Throwback Thursday – Series on the Laws of Logic & Logical Fallacies

Back in June of 2018 I brought to a conclusion this 13 part series on Logic. The only changes I’ve made for today’s post is adding the full list of the articles down below for anyone who missed it. You can find the original, posted June 18th, 2018, here.

This week is, sadly, the last week we’re going to discuss logical fallacies. There are so many I want to bring up, I was tempted to dump several on you all at once. I don’t think thats helpful, yet I do need to move on to discuss some other very important, culturally relevant, subjects, namely feminism which we’ll begin a series on next Friday. For today I’m going to end this series in style, with my very least favorite fallacy, begging the question.

The very best explanation I’ve heard for this logical fallacy is done by Dr. Jason Lisle in this lecture below starting at about the 23 minute mark, although I highly recommend the entire lecture.

There is something about Dr. Lisles calm demeanor which makes his lectures so enjoyable. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be blessed by his lectures, friends, this one HERE is my favorite. It doesn’t have anything to do with logic, but it is so fascinating! As you saw, beloved brethren, in the lecture above begging the question is a fallacious way to argue any point. Anytime we attempt to manipulate those around us by sticking the conclusion we want them to come to within our argument, we are arguing foolishly. God’s Word does not need our help, so lets speak openly and honestly with the lost, and avoid begging the question.

When you give the Law to the proud their natural inclination will be to go on the offense, often times with this fallacy. This is why it’s my least favorite fallacy, I see it come up so often when sharing the Gospel. It’s painful to see the lost harden their hearts even further, then to see them pridefully proclaim falsehood as if it were true by begging the question. Twitter, in particular, is a begging the question fallacy making machine! When this happens take a deep breath and remember, friends, that God is sovereign. We have been called to share the Good News, but we were never called to save anyone. Thankfully, that is in the capable hands of God, not the vastly incapable hands of wretched man. If you have time, and the person seems reasonable, try to show them their error with gentleness, and love.

This concludes our series through logic, and the many fallacies. Although this was the longest series I’ve done, I really just scratched the surface. I hope you were all blessed by these posts, and will continue to study logic. Remember, dear ones, we do this in love, without a haughty attitude, to tear down every high and lofty thing that sets itself up against the Truth. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!

Part 1 – What is Logic?

Part 2 – The Law of Non Contradictions

Part 3 – The Law of Identity

Part 4 – Excluded Middle

Part 5 – Ad Hominem

Part 6 – Straw Man Fallacy

Part 7 – No True Scotsman

Part 8 – Argumentum Ad Populum

Part 9 – Reification

Part 10 – Bifurcation Fallacy

Part 11 – Equivocation

Part 12 – Red Herring

Series on Logic Part 12 – Red Herring

Beloved, I have to admit something that might gross some of you out, I love sushi. It’s literally my favorite food. Unfortunately I’m not just frugal, I’m a straight up cheapskate so I only get it on special occasions like birthdays or Mother’s Day. So, as we continue through our series on Logic with a discussion on the logical fallacy dubbed Red Herring, I’m going to use sushi as an example.

A Red Herring is when someone fallaciously ignores an argument by changing the subject. It would look a little something like this;

Me: We should go eat Sushi for dinner tonight because it’s delicious.

Husband: It’s going to rain tomorrow, so let’s BBQ today.

This is fallacious because my husband ignored my reasoning on sushi being delicious. However, if he had pointed out (as he often does) that I’m the only one that likes sushi, that it’s expensive, and that it causes gluttonous tendencies in me, then went on to suggest the BBQ it would not have been a Red Herring. Setting aside my beloved sushi (unwillingly) let me give you an example of how this plays out. A street preacher shares the Gospel with someone, calling them to repent of their sins. They will, from time to time, completely ignore what was said and bring up a Red Herring. It starts with a ‘what about’ and ends down a rabbit hole.

A Christian might say “God sent His only begotten Son to die in your place, so the sins you’ve committed have been paid for. You can be forgiven if you repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ’s finished works on the cross.”

Response, for example…

“Ok, what about evolution though?”


“What about all the other religions?”

