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Appeal to Faith

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.

References:

This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.



Registered User Comments

Richard Tufts
Wednesday, September 05, 2018 - 10:13:09 PM
Stepping back from the religious, capital F faith parts of the discussion about this fallacy, could this also be extended to just the words of people in general? Like, for example, if I ask you not to cut the bushes on my property line, and you say "No problem, I won't touch it.". In this example, am I taking what you're saying on faith? Because while you've given me your word that you won't cut up my bushes, I'm just assuming you won't because you said you wouldn't: you could be a serial bush destroyer, and I'm just taking what you're saying on faith.

Thanks in advance, Professor!

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Thursday, September 06, 2018 - 05:09:46 AM
If you put that in argument form, then yes, it would be fallacious. For example:

"My neighbor won't cut my bushes because I have faith that he won't."

This is not a rational argument; it is a subset of an appeal to emotion that nobody should accept besides, perhaps, the person making the claim.

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Richard Tufts
Friday, September 07, 2018 - 03:47:11 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

Ah, alright then.
I asked because I really began wondering how much of what we do, say, and agree to in everyday life is based on taking things on faith.

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Richard Tufts
Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 08:21:28 PM
Would citing religious sources for a religious debate or a debate on the moral grounds of something be considered an Appeal to Faith, or is it only an Appeal to Faith when it's something completely unrelated? (like in your youtube video, where you use a Bible verse, bereft of context in order to push us to buy your book?)

Thanks, Professor. :)

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Friday, July 21, 2017 - 06:21:54 AM
Hi Richard, this is a good question because it raises the question, what if both parties accept the same premise on faith? So if two Christians are arguing about the morality of an act, and both accept (on faith) that a) God exists, b) God is the authority of morality, and c) the Bible is the word of God, they citing the Bible in the argument would not be fallacious (one could argue that their acceptance of the premises is, however). But often in argumentation, premises are accepted either hypothetically or provisionally for the sake of the argument.

Having said that, what if a theist is arguing with an atheist? If the theist cites the Bible, the atheist cannot assume an appeal to faith, because one has yet to be established. The atheist should question, "how do you know that this god exists?" If the theist can demonstrate his or her reason for belief without appealing to faith, then the atheist can proceed to ask, "how do you know that everything this god commands is good?" Again, if the theist can demonstrate his or her reason for belief without appealing to faith, then the atheist can proceed to ask, "how do you know that everything is that is written in the Bible is what God actually said?" The atheist might have more questions, but the point is, if the theist does not at any time say, "I take it on faith" or something similar, then there is no appeal to faith.

Hope that helps!

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Michael Chase Walker
Tuesday, September 04, 2018 - 01:05:28 PM
Citing 'religious sources for a religious debate or a debate on the moral grounds of something' would not necessarily constitute an appeal to faith fallacy. It could simply be a religious discussion, a debate on morality, or, in essence, a theological, canonical, or even historical review of a particular dogma, denomination or religious tradition. In these instances, it would be perfectly acceptable to argue within the context of a specific scriptural tradition, text, or scholarly review.

The appeal to faith fallacy (circular) would mostly occur if and when there is an assumption that these references and assertions are absolutely true and universally objective because they are of supernatural origin: "I know this to be true because Jesus said it", or, "the Bible is the infallible word of the Supreme Creator of the universe." These are both appeals to faith fallacies.

Historically, (and arguably) there is only a 1 in 3 chance there was an actual historical Jesus. The fact that there are as many denominations and interpretations of what Jesus might have said as there are sentences in the Bible (approximately 37,000) would certainly undermine the veracity of any statement attributed to him as being verbatim or true. Such a claim would definitely be an appeal to faith.

We might just as readily discuss the characteristics, attributes and multicultural lore of unicorns and how they might have evolved from Viking observations of Narwhal swarms at sea. Or, we might debate the origins of bear gods developing from primitive observation of bears walking upright in the forest. Of course, we know unicorns are a mythological construct, just as we have learned bears are not divine beings as we have observed and identified how they are prone to walk on their hind legs at times. The mere fact that we are discussing mythological ideas is not an appeal to faith, whereas the claim that unicorns must be real, or bears are truly divine beings simply because ancient people celebrated them in their art, song, legends and cave paintings.

As for Dr. Bo's reference to a Bible verse to elucidate on logical fallacies, well, I can't for the life of me think of a better place to begin. So, at least in this case, it is entirely and correctly contextual.

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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
Monday, July 23, 2018 - 12:39:27 PM
@Philip J. Rayment:

But what if the cause is not natural? Why isn't this the fallacy of begging the question?

Science is about explaining things naturally. Again, this is what defines science. If it can't currently be explained naturally, "science" does not claim that there must be naturalistic answer; it just doesn't stop looking for one. If the cause is not natural, then science will never explain it. If science never explains something, that does not mean it is supernatural; it means it is unknown. There is no question begging here.

