Once upon a time, every good little skeptic had a chart of the names of all of the logical fallacies, and dutifully memorized all the latin names because it was so cool to be able to interrupt an argument with an obscure-sounding label. So definitive. So potent. And the cocky smirk on your face was just the thing to attract a swarm of enamored suitors. It’s a phase, though, and most of us manage to grow out of it, eventually.
Especially since any idiot can do it, and do it badly. It stops being impressive when some ill-trained clown starts sputtering “fallacy, fallacy, fallacy!” at you in defense of some godawful stupid belief. A buffoon like Bodie Hodge, Ken Ham’s sycophantic son-in-law, for instance.
I cited an article before that creationism is representative of deep well of ignorance and conspiracy-thinking in America. I knew the original article would make someone at Answers in Genesis furious. It did! Oh boy, did it! And Bodie Hodge was the clown they had to use to rebut it! His rebuttal is basically Hodge screaming “FALLACY!” while constantly falling back on Young Earth Creationist dogma. So when Paul Braterman points out that creationism is dangerously opposed to science, Hodge shouts out:
This is an equivocation fallacy combined with an emotive language fallacy (yes, it is possible to do multiple fallacies of logic in one sentence!). First, the authors equivocate on the word “science.” We love science at Answer in Genesis. In fact, it was a young-earth creationist, Francis Bacon, who came up with the scientific method. And most fields of science were developed by Bible-believers! So clearly, believing in YEC is not “dangerously opposed to science.”
Therefore, the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
Did anyone observe or repeat the rock layers being laid down over millions of years? No. That is a religious claim from this author interpreting rock layers in the present assuming his naturalistic and humanistic religion.
God, unlike Prof. Braterman, was there and eye-witnessed it, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, revealed it to us in Scripture. So by what authority can Prof. Braterman oppose the absolute and supreme authority of God’s Word that there was indeed a flood that covered everything under the whole heavens (Genesis 7:19)? A lesser authority—thus, this is a faulty appeal to authority fallacy (i.e., a false authority fallacy).
Yeah, the whole thing goes on like that at tendentious length. He even rejects an appeal to authority by claiming his authority, God, is bigger than science’s authority.
Look, this is silly. Non-scientists don’t get to refute science by redefining science to fit their desires, as AiG does routinely. Science does involve the interpretation of the evidence, but the evidence keeps growing and going deeper and farther. Francis Bacon and any other natural historian before the middle of the 19th century did not have the volume of evidence we do now, and lacked the information to form a more thorough and accurate understanding of the history of the earth, but what they did is to honestly and sincerely work on gathering that evidence, which later scientists would be able to synthesize into better and better models of the world. Francis Bacon was aware that he lived with the traditions and conventions of his time, but he also wrote:
Men have sought to make a world from their own conception and to draw from their own minds all the material which they employed, but if, instead of doing so, they had consulted experience and observation, they would have the facts and not opinions to reason about, and might have ultimately arrived at the knowledge of the laws which govern the material world.
He understood that science was a cumulative process built on experience, observation, and experiment, that knowledge grows, that we can acquire new ideas and expand our understanding over time. He didn’t claim to know everything in that instant!
The reason Answers in Genesis is anti-science is that they have rejected the knowledge and evidence accumulated over centuries by people who also believed in the Bible, and the Koran, and various other holy books. The difference is that they did not turn their backs on all that we learned in order to deny anything that did not conform to their dogma.