Critical Thinking: The Fallacy of Argument From Ignorance

((Updated due to YouTube takedown of the original shorter clip. Still enjoy. The Internet, “where Religions come to die.”-kia))

For Stephanie tonight, you know who you are

(She must have been embarrassed because the previous shorter clip with her call was taken down, but here is the longer clip of the full show. Her call is the first portion, from about 6:00 to about 27:00, after the introductory by the hosts Matt and John.)

Here’s some perspective on the intellect we are dealing with when we listen to a PhD College Professor have a “reasonable” discussion with someone who doesn’t believe as she does. Enjoy. 

A primer on the burden of proof and the logical fallacy referred to as The Argument From Ignorance.

It’s always wise, especially as a college professor and a PhD, to admit when you are wrong and to admit when you are using fallacious arguments to support what you believe in conversations with those who either don’t believe or used to believe what you do, 

“It’s like watching a guy trying to rob a donut shop full of cops”

Honesty is the best policy, an humility is the most visible manifestation of honesty. Remember well, sister Stephanie.



50 thoughts on “Critical Thinking: The Fallacy of Argument From Ignorance

  1. I noticed the presenter said he tended to avoid theist/atheist debates. A smart man.

    What strikes me is how in most debates the tendency is for all of us to try to push the burden of proof onto the other side. I know I am not immune from this.

    As to whether or not there is a god, it is in essence impossible to prove ‘God’ does not exist. That is why my focus is not on whether there is a god, but rather on whether the Bible is from a divine source. In this case I have satisfied myself that the balance of probability the Bible is a human book, but I doubt I could ever say it with 100% certainty.

    Presently I am reading V Phillips Long’s book, ‘The Reign and Rejection of King Saul: A Case for Literary And Theological Coherence’.

    As Phillips Long notes in his introduction:

    ‘The central theological enigma revolves around two seemingly irreconcilable facts that Saul is first elected by Yahweh and thereafter rejected by him…Adding to the tension is the apparent imbalance between the crime and the punishment’

    Critical thinking should cause us to ask whether ‘God’ as portrayed in the Bible is really any different from a human. It always puzzled me how God could say he regretted making Saul king (1 Samuel 15:11). So much for omnipotence?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly brother peter. God as a proposition is a positive claim, therefore the ones making such a claim bear the full burden of proof, and any such shifting to question or challenge others to defend why they don’t believe is dishonest and an argument from ignorance


  2. At issue is everyone’s refusal to address the issue I presented. Matt jumped on my question of what other options could there be to deflect. Had I not said that, it would have been better. I’ll be the first to admit that . Had I not said same, he would have been forced to answer my question with something more substantial and honest than “maybe they were hungry.” Beyond the apostles, consider why Paul and James converted. Please.


    • No.. at issue was your unwillingness to see that what you were asking “how else would they have believed” or been willing to die unless it were true… Was by definition an argument from ignorance.
      Have a wonderful day, professor


        • arguments from ignorance are fallacious. you seem to understand this but are trying to use it anyway to shift the burden of proof. you do realize how dishonest that is, right?


          • @mike
            Wonderful job of ignoring the lady’s weighted point as you try to steer her pin-pointed and accurate observation of the truth and proof of two mens conversions.

            Saul of Tarsus was a religious criminal, perfect in the ‘law’ mind you, but guilty as ever before the court of heaven. His about face was documented, and his subsequent life and times, especially the book of Romans, is CONCRETE proof he met the living God through the person of Christ.

            Deal with it. And try to provide more smokescreens so you do not have to face the obvious implications of sin and righteousness. God’s word is good. Very good. Ever and always good. Yours and mine? Eh, that’s another story, but God’s word puts us in place. Truth has that effect if we are honest.

