|Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma which is simply the fact that the foundation of all human thought (without Divine revelation) is one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regression, circular reasoning, or bare assertions without any evidence.
Relevance Fallacies Against the Source (emphasizing the Person, Organization, Book, etc. rather than reasoning)
- Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Hominem: occurs when an attempt is made to discredit the person rather than addressing the evidence. These are very common. The only type it may be rational to question the person is when the person alone is the premise for the argument. When someone uses authority as a premise, that authority can be brought into question. EXAMPLE "Did it ever occur to you that you are a crazed religious nut?" The most important message here is that this person is not going to listen to a word you say. This person just doesn’t want to think about it.
- Logical Fallacy of Abusive Ad Hominem / Character Assassination / Smear Campaign / Throwing Stones: occurs when the person or persons having an opposing view are defamed, mocked, or dishonored as an argument against their position. Sometimes, an attempt is made to discredit the person through tactics such as name-calling or character assassination rather than addressing the evidence. Often, this takes the form of trying to embarrass another person or group of persons rather than dealing with the evidence in a rational way.
- Name Calling / Nominalization / Labeling / Nouning: occurs when a faulty label (either positive or negative) is applied to a person, organization, or concept. Labels are powerful. They change attitudes of people who are labeled and of people who hear/see the label being applied. EXAMPLE The fact that you have committed a sin doesn't make you the sin. If you make an error, that doesn't doom you to being the error. However, if you use the sin/error as a label for yourself (or accept the label from others), it can be made part of your innermost mind. It is a lie, but it can blind you and enslave you to thinking that this is what you are and must remain--that you cannot be set free. The work of Christ is to set you free. He does this by telling you the truth through Divine revelation. Lies bind and enslave. Here are a few of the labels that are applied in this way: clumsy oaf, idiot, ignoramus, agnostic, goof-up, atheist, skeptic, homosexual, and kleptomaniac. EXAMPLE Putting a positive name on a person, organization, or concept can create a halo effect. Here are a few labels that are sometimes applied in this way: idol, good person, intellectual, and authority. EXAMPLE Zombie nouns are labels that are given to things that don't exist. These labels (especially if descriptions are also included) make the non-entity seem more real. Here are a few of these labels: evolution [meaning molecules to man], the big bang, and theory [rather than story].
- Creating Misgivings: occurs when tactics are used to instill irrational doubt or fear into the minds of a group of people. The most common way this is done is through character assassination; however, the tactic can be used against a concept, organization, class of people, or anything else. Note that there are times when misgivings are rational. To warn a friend against doing business with a known con artist is not a fallacy. This fallacy refers only to stirring up misgivings that have nothing to do with the topic of discussion.
- Logical Fallacy of Circumstantial Ad Hominem / Ad Hominem Circumstantiae / Appeal to Motive / Appeal to Conflict of Interest / Argument from Motives / Questioning Motives / Appeal to Vested Interest: occurs when someone suggest that something is not true because of some circumstance such as personal bias, personal gain, or self-serving interests. EXAMPLE "Evolution is fact and there is no Creator God. You just believe in creation because you have been looking at creation websites."
- Ad Hominem Ridicule: occurs when an appeal to ridicule fallacy is committed where the person is ridiculed rather than the idea. The appeal to ridicule fallacy occurs when ridicule or humor is used rather than rational thinking.
- Ad Hominem Tu Quoque: occurs when an attack against the person is included while dodging an argument by claiming that the other person has the same problem. Tu quoque means you too. Ad hominem means against the person. Neither of these addresses the issue at hand. They are irrelevant noise. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Every so-called evidence for the molecules-to-man story is based on arbitrary assumptions. By Divine revelation, God declares that He created all the basic kinds of living things, plus the entire Universe, in just six days.” Sandy: “You are just assuming that.” Notice how easily Sandy directed the subject so that it was about Rocky. Sandy then made the unsupported assertion that revelation is assumption, and, in effect, said, “Well, I may be making up everything that I believe, but so are you.”
- Logical Fallacy of Demonizing / De-legitimize One's Opponent: occurs when an ad hominem attack is made in such a way as to portray the opposing side as wicked or threatening rather than discussing the issue at hand using sound reasoning. EXAMPLE Richard Dawkins: "It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, mad cow disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate." ~ Richard Dawkins is using the logical fallacy of demonizing. He does this quite frequently. What he doesn't realize is that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot fight and beat his Creator God. When he uses the word, "faith," he doesn't use it as God uses it through the Bible. There are various kinds of faith. The faith of God, the real faith, comes by hearing and acknowledging God as He speaks.
- Logical Fallacy of Demagoguery: occurs when attacks against others are used as a way to build up either the doctrine/belief/philosophy/dogma, or an organization.
- Logical Fallacy of Dehumanizing: occurs when an ad hominem attack is made in such a way as to portray the target of the attack as not really human rather than discussing the issue using sound reasoning.
- Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Fidentia / Against Self-Confidence: occurs when a person's self-confidence is attacked in place of a sound argument. Note, that there is nothing fallacious in pointing out that someone's stand is not logical or based in fact. Sometimes, that is actually merciful as in the case where someone presents an argument that there is no spiritual realm and no God. Pointing out the fact that there is no evidence to support such a claim is not fallacious. EXAMPLE "How do you know that it's God speaking to you. Perhaps it's just your own minds Neurons firing. Everything is random and there is no God, and I would say that you're crazy and you ought to be hauled you away for saying such things. In fact, you are dangerous to yourself and to others!!!!"
- Logical Fallacy of Tu Quoque / You Too / Appeal to Hypocrisy: occurs when someone tries to turn an accusation back on the accuser rather than addressing the issue. Turning back the accusation, even if it's true, never answers the accusation. EXAMPLE Rocky: "Every so-called evidence for evolution or billions of years, and every evidence against the Bible or Jesus Christ is based on some combination of arbitrary assumptions, made-up stories, irrationality, or outright lies." Sandy: "Oh yeah? Well, every so-called evidence against evolution or billions of years, and every evidence for the Bible or Jesus Christ is based on some combination of arbitrary assumptions, made-up stories, irrationality, or outright lies." (Sandy's response has the added problem beyond tu quoque in that the logic is not reversible. Revelation is not the same as the Sandy's preferred method of reasoning.)
- Hypocrisy: occurs when virtue is claimed that is not really there. Basic to this is the fact that there is none good but God. We have that by revelation. A person who thinks that he or she is a good person is mistaken. A follower of Christ who thinks that his or her own fleshly nature is better than someone else's fleshly nature is mistaken. The fleshly nature is evil, Christian or non-Christian. However, if Christ lives in you, He is virtuous. He cannot sin. The fleshly nature can do no good. The real question is, "Who will you hear, acknowledge, and obey?"
- Logical Fallacy of Origins / Genetic Fallacy / Fallacy of Virtue: occurs when a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself. It is a logical fallacy because it fails to assess the claim on its merits.
- Knights and Knaves Fallacy: occurs when some people are identified as consistently truthful and others as consistently untruthful without evidence that this is the case. Generally, this is coupled with an ad hominem fallacy or a genetic fallacy. EXAMPLE Rocky: "If you want proof of this, just read (such and such article) at Creation.com." Sandy: "I'm not reading that trash. All they do is lie. I only read the Secular Humanist scientific journals." EXAMPLE Sandy: "If you want proof of this, just read (such and such article) in the Secular Humanist scientific journals." Rocky: "I'm not reading that trash. All they do is lie. I only read articles at Creation.com." You probably won't run into the second example too often, but you will find the first one to be very common. It is good to hear the other person's point of view. Because of the way that logic works, it has to be based either on something solid or something that is not solid. Assumptions are not solid. Stories are not solid. Divine revelation is solid. Those who deny Divine revelation have a problem in that they cannot come to anything solid. All that is left is infinite regress, circular reasoning, stories, arbitrary assumptions, or some other fallacious basis of thought. It is time-consuming ferreting this out, however. And fallacies can be very deceptive. On the other hand, a follower of Christ ultimately has no basis other than Jesus Christ Himself. There is no foundation other than Christ that they can depend on.
- Group Fallacy: occurs when a person is discredited because he or she belongs to a certain group. Membership in any group would not negate every statement made by a person from that group simply because the person belongs to the group. There are certain things that are likely when someone belongs to some groups, however. It is likely that someone who belongs to a group with the word, "skeptic," in its name is going to be skeptical about God and the Bible and very open to concepts such as Atheism, Agnosticism, or the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story for instance. Similar things could be said about various religions. Yet these stereotypes don't always hold. Evolutionists are not all people who refuse to acknowledge God or racists, though the theology of Evolutionism is associated with these sometimes. You can know that the group of people who believe in the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story, for instance, do not accept the Bible as it is written. This is because the Scriptural account, taken as it is written, is mutually exclusive to the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story. A person who is a member of the group that doesn't know Jesus Christ personally cannot be depended on for understanding Scripture. This is because understanding of Scripture must be revealed by the Holy Spirit. EXAMPLE "You are an evolutionist. Therefore, you aren't qualified to discuss the evidence regarding origins." Evolutionists look at the same evidences that Creationists look at. They just interpret the evidence based on assumptions and stories rather than Divine revelation, and some of them have trouble discerning between what has been observed and what has been made up. However, many evolutionists have a great understanding of the actual evidence. Some of them realize that their stories are just stories and their assumptions are just assumptions.
- Not Invented Here: occurs when anything that originates from outside of a certain defined category (this could be an organization, a nationality, an ethnic group, a gender, and age group, or any such thing) is false or less acceptable based on its origin. This is a variation of the genetic fallacy. Because it is obviously irrational, this fallacy may be hidden. Another reason is likely to be given to conceal the fallacy. If this is done, it is a form of rationalization.