Natural philosophy was the study of nature, i.e. God's creation. It presupposed God creating an orderly universe that we were capable of studying.

Whomever presupposed a supernatural creator was free to do so as a theological belief, not a scientific claim. In fact, the foundation of science is philosophical, not scientific. But once the rules are established it follows those rules. You claimed that science only uses methodological naturalism by "modern, anti-theistic" definitions. This is blatantly wrong, even if early natural philosophers believed that God created nature, they were also the ones who set the rules of science and been abiding by it for 800 years.

Your Adelard link is broken, by the way.

Thank you. Fixed.

That sentence is not completely clear to me, but to pick an example,...

Sorry, you went completely off the rails with your example, so let me attempt to be more clear. Science can NEVER make any claims of the supernatural. If God came to earth and stopped the sun, froze time, make pigs fly, etc., and there was no way we can scientifically explain this, science can only conclude that there is no natural explanation for what was witnessed; it cannot conclude that it was supernatural, because we still don't know if we were tricked, drugged, or some other natural explanation existed that we did not discover. The scientists are welcome to be convinced that the a supernatural explanation makes the most sense to them, but they are leaving science at that point and turning to philosophy/theology. Again, science does not deal with the supernatural.

Well, well, well. An expert on fallacies using an appeal to (scientific) popularity!

There is no "appeal to scientific popularity" fallacy, because this is called "scientific consensus," and it is extremely valuable and reliable way to accept information from experts in fields where we are not experts.

So you'll correct your implication that ID offers a supernatural explanation and is therefore unscientific?

Sure. ID is pseudoscientific nonsense for a host of other reasons, but even more non-science when the claim of the creator is a supernatural being. Hope that is more clear.

And now an argument by assertion.

I am not making an argument; I am making an assertion. I am not interested in debating ID. I am answering questions when asked.

Fair enough. So why then wade into the debate over ID?

You're right. Let's not.

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Philip J. Rayment
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 11:52:17 AM
Science is about explaining things naturally. Again, this is what defines science.
Argument by Repetition

If the cause is not natural, then science will never explain it.
That's a non-sequitur. Science can come up with all sorts of explanations, whether true or not.

If science never explains something, that does not mean it is supernatural…
True.

it means it is unknown.
Not true. It might mean that it's unknown to science, though.

There is no question begging here.
You seem to have missed the point. Your claim was that one can only use natural explanations for natural causes, which begs the question of how one knows whether the cause was natural or not.

Whomever presupposed a supernatural creator was free to do so as a theological belief, not a scientific claim.
I didn't say that it was a scientific claim. I said that the theological belief provided the basis for science, which you claim has always been naturalistic. How can one exclude the supernatural from consideration when presupposing the reality and capability of the supernatural?

You claimed that science only uses methodological naturalism by "modern, anti-theistic" definitions. This is blatantly wrong, even if early natural philosophers believed that God created nature, they were also the ones who set the rules of science and been abiding by it for 800 years.
Those early scientists who believed that they were studying God's creation saw themselves as studying the laws that God "wrote" for nature to follow, i.e. the laws of nature, or the natural laws. They didn't see those laws of nature as being able to explain the origins of things. It's a more recent phenomenon that science has extended itself into using its methods of observation, measurement, repetition, etc. to study the unobservable, unmeasurable, unrepeatable past, that those early scientists understood by means of revelation.

Sorry, you went completely off the rails with your example...
With my example, or with my understanding of your comment?

Science can NEVER make any claims of the supernatural.
What do you mean by claims "of" the supernatural? Why can't it deduce that the supernatural is the best explanation of the evidence?
Actually, I think that we might be talking about slightly different things here. My real question, upon which my example was based, was why, when presented with two competing explanations for something in nature that we observe, a natural explanation and a supernatural explanation, and the supernatural has better supporting evidence, science can't conclude that the supernatural one is the accepted one (to the extent that everything science accepts is provisional, of course)? Ignoring supposed definitions, why does science have to rule out one explanation a priori simply because it involves the supernatural to some extent or other?

If God came to earth and… science can only conclude that there is no natural explanation for what was witnessed; it cannot conclude that it was supernatural, because we still don't know if we were tricked, drugged, or some other natural explanation existed that we did not discover.
That seems like special pleading. Even when science explains something naturally, how do we know that we were not tricked, drugged, or otherwise had the wrong explanation that we didn't discover?

The scientists are welcome to be convinced that the a supernatural explanation makes the most sense to them, but they are leaving science at that point and turning to philosophy/theology.
Even when it's evidence-based?

There is no "appeal to scientific popularity" fallacy, because this is called "scientific consensus," and it is extremely valuable and reliable way to accept information from experts in fields where we are not experts.
First, it was an appeal to scientific organisations, not scientists. How do we know that the boards of those organisations even consulted their members? And even if they did, how do we know that the vote wasn't in the vicinity of 51% to 49%?
Second, please define as precisely as you can what you mean by "scientific consensus". To me it seems a rather imprecise term.