            Btw, to the froward, God shows Himself as froward, to the pure, He reveals Himself as pure. Take your pick.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hi cs. I’m all good now. Ready to respond to your drivel as it should be responded to.
              Because it is written in a book or several books, even if we can for 100% validate that they are in fact 100% exactly as they were written down, which we can’t and you know it, and that Paul and the apostles actually wrote them, and we can’t and you know it… it doesn’t get us any bit closer to proving that what they wrote or believed “until death” actually happened in reality or is actually true in any sense that corresponds to a reality other than your Faith that it does.
              It matters not one iota how sincerely or to what extent they were willing to suffer for their beliefs. What matters is whether they are in fact verifiably and factually true.
              Her argument from ignorance trying to redirect to “Why else would they have been willing to suffer and die” or “of course it was true, they wouldn’t have been willing to suffer and die unless it were true… it’s common sense” is just plain bullshit and she knows it. You may not, but I’m reasonably sure that as a PhD university professor she sure does.
              If someone is not willing to admit when they are using flawed and fallacious reasoning and arguments, touting them as ‘evidence’ even when she herself by her education and training would almost certainly recognize that they aren’t evidence of anything but ignorance,… but uses them anyway, even when she knows the other person can see thru her charade… that person is worse than dishonest. She can’t be trusted with honest or reasonably discussion. Probably shouldn’t be trusted with our children’s education either, which is most likely why her previous twitter handle started getting in undated and the university, that employs her at the public tax payer expense, started getting notified of her activity, such that she had to ditch her precious twitter and rebrand


            • @Colorstorm

              No, all he supposedly ”encountered’t’ was a vision on the road to Damascus. A ghost in other words.
              You do realise you cannot use the bible to prove the bible?
              Only very silly people do this.

              And bear in mind, as there is no evidence for this character why on earth would anyone want to afford any credibility to him in the first place?
              It’s probably about time you did some serious investigation into such people as Marcion.

              As an aside. As you give credence to a flat earth am surprised you are even given the time of day here.
              Mike is a gracious host toward you in this regard, whereas you are little more than a toady, imbecilic halfwit.
              Oh, and in case you now feel a little pissed off, relax, CS, that is not ad hom , but rather a fairly accurate character description.

              Have a day

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ha. You are a comedian.
                As to proof. Read the book of Romans.

                Humanly impossible to fabricate coming from a man who was antagonistic toward the gospel.

                The logic of Paul formerly Saul acting as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, was ahem, cough, cough, used as a primer for logic in a prestigious University long before they became irrelevant with their godlessness. The book of Romans proves without a shadow of a doubt that Paul lived, and God is ever God.

                As to your absurd request asking for ‘proof’ outside the bible? More laughter. People not interested in truth cannot be trusted with their perverted views on scripture. God’s word needs no help to verify its contents. God is much smarter than you.

                As to your jab about the earth, maybe you could grab a few a few of your friends and try to get some proof that the earth has moved, is moving, and will move one inch. Good luck with that.


              • One can fabricate anything and indoctrinate enough people to beleive it.
                Why else would people fly into skyscrapers?
                Romans is a work of fiction, as is the the rest of the bible.
                Where in it do you consider the proof of the character’s existence?
                However, if you have evidence for the character Saul of tarsus, outside of the bible feel free to present it….

                Why is my request absurd?
                You do not beleive in flood geology re: Noah and wold laugh at a YEC. What gives you the right to therefore dismiss my request for evidence to back your assertion?

                Liked by 1 person

              • Ark
                Scripture defines who Paul was. Scripture delineates why Paul was. Scripture presents Saul of Tarsus then Paul the apostle.

                Tweety, Peety, Pliny, Zaney, all have no say as to the life and times of Paul. Scripture says enough to last you a lifetime.

                But hey, it’s your business to follow distractions.

                But truly, ‘evil men and seducer shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.’

                Unless one cares for deception…………he will remain more lost than London fog.

                Liked by 1 person

              • Scripture also defines Adam, & Noah, and they are both works of fiction.
                So, once again, if you have evidence, other than the bible, then please present it.
                I mean, why are you so afraid to back your claims?
                Why do you squirm as < worm on the hook?
                Why do you shy away from every opportunity to present evidence to back you claims of truth?
                Seriously, what are you afraid of?

                But truly, ‘evil men and seducer shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.’

                Well, I don’t know you personally but I wouldn’t say you are evil, per se .

