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argument from authority fallacy - logical fallacies series - illustration - incompetent math teacher

Fallacies – Argument From Authority (Appeal to Authority or Argumentum Ad Verecundiam)

A claimed authority’s support is used as evidence for an argument’s conclusion.

Example: Most psychologists assert that mental illness cannot be improved or cured with vitamins or nutritional treatment/supplementation. Therefore, there must be no “natural” cure for mental health issues.

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. – Galileo Galilei

Just because someone in a position of “intellectual” authority claims that something is true doesn’t necessarily mean it is.

No one is entirely liberated of personal motives or biases.

It’s important to remember that people with scientific (or other academic) authority aren’t necessarily also entirely ethical (or informed). Often, power, influence, and academic “authority” end up in the hands of the wrong people.

We shouldn’t automatically trust people in prestigious positions within the scientific, medical, political, educational, or psychological/social fields.

Everything merits examination.

dangers of using argument from authority - illustration

An authority on a subject may very well be speaking only truth and facts. However, accepting or discrediting an argument on the basis of someone’s title and education – or lack thereof – is a logically fallacious approach to understanding or advocating a matter.

The strength and logic of the case – not the eminence of the title – should support the argument.

Please see Disclaimer.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

Why Jesus Hates Religion: Part 9 – Division in the Body

Why Jesus Hates Religion: Part 4 – Missing the One Who Sanctifies

Why Jesus Hates Religion: Part 3 – Religion Does Not Produce Holy Worship

Why Jesus Hates Religion: Part 2 – Ignorance and Enlightenment

Why Jesus Hates Religion: Part 1 – Are You Religious?

First piece in the series “Why Jesus Hates Religion” from my blog,

Niceness or politeness vs. kindness - you can't be both nice and kind - which one are you? Picture of cozily-dressed nice or kind woman smiling

Nice vs. Kind

It’s Okay to Not Be Nice

It’s taken me most of my life so far to learn this, but:

Being “nice” – or niceness – is not necessarily a virtue.

Making someone uncomfortable is not necessarily synonymous with being unkind (depends on how and why you’re making them uncomfortable).

Just because someone dislikes us, our boundaries, or what we stand for does not mean we should change who we are to be “nice” or to make them comfortable. We should not sacrifice or compromise our souls or our sanity for political correctness or popularity.

It’s okay to disagree with someone.

It’s okay to try to keep your distance – as much as possible – from someone who’s acting inappropriate around you – even if they’re pretending to be gentle/safe and acting like you’re hurting their feelings for staying away. Predators prey upon the goodwill and compassion of others all the time.

This is not to say that everyone in your life who makes you feel guilty for avoiding them is a predator. But if you’re getting a weird vibe from someone, you should not feel obligated to stick around simply to seem “nice”.

Jesus Wasn’t “Nice”…But He Was Kind

Jesus was kind, but he wasn’t polite for the sake of politeness.

He wasn’t nice. He confronted the Pharisees, overturned the money tables in the temple, and rebuked Peter after Peter rebuked him for prophesying his death.

Jesus ate with (*gasp*) the tax collectors and sinners! He ignored the PC rules of the time.

Jesus was kind and compassionate, but he wasn’t concerned with being or appearing “nice”, polite, or politically correct in order to maintain popularity or ensure the comfort of others.

In fact, Jesus made a lot of people uncomfortable. His words of truth pierced many like the blow of a sword.

He taught his disciples to be innocent as doves…but also shrewd as serpents. He told us to turn the other cheek, but also instructed his disciples to flee if persecuted.

Nice vs. Kind


“Nice” is politically correct.

“Kind” is more concerned with saying what’s actually correct.


“Nice” doesn’t have any enemies or any real friends.

“Kind” has many enemies but also a few true friends.


“Nice” protects your ego.

“Kind” protects your soul.


“Nice” is concerned with appearance.

“Kind” is concerned with the inner man and the hidden things.


“Nice” will stop being nice when it becomes politically or socially inconvenient.

“Kind” will never stop being kind. It is concerned with truth, not with trends. It is concerned with love, not likability.

Much of the time, to be “nice” is to be unkind.

Nice people are flimsy. They don’t sharpen themselves, and they don’t sharpen others. Kind people sharpen both themselves and others, because they are in tune with reality rather than fantasy, a selfish desire for popularity, or wishful thinking. They seek only truth and speak only truth.

It’s okay to express your beliefs, even if others might label you “judgmental”, “intolerant”, “closed-minded”, or “irrational”. It’s okay (and important) to pursue truth, even if that makes others uncomfortable.

It’s okay to ignore the fashion trends and dress comfortably – in a style that works for you. It’s okay to defy the pressure of your peers and dress more modestly or cozily than they dress – or suggest or “demand” that you dress.

It’s okay to close your eyes during a sermon, without worrying that the pastor or others might think you’re asleep. If closing your eyes helps you to listen better, do it. Don’t worry about looking “unrighteous” or offending the pastor or someone else. You’re there to meet God, not to feed the pastor’s ego or perform for the congregation.

It’s okay to follow a diet that suits your health requirements, even if others shame you for not trying their food.

It’s okay to cook the same meal for everyone in your family (provided it’s a meal that works for your most allergic/sensitive peeps. Most of the time, I have to prepare something different from what my family eats, and I don’t think most people would want to subsist only on the foods in my limited diet for very long). But you shouldn’t feel obligated to cook multiple meals for others simply to cater to their tastes because they don’t prefer your healthier food, and want to eat shortbread, biscuits, pork, and trans-fat-laden alfredo noodles made with artificial ingredients instead of your lovingly prepared meal of salmon, soup, and salad.

