It’s difficult to sort through the tricky lies. How simple to stand in the presence of Christ and receive His truth from His mouth! We know, by divine revelation, that every argument against the Bible or the God of the Bible is based on made-up stuff. None of it has substance, but a lot of it is tricky and deceptive.
<quote from Real Faith & Reason>
Looking at circular reasoning another way, the chain of reason eventually hooks up to itself to “solve” the infinite regression problem, so circular reasoning is just a smokescreen to hide infinite regression. It also hides something more deceptive: the axiomatic thinking fallacy. We’re looking at simple examples of circular reasoning, but let’s look at some circular reasoning that’s more hidden:
“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)
Bill camouflaged his circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is rarely obvious as we listen to skilled persuaders use the fallacy. In this illustration, Bill held up a rock with fossils in it. Then he told a story about the fossils. The story was his evidence. Contrary to first impressions, neither the rock nor the fossils in the rock were Bill’s evidence, but the story was his evidence. That’s a weak premise since he hasn’t proved his proof. He hid his circular reasoning under this illusion of solid evidence.
We notice that Bill offers two choices, one being the 4,000 years that have passed since the Flood, and the other being a story of billions of years. Missing is the choice Bill left out—the time during the global Genesis Flood. In this way, Bill sneakily limits us to only two choices for depositing the fossils.
Something might have deposited them over the last 4,000 years.
Something might have deposited them over billions of years.
Bill committed a false choice fallacy and a stacking the deck fallacy. He limited the choices to two when at least one more choice is available, which he left out. Because his hidden presupposition was that the Flood hadn’t occurred, Bill left out the time during the Flood. As a result, he didn’t want us to think about the Flood depositing the fossils.
Bill secretly assumed that the Flood hadn’t occurred, so he reasoned that the deposits couldn’t have occurred during the Flood. How could they if the Flood didn’t occur? Therefore, the Flood couldn’t have occurred. And we have exposed the hidden circular reasoning since his presupposition is the basis of his premise, and it’s also his conclusion. Not only so, but he didn’t state his case clearly, and lack of clarity is another smokescreen making it more difficult to detect the circular reasoning fallacy.
If this information all sounds confusing, remember that persuaders use fallacies to confuse and befuddle. It’s confusing enough that it’s hard to explain the fallacy. It’s designed to fool us, but that’s not to say that Bill consciously decided to fool us. More likely, Bill deceived himself using the same method. To better understand what’s going on here, let’s look at Bill’s circular logic another way:
“The Flood didn’t occur, and billions of years did occur.” [Bill didn’t state these hidden presuppositions.]
“Therefore, the Flood couldn’t have laid down the fossils.” [Bill didn’t state this hidden presupposition.]“Therefore, slow natural processes laid down the fossils either over billions of years or in the last 4,000 years.”“Slow natural processes couldn’t have laid down the fossils in the last 4,000 years.”
“Therefore, slow natural processes laid down the fossils over billions of years, and the Flood didn’t occur.”
We note step 5, the conclusion, contains the unspoken presupposition in step 1. That’s circular reasoning.
Instead of stating the steps plainly, he implied them using innuendo. In his short statement, Bill also committed ad hominem, genetic, and appeal to coincidence fallacies. As a result, these fallacies are additional smokescreens that make it harder to spot the circular reasoning, and the circular reasoning is a smokescreen to hide the axiomatic thinking fallacy. Bill’s two axioms are that the Flood didn’t occur and that billions of years did occur. If he just stated this claim without pretending that his statement isn’t an axiomatic thinking fallacy, no one would believe him. Smokescreen fallacies hide logic based on made-up stuff.
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