If you’ve watched enough LivingWaters clips, or Way of the Master episodes, you’ve seen the steamrollers who plow over the pleas from Christians with the What Abouts. The mass majority of those What Abouts are Red Herrings. To avoid this fallacy, dear ones, simply address the question or point made then ask if you can make a point. If someone is using this fallacy with you, lovingly ask if you can come back to that after you’ve heard their response to what you’ve just said. Most people will ask you to repeat yourself, so it’s a bonus, as it gives you a second opportunity to share the Gospel. Remember, friends, when sharing the Gospel you never know who else is listening. I hope understanding these fallacy’s will be a blessing to you all, beloved brethren. As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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.

Series on Logic Part 10 – Bifurcation Fallacy

Alright, beloved, this is officially the longest running series I’ve done on Biblical Beginnings. Cue the confetti and balloons! As believers in a world that insists there are absolutely no absolute truths, having a solid foundation in logic is a must. So, today, dear ones, we’re going to briefly discuss the Bifurcation Fallacy, also known as the Either-Or fallacy. This is so common today, particularly with online debates.

The Bifurcation Fallacy states that it’s either A or non-A, giving you only two options. I’ve often heard it used like this “if you don’t believe in evolution you’re a science denier” or “either you believe in evolution or you hate science”. This is fallacious because there are obviously more than just these two options to choose from. For example, in high school I both believed in evolution AND hated science. There are thousands of PhD scientists who do not agree with evolution, none of them are science deniers.

Another way Christians often hear this fallacy put is like this “If you don’t accept my life style you are unloving”. There are so many other options, for example before I became a Christian I accepted anyone else’s lifestyle, couldn’t care less. At the same time I was very unloving, thoughtless, cruel, and extremely self centered. Another option here is that we, like God, do not wish that any should parish but that all should have everlasting life in the Savior Jesus Christ. Thus the most loving thing we can do is warn those whose life styles we disagree with. This makes the statement fallacious, as there are more than A and non-A to pick from.

This is only a fallacy if there are other options, which is important to remember. For example, “you either believe Genesis is accurate or you do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture”. Or “you must put your faith in Jesus Christ alone, He is the only way to the Father, or you’re lost”. You see, in both these statements there is no other possibility, meaning they are not fallacious. Be careful not to falsely accuse anyone of using this fallacy, when they are not. It’s not a fine line, these are clear and obvious truth statements with no alternatives.

I hope these short posts are edifying for you, brothers and sisters. I have to keep reminding you how very important it is for us to argue for the faith with all love, mercy, and kindness. So long as the person you are talking to is reasonable, reason with them. Be encouraged that though we plant and water the seed, only God can bring the increase! Continue to run the race, beloved, with a life of living sacrifice unto the Lord. As always, be good Berean’s dear ones, and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Logic Part 9 – Reification

Today, dear ones, in continuing with our series on Logic and logical fallacies I’d like to briefly discuss the reification fallacy. This is one of those fallacies that we need to be mindful of, as its not always fallacious. With reification something abstract is given properties that belong to physical objects. For example ‘science has said’ or ‘don’t try and fool mother nature’. Science is a tool, and ‘mother nature’ is just an expression for weather, so neither of these can exhibit the characteristics given it. This becomes fallacious when it’s used as an argument rather than poetic language. When the Bible refers to Gods protective wings it’s poetic, not in any way suggesting that God has actual wings. God is spirit, and will be worshiped in spirit.

You’ll see this often during debates, particularly about scientific subjects. While I have to continue to encourage you all not to point out each and every logical fallacy, this is one you can simply refute without appearing obnoxious. Just show how silly the statement is like you see in the cute little meme above. If someone says ‘science says the Bible is wrong’ just explain that science is a tool that can not speak for itself, all data that comes from it has to be interpreted. That’s always a great opportunity to swing into a presuppositional apology. Do this with the utmost love, beloved friends, with concern for the eternity of the one you’re arguing with. Remember, when we share our faith with the lost we’re directly attacking their worldview just by talking about ours. We have the truth, we know the only way to the Father, and that’s through the Son. So be kind, be loving, but be honest! And as always, brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Logic Part 8 – Argumentum Ad Populum

Ok, beloved, let’s continue our series on Logic with the fallacy entitled Argumentum Ad Populum. This is when someone argues that their point is true based on how many agree or believe it to be so. For example “everyone knows evolution is a fact” or “9 out of 10 dentists recommend this brand of tooth paste.” Of all the fallacies we’ll discuss, I would wager that this one is the most popular today.