                Liked by 1 person

              • Ark-

                Maybe I should apologize to you for not knowing you are deaf……..

                (……..with true apologies to the good deaf people everywhere)

                If you are expecting my answers to change, you can forget it.

                Scripture has collected every rusty hammer against it, and they sit in the graveyards of irrelevance.

                It is foolproof, only to expose the foolishness of people who say there is no God. You can tell your new friend matt the same thing.

                God’s word needs no defense, so stop asking for proof.


              • Actually, if you were in the least bit observant of the world at large you will have noticed that far from withstanding every hammer, it is becoming very much like a chocolate kettle on a hotplate, as more and more of scripture’s absurdity and patent falsehood is exposed.
                Oh, the phenomenon is not shouting out like a klaxon but rather the steady and continuous tinkle of the wind-chime as it responds to to the winds of change.
                Whereas all you are doing is farting in the wind.
                What I would have thought would be of most concern to one such as you is the number of former professional Christians – pastors priests vicars and the like that are admitting to to the lies and walking away.
                Such as this one …

                And not only walking away quietly, but advertising the fact on social media.
                And exposing the lies and revealing the truth
                Much in the same way you keep touting the same old tune. And they are singing it all the more often.
                Except that, unlike the rusty, chipped stylus playing on your worn out record,theirs’ is up to the minute .
                And their song is easy to dance to to and is garnering a lot more interest.
                And those that were once part of their flock are questioning themselves.

                Foolproof you say? Well, proof of the fool, most certainly and you are as worthy an exponent as any.
                You can feel proud to stand shoulder to should with such disingenuous luminaries, as Ken Ham, William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, Ken Hovind, The Pope, and the Archbishop of Canterbury and all those in-between.
                A sort of who’s who of religious apologetic halfwits and liars.
                A Yahweh Rogues Gallery if you like.

                Liked by 1 person

              • Yak yak yak. Same old story. If Christ lived, he was fabricated…..His life and times were embellished.

                So there you go. You answered your own query for ‘proof’ outside of scripture, which I also proved: that men are liars.

                But an atheist interviewing a de-con. Too funny.

                By the way, don’t point me to tarico when I offered her a two sentence harmless comment some time ago, and she completely ‘banned’ me. Apparently, she cannot tolerate the blistering daylight of truth.

                So yeah, atheists can be the largest of hypocrites doncha know.


              • When you are the Last-Man-Standing with the flames of Gehenna tickling your tackle, your god is not going to be happy with your performance of proselytizing, Colorstorm.
                Your arguments are so weak you couldn’t convince Mary Magdalene to give you a blow job on the promise of salvation if Jesus was standing by your side.
                But don’t fret, you can direct your whining at Yahweh and ask God-Soft-Hands -Jesus just WTF he was doing all this time?

                Smile. I think Valerie has less tolerance of imbeciles than many of us. And probably more sense, if truth be told!
                Consider she did you a favour.
                Why don’t you spend ten minutes on the loo, Colorstorm. After all you are so full of shit and your bible would be ideal to wipe your arse with.

                Have a day.

                Liked by 1 person

              • Cs… “gods word needs no defense, so stop asking for proof” translation: the bible as God’s word (as opposed to the koran, or the book of mormon or dianetics) HAS no defense, so stop asking for one”


              • That’s right. And facts, such as:

                ‘Circumcised the eight day, of the tribe of Benjamin, A Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee of the strictest sect, touching the law: blameless. Sat under the feet of the brilliant Gamaliel.

                Named after Israel’s first king. Gotta love those facts.


              • No cs, those are details of the biblical narrative. Those are not historical ‘facts’ attested to anywhere else. I know you probably don’t know this word very well, but here goes nothing. CORROBORATION. There is no corroboration of those ‘facts’ you just cited outside of the biblical text. Try again


              • ‘The details of the biblical narrative?’

                Historical facts. Period.

                Long been settled, and it is amusing to the nines, to watch you like a worm mike, try to wiggle away from logic, facts, and scripture.

                Your hero friends too on the vid are a major embarassment, and and insult to the God given brain.

