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Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

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Michael Chase Walker

Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

About Michael Chase Walker

Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Wed, Aug 21, 2019 - 11:50 AM

Chesterton's Folly

During a discussion on the non-Christian (pagan) origins of the Catholic belief in the Trinity I presented an elaborate history of the cultural and religious development of the triune godhead dating back to Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Indo-Aryan, and Pre-Homeric cultures.

I quoted a passage from St. Jerome:

“It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine. [The early Catholic theologian] St. Jerome testifies unequivocally, ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’ ” (p. 382).

A commenter chimed in to say as a Roman Catholic he was not disturbed at all to learn about this well-documented historical evidence. He quoted G.K. Chesterton to bolster his argument and his faith:

“If the Christian God really made the human race, would not the human race tend to rumors and perversions of the Christian God? If the center of our life is a certain fact, would not people far from the center have a muddled version of that fact?… When learned skeptics come to me and say, ‘Are you aware that the Kaffirs have a story of Incarnation?’ I should reply: ‘Speaking as an unlearned person, I don’t know. But speaking as a Christian, I should be very much astonished if they hadn’t.’”

This struck me as a curious variation of Post Hoc fallacy and compared it to the ridiculous fundamentalist claim that Satan buried dinosaur bones to further lead humankind astray.

In both cases we have modern Christians, a respected scholar in Chesterton, and a dubious creationist's babble in the other. BOTH are imposing their doctrinarian views on evolution and human history and somehow deifying and ordaining the well-known practice of the early Catholic church's appropriation of pagan rituals and ideas.

The fundamentalist imposes the character of Satan interacting with dinosaur bones from 63,000,000 years ago, even though the personification of Satan was a much later development in Judeo-Christian canon.

Chesterton makes the dubious claim of a so-called "Christian God" creating humankind.

Both claims seem wildly presumptuous and woefully and anachronistically challenged. Is this post hoc ergo propter hoc, special pleading or just theological mumbo-jumbo?




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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

Moderator

About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Thu, Aug 22, 2019 - 11:11 AM
I see motivated reasoning and rationalization, both of which are problematic when it comes to good reasoning but neither of which are technically fallacious.
Bo Bennett, PhD
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