If they want something else (especially something less healthy), they can make it themselves.

It’s okay to not be nice.

It’s okay not to cater to every last whim and wish of others. You’re only one person, and not everything that other people want is actually good for them, even if they do an excellent job of convincing you that you’re a terrible person for “depriving” them.

And trying to please everyone is not good for you, either.

Nice people don’t change the world – at least for the better. Kind people do.

Please see disclaimer.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

argumentum ex silentio (argument from silence) fallacy - logic

Fallacies – Argument from Silence (Argumentum Ex Silentio)

Assuming that because there is a lack of textual or spoken evidence from an authoritative source, a certain claim is true, or vice versa.

Example: “Few or no studies have demonstrated the long-term health effects of consuming GM foods. Therefore, GM foods are safe.”

(Actually, the basis for significant concerns regarding the safety of GM crops has been demonstrated. See resources page for more info. Still, similar arguments from silence are often made about GM crops or other public health concerns/hazards, when corporations wish to conceal damaging evidence or silence incriminating voices for the sake of profit.)

Just because no one has spoken against something doesn’t mean it’s automatically true, correct, or safe.

And in the same way, just because no one has spoken for the truth of something doesn’t necessarily mean that thing is untrue, incorrect, or unreal.

argumentum ex silentio fallacy illustration

Argumentum ex silentio is often seen at play in echo chambers, where people tend to be fed (via social media algorithms or other means) information which confirms their own biases/opinions/wishes. They don’t hear/read any (or much) information to the contrary. Therefore, they continue to assume that their opinions are well-informed ones, because opposing voices and viewpoints are seemingly silent.

In the dystopian novel 1984, people were “vaporized” and their memories completely blotted from media and records. This was all in an attempt to make it seem – via the silence of any contrary media – as if they had never existed.

Newspapers containing information which disgraced Big Brother (for example, publications from past dates containing predictions which were later found to be grossly mistaken or off the mark) were thoroughly destroyed, and publications with the same date were rewritten and republished in favor of the present “facts”.

The purpose of such painstaking efforts to rewrite history was to maintain the perception of Big Brother as a wise, strong, trustworthy, and necessary savior or hero. The purpose was to – through the silencing of contradictory information – “prove” the dependability of Big Brother, and make it seem as if “vaporized” people had never existed in the first place, rather than mysteriously disappeared.

However, the silence of truth does not prove its antithesis. Hence, an argument from silence is a logical fallacy.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

logical fallacies - missing data - error - wrong or missing information

Fallacies – Intro

Ever been stuck in an argument, knowing that the other person’s logic is faulty, but not knowing exactly why or how?

In the upcoming weeks and/or months, I’m planning to do some short posts and illustrations on some types of logical fallacies. Many – if not all of these – are fallacies which we frequently encounter in journalism and in “debates” (cordial or not) with family or friends.

We begin with the argument from silence, or argumentum ad silentio.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

seeking and acknowledging the truth - red pill blue pill blindfold #blindness #truth #ignorance #bliss #reality #courage


Truth is Like a Sharp, Solid, Steady Rock

It does not move.

It is not swayed by internal impulses.

It sometimes scathes and sharpens those who rub against it.

It stands its ground, seemingly without concern of being an obstacle or inconveniencing others.

Others’ perceptions of the rock mean nothing to it.

It is a shield from the changing, unpredictable waves – a tower that rises above them.
picture of bird on rock - dry place to rest, a shield from waves

Pixabay photo (CC0 License)

It is a perch – a vantage point – from which we can see life and the world clearly.
bird on perch - truth is a vantage point that offers clear vision

Pixabay photo (CC0 License)

Those who value truth are also like rocks.

They are the pillars which keep the community intact. They are the foundation on which freedom of expression is sustained and supported.

They are the people who are willing to be “disagreeable” if they must, in order to stick by their principles and beliefs.

Those who value truth – and live by it – will speak and do what is right even if it is offensive to or inconvenient for themselves or others. (It is the choice of the offended to be so. We are not responsible for others’ feelings and reactions to the truth.)

Upholders of truth are people who will not lie, even if the brutal truth makes them unpopular or costs them their jobs.

They are people who care about being honest on both “micro” and macro levels. They are the same substance – the same compound – throughout. They cannot compromise on their values even in seemingly “inconsequential” areas.

Seeking and living by truth doesn’t come without a price. It may cost us our:

  • Status
  • Popularity
  • Friendships
  • Business relationships
  • Subsistence
  • Lives

This cost exists because the truth is generally unpopular, uncomfortable, and/or inconvenient.

Some of us don’t want to know the truth. Others don’t want everyone else to know it.

In the U.S. we often take for granted our freedom of speech, religion, and self-expression. Sometimes, we almost act like we don’t want it. We aim to be tactful rather than truthful. We forget that we are still free to express ourselves, and instead we require ourselves to conform to constraints that don’t even exist and restrictive laws which haven’t been passed. In the process, we conceal valuable information, and encourage others to be equally timid and cautious.

We withhold springs of life from others for fear of stepping on their toes.

The truth can sometimes be shared tactfully and winsomely. And yet, it will still taste like bitter medicine to those who don’t wish to hear it.

And sometimes, there is no way to sugar-coat or soften the blow of truth. Yet truth – however brutal and bitter – will still taste sweet to those who seek and desire to find it.

If truth is worth defending to the death, then what is truth?

What do you think truth is? And how much would you be willing to sacrifice to defend it?

After you’ve given it some thought, feel free to poke around this blog and The Bleeding Blogger (my other blog), for my thoughts on truth.

Thanks for reading. 🙂



© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

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