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Logical Fallacies in Apologetics

In the world of apologetics, there will always be a series of logical fallacies. It's best to know these as to at least, present the truth thoroughly. Each one must be avoided and below is a list of some commonly used logical fallacies and how they are being used.


Ad hominem- Attacking the individual instead of the argument

Example: "Ray Comfort is not qualified to argue that evolution isn't real because he is not a biologist."


Appeal to force- Telling the hearer that something bad will happen if he/she does not accept the argument.

Example: "You agree with what I have to say that Christians need good works to stay saved otherwise you are an Antinomian and a homosexual."


Appeal to pity- Taking advantage of one's pitiful state to win an invalid argument.

Example: A student says, "Well sir/mam it was traffic so that's why I'm late."


Appeal to popularity- Taking advantage of the "majority vote".

Example: A Catholic faith defender says, "We are the ones who are right because of our numbers."


Appeal to tradition- Trying to get someone to accept something because it has been done or believed for a long time.

Example: "I have grown up with Chinese folk religion and the worship of my gods therefore it's right since my ancestors also did it, and since they they weren't Christians, therefore it's wrong to be a Christian."


Argument from silence- This is where just because the person is silent about the matter then he is assumed not to believe in it.

Example: A critic can say, "Well Paul didn't mention about the miracles of Jesus therefore He didn't believe in them."


Begging the Question- Assuming the thing to be true that you are trying to prove. It is circular. This is also known as circular argument.

Example: "You can know the age of the rock layer because of the age of the fossil that was found in it. You can know the age of the fossil because of the age of the rock layer it was found."


Category Mistake/False Analogy- Attributing a property to something that could not possibly have that property.

Example: "Ripe mangoes cause more electric shocks than guyabano when eaten."


Cause and Effect- Assuming that the effect is related to a cause because the events occur together.

Example: "When the rooster crows, the sun rises. Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise."


Division- Assuming that what is true for the parts is true for the whole without further examination. This is known as to generalize what can't be generalized.

Example: "The Al Qaida is a Muslim group therefore all Muslims are terrorists."


Equivocation- Using the same term in an argument in different places but the word has different meanings. It can also mean assuming everyone has the same definition as the other.

Example: "God is love. Love is blind. Therefore God is blind."


False Assumptions- In logic as well as in law, "historical precedent" means that the burden of proof rests on those who set forth new theories and not on those whose ideas have already been verified. The old tests the new. The already established authority judges any new claims to authority.

Example: "Islam does not have the burden of proof and that the Qur'an judges the Bible."


False Dilemma- Giving so few choices when in actuality there could be more choices possible or to limit the opponent to a few alternatives when there are more.

Example: "Show me a verse in the Bible that it's forbidden to pray to Mary and the saints and that it's idolatry to do so."


"Genetic" Fallacy- Attempting to endorse or disqualify a claim because of the origin or irrelevant history of the claim.

Example: "Nazareth, what good could come from it?"


Guilt by Association- Rejecting an argument or claim because the person proposing it likes someone whom is disliked by another.

Example: "The fact that Mao Zedong liked classical music, therefore classical music is wrong."


Irrelevance- When you introduce issues which have no logical bearing on the subject under discussion, you are using irrelevant arguments.

Example: "Our traditions are equal to Scripture because of preservation."

Non Sequitur - Comments or information that do not logically follow from a premise or the conclusion.

Example: "It was because my younger sister wished for rain that rain fell."


Phonic Fallacies: The phonetic sound of a word should not be used to twist its meaning.

Example: "Allah is found in the Bible because of the word Allahluiah (perverting Alleluia)."

Playing with synonyms as antonyms- This is the argument where the person uses two words or terms of the same meaning as if they are not the same.

Example: "Salvation is not by good works but by the works of the Law."


Poisoning the Well - Presenting negative information about a person before he/she speaks so as to discredit the person's argument. Mostly done by a vile imagination and direct judgment.

Example: "Don't listen to Pastor Estus Washington Pirkle because he's a loser."


Red Herring - Introducing a topic not related to the subject at hand. This is also commonly known as the flight of ideas.

Example: "Abortion is wrong. On the other hand, my friend is like that rabbit in the children's story."


Special Pleading (double standard) - Applying a standard to another that is different from a standard applied to oneself.

Example: "Salvation is initially by faith alone but it must be maintained by good works to be assured of Heaven. Don't believe me? Read Ephesians 2:10."


Straw Man Argument - Producing an argument about a weaker representation of the truth and attacking it.

Example: "Bible Baptist Church does not care for the poor because it doesn't have donations for the poor in the offering envelope."


Source of knowledge for the logical fallacies: http://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-fallacies-argumentation