Thursday, 29 September 2011

The fallacy of "The Taxi-Cab Fallacy"

Apparently 'The “Taxi-Cab Fallacy' is committed when one hops in and assumes a certain system of thought or world-view in an attempt to make a particular point but then jumps out of the system of thought when it suits their fancy. Some say that such practice lacks logical consistency and is therefore a logical fallacy.

For example, it is claimed that a detractor from the Christian world-view should not hop into the Christian system of thought by erecting an objection grounded in the Bible and then demand an answer be given without the use of a Bible.

Others say that 

It's a blatant attempt to limit the skeptic's use the bible as evidence of how stupid the bible is.

or that it is an example of reductio ad absurdum.

I have to side with the others so you will not find it in my "Delusional Logic".  I find it somewhat obtuse for people to try to avoid being questioned about the bible like this.  (I think William lane Craig uses it more often than he has hot dinners.)

Any explanation of the bible that uses the bible as its premise is circular and pointless.


RosaRubicondior said...

Looks like another case of special pleading. Theologists of all flavours often seem to be assuming their god, their arguments or their forms of 'logic' are not able to compete with normal science, reasoning or logic and so, like a special needs child, should be awarded special exemption to enable them to compete with the big boys.

Fil Salustri said...

While in the specific case you use of the bible, I think the circularity is obvious, there is a general case that isn't circular. Jumping into an out of worldviews isn't equivalent to your special case. I think it's closer to relaxing or changing assumptions halfway through an argument, where each worldview can bethought of as a package of assumptions.

Apokalupsis said...

All 3 of you missed the point for some reason as to why it is illogical.

The claim isn't that one can prove something to be true by virtue of it being in the Bible and the Bible is true (which leads to circular reasoning).

It is saying that if we are going to argue that the set is wrong by using one of its variables, we must not exclude necessary variables in the process for arbitrary reasons.

For example: The Bible claims God Jesus is the Son of God, or God incarnate. The issue is not whether or not God exists, but rather the state of Jesus' nature. It's fallacious to respond to the issue of Jesus' divinity by claiming God does not exist. We have assumed just for the sake of argumentation ABOUT Jesus and what the Bible says about Him, that God does exist. This in no way means that you must accept that God actually DOES exist however.

It's like the following:

Bob: Jesus of the Bible served no value to mankind.
Joe: Not true. According to the Bible, God sent Jesus to die for our sins.
Bob: God doesn't exist!

It's a fallacious response. The issue of the argument (critical thinking 101) is not the existence of God, but the value of Jesus to mankind according to the Bible.

Plasma Engineer said...

Apokalupsis must be a christian or a philosopher, or both. At the end of everything (s)he wrote I think most people will have no idea what it meant.

Para 2 is exactly what I have heard christians claiming, including the risible circularity.

I think the point of the argument is that if one of the variables in the set is wrong, then the set is not a set.

John Candide said...

This is also called Durkheim's Folly in Dan Dennett's Breaking the Spell.

Anonymous said...

You all do realize that the Bible is not a singular work, but a collection, right? There are certainly cases where Christians will engage in circular reasoning, but I don't think it's as common as everyone says.

It's not circular reasoning to say that, for example, writings in Mark give evidence to Matthew because these are two different books written by two different people at two different times in two different places. Saying they can't evidence each other is like saying that if I published a collection of scientific journals on a topic (let's call it "Journals"), none of the individual journals could evidence another one in the same collection because that would be using Journals to prove Journals.

Do you not see the problem there? Putting books in a collection does not then make them all the same book and thus incapable of evidencing each other.

Derby Sceptic said...

@Anonymous It is clear that the bible is not a singular work but a collection of stories. This is evidenced in the gospels by the contradictory reports of supposedly one set of events.

Plasma Engineer said...

A reply to the latest Anonymous comment will appear as a new blog post on 6th December 2011, 19:00 GMT.

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mike edwards said...

They don't believe they are assuming and give support to their claims.. Now wether to accept or Dispute it is another matter, but for to say they just assume is ignorance on your part . Your right though , it does not compete with science , but compliments science , they reaffirm each other's points . Special needs child comment is an ad hominem attack tat adds nothing to the argument, leave it at home

mike edwards said...

They don't believe they are assuming and give support to their claims.. Now wether to accept or Dispute it is another matter, but for to say they just assume is ignorance on your part . Your right though , it does not compete with science , but compliments science , they reaffirm each other's points . Special needs child comment is an ad hominem attack tat adds nothing to the argument, leave it at home

Gary H. said...

"Scientific, Skeptical and Secular (and even anti-theistic)! These are the adventures of an ex-scientist, working as an engineer in energy research, and living in a world that is not secular enough."

Oh the irony of the deluded atheist mindset. Oh the self-contradiction! The codswallop claims! The abject ignorance!
You need to wake up and finally smell the lies you so lovingly obey.
You're in a religion yourself. So perhaps you could can the hypocrisy for once?
I'll bet you're a tithing member, a disciple of the bunch of looney tunes. No? Why not? Atheism is indeed a religious position, not some passive psychological, involuntary state, like "lack of belief" as so many of the ignorant new atheist wackaloons pretend these days. What a farce that is!

You atheists are so deluded it would be amusing to read your screed, except that your ignorance and terrible "logic" are just so bad that its a "shake your head in disbelief" experience more than anything else, for properly, rational informed people.

Even in your own ugly and feckless worldview you cannot help but contradict yourselves every moment of every day.

A tragedy of modern stupidity in the vile secular humanist religion is what the new atheism has created. Even as the smarter atheists state.

Indeed, they are a bloody disaster and a shame to themselves and you are no better for following their endless slew of sloppy, anemic, easily discerned sophism.

"Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing" - Michael Ruse

No kidding. You're not doing any better Mr. ex-scientist.

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