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By way of illustrating more fallacies in action, I'm going to try something new: example arguments

with line by line explanation of where the faults in logic occur (typed in bold text). The example
arguments will feature some typical proofs put forward by Theists to explain the existence of their
Gods, and I'll also go over their refutation and add a bit of commentary on each. So, let's take a look at
the proofs as presented by Tim the Theist and refuted by Frank the Free Thinker:

Frank: “What reasons do you have for believing in God?”

Tim: “I suppose I have quite a few, but the first to come to mind would be DNA. While we can both
agree that random patterns occur in nature, DNA is different, it's coded – which requires a designer.”

This is an example of Begging the Question: it assumes the answer to the (needlessly fabricated)
questions of what DNA is and who made it. To assume the answers is to be illogical, since any
answer has to be arrived at by reason and evidence, not by simply asserting it to be true. In this
case the assertion fails because we know about the chemical and biological purposes of DNA, and
God is nowhere to be found in any of it; DNA is consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics.
So the Theist is trying to create a mystery where none exists.

There is also a second fallacy, which stems from the Argument from Design. In this logical
misstep the person ignores the normal explanations for something, then simply asserts the quality
of design, then goes even further down the wrong path by asserting a God as the reason for the
design. Needless to say, the argument from design would get you a failing grade in any science
course – do not try this at school!

Frank: “You seem to be reasoning in a circle by saying DNA is coded, and therefore needs a designer;
do you have real evidence of that? If not, we don't have any good reason to believe it, right?”

Tim: “Well, I'm no scientist, but there are other good reasons for believing in God. Take the fact that no
one has ever proven he doesn't exist. He seems to have staying power doesn't he?”

After dodging Frank's rebuttal, and changing the subject to prevent himself from having to
admit his mistakes, Tim tries shifting the Burden of Proof onto others. The need to demonstrate
proof is always on the person making a claim (in this case Tim, since he's making a God claim),
it's not the job of others (Frank) to disprove it. Another example of shifting the burden can be
seen with UFOs: Since they haven't been dis-proven yet, they're claimed to be real. We recognize
that to be faulty reasoning, UFOs have to be demonstrated as true or be disregarded until we
have good reason to believe in them.

Frank: “The problem with that argument is that it isn't our job to disprove your deity, it's your job to
show us good reason to believe it. Since you're making a claim, you have to justify it.”

Tim: “Okay, maybe that was a bad point to make. But I have had personal experiences: I heard a voice
one time, and there's no explanation as to why. And I wasn't sleepy or anything like that; I had a clear
mind at the time it occurred.”

This is an Argument from Personal Revelation, and it's faults are clear. Even granting Tim's
honesty in the experience, we have no independent access to the happening, all we have to go on
in one person's perception of an experience. We have no way to verify it's validity, and so it can't
be accepted as empirical evidence to support a claim, no matter how much it may hurt Tim's
feelings we don't believe him. After all, If I told you I watched a six headed dragon type this
essay, you wouldn't believe me based solely on my claim, you'd require a bit of evidence to
evaluate – my feelings or credibility just don't factor into it.

Another problem presented is the God of the Gaps fallacy. Let's just grant Tim's assertion that he
heard a supernatural voice for a minute, Tim would still have to explain how he arrived at the
conclusion that it was God, instead of Allah, Zeus, or a psychotic break from reality. Again,
merely asserting something doesn't make it true, you have to have reasons why you think it was
your God, not any other thousands of possibilities.

The final problem is that the argument contradicts itself; Tim says he had an experience that is
beyond explanation, then he turns around and tries to explain it by inserting his God. This is the
same as saying “No one can know how this crazy thing happened, but, I know how that crazy
thing happened: Goddidit.” This is clearly bad logic, but it's a fairly common mistake people
make when claiming supernatural occurrences.

Frank: “I'm sure you're an honest person, and you would report your experience accurately, but you
may understand if someone doesn't see that experience as solid proof for a God. Personal revelation is
really tough to accept unless it happens to you, right?”

Tim: “Kinda, I mean, it was no small deal...”

Frank: “Sure, I understand it must have been weird, and it's worth looking into.”

Tim: “It was, but when you think about it, how many people in America believe in God? Last I heard it
was like 80% or more, and there are like 300 million people in the country, that's no small amount of
people, could they all be wrong?”

Yes, of course they could. The truth of a claim is not established by the amount of people that
happen to believe in it. Once upon a time, most everyone thought the world was flat, you were
called crazy if you doubted it, but they were wrong the whole time. This fallacy is called the
Bandwagon Argument, it's when someone cites believers as the proof of a certain claim; of course
this isn't going to wash with logic.

Frank: “That's a lot of people for sure, Christianity's God is a really popular one, but is their belief in
the claim enough to demonstrate it's validity?”

Tim: “Well, it doesn't make it... Well, no, I suppose not. But how do we explain how hospitable the
planet is for humans? It's not too cold, not too warm, there's plenty of water, plants, and animals. I
mean, I can't explain why this planet is so friendly to us compared to all the others, but it's really
something to think about. If we were dropped on any other planet in our solar system, we would die

This argument must seem very convincing to those who don't think about it much. At first, a
person may be tempted to think that earth is very accommodating to human life. But this is
fallacious just like all the other arguments we've seen so far; the problem is thinking that the
planet was formed to suit us, not the other way around. Humans have spent hundreds of
thousands of years living and learning on certain parts of this planet. Not to mention tens of
millions of years spent as hominids and earlier transitional forms learning what plants to eat, and
which ones to avoid. It's illogical to think that the planet has changed everything to make us
comfortable, in reality we know it's the other way around. This is the Anthropic Principle, and
has been know to thinkers as a good sounding, but ultimately failed argument for existence of
creator Gods. Science-fiction writer Douglas Adams makes an entertaining illustration of the
Anthropic Principle, circa 1998:

"Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself
in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly
well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the
sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically
hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have
him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I
think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for."

Douglas makes the point very beautifully, it's foolish to think the world was formed with us in mind.
And this is a more than arrogant world view isn't it? When we really think about it, do we have the
sufficient amount of evidence to maintain our human-centric view of the universe, or even our little
planet? Have we accurately summarized our position? Since most of the planet is not suitable for us to
live on – whether it's covered in water or miles of ice – are we sure this stage was set for us?

Cosmology has told us a considerable amount about what's happening beyond our own neighborhood,
and it most certainly doesn't indicate that all we know of is made with us in mind: countless
uninhabitable planets, with surface winds reaching thousands of miles an hour, ambient temperatures
that are hundreds of degrees to far either way, and atmospheres made of poisonous gas. The cosmos is
filled with an unimaginable number of failed planets, baked dry or frozen stiff, devoid of life, floating
silently in the darkness; while hundreds of billion of stars are collapsing in on themselves and taking
with them the planets and moons that happen to be too close when the stars go supernova. All this
annihilation and destruction doesn't fill me with a sense of importance at all, doubly so when you think
back to all the species that have come and gone on our little globe, very near 99% of all species that
have walked on Earth are now gone, and won't be seen again. We very nearly followed our
predecessors into the dark, our young species barely survived leaving Africa: our numbers dwindling
down to 30-40,000, we were just that close to being another set of random fossils. All this destruction,
lost potential, our brush with extinction and somehow some of us believe this was all tailor made for
humans? I can't say I share that faith.

I hope this has been useful or informative, these fallacies and arguments are really fun to deal with, and
there seems to be quite a few left to go through, if this is received well I hope to do a few more. Thanks
for reading!