                Then there is the littlestonesgods most recent comment, which you ‘liked,’ which says just as much about you.

                Perhaps you should read it again, and see where your mind is also. The Colbert poison is everywhere, and abides so well in the heart of the atheist.

                In you heart you agree with me, but you will never admit it. PRIDE.


              • Cs, which Paul are you referring to? The one portrayed as ‘go along get along’ submitted to the church in Jerusalem, or the one in the letters supposedly written by him about himself? They are two different characters.


        • I used to believe the Bible was a true account but now realise it is just human writings which contain inconsistencies. The accounts of Paul in the Book of Acts are difficult (if not impossible) in places to reconcile with what Paul wrote in his own letters. From Acts we conclude that Paul spent much time in Jerusalem, but from his own letters it seems he barely visited the city.

          The versions of the birth narrative between Matthew and Luke’s Gospels differ significantly and can only be reconciled by taking great liberties with the implied context of each account. The implication that the family of Jesus fled to Egypt is entirely lacking from the account in Luke’s gospel and is at odds with the implication that the family returned to Nazareth shortly after the birth.

          Liked by 1 person

        • This may help you understand why your question is both malformed and an argument from ignorance, trying to shift the burden of proof. From a conversation with another amateur Apologist.

          Millions of people believing something to be true, “even unto death” is not evidence of it actually being true. realize, there are millions of Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus who have also lived and died for the Truth of their beliefs. would you concede the same ‘value’ to their convictions that they are true beliefs? i’m not sure you would.

          ((( That’s my best attempt at answering your questions. I hope i’ve done my part of the conversation and it is helpful for you and those who read on your blog. Thank you again for the opportunity. -KIA )))

          Dax’s response to my answers requesting Clarification:

          Yes thanks. The only change would be question #6. I am actually not asking that apologetically, like I am trying to persuade. I was more coming from the angle of why do you think millions and millions follow even to death? What do you think leads to such dedication if faith not genuine. I was interested in your opinion

          And my Clarification based on his request:

          “Genuineness of faith is not the issue. The truth of what one believes is. I can only answer for myself and possibly you can apply liberally.

          They believe, as I believed, and do such things, as I did, because they believe with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength that what they believe is actually true. No one questions or should question the genuineness of such a ones faith. It’s a malformed question that leads to the answer I gave for what I understood as the implied end of the question.

          People do amazing things everyday for beliefs that are the most absurd. Take the bombing of the WTC and more recently Paris in November and Brussels a couple of days ago. It lends no evidence or credence to the truth of ones convictions or beliefs that one is willing to die for them. Thus my original answer.

          I hope that clarifies it a bit more.”



        • @Christian Apologist

          Please answer my questions on the apostles’ bravery and Paul’s and James’ conversions.

          As there is absolutely no evidence outside of the bible for these characters, and certainly no contemporary evidence for anything concerning the character, Jesus of Nazareth it is quite reasonable to assert that the gospels are nothing but historical fiction and maybe entirely fiction.
          Thus, there were no apostles nor anyone called James or Paul.
          Fairly straightforward when seen in this light, is it not?

          However, I am nothing if but not willing to seriously consider any evidence you have to the contrary.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I struggle to see how the example of Paul and James differs from modern converts to religion (say Islam) who are prepared to die for their cause. The modern people think their experience is real, but is it?

      In the end we can’t be expected to make decisions based on other people’s experiences. When I was a Christian I had people I trusted and respected tell me with great certainty what ‘God’ had revealed to them. But I noted with the passage of time the ;knowledge’ these people had proved to be wrong. So therefore I came to realise their experiences were not from ‘God’.

      But the point is there were convinced about their experiences and were prepared to act upon them.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. ((Best I could do ark. Sorry. -kia))
    “Sat under the feet of the Gamaliel…”

    Yet is it not strange,CS, that there is not a singular mention of Saul of Tarsus, notorious Christian-Hunter in any contemporary Jewish writing of the day?
    Odd also that there is no mention of Saul/Paul studying ”at the feet of (the brilliant) Gamaliel.
    Would you mind revealing your source for this assertion, please?

    Liked by 2 people

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