How could those animals have lived their entire life and formed these layers in just 4,000 years? There isn’t enough time since Mr. Ham’s Flood for this limestone that we’re standing on to have come into existence. ~ Bill Nye
This was circular reasoning. Circular is rarely obvious as you listen to skilled thinkers use the fallacy.
Hidden by the circular reasoning smokescreen is a presupposition. Bill’s presupposition is that the Flood didn’t happen. Presupposition is a way ofmaking stuff up and making it seem true. The presupposition is also hidden by a framing fallacy and by a loaded question. If the limestone was laid down during the Flood, it was laid down quickly. The assumption that the Genesis Flood didn’t happen is the beginning axiom. Based on this axiom, no limestone could have been laid down during the Flood. That’s circular reasoning.
Bill held up a rock with fossils in it. He then told a story about the fossils. The story was his evidence. Neither the rock nor the fossils in the rock were Bill’s evidence. Using a story as evidence is a weak premise fallacy.
Bill assumed the Flood had not occurred. If the Flood didn’t occur, the deposits couldn’t have occurred during the Flood. That’s circular. Bill limits us to only two options for depositing the fossils. They might have been deposited over the last 4,000 years. They might have been deposited over billions of years. This is a false choice fallacy or exclusivity fallacy. It limits the choices to two when at least one more choice is available. Bill left out the time during the Flood. He didn’t consider the fossils being deposited during the Flood. Then he concludes that they must have been deposited over billions of years. Yet the only explanation that fits the evidence is the choice that was left out. It looks like the deposits were made during the Flood.
Bill’s circular logic goes like this:
- The Flood didn’t occur, and billions of years did occur.
- Therefore, the Flood couldn’t have laid down the fossils.
- Therefore, the fossils were either laid down over billions of years or in the last 4,000 years.
- They couldn’t have been laid down in the last 4,000 years.
- Therefore, they were laid down over billions of years and the Flood didn’t occur.
Note that none of that was stated. It was implied. When a skilled communicator uses circular reasoning, it’s often difficult to detect.
You’ll recognize additional fallacies. Bill used ad hominem fallacy, genetic fallacy, and appeal to coincidence fallacy. These fallacies make it harder to spot the circular reasoning. The circular reasoning is a smokescreen to hide the axiomatic thinking fallacy. The two axioms are that the Flood didn’t occur and billions of years did occur.