We are a people who love statistics, we love to see points made with pie charts and diagrams. This becomes fallacious when we take the popular opinions and use it as an argument. It’s important to remember that a majority does not make something true. When an atheist or evolutionist argues against Christianity using the ‘all scientists agree’ argument you can show them the fallacy by reminding them of Darwin’s time. When Origin of Species was written, Darwin’s opinions on historical science were the minority. Therefore, arguing from that same point of view, that a majority of scientists can’t be wrong, Darwinian evolution must have been wrong. Let’s not forget that most of the scientists of Darwin’s day disagreed with him at first, it took nearly a decade before he won over popular opinion.

In today’s era of relativism most people you share the Gospel with will end with ‘you have your truth, I have mine’. Ironically, at the same time, they’ll argue for the truthfulness of evolutionism. Nevertheless, this means that you and I must firmly plant our feet on the authority and inerrancy of Gods Word. If your truth is that a foot measures five inches, and my truth is that a foot measures twelve inches, one of us is wrong, we can not both be right. How can we be absolutely sure which of us is correct? Not by arguing that ‘everyone agrees it’s twelve inches’ that would be Argumentum Ad Populum. Instead, we can point to a ruler, which can give an absolute truth. Gods Word is the worlds moral ruler, that’s what we must stand on.

Dear ones, we also need to avoid using these fallacies. We have the Truth, and we lovingly share it with the lost as if they were blind men stumbling towards a thousand foot cliff. We don’t need fancy arguments, evidence, or lengthy words, we just need to warn them of the danger they’re in. Nor do we need to fear offending them because their lives are in danger, it would be irresponsible not to warn them. We can point them to the straight and narrow path, far away from that thousand foot cliff of sin and death. I pray this series is a blessing to you all, as you grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Logic Part 7 – No True Scotsman

In continuing to work through logical fallacies, beloved, today we’re going to discuss the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy. We’ve been going through these fallacies, as you know if you’ve been keeping up with this series, to edify and encourage the body of Christ. There’s two ways I hope to do that. First, by showing you how nonbelievers will use illogical arguments when you share the Gospel with them. Second, that you understand what a logical fallacy is so that you don’t get caught using them. With this particular fallacy I regrettably admit that it’s often used by all sides of every debate, including Christians.

Last week a received a comment with the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy within it. In that comment I was told, to paraphrase, ‘real’ scientists don’t accept the evidence creationists accept. Another example of this fallacy goes something like this “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge”, one Scotsman says to another. His friend answers “Well, Hamish puts sugar in his porridge.” So instead of admitting he was wrong, the first man responds “oh, but no real Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge.” This is also known as the ‘Appeal to Purity’ fallacy, and you’ll often hear Christians put it like this, “no real Christian goes to that church.”

We need to be careful of anything arbitrary, friends. We should neither allow others we debate with, or allow ourselves, to make statements that can easily be turned around. I’ll just turn around the three examples I gave in the last paragraph to give you a better idea of what I mean. No real Scotsman eats his porridge without sugar. No real scientist ignores evidence of creation. No real Christian goes to any other type of church. We need to make meaningful statements, backed by scripture, as we have the hope for a dying world. No one hides a lamp under a basket! Don’t muddy the Good News with arbitrary claims. Gods Word is powerful, His Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Dear ones, so long as we share our faith, we will come up against angry, aggressive, or worse, apathetic nonbelievers. Understanding logic, and the fallacies commonly issued, will help us not to lose courage. If you’ve heard your not a ‘real‘ something or other within a conversation, don’t feel so bad! Not only is that a fallacy, but it’s also the least of our concerns, remember we’re just passing through here. We’re sojourning, making our way to the Celestial City! To hear on that day ‘well done, good and faithful servant!’ So then, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Logic Part 6 – Straw Man Fallacy

Last week, dear ones, we discussed an Ad Hominem attack where one person, in a debate, attacks you personally rather than your position. The Straw Man fallacy is a similar attack, where your opponent essentially builds up a false view of what you’re arguing for, then tears that falsehood apart rather than addressing your actual position. They build a ‘straw man’ which is easy to take apart. This classic fallacy is another way your opponent ignores your real position.

