Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!
Register!

one moment please...


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.

Contact Form



Send me a copy of this message
Send Message sending message...

Q&A Home Question

0

votes

image loading...
John
armchair philosopher

Eager Newbie

image loading...

John

armchair philosopher

Eager Newbie

About John

Retired Cruise sales agent. B.A. in philosophy from Lehman college, class of 82'
Tue, Feb 19, 2019 - 10:37 AM

It has been my intention to define what god truly is using today's science. I need an objective opinion as to whether my argument is valid, or if you can point out where the argument is flawed.

There are hundreds of definitions, abilities, attributes, or titles associated with god. But there is only one definition that is logically certain: "Whatever is first in existence is by definition; god". All other definitions, abilities, attributes, or titles were given to god by Men. So we have to deem them as unreliable.

From our present day science, the most accepted explanation for the beginning of existence is the Big Bang. And from that event came Matter.

Matter is eternal. It can't be created or destroyed. It has been with us since the beginning of Time, and will remain after all the stars burn out. Matter is also a "Self Sufficient" entity since it does not have a previous cause for its creation. I understand the objection for the Cosmological Argument. But there is no evidence of anything "Creating" the "Uncreatable", so we have to defer to what we know to exist. Therefore Matter always existed. Matter "Created" the Universe and everything in it. These are all attributes and definitions associated with god.

Therefore Matter is god.

More importantly is the ability of Matter to convert Nonliving Matter into the Biochemical Machines that we call Lifeforms. Complete with the Tools of Survival, and the Mechanism of Evolution to improve the original model. This is evidence of Purpose and Progression.

But the only purpose for a Self Sufficient entity is its own existence. So life is the emergence of god coming into existence. And Evolution is the means by which god strives towards perfection.

Therefore Matter is god. And we are him.



Quick Comment On This Question (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the question owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

5 Answers

0

votes

image loading...
Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

image loading...

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
Print Thu, Feb 21, 2019 - 10:09 PM
John, I think you can start to see how your argument collapses from the opening sentence:

"It has been my intention to define what god truly is by using today's science."

Okay, fine. Unfortunately, this is more of a task for theology or religious fiction than actual scientific methodology. Moreover, you're essentially issuing a mission statement to prove pre 6th Century BCE mythological pseudoscience through 21st Century science. (Hey, go for it! Let me know when you can show the genetic evolution of unicorns while you're at it).

Most responsible theologians and scientists adopt the Kipling creed: OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. Or, as Stephen Jay Gould described it as NOMA ("Nonoverlapping Magisterial" Natural History 106 (March): 16–22 and 60-62.)

So, right off the bat you're revealing a fundamental misunderstanding between the functions and goals of both science and religion. You confirm this later in your admission "An impossible task given the knowledge available from 5000 or more years ago. My purpose is to see if "a god" exists with the knowledge we possess today."

Your basic premise is akin to looking for cooking recipes in an auto mechanics manual. As Lawrence Krauss writes: Science is a method for distinguishing fact from fiction. In other words science doesn't so much prove things, but disproves and gradually eliminates all other possibilities through predictability, gathering evidence, and successful replication.

In so much as cosmology and evolution are concerned science has shown quite conclusively that a creator god is not only unnecessary, but an extremely inelegant proposition. And yet your opening statement relies disastrously upon appeals to belief and assumptions that are not proven. On their face, they only Appeal to Belief, Loaded Questions, and infinite circular reasoning -ALL Logically problematic equations.

To express your view in a syllogism it might look like this:

P1. God is the essence of all knowledge. (Appeal to Belief)
P2: Science is a methodology for obtaining knowledge (true)
C: Therefore, science is capable of obtaining knowledge of God's existence and purpose (Deception)

The first claim not only assumes a compatibility between science and religion, but assumes that scientific methodology is equal to theological inquiries. (False equivalence)

See Dr. Bo's description" False Equivalence

Description: An argument of claim in which two completely opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. The confusion is often due to one shared characteristic between two or more items of comparison in the argument that is way off in the order of magnitude, oversimplified, or just that important additional factors have been ignored.

Logical Form:

Thing 1 and thing 2 both share characteristic A.
Therefore, things 1 and 2 are equal.

