How would you respond to the question: can’t you use existing facts to
prove any claim, in this case Christianity, but in reality any thing you

I would say you raise a very good and valid question. The fact
is that if one chooses to suspend use of correct lines of reasoning, then
one can massage and manipulate the available evidence to “prove” anything
one likes. As scientists, we are trained to distinguish bogus lines of
reasoning from valid reasoning. Dozens of examples could be raised of
people “proving” clearly false things using bogus reasoning. Hitler’s
minions “proved” that Northern Europeans are a superior race. Young earth
creationists “prove” from science that the earth is only a few thousand
years old. The flat-earth society, with tongues firmly in cheek, “prove”
that the earth is flat, etc…. Careful thinkers have devised valid lines
of reasoning as well as putting together lists of bogus reasoning
methodology. In fact, let me provide a list below of more-or-less standard
bogus methods of reasoning.

Abusive ad hominem


Ambiguity (index)


Age, Appeal to

Authority, Appeals to (4 types)

Ad Hominem (5 types)

Begging the Question

Circumstantial ad hominem

Complex Question


Correlation vs. Causation


Emotion and Desire, Appeals to (5 types)


Unqualified Authority, Appeal to

False Dilemma

Flatter, Appeal to

Force / Fear, Appeal to (Argumentum ad Baculum)

Novelty, Appeal to

No True Scotsman

Numbers, Appeal to

Money, Appeal to

Oversimplification and Exaggeration

Pity, Appeal to (Argumentum ad Misercordiam)

Poisoning the Well

Poverty, Appeal to


Quantifier Fallacy

Quoting out of Context

Reification / Hypostatization

Fallacies of Relevance (index)

Scope Fallacy

Suppressed Evidence

Tradition, Appeal to

Tu Quoque (two wrongs don’t make a right

Genetic Fallacy

Illicit Observation

The point of this is that with a little bit of training, one
can learn to distinguish fallacious reasoning from correct reasoning.
Young earth creationists use almost all of the methods above. What I
suggest you do is get a copy of my book “Reasons for Belief: A Handbook of
Christian Evidence” ( and decide for yourself if this
book shows marks of bogus reasoning. I certainly have tried in this book
to avoid the use of appeals to authority, to emotion, and so forth, but
you should decide for yourself what you think. In the end, I believe the
argument in support of Christianity and the inspiration of the Bible is

For example, let us compare the “scripture” of Hinduism, Christianity and
Islam. Let us examine the premise that each of these sets of scripture is
inspired by a higher, transcendent authority. Let us examine this claim in
the light of reasonable, logical tests such as historical consistency,
internal consistency, verification of predictions etc. I would claim,
having done extensive research into these questions that the Bible stands
absolutely alone in this regard. It is your job, of course, to decide the
question for yourself.

John Oakes, PhD

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