Keep in mind that these drawings don’t prove anything and aren’t given as proof. Proof can only ever be found in God. The Holy Spirit provides the proof. Christ provides the knowledge. So as we look at these drawings, we do so prayerfully, remembering that God is here leading us right now if we yield our wills to His will.
Looking at this another way, circular reasoning eventually hooks up to itself to “solve” the infinite regression problem, so circular reasoning is just a smokescreen to hide infinite regression. In addition, it also hides something more deceptive: the axiomatic thinking fallacy. While these examples are simplified to illustrate what circular reasoning is, circular reasoning is generally much more hidden than these examples. Consider the following:
How could those animals have lived their entire life and formed these layers in just 4,000 years? There isn’t enough time since Mr. Ham’s flood for this limestone that we’re standing on to have come into existence. ~ Bill Nye
As an illustration of circular reasoning, this statement is camouflaged circular reasoning. It’s an example of how circular reasoning is rarely obvious as we listen to skilled persuaders use the fallacy.
In this illustration, Bill held up a rock with fossils in it and then told a story about the fossils. In this case, the story was his evidence. Contrary to first impressions, neither the rock nor the fossils in the rock were Bill’s evidence. This case of using a story as evidence is a weak premise where the proof isn’t proved.
As a matter of exposing the trick, here’s the circular reasoning. We notice that Bill offers two choices. One is 4,000 years . . . time since Mr. Ham’s [ad hominem] flood. And the other is Bill’s story of billions of years. Missing is the choice that Bill left out—the time during the global Genesis Flood. In this way, Bill limits us to only two options for depositing the fossils.
That’s a false choice fallacy and a stacking the deck fallacy because it limits the choices to two when at least one more choice is available. And we know that Bill left out one choice. Because his hidden presupposition was that the flood hadn’t occurred, Bill left out the time during the flood. As a result, he didn’t consider the fossils being deposited during the flood, and he eliminated the flood as a presupposition. In this, Bill secretly assumed the flood had not occurred, and that was the hidden presupposition. So he reasoned that, if the flood didn’t occur, the deposits couldn’t have occurred during the flood , and that’s circular reasoning because his presupposition is the basis of his premise and it's also his conclusion. The axiom is his unstated presupposition that the flood didn’t occur, and, by eliminating the option of the flood occurring, Bill uses his presupposition as the basis of his premise. All this to come to the conclusion that’s the same thing as his original presupposition and premise.
Not only that, but none of this was clearly stated. This lack of clarity also acts as another smokescreen that makes it more difficult to detect the circular reasoning fallacy.
If that all sounds confusing, remember that fallacies are meant to confuse and befuddle.
So we can plainly see that this method of thinking is deceptive. It’s designed to fool us. But that’s not to say that Bill consciously decided to fool us. More likely, Bill probably deceives himself using the same method. To better understand what’s going on here, let’s look at Bill’s circular logic another way:
We note that step 5, the conclusion, contains the unspoken presupposition in step 1. That’s circular reasoning.
By spelling out these steps, we’ve made the logic clear, but not one of these steps was clearly stated. Instead, they were implied using innuendo. In this case, innuendo is a smokescreen to hide circular reasoning, and circular reasoning is also a smokescreen to hide the axiomatic thinking fallacy. In the same way, axiomatic claims are often hidden in unspoken presuppositions.
We’ve looked at a few of the smokescreens used to hide this circular reasoning, but there are additional fallacies. For instance, Bill also used ad hominem fallacy, genetic fallacy, and appeal to coincidence fallacy in his short statement. As a result, these fallacies are smokescreens that make it harder to spot the circular reasoning, and the circular reasoning is a smokescreen to hide the axiomatic thinking fallacy. Bill’s two axioms are that the flood didn’t occur and that billions of years did occur. If he just stated this without hiding the fact that his statement is an axiomatic thinking fallacy, no one would believe him, and that’s the reason for the smokescreen fallacies.
Here’s another example of circular reasoning.
You can look at these rocks. You can look at rocks that are younger. You can go to seashores where there is sand. This is what geologists on the outside do, study the rate at which soil is deposited at the end of rivers and deltas, and we can see that it takes a long, long time for sediments to turn to stone. ~ Bill Nye
And hidden underneath the smokescreen of circular reasoning is an example of the allness fallacy, which is a form of axiomatic thinking fallacy where a strong statement is made without a way to prove the statement: “we can see that it takes a long, long time for sediments to turn to stone.” To expose this, here’s the hidden circular reasoning smokescreen that’s used to hide the allness fallacy.
Though all of this was implied using innuendo, we've exposed the circular reasoning to show that, in effect, Bill’s statement assumes what’s being proved.
Through scientific research, God has revealed that rock forms quickly under conditions like those in the Genesis Flood. So Bill isn’t telling the truth when he implies that rocks must form slowly. To arrive at his implication, he’s using selective evidence. As far as whether some rocks form over periods too long to observe, there’s no way to know since the periods are too long to observe. Since periods too long to be observed can’t be observed, statements about millions of years aren’t based on science. Yet we do observe that rocks form quickly. To put it another way, we can prove that rocks do form quickly using scientific method. On the contrary, we can’t prove that rocks form over millions of years using scientific method.