2

votes

image loading...
Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

Moderator

image loading...

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 Tue, Feb 19, 2019 - 03:01 PM
But there is only one definition that is logically certain: "Whatever is first in existence is by definition; god".

This is not logically certain. This is just another definition of god. This would be a premise in a syllogism to define god as logically certain:

P1: Whatever is first in existence is by definition; god
P2: Something had to be first in existence
C: Therefore, god is logically certain.

P1 is just the way you choose to define god, so one can either accept or reject that. P2 is very problematic, because (currently) nobody can know if something was "first" in "existence". Therefore, we can't even get close to C.

All other definitions, abilities, attributes, or titles were given to god by Men. So we have to deem them as unreliable.

I assuming you are a man and you gave god the above definition. So...

Conversely, men also gave definitions to everything has has a definition. We would then have to conclude that everything is "unreliable," which brings us to a kind of extreme skepticism.

From our present day science, the most accepted explanation for the beginning of existence is the Big Bang. And from that event came Matter.

Admittedly, I am might not be up to date on cosmology, but as far as I recall, we know absolutely nothing about where or what the Big Bang "came from" or if it came from anything (begging the question).

... stopping there. But the common question when someone defines god that would be completely unfamiliar to any god people believe, why bother calling it "god" and confuse things?

Bo Bennett, PhD
Social Scientist, Business Consultant
Consulting > https://scroops.com/Lm5XFu
About My Businesses > http://www.archieboy.com
About Me > http://www.bobennett.com
Books I’ve Written > https://tinyurl.com/bosbooks
Courses I Teach > https://tinyurl.com/boscourses
Podcasts I Host > https://tinyurl.com/bospodcasts


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

Print Tue, Feb 19, 2019 - 12:20 PM
"Whatever is first in existence is by definition; god". All other definitions, abilities, attributes, or titles were given to god by Men. So we have to deem them as unreliable."

My response:

We don't know what existed first and therefore we could hardly describe it as anything close to being first or god of anything. But then we'd also have to understand what you are referring to as first: first chemical reaction, singularity, first radioactive soup, first single-celled organism, first universe, supernatural entities, etc?

This could easily qualify as a False Premise, or Appeal to Common Belief.

Now, If you're referring to the singularity or Big Bang we only have theories about what is beyond the Cosmic Microwave Background and those theories include Quantum tunneling, String theory, Multi universes, Hawking's radiation, etc. - ultimately we do not know whether our universe is first or merely part of a much older universe, or even one of many multiverses. So the concept of First here is as "unreliable" as any other attribute you might assign to it.

We just don't know whether the concept of first or beginning is even relevant. It's just as likely that our universe is eternal and the whole concept of beginning and end are false concepts. As for the Big Bang or inflation, the great physicist Victor Stenger explains " we don't even know whether it was very big or even much a bang." It could just be a roiling mass of primordial soup that intensified for billions of years. So it would seem once again you're relying on a limited and perhaps obsolete set of concepts to confirm your own confirmation biases.

You go on to claim:

"Matter is eternal. It can't be created or destroyed. It has been with us since the beginning of Time, and will remain after all the stars burn out. Matter is also a "Self Sufficient" entity since it does not have a previous cause for its creation. But there is no evidence of anything "Creating" the "Uncreatable", so we have to defer to what we know to exist. Therefore Matter always existed. Matter "Created" the Universe and everything in it. These are all attributes and definitions associated with god. Therefore Matter is god."

Whoa, that's quite a huge non-sequitur, and special pleading. I'm not sure "But there is no evidence of anything "Creating" the "Uncreatable", so we have to defer to what we know to exist" is even a coherent claim. It seems more like theological mumbo jumbo or Appeal to Gibberish.

If I understand what you're intending to say, let me direct you to Lawrence Krauss who cites many examples of somethings coming from nothing. (Creating" the "Uncreatable? ) (See A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawren... https://www.amazon.com/dp/1451624468/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_xtdBCbBV3P82A via @amazon)

Your theory is a stretch on so many levels, but especially the fallacy of Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The Latin phrase “post hoc ergo propter hoc” means, literally, “after this therefore because of this.” The post hoc fallacy is committed when it is assumed that because one thing occurred after another, it must have occurred as a result of it. Mere temporal succession, however, does not entail causal succession. Just because one thing follows another does not mean that it was caused by it. This fallacy is closely related to the cum hoc fallacy.

