Logical fallacies are tricks that are typically used to fool people. One might commit logical fallacies to also fool oneself. Generally, people are not trained to notice fallacies, and therefore are liable to fall victim to predatory organizations including marketing agencies, political parties, and pertinent to this website, predatory religious institutions. We list some logical fallacies, and give examples to help readers detect them.
1.Bandwagon fallacy or appeal to the majority: This fallacy also goes by other names like argument from the masses.
a proposition must be true because many or most people believe it, often concisely encapsulated as: “If many believe so, it is so.” (from wikipedia)
This fallacy is used by people in many different forms. For example:
So many people are followers of my guru all over the world. That proves the authenticity of my guru.
A proposition is true because an “authority” says so.
Again, this is a very popular fallacy that some people use to manipulate emotions of the target. Here is an example.
My guru says that XYZ is true. Do you think you know more than he/she does?
Notice how the argument also deflects the burden of proof for the statement from the proposer to the opposer. In the field of bhakti, propositions have to be established based on the scriptures. The above argument is disingenuous also because it minimizes the scriptures and elevates the guru above it. A real reply would establish the validity of the proposition from scripture.
A proposition is false because it is difficult to imagine how it could be true
This one is commonly used to oppose scientific theories like evolution or the big bang. For example,
I cannot explain how evolution occurred through just random events, therefore it cannot be true.
Notably, the proponents of this fallacy, at least in the field of bhakti, lack the training and hence imagination anyway. Generally, this fallacy works for target audiences who are not familiar with the scientific method.
A fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself (from wikipedia)
Here is a typical example:
We believe our guru, and not the scientists, because our guru has purity of character. The scientists are, on the other hand, atheistic rascals.
Notice that the proposer offers no real evidence, justification or argument against science. He/she probably lacks the expertise to carry out even a five minute conversation with a real scientist. Discrediting the scientist by name-calling does little to address the actual details of the scientist’s argument.
There are many more logical fallacies, and we will examine them in later articles. At its heart, a logical fallacy is an exercise in dishonesty. It behooves people, particularly in the field of bhakti, to be honest with themselves, and with others.