They’re Logically Fallacious! Argument From Ignorance

Riley Sproul Ideas, Logical Fallacies Leave a Comment

Hello! This is a new weekly post called “They’re Logically Fallacious!“. Where I’ll be focusing on, you guessed it, logical fallacies. I’ll be able to do one of these every week, as they will be rather short and to the point. I hope you enjoy!

For the the first installment of “They’re Logically Fallacious!“, we take a look at one of the most common logical fallacies, argument from ignorance. But first, a primer: What are logical fallacies? Basically, when you make a mistake in your logic. When this results involves the breaking of a specific rule of logic, we call it a Formal Logical Fallacy. Where as an Informal Logical Fallacy does not specifically mean that the conclusion is wrong, but rather that the way you got to such a conclusion is fallacious.

Example of Formal Fallacy: 1) Some men are green. 2) Socrates is a man. 3) Therefore Socrates is green.

Example of Informal Fallacy: 1) Logic teaches you how to argue. 2) People argue entirely too much. 3) Therefore we don’t need to teach people Logic.

This is a rather intricate topic, and is in fact its own field of study. If you wish to learn more about the specifics of formal/informal fallacies, valid/invalid arguments, ect. please visit any or all of these sites: , ,

Back to the fallacy at hand:

Argument from ignorance

(Ad Ignorantium)

It is an informal fallacy, which means simply committing the fallacy does not mean your conclusion is guaranteed to be wrong, but your method of getting to that conclusion won’t stand up to examination.

Example: 1) X exists. 2) I don’t know where X came from. 3) No one knows where X came from -OR- No one can know where X came from.

Real World Example:

Although we have proven that the moon is not made of spare ribs, we have not proven that its core cannot be filled with them; therefore, the moon’s core is filled with spare ribs.

Indicator: Personally, I listen for the idea of knowing or not knowing. If much is extrapolated from what we do NOT know, tread lightly, your logic may be in error.



That’s all for this week, next week I’ll touch on the Strawman Fallacy.

Riley Sproul has a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in PreMed, and a Chemistry Minor, from the University of Toledo. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with in the next 4-5 years. His interests include sci-fi, PC-gaming, playing guitar, and a variety of other hobbies.
They’re Logically Fallacious! Argument From Ignorance was last modified: March 31st, 2015 by Riley Sproul