I hear this a lot from evolutionists who like to say “you creations just hate science”. The straw man is my hatred for science. That’s not the case at all, creationists love science, we just interpreted the data differently than a secular scientist does. You might also hear “Christians just believe in fairy tales”. Or “you’re a Christian, so you hate gay people”. Straw man arguments are effective, particularly in getting us off the Gospel and down whatever rabbit trail is brought up. This is when we have to put our pride aside, we’re not proclaiming our own intelligence, but the Good News! Stay focused, beloved brethren.

The Straw Man, like the Ad Hominem, is not a knock against you. It says much less about you than it does about the argument of your opponent. We’re fighting spiritual warfare when we tear down every high and lofty thought that sets itself up against God. Take a deep breath, push your personal feelings aside, and plow on into the harvest fields. Pray ceaselessly, friends, for strength and assistance before you ever go out, before you take a step toward a conversation with an unbeliever. I hope this series is an encouragement to you, dear brethren! As always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Logic Part 5 – Ad Hominem

Well, dear ones, we are now safely tucked into our new home for my husbands next assignment. Which means I can happily dig more into this series on logic. Perfect timing, because the Ad Hominem attack is one you’ll come across often regardless of what you’re discussing. This fun to say word is a Latin expression which translates ‘to the man’. It sounds better in Latin, but means exactly what it sounds like it means.

Ad Hominem is a logical fallacy where someone attacks you, rather than your argument. You’ll often hear this when Christians discuss science. In fact, almost all the responses I see on twitter from atheists are Ad Hominem fallacies. ‘You’re too ignorant to understand what you’re talking about’. It’s difficult not to answer in kind, or to stay calm when your personal character is being attacked. Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back, pray, remember that you’re talking to a human being that’s having their belief systems challenged. Then, once you’re calm, return to the discussion. I’ve never encountered an Ad Hominem in face to face discussions, although I’m sure they happen, it’s much more common online.

If the person has fallen to nothing but Ad Hominem fallacies it’s probably a good time to end the conversation. Although I would leave that up to your discretion, with a case by case bases. It’s important to remember, though, that personal attacks are not just logical fallacies, they’re a reflection of the one using them. You, and I, have to be reflections of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Anytime we begin a conversation with someone about the Gospel we should to so with solemnity, trembling before the weight of what we bring. Eternity is not ours to give or to take, we can only point the way like Evangelist in Pilgrims Progress. We bring Good News, and how beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News?

The point of this series is not just to explain logic, or fallacies, but to encourage and edify you beloved brethren. If there was ever a time in this West, or in the world in general, that the Gospel was heard willingly and happily, today its met by scorn and mockery. We have to dust our feet off, and move on to the next person. A bee doesn’t sting the flower that has no nectar, it simply buzzes off to find a new flower. When you come up against a person who has no nectar, and offers instead the biting Ad Hominem, pray for them and move on to the next person. Some plant, others water, God brings the increase! And as always, beloved friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Logic Part Four – Excluded Middle

Today, dear friends, we’re going to discuss the third law of Logic, the law of the excluded middle. This law specifies that something is either true or false, A or non-A, you’ll hear this often in things like ‘either God exists or He doesn’t’. Some would suggest that there’s a third option, that it’s unknown whether something is true or false. Obviously, just because something is unknown does not negate the truth of this law, whether known or unknown all propositions are either true or false.

This is where logic can help our apologetics, particularly when dealing with those who claim God can not be known. It’s really an arbitrary claim meant to give those who would prefer not to be under moral accountability a way out. Simply restating the laws of logic when they’re being neglected in a discussion can help bring clarity. When we graciously, lovingly, point to logic in our attempts to evangelize, it must always be out of concern for the lost and not to win an argument. Are goal is never to win arguments, but to win souls.

This particular law of logic seems to be the easiest one to understand, but very difficult in our ‘relative’ culture to explain. Next Friday we’ll begin to review logical fallacies, starting with the most common in regards to apologetics. I pray these short discussions help you all to be bolder in your proclamation of the Gospel. This morning my husband lost another patient, a young teenager. None of us are promised tomorrow, each day over 150,000 people die, young and old alike. We need to reach the lost, as our sister in Christ BC said the other day, our time is short. So be good Berean’s, beloved brethren, and study to show yourselves approved.