All the chewy goodness of fallacious reasoning in new fun-sized bites!

Argumentum ab hannis in Latin means “argument because of age”

According to Dr. Norm Geisler in his book Come Let Us Reason, the Argument Because of Age fallacy “makes the mistake of thinking that all truth is subject to aging.”[1] Another term that describes this particular error is known as chronological snobbery. Folks who commit this fallacy seem to believe that, if an idea is old or dated, it is automatically disqualified as being sound.

For example, consider this claim about the Bible:

Nothing written in a book that long ago could ever be true!

This obviously does not follow. A text’s authorship prior to some arbitrary date does not make its content untrue. What makes the content of a text, or a proposition in general, untrue is its inability to correspond with reality. If the claim above were true then every historical text written before some arbitrary date would have to be considered false and thrown out. This is absurd. Do not be persuaded when someone commits this error.

The best way to point out someone’s fallacy is by using the Columbo tactic as laid out in the Funsized Tactics series. There are plenty of excellent resources available in book, e-book, or PDF format. Two good places to start, with regard to formal and informal fallacies, are A Preface to Philosophy by Mark B. Woodhouse and Schaum’s Outlines: Logic by John Nolt, Dennis Rohatyn, and Achille Varzi.

[1] Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, Come Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1990), Kindle edition.

Speaker, Educator, President of A Clear Lens, Inc. and host of A Clear Lens Podcast. B.Sc., M.Ed. Lives in Las Vegas with his wife, two sons, and dogs.