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Appeal to Faith

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Description: This is an abandonment of reason in an argument and a call to faith, usually when reason clearly leads to disproving the conclusion of an argument.  It is the assertion that one must have (the right kind of) faith in order to understand the argument. 

Even arguments that heavily rely on reason that ultimately require faith, abandon reason.

Logical Form:

X is true.

If you have faith, you will see that.

Example #1:

Jimmie: Joseph Smith, the all American prophet, was the blond-haired, blue-eyed voice of God.

Hollie: What is your evidence for that?

Jimmie: I don't need evidence—I only need faith.

Explanation: There are some things, some believe, that are beyond reason and logic.  Fair enough, but the moment we accept this, absent of any objective method of telling what is beyond reason and why, anything goes.  Anything can be explained away without having to explain anything.

Example #2:

Tom: Did you know that souls ("thetans") reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth, and Xenu was the tyrant ruler of the Galactic Confederacy?

Mike: No, I did not know that.  How do you know that?

Tom: I know this through my faith.  Do you think everything can be known by science alone?  Your faith is weak, my friend.

Explanation: It should be obvious that reason and logic are not being used, but rather “faith”.  While Tom might be right, there is still no valid reason offered.  The problem also arises in the vagueness of the appeal to faith.  Tom’s answer can be used to answer virtually any question imaginable, yet the answer is really a deflection.

St. Bingo: You need to massage my feet.

Tina: Why?

St. Bingo: My child, you will only see that answer clearly through the eyes of faith.

Exception: No exceptions -- the appeal to faith is always a fallacy when used to justify a conclusion in the absence of reason.



Registered User Comments

Joe Walker
Saturday, January 21, 2017 - 01:21:37 PM
Would this be similar to a scientific fallacy whereas a scientist, on a molecular level sees that design is the most plausible explanation but because of possible funding cuts and/or ridicule of their peers they can not say what they think albeit if it one of the top molecular scientist from a university in Texas.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Saturday, January 21, 2017 - 02:40:32 PM
No, because intelligent design is not a scientific conclusion. Science uses, by definition, methodological naturalism. A scientist is welcome to believe that Zeus designed people from clay, but if he or she attempted to offer that as a scientific theory, he or she would rightfully be ridiculed.

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