The appeal to ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam) is an error in thinking which argues that a conclusion is true because there is no evidence against it, or that a conclusion is false because there is no evidence in its favour.
When something which someone says can be interpreted in multiple ways, we are in danger of coming to an understanding which is different to their intended message.
Needing to process a multitude of complex information in a short amount of time can lead to erroneous reasoning. When a conclusion is supported by weak or irrelevant arguments, the reasoning falls into the category called non sequitur—does not follow, or irrelevant argument.
When one wants to justify the harm one has done by saying that others have done the same or that this evil was only a reaction to the harm done by someone else, they commit the logical error of appealing to hypocrisy.
In an argumentative discussion each party involved must be able to express their point of view without constraints, discrimination or other interferences. This is, in fact, an important prerequisite for the effort to overcome differences of opinion. In practice however, often things are far from this ideal. Not only do interlocutors not respect each other’s right to free speech, but they also resort...
The moment we distort a person’s intention, statement, gesture or action for our own personal gain we are using, consciously or unconsciously, the straw man argument − a frequent fallacy.
In our everyday lives we often resort to simply repeating what has been said or done before. But not everything that is old is authentic or correct. When we refer to tradition with full confidence that the way it was understood and acted on in the past is self-evident, we are committing the logical error of appealing to tradition, or false induction.
In everyday life, whether we like it or not, we rely on the information provided by experts or specialists. However, no authority deserves blind trust. When we take someone's word for granted simply because that person is an authority, we make the logical mistake called "appeal to authority."
When we consider that a conclusion is founded only if a lot of people consider it true, we fall into the trap of the argumentum ad populum or the appeal to popularity.
As Christians we are interested in a perpetual spiritual, moral, general human perfecting. But can we really succeed without perfecting our way of thinking, our capacity to understand, and thus without increasing our intellectual capital?
Critical thinking is not a cure-all, but it proves very useful in dealing with, clarifying, and solving some decision-making problems, as well as the thought and belief disputes which occupy our minds.
In a conversation with Dr. Shelly-Ann Bowen, we discussed her research on what determines whether someone will be active or passive in the face of catastrophic events—fires, floods, or a cancer diagnosis. Social injustice, a lack of self-awareness, and even an immature understanding of faith paralyse action. But there are ways to make positive changes.
The end of the line for Christian perfectionism is not perfection, but atheism. This is because what we imagine to be the constant unsatisfied look of God upon us, is a burden too heavy for any human to bear.
For many years, Dr Jonathan Ward was a military chaplain. When I talked to Dr Ward about his long career, we touched upon some sensitive topics: Does the presence of a Christian chaplain in the military mean God’s approval of military operations? How does a military chaplain serve in the context of a conflict?
There have now been over 12 million cases of COVID-19 infection globally, and half a million deaths. Researchers are constantly looking for new and better information to reduce the uncertainty around the virus.
No one has ever seen God, but the One who knew Him before He was born on this earth taught us all to address Him in prayer. When a Christian wonders if it makes sense to pray, the first and most eloquent answer comes naturally: Jesus Christ exhorted us to pray. No one would suspect that Christ was telling people to waste their time....