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← Two equally bad fallacies

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Steve Zara

On the matter of annoying fallacies, I can think of several.

The first is "argument from authority". It's often used to condemn a position simply because whoever is putting that position refers to someone else. The fallacy is really "argument from inappropriate authority", which is so common it's actually the basis of much advertising, as it's the celebrity endorsement.

The second is "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence". It is! What this is supposed to mean is that you can't exclude the possibility of something if you haven't searched everywhere, especially something that could well be rare, such as alien civilizations. However, it's also used by theists in connection with gods. But, in that situation absence of evidence really is very good evidence of absence, because we are dealing with something that believers say that they have encountered in some way, through evidence, tradition, or revelation. Theism is equivalent not to the existence of aliens, but alien visitation.

Finally we have my favourite: "you can't disprove God". You can, for certain definitions of God. For the Christian God, it's actually quite simple.

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 04:19:19 UTC | #912941