Sure. ID is pseudoscientific nonsense for a host of other reasons, but even more non-science when the claim of the creator is a supernatural being. Hope that is more clear.
Not really, as you are still implying that ID, at least sometimes, claims that the intelligent designer is supernatural, which it doesn't do.

I am not making an argument; I am making an assertion.
Is there a splitting hairs fallacy? You're making an assertion in defence of your claims that I'm disputing. That seem to me to be making an argument.

I am not interested in debating ID. I am answering questions when asked.
You're answering them with incorrect answers. You're taking a position on the issue.

You're right. Let's not.
I wasn't suggesting that you not get into that debate. I asked why you did get into that debate if you didn't want to. Because by taking a position on it, you waded into that debate.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 11:56:38 AM
@Philip J. Rayment: Editing my comment. I apologize for my last comment as it was unnecessarily rude (if you read it). Here is the diplomatic version. I have very little time each day to devote to answering questions about logical fallacies - something I love doing. I can't - won't - spend that time answering basic questions about science and defending basic principles of science that have been in practice for centuries. There are MANY forums where people would be thrilled to debate you about ID, creationism, and any topic you like. This isn't that forum, and I am not that person.

Peace out.

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Bryan
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 12:51:40 PM
@Philip J. Rayment:
Only by modern, anti-theistic definitions. Methodological naturalism is a principle that says that supernatural explanations cannot even be considered, regardless of the evidence.

Methodological naturalism has a required assumption of philosophical naturalism, which states that the supernatural is by definition impossible, since whatever is shown to exist is clearly part of that same natural world.

If you can demonstrate that you have evidence of the supernatural, and don't simply lack an understanding of what evidence means, then why are you posting about it on a website about logical fallacies instead of challenging the scientific community and earning your Nobel prize?

Whether you like it or not the scientific method requires the use methodological naturalism, and by assuming that all causes are empirical and naturalistic, they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically. Whatever would fall within the category of supernatural necessarily cannot be and therefore doesn't fall within the scientific method.

Your assertion that intelligent design is not a scientific conclusion is wrong. It is not true that it doesn't involve methodological naturalism. ID doesn't base its claims on the existence of God, but on scientific evidence. As far as ID is concerned, the intelligent designer could be a (natural) alien.

It's interesting that you refer to ID as a conclusion rather than a hypothesis or theory, and of course that's because ID doesn't follow the scientific method and starts with a conclusion and then looks for observations in the natural world which might loosely support the conclusion, but it does not test them in the natural world, or attempt to develop mechanisms to explain their observations.

It simply doesn't follow the scientific method and as a result it's rejected by science journals and the scientific community who do. You may still refer to it as a science based on a particular definition of the word, but that's simply equivocation, and why everyone else calls it a pseudoscience.

You say that ID doesn't base its claims on the existence of god, yet the wedge strategy document was leaked, and it's goals are:

"To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies"
"To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"

Whilst there may be some people who aren't theistic that have latched onto ID, all of the people behind this strategy are theists (and as far as I recall specifically christians), and this idea that "it might be aliens" is clearly accompanied by a metaphorical "wink wink".

The value of methodological naturalism comes from the ability to quantify, measure, and study the causes of phenomena. Even if ID really did propose an alien designer it still removes our ability to predict, measure and quantify and simply isn't scientific.

And if you really thought that ID proposed "a (natural) alien" (and why is it singular? because the extant "god" is singular regardless of it's real genesis?) then why are you talking about evidence for the supernatural? These arguments are so disingenuous.

Argument by Repetition
Pointing out that you've made the same error multiple times seems fairly logical to me. Or is Bo supposed to have to come up with a new argument each time you use the same incorrect point (hmm, who was arguing by repitition?) until he runs out of valid responses and you win by "nauseam"?

That's a non-sequitur. Science can come up with all sorts of explanations, whether true or not.
Only it's clearly not. When Bo says science he's referring to the scientific method, which means that he's contextually correct, and therefore not a non-sequitur.

Also science doesn't deal with truths. Get an education.

Not true. It might mean that it's unknown to science, though.
So who exactly has this knowledge? People who claim to know but offer no demonstration that they do? That sounds suspiciously like an unknown to me.

You seem to have missed the point. Your claim was that one can only use natural explanations for natural causes, which begs the question of how one knows whether the cause was natural or not.

Do you just throw the topic completely out of the window while searching for things to nitpick about? The topic was science, so by definition it deals with natural causes, whether you like it or not.

I didn't say that it was a scientific claim. I said that the theological belief provided the basis for science, which you claim has always been naturalistic. How can one exclude the supernatural from consideration when presupposing the reality and capability of the supernatural?

Do you even understand how discussions work? Bo didn't claim you said that, he was responding to what you said, and he didn't say science has always been anything; strangely enough he appears to be talking about extant science. I do believe that would qualify as a straw-man.