To assume matter is first and therefore created the universe and everything in it is god - is pure pseudo science. Matter is not self-sufficient as you claim, but interacts with numerous forces such as weak and strong nuclear forces, electromagnetic forces, and gravity (See The Standard Model of Particles, and these forces greatly determine how matter behaves. We also have the newly discovered action of Dark Matter on the universe, but we still don't know a great deal of how it works and until we do it would be ludicrous to assume it is a god or supernatural primal force.

Your claim reminds me of what was done to Peter Higg's discovery of the Higg's Boson when he published his findings. He was asked, "Why God particle?, and he replied, "The publisher wouldn't let me call it THE GODDAMN PARTICLE though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing.” Haha!

(See Atheist scientist admits he doesn’t believe in ‘god particle’ https://richarddawkins.net/2013/04/prof-peter-higgs-atheist-scientist-admits-he-doesnt-believe-in-god-particle/ via @Richard Dawkins Foundation

0

votes

image loading...
Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

Print Tue, Feb 19, 2019 - 02:28 PM
I missed my editing window and didn't have time to amend the above to Peter Higgs' and Higgs boson.

0

votes

image loading...
Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

Print Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - 10:20 AM
By similar fallacious reasoning one might claim.

P1: God is omniscient and present from the beginning and throughout Creation.
P2: The Universe is 99.1 percent lethal radiation.
C: Therefore, God is lethal radiation


Registered User Comments

John
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 02:19:21 AM
@Michael Chase Walker: Thank you for your response. First I need to point out that I am a Pantheist. I believe in God, but I don't believe in religion. I believe in God because I can see it's presence behind the workings of Nature, and feel it in my soul. Of course I can't be sure that what I observed is actually the presence of God. Or is it just the appearance of design and in reality, just the inevitable consequence of Matter, Energy, and Time.

The point of the exercise is to dismiss all previous notions of God. If God is real, we should be able to find scientific evidence of it's existence. Science and Philosophy should be compatible with that persuite.

As I mentioned in my argument, I only use accepted scientific and philosophical theories, and scientific fact. I do not entertain the possibility but the actuality of our limited knowledge. I know that we can not know what is the beginning of existence. Our knowledge only goes back to the Big Bang. But from that event came Matter. A product that can't be created or destroyed. So if Matter can't be created, and I have no knowledge of what came before the Big Bang, then I have to assume that Matter always existed; even before the Big Bang. And if Matter can't be created or destroyed, I have to further assume that Matter is eternal, and the self sufficient cause of existence. If that is the case, then Matter is god, and everything that Matter is, and everything that Matter does is a product of God. I know this is a lot of assumptions, but I am trying to define what God is, and not what it could be.
And there is no evidence, conclusive or otherwise, that God is unnecessary for existence, or that it is an extremely inelegant proposition. Just the belief that everything has a rational explanation, so no need to enter God in it. But I think there are a lot of people that believe that Nature, which we don't fully understand, is a primal force that exists. So much so that we have given it a persona and call it "Mother Nature".

I feel that your syllogism inaccurately describes my argument. Here is what I would write.

P1) whatever is first in existence is by definition; God.(Cosmological Argument)
P2) from our present day science the most accepted explanation for the beginning of existence is the Big Bang.
P3) from that event came Matter. A product that can't be created or destroyed.
P4) we have no knowledge of what came before the Big Bang, or evidence of "Something" that can create the "Uncreatible".
C) therefore Matter always existed, and is God by definition #1.
I appreciate your input and welcome any further comments. I spend a lot of time on this "Disqus" chat room that debates several topics for which I try and bring a Pantheist view to the religious channel. I debate with the full spectrum of believers, from militant Atheists to over zealous Theists, and try to be accurate in my thoughts.

login to reply
4 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...
 

Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 06:38:21 AM
John, I feel as if you are defeating your own argument. You begin with "whatever is first in existence is by definition; God." then you conclude with "therefore Matter always existed". You actually just DISPROVED your own definition of God. Congratulations :) Seriously, do you see the problem? If something ALWAYS existed, then nothing could be FIRST to exist.

login to reply
 
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...
 

John
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 05:24:42 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I guess I made an overreach in claiming that Matter always existed. I am more focused on the actual than the possible. Matter exists, and from all we know, it could be first in existence. We have no knowledge of what came before the Big Bang, and no evidence of something that can create Matter. So since Matter can't be created or destroyed, I am assuming that Matter always existed. This might be legally sufficient to draw that conclusion, but I now realize that it is not Philosophically sufficient.
But I don't see why Matter can't be first in existence if it always existed. Matter is the base material that evolved into the universe that exists today. And there can't be true existence without a conscious mind to perceive it. so our existence could be considered as a chain of events that start at Matter because it always existed.
I also have a "Belief" that the universe is in constant flux between expanding and contracting. I base this belief on the fact that every star will eventually die and become a Black Hole. It is theorized that one or several Black Holes at the center of the galaxy is what holds the galaxy together. That is a tremendous gravitation pull to keep a hundred million stars or more in place. If enough stars become Black Holes in a galaxy, the gravitational pull will be eventually be strong enough for the galaxy to collapse. And if enough Black Hole Galaxies are formed, that should be enough gravitational pull for the entire universe to collapse. And just like the "Stone of Sisyphus" when all the matter is together in one place, the pressure of all that Matter in one place should create another Big Bang. Then Matter and the Universe will have no beginning or end, just a constant loop. But then again, this is just another flight of fantasy. I have no idea how close this guess is.

login to reply
 
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...
 

Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 09:19:31 PM
@John: Something that always existed could be first. I think I misread that. Sorry.

login to reply
 
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...
 

John
Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 12:15:21 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: No problem. I just thought I was going crazy for a moment. lol.

login to reply
 
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...

John
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 04:15:03 PM
Thank you for your response. Just a couple of quick points and I will let you alone. I perceive the Big Bang as an event that brought Matter into this reality. Although I fully understand that I have no evidence that the Big Bang was not the "creator" of Matter. But the final product is Matter. And this product can't be created or destroyed, so I can't help but assume that Matter always existed; even before the Big Bang. The rest of my argument would logically follow if I could prove that Matter is the "self sufficient" cause of existence; Which I now know that I can't. If Matter is the sufficient cause, then the only purpose for a self sufficient entity is its own existence. The evidence for this notion comes from the fact that Matter "created" biochemical machines that we call lifeforms. Complete with the tools of survival and the mechanism of evolution to improve on the original model. I believe this is evidence of Purpose and Progression. And if Matter is truly self sufficient, then the creation of lifeforms is the emergence of god coming into existence. And evolution is the means by which god strives towards perfection.
I understand that this version of Pantheism will not sit well with Atheists or theists. But this lead to another question on why billions of people still believe in a deity, in spite 10,000 years of added science and knowledge? It is my belief that the reason is the same as it has been for as long as we had become self aware. That our ancestors saw the presence of god in the workings of Nature. And they felt its presence in the pit of their souls. And to this day, many of us still feel its presence. In spite of any contrary evidence, we can't shake the feeling that there must be a god. We may not be able to define it, or understand what it wants, but we still know it is there. The problem is that since we don't understand what god is, we retreat to the only known authority on the subject which is our religious text. Even though the text is full of contradictions, falsehoods, and outright lies, I believe the general feeling is: "If I believe god is true, then my Bible must be true; even with the contradictions". But that is my flight of fancy. I don't expect you to respond to that question. But I will always welcome it. Thank you for your time and consideration on this subject.

login to reply
0 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...

