69: Common Logical Fallacies From the Pulpit

Clay round-tables with Greg, Nick, and Daniel to talk about logical fallacies. What are they? What are some of the popular ones and what examples do we see of them from the pulpit and in the social dialogue around us?


Some dandy links to logical fallacy overviews:
Wiki – formal fallacy
Wiki – list of fallacies
Your Logical Fallacy
Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate

Bednar – The Spirit of Revelation


  1. Brett

    Great podcast and excellent discussion of logica fallacies. Being able to recognize these are such a valuable skill – I wish schools were teaching it

    Reply May 07, 2014 @ 06:00:26
  2. Sebastian Dick

    I’ve got to throw in one of my pulpit favorites: it’s that delicious and particular cocktail of cherry-picking and special pleading that is used to construct the Argument From Incomplete Devastation.

    This was modeled beautifully by Ronald Rasband in the the conference just passed.

    The argument goes:
    a) An accident or disaster (in this case the Oklahoma tornado) causes death and destruction.
    b) Some possessions or people are not harmed.
    c) Therefore the surviving possessions or people were protected by divine intervention.

    “Tori, her mother, three of her siblings, and numerous friends who were also in the school with her miraculously survived that tornado; seven of their schoolmates did not…

    I counseled Tori to remember the day when a servant of the Lord laid his hands on her head and pronounced that she had been protected by angels in the storm.”

    Not everyone was killed, therefore God was involved.
    While ridiculous when distilled in this fashion, this particular pattern of broken logic chain is SO prevalent in religious thinking of all flavors.

    Reply May 08, 2014 @ 01:19:54
    • Nick

      Sebastian, that one was brilliant, and it’s too bad we recorded this podcast before this last conference.

      Reply May 08, 2014 @ 04:26:09
  3. JT

    I really enjoyed this one. Thanks y’all.

    The faithful Mormon historian Davis Bitton – now deceased – delivered a FAIR Conference lecture, “I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church” in 2004. It contains its share of logical fallacies aimed at diffusing the threat of problematic LDS history facts to members’ testimonies.

    A few of my most favorite lines.

    “There is nothing in church history that leads inevitably to the conclusion that the church is false.”

    “The Lord doesn’t require us to believe anything that’s untrue.”

    “How can I say this with such confidence? For the simple reason that the Latter-day Saint historians who know the most about our church history have been and are faithful, committed members of the church.”

    “One of the jobs of the historians and of educators in the Church, who teach people growing up in the Church and people coming into the Church, is to try to see to it that expectations are realistic.”

    Can anyone identify the fallacies in these?

    This fascinating talk is posted here:


    If anyone is interested, I wrote a blog post about the entire talk here:


    Reply Aug 09, 2014 @ 15:50:47

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