Abiogenesis & Evolution

Fallacies of Logic

Below are examples of the fallacious arguments to which creationists, idists, and proids resort in their attempt to prove their point. Because idism appeals to the pseudo-intellectual fundamentalist Christian, most examples will be pulled from idists and proids.

This is not to say that evolutionists do not make the occassional logical blooper. Perhaps the commonest is the circular argument. It should be noted that explanations can also appear circular, but this is not such a problem because explanations are not arguments.

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over-extrapolating

Fallacy of accident, sweeping generalization, dicto simpliciterAs applied to idism claims this fallacious argument runs “we observe the products of (human) intelligence, so complex functionality implies intelligent design – biological life is complex and functional – therefore life must have been created by an intelligent designer.” This is the idism reworking of Paley's "Blind Watchmaker" argument (1802) argument.

The difficulty lies in the fallacious generalization from our observation that human intelligence creates complex and functional objects (watches, computers, airplanes) to the conclusion that something that ‘accidentally’ shares only the features of functionality and complexity – biological life – must have arisen by the same mechanism, namely application of intelligence. This fallacious argument could also be regarded as a false analogy. In general, analogies are useful for the purposes of explanation, but they are risky endeavors in arguments. The idism platform, due to its lack of factual or experimental basis, consists almost entirely of analogies.

A clear example of this fallacy: "We observe that tomatoes grow on plants, so the existence of round red fruit implies tomato plants – an apple is a round red fruit – therefore an apple must be the product of a tomato plant." True premises have been over-extrapolated to an incorrect conclusion.

If the complex object in question shares more relevant features with the observed object, then the conclusion may be true. “We observe that electronic devices are the products of human intelligence, so the existence of an electronic device implies intelligent design – a television is an electronic device – therefore a television must be the product of human intelligence.”

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proof-disproof muddles

Argument from Ignorance, or argumentum ad ignorantiam:

This fallacy muddles the true-false dichotomy with the question of proof or disproof, and as such is a form of false dilemma where only two options are presented when several options exist. The ignored options include false claim-not disproven, and true claim-not proven, while the implied dichotomy confines options to false claim-disproven or true claim-proven.

Fallacious arguments from ignorance erroneously claim either that lack of proof must render a claim false, or that lack of disproof must render a claim true. An Illogical Deceit example of this argument is embodied in the “irreducible complexity” claim that if evolutionary biologists cannot provide an explanation for “specified complexity”, then God (aka the ‘intelligent designer’) must be responsible for whatever biological mechanism is under debate. The more careful claim of a pro-id debater would be that ‘id’ theory ought to be taught alongside science in the classroom.

Many creationism and ‘id’ debaters who display this logical fallacy do not make their reasoning explicit, such that the conclusion of truth or falsehood is merely implied, or the actual argument is buried in the verbose obfuscation typical of ‘id’ authors.

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. . . evolving since 10/06/06