John
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:03:43 AM
Thank you Dr. Bennett for your response. I guess I needed to further explain the limits of my argument. At the core of any religion is the notion of something Supernatural behind the workings of Nature, Life, and the Universe. Where our ancestors got in trouble is in their attempts to define what this force is, what it wants, and what is our role in this Cosmic Drama. An impossible task given the knowledge available from 5000 or more years ago. My purpose is to see if "a god" exists with the knowledge we possess today.
My argument is limited to what we know as true from Accepted Scientific and Philosophical theories, and scientific facts. "What is first" is supported by the Cosmological Argument. I understand the objections to that argument, but I find them as ether from one's mind without evidence that such a possibility occurred. The extent of our knowledge only goes back to the Big Bang. We know nothing of what was before. I have heard hundreds of possibilities of what it could be, even the possibility that nothing could exist before the Big Bang because of the absence of Time. Although I have trouble wrapping my mind around that idea.
I do not know what research or evidence there is behind those theories, but if they are not generally accepted by the Scientific and Philosophical community. I feel that it should be dismissed for lack of evidence. And like we once believed that the Sun rotated the Earth, we eventually figured it out and changed our belief to scientific fact. But for now, we only know that Matter is the product of the Big Bang. It can't be created, so we have to assume that Matter always existed because there is no evidence of something "Creating" the "Uncreatable" If new evidence is available, I will adjust my belief. As for now, I will consider my observations as "Belief" instead of proof.

As to why I feel that the god notion should be reassessed is because the world is already confused about the existence and nonexistence of god, with their preconceived notions of what god is, or should be.
Our only clue to the beginning of existence is Matter. If I could Define what god truly is; as a Primal force built into Matter itself. A god that does not require worship, no sin to be punished for, no commands to follow, no reason to live, die, or kill for god, nothing that god wants from us other than to make babies in the effort to create a more perfect human being, then the world might be a better place.
I guess the next question would be that if god has no affect on our lives, why should we care if there is a god or not? So given a limited version of god to what we know as true. Is my belief probable, or just possible?

login to reply
2 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...
 

Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 10:48:36 AM
"What is first" is supported by the Cosmological Argument.

This is argued by that argument; not at all supported. I guess if someone accepts this argument then you can proceed. If your intent is convince theists then you should have no problem getting them to accept the cosmological argument.

But for now, we only know that Matter is the product of the Big Bang.

I am not sure what you mean by this because right after you say " It can't be created, so we have to assume that Matter always existed..." If it was not created by the Big Bang, how is it a "product" of it? I am confused here.

If I could Define what god truly is;

Just understand that this would be your definition... shared by pantheists. Christians would say "sure, God is that but so much more."

nothing that god wants from us other than to....

You are now giving this god agency and desires... you crossed into theism. Perhaps you are being poetic as when people say something about how evolution wants us to... whatever. Just be careful because most people will automatically infer intentionality when referring to "god".

I guess the next question would be that if god has no affect on our lives, why should we care if there is a god or not?

Pure intellectual curiosity.

So given a limited version of god to what we know as true. Is my belief probable, or just possible?

I am not sure what you are expressing would accurately be considered a belief; it is more of a definition. You are taking something we all know exists (matter) and calling that "god." Will others buy into it? Perhaps some will.

login to reply
 
1 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...
 

John
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 03:35:30 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

login to reply
 
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...

John
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:31:56 AM
@Michael Chase Walker: Thank you Mr. Walker for your response. I understand that there are hundreds of theories as to what happened before the Big Bang that we can't determine what came first. My argument only pertains to what we know is true. I do not know what research or evidence there are to these theories. But if it is not an accepted theory like the Big Bang or Evolution, I must dismiss those theories for lack of evidence. For now, we only know that Matter exists. And since we know nothing before the Big Bang, or have any evidence of something "Creating" Matter that can't be created, I have to assume that Matter always existed; even before the Big Bang.
As a personal belief, I do believe that the universe is in constant flux of expansion and contraction. And the Big Bang occurred an infinite amount of times. No beginning or end, just a constant loop. Of course I have no evidence to believe that, it just makes sense to me.

The "forces" that you mention all require Matter to generate them. So the bottom line is still Matter. And if Matter is god, then everything that Matter IS, or what Matter Does, would be a product of god.

login to reply
0 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...

John
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:08:57 AM
@Michael Chase Walker: Yes, that would be true, except that radiation is free flying particles radiating from Matter. So the bottom line is still Matter.

login to reply
0 replies
0 votes
 
Reply To Comment
working...



About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Software Copyright 2019, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.