Argument from Personal Incredulity

personal incredulity - crop circles

Asserting because one finds something difficult to understand it can’t be true.

This fallacy is based more on lack of understanding than lack of information. Often used as a means to distrust science on the basis of it being highly technical and difficult to put into layman terms, this fallacy is the standby of regressives who wish everything to remain the way things used to be. To avoid changing one’s mind, the person merely avoids advancing their understanding of the topic at hand.

The big bang theory makes no sense. How can there not be a time before the big bang? Scientists just made it all up to try and explain away God’s creation.

Something being complicated does not necessarily make it untrue. personal incredulity - thinkIf a claim is difficult to understand, it is the job of the listener to educate themselves before coming to a conclusion as to the truth value of the assertion. Until then, the conclusion should always remain at “I don’t know”.

The human mind is so complex, you can’t conclude there is no soul released after death.

On the contrary! This fallacy is commonly the basis for ghost and other “afterlife” beliefs, since the people holding the beliefs don’t understand, or refuse to acknowledge,  how the mind is a demonstrable product of a physical brain. Once the brain dies, the mind no longer exists. This, naturally, can be demonstrated, as in the example of when people have lost their personalities when they suffered serious brain trauma. The mind, if separate from the physical brain, would be unaffected by brain injury. Asserting the brain is a complex machine which is not fully understood, which a true assertion, ignores the evidence of mind-brain connection being highly understood.

I don’t understand how life can just move from bacteria to humans all on its own. There had to be an intelligent designer behind it!

One of the staples of the creationist (also known as intelligent design) proponent, this argument relies on ignorance  of the process of evolution in order to claim a magical designer must have done the work. This assertion, of course, is not a logical conclusion to not understanding evolution, as there is no reason to think a god, if one even existed, had any hand in the evolution of life on Earth.

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