How can one exclude the supernatural? Simple, by sticking to things which can be measured and quantified. Exactly the ways science operates!

Those early scientists who believed that they were studying God's creation saw themselves as studying the laws that God "wrote" for nature to follow, i.e. the laws of nature, or the natural laws. They didn't see those laws of nature as being able to explain the origins of things. It's a more recent phenomenon that science has extended itself into using its methods of observation, measurement, repetition, etc. to study the unobservable, unmeasurable, unrepeatable past, that those early scientists understood by means of revelation.

That looks like a Tu Quoque fallacy to me. Unlike the supernatural the things science deals with are observable, measurable and able to be repeated. You should really investigate how things can be observed "if you weren't there" instead of making such ignorant comments. It's really not that difficult a concept to understand.

With my example, or with my understanding of your comment?

Bo is far too polite sometimes. I'd have said you were talking irrelevant bollocks.

What do you mean by claims "of" the supernatural? Why can't it deduce that the supernatural is the best explanation of the evidence?
Actually, I think that we might be talking about slightly different things here. My real question, upon which my example was based, was why, when presented with two competing explanations for something in nature that we observe, a natural explanation and a supernatural explanation, and the supernatural has better supporting evidence, science can't conclude that the supernatural one is the accepted one (to the extent that everything science accepts is provisional, of course)? Ignoring supposed definitions, why does science have to rule out one explanation a priori simply because it involves the supernatural to some extent or other?
Really? You're complaining that Bo used a word that expresses the relationship between things? What exactly is it you're objecting to about that?

We can't deduce that the supernatural is the best explanation because that's an argument from ignorance. You demonstrate something to be the case, and in science you need to make a hypothesis that is falsifiable, so it falls flat right out of the gate.

I'd explain again how science deals with things but you'd probably erroneously reply "argument by repetition".

You keep talking about supernatural evidence, give an example and I'm sure it won't be supernatural evidence at all. Actually don't, Bo's tried to explain that this isn't a science website, it's about logical fallacies, so why not go and present you mythical evidence to some scientists and let them educate you?

In fact I've probably done enough harm by encouraging a response from you without going through the rest of your dreadful post.

What does any of this have to do with the Appeal to Faith fallacy? I'm guessing Joe Walker was just a shill to set up an off topic argument. Personally I'd just delete all the off topic nonsense, including mine, and nip this in the bud. There's no lack of places on the internet to have ignorant discussions (and that generally applies to both sides).



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Bryan
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 10:54:52 PM
I just realised an error I made, when I said "extant god" that would suggest I think such a thing exists, but I don't; I meant the current version of.

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Philip J. Rayment
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 11:55:24 AM
I didn't see your original version, Bo.

I'm not asking basic question about science, and whether or not the basic principles of science that you save have been in practice for centuries actually have been is one thing that I am disputing.
You are making claims such as ID being pseudoscience which you are not prepared to defend. I understand you not wanting to get into such topics, but get into them you did, and now you're not willing to defend those claims.

You are an atheist who is clearly taking an atheist viewpoint when it comes to Christianity, ID, and creation, but you're unwilling to acknowledge that and unwilling to defend your claims.

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Philip J. Rayment
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 11:56:32 AM
Bryan,
Methodological naturalism has a required assumption of philosophical naturalism…
Can I quote you on that? Because the normal line that I've encountered is that that methodological naturalism does not require philosophical naturalism. That is, one can believe in the supernatural but leave it out of doing science. You are claiming here that one can't believe in the supernatural and do science.

If you can demonstrate that you have evidence of the supernatural, and don't simply lack an understanding of what evidence means, then why are you posting about it on a website about logical fallacies instead of challenging the scientific community and earning your Nobel prize?
First, as I think I've said already, I'm posting here because it is here that the claims are being made. Bo has made claims about ID (and other things) that I'm disputing. It would be rather pointless disputing Bo's claims on another site.

Second, I don't claim to have direct scientific evidence of the supernatural, which, at the very least, would be required for a Nobel prize.

Third, there is plenty of evidence that most of the scientific community wouldn't listen.

Whether you like it or not the scientific method requires the use methodological naturalism…
So Bo and now you keep repeating.

…and by assuming that all causes are empirical and naturalistic, they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically.
Not always. You can't measure nor quantify the idea that dinosaurs turned into birds, for example, because it (supposedly) happened once in the past and nobody was there to measure it. And supernatural causes can be studied as methodically as can numerous other past events.

It's interesting that you refer to ID as a conclusion rather than a hypothesis or theory…
That was Bo.

…that's because ID doesn't follow the scientific method and starts with a conclusion and then looks for observations in the natural world which might loosely support the conclusion…
Allegedly. And there's plenty of examples of mainstream scientists doing similar. That's a failing of some scientists, not of the concept.

