Ever run into the begging the question fallacy fallacy?
That is not a typo. The word fallacy is meant to be repeated. What do I mean?
Begging the question simply means that someone is using circular logic. They are using the conclusion of an argument to defend the premise of the argument.
Person A claims, pollution is causing the ice caps to melt.
Person B asks, how do you know?
Person A replies, because the ice caps are shrinking.
Person A used the conclusion to defend his claim. Perhaps some kind of planetary climate cycles are causing global warming rather than pollution. Person A begged the question. Circular reasoning is clearly a bad thing.
However, there are times when circular reasoning is unavoidable.
Person A claims: Logic makes rational sense.
Person B asks, how do you really know that?
Person A replies, because it is irrational not to think logic makes sense.
Person A's argument is circular. It begs the question, does it not? Does it invalidate person A's argument, however?
It turns out that circularity is unavoidable at some point for everyone but we have learned to make peace with it.
All knowledge requires a starting point (if you are sensing that I am begging the question in claiming that, you are right). Knowledge cannot accumulate without base assumptions. Those base assumptions, however, are assumed and used to defend themselves … circularity.
Why bring this up on an apologetics blog?
I have friends who are atheists who like to bring out the begging the question fallacy fallacy in worldview discussions. When I tell them, my starting point to knowledge is "God Is", for example, they throw a flag in hopes of assessing a 15 yard "question begging" penalty.
Should I be concerned?
Hardly. It is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. They are committing the exact same fallacy, they just are blind to their own infraction.
Implicit in their argument is that the assumed proper starting point for knowledge is "Reason Is", and that "God Is" must be proven using the bar of reason or it is a false claim. The problem is, of course, "Reason Is" begs the question. So does the claim "God does not exist until reason says so". Think about it.
Does this mean we should all go out and start ignoring this fallacy on a daily basis? No, of course not. Does it mean we should lose interest in demonstrating that Christianity is a reasonable faith? No, of course not. We should, and I applaud the work of my fellow apologists on this blog who do that on a daily basis. I am merely saying that this particular rejoinder loses it force when the discussion is centered on foundational questions.
For example, I was recently engaging with a nice fellow about the basis for morality being grounded in God's transcendence and holy character. He threw a penalty flag on me. He claimed that my argument only makes sense if one accepts my a priori assumptions. My response was (paraphrased), how is his rejoinder relevant? I asked him, how his naturalistic basis for morality escapes this same fallacy. His reply was an honest one … "I don't know." Exactly. He doesn't know because he is committing the same fallacy and it had never occurred to him.
A deeper question to ponder is, can "reason is" have a rational foundation in a universe where "God is" is not true? If your claim is yes, on what basis?
The members of the CADRE maintain this blog for commenting on various items of interest to apologetics. We welcome input. E-mail us at email@example.com.
Also take a look at Our Books.
The Religious a priori is an apologetics website covering philosophy of religion (existence of God) religion and science bogus atheist social science, and issues of Biblical Scholarship.
- ► 2016 (162)
- ► 2015 (55)
- ► 2014 (29)
- ► 2013 (58)
- ► 2012 (58)
- ► 2011 (124)
- ► 2010 (151)
- ► 2009 (142)
- ► 2008 (202)
- ► 2007 (289)
- Advancing Human Rights
- The Da Vinci Code : Curse or Blessing?
- The DaVinci Code Cometh
- DNA as information -- a lot of information
- Is Richard Carrier Wrong About The Translation of ...
- WebMD, fetuses and babies.
- New Radio Appearance by Layman
- The limits of rationality when encountering the li...
- Vox Weekly, Edition I -- Why is Jesus' death a Sac...
- The Desposynoi -- the brothers and cousins of Jesu...
- New Additions to the Cadre Site
- The "Begging The Question Fallacy" Fallacy
- Romans 10:11 and general principles regarding quot...
- Soeteriological Drama: My Version of Free Will Def...
- Is Richard Carrier Wrong about the Qumran Communit...
- How can a repentant sinner come to faith without r...
- Breaking News: Jesus Fraud Case Dismissed
- Atheist Lawsuit Claiming Jesus Did Not Exist Throw...
- Were the apostles too old to author the Gospels?
- Win A House Free!
- You take the high road, and I'll take the low Road...
- Listen to Layman on the Radio
- Is Richard Carrier Wrong about the Scribes?
- The circular reasoning behind claims that the apos...
- Demonizing one's opponents
- Where did Jesus say "It is better to give than rec...
- New Radio Show with a Cadre Guest
- Top Five Archeological Finds Confirming Aspects of...
- The Da Vinci Code: The secret child of New Age phi...
- Here Comes Prince Caspian
- ▼ February (30)
- ► 2005 (412)
CADRE Blogs of Interest
A visitor to the CADRE site recently sent a question about Paul's statement in Acts 20:35 which records Paul as saying, "And rememb...
Study: The Miracles: A Doctor says "Yes" by Richard H. Casdorph.(Logos International, 1976) Richard H. Casdroph collected medic...
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about the Gospel of Matthew’s account of the slaughter of the innocents. Therein, I argued that som...
One of the most interesting passages in Mark’s Passion Narrative, from a historiographical perspective, is Mark 15:21: A certain man from C...
As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I have been thinking about U2’s song Pride (In the Name of Love) (hereinafter, " Pride &quo...
pie charts from Pew study In the late 90s, atheists began making the argument that less than a majority of scientists believe in God. In ...
Today is Good Friday, the day that we commemorate Jesus' death. Why, given the nature of that remembrance, is it called "Good Frida...
The manger in which Jesus was laid has colored our imagery of Christmas. A manger, "[i]s a feeding-trough, crib, or open box in a stabl...
What are your favorites from any tradition, including classical, country, praise & worship, contemporary Christian, Christian rock, gosp...
One of my co-bloggers, J.L. Hinman, author of the very fine Metacrock's Blog recently showed me some data which some atheists are using...
Translate This Blog
Ever run into the begging the question fallacy fallacy?