's Weasel program is a joke of irrationality. It's a wonder that anyone could take it seriously.

Sandy: "Thomas Hobbes reasoned that all ethics and morals are simply the result of search for pleasure and avoidance of pain."

Rocky: "Hobbes may have reasoned that, but it is still an oversimplification fallacy."

Whether Sandy's summary is correct or not, this is quite an oversimplification. And Hobbes would also be claiming supernatural knowledge.

Carl Segan: "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be"

What a beautiful example of oversimplification. This is so much more effective than if Carl had come out and said, "Atheism is a fact." Carl is claiming to be all-knowing. He is claiming to be God. Yet, God has revealed that the cosmos is not all that is, was, or will be. We know that God created the physical cosmos and the heavenly realm as well.

Sandy: "The Crusades and Inquisition were an obvious example of the danger of religion."

Rocky: "Have you ever considered that you may be leaving out some of the detail in your analysis?"

There was a lot more to it than that. First, there was the threat of Islam that is a religion of world dominance--and they were succeeding at that time in taking over the world by the sword. The Crusades were largely a response to the threat. At the same time, Sandy is oversimplifying by using the label, religion. All religions are not the same. Not only that, Sandy excludes Atheism and Agnosticism from the label of religion, and these two religions are extremely violent. In addition, the Church fell away from Christ just as God had foretold: There must be a falling away. While the light never went out, it appears that there was not much light in the leadership of the Church during this period.

Last updated: Sep, 2014
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Toons & Vids



Logical Fallacy of Stacking the Deck / Cherry Picking / Cherry Picking Data / Suppressed Evidence / Fallacy of Incomplete Evidence / Argument from Selective Observation / Argument by Half-Truth / Card Staking / Fallacy of Exclusion

Logical Fallacy of Ambiguity Effect

McNamara Fallacy

Head in the Sand / Ostrich Fallacy

Suppression of the Agent Fallacy

Fading Affect Bias / FAB

"What I Don't Know Is Not Important" / Unteachable Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Selective Refutation

Logical Fallacy of A-Priorism

Logical Fallacy of Audiatur Et Altera Pars / Failure to State Assumptions

Error of Ignoring Historical Example

Logical Fallacy of Overlooking Secondary Consequences

Uncontrolled Factors Fallacy

Missing Link Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Moving the Goal Posts / Gravity Game / Raising the Bar

Gravity Game Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Demanding Impossible Perfection / Unfalsifiable Claims / Demanding Impossible Evidence

Unfalsifiable Claims Fallacy / Unfalsifiability / Untestibility

The Invincible Ignorance Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Ignorance / Ad Ignorantiam / Argument from Ignorance / Argument from a Lack of Evidence

Logical Fallacy of Ad Ignorantiam Question

God of the Gaps Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument from Silence / Argumentum Ex Silentio

Logical Fallacy of No True Scotsman (a type of stacking the deck)

No True Scientist Fallacy

Fallacy of Opposition

Frozen Abstraction Fallacy

Falsified Inductive Generalization Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument from the Negative

Logical Fallacy of a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid / Accident Fallacy

Converse Accident Fallacy / Reverse Accident Fallacy

Best-in-Field Fallacy

Abductive Fallacy / Retroduction Fallacy / Retroductive Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Denialism / Denial

Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification

Persimplex Responsum Fallacy / Very Simple Answer Fallacy / Very Simple Solution Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Reductionism / Oversimplification

Taboo Fallacy



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