- Corrupt Source Fallacy: occurs when a corrupt source (not true information attributed to the source) is used to support a proposition. Beware of the genetic fallacy in which data is dismissed because of its source. There is only one source of information that provides a basis for believing the information simply because it came from that source. That source is God. Every other source is corrupt to some extent and cannot be trusted. This definition doesn't presuppose God. God reveals His existence and trustworthiness, so no presupposition is required. The Bible is written by God and preserved by God, yet it can either be understood by the fallen human mind or by Divine revelation. It is very easy and common to have the human mind get in the way of Divine revelation. EXAMPLE Sandy: “I read in the paper that evolution is a fact.” Rocky: “What makes you think that’s true?” Sandy: “I told you; I read it in the paper.”
- Psychogenetic Fallacy: occurs when an attempt is made to psychoanalyze a person who holds a certain view and this psychoanalysis is used as a reason that the person’s view is not correct. This is a combination of the genetic fallacy and an ad hominem fallacy. It is failure to deal with the issue at hand. EXAMPLE “You are a Christian because you like the idea the God takes care of you and is watching over you. Therefore, there is no God.”
- Logical Fallacy of Poisoning the Well / Discrediting: occurs when an ad hominem attack is launched by exposing negative information (whether true or false) about the other person/position in hopes of swaying the minds of the audience against the other person/position rather than relying on sound argument.
- Logical Fallacy of Guilt by Association Ad Hominem / Bad Company Fallacy / The Company that You Keep Fallacy / Ex Concessis: occurs when an attempt is made to associate a person with something or someone negative (or seen to be negative) to discredit the other person/position rather than using sound reasoning.
- Appeal to Popular Pieties / Popular Prejudice / Appeal to What is Popular / Homily Ad Hominem (type of): occurs when an appeal is made to popular likes, interests, preferences, prejudices, predispositions, fears, etc. to support the conclusion. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation science: "On CSI, there is no distinction made between historical science and observational science." CSI may be a popular entertainment, but it certainly doesn't have authority to declare whether historical science and observational science exist. In fact, these two types of science are well recognized in the scientific community. Even if that were not the case, the real difference between the two is the difference between that which is known through direct observation and that which is thought to be known through imagination. There is a huge difference between observing and just making things up.
Last updated: Sep, 2014
Logical Fallacy of Ad Hominem
Logical Fallacy of Abusive Ad Hominem / Character Assassination / Smear Campaign / Throwing Stones
Logical Fallacy of Name Calling / Nominalization / Labeling / Nouning
Logical Fallacy of Creating Misgivings / Ad Fidentia
Logical Fallacy of Circumstantial Ad Hominem/Appeal to Motive/Appeal to Conflict of Interest/Appeal to Personal Interest/Argument from Motives/Questioning Motives/Appeal to Vested Interest
Logical Fallacy of Ad Hominem Ridicule
Logical Fallacy of Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
The Logical Fallacy of Demonizing
Logical Fallacy of Demagoguery
Logical Fallacy of Dehumanizing
Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Fidentia
Logical Fallacy of Tu Quoque / You Too / Appeal to Hypocrisy / Personal Inconsistency (a form of ad hominem)
Logical Fallacy of Origins / Genetic Fallacy / Fallacy of Virtue
Knights and Knaves Fallacy
Not Invented Here Fallacy
Corrupt Source Fallacy
Logical Fallacy of Poisoning the Well / Discrediting
Logical Fallacy of Guilt by Association Ad Hominem / Bad Company Fallacy / The Company that You Keep Fallacy / Ex Concessis
Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Popular Pieties / Popular Prejudice / Appeal to What is Popular / Homily Ad Hominem (type of)
Encyclopedia of Logical Fallacies
Relevance Fallacies of the Source
Toons & Vids
Fallacies of Presumptions, Bare Assertions, and Lies (using no evidence at all)
Fallacies of Flawed Evidence
Fallacies of Limiting Presuppositions
Fallacies of Contradiction
Fallacies of Comparison
Fallacies of Choice
Fallacies of Cause
Fallacies of Circular Reasoning
Fallacies of Non Sequitur
Fallacies of Invalid Form
Fallacies of Ambiguity
Relevance Fallacies of Authority
Relevance Fallacies of Emotion
Relevance Fallacies of the Source: Person, Organization, Book, etc.
Relevance Fallacies of Pressure
Relevance Fallacies of Distraction/Misdirection
Fallacies of Omission
Tactics and Mind Games
Faulty Conclusions that Affect Future Reasoning
Answer to Critic
Answer to Critic
Appeal to Possibility
Argument to the Future
Love Between a Man and Woman
Righteousness & Holiness
Proof by Atheism
Scriptures About Marriage
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
Stories Versus Revelation
Circular Reasoning-Who is Guilty?
How Can We Know Anything?
Mind Designed to Relate to God
Answers for the Confused
Fossil Record Says: "Creation"
Avoid These Pitfalls
Public School's Religion
Public School Failures
How can we know anything about anything?
That's the real question