…but it does not test them in the natural world…
False

You say that ID doesn't base its claims on the existence of god, yet the wedge strategy document was leaked, and it's goals are: ... "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"
First, the motives of some of the founders does not mean that the science is invalid. That's an ad hominem fallacy. And if that was relevant, many atheist scientists would be guilty too. Second, that's what Charles Lyell did, as he wrote that he had the aim to "free the science from Moses". If the motive invalidates the science, then the deep time of geology is also invalid.

Whilst there may be some people who aren't theistic that have latched onto ID, all of the people behind this strategy are theists (and as far as I recall specifically christians),…
I guess that might depend on who "all of the people" actually are. One of the first books on the topic, before there was even an ID movement, was by Michael Denton, an agnostic. On your second point, no, one of the stars of the movement is Jonathan Wells who is a member(?) of the Unification Church (a 'Moonie'). Third, most of the leading lights behind evolution are atheists, but that doesn't seem to bother anybody, so this further ad hominem is a case of double standards.

And if you really thought that ID proposed "a (natural) alien" … then why are you talking about evidence for the supernatural?
First, I didn't say that it "proposed" an alien, I said that as far as ID is concerned, it "could be" an alien. Second, I'm not an ID supporter. I believe it would be God.

(and why is it singular? because the extant "god" is singular regardless of it's real genesis?)
First, I only said that it "could be" an alien. It also could be a group of aliens, according to ID. I wasn't ruling out that.

These arguments are so disingenuous.
No, you're reading more into my comments than is there.

Pointing out that you've made the same error multiple times seems fairly logical to me.
But it wasn't an error. My supposed error wasn't refuted multiple times, it was asserted multiple times.

Also science doesn't deal with truths. Get an education.
You're arguing over semantics. Get a life. I was referring to whether the explanation was true or not. You know, whether it was correct or not. "True" was used as a synonym for "correct".

So who exactly has this knowledge?
Various people could. I think you mean where does this knowledge come from. Science is not the only source of information. Historical information, for example, comes from witnesses.

The topic was science, so by definition it deals with natural causes, whether you like it or not.
Which completely evades the question.

Bo didn't claim you said that, he was responding to what you said…
He said "Whomever presupposed a supernatural creator was free to do so as a theological belief, not a scientific claim.", which implies that I said that it was a scientific claim. So yes, I do know how discussions work.

…he didn't say science has always been anything…
How else am I supposed to understand this comment than that science has always been naturalistic? Bo:
You claimed that science only uses methodological naturalism by "modern, anti-theistic" definitions. This is blatantly wrong, even if early natural philosophers believed that God created nature, they were also the ones who set the rules of science and been abiding by it for 800 years.

How can one exclude the supernatural? Simple, by sticking to things which can be measured and quantified.
I notice that you only quoted half my sentence.

That looks like a Tu Quoque fallacy to me.
I fail to see how. Bo was quoting what they supposedly thought by the founding scientists; so was I.

Unlike the supernatural the things science deals with are observable, measurable and able to be repeated.
Well, that just ruled out goo-to-you evolution, as it's not able to be observed or repeated. But of course that's considered science.

Bo is far too polite sometimes. I'd have said you were talking irrelevant bollocks.
How is that relevant to my legitimate question?

Really? You're complaining that Bo used a word that expresses the relationship between things? What exactly is it you're objecting to about that?
I was asking a question, not "complaining". Beyond that, this might be about your first legitimate point. I'll explain.
When he says that science can never make any claims of the supernatural, I want to know if he is talking about science studying the supernatural itself (which I agree it can't do), or studying natural events that are claimed to be the result of supernatural causes (which it can do). There is a difference that is not clear from his comment.

We can't deduce that the supernatural is the best explanation because that's an argument from ignorance.
How so? My question was in the context of the evidence better fitting the supernatural explanation. If you have evidence, how can it be an argument from ignorance?

…in science you need to make a hypothesis that is falsifiable, so it falls flat right out of the gate.
Okay, so two hypotheses are (1) that amphibians evolved into reptiles and (2) that God created reptiles separately to amphibians. How do you falsify the first in a way that you can't do with the second?
Further, claims involving the supernatural are falsifiable, and some scientists have claimed that they have been falsified. How can they be falified if they are not falsifiable?

You keep talking about supernatural evidence…
No, I've mentioned evidence for supernatural causes. Maybe it was just sloppy wording on your part, but it's not the same thing.

What does any of this have to do with the Appeal to Faith fallacy?
Bo's response to Joe Walker's question. If you'd actually read the whole conversation you should realise that.

I'm guessing Joe Walker was just a shill to set up an off topic argument.
I have no idea. But even if your wild speculation is correct, Bo answered with an assertion that amounted to ID not being science because scientists have defined science in a way that excludes ID.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 12:00:40 PM
@Philip J. Rayment: You are correct. Just like I am happy to claim that the earth is NOT flat, and I would never waste my time "defending" that claim. So I am hereby officially acknowledging that I choose not to defend my claim that creationism is religious nonsense and ID is pseudoscience, at best.

