<quote from Real Faith & Reason>
Here’s an example of a circular reasoning fallacy:
“Molecules-to-humankind evolution is the only explanation that makes sense because it’s the only rational explanation.”
This reasoning gives the illusion that “is rational” proves “makes sense.” These two terms have the same meaning. If something makes sense, it’s rational, and if something is rational, it makes sense. The statement pretends to prove molecules-to-humankind evolution, but it doesn’t prove it. The circular reasoning hides the axiomatic thinking fallacy, which is: “Molecules-to-humankind evolution is the only explanation that makes sense.”
The conclusion: Molecules-to-humankind evolution is the only explanation that makes sense (is rational)
The proof: because it’s the only rational (makes sense) explanation
This argument is a circular reasoning fallacy because it just claims that the story of evolution is true without proof. But the circular reference pretends to prove it. It’s an axiomatic thinking fallacy. However, when persuaders add the smokescreen fallacy of circular reasoning, they can make us believe they’re thinking rationally. They can make this fallacy more convincing by changing the term from “makes sense” to “is rational.” If they do, they pretend “is rational” proves “makes sense,” but both words have the same meaning. So this irrational reasoning proves nothing but pretends to prove molecules-to-humankind evolution is the only explanation. The illusion makes it a fallacy.
For comparison, here’s another example of a non-fallacy.
“If Christ didn’t exist, we wouldn’t experience His leading. However, moment by moment in every situation Christ leads all of us who follow Christ. Therefore, Christ exists.”
This statement doesn’t commit a circular reasoning fallacy, but the reasoning still wouldn’t prove the conclusion to anyone else. It’s a testimony of how Christ proves His existence by revealing Himself to us. However, since anyone who seeks Him will find Him, anyone can check Him out. There’s no need to take the word of any other person because when God proves something, it’s absolute. Therefore, anyone who’s interested in truth can also know Christ and experience the same proof of Christ, and none of this is a circular reasoning fallacy.
An ungodly disbeliever could challenge the authority of God Himself. God’s claim of being God is circular. He mentions it through Scripture:
“When God made His promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself.” (Hebrews 6:13 Berean Study Bible)
Here, God references Himself as authority, but He isn’t committing a faulty appeal to authority since He’s the only authority who knows everything and can’t lie. Since His claim is based on reality, on God Himself, it’s not a circular reasoning fallacy even though it’s circular. God asks us to believe Him rather than believing the made-up stuff coming from our minds, from the ungodly culture, and from demonic liars. He reveals His reality to us and asks us to receive this revelation from Him. If we do, He authors His faith in our innermost minds and builds His essence there as we sense His presence with all our spiritual senses and yield to His will.
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