Argument from "Endorsement"

From Reconciling understandings of Scripture and Science
(Redirected from Endorsement)
Jump to navigationJump to search

← Unworthy Arguments

Appeal to Authority

An Appeal to Authority (or in scholastic times Argumentum ad verecundiam, "argument from reverence") is not so much a logical argument as a short-cut to common ground, when both parties accept the authority of the one to whom the appeal is made.

For example, "Grandma said storks bring babies" might be conclusive among Grandma's grandchildren of a certain age; but "The Bible says 'Thou shalt not commit adultery!' will cut no ice with a philandering atheist.

Appeal to Authority is helpful in discussion if and only if all participants accept:

  • the authority of the one appealed to; and
  • the accuracy of the appeal.
Bruce (talk)

The Argument from Endorsement

The Argument from Endorsement is a fallacious form of Appeal to Authority:

  1. Authority X mentioned such-and-such
  2. We are discussing such-and-such
  3. Therefore Authority X agrees with me


"In Luke 10:18 Jesus endorses the fact that Satan was a fallen angel."
"Jesus endorsed the Sabbath."
"In keeping the Sabbath during His life on earth, Christ endorsed the six-day Creation account."
"In Hebrews 11, the writer references Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Would he have mentioned these Bible figures if he did not believe the record of Genesis?"
"Paul plainly endorsed the Creation account when he says for Adam was first formed, then Eve."
Jesus referred to God's creation of the world (Mark 13:19-20) and to Adam, Abraham, Lot, Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah — therefore Jesus must have agreed with what I say about Genesis.
See 1 Corinthians 10:4 for a case in which an argument from endorsement is interestingly problematic.

Sometimes "Authority X" is extended to the entire Bible, with the implied claim that the speaker/writer can judge exactly what the Bible says:

"It is for you to choose: will you or won't you believe the biblical record?"

In the above examples, note the role that biased language plays in establishing whatever is said to be endorsed: "the fact that Satan was a fallen angel," "the Creation account", and "the record of Genesis" all assume literalist interpretations of the text.

Consider examples here and here in Lampstand Magazine's alternative "Bible Teaching on Creation".

Implied Argument from Endorsement

Argument from endorsement does not have to be explicit: all that is necessary is a claim followed by references to authority that appear to be relevant to the claim. Many examples of implied argument from endorsement (for a particular literal reading of Genesis 1-3) can be found listed as "supporting statements" in the AACE paper The Bible's Teaching on Creation.

Bruce (talk)