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Bryan
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 04:49:00 PM
@Philip J. Rayment:

Can I quote you on that? Because the normal line that I've encountered is that that methodological naturalism does not require philosophical naturalism. That is, one can believe in the supernatural but leave it out of doing science. You are claiming here that one can't believe in the supernatural and do science.

No, I said no such thing, I said the method has a required assumption, people are free to believe in whatever they like but having beliefs which cannot be measured and quantified aren't useful in the scientific method so to apply the method correctly they need to be set aside.

You can quote me all you like but I think that would qualify as an argument from authority as, even though I'm not an authority on the subject, the principle that it's not who said it but what they said still applies.

First, as I think I've said already, I'm posting here because it is here that the claims are being made. Bo has made claims about ID (and other things) that I'm disputing. It would be rather pointless disputing Bo's claims on another site.

So Bo is right and you're wrong and that isn't going to change here, is it? You're not going to change the views of the science community here, and I'm neutral non scientists are going to accept the views of scientists on what is considered a science over the views of science deniers.

Second, I don't claim to have direct scientific evidence of the supernatural, which, at the very least, would be required for a Nobel prize.

And yet almost every point you make is predicated on this "supernatural evidence" which doesn't exist, so when you say you don't have any that negates almost everything you said.

Third, there is plenty of evidence that most of the scientific community wouldn't listen.

You mean there's plenty of quote mining. Some of that may simply be ignorance of the topic and a real belief that what is being quoted says what you think it is, but when the people quoted state that they are being misrepresented and still the claims are made, that's called dishonesty.

So Bo and now you keep repeating.

Actually I said it once, and even blatantly didn't repeat it, but even if I did repeat it, so what? If you keep making false claims I'm going to repeat it; as I said, I don't have to come up with a new response every time you're wrong until I run out of new responses.

Not always. You can't measure nor quantify the idea that dinosaurs turned into birds, for example, because it (supposedly) happened once in the past and nobody was there to measure it.

Instead of taking my advice of "You should really investigate how things can be observed "if you weren't there" instead of making such ignorant comments." you just repeat your ignorant claim. Wasn't it you that objects to repeating things?

How do you know that your parents had sex resulting in meiotic recombination resulted in you? Were you there?

How do police determine that a suspect covered in blood, with fingerprints on a knife, might have murdered the person with stab wounds consistent with the knife found at the scene? Were they there?

How do you "know" that Jesus had a sermon on the mount? Were you there?


And supernatural causes can be studied as methodically as can numerous other past events.

How do you determine something had a supernatural cause? At the risk of repeating myself and doing no harm to my point, this is exactly what I was talking about, you make claims about the supernatural, but you said you have no evidence of the supernatural. There is no evidence for anything supernatural, and until there is then it would be completely irrational to infer a supernatural cause for ANYTHING.

That was Bo.

Fair enough.

Allegedly. And there's plenty of examples of mainstream scientists doing similar. That's a failing of some scientists, not of the concept.

If you think it's allegedly why don't you demonstrate otherwise?

Yes, there are some scientists who fail to follow the process correctly and their work is rejected.

I recall the story of a scientist who produced a paper on lucid dreaming but he didn't follow the scientific method correctly and his paper was rejected. Instead of crying about how unfair it was he went off and did it properly, then had his paper published.

That's how science works. And we can see that it does indeed work.

False
(a link to http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1547)

"The theory of intelligent design is a hypothesis that can be positively tested. Intelligent design begins with observations of how intelligent agents act when designing things. By observing human intelligent agents, there is actually quite a bit we can learn know and understand about the actions of intelligent designers."

We know we exist, this doesn't address the fact that other agents cannot be falsified. Design is not inferred by looking at something and seeing complexity, simplicity is the hallmark of design, it's inferred by looking at something and using examples of things which we know were designed and contrasting them with nature.

A puddle is complex, the shape of the hole is so specific and yet the puddle fits it exactly. It must have been designed....

First, the motives of some of the founders does not mean that the science is invalid. That's an ad hominem fallacy.

That's not an ad hominem fallacy, I'm not talking to them, I'm talking to you.

That aside, part of what makes an ad hominem is "when the attack on the person is completely irrelevant to the argument the person is making". You can't say that having a goal of "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God" isn't relevant to your claim that "ID doesn't base its claims on the existence of god".

So it's no ad hominem, and it's not irrelevant in any way.


And if that was relevant, many atheist scientists would be guilty too.
Guilty of what? What does the wedge strategy have to do with atheist scientists?

Second, that's what Charles Lyell did, as he wrote that he had the aim to "free the science from Moses". If the motive invalidates the science, then the deep time of geology is also invalid.

I didn't say that ID is invalid because of the goals. That's a straw-man.

It's ironic that you choose a logical fallacy website as your soapbox and commit so many logical fallacies.

