Series on Logic Part 11 – Equivocation

Let’s keep rolling with this insanely long series through logic and logical fallacies brethren. Today I want to discuss the Equivocation fallacy with you, and this one will be important on multiple fronts. If ever there was a fallacy the believer needs to understand, it’s this one. So what is an Equivocation fallacy? This fallacy happens when someone uses the same word to mean two or more different things. A fantastic example of this is evolution, which actually can mean micro evolution or macro evolution. Micro being the small changes we see in creation due to genetic mutations and adaptations, which is observable in nature. Macro is the change from species to a new and distinct species, goo to you, which is not observable in nature. So a fallacy would be “We know we evolved from apes because we see birds evolving differently shaped beaks”. That’s equivocation, as the meaning of evolving changed the second time it was used.

Surprisingly, this is actually not the most dangerous way we see this fallacy used. Equivocation is often used by those wishing to twist scripture to fit their false doctrines. You can see this when you ask a Roman Catholic, or a Mormon, if they’re saved by grace. They will agree, however they will equivocate on the meaning of being saved by grace. It’s all of grace, plus as much works as they can fit in. This is how so many are deceived, as these falsehoods masquerade as Biblical, all the while twisting the true meaning of scripture.

We need to be careful as well, dear ones, that we are not guilty ourselves of equivocation. When we speak we need to do so with clarity, as we will be held accountable to every word we speak. When you come across this type of fallacy I would suggest lovingly correcting, particularly if it’s in regards to Biblical truth. Ordinarily I would say not to be too argumentative when it comes to logic, however make exceptions when the Gospel is at stake. Always pray before you begin a discussion on these matters, as they can escalate rather quickly. And, of course, my beloved friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.