Skeptics and the Genetic Fallacy

In this case, the skeptic never deals with the evidence at all, he simply avoids it.  Some skeptics just will not accept anything at all that comes from the bible. If the bible claimed that circles were round, I believe this guy actually might not accept it. Seriously, it is a common yet fallacious way to argue. Unfortunately, it is so common that it has a name,  this avoidance tactic is known as the genetic fallacy.

Genetic Fallacy: This is a special type of reductive fallacy in which the single issue focused on is the source or origin of an idea. The argument demands, “Something (or someone) should be rejected because it (or he) comes from a bad source.”[i]



In my original argument I said that it is not necessary to believe biblical inerrancy to accept the minimal facts argument.  I certainly affirm inerrancy and believe the bible is the inspired word of God. Borrowing from John Piper, I understand that inerrancy means fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.[ii] The bible is “without error” in the sense that all that the biblical authors intended to teach is true and does not conflict with reality or with the will of God. Yet to grasp the weight of resurrection evidence all that is needed is to accept the New Testament in the same way as any other piece of ancient literature. Historians routinely pour over ancient documents and extract what they consider “historical”, the minimal facts argument for Jesus resurrection employs just that sort of data.  It is not valid for the critic to dismiss the data because it comes from a source he personally dislikes.


For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

(1 Co 1:18)


[i] Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, Come, Let Us Reason : An Introduction to Logical Thinking (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1990), 107.

[ii]John Piper, Why We Believe the Bible http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/resources/why-we-believe-the-bible-part-1 (accessed 10/01/2010)

Video I referenced by John Ankerberg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRhykVTQvjQ

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

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