I guess that might depend on who "all of the people" actually are. One of the first books on the topic, before there was even an ID movement, was by Michael Denton, an agnostic. On your second point, no, one of the stars of the movement is Jonathan Wells who is a member(?) of the Unification Church (a 'Moonie'). Third, most of the leading lights behind evolution are atheists, but that doesn't seem to bother anybody, so this further ad hominem is a case of double standards.

In his book Michael Denton proposes that there is a supernatural intelligence that started the cosmos which has directed evolution, and he works at the Discovery Institute. He may be an agnostic in the sense that he doesn't claim to know for sure, but he clearly believes. What does that have to do with my point?

Putting something in brackets isn't "a second point" and I said "as far as I know". If it was an important point I was making I'd have easily found out, but it wasn't. Anyway if my point was important, the unification church is a branch of christianity. Wells is known for his quote mining, what a recommendation.

Scientists don't propose evolution because they are atheists, they propose it because that's where the mountains of evidence lead them. I was responding to your claim that the ID movement doesn't base it's claims on the existence of god, which I've demonstrated to be false, and which your reply has done nothing to counter.

Again, you don't understand what ad hominem means; I wasn't talking to these people and what I said was absolutely relevant.

If you think that there are double standards then perhaps you can produce the document that atheists produced outlining their intent to push a religion as a science in order to have it taught in classrooms, or something else analogous with what the wedge strategy outlines.

First, I didn't say that it "proposed" an alien, I said that as far as ID is concerned, it "could be" an alien. Second, I'm not an ID supporter. I believe it would be God.
Propose means to put forward for consideration, that encompasses "it could be". Right, you don't believe it was an alien, and neither do the founders of ID, they are using subterfuge by pretending this.

No, you're reading more into my comments than is there.

I generally take people on their word but I don't believe you.

But it wasn't an error. My supposed error wasn't refuted multiple times, it was asserted multiple times.

Asserted and supported by the fact that the scientific community use the scientific method, which uses methodological naturalism. As I said when we talk about science in relation to scientific disciplines, using a different definition of science is equivocation.

You seem to dislike things being repeated, but they need to be repeated because you don't appear to join the dots between different things which are said and how they relate to each other.

And while you're claiming that something was asserted, what you did was make a baseless assertion. Why don't you just demonstrate that you're correct by citing an example of a scientific paper which has been published in a scientific journal, which didn't follow the scientific method?

You're arguing over semantics. Get a life. I was referring to whether the explanation was true or not. You know, whether it was correct or not. "True" was used as a synonym for "correct".

Are you serious? You just tried to quibble over the correct usage of propose and you're now again quibbling about my valid response. Changing the word to correct doesn't change the point, science doesn't make claims of things being true or correct, it provides models that explain facts to the best understanding based on the available evidence.

It seems like you're the one who argues semantics (incorrectly) instead of focusing on the point, which in this case is that it was not a non-sequitur.

Various people could. I think you mean where does this knowledge come from. Science is not the only source of information. Historical information, for example, comes from witnesses.

I don't need you thinking for me, I meant exactly what I asked and your response makes my point for me.

By saying that it "might mean that it's unknown to science," you're implying that someone has knowledge of things. Until someone produces that knowledge it remains an unknown. And importantly there is a difference between knowing something and believing something, which is where the scientific method is useful because you can measure, quantify and evaluate them.

Lots of people claim to know things, but when pressed with a few simple questions it quickly becomes evident that they don't.

Which completely evades the question.
No it doesn't, this all goes back to ID not being scientific, which by definition means dealing with natural causes. Scientists can only deal with things which they can measure and quantify, which is things which are natural, if you can demonstrate that it is currently possible to measure and quantify the supernatural, or to provide a way to so, then scientists can change how they operate.

He said "Whomever presupposed a supernatural creator was free to do so as a theological belief, not a scientific claim.", which implies that I said that it was a scientific claim. So yes, I do know how discussions work.

I know what he said, he was referring to the scientists of old, not you. You may understand how a discussion works but then you don't appear to be able to follow one.

"How else am I supposed to understand this comment than that science has always been naturalistic?"

I was aware that some people think the earth is around 6000 years old, I wasn't aware that some people think it's 800 years old. I'd imagine Bo was referring to Robert Grosseteste who introduced the rudimentals of the scientific method.

I notice that you only quoted half my sentence.

Well you're not very observant are you? I quoted the entire paragraph, and then used a few words, not in a quote, to indicate which bit I was addressing specifically, and by not quoting the whole thing again my response was no less valid.

I fail to see how. Bo was quoting what they supposedly thought by the founding scientists; so was I.

Okay, I understand the confusion, I was referring specifically to this:

"to study the unobservable, unmeasurable, unrepeatable past, that those early scientists understood by means of revelation."

which you are attributing to current scientists and demonstrate that you don't know what you're talking about, and it appears to me to describe what ID proponents do, hence Tu Quoque.

However, given the previous thing I replied to, if I'd just quoted that part of the sentence/paragraph you may have complained that I'd only quoted part of it. I'll try to be more clear.

Well, that just ruled out goo-to-you evolution, as it's not able to be observed or repeated. But of course that's considered science.

If I was a betting man I'd put a large stake on you not having a clue what evolution proposes. And you certainly don't understand how things are observed and instead have this childish "were you there" take on it. And again you wrote this after I pointed out that you should really investigate how things can be observed, which makes it not just ignorance, but wilful ignorance.

It's not considered science, it is science. Just because you don't understand it doesn't change that, and I really don't understand this idea that people who don't understand something are in any way qualified to say that it's wrong.

How is that relevant to my legitimate question?

It's relevant because you didn't understand what he said and rattled off a load of nonsense.

I was asking a question, not "complaining". Beyond that, this might be about your first legitimate point. I'll explain.
When he says that science can never make any claims of the supernatural, I want to know if he is talking about science studying the supernatural itself (which I agree it can't do), or studying natural events that are claimed to be the result of supernatural causes (which it can do). There is a difference that is not clear from his comment.

My first legitimate point? that's a cool story. just a shame you weren't able to demonstrate anything was wrong apart from the one that I admitted to. At least you made me laugh, that's always good.

I really don't know how any of this pertains to the use of the word "of". I can't speak for Bo but I think that's a false dichotomy and he was talking about something else, that science can't deal with things which cannot be measured or quantified, which ties in with the scientific method and everything he or I have said.

"studying the supernatural itself" - as far as I'm aware that's simply impossible, perhaps you can earn that Nobel prize yet by explaining just how that can be done.

"claimed to be the result of supernatural causes" - science doesn't give a rat's ass what someone claimed and looks at the evidence and draws conclusions from it. If they can't then they don't make any conclusions, they don't guess aka claim it's supernatural.

How so? My question was in the context of the evidence better fitting the supernatural explanation. If you have evidence, how can it be an argument from ignorance?
Because science makes predictions about what will be observed and then runs the data through a series of tests. It's not possible to test for things which cannot be measured or quantified, which relegates attributing things to "the supernatural" to guessing, which is an argument from ignorance.

Again you're talking about "evidence for the supernatural" having started out with "I don't claim to have direct scientific evidence of the supernatural". Until such a thing is demonstrated to exist there's no place for it in science. I don't understand what's difficult about this.

Okay, so two hypotheses are (1) that amphibians evolved into reptiles and (2) that God created reptiles separately to amphibians. How do you falsify the first in a way that you can't do with the second?

You can make a series of tests where "this is was we expect to see", and which not seeing that will falsify the test. So in your example 1 the phylogeny would conclude that amphibians did not evolve into reptiles, and genetic sequencing would independently confirm this.

For 2 you tell me how it's falsifiable, I'm not the one making the claim. It's an appeal to magic, how can you falsify magic when magic can do anything?

Further, claims involving the supernatural are falsifiable, and some scientists have claimed that they have been falsified. How can they be falified if they are not falsifiable?

Just because some claims are falsifiable does not mean that all claims are falsifiable or vice versa. The ones which were falsifiable were falsified, that means they were shown to be false. Please explain how that has any bearing whatsoever on whether or not other claims are falsifiable. Would it not be reasonable to say that each claim is assessed on it's own merits? (I'm guessing that this won't be considered a legitimate point just like everything else I say, because reasons)


No, I've mentioned evidence for supernatural causes. Maybe it was just sloppy wording on your part, but it's not the same thing.

Please remind me of what you said about semantics. If it's not the same thing demonstrate that it isn't.

And also, remember earlier when you objected to me not quoting the whole sentence when I quoted the whole paragraph and then made a non quote reference? You didn't even object on the grounds that it was out of context, but apparently just for the sake of it. And here you are actually quoting part of a sentence and you leave off the part that asks you to provide some. How about instead of worry about whether I described the evidence correctly we just focus on you actually providing some? You've referred to it often enough that I have confidence that you'll have no problem doing so.


Bo's response to Joe Walker's question. If you'd actually read the whole conversation you should realise that.
Joe Walker's question wasn't about an appeal to faith, it was about whether an appeal to faith is similar to a concocted scenario. Then the entire discussion has been about that concocted scenario and NOTHING to do with an appeal to faith.

I have no idea. But even if your wild speculation is correct, Bo answered with an assertion that amounted to ID not being science because scientists have defined science in a way that excludes ID.

Well it seems to be correct given nobody is talking about the appeal to faith fallacy.

Cry me a river that science excludes ID. Get over it.

And it's funny that after all that you finally admit that ID is excluded by science. You could have saved a lot of time and effort by admitting this at the very start, but at least we got there in the end, even if it was by mistake.


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Bryan
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 05:52:25 PM
After further thought I don't think that would qualify as Tu quoque as what you said was incorrect, so there's no "too" about it.

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